Short stories

Karl Marx’s Beard

1. Karl Marx’s beard is now more famous than Karl Marx’s books.

2. Karl Marx once contemplated shaving off the beard but was told by his agent “If you shave off the beard your Capital will fall exponentially.”

3. Karl Marx was chased out of France because the French (reported) hated (French being French and the beard being Karl Marx’s and not Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s, say) Karl Marx’s beard. The French thought the beard (reported) too outré. Karl Marx was chased out of Belgium because the men of Belgium were jealous of Karl Marx’s beard. It is believed that both mobs that chased Karl Marx carried razors and cutthroats and planned on shaving Karl Marx and using the beard to entice tourists to France and Belgium. It was the booming years of tourism.  

4. Karl Marx never combed the beard. Karl Marx instead of buying a comb spent the money on beer.

5. The beard was born on 4 May 1818 and so was a day older than Karl Marx.

6. Karl Marx’s twenty-one children tried but could not grow a beard.  Larry, Tim, Peter, Saul, William, Carl, Lee, Jake, Richard, Sam, Eliot, Macy, Lucy, Jane, Mary, Jean, Elizabeth, May, Wendy, Lilly, Fanny and Viv took after their mother, Jenny von Westphalen. One night, an inebriated, bellicose Lee tried to remove his father’s beard but failed. Viv showed her father a picture of Sigmund Freud and told her father that if he had a smaller beard, he would collect more disciples and patrons – and money.  Sam went into business selling fake Karl Marx’s beards. The business failed. The beards were cheaply made. The grey paint ran in wet weather and after a month or so the beards fell apart. He was sued (successfully) by a boy in Chicago USA that poked out an eye with the wire that wrapped around the ear to keep the beard in place.  Elizabeth painted the beard over and over again but she was a lousy painter. William published the biography of the beard. It was full of mendacity and slander. Wendy married a man without a beard. Eliot married a man with a beard. Jane had twenty-two children and called the boys and girls Karl.  She loved her father. Sam worked in pornographic movies (gay & straight) where he played his father. The beard never got in the way of a money shot. Larry the oldest child created a Utopia that quickly dissolved into a Dystopia.  He ended up in prison for drug dealing.  

7. Friedrich Engels had a beard made for him in one of his Manchester factories after having a delightful meal with Karl Marx. Their first conversation (recorded verbatim by Mary Burns) was a critique of English food.  Their second conversation (recorded verbatim by Mary Burns) was a critique of the English weather. Their third conversation (recorded verbatim by Mary Burns) was a critique of English football.  They both agreed that the English game was in need of less flair and more of a German Teutonic approach.

8. Friedrich Engels offered to buy Karl Marx’s beard for Mary Burns. She had designs on making the beard into a dress.

9.  Jenny von Westphalen stroked Karl Marx’s beard on their first date.

10. Americans still hate Karl Marx’s beard. “It’s the Devil’s beard!” says the Preacher of the Westboro Baptist Church.

11. For the Hipsters of London Karl Marx’s beard was “the shit.” This, I think, means good.

12.  Three families lived in Karl Marx’s beard. There were the Allen-Montagues, the Smiths, and the McCoys. The three families lived in a precarious equilibrium, but lived nevertheless. The Allen-Montagues lived close to the mouth. The Smiths lived between the black and the grey. The McCoys had to cling to the ends of the beard. The Allen-Montagues spent most of their time perched on Karl Marx’s lips, drinking champagne, eating caviar and enjoying the view. The Smiths employed the McCoys to remove deadends and dead skin. Allen-Montagues owned the scissors.  

13. The beard wanted Karl Marx to write Romances Novels and Historical novels and Romances/Historical novels. Karl Marx wrote Capital.  James Joyce being a competitive man after trying to write another unreadable book like Capital tried to grow a Karl Marx’s beard and failed.

14. Karl Marx’s beard ran away one day with the goal of returning to Germany. The beard got as far as Canterbury. The police called Karl Marx and asked him to come down to Canterbury and pick up the wayward beard. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels had a pleasant drive from London to Canterbury. Their fourth conversation (recorded verbatim by Mary Burns) was a critique of the Canterbury Tales. Just outside of Canterbury they stopped the critique of the Canterbury Tales and hit upon the ideas that would form The Manifesto of the Communist Party.

15. Three men from the London Society of famous and infamous Beards arrived at the Marxs’ home on the night Karl Marx manifested signs of moribundity. They had a check that they wanted to present to Jenny von Westphalen for the acquisition of Karl Marx’s beard. Being in a penurious state of affairs, Jenny von Westphalen had no alternative other than to sell the beard to the London Society of famous and infamous Beards. With the money, Jenny von Westphalen erected the Memorial to Karl Marx, East Highgate Cemetery, London UK. The Marxs were hopeless with money. The London Society of famous and infamous Beards was bombed by Hitler’s Luftwaffe. When hearing the news that the Luftwaffe had destroyed the beard of Karl Marx, Hitler (reported) stroked his little (LITTLE) mustache and tittered puerilely.

Larry Caomhánach

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