Living in such a state taTestaTesTaTe etats a hcus ni gniviL of mind in which time sTATEsTAtEsTaTeStA emit hcihw ni dnim of does not pass, space STateSTaTeSTaTeStAtE ecaps ,ssap ton seod does not exist, and sTATeSt oFOfOfo dna ,tsixe ton seod idea is not there. STatEst ofoFOFo .ereht ton si aedi Stuck in a place staTEsT OfOFofo ecalp a ni kcutS where movements TATeSTa foFofoF stnemevom erehw are impossible fOFoFOf elbissopmi era in all forms, UsOFofO ,smrof lla ni physical and nbEifof dna lacisyhp or mental - uNBeInO - latnem ro your mind is UNbeinG si dnim rouy focusing on a unBEING a no gnisucof lone thing, or NBeINgu ro ,gniht enol a lone nothing. bEinGUn .gnihton enol a You are numb and EiNguNB dna bmun era ouY unaware to events stneve ot erawanu taking place - not -iSSuE- ton - ecalp gnikat knowing how or what 11/23/94 tahw ro woh gniwonk to think. You are in ELEVEN ni era uoY .kniht ot a state of unbeing.... ....gniebnu fo etats a
I guess this is the Thanksgiving issue of State of unBeing, as every publication around this time does something on what they are thankful for. So, in keeping with the SoB spirit, we present what we're fucking glad for.
I'm fucking glad for:
This issue is really swank. We've got a bunch of fiction here, and even your procrastinating editor wrote something this time. I don't really need to say anything about the articles and stories--read em and see how good they are for yourself. We also have some letters written to the editor, and if you want to write in and tell how you feel about this zine, my e-mail address is at the end of the issue.
We also have two new distribution sites, one in Philly and another one in Quebec, so if you're around there you can get SoB from there. They've also got lots of nifty text files as well. If you'd like to become a distribution site for SoB, email me.
Two last things. First off, next month is a double issue month. We will be releasing number twelve as planned, and also number eight (the Lost issue) will be released as well. Remember, if you have anything that was going to be put in for number eight, send it to me as soon as you can. Same goes for your submissions for number twelve. Also, I wanted to have a new header starting with issue number thirteen, so if you can draw ASCII, send me a new header and I'll pick the best. Hell, if you wanna do an ANSi for my board, iSiS UNVEiLED, I'll take that too.
That's about it. Sorry for the high school humor, but a couple of my old high school buddies were over tonight and I just felt juvenile, dammit. And remember, Christmas is just around the corner, so give the gift of life. Donate some semen, anywhere you want. Damn high school humor. It won't happen again. Yeah, right.
Dear Editor, I just wanted to write concerning some comments in State of unBeing's editorial for issue number ten. While I write this, here in the District of Columbia the elections are being closely monitored as each member watches the fate of his position, his constituency, his party. A number of races are being closely monitored by lovers of freedom no doubt the world over. One of the most vital is Proposition 187, the so-called "Save Our State" initiative, becoming known in the underground as "Submission Or Slavery." A few notes about Captain Moonlight's article first, though. It was interesting to see an author correct possible misreadings of his article. As a legal brief, no doubt, it wouldn't stand. None of ours could. As a political writer, though, there is no place for moderation, and the terms he used were powerful for the purpose. It is a fine line. The subtilties between 'arrested' and 'detained,' for example, are more legal that active, and in many nations such subtilties do not even exist. The detaining for 24 hours is the standard party line, but it has been upheld for 48 hours for an adult, and recently the Supreme Court refused to hear a case permitting 72 hours for juveniles. This means that it is not law across the country, but it is considered constitutional, and at any time it could be implemented. About 187 now. This is expected to pass by a slim margin, as I recall. The Republicans are expecting a great shift Right, which I tend to doubt, and will doubt until the figures are in. Pete Wilson, Republican governor of California, has staked his reelection on this measure. We hope it will fail, but we are not optimistic. I suppose first I will address the claims against it. Contrary to what Rush Limbaugh appears to be implying, Wilson's "racism" -- real or alleged I do not intend to address -- did not begin with this. It is indeed not "race-specific" I suppose. Blond haired and blue eyed Poles from Mexico can't come north, Jews from Mexico can't come north, Davidians can't come north, but the main people opposing it are Mexicans. Pete Wilson has practically been on the beaches pushing back Asian refugees, too, though, and it was his open letter to President Clinton that got this ball rolling to push harder on the immigrants. No, he has been called a racist for years, and either way he has come down very plainly against immigration. 187 will cause teachers, social workers, and all other workers in the public sector to become informants for the federal government. This is nothing about economics. This issue at least is one of civil liberties. It would deny health care (except for emergencies) and social care to undocumented immigrants. Most frighteningly, though, is that it cuts education and requires teachers to report children who they suspect might be illegal -- or might have illegal parents -- to the State. This was tried in Texas, and, if I have my year correct, was struck down by the Supreme Court as unconstitutional. Our educators have an obligation to educate our residents, not only our citizens. It is illegal to even ask if a person is a documented immigrant or no. We are not talking here about child abuse, where it is also law that a suspicious person must turn in a suspect. No one is endangering a child here except perhaps our government. And, most frighteningly, if a child is born in the U.S. to undocumented parents, he or she is an American as much as Bill Clinton or Pete Wilson. If his or her parents are not documented, though, they will be sent back. The child's parents cannot go to social workers nor to doctors, for to do so would endanger these people who have sworn to help the people. In my opinion, this is a very frightening precedent, to create, in effect, an underground of second class citizens. But 187 is only one of a trend that is developing on our borders. Although prominent Democrats have opposed 187 and Pete Wilson and other Republicans (i.e., Rush) have come out in support, this is not a Right agenda. Operation Gatekeeper has begun. On the Mexican-American border, a vast iron wall has been erected, along with a one mile wide by twelve mile long police zone between the borders patrolled by the National Guard. Off the coast of California the Coast Guard is patrolling for hundreds of miles. Although this only exists between a couple of cities -- San Diego and Tijuana -- clearance has been given to extend it. There is talk of partitioning the entire international border with this three-tiered area. Comparison to the Iron Curtain may be a bit premature, powerful as this image may be, as it is claimed that it is to keep dangerous but disorganized people out, but the communists and Maoists among us I'm sure would say that the Iron Curtain was to keep the Imperialists out. Like any metaphor it depends on what emotional response you seek. Perhaps it would just be easiest, though, to present it plainly as it is: A gargantuan iron wall patrolled by armed guards on our own southern border. In Texas, a similar program is in its experimental stage, and its success, it may be assumed, contributed to the decision to extend this across the border. The Texan version is Operation Blockade and runs between El Paso and Ciudad Juarez. This consists of a 20 mile strip with 450 border patrol personnel and a planned ten foot high wall, similar to the one in California, to run three miles and be made from scrap metal from Desert Storm. Although the anti-immigrant sentiment present in California is not present to such a degree in Texas, the feelings are being stirred up. The cards, too, are a national endeavor. I hadn't heard that there would even be a vote on them. I had heard that the five states listed by Captain Moonlight (California, Florida, Texas, New York, and Illinois) were test sites for an already determined course of action. The Religious Right have been publishing interesting articles on the Mark of the Beast and the way modern technology can dispense with cards by invisibly branding us. I happen to be disturbed enough by the cards alone. If there will be a vote, I pray that everyone who is eligible will be there to vote against it. I fear it is too late. With 187, though, there still is time. Whether it passes or fails, it will not die. Ansat has told me there is a lot of talk about it coming to Texas, and a lot of protest against it. This is an issue where your vote is particularly vital, since those most effected cannot vote. Everyone must look inside themselves and decide if they really want to increase the police state within the United States. If you are even doubtful, consider that there must be a better way to end this situation. Even Operation Gatekeeper has its points and is beyond prevention by voting means. 187 and the national identification card -- under any name and for any excuse -- must be prevented. And one more thing before signing off. Although it is true, as you -- Kilgore -- said, that Crux Ansata's piece, "Torn From a Diary," is from "an Orwellian 1984-esque time," it should not be so quickly ignored. The fanatics on the Right Wing are claiming that we have been invaded or will be given over to a socialist United Nations, and it is claimed that UN military vehicles have been sighted on the west coast of the United States -- Oregon, if memory serves. Whether this is true or not -- I transmit this claim, but with the caveat that it is a rumor that I do not know I believe -- there are elements in his tale that are true. These ever-present mysterious black helicopters, another favorite in the Right Wing press, are being used. They are used in occupied Ireland by the British. In the U.S., they were used during the Branch Davidian siege, just as Ansat states. The SAS presence is also true, as documented in the British papers. As for the extrapolations, such as why the U.S. is in Haiti and why the helicopters were brought to Texas, I cannot say. I do not have any reason to believe it is true. It should be frightening enough that it is possible. Greetings to Tachyon, wherever you are. I hope you come above ground soon; we all miss you and send out respect for your courage to go under. Oh, yeah. And the Dr. Graves story DID have its points. Bobbi November 8, 1994 Washington, D.C.
[I think your comments stand for themselves and need no elaboration from me. I will just say one thing about my description of Crux Ansata's story. I do not take those things lightly, and I know such tactics have been and are used; however, it is a work of fiction, and while some elements in the story are true, the story is not. I've seen it happen all too often, and I hope that the fiction being written right now will not avail itself totally to a new, darker reality. And yes, the Dr. Graves stories do have their moments, and for those fans of the good doctor, another one is in the works with yours truly taking on a major role. I just can't wait. --Ed]
From: email@example.com (Tachyon) To: firstname.lastname@example.org (Kilgore Trout) Organization: Anonymous contact service Reply-To: email@example.com Date: Tue, 8 Nov 1994 04:01:33 UTC Subject: SoB #8 Follow-up Report Lines: Greetings Kilgore, Tachyon here. I'm glad to see that SoB wasn't permanently shut down. It has been difficult to get it where I am at right now, but I have my resources. I'm also delighted to hear that you are going to reconstruct SoB #8 in a secure location and then re-release it on the net. That is great! Feel free to stick this in there too, I'm sure it will get read. I doubt there will be the breach of security we had last time. You know who to trust... now. The following report comes rather indirectly from TAC NewsWire. I say indirectly because the NSF mysteriously garbled all of our IP addresses, plus a tapeworm was released within several of our internal nets... those government types are too good at what they do. Needless to say, this has made data hard to come by. However, in the tried and true method digging for the facts, we persevered and struck... well, not the motherload, but paydirt none-the-less. Here is a list of some of the subjects that were to have been (and still might be!) in SoB #8 which the government was particularly interested in: Time Travel Experimental Results Underground Military Installations Anti-gravity Engines and Free-Energy Devices Why NASA has no money The Face on Mars Who REALLY killed Nicole Simpson The Second Gunman How to Hack Top Secret Military Networks Which one of these is a major threat to national security you might ask? Based on reports which I am not willing to go into at this time, the time travel one is a possibility, but it is not the real reason. The one article the US Government REALLY did not want to be published was the one about The Face on Mars! The person who wrote the article had originally submitted it to SoB's submissions directory on Illuminati Online in Austin, TX [io.com]. We had one hell of a time tracking her down, and initially she refused to talk to us, but we pressed and she agreed to answer a few of our questions. She did not wish her real name to be known, so we shall call her Jane. The conversation follows: Tachyon: Did you write the SoB #8 article about the cover-up by the US Government and NASA about the Martian Face? Jane: I did. T: Why did you submit it to State of unBeing. J: I didn't want a lot of attention, but I knew that it would get spread around pretty good to people who are willing to believe if I put it in a zine like SoB. T: Exactly what do you do for a living? J: I.. I'm a scientist. T: What sort of scientist? J: Planetary. T: Do you work for JPL or NASA? J: I'd rather not say. T: What exactly did you write about and why did it violate national security? J: Uh... well... it was about .uh.. what was that about national security? [Jane had not known of the SoB #8 affair... she was shocked, but agreed to a few more questions...] J: My article covered what I perceived to be a complete censure of data by NASA. Viking took more photos of the Martian Face than just the two rather obscure ones shown to the rest of the world. Those only escaped because they were released before NASA and the Pentagon knew what was going on. There were three more photos taken later with much better resolution and lighting levels. I stumbled across them while doing a survey for possible probe landing sites. And in less than a year there will be even more detailed images. T: And why is that? J: Because the Mars Observer was never really lost. [Silence, on my part, for a few moments.] T: Are you saying that it never lost contact? That it made it's orbital insertion and is presently taking photos of Mars, namely the Martian Face and surrounding features? J: That is exactly what I am saying. T: Do you have proof? J: Only for the Viking data, which clearly shows a face in the three unreleased images. I have the images. T: Would you be willing to send us your original article and a copy of those images? J: Yeah, I think so... as long as you keep me out of it. Where should I sen At that point the connection was instantly severed and further communication with Jane has proved impossible. It seems that Jane's article and information, for now, is indeed lost. More info as it trickles in, until then I await #8. Tachyon Somewhere Sometime NewsWire is a Registered Trademark of The Astronomy Consortium
The Big Thing
Dark Crystal Sphere Floating Between Two Universes
I Wish My Name Were Nathan
Lord Henry Wotton
Nemo Est Sanctus
THE PARADOXES OF MiCHAEL COLLiNS
by Captain Moonlight"Ireland shall be free from the centre to the sea as soon as the people of Ireland believe in the necessity of Ireland's Freedom and are prepared to make the necessary sacrifices to obtain it."--From the last letter of Sean Heuston (executed 1916) to
his sister, Sister Mary Heuston
In 1916, just a few months after returning from his ten-year stay in Britain, Michael Collins burst on to the scene of Irish Republican politics in his post as aide de camp to Joseph Mary Plunkett during the Easter Week Ris- ing. This man, born of humble farming stock in County Cork, would become one of the chief men in twentieth-century Irish politics.
This son of Colleen, the spirit of Ireland sung of by the bards of old, led one of the most ruthless Revolutionary groups of the Irish War for Independence, and yet was one of the gentlest men alive. His group, know as The Squad or The Apostles, had a 10,000 pound reward for any information leading to its capture. Collins himself had a 10,000 pound price on his head -- dead or alive. And yet, he was so loved by the Irish people that he was never turned in. At the funeral of Thomas Ashe, one of the greatest heroes of the Easter Rising, who was killed during a clumsy attempt at force-feeding during a hunger strike at Dublin's Mountjoy Prison, after an illegal three-volley salute by the Irish Republican Army, Collins declared in both English and Gaelic "Nothing additional remains to be said. The volley which we have just heard is the only speech which it is proper to make above the grave of a dead Fenian." He showed this belief in his actions-rather-than-words philosophy during the War for Independence.
By 1921 both Irish and English had tired of the bloodshed, and a peace delegation consisting of Michael Collins; Arthur Griffith, founder and former President of Sinn Fein; Robert Barton, a British-educated landowner and Minister for Agriculture of the New Irish government; Erskine Childers, an Englishman who ran guns for the Easter Rising; and two lawyers went to London to negotiate a treaty. After three months of negotiations, at 2:10 a.m. on December 6, 1921, Collins, Griffith, Barton, and one of the lawyers signed the Articles of Agreement for a Treaty Between Great Britain and Ireland (commonly known as The Treaty) without consulting President de Valera or any of the Dublin government. The result was a house divided against itself: Six of the Ulster counties making up North Ireland and remaining under complete British control, and the twenty-six Southern counties making up the new Irish Free State, a semi-independent state not unlike Gibraltar or Vichy -- "Free" -- France during Third Reich German rule. Collins said that by signing this unpopular Treaty he was signing his own death-warrant -- a notion which soon turned true.
On September 22, 1922, Michael Collins, revolutionary hero and villain, was killed by a bullet in the brain while fighting off an ambush in his native County Cork. After signing the Treaty Collins had set about converting those of the IRA who stayed with him into the Irish Free State Army, backed by Britain and supplied with British guns, which set out to fight the ensuing Irish Civil War. Collins was seen as too powerful a person in the new government to be allowed to live, so the IRA cut down their old hero and brother in one of the most painful attacks of the Fight for Freedom. But Collins died the way he would have wanted to die: fighting for what he believed was right.
It is indeed true, as Bobbi told me, "Every Irish Republican killed Collins, and every Republican died with him."-- Captain Moonlight, November 19, 1994
We lost a great man to-day.
And when I say 'we,' I don't just mean the Revolution. Sure, there was a time when he was a man of the Revolution, Michael, and one of the best. But he was never only a man of the Revolution; he was a man of the people. The people who needed a man to be for them. There was never a widow nor an orphan neither that left his home hungry, I can tell you. No, Ireland lost a great man to-day.
The Republican Army has nothing to gain from hiring murderers. We fight because we love Ireland, not killing. A man who loves killing will not find a shelter with us. And let me tell you, every blow we land hurts us. None hurt so much as when he had to hit you, though. When I killed you, a part of me died, and a part of Ireland died. It had to be done, but, somehow, the knowledge that I did -- that we all do, we of the Revolution -- what is necessary is a painful victory. I didn't want to see you fall but Ireland just couldn't take any more. A part of you died long ago.
There was a time when he was a man of the Revolution. But at some point we began to fight different revolutions. We still loved you, Michael, even when you brought us back a country split in two. But like the story with Solomon, you can tell which of us truly love Ireland, for she is ours. We who want Ireland whole, not halved by the king like the Brits wanted. You gave them six counties to let us have 26, but I know you knew that we would never let that happen. We truly love Ireland. We truly do. Brother will fight brother, but I pray to you Michael please understand. We killed you because we love you. But we cannot let Ireland be divided.
But let it never be said you were not a man of Ireland. Somewhere, somehow, Britain tempted you away, but we know you still love your Colleen. We know you are still a man of the people, the people of Ireland.
We know you forgive us.
We lost a great man to-day.
[Those wishing to learn more about Michael Collins are recommended to read Tim Pat Coogan's biography The Man Who Made Ireland: The Life and Death of Michael Collins (Robert Rinehart, 1992.) -- Moonlight]
VIVO ERGO SUM
No one knows why, no one knows how, but 4 billion years ago, life developed on the Earth. Earth was a harsh environment 4 billion years back, comets and asteroids were often plummeting to the surface, and toxic (to us) gases erupted over the surface from within the bowels of the Earth. After the development of life, only one thing about it was completely constant... it grew. Life on Earth changed, evolved, became extinct in part, but always expanded. Anything which did not expand, no matter the species, soon became extinct because those species which were growing were absorbing the resources... and thus growing even more.
This competition for resources is the basis of evolutionary change in lifeforms. Competition became the norm for life on Earth because it was the standard for the earliest life forms. Single celled species merely replicated themselves, using up resources. If a nearby species did not use them faster or more efficiently, they either moved or died.
Thus the race was on, survival of the fittest was (and still is as I shall point out) the mark of evolutionary processes in the biosphere. However, even if you do not favor evolutionary theory, or this theory in particular, you cannot deny the fact that the biosphere is constantly expanding, or is constantly applying pressure to expand.
Indeed, that is a good way to define life, a collection of processes which replicate themselves in order to continue replicating themselves. Life has spread to every crack and crevice on the planet.
This essay draws extensively from the Gaia Hypothesis. This theory was envisioned by British biologist James Lovelock in 1969 and expounded upon in a book by Lovelock and US biologist Lynn Margulis entitled Gaia: A New Look at Life on Earth (1979). The hypothesis influenced numerous environmental, biological, and ecological studies, but aroused controversy over it's perceived nonscientific aspects. Lovelock therefore modified it to be more in agreement with homeostasis, now widely acclaimed in biology.
Essentially the Gaia Hypothesis holds that the biosphere of the Earth functions as a single unit, and that it regulates itself for the benefit of the unit and not for it's parts. This is in accordance with homeostasis in that the biosphere is very regulatory. If there are too many predators and not enough prey, for example, starvation ensues.
Assuming that the Gaia Hypothesis is true and agreeing that the biosphere does indeed bring pressure to bear for expansion, one reaches the following conclusion: The goal (destiny, process, nature, purpose) of the life is expansion and the biosphere will regulate itself in a manner which only serves to support this goal. This theory has rather baffling conclusions; the biosphere, under these assumptions, would regulate every factor within it's power in order to achieve expansion, from predator prey relationships, to extinctions, to climate, to evolution itself.
Realize I am not implying any consciousness extant within the biosphere unit (which was one of the aspects of the original hypothesis), I do not see any evidence for that. Self regulation of the system is a product of natural laws, as is the process of expansion. The process of regulation to achieve the state of expansion which the biosphere undergoes is subject only to natural law.
Why does life expand? It expands to survive. The survival of the biosphere is paramount to all other processes. If life forms were to stay in one area, they would run a much higher risk of being eliminated completely by several random factors such as famine, disease, or natural disasters. Instead, life spreads itself about. The more area life covers, the less it is prone to being completely obliterated. Some species do indeed become extinct, but this is generally due to the biosphere regulating itself. If a species does not play it's part in the natural processes which develop the entire system, or the species has completed it's term of usefulness the biosphere takes measures to eliminate it. This is somewhat analogous to a human having an appendix removed.
Many natural processes, including survival, apply not only to the biosphere as a whole, but often to it's parts as well. Mankind is no exception to this rule. In fact, the self regulatory processes which apply to the whole biosphere also apply to humans on an individual level. The biosphere is fractal in nature, every part is representative of the whole. Homeostasis is one of the founding principles of biology, and it has been observed time and again in the function of multitudes of species, including humans. Thus, by observing processes within large scale structures such as the biosphere, we can observe properties within ourselves.
Following this line of thought, it is natural to infer that humans operate on the basic tenets of life outlined above. We have a need to expand and therefore survive. In fact, everything we do is oriented on this goal which is programmed at a genetic level. Obviously the day to day chores such as eating and breathing we do for survival, but also to survive as a species we must expand.
In order to expand, humans do many things beyond mere reproduction. Over the past 500,000 years we have developed the means to enhance our expansion and survival by engaging in agriculture, medicine, science, and technology. These activities have allowed us to live longer, reproduce with more success, evolve quickly, and have gradually made us the dominant species of the planet.
Activities such as art, music, and philosophy also serve their purpose in the need to survive and expand. Such mental exercises serve to bring us stability, civilization, and social equilibrium so that we may efficiently carry out the processes for which we have been genetically programmed.
THE RIGHT STUFF
Five billion years from now (give or take a few eons) the Sun, which feeds energy to the Solar System, will be dead. It will die from having exhausted all of it's fuel. Before it dies though, it will give it the old college try by slowly vaporizing Mercury and Venus and making Earth a boiling sphere of molten slag for several millennia.
In fact, the Earth will likely be too hot to support life a mere 150 million years from now, due to the Sun's expansion caused by helium fusion. The biosphere doesn't have much time left, relatively speaking, since it has been around for four billion years. Whats a self regulating biological system to do?
So far the biosphere has been very adept to adapt. Although the Earth has been through several catastrophic natural disasters and climate changes, life has always hung in there... surviving as it were. The survival-of-the-fittest standpoint would hold that a successful biosphere would evolve to plan for all contingencies, whatever the natural occurrence.
The conclusion is that a successful biosphere must create (evolve) a solution for not perishing when the star which provides it's energy dies. If it does not, it will not survive the death of it's parent star. This is assuming that the biosphere develops on a planet in the method outlined here and not in interstellar space.
The method for a biosphere to maintain it's existence after it's star dies is to have the ability to move to another star or to another location where it can continue expanding and existing. There are likely many solutions to this difficulty, but if Occam's Razor is applied, the easiest solution is represented in mankind.
Evolving a single species which develops intelligence is the easiest method for solving the problem of a biosphere death. This single species can create technology which will transport the biosphere to a place where it may continue. The species will not have to transport every element of the system, nor even all the species, since every part, as in a fractal, represents the whole.
Humans are the natural solution of our biosphere to cope with the problem of the Sun's eventual death. We are a single species, evolved for intelligence which has the means to carry out the destiny of life on Earth. We are a tool created to carry Earth's seeds to the stars.
There is likely no other reason for intelligence to evolve, since it would serve no other purpose in the needs of the biosphere. This argument would also seem to preclude high intelligence in species of non-technological orientation, since their intelligence would not serve the biosphere's needs. Such a species would be `self regulated' out of the system or their intelligence filtered out or limited in some fashion. This is likely what happened to dolphins and whales.
EVERY WHICH WAY BUT UP
It seems now that our purpose is clear. Our species was evolved to transport the biosphere to the stars. We have evolved sufficient technology to do so. Once a species has reached our level on the technology curve, it reaches a point where it is able to move away from the cradle, taking it's genetic code with it. Apparently it is in the best interests of the biosphere that we leave.
So what happens if we don't? That is very simple to answer. Like all other species which did not evolve to fit the needs of the system, we die. The human race, if it does not fulfill the purpose outlined above, will become extinct and the only things left over will be footprints on the moon and have a dozen interstellar probes with nice gold records on them.
The self regulating system in which we exist, creates a pattern which makes it's needs easier to achieve. The very things which give us the ability to live longer and reproduce more such as agriculture and gasoline also eventually lead to the ability for space travel; surprise, surprise. However, once a species reaches such a level of technological sophistication, those technologies which improved living conditions for that species begin to have a detrimental effect unless that species exploits space travel. Greater technology increases population, which cause a host of problems. Thus, a species is pressured by the system into exploiting space travel... for it's own benefit.
If humans do not release the pressure of their system by performing a evolutionary and technological process needed for survival of the biosphere, then the pressure will build. Nature is running out of time, and if we don't do our jobs, she will kill us quickly. Without space travel, humans will slow, stagnate, die in great numbers, and then likely become extinct to make room for another intelligent race which may be able to do better than we did.
WHAT'S THE RUSH?
One hundred fifty million years is a long time, many wonder what the rush is? The facts are that humans do not have 150 million years for the very reasons outlined above. But even so, why not wait fifty or one hundred years?
It is important that once a species has the technological capability to travel in space, they should exploit it as quickly as possible to release the pressure on their species. The pressure comes from the biosphere's self regulating mechanisms which manifest as human overpopulation.
Venturing into space is much like going to the dentist. If you never go, your teeth will likely fall out. The longer you prolong it, the more difficult the eventual visit will be due to built up problems which need to be fixed. But if you go early, or on time, it isn't too bad an experience after all and you are much better off because of it, no matter how much it hurt your pocketbook.
Indeed, we are venturing into space now, but not at a rate or a manner which parallels our exponentially inflating knowledge base or population. We went to the Moon and now we can't get past Low Earth Orbit. The biosphere "frowns" upon taking a step back for every two forward. Policy makers need to realize that space is not merely a playland for scientists or a place to dump communications satellites, it is crucial to our survival and to the survival of all Life on Earth.
It would be nice if our generation was noted for being the realization of the evolution of a process begun some 1.5 million years ago in East Africa, saviors of all Earth lifeforms from now to eternity.
Send all comments, ideas, questions, critiques, whimsies, nonsense, or flames (generally ignored), to firstname.lastname@example.org .
(dedicated to my own Anactoria)
'Show me your satyr's horns!'
You cry, giggling and falling into my bed
And I return your laughter
Or I try
For I know this is the second bed you have entered, laughing
On this night alone.
And the cuckold's horns are more familiar to me than Pan's.
O! how it pains me to see you
As you embrace another.
(If only in my mind's eye)
How it hurts to feel your laughter
And I know the pain comes not from your absence
That you can find as much joy -- more -- with another as with me.
But we both know I can make no claim on you
And should you want to stray, I have no place to hold you
'Go; if thou stay, not free, absents thee more.'
So I cultivate my pain in the soil of your joy
And we each experience new heights. (depths)
And a blessing:
I have worn the cuckold's horns so long, I'd miss them if gone!
An array of exquisite and delicate flowers
sway in the breeze
clustered in a meadow below
as if someone threw the blossoms
from the heavens all at once
so that they might fall together
and dwell together
I stand upon a ledge,
for I was dropped far after the others
and I was hurled far away from the others
yet I am just as beautiful
I can gleefully dance in the wind
I can taste and savor the sweet raindrops
or the golden sunrays upon my petals
just as I am able to feel the
harshness of an overbearing storm in the night
or the stinging fangs of winter
I am real, with the same feelings,
the same needs!
yet I stand upon a ledge,
As I languidly gaze onto the
blooms in the meadow below
intermixed with the warning, whistling winds,
the once dreamlike, brilliant flowers
suddenly transform into ragged weeds
My petals have withered as I
And I still stand upon a ledge,
The first stranger is a man
Simply a man
He's not impressive
He's not spectacular
He's just a simple man
And nothing more
He's still searching
When the strangers met
They were one no more
Ceremonies meant little to them
They just kept searching
The brothers arrived
Isolated for a year
They had no friends
Except the two strangers
The Strangers count reached five
People stayed away from them
But they didn't care
The people just stayed away
Time passed on
Another stranger joined
He was wise in the ways of the world
And he brought a friend
A friend who knew his place
A friend who was sad
A friend who lamented
It is easy to forget the dead, I suppose,
Who never quit their silent repose --
Cold carven marble stones
On time-whitened ancient bones
Keep quiet the cries of the Dead.
And yet, in the midst of the dark night,
The haunted and the sensitive mind might
Catch a glimpse of something dim
And hear Dead voices calling him
Reminding the Living that the Dead do not eternal lie.
Shrouded Spectres, ill-remembered from youth,
And the recent Dead, grotesque and uncouth,
Warn us of Life's transientness
While they call us through Time's mists
And warn us to seize the day.
For, once gone, the past is Dead,
And when at Judgment our accounts are read,
We must answer for the deeds, both good and ill,
With which we our Lives have filled,
And our darkest deeds shall be cried from the highest hills.
And so for the future we must prepare;
The past is gone -- and must be repaired,
And we insignificant ones with our fleeting Lives
Must with our short limited Time
Do our best -- and then we die.
(Inspired by the Dead Sea Scrolls)
She presses her glorious face against mine
And down we fall, tangled ecstatically,
Of arms and tongues, wrapped around one another.
Pressed full against her for a fleeting moment
I drink from her watery grail
And together we fill and glisten one another.
Rising up, I hear her divine small voice,
And her nubile body she folds around me
As a cheribum's wings, imprisoning my body to freedom.
My Goddess, my Seraphim, my Love beneath me
Gazes up in idyllic bliss, as my fiery firmament
descends, a pentacostal sacrament and the Holy Dove.
Beneath, between, within, around,
Angels of holiness come and go, a fiery vision of the most holy spirits
And around flow rivers of flame.
Prismatic colors and gleaming hues combine
With the soft, sweet deepness of her virgin flesh
And over spirits, like our bodies, magnificently mingle.
The spirits of God flow from me
And into her, my wonderful Chariot,
In our glory of perpetual movement.
Her divine small voice cries out as I depart
And with the path of my return she blesses and glorifies
The Holy One, our holy union.
I rise above her, marvelously;
I descend, and I find rest;
In settling, I find tremorous pause.
Her cries are silenced in one cry of joyful praise,
And the shards of her voice echo all around;
A stillness blankets us in the warmth of the coming of God.
A stillness falls across the chariot
And a silence falls across all existence;
In this moment of death the heavens and the earth are reborn!
A single voice of praise resumes
And all the divisions speak up in joyful worship.
All voices sing out in hymns of praise.
I feel it closing in --
A pattern seems to form
I feel it cold and warm --
As shadows start to fall
I feel it closing in, I feel it closing in
Day in, day out...
I. ...Feel it closing in, feel it closing in...
Faking a death is easy. One has only to find a suitable corpse.
Cody, having seemingly fulfilled the parameters of his contract, received payment in full, with a healthy hazardous assignment bonus.
"Who is this?" Cody asked one evening, pulling a small framed photo of the girl and a young man from her dresser. Cody and Death were in bed, the black satin sheet draped over their hips, reflecting the pale blue moonlight filtering through the curtains like a wind-stirred pond.
"That," she said, sighing, "Is a very old friend. He died--was murdered-- almost a year ago." Cody held the frame in both hands, examining his photographic predecessor. "I take it you were close," Cody said, looking from the picture to her.
She was laying next to him, naked under the sheet, propped on one elbow and tracing shapes on his chest absently. "He... got me out of a bad situation. I loved him dearly. I still do, I guess," she said, taking the picture from Cody. She rolled over on her back next to him, staring up at the picture. Cody rolled on his side, facing her, and said, "I'm sorry... How did he...?"
"He was murdered," the girl said bitterly. "Religious fanatics. They found our lifestyle... well, they thought we were `tainted.'"
"Jesus," he said, looking at her. He saw tears welling in her dark eyes as she stared at the picture. "That was the second time he saved my life. They... they..."
"Shh, don't think about it," Cody told her, pulling the frame from her hands and setting it facedown on the dresser. He held her gently then, rocking gently and whispering quietly in her ear until sleep took her.
Morning, and Death sleeps, as she does every day. Her paleness bespoke of one who has not seen the light of day for some time. Cody sat in bed contemplating her sleeping form, the graceful curve of her so-slightly turned hip under the satin sheet, the gentle swelling of her breast as she breathed, the sweet curves of her face and her red lips. Never had he met one with whom he shared this bond, this unity.
It is then that the Child calls to him.
He paused with the china cup half raised to his lips and felt the Child's summons deep inside his soul, wrenching, painful.
II. ...A fear of whom I call / hearing someone call / I feel it closing in / I feel it closing in...
"I'm so very disappointed in you," the Child said, pouting. "You've been so very bad. And who is this soulless vixen you bring before me, and why did you not answer my summons sooner?" The Child warped its form to that of a young girl of twelve, clad in a gold crushed velvet dress. The Child shook her head.
"This one is mine. I desire her. Leave her be," Cody told the Child. "You know the conditions of our bargain... or would you rather go back to the way you were Before?" The Child moved toward him like a wraith, sliding it's fingers along his lapel. The Child's touch was like lightning, bringing pain that tore at the core of his being. Then peace, serenity, oneness. "Give her to me. Be done with her, and be with me as you always have," the Child whispered seductively, taking the form of a woman radiant with beauty. "Give her to me..."
Cody felt the Child slip into his mind, felt it examine his thoughts, begin to strip images from his mind like pages torn from a book. He thought then of his little Death, laying so peacefully in bed, the way her hair fell over her shoulders and caught the light in it's blue-black luster.
III. ...I see you fade away, don't ever fade away / I need you here today / Don't ever fade away... Fade away...
"No!" Cody screamed with every fiber of his being, tearing himself from the Child's vampiric embrace. "I won't let you take her from me. She's mine!"
The Child spun away from him, rage distorting it's face. "Then we are no more. Take back what is yours!" The Child contorted into a ball and vanished into a pinpoint of light.
"Thirty years of pain... all at once... all for you..." the voice of the Child echoed in his mind, as Cody slipped into consciousness.
Images, cruel and fast....
Death awoke with a start, inhuman screams rattling the room. Cody stood, still screaming, holding his head. His face was contorted in agony, his mouth opening, closing like a dying fish. He fell out of the bed, and stumbling, moved to the center of the room. "You raped me!" Cody screamed at the ceiling. "You raped me and took everything!"
The girl slid to the edge of the four-poster, sliding to stand with her small bare feet on the wooden floor. "Cody..." she said, reaching for him, not understanding, hurting for him.
"Don't touch me!" Cody was frantic. "You don't know me..."
Death came to him anyway, cradling him in her arms. He fell to his knees on the floor, gasping, and she held him as he wept, kneeling with him resting his head on her soft white shoulder. "Mali... Kera..." he whispered, clutching Death to him desperately, "all of them, and I didn't know... I never knew... that damned Thing took it all..."
Gently, she comforted him. Calmed, he stared into her eyes, deep and dark and full of love. "Sleep..." she whispered to him, and her voice was a soft caress, one which carried him into sweet oblivion.
She easily lifted his limp sleeping form and carried him the short distance to the bed, laying him gently on the cool sheets. She pulled the black satin over his body, and sat thinking on the edge of the mattress.
Something had to be done about this, she thought. I will not suffer this outrage to be inflicted on the one I have Chosen.
Two ways to choose, the razor's edge
with pain behind, go straight ahead
room full of people - grouping as one
I can't break out now, the time just won't come
Two ways to choose, which way to go
decide for me, please let me know
looked in the mirror - saw I was wrong
If I could get back to... where I belong
where I belong
Two ways to choose, which way to go
I paused for one - whom signs forbode
If we were immortal, we would not bend
washed up on the beach here, struggling for air
I see your face still in my window
tormented clouds won't set me free
something must break now
this life isn't mine
something must break now
wait for the time
something must break
That sign had been tacked to the empty bulletin board all semester, written hurriedly at the end of a science class as the professor was about to leave: "Ring and Warner Bros Cup Found -- See Prof Rbts". It beckoned to those studious students who walked by it twice every other day to take mercy on the poor abandoned objects of commercial desire. But no one had stood up. So Joseph did.
The bell had rung so Joseph flipped the hinged desk over and reached for his backpack, which had been untouched this hour because the period had just started. Joseph didn't think the study of aberrant chromosomal deformities, i.e. fuckups, were all that exciting. He'd seen the six fingers and three legs and orange eyes and patchy hair, but she was never on TV, so she was boring.
Joseph's shoes clip-clopped across the floor, taking him out into the hall. The search for Professor Roberts' office was not as easy as he had hoped; a so-so pass-by search of the offices on each of the three floors had revealed nothing. He sighed and was about to head home when he saw the name "Infleunza Roberts" printed on the placard next to the door. He was sure people teased her about her name.
He knocked politely on the door until Professor Roberts looked up from her desk.
"Ah, hello!" she said. "You must be here to pick up the ring and Warner Brothers cup." She grinned at him.
"Yes. I am," Joseph said blankly.
She gawked at him. "Really? Oh!" she said, nervously opening up the bottom drawer of her desk. "I say that to everyone nowadays... everyone I don't know, that is. I guess I was getting kind of tired of keeping it here. They take up so much space, the ring and the cup. Much better things I could put in this desk." Joseph saw the piles of pens and pencils in the corner of her office. "Oh," she said, noticing, "Those I just collect."
He held his hand out and accepted the cup and the ring. The ring was boring and grey; he never liked jewelry. He tossed it in the cup.
Infleunza's eyes widened. "Oh wait, before you take those, I need you to prove you own them. I'm sorry, it's just common practice. Oh! Close your eyes!"
Joseph stood in place with his eyes closed, clutching the cup. "Okay."
"Tell me what it says on the bottom of the cup, under the Tweety Bird feather."
"Um, let me remember. It's been so long. Uh.... oh, I remember. '(c) Warner Bros., Inc., nineteen eighty-fnayseek'," he said, almost sure he didn't know the year.
Professor Roberts made the expression of a game-show host having to break the bad news. "Actually, the year was 1991."
Joseph held out his hand in explanation. "Oh, that's alright. I bought it in the eighties. I guess I was just remembering that, and --"
The professor breathed a sigh of relief and nodded. "Well, that's good then. Whew. Well, have fun with those!"
"Thanks," Joseph said, and left.
Out in the hall once again, he looked about, wondering what to do with the rest of the hour. He figured it was the last class of the day he just skipped, so he went back to his apartment.
As usual, his roommate was out. He had moved back home a few months back. Joseph went over to his beanbag bed and plopped down on it. Sunlight streaming in through the edges of the window tickled his fancy so pulled the blinds up. He placed the cup and ring on the window-sill and repositioned his beanbag bed so he could look at them in the glow of the sun.
He smirked selfishly. When Kirk had been here, Joseph couldn't take the liberties he took now. The window was open. There was light. Kirk had always liked the dusky grey darkness in the room at all hours of the day, being such a lowdown mellow person. Joseph had adopted Kirk's mellowness in submission to him when he had been dominating the apartment with his pacifist ways.
Now, once again alone, Joseph had been preserving the memory of Kirk through his own regimen of acting mellow. It was a good act, because he wasn't really mellow at all. People just thought he was. Inside, Joseph was actually introverted and disinterested.
In aiming to overcome his deficient personality, he had decided on moving away from home to a liberal arts college. He knew that suffering built up character. He had decided early that morning to reaffirm his high-school desire to become a non-conformist. So far his only model had been Kirk. Kirk was gone. Joseph had to try something new. He grinned smarmily at the corona surrounding the Warner Brothers cup he had placed in the window.
Joseph got up from his beanbag chair and carefully picked up the Warner Brothers cup, turning it around in his hands. He hooked his finger through the handle and carried it thusly. The ring inside was caught by the gleaming sunshiney rays. He took the ring out and placed it on his thumb, where it fit. He felt pretty.
Leaving his apartment, Joseph decided in a hasty, non-conformist way to change his name to 'Joe'. And to get a haircut. Not any typical zipperhead haircut, no. He'd get something new and original. He headed over to the barber's on his bicycle with a cup on his finger and new hopes in his heart.
The barbershop appeared quite deserted except for the barber standing in there. Joe walked in and shouted, "Cut me, baby!"
He hoped his new-found style of speech was shockingly original and impressive.
Joe jumped into the chair and beamed at the barber. For several seconds they stared at each other in silence. Then Joe said, "Gimme a haircut, Holmes."
The barber, Polo by the inscription on his shirt, rolled his eyes. "What kind do you like, sir? Just a trim?"
"Nope!" Joe proclaimed. "You know poodles?" he asked.
Polo thought for a while. "You mean the dog?"
"Exactly!" Joe said. "Don't do that to me."
Polo rolled his eyes. "Okay."
"What I want is a lateral shear," he decided. "From here," he said, pointing to his right temple, "to here," he finished, drawing a finger over behind his left ear.
"What the hell is a lateral shear?" Polo asked.
"Polo, my master of hairs, that is your decision. I want you to have fun today."
Polo's eyes widened and he let out a chuckle.
"Oh! One condition, please," Joe said. "In here," he said, pointing to the Warner Brothers cup. "I'm nostalgic."
Joe leaned back in the chair and closed his eyes, signaling that the job was to begin. Polo rustled about for a moment to get the scissors, comb, and pinking shears, and the work began. After much wetting, combing, and mucking about, Polo fulfilled his order, remembering faithfully to leave the hair in the Warner Brothers cup.
"There you are, sir," Polo said, handing him a mirror. The non- conformist that Joe was, he looked in the cup first.
"Wow! This has some heft, Polio...! Poley...! Polo...!" Joe exclaimed, grabbing the mirror. "Lemme see." As he had much expected and hoped, his hairstyle was different. "Thanks a lot, Polo! Let's call this a done deal."
Polo smirked at him. "You like it?"
"Of course, hair-boy!"
"Okay, sir. Let's just call this a freebie, okay?" Polo said. "That way you've got nothing on me."
Joe bounced out of the chair, laughing. "You've always got your conscience," he said, skipping out of the barbershop.
With time on his hands, a ring on his thumb, and a cup of hair on his finger, Joe looked for something new to do. He thought hard about being different, and realizing in a moment of brilliant lucidity that thinking was so common, he decided to walk blindly ahead until he came to something.
Joe looked up and realized he had headed clear across town to his old high school. He smiled cockily and entered the building, reminiscing fondly those memories of half a year ago. Joe started to feel giddy, heading down the hall, hearing the bright happy sarcastic laughter emanating from the classrooms. He glanced into each window of each door and the memories rushed back. Then, at the far end of the hall, he saw his old biology professor. Hyper with giddiness, he rushed down the hall, flailing his arms about and sending his hair flying everywhere, and called out, "Coach Nicks! Coach Nicks!"
Joseph leaned back in the desk, achieving the perfect high-school slouch. The detention room was almost empty now. When he had been dragged in here by his arm, Joe knew there were more people. They must have left when the principal came in, huffing and puffing, and told him to shave off his morning's growth of beard. Joe felt lucky he had saved the dollar from the haircut; he needed it for the razor they made him buy.
He looked to the desk in the front of the room. Old Coach Nicks sat there, grumpiness etched in stone on his flabby face, reading a bright-pink romance novel. Joe called out, "Sir?"
"Yes, what," Coach Nicks mumbled from behind the book. The pages were turning rapidly.
"What am I supposed to do until my hour is up?"
"Do your homework."
"I don't have any homework."
"Well, you'll just have to sit there quietly and think about what you did," Coach Nicks mumbled absently, tapping his foot nervously on the floor.
"Damn," Joe muttered. No paper or anything to doodle on.
"Excuse me?" Coach Nicks cried out, slamming the cheap paperback down with a slap.
"--Huh? Wha--" Joe stuttered, searching for meaning.
"Go to the office, boy!" he yelled, pointing dramatically toward the only door in the darkened sensory deprivation room through which bright, life-giving light oozed in.
"Huh? Why?" Joe whined.
"Don't act like you don't know about the Z.T.P. -- Zero Tolerance Policy. To the office, curser."
Joe made an ugly face and muttered under his breath, "Zipperhead Tyranny Politics is more like it," and left the room.
Once outside, Joe growled and waved a fist in the window of the detention-room door and headed for the exit. And when he arrived back at his apartment, he decided to write off the loss of his Warner Brothers cup and the so-obviously-homosexual thumb ring (at least that's what the principal said, along with "They don't have 'gay pride' in HELL, boy".) He decided to drop his pretenses and his antisocial nonconformist ways, to close the blinds, and to sit in darkness. He was hurt and disillusioned.
"Originality is so Oppressive," Joseph sighed, running the razor over his head, watching the hairs flutter to the ground. "Conformity is Cool, Correct, and Christian," he recited to himself, smiling. He knew he had made the right choice.
To learn more about the evils of nonconformity, please visit your local library and check out the following books:
o "A Group of Oranges and the Lone Apple: You'll Soon Realize Which One Has the Gooey Worm Inside" by Kenneth Please.
o "Why Hair Is Truly Evil" by Margaret Rinnold.
o "'Of Course I Believe in Free Will': the Lennie Ray Story and his Tragic Demise" by Rev. Paul Ray.
And the prophecy read:
And so it shall be mother and father will hate each other.I read the prophecy to the ones who follow me. Me! a man who in his life was a follower. "How times change," I think.
Brother and sister will love one another.
Son will fight with father till one is dead.
Greed will consume the populace.
Murder, suspicion, and bigotry will spread like wild fire.
All will hate each other.
No learning save by mouth.
Knowledge known as books will all be destroyed.
Buildings will fall.
The smell of the dead will be one with the air.
People pray to gods for a miracle.
After some years, there will be a peace and with that peace comes a plague.
No one seems immune.
More will die till only a hand full of people will survive.
And they go back to nature with no wish to remember the past.
My group know the truth of the plagues and war, and death.
We alone accept the truth.
We don't believe some cosmic deity brought about this end so only to root out its followers.
We know that mankind killed itself. All the great nations fell; no one was safe. Even I contracted the plague. But I would not let something that this race has brought upon me I will survive. And I did.
"The prophecy was true but for one thing. We shall not forget the past for if we do we are forced to relive it," I said.
"Let us be off away from the carnage that the race known as man has done. We will live, thrive off the land and survive.
And with that I turned and looked at the fires and death that spread through the city. And tears came to my eyes of the remembrance of the dead.
Dan sipped the Coke in silent consideration. It was a very quiet day, still and lifeless. A grey tinge dulled the normally bright afternoon scenery. He surveyed the yard he was sitting in, unmowed, unkempt, seemingly abandoned. Blades of tall grass, round clumps of weeds, and several drooping oak trees met his eyes. The fuzzy broadcast from the AM radio on the porch said it was tornado weather. Dan enjoyed his Coke.
Glancing around, Dan saw nothing very interesting. He stood up and stepped through the lawn, gazing at the sky. Until he had walked far enough away, he was unable to make out anything specific through the trees, except something moving. A step into the street among the quiet grey- tinged houses offered him a view of the sky. Red-grey wispy sunset clouds flew over the earth, all singularly headed, all constantly moving. Dan shivered, yet it was not cold. He brought his eyes back to the surface.
The sound of voices harkened Dan to a scene across the street. "Water wells in this hose," someone named Will pointed out to Paul; "When I squeeze the nozzle, water will spray on you." Paul ducked and covered his head. Will squeezed the nozzle.
Dan disliked water, so he decided to seek shelter. Looking around, he noticed he was not in the yard he had started out in; rather, he was some two blocks away, in another unmowed lawn. He trotted off the lawn, glancing at Will and Paul. It didn't look like Paul was going to escape the water, so Dan ran faster.
"Water will fall even on innocent bystanders," Will said in a louder voice, as Paul and Dan were retreating to that yard from which Dan had wandered. As they ran, Dan glanced at the sky. Water struck Paul and Dan on their backs and their legs and even their heads which they had covered with their hands.
"Damn, that thing can shoot water far," Paul complained to Dan as they looked for trees to hide behind. Dan nodded, watching the arc of water fly from where Will stood, to the trees they were hiding behind. Will tired of his game and retired inside.
"I'm sorry, was I trespassing in your lawn back there?" Dan asked, pointing.
"Ah, no. Some stupid third-grade fucks live there. Jimmy and Evvie," Paul explained, stepping out from behind the tree and glancing around.
"Oh," Dan said, nervously patting down his body. He took off his shirt and hung it from the tree. "I dislike being wet." After considering the rest of his body, he took off the rest of his clothes, putting each article on a separate branch. Paul undressed as well and lined his clothes on the wooden rails encircling the porch. "Did you hear anything about tornado weather?" Dan asked, nodding toward the radio, which was now silent.
"No, nothing. But that sky sure looks like it," Paul said.
"I think those clouds are eerie," Dan said, pointing up through the mask of trees.
"Yeah, no shit," he replied, picking up the radio and shaking it.
"I don't know how old that thing is," Dan warned.
"The broadcasts are new." The radio crackled, and Dan imagined he saw lightning out of the corner of his eye. "There we go," Paul said, as the radio came to staticky life. "It wasn't even on a station." They made out another broadcast mentioning tornado weather. Paul promptly turned it off and set the radio down. "You're right, tornado weather. Whose house is this, anyway?" Paul asked.
"I dunno," Dan said. "I just realized I was here a while ago. I was having a Coke."
Paul smiled. "I know the feeling. C'mon, let's go somewhere else."
They walked through the grass and headed for the street, away from Will's house. Dan couldn't resist glancing at the clouds flowing across the sky. Paul glared at them. They walked on.
At the end of the street was another tired grey house. On the right side, a tiny sidewalk led up behind the house, where a rickety set of stairs led to a room over the garage. "If you want something...," Paul said, pointing out a full clothesline. Dan saw it and dismissed it.
"Nah, I'm already used to it," he said.
"Yeah, I was thinking the same thing." They walked up the stairs and Paul opened the door. "I live up here," he said.
Inside, the light was on, and everything looked alive, and Dan smiled. Paul sat on his bed and Dan plopped down in a beanbag. "You know, you always hear about tornadoes striking other towns all the time, but they never came here before," Dan pointed out.
"Yeah, true... but one's coming this time, I'm sure of it. I have a basement though."
"I never expected a tornado to come this early in the year. I'm worried."
"Well, it happens. Shit, I don't care. I knew it'd have to happen sooner or later," Paul said, waving his hand. "It doesn't matter. The basement's safe. We'll make it."
"I hope so. You're reassuring me," Dan said. "Have you been in a tornado before?"
"Hell yeah. It's like, I was all scared when mine came, but I braced myself and stayed in the basement until it was over," Paul said.
"Were you with anyone?"
"Nope," he said, shaking his head. "Had to face it all alone. Heck, twasn't that bad. I was hardly even shook up."
"Yeah... the only part I had to get used to was how when I left the basement, everything was gone. Tornadoes do that, ya know. Take away whole houses."
"I guess that's what they're for, huh?" Dan said, grinning.
"Shit, I dunno. That's what they seem to do usually."
Outside the steady hiss of the wind became audible. Trees nearby shook and their branches rattled against the window.
Paul gestured toward the window. "Yeah, there it comes."
"Geez, that was sudden. I'm not even ready for it yet," Dan said.
Paul smiled warmly. "C'mon, don't worry about it. It's really not as bad as they say." He opened the blinds. "Let's see if we can see the funnel cloud."
Dan reluctantly approached the window. "I don't want to see those clouds anymore." As he glanced up, he noticed they were gone. A dull grey overcast remained. There were darker clouds in the distance. They both scanned the sky. "How do you know where it'll come from?"
"Oh, just a hunch. Darker clouds over there."
"God, I don't want to watch," Dan murmured.
"It's your first tornado, you have to watch. Else what'll you tell everyone?"
The wind gained speed and Dan spotted it -- a funnel dipping down from the clouds toward the ground. He weakly pointed. Paul saw it too and nodded, grinning grimly.
"Well, we can watch a while longer, then we have to go," Paul said.
The funnel thickened as it lazily meandered along the ground, spitting up debris and cloudying the air. Dan was almost hypnotized, but the realization that the funnel's thickening was because it was getting closer startled him into attention. Paul nodded and they walked toward the door. When he turned the knob, the wind pushed the door open, letting in leaves and pieces of garbage.
Paul led the way, holding tightly to the railing as he walked down. Dan followed, his heart beating madly. Against the side of the house the wind pushed lighter so they ran along it to the basement door. Paul pulled it open and urged Dan to go in first. Paul followed and flipped the deadbolt.
In the basement, none of the walls were exposed to the wind, so the force of the tornado made itself apparent through creaks and moans and a deafeningly low-pitched rumbling. It had gotten bad enough to drive Dan to panicked yelling and crying. Paul grabbed him and held him down beside a wall, embracing him tightly until it was over.
Dan was still weeping softly when the rumbling faded away. Paul released his breath and rolled off him, gasping. "I don't think I'll ever get used to that," he muttered.
"God, that was horrible," Dan moaned. He glanced upwards and saw light peeking in through the cracks in the floor above.
Paul looked up and said, "Yup, it's all gone again. You wanna take a look?"
Dan got to his feet, swaying uneasily. "I guess I have to, huh?"
Paul nodded and they headed for the stairs. "Hope we can get out," he said. He unlocked the deadbolt and pressed against the door. Something that had fallen on the door eventually was pushed off and fell away.
Dan noticed it was much brighter outside. First, the clouds had blown away, and also the neighborhood was flattened. His hand went to his mouth. Paul nodded, having expected it. "You oughta be happy it's over," he said.
Dan gave a wan smile and looked down at himself and sighed. "I guess there aren't any clotheslines that you know of?" he asked.
"Nope. Sorry, you had the chance. Just accept it, you're naked."
"Yeah, I suppose so. Shit."
Paul glanced around. "Well, I'm gonna go find somewhere to stay. Wanna come?"
Dan shook his head. "No. I think I'll look around here for a while."
"Well, suit yourself," he said, and wandered off.
Dan looked around for a Coke.
I had been hitchhiking for about three days now. My last ride, a middle-aged woman driving an old Chevy truck, just dropped me off in this rural West Texas town. She didn't say much during the two hours I rode with her. She was called Rose. That's all I really learned about her, besides the fact that she chainsmoked Marlboros with a passion. Unfortunately, the windows did not roll down so I was finally getting over my nausea caused by the high ratio of smoke to oxygen in the cab.
The small town I ended up in was about five hours outside of El Paso, though its name escapes me. It looked exactly like all of the other small towns I had been to in Texas. And, naturally, when I walked down the streets, people stared. I wasn't strange-looking or anything like that--the people just knew I was an outsider.
Seeing a small diner reminded my stomach that I hadn't eaten in quite a while. I walked up to the glass door and peered inside. A row of booths lined one wall, and five tables accounted for the rest of the regular seating. There was also a bar where an old man, the only patron, was dining.
I opened the door and went inside. The air was thick with the smell of grease and burnt bacon. The old man turned around, looked me over and went back to eating. I strolled up to the stool beside him and took a seat.
"You're not from around here, are ya?" he asked, inbetween mouthfuls of scrambled eggs and ketchup. He looked to be around seventy, and his face was chiseled with wrinkles.
"No, sir, I'm not. I'm from Phoenix. I'm headed towards Austin. I just couldn't take life in Arizona anymore."
His face lit up with a grin as he grabbed a bottle of Heinz 57 and drowned the remaining eggs with it. "Ah, women troubles I bet," he hypothesized. "Nothing worse in the world, not even death. No woman around when yer dead, only a bunch of maggots."
"That's, uh, an interesting way to put it," I replied, looking around for a waitress to come over and take my order. No one else was in sight. The old man, noticing my glances, clapped a withered hand on my shoulder.
"Martha will be back in a second. She's my daughter, ya know. Owns this whole place. Yup, she's done good for herself. She had to run to the store and get some more coffee. The early mornin' crowd drained her supply. So I guess me and you will just have to pass the time until she gets back. Know any good jokes?"
"Not really," I answered, trying to force a smile. I definitely did not want to spend my whole morning listening to some old man's jokes just so I could get a lousy meal.
"Oh, that's too bad," he said. "Well, I only know two jokes, so I guess they'll have to do. You don't mind me tellin' these to ya, right?"
I made myself be polite and strained my lips to form the words, "Not at all, sir."
"Good," he gleefully exclaimed. "Okay, the joke goes like this. There once was a man who was a perfectionist, and he wanted to build himself a house. So, before he began, he planned out how many planks of wood he would need, how many bricks he would need, how many nails he was gonna use, and so on. Anyway, he builds himself this beautiful house and is standing outside, admiring his handiwork, when he sees this brick lying on the ground. The boy nearly goes bonkers 'cause he had planned out everything perfectly. He picks up the brick and searches around the house for hours to figure out where it should have gone. Finally, he gets so frustrated that he just throws the brick into the air."
The old man returned to eating his scrambled eggs.
I waited. "And then what?" I asked.
"That's the joke," he stated calmly.
"Well, I don't get it."
He grinned as he wiped a dab of ketchup off his chin.
"You will," he said. "You will."
It was about a month earlier, and I was still living in Phoenix. Julie had moved in with me for her own safety. Ever since she lost her small secretarial job, the number of hours in the day that she was sober had rapidly evaporated away. Our relationship was not exactly going well at this point, but it never had gotten off to that good of a start, so this was nothing new.
Oh, at first I thought Julie was the girl who I'd spend the rest of my life with. My job at the time basically consisted of driving around to all of the real estate appraisers on our clientele list and picking up film to take back to the lab to be developed. The job paid miserably, but the company picked up the tab for gas, and job-related stress was a phrase that never entered my vocabulary.
Julie worked in one of these offices. When I first saw her, her looks simply stunned me. Vibrant red hair enveloped a fair-skinned face, free from any blemish or flaw. Her green eyes held a secret that I had to uncover--I was deeply enamored with her. While I stood there, dumbly staring as she typed away on a computer, a scene from the Kurt Russell move Big Trouble in Little China came to me. In it, James Wong was informing Kurt Russell how he needed a woman with red hair and green eyes to marry, for that act would make him a god. I couldn't have agreed more, and a week later I asked her out.
Everything went fine in the beginning. We had much in common, and the sex was immensely satisfying. Julie had a tendency to have a bit too much to drink when we went out, but I was too happy to notice the pattern. Besides, I thought she was quite charming under the influence, and, when inebriated, she always wanted to fuck. I had no complaints in that area.
Then Julie lost her job. Most everybody loses a job during their career, but for Julie, it was like the end of the world had come. That weekend she isolated herself in her apartment and drank steadily. She never picked up the phone nor answered the door. I was deathly afraid of what might have happened.
Finally, on Sunday night, I drove to her apartment and found the door unlocked. I slowly pushed it open and saw Julie out cold on the couch. Two empty bottles of vodka sat on the coffee table, and the carpet around the couch was covered with dried vomit. She had no clothes on except for a pair of white socks, although they weren't too white anymore. Julie was a detestable sight at that moment, the perfect poster girl for self-pity. I walked over to the couch and quietly knelt down beside her.
"Julie," I said, gently shaking her pale arm. "Julie, wake up. Get up, baby." I still didn't know if she was alive or dead. After a couple of minutes of this, her head lolled to one side, and she let out a guttural groan.
"Derrick?" she asked in a whisper.
"Yes, I'm here," I assured her.
"I don't feel so--"
Julie promptly threw up in my face. That had to be the most disgusting incident of my whole life, and yet, covered with brown puke, I knew that she was still mine. I rolled her naked body off the couch and helped her crawl to the bathroom. The violent sound of her vomiting echoed off the tiled walls as the bathtub filled with steaming water. After about ten minutes of bending over the toilet bowl, Julie announced she felt a little better and climbed into the grimy bathtub. I undressed and got in behind her. We soaped each other down and made love in the grimy bathwater. For a brief space in time, things were as they should have been.
Julie moved in with me that night, and for about a week nothing extraordinary happened. I'm not saying she was happy, but Julie didn't get liquored up and had gotten back into the old habit of wearing clothes, much to my dismay. I was making just enough money to cover for the both of us, and I felt it would be in her best interests to stay home and rest for a while so she could straighten her life out. I couldn't have been more wrong.
The longer she thought about her dilemma, the more depressed she became. While I was around in the evening, Julie acted as normally as she could, but I knew that during the day all she did was sulk. Her most apparent change came in bed, where she bit my chest and shoulders and frequently dug her fingernails into my skin. I must say I found this to be quite a turn on, but it was a far cry from the subdued Julie I had fallen in love with. She could never be satiated, either, always crying out "Give me more, you bastard" or "We're not done yet." My sheer exhaustion was the only thing that stopped us from screwing all night long, and Julie always masturbated at least once--usually twice--while I fell asleep.
She tried substituting sex for all that she thought she had lost, but evidently it did not work. Nine days after moving in with me, Julie was back on the alcohol. It was a Wednesday night, I think, when I came home from work and found her sitting at the kitchen table laughing her ass off. In front of her were seven empty Rolling Rock bottles. Julie greeted me with a drunken smile and said, "I'm so funny, aren't I?" She put a hand up to her mouth, and the laughter turned into sobs. I sat down beside her and put my arms around her, listening to her crying and watching the crystal tears run down her light cheeks.
I honestly didn't know how to help her. During those times when she was sober, I offered to get her counseling. Naturally, she refused to admit she had a problem, and I finally let that slide because I was afraid that if I pushed too hard, she would leave and get hurt even worse than she might by staying here.
Naivity clouded my mind into thinking Julie's bout with the bottle was only a phase and would soon pass. Yet the long nights of comforting and consolation went on, turning me into an emotional wreck. I began to find more reasons to stay late at work, to run a bunch of minor errands--anything to stay away from home. By the time I would get home, Julie was either passed out or asleep, usually at the kitchen table. I'd pick her up and carry her frail body to the bedroom. I lover her the most when I did this because she was at peace and off in another world, however temporary it might be. I was pissed that she hated herself for nothing and even more pissed that she was making my life hell, but I still loved her. I still do.
I started to avoid her when she was awake. As the days drew on, the times I saw Julie conscious were rare. I lived in an endless haze of going to work and coming home to a drunk girlfriend. The sex had tapered off into nothingness, and a sign of affection from Julie was almost unimaginable now. I wondered when this would all end and our lives would return to normal. I thought a lot but did nothing, and that cost me everything.
One night I got in around midnight, and much to my surprise Julie was awake. She wore an old Polo shirt of mine, unbuttoned, and a pair of boxer shorts. I closed the door behind me and started to go over to her.
"Stop right there, you bastard," Julie said, freezing my steps.
"Julie, what's wrong?" I asked. This was the first time she had ever been angry with me while drunk.
She pointed a finger at me. "You," she answered. "That's what's wrong. You." Julie sat there for a moment, staring at me. "You were the last thing I had left, and now you're gone. I have nothing."
"But I still love--"
"Don't every say that word again when I'm around! You don't love me anymore. If you did, maybe I'd actually see you during the day, but you're never here. I wait around all day long, wondering when you'll get home, but you never show up. You don't even like me enough to fuck me, much less make love."
"Julie, listen. I--"
"Don't try to talk your way out of this. When I needed you the most, you abandoned me. Is that your idea of love and caring? You... you asshole... you... you...."
She began to cry. Streams of tears ran down her face, her cries deafened my ears. Julie let out a yelp and put her head between her legs.
"Julie, you're a drunk!" I bluntly yelled. "You need help."
"I am not a goddamn alcoholic!" she screamed, her eyes filling with rage. "How dare you call me that! Don't you know what I've been through? Haven't I suffered enough without you adding to my misery? I hate you, Derrick. I hate you. I loathe you. Fuck you, Derrick. Fuck you."
Those words numbed me with their sheer intensity, and I just stood there, thoughtless and empty. Julie stood up and reached behind the couch, pulling out a pistol. I didn't know where she got it, but at the time I was not that concerned with who sold it to her. She raised the gun, levelling it straight at my head.
"I had planned on shooting you tonight to make you pay for what you did to me. But then I thought of a better way--to let you live and stay with me."
"Who says I have to stay?" I questioned.
"Don't fuck around with me, Derrick. You'll stay. You still think you love me. I'll show you how hellish love can be. I'm right, aren't I, my love?"
I knew she was. "Yes, I'll stay."
"Good. Now that that's settled, how about we go into the bedroom and have a little fun? I've been pretty horny since you haven't been around at all."
Julie started to put the handgun in the wasteband of her boxer shorts when it went off. She dropped to the ground, clutching at her midsection and madly screaming, "Ohmygod, I shot myself! Oh Jesus! Oh fuck! Help me, Derrick! Help me!" Her stomach and thighs were covered with blood. I bent down, helplessly examining the wound and stood up again.
"Julie, I'll call an ambulance. Just hold on. You'll be alright." I ran over to the phone and picked it up.
"Derrick, wait," she called out. Her cries were replaced with a dead silence. "Derrick, just end it here. You were right, but I can't face it anymore. End it now and you'll be free."
"But we can work this out. You don't have to die."
She spat up some blood. "You know that's not true," she said. "Please do it now. Please...."
"If you love me, you'll do this for me."
I picked up the handgun and looked at Julie. She smiled. I pointed the gun at her chest. She closed her eyes. I shot her in the heart. She died.
The gun fell from my limp hand. I got on my knees beside her and stroked her red hair. Tracing my fingers over her soft mouth, I kissed her warm lips for the last time.
"So then I packed a bag and left." Martha had come back with the coffee, and the old man had graciously paid for my breakfast.
"Well, son, I don't know exactly what to say. 'I'm sorry' wouldn't seem to cut it."
"That's okay. The whole thing is over now, and I'll be glad when I finally put it behind me. Julie was right about one thing, though."
The old man gave me an inquisitive look. "What's that?"
"By letting me live, she let me suffer. I can't ever forgive her for that."
He sighed. "Listen. I'm going to visit a friend who lives about forty miles from here and in the direction you're going. Would you like to come along?"
"I'd appreciate that. Thank you."
We left the diner after complementing Martha on her cooking and went to his car. We drove in silence for about ten minutes before he spoke.
"Say... do you want to hear my other joke?"
"I guess so."
"Well, there's this lady and her baby riding on one of them small commuter planes, and the pilot is smoking a really big cigar. The smoke is irritating the baby, so she goes up to the pilot and asks him to put it out. He refuses. She sits back down, but the baby starts to cry, so she goes back up and asks him again. He tells her that it's his goddamn plane and that he'll smoke if he wants to. She reluctantly goes back to her seat, and the baby keeps on crying. Finally, she goes up to the pilot and tells him that if he doesn't put out the cigar, she'll throw it out the window. He says that if she does that, he'll throw the baby out the window. She grabs the cigar and throws it out of the plane, and the pilot takes the baby and throws it out the window. They both look out, and there is the baby hanging onto the wing. Guess what was in its mouth?"
--SoB-SoB-SoB-SoB-SoB-SoB-SoB-SoB-SoB-SoB-SoB-SoB-SoB-SoB-SoB-SoB-SoB-SoB-SoB-- State of unBeing is copyrighted (c) 1994 by Kilgore Trout and Apocalypse Culture Publications. All rights are reserved to cover, format, editorials, and all incidental material. All individual items are copyrighted (c) 1994 by the individual author, unless otherwise stated. This file may be disseminated without restriction for nonprofit purposes so long as it is preserved complete and unmodified. Quotes and ideas not already in the public domain may be freely used so long as due recognition is provided. State of unBeing is available at the following places: iSiS UNVEiLED 512.930.5259 14.4 (Home of SoB) THE LiONS' DEN 512.259.9546 24oo TEENAGE RiOt 418.833.4213 14.4 NUP: COSMIC_JOKE MOGEL-LAND 215.732.3413 14.4 ftp to io.com /pub/SoB Submissions may also be sent to Kilgore Trout at <email@example.com>. Thank you. --SoB-SoB-SoB-SoB-SoB-SoB-SoB-SoB-SoB-SoB-SoB-SoB-SoB-SoB-SoB-SoB-SoB-SoB-SoB--