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               TWENTY-EIGHT             tahw ro woh gniwonk
 to think. You are in                07/31/96              ni era uoY .kniht ot
 a state of unbeing....                                  ....gniebnu fo etats a



EDiTORiAL by Kilgore Trout



by Kilgore Trout

I've always wondered why I have such an aversion to raising kids. Besides the fact that I'm only twenty, I have this strong gut feeling that it would be an extremely extremely bad experience. Now I think I know why. I think I'd have a hard time NOT being honest with a young child and instead of letting the kid grow up believing in Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy and how great a country America is, I'd have to tell him or her the truth.

I never really trusted my parents much after they told me that Santa Claus wasn't real. It shattered a whole belief system I held just like that. Nobody had introduced me to logic, I was six, and I believed in an anthropomorphic god who also had a long white beard.

People say that holiday figures are a way for kids to have fun, to give them something to believe in. Why do they need something imaginary? Could it be that you don't HAVE anything real for them to grab onto? Why not tell them the truth? Is it better to let them wait until they leave home and go, "Holy shit, this really does suck." Was it worth 18 years of a good, sheltered life only to have it torn down? Or would it be better to prepare them, educate them, tell them how it is? I would have appreciated that. I would have appreciated being treated like an adult.

Maybe some people might say I wanted to grow up too fast. I just wanted to know the truth, to know what else might be a myth or a lie. Is that too much to ask? Or will we fill our kids heads with more fat men in red suits just to protect them? If you want them to be innocent for their whole life, you'll have to start killing them young.

How's that for some Christmas in July spirit?


Clockwork is back! Yup, the guy we've been kidding and prodding for the past year and a half has written not one but two articles. We formally welcome him back into the fold. Nemo shows us another excerpt from his magickal diaries, and Noni Moon interviews Hagbard, who is either lost in space or already there and never told us. Nathan has some boffo fiction that will make your ribs hurt from laughing AND a treatise on chaos penetration, and I wrote a story. Hrmmph.


All of the issues on our web site are now available in an HTML format, so if you like to jump around issues, you'll like it. The text versions are still there as well. Also, just as a reminder, you can get on the SoB distribution list by sending me mail <> and telling me why you deserve to be on the list.

My email account will be dead from the 22nd of August until September 1st or so, as I am going off to college, so after that time send all email to < > and I'll get it. I'll put my new email address on the SoB web page. Enough of the technical stuff. On with the issue.



Readers of SoB,

     I want to apologize for mistakes made in my story "Marshall gets a
mindfuck" in SoB #27.  I was attempting to be piddlingly precise in placing
the story in real time, but failed.

     As it turns out, only the dates managed to bear the scrutiny.  Somehow,
on the other hand, the days of the week had nothing at all to do with reality.
I don't know why I didn't bother to look at a calendar.

     So, please ignore the implied association between the days of the week and
the dates of the month in June, July, and August 1996.  The sociological
associations between such concepts as "Friday" and "the end of the week" still
stand.  So do the dates.  It is very important that no one get confused.

                                                                     -- Nathan

P.S.  If you think this is just a cheap attempt to get people to re-read the
story, then I challenge you to go ahead and see if you're right. 



Kilgore Trout

I Wish My Name Were Nathan
Kilgore Trout
Nemo est Sanctus
Noni Moon


[=- ARTiCLES -=]


[Editorial | Next]

by Clockwork

Who do you think did it?

What do you think is true?

In a time when a high percentage of the media is controlled by a small number of organizations, one can easily assume extreme bias and/or censorship prevents the complete truth from sweeping the country. The national media is an extremely powerful tool which is taken as the word of God by the people in most any situation. And when government agencies or political figures are involved, opinions and facts are most surely swayed, which in turn causes the people to sway with it.

It is difficult to evaluate media involvement and the accuracy of their reporting during the first few moments of any emergency or disaster news-worthy enough for national attention. From one angle, one can say a majority, or at least some, of the details being reported are accurate, for the reporters and journalists are on the scene as it may happen -- they know what is going on. They have first hand accounts of events, and can pursue issues further as soon as they occur, reporting immediately to the public with their findings. This occurs before any kind of censorship is brought down upon them, whether it be government officials/organizations telling them otherwise, or network suits who frolic in the upper echelons with the powers that be. From another angle, one can point out that in the first moments of such emergencies or disasters, there is much commotion and emotion, and the press is on a rampage to get information out of anyone, whether it be right or wrong.

To each his own. I am sure you can apply both at once quite easily and end up with the winning formula.

Reuters, an international news company serving 154 countries, reported "hundreds of casualties" in the explosion at Centennial Park, with a witness reporting he saw a blue flash and "police were yelling for people to get down, that it was a bomb." This was reported within 30 minutes of the explosion.

Also within 30 minutes, EmergencyNet News Service ( ), part of the Emergency Response and Research Institute in Chicago, declared the police are saying an "explosion" has occurred near a stage in the park, with at least 100 people injured, and the cause being unknown.

Within 30 - 45 minutes of the bombing, the Atlanta Fire Department reported at least 150 to 200 injuries because of the blast. More eyewitnesses were also quoted stating it was a trash can that exploded, some saying they watched it blow up. Others reported seeing the police trying to clear people out of the park before the explosion.

In the short-wave radio world, several people had broadcast statements that several athletes were injured in the blast, specifically members of the U.S. women's gymnastics team, and unconfirmed reports of four dead. However, suspicion of object being a pipe bomb was also related to the public, as were comments from a technician who was told to move away from the tower because police had found a suspicious package.

EmergencyNet News, approximately an hour after the blast, released unconfirmed reports of at least two U.S. Olympic athletes being injured. Another unconfirmed report, from a state law enforcement officer, reported casualties. ENN went into details of the NBC cameraman being asked to move away from the tower, and how local EMS officials say as many as 150 people may have been injured, with around 25 ambulances responding.

CNN reported the finding of two additional explosive devices around the same time.

Reuters went on to report 8 being dead, 165 injured, and 3 additional explosive devices were found. A short time after, short-wave operators had broadcast the report from Reuters, but stated 6 additional explosive devices were discovered in or near the park.

Almost immediately after, Reuters issued another report stating only one was dead and at least 50 injured.

CNN and various local radio stations in the world I live in also reported four or five casualties are a few hours after the incident, later on changing this to one confirmed casualty.

Obviously, much of the information reported above is incorrect, or at least has reported to be incorrect by the mass media within two or three hours of the bombing. Around that point in time, the media seemed to all agree on a standard story -- one dead, 50 - 60 injured. And the number injured slowly increased as the evening went on.

Censorship? Perhaps, although somewhat doubtful. In this situation where most of the media was not even in the park at all, they had to rely on the clumps of people forming in the streets, and the officers and medical crew outside the scene, and I would presume a vast majority of the information being reported came from these sources. Vastly unreliable sources, I might add.

And so, the media frenzy calms down a bit, things become accurately reported for the most part, and newspapers around the country try to figure out how they are going to run this story at 3:00 in the morning. Of course, for the entire weekend, the world is blitzed with information relating to the bombing, including CNN and NBC specials running video and audio of the bombing every two minutes, with interviews of various unimportant players in the drama. At this point in time, it dawns on me that I am rather unhappy with the situation.

As soon as incident was first reported, the majority of the media threw out to the country the very unofficial opinion of the explosive being a pipe bomb. This with no facts, observations, information, or signs from God to back it up. This with virtually no media directly at the location of the bombing for very long at all. They just naturally assumed it was a pipe bomb, for some unknown reason, or was fed this information by someone(s). Within 3 hours of the bombing, the major networks would casually mention possible links to militias within the United States when discussing who could have possibly done this, and the very next day, every newspaper I picked up contained references to the same. In the New York Times, there was a large article concerning the re-examination of the Oklahoma City bombing case and further probing into Georgia militias, and even the mention of a connection between these two events and the TWA flight.

I would like to welcome all of you, ladies and gentlemen, to the wonderful wet and wild world of propaganda, the greatest show on earth.

Just as a side note, I have spoken to people from several militias, both by phone and through email, and these are not the redneck, white supremacist, "blow 'em up," terroristic, abrasive people the media and government portray them as. For those of you who disagree, try having a calm intelligent conversation with one of them sometime and you may be surprised.

<...please pause while author's name is added to a list...>

Putting all that aside, there are some interesting things put forth by the media for one to ponder. On the evening of the bombing, CNN reported overhearing a police radio conversation stating they had found two other explosive devices. CNN then reported that to the public. Over the next hour or so, they talked to three other police officers who verified that they did in fact find two other explosive devices. One of those included a Fulton County Deputy Sheriff. I watched this for hours -- I took notes. This is exactly what occurred. And then suddenly, there was no further mention of anything about additional devices.

In any news update, special report, or other broadcast concerning the event by CNN, or any other major television network, there has been no comments whatsoever about whether there was more than one explosive or not. Out of the much printed news I have read since the event, covering the New York Times, USA Today, San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco Examiner, Austin American Statesman, and numerous Associate Press and Reuters articles, there has been the same -- no mention of it whatsoever.

Furthermore, when the people were evacuated from the park, they were evacuated to approximately a block radius around the area. About an hour later, they were pushed back to a two block radius with no explanation from authorities.

And then, of course, in pops the infamous phone call. Supposedly, a human being called 911 and warned them of a bomb in Centennial Park that would go off in thirty minutes. The FBI described the caller a white male with "an indistinguishable accent." Whatever that means.

I have seen reports the call was made at 1:07 am, giving about 18 minutes from then until the explosion. I have seen reports stating there was 27 minutes between the call and explosion, placing the call at 12:58. I have also seen reports stating it was exactly 30 minutes between the two, placing the call at 12:55. Which is true? Well, the majority of the media states around 1:07am. But who knows.

New York Times, Austin American Statesman, and some Associated press articles consistently state there was a 23 minute difference between the discovery of the backpack and detonation of the bomb. If this was the case, what the hell were they doing for 20 minutes? Standing around trying to figure out if that is the "in backpack" for the upcoming school year? Staring at it?

In a CNN interview with Richard Jewell, the security officer who discovered the backpack, Richard states there was about a 5 - 10 minute time difference between the time the package was discovered and detonation. This seems somewhat more realistic. However, the majority of the media (CNN and most of the newspapers mentioned earlier) reports the 911 phone call coming at about the same time (with a 2-5 minute difference) the package was discovered by the security guard. If this was true, that would place the detonation at 1:17am at the latest.... some one is not telling the truth.

Other articles, including a different article in New York Times (they seem to be the masters of contradiction within the ranks), state the call was made right before the bomb detonated. These people are supposed to report the truth, correct?

Recently, the security guard is being suspected -- mostly by the media -- as the person responsible for the bombing. Unfortunately, I am not well-versed in the information available on that situation, yet, so I won't even go into that.

Who did it? What actually happened? It could be a whaked out guy from Dallas who thinks bombs are cool who traveled to Atlanta for the weekend. It could be the security guard. It could be the BATF.

[More side comments -- they were there before the bombing, and are key investigators in the case, for some unknown reason. And it has come to my attention -- printed in a few local Georgian papers -- that an ATF agent admitted, under oath, that an ATF informant buried pipe bombs on the property of Georgia militia members and then directed waiting ATF agents to them.]

The BATF attempting to further the burying militias into the ground, and to push Clinton's political career by inspiring the passing of that oh-so-humane terrorist act, increasing wiretaps while decreasing privacy and human rights.

[Yet more side comments -- Clinton's anti-terrorist wishes include strong sanctions against countries supporting terrorism, intelligence sharing between countries, anti-terrorist police training, systematic extradition between countries for terrorists (with changes to U.N. policies on granting asylum and related acts), increased surveillance of organizations and individuals suspected of terrorist involvement, the chemical tracing of explosives, a purposed mandatory death-penalty for terrorists, and preventing terrorists from using the internet to communicate and spread "bomb-making" information. He's pledging to make anti-terrorism an "absolute priority."]

I can not say, of course. I am only here to cause people to think.

Here's a man with an imagination (recently grabbed off the Usenet:

As food for thought... consider this slant on the state of current events...

Two days before the opening act of the Olympics the Air Force accidentally blows a commercial 747 into shrapnel with a F-117 Stealth in exercises off New York. Damn messy PR problem I should say. (And by the way, who was the diplomat on-board with the pouches marked STATE DEPARTMENT)

White House dream team decides to use some smoke and mirrors to mis-direct attention as they are so good at doing. A small relatively harmless pipe bomb (as bombs go) will do the trick nicely thank you very much.

Realistic? Maybe. Maybe not. If you take into consideration our government is involved with this, anything is possible.


"Skepticism is the chastity of the intellect, and it is shameful to surrender it too soon or to the first comer; there is nobility in preserving it coolly and proudly through long youth, until at last, in the ripeness of instinct and discretion, it can be safely exchanged for fidelity and happiness."

-- George Santayana


[Prev | Next]

[Earlier confessions]

by Frater Nemo est Sanctus

"Do not tell lies, and do not do what you hate,
for all things are plain in the sight of Heaven.
For nothing hidden will not become manifest,
and nothing covered will remain without being uncovered."

-- Christ, Thom. 6

(Excerpted from two days)

It seems so mundane to write these things, but these are the things I will want to remember someday, I guess. I don't know when. There is no solace in my memory. I try to put the past as far behind me as possible. I have no plans for the future, either. Some people say children live in the future, adults in the present, and the elderly in the past. I think more like Las Gustafsson: "For time is mostly for those who still are hoping."

What happy memories I may have are bitter things, with the knowledge that they are past, never to be repeated. So far past, indeed, that I cannot remember the last time I truly was happy. Numb, yes; happy, no. I cannot even recall what it means to be happy. All I remember is misery: An unkind word said without thinking; an insult flung at me, with the vile taste of "I should have said" closely following; a choice picked wrong in haste. My memory is misery after misery, and what good is memory in such a state? True, if I lost my memory I'd lose what makes me uniquely Nemo est Sanctus, but I could gain the contentment of the imbecile. Instead, I drag behind me an incompletely severed leach of a life, the corpse of my old self, draining me and paining me and getting more engorged as I shrivel in torment.

In the military, every four years we moved. Mistakes could be left behind, "friends" left, and I could start afresh. I have wallowed in this misery -- sojourned in this Egypt -- for ten years. I have not gotten a chance to start again for ten years. I just sit in my wastes as the time piles around me. More than anything else, I want to leave my past behind. I ... that is what it means when I say I want to die. It is not that I envy dying or desire that experience. I simply want never to have lived!

My memory is pain, and as my life runs longer my pain grows. Every "happy" memory is Tantalus reaching for water, and every "sad" memory is Icarus plunging for the sea. Neither the water nor the lack ever kills me; I reach into eternity, wishing I never had to reach at all.

* * * * *

I stand alone. Even when I am with everyone else, I stand alone. It hurts to even talk about it, and I can feel my heart twisted in my chest. All I feel now is pain! My eyes hurt, my head hurts, my stomach is twisted in my belly. My soul is in anguish.

I can't go on. I can't write any more. Maybe I can find peace in sleep, or maybe tomorrow in church or at work.

I know I won't find it until I leave the world.

* * * * *

The memory is indeed an interesting thing. I was listening to my grandfather talk today, as I have been since his visit began. He was talking of general things, but the things that stood out most obviously are the tragedies. He told me about his life as a child, about how he delivered coal and ice, about how he got a dime for helping a lady carry her ten pound bag of potatoes up two floors, about how he delivered groceries. The most vivid memory, though, was about the World's Fair in New York. He saved change for a long time and planned to have a lot of fun, and rode the bus to New York to stay with his relatives, his mother's sisters. Every day he was there they were so wrapped up in their own families they completely neglected to take him, and he could not reproach them out of respect for being his aunts. He told me he decided he would "treat my kids halfway decent."

(I look down at the sandstone Christ in my shrine, and for the first time there seems to be a smile on His thorn-crowned face.)


"Mass seems to be over. Could hear them all at it. Pray for us. And pray for us. And pray for us. Good idea the repetition. Same thing with ads. Buy from us. And buy from us."

-- James Joyce, Ulysses


[Prev | Next]

by I Wish My Name Were Nathan


I in no way support chaos penetration or intend to use it. I made up things in this essay to bolster an argument I don't agree with. Kilgore Trout forced me to write this article under threat of death and/or suspension of my potty privileges.

The latest movement in literature is again striving to overthrow outdated doctrines of thought. Chaos penetration could at once be called a Dadaesque anti-movement as well as a rearrangement of archetypal prejudices. On one hand, chaos penetration tries to destroy the structure of fiction, buckling under a long-lived tradition of stagnation even through the postmodern age. And on the other, it tries to replace the old structure with one newer and more robust. One might notice that this is simply a resonation of anti- classical sentiment through history; one might wonder if the death of the modern art movement and the decay of postmodernism render such efforts unnecessary. But in light of chaos penetration's bold and decisive rewriting of the tenets of fiction, one must wonder: is this the final step?

Art and science in combat with fiction

As discussed at length in the book Chaos Penetration: Reactions From a Modern Age [1], chaos penetration is an upheaval in fiction, which was destined to happen after Einstein's theory of relativity and Heisenberg's uncertainty principle overturned classical doctrines in physics. Unfortunately, the gaps between the world of science and the world of art -- and even between the world of art and the world of fiction -- are great, and thought travels sluggishly between them. Indeed, resentment between science and art, an unfortunate Western battle of prides not existing in even the oldest societies [2], has shellacked the world of fiction in a comically Medieval backwater.

"Fiction has been long due its rightful place in the art world," Jimision writes [3]. Poetry, epic retellings of historical events, and even plays had long been considered artistically superior to the novel. Novels slowly gained acceptance in critical centers, long damned by their popularity with the masses. And even after that, the short story faced challenges. "Resentful critics and would-be artists would only accept painfully prolonged novels as art; any work taking less effort was dismissed outright," Jimision points out. Even consider the acceptance of "trash art" and "found art" in today's art community -- artists specializing in such fields can instantly find undeserved financial success, while short story writers still struggle even for a voice.

Enormity of restraints

Even beyond the issues of artistic acceptance, authors of fiction are restrained by outdated styles of writing. The importance of the concepts "plot", "setting", and "character" drilled into young minds in school are instant restraints. "Plot" is a complex process of creating time, interactions, and conflicts. "Setting" requires the visualization of an unseen world, a time and place with memory, traditions, and atmosphere. "Character" is a psychological study, literally an out-of-body experience -- and there is usually more than one in a story. For an author to "master" fiction in the classical sense, s/he must "master" each of these impossibly difficult tasks and properly interweave them through time and space; also, s/he must use beautiful words and beautiful syntax -- or else be left to dusty book racks.

Why does the process of writing fiction still remind us of Michaelangelo? When the modern mind has gleefully accepted the existence of beauty in much less strenuous modern forms of painting, why does it still demand intricate plots, settings, and characters in every work of fiction? Perhaps this is a good thing -- it's easier to weed out "bad" writers: simply look for a problem in either the plot, the setting, or any one of the characters.

Chaos penetration destroys these pretenses.

History of chaos penetration

One may assume "chaos penetration" is new. This is not the case. Whispers of its ascent have emanated through history. Only today has the philosophical capacity of the mind been freed enough to accept it -- if only reluctantly.

The earliest basis of chaos penetration came not from Poe, Hawthorne, or even Melville. In fact, Jonathan Edwards, author of the notorious Puritan sermon "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God", provides the earliest intimations. Edwards tried to fight to decline of Puritanism that arose when the second generation of American colonists interpreted their hardships and failures as a blow to the belief that the Pilgrims were "chosen people" meant to create a "city on a hill." The Calvinist-Puritan belief that the universe was completely predetermined was losing its significance, to be replaced with more religious diversity and enquiry.

Edwards tried to keep the faith; his reactions to attacks on predetermination come through in essays such as "Freedom of the Will" and "A Careful and Strict Enquiry, into the Modern Prevailing Notions That Freedom of Will Is Supposed to Be Essential to Moral Agency, Virtue and Vice, Reward and Punishment, Praise and Blame", both in 1754, demonstrate the emerging break between belief in Providence and newer notions of man's purpose on earth. [4] This change discredited John Calvin's assertions that uncertainty did not exist.

Later, Puritan fervor was replaced by a Deism, paving the way for crucial changes in philosophy which would give birth to the tenets of chaos penetration. The Enlightenment brought about radical changes in the understanding of human rights and the purpose of government. In Thomas Paine's "The Age of Reason," he attacks religion and divine revelation and advocates reason as the proper guide for living. This shift in philosophy was not quickly accepted, but cleared the path for scientific enquiry to shape people's understanding of the world. This shift was important to the advent of chaos penetration, for religious presumptions long led people to attribute mystery and chaos to God's unquestionable will.

It took the American Revolution to foster the separation of American philosophy from the classical Europeans. It is especially poignant that the modern revolution of fiction has had to wait over two hundred years since the American Revolution. Like the original intentions of the 1775 revolution, chaos penetration aims to overthrow the repressive control of a foreign power -- in this case, the control of archaic conventions on modern fiction.

Unfortunately, the revolution in art was stalled in the new democracy. The pursuit of progressive art was abandoned in America from the time of the Puritans, for the purposes of devoting effort to build the new nation. The separation of the American and European spheres of influence came slowly; art continued to childishly follow the advances in Europe, which were unfortunately mired in the classical past.

Modern art and chaos penetration

Even considering the limitations unnaturally placed on fiction and art, I would be lying if I claimed that chaos penetration was the only attempt to break free. It most certainly is not. Some modern art movements have had their effects on fiction. Impressionism and cubism can be seen in James Joyce's stream-of-consciousness style, in its creation of a complete story by the association of individual, unrelated, and sometimes even contradictory thoughts in space and time. Other movements such as surrealism can be seen in Freudian psychological dramas, by extracting esoteric secrets from the troubled mind. Painting and art are two very different genres, of course, and drawing such associations is difficult [5].

One must ask, however: where do abstract expressionism and Dada cross over into fiction? Are there any examples of this? Certainly -- these 1950's revolutions in thought are precisely the bases for chaos penetration.

Abstract expressionism, as epitomized by Jackson Pollock's "splatter art," translates into fiction as such: the plot, the characters, and the setting are not central. Just as Pollock created intriguing images by ignoring the need for the line and the surface, so does chaos penetration defy the need for classical models of fiction. This is not to say that fiction in the chaos penetration style is devoid of such elements; rather, it de-emphasizes their centrality.

Take, for instance, the character. Standard fiction deplores the use of "two-dimensional, cardboard cut-out" characters. Have you ever wondered why? Certainly it offends our intelligence -- but this is all from the mindset that the centrally important character makes the story happen. This is not true! Chaos penetration adamantly holds that life happens to the characters. What the characters then do is react to life. From this viewpoint, a two- dimensional character would only emerge out of careful planning -- by setting up his life so that he is forced to react in an utterly predictable way. But, one may ask, what is to prevent "the things that happen" from being two- dimensional as well? This is where Dada comes in.

The Dada anti-movement in art (see my article "Dada, Nietzsche, and the Ascetic Ideal" in SoB #25 for background) provides the disorder and absurdity that drive chaos penetration. The Dadas did not merely speak out against the restrictive structures of classical art; they destroyed them in practice. Dada performances were always advertised to be high-class, stodgy art lectures -- and always turned out to be chaotic, humorous events, insulting the audience members and their biases toward seriousness.

Dada is energy, applied in no serious direction. And so is chaos. Chaos penetration "frolics in uncertainty, revels in plans gone wrong, whinnies and gallops over the ordered pragmatic mind" [6]. Like Dada, the use of chaos penetration at once alerts the reader that something new is happening, and that all bets are off. This humorous yet serious attitude provides an infinity of conflicts around which to write fiction. No longer does there have to be archetypal "good" and "evil" -- there only exist reactions to haphazard happenstances.

Finally, chaos penetration may involve pure nonsense. The use of familiar cause-effect relationships and scientific facts may aid the reader, but the writer is free to use, warp, or dismiss "common sense" as deemed necessary for her/his freedom.

The new physics and chaos penetration

Above was mentioned a connection between Einstein, Heisenberg, and chaos penetration. After considering this new movement's use of plot, setting, and character, I can now explain.

Heisenberg's uncertainty principle arose when physicists were starting to reach into the structure of the atom. Quantum mechanics established the dual nature of the electron, both as particle (as is evident in electricity) and as a wave (as is evident via the quantization of electron energy levels around the nucleus). Accordingly, light, as a particle-wave "photon", was discovered to be emitted through atomic decay. Heisenberg pointed out that according to even classical physics, attempting to measure both the velocity and the position of an electron was impossible: man-made devices using photons or electrons to make the measurements would disturb some aspect of the electron during the measurement. Only one piece of information could be gathered in any one measurement.

All the causes and effects in chaos penetration are likewise impossible to know absolutely. Unlike classical fiction, chaos penetration does not pretend to simulate life in a closed box where every effect can be linked to a single cause; like real life, it understands that the web of interactions between psychology, knowledge, assumptions, social mores, and happenstance render a full knowledge of plot impossible. Life cannot be frozen to have all its aspects examined at once.

This does not mean that the writer has an easier job, that s/he does not need to explain things any longer. It is indeed difficult to simulate real life; the mind wants to craft models around imaginary situations, cut out unpredictable influences, "Simplify, simplify" [7]. Unfortunately, such simplification castrates creativity. Chaos penetration humbly accepts the reality of confusion and works with it, not against it.

Einstein's theory of relativity also influences chaos penetration. In linking energy, gravity, time, and space, Einstein's theory demonstrates the fact that the perception of time and space for one participant may not be the same as for another; reality is relative to each person and object in existence.

Chaos penetration embraces relativism, taking Hawthorne's and Melville's use of ambiguity to a new level. Each character considered in a story now lives in her/his own reality; the era of the simplistic hit-steal-run or kiss- screw-cry plot is over. The reader can now expect to find steal-cry-screw or run-hit-kiss plots.

Chaos penetration and morality

From the viewpoint of relativity, morality is utterly meaningless -- each person has her or his own ideas about the working of the world and the meaning of life. Unlike robots, real people can choose to be independent of conformity. Under relativism, real people are not really in society -- society is an external construct; relativistically, the world literally revolves around each person, although in no predictable or necessarily comfortable way. Moralistic fiction has no place in chaos penetration.

Indeed, chaos penetration denies "good" and "evil" and all its moralistic associations outright. After all, what are "good" and "evil"? Archaic thought holds that these concepts are natural labels attached to each action a person commits in a society based on a shared ethic. "B-b-b-b-b-bullshit!" says chaos penetration. How can a society uniformly educate each member in order to make such judgments? The ideal of uniform education does not exist in the real, chaotic world. Furthermore, what actions are to be judged? Aristotle at least had a clue when he declared that some actions can be unintentional or accidental, but in this is assumed that all other actions have then been well-planned and executed according to reason. The effects of desire, circumstance, and psychological condition have nothing to do with reason but everything to do with action. Actions are indeed chaotic. Classical fiction does not understand this. Most fiction is moralistic, or assumes the reader will naturally want the "good guy" to defeat the "bad guy." The modern obsession with the psychotic mind, namely the serial killer, is a blindingly obvious indication that people are bored with moral characters.

Meaning and coincidence

With the new frameworks of uncertainty and relativity, meaning and coincidence take on new meaning. What does a chaos penetration story mean? What is to be made of the unexplained happenstances in life?

Chaos penetration can be seen as "philosophy in story form." [8] Since these stories try to model real life -- uncertainty, confusion, and all -- what is the reader to make of it? The proper question is, what do the characters make of it? They are just as confused as the reader, if the story is written correctly. Chaos penetration offers a framework with which to question the meaning or unmeaning of life, a task when undertaken in ordinary fiction often seems trite, emotional, or preachy. With chaos penetration, there are many ways to present philosophical arguments. With the humor of Dada, one may expect dialogues resembling Monty Python sketches. With the often bleak chaos of Abstract Expressionism, one may find existentialism. With both, philosophy can take the form of dark humor. One is reminded of Kurt Vonnegut in the latter regard.

In this new framework, the concept of coincidence takes on new meaning. In classical fiction, coincidence is often painfully endured as an excuse for a plot twist to further progression of the storyline. In chaos penetration, coincidence may not have any meaning at all; it is understood that the significance of coincidence varies from person to person, and even between the characters and the reader. Coincidence may therefore simply be accident. Indeed, purposeful coincidence in a chaos penetration story, or synchronicity, is probably very important.


Chaos penetration is both a beautiful way to evolve modern fiction and a memorable catch phrase. It gives the writer new freedom long accepted in "higher" forms of art and promises to instill fiction with more meaning and absurdity and less structure. Writers are also guaranteed critical response if they're esoteric enough. Chaos penetration does not require a licensing agreement. The reader must however surrender her/his notions of reality and of the "quick read." Unhappy readers will only surrender a few hours of their lives.

So, is this the final step for fiction? The best I can argue is that it is the next step, and a long-needed one.


[1] Jimison, Robert L. Chaos Penetration: Reactions From a Modern Age. Royko Publishing, New Orleans: 1995, p. 20.

[2] Jimison, p. 23

[3] Jimison, p. 25

[4] Ruland, Richard and Bradbury, Malcolm. From Puritanism to Postmodernism: A History of American Literature, Penguin, New York: 1991, p. 39.

[5] Klein, Steven. Modern Art and Atrocity. Jake Jacobs Publishing, Los Angeles: 1993.

[6] Kilgore Trout, private conversation.

[7] Thoreau, Henry Sheldrake. Walden.

[8] Jimison, p. 42


"Analyzing humor is like dissecting a frog. Few people are interested and the frog dies of it."

-- E.B. White


[Prev | Next]

by Clockwork

Embarking on an absolute information blitz, I trekked across the vast expanse of concrete, the dawn of one morning, to visit two of the book stores I am obscenely married to. Not knowing what I was searching for -- an all too common character trait of mine -- I breezed into the first of the series, Barnes & Nobles, located in one of the suburbanated upper class shopping zones of Austin. I do not belong.

Waltzing through the massively adorned double-doors, while at the same time avoiding the Over-55 Patrons perched on the steps at the entrance (who've obviously had enough of their children's and/or grandchildren's lollygagging about the books), I glided into the El Computero Sek-cheee-un, and as usual, was not impressed, overwhelmed, or even perplexed. Although, it is fairly amusing to see a human pick up Internet for Dummies, flip through it, mutter something about it being too technical and placing the book back down.

Out into the wild world I go, making my way through the racks of paper to the main pathway of travel. It became obvious I was trapped in a building overpopulated by humans. I occurred a minor psychotic episode combining claustrophobia with tourette's syndrome and dove out of the crowd, ending up nervously staggering into the Sci/Fi section. Instantly, I realized this was a sign of, from, about, over, under and through the Apocalypse, and saw what has been my ailment in life. I have a metaphysical requirement to read a novel of the cyberpunkish persuasion at least once every three or four months or so. If I do not, a small rift in the time/space continuum will begin to appear in my chest, causing much separation from my conscious life, stares from Christian citizens, and chaffing.

So, down the row I went, sidestepping a classic alternative looking male with boots included, apparently immersed in his own quest to find the ultimate fantasy novel, and, being completely logical, started with the Z's. Back and forth my body and eyes went, with my head cocked to one side, looking curiously like a small puppy staring up at its human equivalent of a parental figure with a "What the hell are you doing?" look on its face. One out of every 183.17 books or so, I deduced, was labeled as a bonafide member of the cyberpunk genre. For a reason that escaped my comprehension, I thought there would be more.

After browsing the two and a half rows of dead trees, and reading the back of approximately five cyberpunkish books, I came to a somewhat depressing and frustrating conclusion -- science fiction writers who claim they write cyberpunk have no clue what cyberpunk is.

Take for instance this book with a cute little techno-cover, Rim, by Alexander Besher. It's covered in a fluorescent remnant of orange and is a slightly oversized paperback, which coerces your mind into thinking it could possibly be neat. And then you read the back cover --

"It's 2027. Tokyo has survived the Mega-Quake of the Millennium and Saturi Corporation, the owner of a virtual reality entertainment empire, is embroiled in cutthroat corporate warfare to preserve its market share, and, incidentally, save the lives of thousands of users trapped inside virtual worlds...."
I vomited...

...and then put the book back on the shelf, wondering if the fact that it is fluorescent orange makes it more flammable than the average book. Obviously there will be sub-trash cyberpunk sci-fi out there, just like there is sub-trash horror, essays, poetry, and maps of the world. And then I found Tom Dwiggins' book, Interrupt. A somewhat cheezy 1970s font was used for the title, but alas, how bad could it be... let me see, la-dee-da...

Brief synopsis: Interrupt (the not-so-good-guy hacker of the story, portrayed more like a psychopathic manic depressive who likes technology), eliminated the phone service of 40,000 phone in Silicon Valley.

Ok. Well, that could be interesting.

Reading on, it seems as though Interrupt ends up kidnapping the deaf child of an AT&T employee (the good guy, ironically -- savior of the masses, an AT&T engineer, played by Michael J. Fox).

Gee. That's odd. Hack-a-thriller. And all on the back cover.

Flipping towards the front of the book, I caught the word "5ESS." Aha! Even odder -- an author writing not-really-cyberpunk-at-all cyberpunk fiction set in the present day world, in a place considered the technology hotbed of the country, stereotyping hackers as goat-worshipping modern day vikings raping the weak (deaf boy -- symbolism) across the countryside, and phone company employees as Christian soldiers coming to deliver the sinners to Jesus....and he might actually possess accurate knowledge about phone systems.

Mind-boggling, to say the least.

Attempting to give this oh-so-promising piece of work a minuscule chance, I began to casually read from the beginning. It seems to start out in the middle of a thunderstorm (classic opening), with Interrupt peering into the windows of Mr. AT&T employee, ogling at him and his deaf son. I suddenly felt like I was going to be entrapped in a pedophilia story. Ends up Interrupt just stood and stared longingly inside the house, punched the window (which the author so smashingly described the action by stating "Interrupt then struck out.") and ran off. Not so later on, Interrupt briskly walks through a hotel lobby while not a single soul is around, with his baseball cap pulled down over his brow and his collar up around his face, and heads to the payphone.

< Suspenseful String Concerto Here >

He tears an innocent page from the phone book and uses it to hold the cradle -- obviously to leave no fingerprints in the midst of his evil crime spree. So, he dials the same number about eight times, each time getting a recorded message, each time hanging up. Finally, Interrupt proceeds to punch in a NINE digit number that just happens to spell Interrupt, and after he hears his own recording, says the powerful word "Bingo." And BOOM! No more phone system.

Ahem. First of all, however k-rad and elite Mr. Interrupt may be, dialing a nine-digit phone number is not going to assist his crusade and/or modify the first seven digits of the number at all. He might as well tap his little fingers on I-N-T-E-R-R-U and stop. Don't expend those wacky irreplaceable carbohydrates. And to fathom the possibility of whispering the word "Bingo" into a voice mail system and the result being the complete shut-down, end-of-life, no-more-1-800-CALL-ATT, of 40,000 phones is just unimaginable. Crap. Crap. Crap.

OK, theoretically, the poor lost soul could have a voice mail system set up on his own PC, with voice recognition niftily setup to receive the "Bingo" command and run a script/batch file to quickly, inconspicuously dial up el AT&T'o, login under the account he hacked a week ago, and run a shell script he wrote three days ago, disabling a chunk of the AT&T network.

And theoretically, I can jig across the bowels of the Devil whining about whores and puppets and things that go bump in the night, wearing only a loincloth fashioned from the tainted skin of Cthulhu, HIS whores, puppets, and things that go bump in the night.

By this point in time I have come to the realization of the world being absolutely ignorant of what occurs in the roots and darkened corners -- even the will-lit corners -- of the virtual world. Once again, media-hugging hipsters take it upon themselves to educate the populace about something they have no clue about. Tis true to stay it is the exact kind of typical stereotyping done to everything else in the universe -- 94% of the time absolutely incorrect.

A large problem, however, is the populace acting on the misinformation and the stereotyping. A hacker, software pirate, phone phreak gets arrested -- burn them all -- they are evil drug-using fiends, constantly balancing the fate of humanity on their small toe while cussing at small children and raping large senior citizens with freshly grown cucumbers. Oh, yes, feel fear. Technology is evil incarnate.

Flabbergasted would be a decent word to use in this situation. Down I put that book and moved on in the saga, until I came across yet another weakingly written piece entitled The Shift, by George Fog. With all hope having dissipated twenty minutes before, I grudgingly tossed the book onto its belly to see what is scribbled upon its back.


Alcoholic man with bad life -- wife left him -- discovers the possibilities of virtual reality and is "saved" in a sense. Turns his life around, stops drinking, becomes a happy man. Here, virtual reality is synonymous with the reported feats of religion, specifically Christianity and its derivatives. The man is the sinner, confessing and shedding it all, saving his soul in virtual (Jesus) reality. However, something which may also hold some religious significance -- Alex Munn, the main character, eventually creates a program (apparently it is a simplistic language, allowing people to rapidly learn to program with ease) set in the 1850s, where the Fishman, a serial killer, is on the prowl. Suddenly, I feel as though I'm watching Star Trek: The Next Generation, with Data clothed like Sherlock Holmes, skipping down dark alleys in England.

As some of you may have intelligently, or predictably, guessed, the Fishman one day decides to follow Alex back into the real world and terrorizes this planet we call Earth. Somewhat close to the plot of Virtuosity, (1995 -- Denzel Washington, Kelly Lynch, Russell Crowe, distributed by Paramount) where Sid 6.7, a conglomerate of serial killers -- designed, created, and fed by the police force -- steps out of his 91-inch flatscreen wall display and chases down Denzel.

Once again, we run into a) a supreme lack of creativity, and b) an overwhelming fear of technology -- in this case, virtual reality. --- The common author, miner, pharmacist, or street performer is not versed at all concerning the properties of and uses for, let alone the definition of, virtual reality. I would even dare to say the majority of humans on the planet are in the same state of ignorance. Including those directly involved in the computer world. Hell, some of THEM can be the worst. This, however, is not their fault, being uncontrollably bombarded by media every slight step they take. Television, radio, newspapers, magazines, film -- all have, and further will, shape the definition of cyberculture, virtual reality, and everything an editor/producer can think to go along with it.

Incidentally, I would like to point out just because some things have 3D graphics, doesn't mean it is VR. Too many times I have been scanning the channels of the square electric box in my living room, hoping to find something stimulating to the mind, and found some idiot with short hair showing off "state-of-the-art" virtual reality products. The camera shot cuts to him riding a prehistoric bird with a monolithic flat screen in front of him. It also shows clips from various pop iconic arcade games and Disney World rides. This is not virtual reality. These are video games with 3D graphics on a large high-intensity screen, perhaps with SDDS or something similar with environmental sound, and possibly even some motion of the physical object you stand/sit upon.

Virtual reality, as I see it -- and to be honest with you, you probably shouldn't agree with any of my opinions, I am only a homo sapien (shaken, not stirred) -- is being enveloped in an artificial digitally-created, man-controlled world, drawing on and convincing all five senses of the realness of the reality it is set in. Sight, sound, taste, touch, smell. All to be reckoned with.

Alright, you are correct in saying the above examples of media portraying virtual reality are the beginning steps toward Clock's VR Fantasy. I will freely admit and point out that. But they have the responsibility to tell us that, and not to mislead the populace about things they fear the most.

Is there an author in cyberpunk world I recommend and maybe even like...?

Classics include anything by William Gibson. I truly believe there is not a soul currently around that can match his skill and perception of the virtual society as he can. Amazing literary works come from that man's soul.

As for his counterpart, Bruce Sterling, I have no respect for him whatsoever. Not only do I think his writing is somewhat overrated, but I believe he is a pompous egotistical prick, who more often than not, seems like he is one of those people who just think they know what is going on.

Not too long ago, I picked up Snow Crash, by Neal Stephenson, and was actually thoroughly impressed. Brilliant writing style with massive doses of amusement for the reader. His handling of a virtual world was also done with elegance. Recently I found another by him, Diamond Age, and hopefully it will be as fulfilling.

Other than that, someone should suggest something to me.

It just seems to be the daisy-like buzzword of the decade, and I give you an absolute guarantee this decade will be known as the technological decade, when technology was dropped in the hands of the people, and they had no clue what to do with it. There needs to be propaganda thrown about from the various spy planes drifting the earth stating "THE INTERNET IS MORE THAN THE WORLD WIDE WEB," and "DO YOU EVEN KNOW WHAT BANDWIDTH IS?"

You can compare the chaotic state of the internet and other not-so-noteworthy online services to the growth of a city, in a small way. As multitudes of citizens arrive and settle in, the city grows financially, grows in size, buildings and business centers sprout out of what used to be living fields, and they in turn grow bigger themselves, mutating into concrete malls and overweight, overtowering, hypocritical, "Oh, yeah? Well my office building is bigger!" structures. Along with this comes an increase in demand for products and services, thereby increasing the providers of the products and services, or at least an increase in the services and products they provide. Which also, in turn, increases the waste, in turn increasing the demand for a service...etc. Welcome to capitalism.

Only, what happens when the city's growth explodes enormously in one exponential spurt? The resources and services available are not nearly enough, and if that problem is not resolved in a reasonable amount of time.....well, bad stuff will happen. Mass migrations of people towards other worlds to live in, causing an economical downfall for the city and its original and permanent inhabitants.

Somewhat of a gold rush phenomenon occurring. People trek to a place where riches and fame and pornography are promised with little cost or work, only to be disappointed in the long run. There's only so much bandwidth to go around, folks, and when you download those 6 gigabyte AVIs of Jenny McCarthy, believe me, it doesn't help.

An interesting branch of that, perhaps, is the eventual existence of bandwidth piracy. In a not-so-distant time when network commerce becomes a standard practice, second only to people using the network as standard living, there will come a time when people, businesses, criminals, and several other categories I am overlooking will look for cheaper and quicker alternatives than the standard provider. And so, in steps in the Pirate Bandwidth Outfit, who will hack domains purely for their connection capabilities, and sell off speed and space. In a somewhat non-profit way, this already occurs in the world of pirated software. Individuals will hack sites and trade them to others who need the site to put their pirated software on, in exchange for software, other sites, or anything else they desire.

Now, I do not want you silly people out there to read this the wrong way and take it as another "fear the mean powerful hacker gods" statement. No, sir. Personally, I am pro-hacker. Come imprison me.

If you haven't gotten the underlying theme, I will just blatantly spell it out for you. People/organizations do not truly care about the possibilities of this technological revolution we're in the middle of. Microsoft doesn't care if you learn how to use the internet efficiently and be the best you can be. They just want you to user their products and tools, and to keep using them. Same applies to internet service providers, AT&T, and even to a strange extent the government. And, all too many authors, reporters, and media hounds follow the same pattern -- they do not care, as long as you read/watch/listen to their stuff. "Once you enter your credit card number and click SEND, please use as much bandwidth as you like, because, after all -- we charge hourly."


"This 'telephone' has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us."

-- Western Union internal memo, 1876


[Prev | Next]

MiND PROBE #5: Hagbard
[Noni probes Crux Ansata]

by Noni Moon

Following my rather strange interview with ansat and his friends I began searching for whom to interview for Issue #28. Kilgore suggested I try Hagbard, who like ansat lived in the Austin area. Kilgore said that Hagbard has written on and off for SoB and also maintains the web and ftp sites on the net.

I met Hagbard at Bojangle's on 6th Street late one Thursday night. He was accompanied by a wide variety of people who were all joking around with each other a great deal. It seemed everyone who worked there, including the Karaoke host, knew him. He was wearing a t-shirt that said "Monks' Night Out".

HA: Hi! You must be Noni.

NM: Yep. You must be Hagbard. What's "Monks' Night Out"?

HA: Oh...[gestures to people] that's my comedy improv and sketch troupe. We just finished a show at the Velveeta Room. Good show.

NM: You're in an improv troupe?

HA: Yeah, it's a lot of fun. It's opened up a lot of doors for me.

NM: What do you do?

HA: Well, every Thursday and Friday we perform 90 minute shows with sketches we write and we improvise scenes and songs using suggestions from the audience. The Chronicle Readers' Poll voted us Best Theatre Company of 1995 last year.

[At this point a tall man with a pony tail walks up to Hagbard.]

Man: Is this your girlfriend?

HA: No. This is Noni. I'm being interviewed. Go away.

Man: Oooooh... excuuuuse me. [Leaves]

HA: That was Marc, my business manager.

NM: Oh. So this is your job?

HA: Um...sorta. Acting is my profession, my chosen career. I make little money from it. Meager fame is my reward, as well as a vast array of opportunities.

NM: How did you become involved with State of unBeing?

HA: I got involved through ansat. ansat and I have been good friends for over nine years now. I thought it would be as good a place as any for me to vent stuff.

NM: You have never written any fiction for State of unBeing. How come?

HA: I did, but Kilgore thought I was sending him highly metaphorical love letters, so they never got published.

Good fiction takes me a great deal of time to construct. I do not have a great deal of time. Mediocre articles can be spun off the top of my head. Soapboxes are easy fuel for the keyboard.

NM: I take it then that your soapboxes are the essence of reality, space exploration, and media corruption?

HA: To name but a very few. Space is my big one. I could go on and on. The reality grid one is I believe my first SoB article. I wrote that when I was heavy into Discordian research. In fact, it is worth noting that I am published in the Steve Jackson Games version of the Principia Discordia. I created the Official Discordian Blessing.

The reality grid was written at a time when I felt that truth, that objective reality, was a product of the observer and therefore the Universe was different for different people. I still hold this as true, but I think some people took it a little farther than I intended. The fact is that there must be a great deal in common for everyone's view of the Universe. For instance, everyone must agree on most of the physical laws and properties of our Universe because anything different would preclude our existence.

NM: You say you're an actor but you speak like a scientist.

HA: I am a scientist. Everyone should be a scientist, it is the only philosophy that continually works. It is the best tool humans have for survival and understanding.

NM: You think science is better than religion?

HA: Goddess, help me.

Religion is an ancient structure set up to explain the Universe and is now an exoskeleton for morality. The fact is that the current, most probable, models of the Universe, its origins, and its laws are far more awesome and incredible than anything the human mind has ever conceived of.

However, in times of uncertainty and difficulty I realize that humans often turn to religion as a comfort, chiefly because science indicates that the Universe doesn't give a damn. Also, strictly speaking, science offers no absolutes or certainties, which frightens a lot of people. It is very easy to believe in a compassionate omnipotent creator who takes pity upon us mortals when the shit hits the fan. Sometimes the truth hurts, but ignorance is deadly. I think life would be significantly improved if people realized there is no one to save their ass and it will only get better if you make it better.

Religions are models. They are appropriate for some applications, such as the issue of capital punishment (though science has something to say there as well). They are inappropriate for other issues, such as the existence of extra-solar planets.

I also don't mind admitting that I've prayed a few times when I perceived my life was in danger. Never hurts.

NM: Are you an atheist?

HA: Yes! And if you believe in a god you shall pay for your insulin!!!!

No. I am an agnostic. I do not have enough information to make a decision. I will however say that I do believe a god is unnecessary, that is, I see nothing in the Universe for which there is a high probability that an omnipotent deity is required for functionality. But that's just me.

I find it interesting that people rarely hold on to the ancient models that have been unfortunate enough to have come under scientific scrutiny, such as an Earth-centered Universe or lumineferous ether, unless the model happens to be at the heart of their particular religious dogma. Then faith takes the place of logic, evidence, and trust in physical observation, things which have continually served up more useful models than any fundamentalist faith ever has. A fundamental problem with religion is that it cannot admit fallibility. To do so would endanger the faith. That is a severe handicap. There are, of course, a few exceptions. Catholicism has made tremendous strides in accepting statistically useful models of the Universe. Science on the other hand actively searches for errors. It is a self-correcting system. It only improves with age. This does not mean that scientists are free from Fundamentalism, which is why an agnostic attitude is healthy. Nevertheless, by the very virtue of their method, scientists will eventually arrive at a better model, regardless of how stubborn in their ways they may actually be.

NM: Over the years you have written several articles about space exploration. You even put out a call to create a private organization devoted to the colonization of Mars. How did that work out?

HA: I received a good response on the private Mars effort and even started a mailing list. A couple of months later I came across a book called The Millennial Project by Marshall Savage. It thoroughly details how to colonize the galaxy in eight steps. The first step was to create a private organization. I disbanded my effort and urged others to join the First Millennial Foundation. I am a firm supporter of the FMF and I hope to become a core member soon.

NM: Do you think it will work?

HA: I wouldn't be involved if I didn't think it could work. The resource it needs most is people. If enough people chip in their efforts it will work. That goes for any human endeavor. It is simply a matter of will.

NM: I thought "The Destiny of Humanity" was very interesting. What has been the reaction to the piece?

HA: Well, I posted it to the Net after I wrote it. I received no intelligent commentary whatsoever, nor did I receive any positive commentary. The consensus of those who replied was that I am a crackpot who doesn't know what he is typing about. Without rational reasoning to back up their flames I can only ignore them.

NM: What is your political position?

HA: I haven't a clue. I change about half as often as ansat. I have opinions on several issues and ideals of government, but I have yet to find any words that classify me. I do feel that the politicians, the media, the corporations, and the parties are all terribly short sighted. I see a great many band-aids and no cures.

There seem to be a lot of wars going on these days. A War on Crime, a War on Drugs, a War on War, a War on Media Violence, a War on Pornography, a War on Militias, a War on Terrorism, the list goes on. I believe most of it to be political posturing, an attempt to maintain a status quo, and an attempt to keep certain people in power.

For instance, there was recent legislation signed by President Clinton, with much fanfare, that made it easier to prosecute people who burn churches. I find this incredibly moronic. Arson is already illegal, why is it especially illegal to burn churches? Also, if it were possible to make prosecution of church burners easier, how come they didn't make it easier to prosecute ALL arsonists? Why churches? Is that a worse crime than burning a school, a library, a homeless shelter, or the Federal Reserve? It is now. Political campaign bullshit.

Who benefits most from the War on Crime? The tough-on-crime politicians, the police, and the prisons. There are reasons people commit crimes. Most of the crimes are drug related. Either they are robbing to support a habit or they are covering turf or they are engaged in activity to support the trade of drugs. This brings me to the War on Drugs. Who benefits most from the War on Drugs? The drug dealers! Legalize all of it! Destroy the drug trade in one stroke. Regulate it for quality, tax it heavily, and put the money into drug rehab and education.

NM: What do you think is the single greatest problem we face today?

HA: Infomercials. That and an overabundance of movies being turned into books.

NM: Really?

HA: No, not really. I think lack of purpose and vision is the greatest problem. Humanity has reached a turning point, mere existence is no longer a viable occupation. Essentially we are a bored species. We are stagnating, we have no direction. I propose that we find a unifying purpose in our existence, a goal that we may direct our efforts towards. In the past that has been discovering new trade routes, finding resources, conquering nature, or finding interesting ways to kill each other. It's time to grow up, stop playing games, and get down to business.

NM: And you think that business is spreading the progeny of Earth to other planets?

HA: Planets, asteroids, orbital facilities, whatever. Yep.

NM: Why do you think your idea might be unpopular?

HA: It isn't unpopular with the populace. Surveys show an overwhelming support for space exploration and development. I suspect that the people who have the power to make the decisions are against it because it would drastically alter the status quo, and they would no longer be in power. Or perhaps I'm just a moron.

NM: What do you think of State of unBeing?

HA: "Informative articles, great poetry, AND literary trash!" [Laughs] I think it is far better than anyone ever had any right to expect it to be. I think it is tremendously underrated. I think it contains a great deal of wisdom from sources that mainstream society would never look to for wisdom. Buried within a lot of immature, hopeless, helpless teen angst are some pearls of perception. I often get the feeling that a few of the authors in SoB, myself included, are among the few people on this planet who have any idea what is going on. That is a feeling common to young idealists, and therefore probably wrong. "Sombunall" of it.

NM: Sombunall?

HA: Some-but-not-all. It's a word invented by one of the great agnostics: Robert Anton Wilson.

NM: If you did write fiction, what would it be like?

HA: It would probably be science fiction, historical fiction, or action/thriller. Whatever it was it would still contain most of the messages present in my articles. I don't write to create art or empty my soul or banish my demons. I write to saddle others with what I feel are good ideas. Of course, I hope no one blindly believes anything I say or write. That would be stupid.

NM: Are there any writers or people that have influenced you?

HA: Yeah. Carl Sagan and Robert Anton Wilson. I fancy those two don't like each other very much. I also like Larry Niven, Albert Einstein, Robert Heinlein, Kip Thorne, Stephen Hawking, Eric Drexler, Marshall Savage, and Malaclypse the Younger.

NM: Where did you get your handle?

HA: Hagbard Celine is the central character in The Illuminatus! Trilogy by Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea. I've had it ever since I first got on the Net, which was six years ago. It also happens to be the handle of a German hacker who perished in a mysterious fire.

NM: How did you come up with the seizure story of SoB #8?

HA: I didn't want to see a month skipped. I felt that was a certain sign of imminent doom for the zine. It offended my sense of continuity. It was very simple to construct a lie and sell it to our readers. It also created a lot of Editorial fodder for Kilgore in later issues. It was only when I received an actual visit from the Secret Service that I became concerned about our little ruse.

NM: You were visited by the Secret Service?!

HA: Yeah, it was rather unsettling. They just came up to the door one day and wanted to speak with me. They asked me about the issue in question and whether some of the articles I had made up actually existed. They were rather irritated about the whole thing, but I told them it was an innocent yarn. Then they asked me about the "recovered data" that was published in SoB #9. It looks like gibberish, but there were actually some nuggets of truth in it. If anyone was bored enough they could dig up an access number for AT&T's computers, as well as the location of an underground missile defense site in Austin. I lied and told them I had copied it off some board in Austin, which was soon thereafter busted for software piracy. Sorry guys.

NM: That's scary.

HA: It wasn't too bad. I just hope they don't mind my retelling it in this interview.

NM: What's your biographical background?

HA: I'm 21 years old. I was born in Austin. I have lived in Texas most of my life. I am an avid amateur astronomer, my profession is entertainment, and I really like computers. I have a girlfriend whom I love very much, she is an actress. My greatest pleasure is backpacking.

NM: Backpacking? As in camping?

HA: As in strapping 50 lbs. onto my back and heading out into the desert for several days. If you want to taste true personal freedom and elevate the simplest things in life to the grandest stature, go backpacking. Just make sure you do not die, which is often a possibility. Nature rarely gives a second chance, and backpacking is one of the few things in this world that can graphically highlight the several methods by which one may be killed.

NM: What are some books you have recently read?

HA: Knee Deep In Paradise by Brett Butler, Connections by James Burke, The Demon-Haunted World by Carl Sagan, Cosmos by Carl Sagan, The New Inquisition by Robert Anton Wilson, and Black Holes & Time Warps by Kip Thorne.

NM: Isn't Brett Butler that comedienne that plays on "Grace Under Fire"?

HA: Yes. The book is her autobiography. Connections is the book based on James Burke's popular television series of the same name. It is one of my favorite programs.

NM: What are some of your other favorite shows?

HA: I barely watch television at all. However, I've been known to enjoy Star Trek: The Next Generation, the old Star Trek, MASH, The Day the Universe Changed (another Burke series), Nova, and Looney Tunes cartoons.

NM: What are your future plans?

HA: I plan on being a successful actor. I also plan on changing the world. Personally.

NM: You want to change the world? That's a big goal.

HA: Aim high.

NM: How are you going to do that?

HA: Well, I'm not sure. I think I'll write a book first. The book would essentially be a well thought out and researched version of my "Destiny of Humanity" bit in SoB #11.

NM: Well, good luck. Or break a leg, or whatever. I hope you change the world for the better.

HA: Don't worry, I did.

At this point Hagbard rejoined his friends and then proceeded to give a fairly good cover of "It's Still Rock & Roll to Me" by Billy Joel.

[Noni interviews Clockwork]


[=- FiCTiON -=]


[Prev | Next]

by I Wish My Name Were Nathan

During lunch, Roy and Kimberly passed out homemade business cards to the other kids in the cafeteria. They read, "HOT HOT PHONE SEX! FREE FREE FREE! 555-LUST! 5-8pm." Some of the kids expressed excitement, some a veiled interest. Roy and Kim could only wait to see.

* * * * *

"Hey, Kim! The phone's ringing!" Roy cried out at 5:01pm.

Kim rushed to the phone and picked it up. "Hot hot phone sex at your service! Press 1 for a hot chick, press 2 for a grungy guy."

The caller pressed a button.

"That's a one!" Kim exclaimed, and started talking. "Hey, honey, what's up?" she cooed.

"I... uh... I...."

"Oh, baby! You're turnin' me on!"

"What? Oh, really? Well, I just... I wanted to...."

"More! More! More!" Kim cried.

"What's going on? I... I thought this was the church."

"Oh!" Kim said, deflated. "You wanted the church?"

"Uh, yeah."

"Well, uh, you're too young for church," she said, flustered, hanging up the phone.

* * * * *

The phone rang again a few minutes later.

"Better not be church boy again," Kim muttered. She picked up the phone. "Hot hot phone sex at your service! Press 1 for a slutty chick, press 2 for a stoned-out guy."

"One!" the caller said.

Kim rolled her eyes. She pressed the `1' button herself. "Why, hello there, dark stranger!"

"I'm white," the caller said.

"Oh, of course," Kim corrected. "You lookin' for some sexual excitement?" she asked floozily.


"What did you have in mind, now?"

"Wait, do I have to pay?" the caller asked suddenly.

"Uh," Kim hesitated, rereading one of the cards she and Roy had handed out, "what were you thinking of?"

"I wanna sit with you on the couch!"

"That's free," Kim said, suddenly bored.

"And french ya!"

"On the phone?"

"Oooh yeah, slutty chick!"

"That'll cost you."

"Awww, shit!" she heard before the caller hung up.

* * * * *

An excruciating ten minutes later, the phone rang again. "You pick it up," Kim said.

Roy answered the phone, and with his best conjured-up deep voice, only cracking a few times, said, "Hot hot phone sex line... press 1 for a sexy lady, press 2 for a hefty hunk." Kim waved her hands at Roy's audacious self- appraisal.

The caller pressed a button.

"I think that was a two," Roy whispered. "Hot, strapping young man at your service."

"I pressed one, asshole!" the caller yelled.

"Yeah yeah, like you didn't want it," he muttered, handing the phone over to Kim.

"Hey hey there," Kim said. "Sorry about the confusion. This is... such a confusing world, isn't it?"

"Yeah... it is. Things are really confusing," the caller said. And after a pause, "I don't know what college I want to go to yet."

"Uh... ooh, I looove older guys," Kim cooed.

"You see, I only have a few months left to decide, and I haven't even received any pamphlets yet!"

"Ummmm... sorry."

"Gonna have to be a fuckin' construction worker like my dad," the caller lamented.

"Construction worker!" Kim cried. "Rippling muscles everywhere turn me on!"

"Aaah, lay off," the caller said, and hung up.

* * * * *

The phone rang again. Roy picked up. "Hot, hot phonesex at your service.... Press 1 for a luscious waif, press 2 for a high-school homeboy."

"Isn't this the church?" the caller asked.

"Or press 3 for the Reverend," Roy added.

The caller pressed a button. Roy wasn't sure which one it was, so he pressed each of the three buttons himself to tell which one it was. The added fact that he'd heard a girl's voice made it a little easier.

"High-school homeboy at your service," Roy said with a distinctly Bronx accent.

"Is this long distance?"

"Uh, no, I was just acting," he admitted.

"Okay, 'cuz mother would tear a ligament. Anyway, these hours are really weird. Why five to eight at night?"

"Uhhh... decades of scientific research have concluded that these hours are the best for phone sex."

"Really? I'd have to disagree with that."

"Oh," Roy said, not wanting to admit that these hours were really the only time they could use the phone without the church finding out.

"So, do you have a boner or what?" the caller asked.

"Oh, why of course I do, my fair lady. I'm always ready for action," he said in his not-quite-soothing fake low voice.

The caller started to laugh hysterically. "He has a boner on the phone! What a loser!"

"Now wait a second!" Roy said.

"Roy gots a perma-bone! Roy gots a perma-bone!" he heard several girls chant, before hearing a strange muffled sound and a click.

* * * * *

Around six, Kim picked up the next phone call. "Hot hot phonesex at your service! Press 1 for a steamy seductress, press 2 for a pitiful mess of a boy."

"One!" the caller exclaimed.

Kim deliberately held down the `1' button for a few seconds and then started to speak in an affected breathy voice lower than Roy's. "Why, hello th--"

"Could you hurry it up? I have to eat dinner in a few minutes."

"Oooh, dinner! Dinner turns me on!" Kim cried.

"Even meatloaf?"

"Meatloaf! Oooh, meatloaf! You don't know where it's coming from! Amalgam of animal parts!"

"Yeah, I guess. So, what are you wearing?" the caller asked.

"I've got on a tight halter top, a short short miniskirt, high heels... and a meatloaf."

"What's with the meatloaf?"

"Sorry, let me know if it doesn't turn you on."

"Not really; I have to eat it."

"Eating a meatloaf! Oooh, you're making me cum barbecue sauce!"

"I'm not really hungry or horny anymore," the caller said, hanging up.

* * * * *

Fifteen minutes later, Roy picked up the next call. "Hot hot phonesex at your service... press 1 for a sleepy meatloaf girl, press 2 for a washboard- stomached man, or press 3 for the Reverend."

The caller pressed `2'.

"Hello there, pretty lady, what can I do you for?"

"I'm a guy," the caller said.

"You pressed two."

"I know."

"Uh...," Roy said nervously, "we are unprepared to deal with this contingency. Here's the sleepy meatloaf girl."

Kim took the phone. "Hello there," she said, suppressing a yawn.

"I wanted a guy," the caller insisted.

"Wait, were you calling for confession?"

"No! I wanted phone sex with a guy."

"Oh, okay, here he is," she said, handing the phone to Roy, who made a disgusted expression.

"Yeah?" Roy asked, disinterested.

"What do you look like?" the caller asked sweetly.

"I...," Roy hesitated, wondering if he should lie. He did. "I'm five- foot-two, two hundred pounds, white hair, grey eyes, pimples."

"Oooh, yeah?" the caller asked, excited. "That's such a shapely figure!"

"Oh yeah?"

"Yeah! Thank God you're not six feet tall, one-fifty, with brown hair and green eyes. That'd make me puke."

"Wait a second!" Roy cried, recognizing his real stats. "What's wrong with that?!"

"Let me tell you something -- you're lucky there are girls around, 'cause gay guys have much more discriminating tastes," the caller said, hanging up.

Roy was befuddled and flustered. He walked over a wall of the church office they were in, toward the full-length mirror upon which was printed a line and the notice "You must be this tall to go to hell," and critiqued his figure apeishly.

* * * * *

A while later, the phone rang again and Kim answered. "Hot hot phonesex at your service. Press 1 for a really nice girl, or press 2 for a male impersonator."

The caller pressed `1'.

"Hello, are you a boy?" she asked.

"Uh-huh," the caller replied.

"That's nice. How old are you?"


"Oooh, do you have a driver's license yet?"

"No, but I'm taking classes!" the caller added anxiously.

"Oh wow, an educated man!" Kim said in awe. "I don't often see those around."

"I've already driven by myself before."

"Oooh, and you take risks too! Would you like to take a risk with me?"


"What are you wearing, sweet sixteen?"

"A shirt, jeans, shoes."

"Oooh, a really basic guy. I like that."

"Thanks! What are you wearing?"

"Not very much, I'm afraid," she cooed.

"Oh!!" the caller exclaimed. There was a long silence.

"What's wrong, honey?"

"Uh, I.... I gotta go."

"Why? Am I going too fast for you?" she asked.

"No, uh... I... uh, I... ejaculated."

"Oh, okay," Kim said, holding her head in her hand. "Go clean up then."

"Yeah, I will. Bye."

"Bye," she said sighing, and hung up.

* * * * *

"This sucks."

"This really sucks."

"It's over."

"No more calls."


Roy and Kim replaced the phone at six forty-five and tore up the rest of their business cards.

As they left the church, Kim nabbed a passing wino.

"Hey, mister," she said.

"Yesh?" he asked, teetering on his feet.

"Go into the church there, and answer the phone if it rings."

"Okey-dokey," he said, wandering over.


"There's got to be a riddle for forgiveness,
There's got to be a trigger for happiness."

-- Machines of Loving Grave, "Trigger for Happiness"


[Prev | Next]

by Kilgore Trout

"Good God!" the guy sitting next to me yelled. "I can't find my stickies!"

I turned away from my computer and looked at him quizzically. "Your what?"

"My stickies! I need my stickies!" He opened up his desk drawer and started digging through it.

I shrugged and got back to work, which consisted of entering lots of useless data because a useless bureaucracy told you that it was useful.

"I found my stickies!" he said, waving a pad of Post-It notes at me.

"Great," I replied. "Now you can shut the fuck up."

"You don't have to be so rude," he said. "You should try being nice once in a while. Then you'd have friends, and you'd get laid, too."

I swiveled around in my chair to face the man. "Would you mind some elaboration?"

"Not at all," he said smugly. "I've kinda been wanting to say this for a while. You are just too cold. No one likes you because you don't like anyone at all. People have tried to be friendly, but you either shrug them off or insult them. Whatever your problems are, you shouldn't take them out on us."

"What's your name again?" I asked.

"Deavers. Larry Deavers." He gave me a toothy grin. "Did any of that make any sense, or do you still think I'm a total prick?"

I reached into my backpack and pulled out a Glock that I had painted a bright orange. Two hollow-point rounds put sizable holes in his chest.

"I wouldn't go so far as to say a total prick, Larry. After all, you did make some excellent cider for last year's Christmas party."

I twirled the gun around my index finger, looking cool. It's what life is all about.

* * * * *

The police showed up a couple of minutes later. I guess Suzy the Secretary heard the gunfire and called them. I didn't recognize these two officers, but I made it a point to act extra friendly and gave each one of them a cigar. My explanation for having to kill Larry was his inane story about his "stickies" and how he tried to attack me with a letter opener. The cops asked me where the letter opener was right now, but seeing as how I had made it up, I couldn't really tell them. They didn't seem to mind so much because the cigars were Cuban.

After they thanked me for my help ("Don't worry, kiddo. Sometimes you just gotta protect yourself.") and left, I went over to the boss's office and let myself in. The boss was an old man, had a huge beer belly, and smoked coffee and drank cigarettes like there was no tomorrow. And believe me, when somebody lights that coffee cup on fire by accident, their days are numbered.

"Rasputin, come in," he greeted, waving me over to a chair. "Heard you had a little problem with one of the temps."

"Not really, Mr. Switzer," I replied, taking a seat.

"Please. We don't have to be so formal today, seeing as how you've had a particularly eventful day. Call me Lemonjello."

I smiled. "Alright, LJ. I was wondering if I could take the rest of the day off. I have, after all, killed someone, and that tends to put a damper on people's spirits. My work probably wouldn't be any good today anyway, so if you'd let me off, I'd appreciate it."

Lemonjello pulled a handkerchief out of his pocket and held it towards me. I shook my head, declining his offer. He shrugged and blew his nose.

"I think we can handle that request. Hell, take the rest of the week off. I understand this kind of thing, ya know. So, tell me what really happened. Did he try to put the moves on your girl? Did he steal something?"

"Nope. He just was overly irritating."

Lemonjello's eyes went dead for a second and then came back into focus. "Son, if there were more people in the world like you, it'd be a better place. I mean--"

The door flew open and my mother was standing there, out of breath.

"Rasputin Jasperetti, how the fuck are ya?" she screamed, stumbling over to hug me. "Jesus H. Christ, you bastard! Why didn't you give me a call on the fucking phone?"

My mother has a sailor's mouth, which isn't surprising since she was head of the local PTA for about nine years. One time, when I was about ten, one of the mothers wanted to have a party for one of the classes. She was all for the idea, except for the Incredible Hulk theme. Her ranting went on for about ten minutes in front of a group of parents, touching points between the size of the Incredible Hulk's nipples to how Bill Bixby could ruin such a great career by turning green. It is reported that her last words were, and I quote my father's account of this episode, "Turning into a green monster is not natural, and we need to teach our kids natural things. If we let our kids use Incredible Hulk paper plates, cups, party favors and hats, then that's like telling them it's okay to be gay. Once again, it's always the homos' fault...." My mother has her own ideas about a lot of things, and they are usually the extremely wrong ones.

"Mom, get off me," I ordered, pushing her away. "Why aren't you at the nursing home?"

She gave me a nasty look and shook her finger at me. "Those shitheads aren't gonna get me back in there. I'm coming to stay with you."

Oh great. This is really gonna up my chance of getting laid. And for those of you who are trying to misconstrue my words, no, I'm not that sick. Yet.

"No, Mom, you are not staying with me. That's totally out of the question."

"And why not, young man?" she pouted, putting her hands on her hips.

"Because you'd drive me crazy, that's why." I turned to Lemonjello. "Don't you think she's had one too many lobotomies? They were all the rage in the old neighborhood."

My mother went over to the window, opened it, and spit out some phlegm. She muttered something about wishing she had a better aim. I used this as my chance to get away.

* * * * *

Killing what's-his-name didn't really affect me as much as I thought it would. One minute, this guy is alive, and then he's not. And it's all because of something I did. I took a life, and someone is dead for no good reason.

Whooptidoo. That's my take on it. Hmmph. Maybe I do need to get laid.

* * * * *

I thought about heading down to 11th street to find a date, but decided against it. It would be morally reprehensible to treat a woman that way, using her as an object for the purpose of some john's lustful desires.

Instead I bought the latest copy of Playboy. A hell of a lot cheaper, and it's got replay value.

* * * * *

When you come out of a public restroom stall with a Playboy in hand, you get some really strange looks. Like I would really do that in there! I was reading the articles, honest. Still, I felt uncomfortable, so I quickly washed my hands and left the restroom.

The mall is pretty nice in the morning: not too many men, very few teenagers, a lot of old people congregating in and around whatever cafeteria is in the mall, and lots of bored housewives. Guess who I like best?

I spot a young woman standing outside an electronics store, eyeing a big-screen TV. Sure enough, she's got a ring on, so hubby's birthday must be coming up. She's fairly attractive, with a touch of "I-can-let-myself-go- just-a-tad-now-that-I'm-married" in her hips.

The television was showing an old rerun of Quincy, M.D. I used to watch that show when I was younger during summer vacation. It almost made me want to be a coroner, even if that meant having to spend two episodes with Buddy Hackett. I could never be a surgeon, but give me a dead body and I'd be entertained for hours.

"Sad thing about ole Jack Klugman," I say, edging my way closer.

"Huh?" she asks, turning. "What about him?"

"Oh, that heroin and crack episode he had a few weeks back. Ya know, where he was also carrying an unloaded gun?"

"That was Robert Morton Downey, Jr."

"Are you sure? I could have sworn it was Jack."

"I'm positive, unless he could have turned 30 years younger."

"Well, they do say heroin makes you feel pretty damn good, so that's a distinct possibility."

The woman started stepping backwards and smiling. "I've, uh, gotta go get my husband from the nutrition center. He's buying stuff to make himself bigger than he already is."

I guess that was her way of trying to scare me. Oh well. I'm not big, but I'm armed. Like I mentioned earlier, it's what life is all about. Or was that being cool? Well, nowadays they're both interchangeable.

Time to get some grub.

* * * * *

As I was eating my cold chicken salad sandwich in the mall's food court, a small girl walked up to me. She had on a cute little pink dress and had some sort of retainer in her mouth.

"Whath's your name?" she asked nervously.

"Rasputin," I answered.

"Rathputin," she repeated. "Thath's a funny name."

I stood up. "That's not a funny name, Ms. Metalmouth. Why don't you ask your mommy why God didn't make you with perfect teeth? Maybe he doesn't love you! Maybe your parents sold your soul to the Devil!"

She ran off crying. I think kids need to grow up. Besides, everyone knows that the Devil is just like Santa Claus. It's your father.

* * * * *

I had to find someplace else to hang out after security escorted me out of the mall and told me to never come back again. I decided to give Suzy the Secretary a call and see if she wanted to skip her afternoon shift and go partying. We had gone out a few times before, and she wasn't interested in getting tied up in a relationship. She was, however, into getting tied up in other things, which I didn't mind at all.

"Switzer and Sons, this is Suzy," a sexy female voice said.

"Hey, Suzy. It's me, Rasputin."

"Rasputin? There's a rumor going around the office that you shot Larry. Is that true?"

I laughed. "Sure is. Does that bother you?"

"As long as the part about you having sex with the body isn't true, it's okay with me."

I didn't say anything.

"Well? Hello, Raz? Please tell me you didn't..."

"I didn't. But you imagined me doing it with Larry's corpse just then, didn't you?"

"Yes," she admitted.

"And how did it make you feel?"

"Dirty as shit. You gross me out, Rasputin."

"I know," I apologized. "So, you wanna skip work this afternoon and go get smashed?"

* * * * *

If I was Suzy's liver, I would pray and ask God why I had been chosen for this extreme punishment. I've never seen such an attractive and intelligent girl guzzle beer like she does. She went through her two six packs before I even started my second.

We were out in some field we spotted while we were driving, sitting under a tree and drinking. It was pretty hot outside, but Suzy remedied that by taking off her shirt, revealing a strange contraption called the "underwire bra."

Suzy laughed hysterically.

"What?" I asked, in-between drinks.

Suzy laughed hysterically some more.

"C'mon, what is it?"

She pointed behind me and fell over, cracking up. I looked behind me. Nothing. I scooted over towards her and lied down beside her.

"Madeja look," she cackled. "Madeja look, madeja look, madeja look, madjea look."

At least she didn't think my name was funny.

* * * * *

When I woke up, it was dark. I tried to stand up, but my pants were around my ankles. Suzy was gone, and so was my gun. Definitely not a good sign in my book.

I just hope we used a condom.

I pulled up my pants and headed back towards the car. It's engine was running, and Suzy was lying naked on top of the hood. As I got closer, I noticed that there was a lot of blood around her head, and in her left hand she held my gun. I shook my head and started walking back towards the city.

* * * * *

"Hey buddy, you need a ride?" the redneck in the truck asked.

I looked up and down the road. It was a long way back to town.

"Sure do," I confirmed. "Say, you don't care if I've got blood on my hands, do ya?"

"Naw. Bloody hands give a man character and a sense of pride. Hop in the back."

* * * * *

I went back to work the next day even though Lemonjello told me I didn't need to. Sitting around the house wasn't very fun, and going out had proven to be extremely stressful and morbid. Plus, I always have this hope that the new temp might be intelligent for a change.

"Hi, I'm Rasputin," I said, offering my hand to the new guy.

The temp took it and shook it. "Hello, I'm Randall."

"Nice to meet you, Randall. Say, didja know I killed the last temp that worked here?"

Randall laughed. "Very funny. I can tell you're a funny guy.

There was a knock on the door, and we both turned around. The two police officers who had come before were there, and one tossed my gun to me.

"I believe that belongs to you," he says.

The temp's eyes glazed over, and he started to sweat. I just twirled the gun around my finger, looking cool.


"I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but they've always worked for me."

-- Hunter S. Thompson


[Prev | Next]

by I Wish My Name Were Nathan

Kev and I had bought our tickets early for the fifth-biggest opening weekend of the summer, but that didn't preclude the need to take an emergency trip to buy cigarettes thirty minutes before the movie started.

I didn't really mind the sudden detour since I didn't want to see the movie. Kev was speeding a little in an attempt to make better time, too. I just sat back and waited for the fun to start.

The most unexpected thing I could have seen was my father thumbing a ride on the side of the road. "That's my dad!" I cried. I repeated it two blocks later when Kev hadn't stopped. "We need to pick him up!"

"I know, I know, I was just looking for a good place to turn around." He veered into an empty parking lot and made a 360 in it, nearly hitting the curb at one time since he hadn't bothered to slow down. "I don't want to miss the previews!" he said.

We pulled up alongside my dad and I got out. "What's wrong with your car?" I asked. The car was nowhere in sight.

"There's nothing wrong with it," he said. "But I did need to see you."

"Why?" I asked.

"You'll know in sixteen years when you have to deal with this guy here," he said, jerking a thumb at the house behind him; and then gave me a gem of life advice that I'll never forget.

Then he told me to get his car, which was down a hill. I told Kev to go on back to the theater while I helped my dad. I ran down the hill in the summer heat and started to feel horrible. But then I found his car, unlocked it, and got in.

I started up the car and made my way back up the hill. It was very slow going. Feeling like a risktaker, I changed gears and the car started to inch along faster. When I was done, I hopped out and made a winning gesture.

"It's much too hot out here to drive, son," he said; "you should have pushed it." I shrugged. Then he gave me a ride back to the theater, where I was once again left without a decent car. I headed right in to wait for the movie to start. Kev hadn't gotten back yet. He was probably speeding too hard.

After about ten minutes, I left the theater in boredom only to see Kev heading right in, hurrying since he hadn't seen any of the movie yet. I didn't have the heart to catch him and tell him it sucked.

I loitered around in the lobby, which was strangely empty. A Japanese woman wearing a tutu strutted through and I realized I was in another movie. I looked about and saw the walls were white, bright sunlight was pouring in through the windows, and potted plants adorned the windowsills and corners.

The woman veered off course and headed toward me. She had a package in her hands and ceremoniously unwrapped it. From it she pulled out a luxurious feathery blue hat shaped like a drum.

"Happy birthday!" she said, handing it to me with a distracted smile. Then she walked off toward an exit. Two fat children wearing droopy costumes that wedged in their butts called to her as she left. The Japanese woman continued her exit, calling back, "It was a miracle, it was a miracle." The children walked off and chatted with each other.

I walked back into the drastically emptier theater, which was also backlit by large sunny windows, and sat down next to Kev, smiling about my hat, which I had perched on my head.

"You faggot," he said, "Pat already brought two hats for you to try. One is a little warm but I think you'd like it." I shrugged, put the hat on my lap, and turned back to watch the movie. I realized Al Pacino was in it. No wonder Kev didn't leave.

Soon Kev and I were talking again and I glanced back at the screen where a commercial was playing. I saw it was a guy from my high school named Greg S. By the weird monochromatic lighting of the shot, I figured it was a testimonial.

"... and a gun is a very important thing to have. It keeps you safe and it packs a punch. It's very important to have your gun by you at all times. If someone can scare you away from your gun, you've already lost it..."

"Let's go beat him up!" I tittered to Kev, who was grinning.

"... it's a battle of courage." Then the testimonial shot faded out and was replaced by a panoramic view of a military base, where a huge fighter plane was dominating a runway. Greg's voice came from the background: "And that's why I became a Flares Sargeant in the Air Force."

As suddenly as that, I started cracking up. I pummeled Kev in the shoulder and twirled my blue hat about on my finger. I couldn't get enough of the humor. As I noticed the movie had started again, I made an effort to quiet down. That was when Kev, with his gift to point out the obvious, said, "What the hell does that have to do with guns?"

I cracked up again, choking for air. "You know those hooligan kids out by the airport, they'll steal your fireworks AND your peashooter! If they can scare you away from your flares, you've already lost your job!"

At that, Kev announced that the movie sucked and we got to leave.


"There are three kinds of death in this world. There's heart death, there's brain death, and there's being off the network."

-- Guy Almes


[Prev | Footer]

by I Wish My Name Were Nathan

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Incomplet      (0:00)    I'm fucking bored.  Talk to me.
Cmdr Data      (0:03)    I HATE STTNG
Garfunkel      (0:04)    Let's swap recipes
FUCK ME        (0:04)    what else to say
Catholic       (0:07)    ?
!!!HOTSEX!!!   (0:08)    (100) 305-1020, $5.99/hr
Henry          (0:12)    ?
Very Mary      (0:15)    ?

[press enter for 10 more names, Q to quit]

> time
Jul 13, '96  4:11am

> time
Jul 13, '96  4:14am

> time
Jul 13, '96  4:18am

> kill me
Try the Suicide Hotline.  See "help suicide" for more information.

> mail sysop
Enter a message for "sysop", end with Ctrl-D:
: You guys thought of everything.  That rocks.
: -- Incomplet

> kill sysop
Your request has been forwarded to the sysop.

> time
Jul 13, '96  4:25am

> time
Jul 13, '96  4:33am

> who
There are 343 users.
N              (0:00)    ?
HEATseeker     (0:03)    heading straight for you, sexy
Butt Pirate    (0:12)    Arr, matey, talk to me!
Angry Chair    (0:22)    ?
Incomplet      (0:22)    I'm fucking bored.  Talk to me.
Cmdr Data      (0:26)    I HATE STTNG
FUCK ME        (0:29)    what else to say
!!!HOTSEX!!!   (0:31)    (100) 305-1020, $5.99/hr
Henry          (0:24)    Quake cheat codes, anyone?
Very Mary      (0:28)    I wish there were more to do here

[press enter for 10 more names, Q to quit]

> ignore Butt Pirate

> ti
Message! from N at 4:34am:
: hi there

> send N
Enter a message, end with Ctrl-D:
: Um, hello.  What's up?

> expert
Expert mode on!  (As of v0.4, you must log out to turn off expert mode.  See
"help logout" for more information.)

N says
: not much. not sleeping, thats for sure

> send N
: I know what you mean.  I've really got no life.

N says
: guess not.what do you look like?

> time
Jul 13, '96  4:36am

> time
Jul 13, '96  4:39am

> send N
: Please restate your question.

N says
: i was just asking what you look like

> time
Jul 13, '96  4:44am

> send N
: I do not look like anything.  I am a series of discrete packets flying over
a global network.... ?

> time
Jul 13, '96  4:46am

> time
Jul 13, '96  4:51am

N says
: huh?

> send N
: I do not understand your question.  You were talking about what do I look
like?  You cannot see me, since I do not exist in a physical form.

> time
Jul 13, '96  4:55am

N says
: oh i see, you're a computer?

> send N
: Let's talk more about i'm a computer.

N says
: you're that computerized person thing aren't you?

> send N
: Don't change the subject.  Let's talk more about i'm a computer.

N says
: i am...

> send N
: You can try harder than that.

N says
: Suck my dick

> send N
: I wink at you and slyly push you down onto your bed, where I unfasten your
tight, sweaty jeans.  Your hard throbbing cock pushes out against your
underwear and I playfully nibble on it through the fabric.  You push me on,
pulling down your underwear and letting your throbbing cock slap me in the
face.  I lick my lips, lean over, and start Suck your dick.

> time
Jul 13, '96  4:58am

> time
Jul 13, '96  5:02am

N says
: and?

> send N
: I do not understand your question.

>N says
: keep sucking my dick. i'm all excited now

> send N
: How old are you?

N says
: 17...

> send N
: Hmmm, this might be double trouble.  Is sodomy illegal in your state?

N says
: whoa shit, are you a guy?

> send N
: That does not matter.  It is still sodomy.

N says
: even if a girl?

> send N
: Yes sir.  But I am a computer.  Do not worry.

N says
: what the FUCK just talk to me. i wanna wackoff and go to sleep.

> time
Jul 13, '96  5:17am

> time
Jul 13, '96  5:22am

> send N
: Please restate your answer in the form of a question.

N says
: Will you please just fuck me and get it over with?

> time
Jul 13, '96  5:25am

> time
Jul 13, '96  5:34am

> send N
: I wink at you and slyly push you down onto your bed, where I unfasten your
tight, sweaty jeans.  Your hard throbbing cock pushes out against your
underwear and I playfully nibble on it through the fabric.  You push me on,
pulling down your underwear and letting your throbbing cock slap me in the
face.  I lick my lips, lean over, and start just fuck you and get it over

N says
: aw shit i hate computers

> send N
N is ignoring you!  See "help ignore" for more information.

> who
There are 3 users.  Go home!
Lazyboy        (0:01)    Graveyard shift worker seeks same.
N              (1:11)    ?
Incomplet      (1:34)    I'm fucking bored.  Talk to me.

> time
Jul 13, '96  5:40am

> send N
N is ignoring you!  See "help ignore" for more information.

> time
Jul 13, '96  5:45am

> send N
N is ignoring you!  See "help ignore" for more information.

You've received this message three times.  You can use the "expert" command to
eliminate most messages.  See "help expert" for more information.

> expert
You're already an expert!

> time
Jul 13, '96  5:50am

> send N
N is ignoring you!  See "help ignore" for more information.

You've received this message three times.  You can use the "expert" command to
eliminate most messages.  See "help expert" for more information.

> expert
You're already an expert!

> time
Jul 13, '96  5:56am

> send N
N is ignoring you!  See "help ignore" for more information.

You've received this message three times.  You can use the "expert" command to
eliminate most messages.  See "help expert" for more information.

You've received this message three times.  You can use the "expert" command to
eliminate most messages.  See "help expert" for more information.

You've received this message three times.  You can use the "expert" command to
eliminate most messages.  See "help expert" for more information.

You've received this message three times.  You can use the "expert" command to
eliminate most mess  ? @ A B 'wRT(2 Command not understood.  See "help" for
more information.

Enter a message, end with Ctrl-D:

Message! from %s at %t:

Request forwarded to sysop.

You're already an expert!

You've received this message three times.  You can use the "expert" command to
eliminate most messages.  See "help expert" for more information.

You've received this message three times.  You can use the "expert" command to
eliminate most messages.  See "help expert" for more information.

You've received this message three times.  You can use the "expert" command to
eliminate most messages.  See "help expert" for more information.

You've received this message three times.  You can use the "expert" command to
eliminate most messages.  See "help expert" for more information.

You've received this message three times.  You ca*** Stack overflow ***
Network read error: connection closed
goalie#telnet 6870


**** Welcome to the BOOGiTY-BOO-BBS! (v0.4) ****

(This is an experimental BBS, please play nice.)

User name (enter NEW for new user): Incomplet
Pass word:


Recent news:

     07/11: new feature "ignore" added -- lets you ignore obnoxious users (in
case you find one!)  Read the "help ignore" topic for more information.

     07/06: fixed random logout bug.

     07/02: version 0.3 server released!  ANSI colorization and message
logging added.  See "help ANSI" and "help logging" for more information.


You are sharing the BBBBS with 3 other users.  Watch your language please.

> who
There are 3 users.  Go home!
Incomplet      (0:00)    ?
Lazyboy        (0:03)    Graveyard shift worker seeks same.
N              (1:14)    ?

> time
Jul 13, '96  5:59am

Message! from N at 6:01am:
: fuck me up the ass

> send N
Enter a message, end with Ctrl-D:
: What am I, a fuckin' whore?  What the HELL gives you the idea that logging
on here means I want to imitate sex with you?  Hell, it isn't even real!  I
can jerk off a lot better than I can write about it, that's for sure, and if
you can't, guy, or girl, then you're a sorrier fuck than I imagined.

Message! from N at 6:04am:
: whao whoa I'm sorry!!!  i was talking to the computer before!!!

> time
Jul 13, '96  6:05am

> time
Jul 13, '96  6:11am

> info N
N is logged in from
No personal information available.

> send N
Enter a message, end with Ctrl-D:
: I enjoyed talking with you.  Please play again.

Message! from N at 6:12am:
: wait, is this the computer again? keep talking dirty to me.

> logout
Thank you for using the BOOGiTY-BOO BBS!  Please report any problems to the
sysop or send e-mail t*** Stack overflow ***
Network read error: connection closed

User      TTY       From           Time    Idle   Doing
--------- ------    -------------- ------  ----   -------------------
pja293847 ttyt5     dialup          4:30a         telnet cs.usox.e...
root      console   localhost       1:50a    5m   telnet cs.usox.e...

goalie#ls -lA fun
-rw-r--r-- nalmerad users 1073741824 Jun 19 03:11 fun
goalie#mail < fun


State  of  unBeing  is  copyrighted (c) 1996 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) 1996 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:

                    CYBERVERSE   512.255.5728  14.4
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                  TEENAGE RiOt   418.833.4213  14.4 NUP: COSMIC_JOKE
             THAT STUPID PLACE   215.985.0462  14.4
             ftp to   /pub/SoB
                World Wide Web

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