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, UfOFofO ,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 2/28/98 tahw ro who gniwonk to think. You are in FORTY-THREE ni era uoY .kniht ot a state of unbeing.... ....gniebnu fo etats a
So, it's February, the shortest month of the year. I have an affinity for short things, like my attention span, which I don't blame on ADD or MTV but my burning desire to know everything before I die.
Some might say I have a fear of failure, but that's another conversation all together.
I've got a week left before spring break, and I've got two research papers due, two tests, and a bunch of other miscellaneous homework, and I spend tonight putting together the zine. If I fail anything in the next week, it's all YOUR fault.
Hah. Now you're a scapegoat. Feels good, doesn't it?
What was that about a fear of failure?
Blame is something I don't like to place on myself. I prefer to see things as the result of everybody else's actions, thereby removing myself from the chain of command and making me less responsible and more praeterhuman. For example, if I spend all of my weekly allotment of cash and have nothing to eat or drink until next Friday, the cause lies in the fact that I was not given enough money to meet my needs. Or, say I shoot someone in the head. It's not that I wanted them to die; rather, they just got in front of a bullet that I happened to be shooting at a blank wall.
Okay, so I'm not really that big of an asshole. I was lying to you. Well, except for the part about not having anything to eat until next Friday. That's true. Donations would be greatly accepted.
Jeez, so that's not entirely true either. I do have stuff to eat, it's just dorm food, and that's really bad, and it's only served at certain times, and right now I'm really hungry and I've only eaten a tuna sandwich that IWMNWN kindly bought me this afternoon before I left town and I'm starting to feel those hunger pangs. And it's going to be this way every night until Friday.
I believe the word is 'failure,' good sir.
Anyway, unlike my own self-psychoanalysis that I don't really believe in because I'm always wrong about those types of things, this issue of the zine is not a failure. In fact, I really, really like it. We'd like to welcome Rich Logsdon to the zine, and I think you'll enjoy his story "Bangkok Annie." I know I did. Always nice to find good writers. Morrigan and DCSFBTU turn in excellent fictional works as well, and Clockwork and Nathan talk about their own heads and try to figure things out. For some reason, I've written some poetastrie and something else that you might like or might not.
So, with that, I'm off to try to scam some change for some food from people who I don't know and hope that I don't have to eat my pet sea monkeys. They're reproducing right now, and in a few days, maybe I'll have enough to make a soup. Until March....
From: Rally To: Kilgore Trout Subject: Re: SoB #42 -- don't eat your own heart. Gigathanx! Kilgore, does this ego need more polishing?... BrrRRReeeliant! Aha... no chance for me eating my heart. Someone experienced told me it's bitter. Cheerz~ Rally
[this month we don't need our egos polished. they're bright and shiny, and we need to wait a bit to let them go down so people don't always think we're a bunch of stuck-up bastards. even though it can be quite fun. ;)]
From: "Plastic Machine" To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Minesweeper Simple games amuse simple poeple? What is this I here about interns? I am up for the challenge. pM
[well, as much as we'd like to be able to hire interns and show them all the secrets of a well-run and fully operational e-zine, we just don't have the budget. however, if people would like to go drop the name of our zine and our website all around the net (politely, of course... we aren't spammers) then i think that would be like an internship. sort of. except we don't meet you. and you don't move here. which is probably a good thing, considering the renovations being done in the ACP offices. i found a bucket of pee in one of the storage rooms. talk about lazy workers. jeez.]
From: "Kay Os" To: email@example.com Subject: discordian??? illuminati online.... discordian???? pro, or con??? i have a mailing list subscription to an old e-mail account, firstname.lastname@example.org... may i please change it to: email@example.com... most thankfull... keep up the zine, great work going ....
[io.com has been really swell to all of us over the past four years, giving us great ftp service and what not. we appreciate them. and being discordian isn't a bad thing, as long as you eat hot dogs on fridays.]
Dark Crystal Sphere Floating Between Two Universes
I Wish My Name Were Nathan
So what exactly is going on? I know exactly what is going on. It kind of pisses me off. Really very badly. Sometimes you wonder why people do the things they do. So. So. What shall I do? Just kind of sit around. Wait for things to happen. Wait. And rest. That is easier said than done. Really is. Crazily is. This is all just senseless kind of babble ya know. Very senseless crap. Has sense but no emotion/explanation. So. What do you do? It's fairly amusing actually. There's no point in me writing actually. I'm just trying to look like I'm doing something. While I sit and wait and things. They better show up again. If they don't than whatever. Doesn't really matter actually. Not at all. Who really cares. I'm not too certain. What's funny is that I cannot go home and sleep anything off because it is my parent's house. Which again is damn, damn funny. Very silly actually. Very, very damn silly. People are so fake.
One day I shall meet this beautiful, crazylike chick who will know all the shit I'm talking about, and won't be this everlasting hypocrite.
Or maybe I won't. -----> I would have to say that anywhere from 80% -----> 110% of this is in my head. Now I'm doing what I see other people doing. That pisses me off.
Hmmm. It's alright. Yo. Just not at this moment. Right.
Have I mentioned how fake people are? Funny watching people who may seem like the coolest most laidback people in the universe....
Blech. Let's just have some fun. Or something.
God do people piss me off.
Operators are people too.
So lessee what have we been doing -- I wish that person would shutup. So should I go out and eat or no. No. But I should. I'm hungry. People are way too cool for their own good. But maybe that is just a rut, not too, to, two sure. If you want to look at it like that I guess. Who the hell knows? Sometimes I believe I'm so full of shit. So completely fooling myself. Most of the time I don't really give a fuck. But there are times when I think too much about stuff.
I do know it's too late for my self. ----> Not normal definition of self. Ha. Yes. So _____ was tripping off of me?? So do I fuck everybody's head up?
Before I go back to work, an explosion of words from my reeling brain.
Boy, this is trippy. I look like a suicide victim in the mirror (once I can concentrate on the glass). All the blood dripping from under my jaws, running down my neck. Shaving accidents. [Yes, accidents.]
No, shaving was an experiment. No action is good or bad, but an experiment that yields its fruit in knowledge.
I've learned not to shave on DXM. But really, how much worse was this than any other shaving experience? For example, when I have been quite sober, I've accidentally slashed open my nose trying to shave out the nose hairs. Ludicrous. Utterly ludicrous.
So I took off two days from work because I was sick. I really was sick, it wasn't a pretense, but I was wondering otherwise as I drove into Austin the first time to buy a Pentium-166 and the second time to buy some fake cache RAM. (Fake or not, let's just say Quake is fun now.)
Sick. I said in my e-mail: "strep throat." In other words, as I interpreted it, an irritation in my throat causing much mucous spitting-up and much moaning and swallowing in the night. (An odd punchline to an infantosexual's bulimic fellatio fantasy.) Still, I didn't want to work. Didn't want to "merge code." Didn't want to "fix bugs." Didn't want to "make it pretty."
I never realized before that THAT's the gunk in the garbage cans. All this time, that black tar just disgusted me, but now I know it's the mucous I've spat up on sick nights. Funny. (Some part of me wants to scrape it out and pat it together into a homunculus.)
It was fun, again, to drive home during the day those two times. Usually I get home from work around seven or eight. I never realized that one could see so far....
Oh yes, and being sick. So I spread what might have been streptococcus to several innocent employees. At one particular chain store, where they didn't have any cache for many days, probably three distinct employees were infected by me, and many others by them. I don't hate them, honestly. It's just that they seemed so unserious about their jobs. The girl who took my check was so slow about the whole matter, blathering on to another employee about yet another employee who'd gotten liquored up and shot a hole through the wall. (Bravo! Tear down the wall! Tear down the wall!) She seemed sad. Props to her.
I think I would make a good criminal at times, because although I went into Austin twice that day, my mother still thought I had just come home once, and assumed it was because I was sick (and not fired or something). God bless her. I was sick, of course. Various cold 'n' flu remedies helped a bit that day, plus a dose of codeine I hadn't finished off from last summer when I had a wisdom tooth out. (I do feel less wise, come to think of it.) I had to remind myself while I was barreling down the highway at seventy miles an hour that (at any moment) I could cough and have a seizure once the comforting illusion of wellness the medicine gave me wore off. Then I would laugh.
My mom didn't come into my house when I was sick, which was good. It might have been disillusioning for her to come into my room when I was sick expecting to see me lying in bed but instead finding my computer splayed out on my bed with the two sound cards removed so I could figure out just what was preventing the cache RAM from being used. (It was helpful, after I put the machine together again, to search the Internet for "cache" and "boot" and "bios" and "pentium", because I came across a page that had this beautiful program that proved beyond a doubt that the cache was completely fake. ">>> If you think you do have L2 cache, it might be FAKE! <<<" )
Still, it's quite damn fast now, yes it is, and I forget why this was important. Like I've always said, "Yep, now that it's faster, it crashes faster too." (Important advice for young drivers.) (Make that non-smoking young drivers, BTW, because the wonderous caring biology police are about to broadcast messages of despair and decrepitude towards kids telling them that smoking can cost them their driver's licenses as well as their lives. Call me a spoilsport, but I always take it in the gut when something that was illegal to buy but not to use becomes illegal to buy and to use. And especially when the punishment really has absolutely nothing to do with the crime. Oh wait, I forgot about the punishment for dropping out.)
And again I've forgotten the whole point of this. Oh wait, it came to me in the middle of that sentence, but it was such a nicely typed sentence. I was all prepared to go to work today, woke up at seven o'clock to some classical fantasy music on 89.5 FM, and everything was tinted sky blue... Beautiful, really, or some sort of problem in my brain, and I realized I still had a cough. *cough* I knew I didn't like bothering my office-mate with nose-blowings or grunts or cursing, and I figured it would be twice as bad to come in after two sick days (advertised as "strep throat," which by the way is eating our children alive) and cough a lot. Not a good social maneouvre.
So, I went into the kitchen and started up the coffee, and tossed my wrinkly shirt into the dryer for a while to make it warm and cozy and smooth, and meandered into the bathroom to take three shots of cough syrup. The coffee was made especially to conquer the taste of the cough syrup (by me, not by "them"), which is advertised on the label as being "pleasant." Pleasant, my prolapsed left testicle. It's a damn conspiracy to keep all of us mortals on the robot plane. There's a reason why no one sells pure DXM cough capsules anymore. Maybe it has become physically impossible to put it in cough capsules now. Either that, or all varieties of cough known to science nowadays only come with headaches and mucous, thereby requiring poisonous doses of guaifenesin and acetiminophen to be added. (Poisonous for overdosing people like me, of course.) ("Kidney failure in fourteen hours!")
The first time I tripped off DXM, I swore I had taken like half a bottle, plus. This time I took much less. I'm learning bit-by-bit the beauty of weights and balances, corollaries to which include: if someone has been sick for a while and all their defenses are down, they will trip hard.
Of course, this isn't really tripping. It's just a physiological circus. I'm amused at how hard I swing my arm to do simple things like pressing buttons. It helps me empathize, you see, with other blind and ignorant forces.
It's now ten o'clock and I'm not at work for the third day in a row. I planned to go in today, but certainly not once I realized I was tripping. I don't trust my driving skills. I'll wait a few hours.
Part of me feels guilty, because yesterday I was working studiously on the computer as much as I would have been at work (provided I enjoyed what I was doing). Another part of me knows that the internal picture of myself is way different from the infinite external pictures of myself (which is different again from the other infinite internal pictures of myself of which I am not speaking at the moment), and if I did show up at work in a few hours while tripping, almost everyone who knew I was sick would agree that I had deserved the two days I took off. ("He still looks dazed. Poor guy.") Then they'd give me more grunt work to do.
I think this computer will make me do obsessive and compulsive things again. Now that it's so much faster, I can scroll through my writing in much less time, which makes me think I've written less. So then I'll write more to compensate. Ha ha. Ha ha.
I'm still not sure who my audience is here. I set out to write this for SoB, but since "I was drugged!" I am being as conversational as if I were writing in my diary. Here's a real excerpt from my diary, which would be interesting to comment on:
This ain't much of a goddamn diary.
[[ The previous entry was January 24. The next is from the 16th.]]
Well, after weeks and weeks (I think) of being in a terrible mood and afraid of going insane, I'm feeling a little better. Have I explained the insanity thing yet? I did, in the next-to-last entry before this one. But it happened again. I woke up in the middle of the night, around three in the morning, had to shit, and knew "something" was going to happen. Once again, I averted "death" while quaking in self-reassuring fear on the toilet. Something like that. This time I didn't offer up my soul to magick like I did the previous time (after which I scarely considered the matter again, of course). I don't remember much of it anymore. But I know my heart was about to beat veryvery fast but it didn't happen that way.
Me writing this now knows the insanity gambit is my ego's strongest line of defense at the moment. Especially insanity combined with ghoulish apparitions and stuff like that, because that's what I fear most. The loss of control is one thing, the ghoulish apparitions are a kick in the ass.
So, P-- and B---- and I were at Metro on Saturday night, while P-- was writing and I was bitching about being a loser and hating life and all the rest -- a really tired act, you know, I almost abdicated the whole game -- when finally after hours and hours of being awake (although I had been seized by an inappropriate napping spell that afternoon after planning some mischevious masturbation ideas) I calmed down and started listening to others.
B---- started talking about his conception of reality and he pulled out the it's-all-meaningless gambit, and the fact that I referred to it as a "gambit" shows my self-confidence. Because I assumed he was handling his promotion to glory poorly, that he shouldn't downplay reality and insult the illusion, etc. Until he pointed out that those were my interpretations, which was true. I listened to him talk, and he said some beautiful things about enjoying the illusion -- "I love listening to the music" -- and I remembered the advice to assume that everyone else but you is enlightened already. I'm not sure if I was meant to learn anything (for that implies meaning) but I'm glad he said that. I think I'd been playing the blind leading the blind role a little too strongly lately.
I told him about the definition of meaning being the relation of the finite to the infinite, which he seemed to muse over respectfully. It really is the definition of faith as told by Tolstoy, but I didn't want to bring such an ugly word into the conversation.
Before I realized all this, I knew I was in a better mood because I only sank a little bit when I said things about reality being a pointless ignorant game, or void politics, or whatever. Of course, today, having read some Illuminatus! trilogy some more, I should have seen that Eris has been beckoning me for quite a while, but being a male, I'm just so darned blind to such flirting.
I love the Illuminatus! triology. It's so damned deep and well-written, and I've got to stop thinking "that's acid for you." Because, as I've been experiencing myself, it can be done on a sober shoestring budget, if I just stop avoiding it so much.
They were shocked to find out that I was an aggressive driver. My dirty secret. Once out in the open, I saw how foolish I had been acting while alone in my metal speedybox thinking that everyone else was out to piss me off. Projection of a quite absorbing magnitude. I drove slowly home that morning and did the same today. I think it will save gas.
I don't know. I was feeling kinda spacey today while reading, and went outside to enjoy the February-typical 75 degree weather with the kitties. I destroyed the moment, or the potential for tripping, by having fallen asleep again. I did only get five hours of sleep last night but I think it's a sacrifice I'm going to have to make, to get anything done.
For most of the days last week, my stomach became warm and heavy during the end of the night. I know it's a chakra dealie but I haven't bothered to study up on it. I have been accepting the symptom well, but more than occasionally when I get in my car to go home, the cold air has made me shiver and I have become a little frightened that another "episode" would happen. I know I have to face it eventually. Indeed I want to face it. But every time it's happened, I've been too frightened to live up to my agreement.
I was analyzing myself and decided that, before yesterday, any sort of tripping or effective meditation would be likely to make me go insane. Because, psychically, I'd been dancing on the feet of a barstool, just wishing to fall and rupture my ass. I was driving angrily and working angrily and being an absolute self-obsessed whiny bitch about the whole change in my life situation. Several times I notice people have given me clear-cut obvious answers to my troubles, the most significant being when Br--- S---- said, in talking about a nasty e-mail from *** suggesting that we don't test our compilers, that you just have to fix the bugs and go on with things. Don't take them personally. Et cetera. But I still welcomed the chance to dig up and expose my previous errors, as examples of things I do take personally. The other numerous examples I have completely forgotten.
In general, though, P-- has been good to me recently. Whether linked psychically or not, his life has sucked since I started work too. Not in exactly the same way or at the same timbre, of course, but he's definitely not been distant from my sympathy. Yesterday he was heading back toward the happy-go-lucky personality he'd been exhibiting for months, and it made me happy too. It really did. Last night I had a strange dream with him in which we are exploring some strange house out along a lonely road in a rural area and I was telling myself that he was "my earth son." Or is it "sun?" I shan't inquire too much into this right now, but it makes me happy, whatever it means.
K----! Well, K----'s back, but he's not the same. Which is more of an obvious eternal truth than anything. He's still single, and he's writing a bit. Et cetera. He told me that in his British poetry class, he liked John Donne's poetry the best. Today while reading Illuminatus! I saw a reference to it, in which the authors believe that Donne wrote best about how to raise people from the dead. It all revolves around the Tao or the sign of Cancer apparently. Does one perform 69 with the dead? Hmm. No, it seems more like one must switch places with the dead. Or is that also incorrect? I'm not sure I'm much interested in doing this myself, except for possible psychic analogues.
I don't like being tired, but I like even less drinking a lot of coffee. I don't like the idea that if I don't get enough sleep tonight I'll be fucked at work. I don't like the idea that I won't be able to work calmly enough not to need caffeine while I work. "Whatever you believe, that is precisely the truth, for you" -- good words to live by. I should stop believing in the imaginary demons of seriousness and failure and anger.
Wow, I got distracted. What just happened? Oh well. I went and helped Dad with the computer, returned Mom's tape, etc.
I'm cold. My defenses are down. But I'm a little happy nonetheless.
Commentary? I think not. Just figured it'd be nice to say or something.
Did I mention that in addition to the new processor and fake cache RAM that I had bought on Saturday a new hard drive and a lot of memory? You see, the whole time I was doing this, I was chastising myself for spending all my money, which is supposed to go to such noble and worthy causes as... uh... rent or something. Or overpaying my bills, or something else idiotic like that. I was reminding myself, "This is all an illusion, you know," and countering that with, "Well, so's the money." Only now do I get far enough to counter again, "Even the little discussion and the idea that the act of exchanging fantasmic currency for little silicon-and-metal machines is somehow bad or wrong or unpleasant is also an illusion." But of course, me writing this right now, this is real.
But now it's not.
So I had this dreamlet (def: "even more disconnected and confused a dream than a normal dream, and only a snapshot thereof") about this guy who obsessively videotapes everything he does, somehow from a third-person perspective. (I guess it's metaphorical.) And he looks over the tapes studiously every night to pick out instances of when "they" are helping him out, leading him, directing him to do things. "Look!" he's laughing ecstatically, "they helped me through the whole thing! It all makes sense now!"
As I awoke from the dream, my natural thought was, "oh, the aliens motif," but then I recollected, or grokked, a smidgen of a feeling of a mystical experience wherein of course "they" guide everything, but "they" are I. And briefly afterwards (this was before chugging cough syrup) I felt as confused about what I had just thought as you, dear reader, are about what I have just written. And now, too.
I must have fucked up my computer because the clock keeps falling back in time. It's not nine-thirty, it's eleven. Shit. (Oh, and of course, jump to the shell, run "date", and see:
yin-yang:~/words# date Thu Feb 26 09:30:00 CST 1998
93, 93, 93, ....
Yes, yes.... I definitely think this will be one of those days in which I say, "of course!" and "obviously!" and giggle a lot, for no good reason.
I had planned to go to work about thirty minutes ago, but I remembered that my mom thought I was to leave at noon, and left me with the chore of moving the wash into the dryer. But I'm still wearing my glasses and my smart cap, and when I lay down on the rug (because it feels so good) and the cat came by to sniff me, I was reminded that he was alive because his breath fogged up my glasses.
It's odd, and kind of sad, how rarely I remember that I am alive. Because I am, you know. Nowadays I've taken up the vice of physical fitness, or a simulacrum thereof, and after fifty pushups and thirty situps done much too quickly when I am wont to collapse, I smile and laugh because I've reminded myself that I'm alive. Alive, and aware. Aware of being alive. What a precious gift! How much infinite compassion flows from the prakti-heart unto those who know not what riches they possess! How many Oriental phrases flow from my fingers that I'm sure I've heard elsewhere! How much laughter flows from my heart when I reflect on what I've said!
Because it's only true if it makes you laugh. The world isn't a prison. It isn't run by some ruthless or absent God. It's just a big practical joke in which everyone is the butt and the prankster, and one by one each person figures it out -- but being educated by Eris, s/he quickly and mischeviously resumes an act of ignorance, of idiocy, of sobriety, to prevent anyone else from catching on. Because if everyone catches on, the joke dies. And who wants to reminisce about some tired old punchline? ("I couldn't find the head!")
I'm not claiming to know much more than the existence of the practical joke. I'm still trying to figure it out, and I'll work for the rest of my life to do so -- after which I will promptly clam up and forget it. Again. Like I always do. But I'll be sure to attempt to reconstruct the joke for everyone else, giving a characteristically bad telling, which is only funny in its delivery.
(Obstetrician to mother: "Sure, it's a stillborn, but, good Lord, what a delivery!")
Careen into doubts willed about you. What once was told in slow, steady rhyming rhythms is now slapped and stamped forcefully into your head, leaving wonder and question up to none. Double, triple, one pierce too many.
"So, why are you here?"
"Oh, you know, sometimes I wish I wasn't."
"Right, but then why are you here?"
"I'm only here because you wish me to be."
"Right. What are you on?"
"Nothing, just in my head. Or maybe I'm in my head because I am on something. Maybe I'm on my head, or my feet, but who says there is a difference? East is west and east and north and up and down. Those who believe otherwise are only sad clowns who have forgotten how to laugh, or sadder still, never learned."
"So, do you come here a lot?"
"All the time, every minute, every day, every moment before time was created, and every moment since. It's a nice place, just as nice and nicer as any. Heft, jesty people lucid with their words and thoughts and werds. Simple thinking ones and craft leather strapped ones and red wine primed elder ones sometime wishing they were you."
"OK. You're going to school, right? Of course you are, you're in one of my classes, what a dumb question. So, what's your major?"
"Declared official as theatre, or even theater, sometimes with the arts, sometimes without. Nonetheless I am in no theatre, theater classes, and tend to think of myself majoring in ego-destruction, self-fulfilling realization and the like. Yet it is somewhat difficult to choose classes from the designated catalog to suit one's wishes. Perhaps if more would acknowledge their own wishes, or rediscover, or first-discover their wishes, even have their wishes, have some wishes."
"Yeah. I know what you mean."
"I'm sure you do, even if you do or don't know such a thing of this or that. Just let it go, and don't pretend. Masks and pretend-tion is what drives this into the ground. At times, anyway. Obviously there is nothing wrong with imaginary friends or playing make-believe. Not the pretending I speak of, but you know that."
"Sure. Yeah, I did. Well, I've gotta go, I'll talk to you later."
"You always will."
"La dee da."
"The poets? They stink. They write badly. They're idiots you see, because the strong people don't write poetry.... They become hitmen for the Mafia. The good people do the serious jobs."
Track lighting swirls
Ephedrine, cigarette buzz--
"She lied, she lied."
Innocent vision, as
Black as her nail polish.
Brushed on, wiped off.
Smooth walk, glimpse of red,
Smoke slowly stirs.
/Yaldaboath, Yaldaboath/ she accused, crushing
my desire. Her profile backlit by the flickering
neon, she would not move again until I restored
her. The acrid rain tore through my flesh, and I
raced under a nearby awning, smelling of rotten
bananas and grapefruit. I turned to see her
standing still like a pillar of salt, but I was
the one who had seen and withheld.
The accident still lives in my memory. Traveling at sunrise in a red '57 Ford Fairlane from Winnemuca, Nevada, to Los Angeles in early June of 1962, we had just turned on to the interstate when we collided head-on with a semi. Both in the front seat, Father was crushed to death and Mother was decapitated.
I was sitting in the back seat, reading Treasure iSLAND. Using crow bars and blow torches, the rescue crew found me buried alive within the car's compressed tangle of metal, which had formed a kind of box around my body. Gradually revived, I had lost considerable blood, and my heart apparently stopped beating once on the way to the hospital. Now, a disfiguring scar runs down the right side of my face, from the outer corner of my eye to just below my mouth. Too, I limp badly and am forced to drag my left leg behind me.
After the accident, I spent eight years on a farm in Sunnydale, raised by an uncle and aunt, both deaf as stones. It was the nearest thing to hell. They abused me mercilessly, the old man rarely missing an opportunity to remind me that my limp was an act of a loving Creator. However, blessed since birth with extraordinary intelligence, and unable to take part in athletics with others my age, I excelled in my classes, graduated at the top of my high school class and attended a university in Southern California, where I earned my Ph.D. My dissertation on Moby Dick was a lengthy examination of archetypal symbolism culminating in the characterization of Ahab.
Since then, I have published four articles, the most noteworthy of which is a fascinating study of celestial imagery in Anne Radcliffe's The Mysteries of Udolpho (See Fall 1983, Bangkok Quarterly). While my publications were not as extensive as I would have liked, they enabled me to land a teaching position in a small university in the Pacific Northwest, just east of Portland, where it rains almost continuously. There I met Professor John Peterson, who had moved up to the Northwest after teaching for twenty-five years at a college in central Nevada.
John received his Ph.D. in English from a Southern university. His dissertation was an abstruse application of an obscure derivation of formalist literary theory to six relatively unknown works from Eighteenth Century English literature. It won him critical acclaim in the academic community of Eighteenth century scholars, who often confuse obfuscation with clear explication. In the five years following the completion of his dissertation, he published all but two of its twelve chapters.
After he was granted his Ph.D., he moved to the barren landscape of central Nevada where he accrued several teaching honors for outstanding work in the classroom, wrote three college textbooks (all published by very small presses) and edited a small literary magazine, Phantom Streams, which quickly put him and his college in the academic spotlight. He continued to write and publish essays on eighteenth century English literature and the modern novel with considerable ease.
His students adored him (the females referred to him as "Long John"), my wife and three beautiful but adopted daughters loved him, and I tolerated him. At the insistence of my wife Annette and my daughters, I invited him on several occasions to dine with us at our great stone mansion on the hill overlooking the university, and John liked nothing more than a hearty meal and an occasion to smoke his pipe, which he used as a pointer while discussing with me and other colleagues -- I generally invited several people from the department over -- the writings of Eco, Pynchon, and Nabokov. He considered Nabakov's Pale Fire the greatest novel of the twentieth century.
There was never an occasion when this great man did not dominate conversation. Whenever anyone questioned his observations, the obnoxious old fart would respond with the fury of a hurricane and quickly sweep away any objections. Once, as the logs crackled in the fireplace on a blustery, hellishly cold night, he humiliated me in front of my own guests, remarking on my own glaring weaknesses in contemporary literature. More than once, however, I so under-cooked and over-seasoned his steak that he suffered diarrhea for days after.
He would unthinkingly belittle me in front of my own family and colleagues. It was when I began shouting in my own front room at my colleagues, with whom I argued incessantly, that this great and wonderful man would loudly clear his throat, spit into the fire, lean toward me, gesture condescendingly with his pipe in the manner of an elementary school teacher reprimanding a student, and remark, "Now, now, my dear William, my good boy, do you really quite believe the statement that you have just made?" or "Tut, tut, my dear boy. Try to understand that there may be more than one side to this argument. Tut, tut."
I saw John for the last time several weeks ago. He was lying in a hospital bed, gasping for oxygen, a breathing apparatus hooked up to him. His face was gray, drained of its life blood. A veritable bag of bones, he had lost considerable weight, and veins bulged invitingly in his hands and forehead. His eyes, however, blazed gloriously, indicating he was still quite alive.
"Well, well, it's my old friend 'Bloody' Bill," he gasped and wheezed, the glow in his eyes temporarily gone. He used a nick name several colleagues had given me years before. The allusion was to a two hundred year-old vampire, William the Bloody, who apparently killed his victims by driving spikes into their brains.
"I'm here, old fiend," was all I said. My eyes blazed back at him, I am sure.
It was then that he asked me, between gasps and wheezes, to publish his "opus," which he apparently kept in the bottom right hand drawer of his desk at home. At one point, as he held my arm and drew me close and hacked the phlegm out of his throat, I was sure he was going to spit on me.
With this request, John relaxed his iron grip -- even as he approached death, his strength was greater than mine -- and sank back into his pillows, exhausted, his eyes again dancing (I think he was mocking me), and told me to please go away. "Anything you say, sweet prince," I mumbled. A minute later, he was asleep. With great effort, I refrained from putting a pillow over his face. Instead, I substituted the white tablets I had bought on the street for the pills his doctor had prescribed to help keep him alive.
I arrived at the Peterson household shortly before 7:30 the next morning. (I was on my way to my 8:00 class.) His mistress Cordelia, surely one of his "honors" students, led me to his study. In the corner was John Peterson's great oak desk. I dragged myself over to it, a crippled monk approaching a holy shrine, bent down, and pulled open the bottom right-hand drawer, where I found a manuscript entitled "Opus #6: Vampire Lust: An Allegory for Our Times," which I have summarized in full.
"A screaming of vampires comes across the sky. It has happened before, but there is nothing to compare it to now. It is too late. Vampires are everywhere, having taken over the city. The Evacuation of Los Angeles proceeds. There are no lights anywhere. The stench of vampires, like the smog, is unbearable. Rain comes down. All is darkness."
So begins Peterson's "Opus," the opening an insultingly plagiaristic parody of Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow. It is an outrageous story -- the label "allegory" eludes me completely -- about teenage lesbian vampires from Las Vegas, who roamed the American Southwest in their parents' mini-buses, masquerading as an under-nineteen girls soccer team, winning tournament after tournament and terrorizing innocent men, women, and children who assumed that these girls must have been good, ordinary folk.
Newcomers to the team were routinely given two weeks of freedom before initiation: at that point, the new girl had to either become a vampire (see Anne Rice or ask John Peterson about this one), and participate in the team's frequent bloodfests, which often concluded with a trip to Lake Mead, or risk a "surprise" execution. One reluctant member, Angela (moonlighting as a stripper), had been stabbed to death over one hundred times, her eyes gouged out, her corpse left to rot in the desert. The parents of another hold-out, Buffy, had been electrocuted while they swam in their pool in Henderson, the odor of burnt flesh lingering for days over the community.
The girls' coach was a good though occasionally stupid man, a junior high school history teacher named Vincent Peter, who had played soccer professionally for one year in Rumania. On a bet, he had agreed to take on this team, abandoned by its previous coach, "a hairy animal of a man, with a missing left eye and a shriveled right leg, who had mysteriously disappeared after leading the girls to their only losing season, his disemboweled body later found floating face up in a swamp near Lake Mead."
It was when the coach fully recognized that his sick little darlings were "blood-sucking fiends with fangs, who had a taste for raw unbridled lesbian sex, who ate raw meat, and whose proper place of eternal residence was the pit of Hell" that the real fun began. During a tournament trip to Southern California, late one night at a motel in Sunnydale, the coach and his wife caught the girls in the captain' rooms, dabbling in drugs and voodoo, chanting and dancing, engaging in unspeakable sexual acts, and sucking the blood from the neck of one of the team's newest members (prostrate and unconscious), a young high school honors student named Celeste, who had decided to give up the ghost and join the ranks of the vampires. The coach ordered them all to bed, forbade them to watch television, and threatened to take them home the next day, a very bad move on his part.
In swift and frightening retribution, they responded as one. That very night in the motel parking lot the nasty girls took the lives of his wife, his daughter, his two sons, his dog Giles -- all of whom had gone on the tournament trip, viewing the event as something tantamount to a visit to Disney Land. All suffered bloody, violent deaths, his poor dog burned to death in a fury of flames. Finally, the girls turned on coach Vincent, who found himself in the middle of the parking lot, surrounded by "growling, snarling, howling adolescent hussies, who wanted a bite to eat".
Sensing the presence of the Grim Reaper himself, knees trembling, Vincent bolted over the weakest girl on the team (a girl named Willow), jumped into his blue rebuilt Dodge Charger, locked the doors, rolled up the windows, and laid rubber out of the parking lot. He drove like hell on the I-15 to Vegas, his vehicle reaching speeds up to 130 mph, the girls trailing far behind in the vans they had borrowed from their parents, none of whom had bothered to go on the tournament. As coach Vincent approached the city limits, the glowing blaze of Las Vegas, spreading out on the desert floor like a lake of fire, had never looked so friendly, and Peter took an off-ramp to the darkened maze of side streets in hopes of eluding his pursuers. It proved to be a descent into the Inferno.
The girls caught up with him about one half hour after he arrived home, parking their vehicles in the road in front of his house. "Howling and growling like a pack of blood-thirsty wolves," the teenage vampires surrounded his house, allowing no way out, it seemed. They now stood at the windows, glaring at him with bright red devilish eyes, awaiting the right moment to come crashing through glass in bloody cinematic fury. Vincent, however, proved resourceful once again, this time rushing into his garage, jumping into his car, and driving it through the garage's wooden door, running over, but not permanently injuring, one of the vampires.
At this late hour, sweaty hands gripping the steering wheel of his Charger, this good man prayed for an angel, a flood or lightening. "Sweet Jesus, help me now!" he tearfully whimpered and sang, vaguely recalling that he had heard the same words from a black Pentecostal minister at a revival one night years ago. On the same night, he had been baptized through full-immersion in the minister's bathtub. After what seemed to be hours of driving the pitch-black back streets of West Las Vegas, he found refuge in a nude bar on Industrial Road -- a dangerous part of town, famous for drug deals, gang fights, prostitution, and adult book stores -- reputedly run by the Asian mob. Standing out front of the building, a huge, pink fluorescent sign with a pair of ruby-red lips illuminated this part of town. He had been there many times before. "The girls knew him well and admired him greatly."
It was in the bar Phantom Moon that he met a beautiful young Asian woman with long flowing raven hair, with pierced nipples and belly button and red lipstick, "an Oriental chick surrounded by an unearthly blue glow." She was short, somewhat frail, her blue eyes radiant. Her most noticeable feature, however, was the tattoo of a small gold cross over her left breast.
When she asked him if he wanted her to dance, his throat went hard and dry and he couldn't resist. Her stage name was Bangkok Annie, and over drinks and between lap dances she claimed to be an angel sent by heaven above to redeem him from legions of darkness. Peter thought her insane. Quickly, he drained his drink, stood, and ran for the door. The sun was just coming over the mountains to the east when he got to his car. He knew he would be safe for a time.
According to Annie, it was only when Vincent could acknowledge that she was an angel that he would find deliverance. In the meantime, the coach would have lots of trouble. Indeed, Peter did have to spend nights running from the lusty predators, staying one night in a seedy hotel outside of town, the next night shivering on a bench in a park located on the west side, a third night on the beach of a local lake, one night sleeping on the couch of one of the strippers, and yet another in the back of a pickup truck. Several times, he barely escaped, the vampires often finding him an hour or two before sunrise. During this time, he returned to the nightclub three times, in each instance refusing to confess that Annie was an angel.
The fourth visit was the turning point. Alone with him in a dark corner of the VIP lounge, sharing with him a bottle of Tequila, Annie stood and, between song breaks, sang the most beautiful melody that the coach had ever heard. The song was an answer to his prayer. All the other dancers stopped what they were doing, many moved to tears, breathless, stunned by the sound, the words of an angel. Peter believed that no vampire could ever hope to sing so well.
Struggling to maintain his reason, buzzed on Tequila, Peter realized he had seen this singing dancer before. Certainly, he had not seen her in the Moon. He thought he might have seen her in a smut flick. And then he remembered: He had seen Annie several nights ago in a dream he had had while sleeping on the beach. In the dream, surrounded by a soft blue flame, she had walked across the lake to where he stood on the beach, stopping just short of the sand. She had held out her arms to him, singing like a siren, beckoning him to come with her. He had run away. He remembered that, in the dream, she had great blue wings.
The time had come for Vincent Peter to take his leap of faith. Though his thinking was clouded by drink and the sound of the Blue Oyster Cult's classic "See the Reaper," he closed his eyes, breathed deeply, and slurred in a barely audible voice, "I believe you, you gorgeous little gook. I believe you're an angel with pretty wings." He felt a finger make some kind of sign on his forehead and a blinding flash explode in his befuddled brain.
We may count it a stroke of good fortune that the now deceased Peterson did not finish or attempt to publish his "Opus," an exercise in very poor taste, indeed. The very writing of such a narrative, depending for its effectiveness upon cheap sensationalism attached to vampire literature, seems totally incongruous with the professor's scholarly persona.
However, to pander for a brief instant to the audience created by this work, one could consider a number of endings, all equally plausible given the total improbability of the story:
His love for her became more devotion than care. Since she gradually insinuated changes, rather than forcing them, he thought all of her changes were as much his idea as hers. He was lost.
Several months later, he ran into a long discarded friend. At Aly's nod of approval, he settled himself two tables away for a conversation. Initial pleasantries were exchanged, though he could see that he was just dragging out the agony for his companion, who was dying to know exactly what had happened to the Jeremy he knew.
"You look like one of them stupid gothic people, man. What's up with all of the black?"
"I thought it appropriate, since this universe is nothing more than an immense never ending funeral."
"Uh, sure, man. Right. Hey, have you been to any Pearl Jam concerts recently? I saw them a few weeks ago and they were great... got a couple new songs that really rock."
"I don't listen to such ridiculous music anymore. I prefer things more along the lines of Gotterdamerung now."
"It's an Opera. By Richard Wagner, who is one of the greatest composers that this world has known. It's title means "The Twilight of the Gods." Essentially, it is a metaphor for the way that our entire world functions. It is the last in a series of operas that describe the heroic and magnificent lives of gods and men. In Gotterdamerung, though, everything they've worked for is undone and they all die, while the world falls down around them. Like I said, it's a metaphor for our universe."
"Right.... Well, whatever, Jeremy.... See you around, man."
As she eavesdropped on their conversation, Aly smiled. Her work was complete; he was now a perfect man. As such, she had no need or desire for him anymore. She slipped out the door while he exercised his new personality and began to look for a new project.
Aly decided that she had now had her fill of human projects and resolved to exercise her creative urges in a more traditional area: painting.
Her search for a subject ended when she read the story of Salome and the Dance of the 7 Veils that was danced for the prize of John the Baptist's head. Something in the tale caught her fancy and her energy was now focused on the perfect painting that she envisioned.
She bought more paints, canvases and paintbrushes than she could possibly need. She also found as many books as she could that mentioned the object of her obsession. She intended to paint the scene with as much historical accuracy as humanly feasible while still capturing all of the emotion that she imagined in the scene.
She got completely caught up in her new project and promptly forgot everything she had ever known that didn't pertain specifically to her painting.
Jeremy was bewildered by Aly's absence. Now that she no longer found him, he didn't see her at all. He realized with surprise that he'd never found out where she lived and so he couldn't seek her out.
He continued to live by the habits that he had grown accustomed to with her. His denial couldn't sustain him for long, though. After a few weeks without her nurturing, his carefully crafted personality began to fall apart. He had believed in himself only because she told him to, so as soon as she left he was forced to question who he was. The greatest tragedy was that she had actually done a very good job with her masterpiece. No traces of his former self remained.
His ultimate ruin was inevitable as soon as his personality began to crumble. All that his poor befuddled mind could really hold onto was the image of his creator. Wasting away without a will to live he haunted the cafes, the parks where he and Aly had spent many a pleasant afternoon, hoping for a glimpse of her face.
As she became increasingly involved with her painting of Salome, Aly became less conscious of the little things in her life, like where she bought her coffee. This day her choice coincided with Jeremy's. Since he was the only person in the cafe when she entered, she noticed that he was there. Her head was full of her painting, though, and she didn't mark him as anyone special. Jeremy, on the other hand, had gone into shock when she entered. The object of his own obsession stood in front of him and he could do nothing but stare at her.
While she was waiting for her tall double mocha, she glanced at him again. This time she noticed his t-shirt and she made a mental note to try to find one like it, because she really liked it.
She paid for her coffee and walked out of the cafe.
A gentle breeze picks up and rustles the leaves, and his heels tap together quietly. Soon the children who play baseball in the field nearby will find his body hanging there amid the crumbling vine-covered tombstones, but for now it is merely a peaceful addition to the landscape, so unlike the tormented soul which had strayed into that cemetery a few hours before. As the first rays of the new day wash over the hanged man, a flock of black-winged birds break from the trees and fly up to the heavens.
"If you look real hard you can see the stars between the stars," Dirk had said at one of their philosophy meets, and, straining his eyes, Jon had seen what he meant. "It's kinda like people: There are some people who shine beautifully and brightly and others who shine on in obscurity with a sickly light." It was only now that he realized the full truth of that second sentence, sitting among the vines on the branch of the old yew just before dawn, holding the picture of her in her beautiful red and pink dress, and a flood of memories overwhelmed him.
He remembered that day, so recent yet seemingly so long ago, the they met after school, when they stood together beneath the overhang as the rain poured down and talked. He had been too scared say anything to her besides "yes" and "no," and hated himself for his timidity. He had admired the beautiful creature from a distance for a month now, sneaking peeks over at her during band class, admiring the way her hair spilled down over her shoulders with her cute little ears peeking out from beneath the honey-colored locks, the pretty way she smiled, the way her firm body filled her jeans and tee-shirt. They had seen each other occasionally, but they never had really talked until that day -- he never would have had the courage to talk to her, and he had always seen it as inconceivable that she would introduce herself to him as she was doing now. That was the beginning of it, the beginning of the friendship which they shared, the love he had for her. He thought of the ridiculous figure of the lanky, white-faced boy with his hands thrust deep into the pockets of the black trench coat he wore, talking to the beautiful young lady, the comparison of whom most people only see in storybooks or in dreams of purple-hued lands far away, and he still didn't understand why she had even bothered talking to the goblin which stood before her that day. That was so long ago, and he wished that things after that had followed the happy progression he had so hoped they would as he lay awake thinking about the incident the night after.
Like a cascade, the more painful memories followed. As the sky began to turn red a cock crowed and he remembered when he finally told her without telling her how he felt about her, after merely being her friend for months. Finally, after so long, he sat at his desk and the seven page letter gradually took shape. After several drafts burnt he finally had a letter which he felt he could give her -- not the beautiful epic he had planned, but one of an inferior grade with an occasional tear-stain, written in his horrible little scribble -- and sealed the pages in the envelope, giving it to her at lunch the next day.
The day after he had delivered the letter -- Friday the thirteenth, coincidentally -- he stood in that silent room holding the neatly typed poem and appended note and realized just how desolate his life had become in the few seconds it had taken him to read the page. In those few seconds the one timber of hope that had supported his crystal house of dream was yanked out of place and all that he had built his life around for the past few months was suddenly gone, and his feeble construct of fantasy had come crashing down about his ears. A void had suddenly opened in his life, and he could do nothing to fill it -- all it did was suck away all happiness he had in life in a vain attempt to fill the vacuum. He felt as though she had kicked out his innards and, not realizing what she had done, left him standing there, with a shocked look on his face, to pick up the pieces. Refolding the paper and placing it back into his pocket, yet another relic of his cult to that which he could never have, he turned and crossed to the sink and, having washed his hands of the sweat which had sprung up on them while he anticipated what the paper she had handed him said, he did what he could to compose himself and replace the mask which he wore every day but had been broken by the shock, and he left the public toilet a desolate man. He went through the rest of the day in a daze and, as soon as school was over, scurried off to the cemetery, which had always been to him a symbol of pain.
He kneeled among the ivy, silently weeping by the neglected graves of long ago, and put the dagger's stern blade to his neck, preparing to make the scarlet-summoning slice. Then he remembered -- remembered other poems she had written which had touched him happily, of nights spent together though thirty miles away, consoling each other in the face of mournful things and crying at the divine joke, connected by fiber optic coils and telephone wires across the intervening distance. And suddenly his despair lifted somewhat and he realized that all was not lost -- there was still some hope that she might love him. Finally he sheathed the glittering, thirsty dagger -- let it drink another day -- let the demons wait a while longer for what they have been waiting for for years.
He thought then of everything -- of a life continuing down its spiral into the dark realms of the Grey Lands, of a life spent with the one goal of attaining her hand, until he came along. At first Jon thought that John would be simply another friend, until he found out just how she felt about him. Ironic, he thought, how this person had the same name as him with the addition of just one little letter, but that one element meant so much. He decided that moment that all Jons who spell their names with an 'H' must be bastards -- all the ones he had met were. But, sinking back into misery, he realized he couldn't blame either of them for their choices.
He had been walking alone that day at the carnival, watching the fun of others and glancing into booths when he saw them sitting on the bench together eating the Coney Island hot dogs which seemed to always be the necessity at such events. Their backs were to him and, as he walked towards them he saw the smiles on their faces as they turned to talk to each other and then he saw the sight which finally broke his strained heart in two. The two turned to face each other and embraced in a long kiss before they broke away, she putting her head on his shoulder and he put his arm around her as only those in love do. He realized then as he had never realized before that being loved was something for others, not for men such as he, goblins and specters who lived between the lives of others. He trudged down the street away from the jollity with his coat billowing behind him, looking very much like a great black winged bird who, realizing it has flown its last flight, slinks away from the flock to die alone.
He arrived home and, opening the drawer in which he held his most prized possessions, he lifted the heavy rope from among the all the pictures of her and all the keepsakes he had of things they had done together. He held it reverently, this tool of salvation and of destruction, and remembered the day he made it when, intending to take his own life after being in a depression for so long, he went to the nearby university and dug up the dusty volume which the hangman Charles Duff had written back in 1929 for others of his trade and discovered the art of hanging. She had helped him out of that depression, but not until after he had made the noose, with plenty of tail for both the nine and a half foot drop necessary for his weight and for tying the rope to the bough and, having said good night to his family, climbed out of his window and went to that place of pain. This was the only way to fix the problem, to eliminate the pain of those who, as he was, were stuck between life, sentenced to only watch as others lives passed by -- and the pain of those forced to deal with them.
He watched as the sun finally rose on the eastern horizon, and realized what a pity it was that the whole day wasn't as beautiful as the dusk and the dawn. It seemed the beginning and the ending were the most beautiful -- and the most deceiving -- times of just about everything. Finally he slipped the noose around his neck and, slipping the picture into his breast pocket over his heart, he let himself drop from the tree. If anyone had seen him fall that morning in the pale sunlight, with his coat flying behind him on that short nine and a half foot drop, they would have sworn how much he looked like a great black bird with his wings clipped falling to a fate he knew he could do nothing to avoid.
::: SECTiON A: MULTiMEDiA MiLLENiAL MADNESS
television hysteria borderline on the brink of emasculation
call letters KiSS: kings in satan's service
urban legend or dire straits video gone awry?
feeling pituitary glands rocket forth hormones laden with the love drug, an anaesthetic controlled by men without desire or compassion, without any sanctimonious foreplay: a gel of symbiotic nightmares, tasty enough to be spread as icing, deadly enough to be poured into bombs.
|BROADCASTER DAN:||This just in, ladies and gentlemen of the You-Knighted-States of Amerika. A situation has developed that is of the utmost magnitude. Stay tuned for more details.|
|BROADCASTER TOM:||Incendiary devices! Incendiary devices! Blow 'em all to hell, you pinko dupes!|
|BROADCASTER PETE:||Where's my dog?|
THiNGS TO ACCOMPLiSH FOR TODAY (xx/xx/1998)
/...and there can no other,/ she thought, watching him drench himself in Reichian terminology and Buddhist meditational techniques while wearing that tight T-shirt and cute beret. /You'll be mine soon, once you get your head out of those books and look my way./
Lazlo played Othello with the devil every second Thursday. He was always black, and he always lost, but he was getting better. He wondered when the practice rounds would end and if they'd start playing for keeps. Then it would be a board game for heaven, winner take all. Lazlo asked the devil if he could go first this time.
Conservatives hate forests because all of the radical rebels go there to hide. Logging isn't just a job -- it's a national security issue.
a heroin dreamland filled with waif model types who have clean arms because they shoot inbetween their fingers and toes, under their tongues, under the guns of the DEA piece-wielding peace-officers who raid the shack to prevent them from sharing needles in a devout and pious effort to keep AiDS in government labs where it belongs.
A brief description of historical criticism: Who cares about the text?
A brief description of form criticism: Who cares about the author?
A brief description of authors: Who cares about the critic? (we do, we do)
Jonestown. Mount Carmel. A Luby's in Killeen, Texas. Post offices across America. The government is either already there or they always show up afterwards. Coincidence? Today on [insert tabloid talk show/local news station/cable access program here.]
The birth of a revolutionary leader in a Radio Shack mall outlet, circa 1985:
10 PRINT "Fuck the world! Anarchy Rulez!" 20 GOTO 10
|BROADCASTER DAN:||Tonight, new information from the American Medical Association. In the new JAMA being released tomorrow, it is revealed that genital herpes is not -- I repeat -- is not a walk on the beach with a symphony playing lazily in the background.|
|BROADCASTER TOM:||Flaming cocks! Flaming cunts! Be monogomous, kids.|
|BROADCASTER PETE:||Where's my dog?|
saltine crackers and firehouse gardeners pave the way for the emissary from regions unknown to our terrestrial senses who has come to put our fears in a small, mahogany box and sell it to the highest bidder.
defective o-ring g-spot crash consumes the oxygen in his lungs as flames lodge themsleves on his tongue, creating quotations in cartoon bubbles from third-rate Louisiana erotica writers as she sits on the maitre d's reservation book, unsatiated.
The dichotomy between pleasure and pastoral love:
Salome and Herod Antipas playing foosball with John the Baptist's head while Jesus feeds hungry followers on the side of a hill.
The advanced state of organisms is based on the institutions of prisons. Biology textbooks define complex organisms as having more cells, which means that humans in America are the most advanced species this side of Jupiter.
Revisionism isn't only in the hands of neo-Nazis who want the Holocaust to go away. Before the religious right came into power, groups like the Baptists were the primary supporters of the separation between church and state. In fact, Baptists were the only ones in the colonies who allowed others to worship as they pleased. The oppressed always become the oppressors.
A brief conversation overheard in a downtown bistro in Austin, Texas:
"So, my mom promised to buy me an inflatible doll for my birthday."
"No, she lied. She got me a pair of Doc Martens instead. They're too big."
"Well, I guess you could.... Oh, I suppose you want to trade those in, huh?"
posthumous awards ceremonies entice would-be believesinto selling all of their possesions (washers, dryers, recliners, asbestos firesuits, lawn mower repair kits, small children) in a futile attempt to whitewash the cash cow and exalt the dead who cannot record another annoying pop song that everbody hated at the time.
She said that she was a siamese twin, but it looked like she really only had an extra left hand. When I questioned her about this, she lifted up her shirt, revealing her grinning sister's head in the place of her left breast. I wondered if her sister ever wore hats and whether or not they fit her based on a hat size or cup measurement.
If I were President of the United States, my cabinet would be just that: a cabinet. I'd fill it with useful books from Loompanics and Amok Press, thereby insuring a library any leader would be proud to own in a bid to rule the world.
Parables edited out of the Bible:
BROADCASTER DAN: News is a privilege, and if you're going to
treat me like a puppet with a hand up my ass, then I won't rotely read stuff
off the teleprompter every night. Whaddya think about that, boys and girls?
Uncle Dan still has some cajones!
BROADCASTER TOM: Watch my broadcast! I'm better looking!
BROADCASTER PETE: Where's my dog?
::: SECTiON B: EN ROUTE FROM ALBUQUERQUE
The stench of her unleashed bladder woke Ramses from his slumber in the tiny compartment on the 1:26am night train to New Dealy Plaza. He shook his head, washing away lingering memories of a dream about Talmud exegesis, and garnered a peek into the bunk below. The old hag he had managed to ride with was in the throes of some grotesque erotic dream, her hands pawing her withered breasts and freshly damp crotch. Her dentureless mouth gaped and contracted, trying to form sounds that her body would respond to. Ramses jumped out of his bunk, hastily fumbled into some clothes and exited the compartment.
The ticket had been hard to come by, but Ramses had given up caring about the price to pay in order to get out of the state. He'd met the old woman, whose name he thought was Moira, in line at the grocery store where he was trying to buy beer with foodstamps so he could make molotov cocktails. The invading forces were getting closer every day, and he was going to put up as much of a fight as he could. Moira had talked him out of it, explaining that she had friends in Dallas who could protect her, and if he could get a ticket, she'd be more than happy to take him along when she left in three days. Ramses told her he was broke, but Moira made him a deal he couldn't refuse, even though he wanted to.
For the next three days, they fucked. Moira was 61, but she had the libido of a drunk college party girl. She also had a problem: instead of orgasming, Moira would piss. Ramses never asked for an explanation, and she never offered one. Sinking his head between her legs on that first night, he recalled the news reports of what the enemy did to their prisoners, making this look like a Sunday afternoon picnic. The only part Ramses partially enjoyed were Moira's toothless blowjobs.
On the second night, Moira asked him if he thought she was beautiful. Ramses finished toweling off his face and spat on the ground. Moira rolled over onto her side, facing away, and sobbed. He told her that the only reason he was here was because she had something he wanted. Once they were in Dallas their relationship would end.
And now he was on this godforsaken train, unable to sleep in his own compartment. He made his way to the dinner car. It was deserted, so he slid into a booth and tried to get some sleep. He woke up about two hours later to the sound of talking. Ramses lifted his head up and noticed two young women seated across the aisle. The brunette saw that he was awake and motioned with her head in his direction to the redhead, who turned to look.
"Stowaway?" the brunette asked.
"Can't sleep in my room," Ramses replied. "My traveling companion can't control her bodily functions."
The redhead made a disgusted look at Ramses. "Doesn't she have those adult diaper things?"
Ramses sat up. "Nope. I think she gets off on it. But what do I know? She's old enough to be my grandmother, but she was my only way to Dallas."
"I bet you're headed to New Dealy Plaza, aren't you?" the brunnete queried.
"Yeah, I am. How'd you know?"
"We are, too," the blonde said. "Or were, rather. Latest news I could pick up off my walkman said that Dallas was already hit. With nukes. The US has already retaliated with everything its got, so I expect that this train is going nowhere real fast."
"Christ, why is this happening?" Ramses swore. "What do these people want?"
"Not people, sir," said the brunette, grimacing. "They aren't people."
"So what are you going to do now?"
"We're getting off at the next stop and are going to hole up in the first church we can find."
Ramses folded his arms across his chest. "This isn't the time to get half-baked and religious. If we don't figure out something soon, we're gonna be toast."
"I know," the blond responded, pulling out a bible and a pistol from her jacket. "That's why this is the best time to get religious. Pray with us."
Ramses thought about Albuquerque and his molotav cocktails, of Moira and her chance of freedom exchanged for his own debasement. He clasped his hands together, closed his eyes, and prayed to a god he didn't believe in, hoping that they weren't sent by him.
::: SECTiON C: THE PiLLAR OF FiRE BURNS, BURNS, BURNS
Sign seen outside a Catholic church in Dallas, Texas:
"God's will is given out on a need to know basis."
Lucky for us that the Pope has his holy decoder ring.
Jules stood in the back of the porno store, scratching her head as she tried to decide between purchasing Splatterfuck or Booties: A Book of Baby Erotica. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw the clerk approaching her, licking his pierced lip and dancing to an imaginary salsa beat. He asked if he could be of any serive, so Jules punched him in the gut, muttering that he should have better manners.
A definition of bad musical influences:
"This song makes me think of mommy squirrels filing down acorns to stab baby squirrels. Get me out of this subterranean hell!"
|BROADCASTER DAN:||We interrupt this excuse for quality programming with an even more useless special report. Our confidential yet highly paid sources in Washington, DC have informed us that your government has lied to you not once but many times. The President has issued a statement saying that we, your trustworthy news broadcasters who come into your living rooms every night, are the liars.|
|BROADCASTER TOM:||It's good to know that those bastards are just like us. Well, except for me.|
|BROADCASTER PETE:||Where's my dog?|
ancient heiroglyphs inscribed in limestone blocks reveal eternal truths that have been repeated and repackaged thoughout the centuries in various cultures and religions, most recently appearing on late night self-help informercials and PBS specials with the latest hip gurus.
Nakedness is both the curse and cure for innocence.
The burning bush told Graham that it needed a man to lead its people out of the bondage of this sick and cruel world. "Dude, man," Graham said, stroking his goatee, "I'd believe you if I hadn't done so much acid and didn't think this was just a flashback." And so the people continued to suffer.
"Ateh malkuth vegeburah vegedulah liolahm amen." The words spilled forth from the robed man and cut through the darkness of the small room, both a calling a a proclamation to a pwer that was greater than him and yet originated in him as well.
alien membranes erupt under laser scalpel slices, destroying themselves to prevent their secrets from being discovered by muttering surgeons and Air Force officers who want to be omniscient because they are not omnipotent.
Shattered windows. Green carpet. Yellow wallpaper. A still fan. No light. Miranda. Fresh vomit. Two gas station lighters. A bra from Sears. The smell of waiting.
He habitually chewed the skin off os his lower, chapped lip as he sat looking out the window, nervously preparing for takeoff. His purpose for the flight had never been ascertained, and even he didn't know exactly where he wanted to go. All he understood was that he needed to go up. A voice crackled over the loudspeaker: "T-minus 10...."
Advertisement on a bulletin board at a local community college:
"Babe magnet! For sale: 18 month old iguana, comes with shelves, toys, heat lamp, and all the women that he can muster."
Men can never look macho while sipping out of a straw. If you think you can, chances are that you look like a total fool.
All mystics have trouble relating their experiences because of the difficulties of language. If they devised a language that would be concise and exact, not only would their accounts be dry and drawn out, but they would soon be viewed like lawyers and probably led by hasatan, the eternal prosecuter.
Lunacy strives foran exalted seat next to materialism and vanity. Put the three together, and you have a triumverate that can make you buy unwanted goods and feel great doing it.
Religion is the opiate of the masses. Opium is the opiate of the French Decadent. Decadence is the opiate of apathetic youth. Apathy is the opiate of stagnation. Stagnation is the opiate of religion.
I thought I read the saddest words in the bible yesterday. I was translating Amos 3:2, thinking that God said, "Only you have I known from all of the families of man; therefore I will be empty unto you with all of your guilt." What a horrible thing that would be, for your own God to tell you that he feels empty because of what you've done. Then I realized I misread the verb stem and that the last section should have read, "Therefore, I will hunt you down because of your sins." I liked my mistranslation better.
BROADCASTER DAN: Flumoxed. That's how I feel. If you think the
news we give you every night is depressing, even after we throw in bad puns
during the lead-in, you should take a look at the stuff we don't broadcast.
BROADCASTER TOM: And now for some real news. Oh, wait. It's
only Nascar. Damn!
BROADCASTER PETE: Where's my dog?
::: SECTiON D: HOLiNESS iS NEXT TO GODLiNESS
[An undecorated stage with two metal folding chairs in the middle, facing each other. An elderly woman with a cane and a small boy enter from both sides of the stage and take their seats.]
|ELAiNE:||Do you believe in the existence of the soul?|
|NORMAN:||I know or I doubt. Belief is only a tool.|
|ELAiNE:||Do you know that the soul exists?|
|ELAiNE:||Do you doubt that souls are real?|
|ELAiNE:||Then what do you think about souls?|
|NORMAN:||Does it matter now?|
|ELAiNE:||It may make a difference on the type of afterlife you experience.|
[Enter stage right a cop and a folk guitarist. They stand behind the two chairs.]
|COP:||(lighting a cigarette) Do you know some Pink Floyd?|
|GUiTARiST:||Sure do. (begins playing "Comfortably Numb.")|
|NORMAN:||The afterlife doesn't concern me. I'm already enlightened.|
|ELAiNE:||You? Enlightened? But you can't be more than eight.|
|NORMAN:||Precisely. I have yet to become an actor in the game of life.|
|ELAiNE:||Bullshit. (crosses her arms) How can you know what it's like to be enlightened unless you have been unenlightened?|
|NORMAN:||Because I see you right now.|
|ELAiNE:||Don't get smart with me, kid. I've been on this earth for eighty years, and I've got more wisdom than you could ever hope for!|
|COP:||Ma'am, play nice now.|
|NORMAN:||Wisdom consists of cliched sayings and is tripe for mutts. It does not concern me.|
|ELAiNE:||Then tell me what I should do.|
|NORMAN:||Open your third eye and see.|
|ELAiNE:||That's just a bunch of new age -- rhymes with sewage -- mumbojumbo. Next you'll be telling me I need to go buy crystals for my well-being.|
|NORMAN:||I'm not speaking of a metaphysical third eye. I'm talking about trepenation.|
|GUiTARiST:|| (plays "The Great Brain Robbery and sings.)|
All your prayers won't save your soul,
Adult, you need a hole.
|NORMAN:||In 1962 a Dutch doctor named Bart Hughes proposed a theory about permanent enlightenment. His theory of evolution states that man's upright stance, while providing many benefits, prevented blood from going to the brain because of gravity, thus restricting the levels of consciousness previously maintained. This lack of "brainblood" volume, along with the fusing of the cranium at the adult stage, led Dr. Hughes to introduce trepenation as a cure for human ills.|
|ELAiNE:||You want me to drill a hole in my noggin?|
|NORMAN:||To put it simply, yes.|
|COP:||I would like to interject that what you propose borders on insanity. I hope it's illegal.|
|NORMAN:||Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, give to God what is God's, and give to me what is mine.|
|ELAiNE:||Were you dropped on your head as a child?|
[The guitar player cuts in the Dead Kennedy's version of "I Fought the Law," causing the cop to put his hand on his holstered service revolver.]
|NORMAN:||Really, you must try it. Perhaps you could live out your remaining years without being so stodgy.|
|ELAiNE:||Why, I've never--|
|NORMAN:||In fact, I've got a doctor here all suited up and ready to perform the operation, if you'd like. (cupping his hands to his mouth and yelling.) Dr. Smithereens!|
[Dr. Smithereens enters stage right, dressed in bloody scrubs and a clown wig. he carries a large electric power drill and an air horn.]
|ELAiNE:||You're a doctor?|
[Dr. Smithereens blows his horn once.]
|COP:||Do you have a permit for that monstrosity?|
[Dr. Smithereens blows his horn again.]
[The clown approaches Elaine, turning on the power drill. Elaine jumps up and wields her cane like a bat. The cop pulls out his gun and aims it at the clown.]
|COP:||Don't move any closer or I'll shoot.|
[Dr. Smithereens honks his horn twice.]
|GUiTARiST:||I smell a rumble.|
[Dr. Smithereens lunges at Elaine. Before the cop fires, the guitarist hits him with his guitar, causing the cop to shoot Elaine in the back of the head.]
|ELAiNE:||(on floor, gasping) It really does work....|
|NORMAN:||Not exactly the desired method, but isn't a moment of illumination in your lifetime worth the price fo death?|
|COP:||What have I done? I've got a family.|
|NORMAN:||(standing up) What about you, policeman? Do you want to be like a child again?|
[Dr. Smithereens turns towards the cop, grinning and increasing the power of the drill.]
|COP:||Fuck you, clown!|
[The cop raises his pistol and shoots the clown in the gut, who slumps to the floor. Dr. Smithereens holds down the horn for a few seconds and then dies.]
|COP:||Jesus, what is the world turning into?|
[The cop begins to cry and exits stage right. A gunshot is heard.]
|GUiTARiST:||What do we do now?|
|NORMAN:||(picking up the drill and putting on the clown wig) We spread the word.|
[The guitarist drops his guitar and exits stage left. Norman turns to the crowd and smiles.]
::: SECTiON E: LAST CHANCE FOR A SLOW DANCE
My girlfriend always makes us wear gas masks whenever we fuck. She says it heightens her arousal with the implied sense of impending death, like we're making a last ditch effort to feel pleasure before the biological weapons eat our flesh. I think it's weird, but at least I get some.
"You look like a poet, but you really aren't one," a guy said to me on the bus. I took off my sunglasses, displaying my blind eyes. "My mistake," he said. "You see more than any of us possibly could."
concrete enemas and autoerotic asphyxiations enhance the despair of a new generation sworn to defy the norm and accumulate gratification at any cost.
I met a time traveler once from the future and asked him if we actually did a good job. He put a hand on my shoulder, shook his head, and told me that the future waits for no one. He wouldn't answer my questions about specific details, but he did say people would die. Ooooh.
BROADCASTER DAN: It has recently been proven that cellular phones
and computer monitors do not cause brain tumors. However, usage of these and
other similar devices can still be construed as tools to be used against the
proletariat, so rise up agaisnt huge electronics corporations and go back to
using rotary phones and typewriters. Besides, the sound of a pulse line and a
key hitting a page is more aesthetically pleasing.
BROADCASTER TOM: It's cause he's from Texas. They're all
backwards down there.
BROADCASTER PETE: Where's my dog?
A teenager to her father after a poor explanation on how his msucle car engine works:
"Dad, why do you have to be so obscure? Even Eliot used footnotes."
I lost faith in professional wrestling when I was ten and got ringside tickets to a match. I was so close that I could see through everything. I think lots of things are like that: governement, religion, writers, etc. It's better to stay at a safe distance and believe the lie, unless you want to think or something.
Band names generated on a computer with two word lists:
Cheesy Discharge. Papal Pajamas. Rockin' Enema. Naval Lobotomy. Glass Dildo. Freaky Youth. Sober Sawdusters. Diabolical Discourse. Masoleum Lexographers. Synthetic Dustbunnies. Flagrant Monkeys. Episcopalian Attitude. Siamese Robotics. Angelic Intercourse. Nazi Neighborhood. Latent Lycanthropy. Bouncing Bolsheviks. Superluminous Reaganites. Pleasant Nimrods.
A conversation overheard during the final minutes of Hebrew 2312:
"That sounds like a fun UiL activity, arguing theories and all that jazz."
"No, I was in computer science. We dealt with programming."
"Oh, I thought you said 'pure science.'"
"That sounds like some strange Aryan superiority contest. 'Uh, hi. I'm here for the pure science competition. Why are you guys dressed like that?"
"Yeah, costuming would be a major drawback."
talented bipeds struggle en masse to a perfunctory evening of wining and dining, of dancing and drinking, of spending and squalloring, all in a thaumaturgical evocation to show that they should spend the rest of their lives with you.
Things I need to pick up at the grocery store:
|BROADCASTER DAN:||And now, as our broadcast comes to a close, I'd like to take this opportunity to speak in tongues. It's a talent I've long kept hidden, but I think it's time to show that once again, our news corporation is more divine than any of the others, The 700 Club included. It's almost musical, in a way, and I hope you like it.|
|BROADCASTER TOM:||Last chance for a slow dance, people.|
|BROADCASTER PETE:||Where's my dog?|
State of unBeing is copyrighted (c) 1998 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) 1998
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