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                 10/28/98                tahw ro who gniwonk
to think. You are in                 FiFTY                 ni era uoY .kniht ot
a state of unbeing....                                   ....gniebnu fo etats a



EDiTORiAL by Kilgore Trout



by Kilgore Trout

Unlike a television show that hits an episode number landmark and treats you to a bunch of flashbacks, we continue to bring you new content in our hour of glory. After all, we're not going to recycle old material until the right time to sell-out comes to print an overpriced SoB retrospective coffee table book. Not that I foresee that happening anytime soon. Purists in the crowd, rejoice!

In commemoration of this wondrous event, we will be having the first ever State of unBeing "Fuck You, Clown" shebang. It will be held on Friday, October 30th at 11pm in the Metro coffeehouse on Guadalupe street in Austin, Texas. It's right across the street from the West Mall of the UT campus. If you're not in Austin, get your ass down here. You've got two days. If you can't make it, well, I'm sure somebody will wring an article out of it for the next issue.

Did I mention we're all going to be dressed up as clowns?

Anyhoo, it should be fun, so come down and have some coffee while we try to drink hot liquids while wearing big red noses. And if the party sucks, blame Clockwork. It was his idea to be clowns. He didn't like my ideas that usually involved headless children. What can I say? At least the kids who were holding their heads had smiles on their faces.

This issue is what we in the publishing community call "tight." It's slim, compact, and it's all good. Clockwork gets down and dirty with the y2k problem that is making consultants and retired cobol programmers money again. We've got poetrie from some of my personal favorites, Japhy Ryder and The Super Realist, and also that guy whose name is way too damn long but I'm gonna end up typing more by trying to avoid it. IWMNWN produces some more stuff that you can't help but like, and I've got a couple o' things as well.

You want in on the action? You want us to make you famous? Well, tough luck. We're just zine people. But we like what we do, so come down Friday or drop us a line. Submit, submit, submit. And maybe you'll get lucky and get a third audio issue before the year is up.



From: Crux Ansata
To: kil <>
Subject: SoB letter

Dear Editor,

     A couple of problems with my last essay, the one on monetarism in State 
of unBeing 49, have been brought to my attention.  I would like to take this 
opportunity to clarify or correct these.  I would also like to invite anyone 
knowing better than I on these topics to write in to State of unBeing; I for 
one would be interested to learn more about economics.

     The first concern is a bit of an historical detail.  I referred to Adam 
Smith's mercantilism.  (I thank Anygirl for pointing out this would not go 
over well among most economists.)  As I understand mercantilism, this was an 
early form of capitalism in which the wealth of the nation was considered to 
be most important.  Tariffs were encouraged, and the world was seen as a 
competition where each nation could benefit only at the expense of other 

     In the textbooks, I understand Adam Smith is not considered a 
mercantilist.  Even though he lived and worked at the historical time I would 
consider mercantilist, his work is generally seen as opposing mercantilism, 
and opening the way for the classical economics of Ricardo and Say.  
Personally, I don't see Adam Smith as being in the same economic camp as 
Ricardo and Say.  Adam Smith, for example, in theory supported tariffs under 
certain circumstances, these being his famous "exceptions" (when an industry 
is necessary for national defense; to balance out tax burdens on foreign and 
domestic production; in retaliation to high duties by other nations; and to 
force open other nations' markets).  In practice, he has been associated with 
even such tariff policy as the Townshend Acts.  (Smith was tutor to 
Townshend's stepson, and is said to have advised Townshend on the acts.)

     The emphasis on tariffs is not coincidental; my main concern with the 
effects monetarism has is the way it lends itself to free trade.  There are 
other tenets to mercantilism I don't know as well, and these may be ones Adam 
Smith did not share.  On the other hand, the neo-classical economists of the 
present day appear to misuse Adam Smith to support their policies; I rather 
suspect the classical economists may have done so as well.  Adam Smith was 
such a pivotal figure he really cannot be fit into an easy compartment; his 
works and his influence are difficult to pin down; at least for me.  So, all I 
can say is Adam Smith worked in a mercantilist milieu, but I do not call his 
thought mercantilist.

     A concern that is a bit more of an oversight -- and I thank I Wish My 
Name Were Nathan for pointing it out -- is that I neglected to define 
monetarism.  I am no economist, and so am unable to define it definitively.  
That is no excuse, however, and so I make an attempt.

     Strictly, monetarism is a field of economics, the study of money theory.  
It is also a macroeconomic theory.  Milton Friedman is the economist most 
associated with this theory.  In the broader political field, the principles 
of monetarism played a very profound role in the policies of the western 
nations, especially in the 'eighties and 'nineties; in that sense, I called 
non-economists such as Reagan and Thatcher monetarists.

     Monetarism holds that most or all economic effects can be manipulated by
the change in the supply of money; not only inflation, but incomes, supplies 
and demands, and so on.  It seems to me that monetarism achieves this effect 
by separating out what it considers economic effects -- being those 
manipulated by the money supply -- from the rest of the effects.  Those would 
be the externalities.  This is, of course, an oversimplification, but 
hopefully enough to see what I meant by the term -- used sloppily to refer to 
both the strict and broad senses -- in my article.  Milton Friedman's books 
are still in print; I encourage anyone with more questions to look them up.

       Crux Ansata
From: Bircham
Subject: Who needs to be spanked?

I would love to have the privilege of taking you over my knee and smacking
you gently, yet firmly.

Onto other things... 

I just waxed my legs yesterday after one complete year of absolutely no

I haven't bit my nails in over two weeks.

My fish keep dying. I suspect the neighbours.

My sister's cat barfed up a hairball today. It wasn't a ball though. It was
tube -like and solid, as if it should have came from different region...

Oh yeah, I'm glad this wonderful publication has returned. I have been
bored lately. Because of this boredom, I have been speaking en francais a
lot more in my everyday life. Tres interesant? Oui, oui.

[i think that letter speaks for itself. god, i love my readers.]

From: Spocklove
Subject: yummy and bloody

because I will love Al Gore and his meat will taste better than the finest
tender loin in the world!

[um, is this kosher? whatever. i shall refrain from falling into the trap of making the joke about how Al Gore would only taste like wood and just wait for the secret service to call my house. as a side note to this letter, i decided to change one word. see if you can figure out which word i changed to really prevent the SS from knocking on my door. wussy? oh, possibly. i do think, though, that you, spocklove, need to find better targets. live long and prosper. i can't believe i just said that, but i do know i don't really mean it. it's the polite thing to do.]



Kilgore Trout

Dark Crystal Sphere Floating Between Two Universes
I Wish My Name Were Nathan
Japhy Ryder
Kilgore Trout
The Super Realist

Crux Ansata

Oxyde de Carbone


[=- ARTiCLES -=]


[Editorial | Next]

Y2K, WHERE Y=11 AND K=3.1415926

by Clockwork

Ooogly boogly, what have we here? Thousands of scampering rabbit heads with 1s and 0s and functions for eyes, gnawing on caffeine sticks and reaping the farmer's crops. Scamper scamper, my little anti-social friends, hippity-hop on bunny flop in front of the tractor. Maybe unemployment is so low because 412% of all those comp-sci graduates are sent to the trenches to mull on that year 2000 thing.

What year 2000 thing? Oh, you know, I needn't define. Even Farmer Lou up there in the fields has heard the news reports of tattered years. We've got some percent of the population who don't care, some percent who don't believe it, and some percent who think the world is going to fold into itself and boom-whack-whack, game over. Who to believe, who to believe.... Sure, I've known about this for a while, sure I've used computers since 1986, work for some big technology giant, and have this crazy array of techno info trapped in my skull. So, when the media broke open their golden egg and bean to fry that sucker up, I could only chuckle. Me and mine would scoff at every mention of that millennial computer combo meal, believing in the warfare of hype and hysteria. And now I think I was wrong.

I see reports of nympho steak sucking programmers, who've spent the last 20 years staring at black and white gobblety goop and making it work with their voodoo dolls and magick squares, running to the wooded cliffs where they've spent their $80k/year on bunkers and camo and dark green diesel generators, cans and cans and cans of food, handguns, surveillance, solar panels, Dr. Seuss's Guide to Surviving the Apocalypse. There they go -- watch them scurry. But I also see other high-ranking geek-o-philes sit and calmly watch, or at least that is what they seem to be doing.

A long ex-girlfriend's mother asked me about that 2000 thing last month with paranoia dripping from her eyes. She asked of stock markets crashing, banks with no cash, car crashes, tornadoes, nuclear war. Non-technical, ubernon-technical they were, with media saturation leading to the conclusion the end was here. And I can not explain the reasons why and why not to someone that is untechnical -- they put too much trust in others' words, and still would not understand it. After attempting to rid their cataclysmic thoughts and replace them with mini-cataclysmic ones, they came to the conclusion they would take a bit of cash -- a good chunk of a bit -- out of Mr. Bank now, just in case. Sure. Whatever. Then the untechnical father came home and said everyone was wrong, nothing will happen. And Dad is always correct.

Regarding my own opinions, things will happen, and the world won't be happy. Civilization isn't going to come to an end, just minor temporary weirdness that theoretically could cascade into blissful anarchy or a subset thereof. The main reasoning behind those beliefs are based on two things: manpower and embedded chips. Sure, you've got all these strung out programmers racing around attempting to fix ancient and not-so-ancient software. That's fine. What about those roaming around to fix hardware? Embedded chips that need to be replaced or re-programmed through hardwarical means. I would have to say the people gawking over software outnumbers those weeping on the hardware -- the hardware in all these millions of techno, mechanical, industrial gadgets splayed around. So, let's take all that hardware and all that software, all those things that need to be fixed, and compare them to the number of people currently working on it. I don't have numbers. I've heard many a number and believe none of them. However, those supposed numbers, as well as some basic logic, all point to the same huffy answer -- it's not going to happen in a year and a half. Nobody's planned for it. Everyone is forming instant just-add-water solutions, and in red mambo corporate land and bureaugoverned organizations, plans never get instantly implemented -- always having slots of approval and approval, funding and budget hissy fits. It would not surprise me if some of the entities don't start attempting to fix things for another six months. And after pouring over closets of official strategies of both public and private sector organizations, I can tell you that most that I encountered have just introduced their plan to deal with this whole issue -- with their end-dates of solving the whole thing rather close to zero hour. The supposed average time for a midsized company to become Y2K compliant is 30 months.

And to add to that, Eastern Europe, Russia, India, Pakistan, Southeast Asia, Japan, China, most of South America, most of the Middle East, and Central Africa are at least 12 months behind the United States.

AND. Let's add a few more statistics to the list. 80% of all computer software projects in the Unites States are completed late. The only worldwide event with a higher cost than Y2K is World War II.

It's all numbers, baby. Y2k. Number of superheroes (h), number of issues (i), months per issue (m), 14 months until superpimp returns to earth, at the most. (At the most? What about those places across the planet who start their fiscal year 2000 several months before 2000 actually hits the calendars? Yes, tis interesting.) Figure it out. (i*m)/h=14? Certainly looks nice, though likely to be an inaccurate algorithm.

What's really going to happen? Hmmm. Maybe you should ask, 'What do YOU think is really going to happen?' All these people are saying they are y2k compliant, and everything will be alright. If you were Wall Street, would you want people to know you are not y2k compliant? Aha.

What COULD happen:

Right. So that may seem a bit grim, and obviously a bit doubtful. But entertaining. And I wouldn't have to worry about my bills. However, I shouldn't be tossing about rumor material like the above. Pay more attention to the things I think WILL happen -- emphasis on "I think" and "will" -- as well as the things I am concerned about, and then you can make your own conclusions. I should mention that this is not meant to be an all inclusive information database for Y2K. There are sixteen libraries of information available around the globe on the topic, and to actually assess the situation accurately, one would have to bounce around from company to company, organization to organization and see what everyone is doing. Which I have done my fair share of. These are things I am particularly concerned about, or which seemed to have been overlooked by the media and the people.

Once again, the commented list above is just a miniature amount of things that are out there -- possibilities of failure occur in security systems, fire suppression systems, elevators, food and soda vending machines, airplane and control tower radar systems, laboratory and medical equipment, hand-held devices, air conditioning, toll booths, parking lot gates, time recording systems, factory machinery, vaults, copiers, fax machines, telephone systems, water and sewage systems, sprinkler systems, elevators, escalators -- all off an published list of vulnerable systems published by Columbia. And the list goes on.

One final list of statistics, concerning public utilities. In April, surveys were sent out to over 300 utility companies (electric, natural gas, telephone, and petroleum) servicing the state of Minnesota to assess the status of Y2K compliance efforts. Of these sent out, approximately 75% of the these organizations responded. Of those, approximately 50% state they have established a Y2K plan for compliance. And approximately 40% state they have established a detailed compliancy plan. Most state they will be compliant by "some time in 1999."

I shall leave it up to you to decide your fate. Honestly, I subconsciously encourage problems to occur, for we need a drastic change in our state of living -- the humans have become much too dependent on technology, and it would be interesting to see how well people adapt when forced to. And I always wanted an underground bunker to reside in -- protect myself from those ominous Y2K looters, as well as any pole shifts that may occur in 15 years or so.


[=- POETASTRiE -=]
"In the East poets are sometimes thrown in prison -- a sort of compliment, since it suggests the author has done something at least as real as theft or rape or revolution. Here poets are allowed to publish anything at all -- a sort of punishment in effect, prison without walls, without echoes, without palpable existence -- shadow-realm of print, or of abstract thought -- world without risk or eros."
--Hakim Bey, T.A.Z.


[Prev | Next]

by The Super Realist


Present? Covered.

I think I made myself too much to eat
She said, "The table isn't sturdy enough for all of us."

The cat is furry
I wonder how different history would have been if, instead of Marco Polo,

My watch is running fast and I have nowhere to go

Thank you

Two pages of financial calculations.
I woke up with a headache
Time to expose myself and my spleen inside the bat cave

The cat is furry
She said, "I've had enough, I can't take it anymore."
Bah! Human Interaction.
Minnie Mouse is a whore

I woke up with a headache

Thank me
This semester is making me crazy. I just want people to love me

Pluto is aligned with Mickey
I'm in the west, and she's down South with her little band of Mexican grave
I'm forwarding my mail to your house instead of the hotel room
I woke up with a headache

She said, "I don't like wearing pants anymore."
"Want to work for Woody?"

Why can't my balloon stay up in a perfectly windy sky?


Walking on a thin line
After three hours of excruciating interpolation, it's over and done.

She said, "I've had enough, I can't take it anymore."
I'm so tired I'm twitching towards
The other side of the galaxy

She said, "I never want to do that again."
Goofy's having an orgasm
I dreamt my computer reached out and slapped me

I woke up screaming
2 DOWN.......3 TO GO.....
She had Marky Marco Polo!
The plane flies low over the Rockies

Ah... made it
Thank her

One more to go.......
My brain fires off in a duel
I'm in the west, and she's down South with her little band of Mexican grave
robbers towards
The other side of the galaxy

I'm getting there.
Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of the communists
Amazing. I'm actually NOT the pettiest person here... frightening
She said, "I don't like wearing pants anymore."

Thank him
I'm drunk
2 DOWN.......3 TO GO.....
I woke up with Burroughs' Mugwumps surrounding me

Why do I always get so paranoid?
I overheard some negative conversation, or
I dreamt my computer reached out and slapped me and
We crashed in our hotel rooms

Through the other side of the galaxy
Time to expose myself and my spleen inside the bat cave
Yes, I'd be a good tech writer.
Tres cool.

The plane flies low over the Rockies
She said, "I don't like wearing pants anymore."
Looks like a little skin diving is on the menu. Dammit!
Wherefor art thou Romeo?

To the death
Mother's Day cards from your cat.
I'd like to announce that I'm doing away with greeting cards.
I don't know

You know, I find strange, strange things funny
I'm drunk

Well aren't you just so special.
I'd like to announce that I'm doing away with greeting cards.

I wonder how different history would have been if, instead of Marco Polo,
had references?
"Alex, hands out of you pants."
Ah... made it

My brain fires off in a duel
I think I made myself too much to eat


"The ultimate achievement is to live beyond the end, by any means whatever."

--Jean Baudrillard


[Prev | Next]

by Japhy Ryder

The ocean sucks the day over to Russia.
The moon pulls the sick
from the sand in stark bone statues of shadowy genuflections
a postmodern re-enactment
of Los 7 Deadly Sins--

The Angeles-------

pride. The center will not hold the red shift, stupid.
The ulnas and radaii pointed skyward like geese
in disappointing Nixon-like V's
negatively reflected
into the sand in silvery greys and browns,
these shadow sculptures holding position
as if they had a right to exist and to be
seen and theorized.
envy. A variorum text of the above.
wrath. If anger
is a car
accident, then wrath is light.
A wave without mass; energy
without form.
Perpetual motion machines set to auto-destruct;
the femur struck
through your goddamned throat, split
down the middle by a living machetth
from sternum to coccyx; molten aluminum
in the anus; autoerotic asphyxiation;
procrustean hecatombs of castration; the flesh
extruded cleanly from muscle
and muscle from bone,
bone from marrow,
essence from culture,
culture from beyond
in self-loathing scarification rituals of philosophy
and operant conditioning cicatrices.
sloth. These fat fucking bitches gnawing
their fingers for more fat, lipids, glucose,
dextrahytozipine, polyunsaturated 2 di-ethyl benzodiazipam,
cyclofuckinghexacholride, all-natural Yellow #666,
individually wrapped cellulitic phenylbarbital,
cholesterol-free keratoconjunctiva,
all-bran pentasodium pentetate, clingfree protoporphyrian oleanomycin,
L-dopa, adosine, synaptic emulsifiers, carotid soothifiers,
goddamned panopticonic fluoxitines,
filtered stretched sucked massaged egos,
cucumbered squeegeed avacadoed mudbath seaweed vacations,
which isn't to say they aren't Vogued Cosmoed and Elled
into a neverending stupor of discontent,
and then certainly we couldn't forget the assholes
who are pleasured and minoxidilled and propeciaed and nicotrolled
and 12-stepped and Lexused and tennised and Niked and steroided
and pumped and jogged and weighted like iron
Reeboks straight to your nearest Sharper Image.
avarice. see above.
gluttony. ditto.
lust. In late-night bent-over-the-couch rabbit fucking
darkness of white cotton panties and bare thighs
and fine high shanks all wrapped in music and steeped in secret
secretions of phallic balusters and beer bottles
and wrenching torment of need like fine drugs mainlined
through the cock and hanging testicles slapping between
her artifice, bright purple engorged nipples like pencil erasers eradicating
and rubbing away all that came before
tearing into the paper of flesh and memory
dragging the red shift into a place so small it explodes
through itself into the negative event horizon of desire
cutting wetly through the marrow to the essence of night
on the beach and the statuary bound together
with the ligaments of imperfect love.


"To make a bank was a great plot of state;
Invent a shovel, and be a magistrate."

--Andrew Marvell, "The Character of Holland"


[Prev | Next]

by Dark Crystal Sphere Floating Between Two Universes

Their eyes are like gentle forest pools --
Soon to desiccate and leave nought but ugly holes.
Their milky white, glowing flesh,
Will soon decay, leaving white, beautiful bones.
They will love and be loved,
But soon none will fight the vermin for their prize.
And as I gaze upon their merriment
The danse macabre weighs heavily on my mind.

And so I turn my mind upon my Beloved,
The Eternal One, unchanging and unchanged,
Who loves even those who do not love Him.
And though I seek Him my whole life,
I know that in truth He holds me ever in His arms.


"Computers are useless. They can only give you answers."

--Pablo Picasso


[Prev | Next]

by The Super Realist

Anthony's at Point Defiance

Ferry horn blaring thump thump of jazz mix ensemble
     to move my inner-ear and hear
The percolating of the coffee behind the bar

Black coffee
I prefer the bitterness of the pure bean
Over your java-esque wannabe's
Like cino's and ocha's and esso's

Your need to blend the palate.
It's not like some Aryan race to space of uncompromise
I don't need any socio-political uprising over a drink
I get that enough with the rest of daily life

Give me a pure beer
I don't need
I don't want
It's all hops
That's what I thought

Why are you staring at me
I don't want your fish,
But I do want the interplay
     of bitterness and brine
     from black coffee
     and the saltwater


Placate the palate
Symphony of senses
And orchestral maneuvers in the Nasal Cavities
Let it cut like a clipper across the waves of tastebuds
     and you can't get THAT with a quad-shot-double-skinny-
     mocha with a sprinkle of chocolate to boot!
Don't look at me with that forlorn
     sense of self
(or Mrs.?  I can never tell)

I'm just here for the experiences
Like any good dharma boy would be,
     except I don't have any prayer beads anymore

I count the sun and stars and street lamps that
     block my horizon like so much tissue paper
     fog in San Francisco

But, I'm not in San Francisco anymore
I'm just here watching the ferry roll in
Like a mechanical anthill and it's too big
     for me to figure if it's moving away or towards me

Might be that fog rolling in
Might be the seagull screaming
Might be my black coffee sliding down the back of my throat
Might be all of the above
     or none all at once.


"Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity."

--Horace Mann


[Prev | Next]

by Japhy Ryder

was carrying on
out on his porch, sitting and spitting
and pert-nigh pontificating
on the general decline of culture,
holding forth to his wife
half-asleep at his side in the swing.

"And I don't know about
all this nonsense poetry Jennifer
wants to write when she could be doing
something a little practical--
what in the hell'd she do in college--
writing poetry?"

And he spat, and his wife ran
her fingers across the cover
of her granddaughter's book--
and the old dog squatted beside her
letting its water run through the boards
onto the ground underneath the porch.

The woman took up the book
and with a sharp short stroke
clobbered the dog on its skull--
It lay down in the puddle of its own piss.

"Practical poetry," she replied.


[=- FiCTiON -=]


[Prev | Next]

by Kilgore Trout

Andrew watches her slowly walk through the door, close it, and look around the room, bewildered. The paint on the walls continues to peel, and Andrew shuffles uncomfortably on the uneven carpet.

"I just left here, didn't I?"

"You have arrived."

She stares at Andrew for a moment, shakes her head, and sulks out.

* * * * *

Andrew watches her slowly walk through the door, close it, and look around the room, bewildered. The paint on the walls continues to peel, and Andrew shuffles uncomfortably on the uneven carpet.

"I thought we were finished."

"Me too, but you keep coming back."

She stares at Andrew for a moment, shakes her head, and sulks out.

* * * * *

Andrew watches her slowly walk through the door, close it, and look around the room, bewildered. The paint on the walls continues to peel, and Andrew shuffles uncomfortably on the uneven carpet.

"Where did you put the exit?"

"Time does not stop for you to depart."

She stares at Andrew for a moment, shakes her head, and sulks out.

* * * * *

Andrew watches her slowly walk through the door, close it, and look around the room, bewildered. The paint on the walls continues to peel, and Andrew shuffles uncomfortably on the uneven carpet.

"I don't think you believe in God."

"It's simple, really. God doesn't believe in me."

She stares at Andrew for a moment, shakes her head, and sulks out.

* * * * *

Andrew watches her slowly walk through the door, close it, and look around the room, bewildered. The paint on the walls continues to peel, and Andrew shuffles uncomfortably on the uneven carpet.

"Why haven't you moved at all?"

"Are you sure I'm the one that is stationary?"

She stares at Andrew for a moment, shakes her head, and sulks out.

* * * * *

Andrew watches her slowly walk through the door, close it, and look around the room, bewildered. The paint on the walls continues to peel, and Andrew shuffles uncomfortably on the uneven carpet.

"What time is it again?"

"La veille du futur."

She stares at Andrew for a moment, shakes her head, and sulks out.

* * * * *

Andrew watches her slowly walk through the door, close it, and look around the room, bewildered. The paint on the walls continues to peel, and Andrew shuffles uncomfortably on the uneven carpet.

"The puzzle has to have an answer."

"If there is no answer, is there a puzzle?"

She stares at Andrew for a moment, shakes her head, and sulks out.

* * * * *

Andrew watches her slowly walk through the door, close it, and look around the room, bewildered. The paint on the walls continues to peel, and Andrew shuffles uncomfortably on the uneven carpet.

"What do you see when you look out the door?"

"DNA helixes propping up dying stars."

She stares at Andrew for a moment, shakes her head, and sulks out.

* * * * *

Andrew watches her slowly walk through the door, close it, and look around the room, bewildered. The paint on the walls continues to peel, and Andrew shuffles uncomfortably on the uneven carpet.

"The fool still stands."

"'Blah, blah, blah,' countered the Sage of Time."

She stares at Andrew for a moment, shakes her head, and sulks out.

* * * * *

Andrew watches her slowly walk through the door, close it, and look around the room, bewildered. The paint on the walls continues to peel, and Andrew shuffles uncomfortably on the uneven carpet.

"I can see the future."

"And she is the past in reverse."

She stares at Andrew for a moment, shakes her head, and sulks out.

* * * * *

Andrew watches her slowly walk through the door, close it, and look around the room, bewildered. The paint on the walls continues to peel, and Andrew shuffles uncomfortably on the uneven carpet.

"Why are the words different?"

"We battle against stasis."

She stares at Andrew for a moment, shakes her head, and sulks out.

* * * * *

Andrew watches her slowly walk through the door, close it, and look around the room, bewildered. The paint on the walls continues to peel, and Andrew shuffles uncomfortably on the uneven carpet.

"I can't feel my legs."

"You look exactly like my mother."

She stares at Andrew for a moment, shakes her head, and sulks out.

* * * * *

Andrew watches her slowly walk through the door, close it, and look around the room, bewildered. The paint on the walls continues to peel, and Andrew shuffles uncomfortably on the uneven carpet.

"What happened to your face?"

"The mouth is an unnecessary body part."

She stares at Andrew for a moment, shakes her head, and sulks out.

* * * * *

Andrew watches her slowly walk through the door, close it, and look around the room, bewildered. The paint on the walls continues to peel, and Andrew shuffles uncomfortably on the uneven carpet.

"It seems different this time."

"A failing of your callous perception."

She stares at Andrew for a moment, shakes her head, and sulks out.

* * * * *

Andrew watches her slowly walk through the door, close it, and look around the room, bewildered. The paint on the walls continues to peel, and Andrew shuffles uncomfortably on the uneven carpet.

"Why are you one step behind me? You make me come back to get a reply."

"Truth lives in similarity."

She stares at Andrew for a moment, shakes her head, and sulks out.

* * * * *

Andrew watches her slowly walk through the door, close it, and look around the room, bewildered. The paint on the walls continues to peel, and Andrew shuffles uncomfortably on the uneven carpet.

"So what will you say if I leave for good?"

"My delayed responses keep you alive."

She stares at Andrew for a moment, shakes her head, and sulks out.


"Dare to be naive."

--R. Buckminster Fuller


[Prev | Next]

by I Wish My Name Were Nathan

As the government reported today, swarms of leprotic frogs are being released into the Amazonian basin in response to public outcry, on a need-to-know basis. Locations of the basins will be sold in auction for a select few lucky patriots, the President reported. McDonnell-Douglas and Westinghouse refused to comment on plans for media saturation.

Is it not a man's greatest fear that his greatest fear be discovered and used against him? So many levels upon levels of higher forces are controlling and watching him at any given moment, but the man will spend his time wondering instead if one of his peers is harboring resentment. He turns a blind third eye to his real insecurities.

Scientific studies show that a frog's greatest fear is loss of control of bladder functions. When left in a small shoebox under a little girl's bed, such frogs will balloon up with toxic gases until the girl enters puberty. When such an occasion arises, the man doesn't once think what might be watching his entire universe, which upon circumspection is no larger than the space inside his head, extrapolated into infinity, stretching the matter of a frog's leprotic skin until it bursts in a sickening wet thud.

When they throw the rocks at me, I don't really fear them. I know what they want to do. I know they will succeed in hitting me a few times on the head, and I will fall unconscious and wake up bloodier. I don't fear the pain or the injuries. I only fear losing control. When they throw the ideas at me, for that is what they are, my only fear is losing control, and allowing myself to believe that the ideas are really rocks and really will sting me. I only fear that I will slip and give the rocks the attention they don't deserve. I fear believing that my death is imminent, because it then is. The shoebox is closing in on all sides, covered with shoes and toys and rocks, and I will suffer.

And here you depict young boys performing cunnilingus on each other, how despicable! I mean, as if boys that young would even know how to spell cunnilingus! It's this kind of dime-store pornography that stems from the offices of new mothers who think such displays of pubic affection are cute and innocent; how little they know, those blinded purveyors of the worst smut, the new mothers. You think it's such great fun for the uninitiated, but who's there in the morning to comfort them and change their bandages?

And on the eighth day, God hired a contractor to do patch-up work.

I consulted the nervous-looking man about a problem with my plumbing. I feared that the pipes were clogged with rotting frog skin and shreds of dignity. The man led me into a room behind his office and started up the slide projector. After flipping through various educational slides about the hazards of copper piping and lead paint, a slide came up, a shot of me and my campmates in a group photograph. As in the Wizard of Oz, you had to look close to notice the munchkin in the background dangling from a tree by his Under-Roos. We had found the munchkin while ferreting about for cigarettes and cunnilingus and since the munchkin didn't answer our three riddles, we had to hang him. The riddles weren't very fair.

But the plumbing associate continued his tirade and pointed out that he was in camp with me. He in fact could see his own face in the group of fidgety boys who spent long weeks in single-sex bunks in the years after saltpeter. I know this man was lying or insane or forgetful. He explained that he was the absent bunkmate who spent long days in the mountains and deserts behind the camp, hunting for mushrooms and his worst fears, and finding them. He would come back to camp in the wee hours of the morning, eyes bloodshot and frantic, hair matted down with slime, hands covered with blood. He would capture raccoons and vampire bats and slice them open and engage in ferocious, terrified intercourse with appealing, desiccated peasant corpses. The important part was their lack of money, he repeated, because it widened the field. He had the whole field to himself. He admitted, though, that he might have been his twin at the time of the photograph, which is why I might not have recognized him.

The West divides the East into north and south apartments, each paying rent to fund the others' silence and repair their own secret plumbing problems. At the boundary between the sides there is nothing but a boundary which is nothing but an idea given attention which is nothing. But how they fight and throw punches at each other below the beltway. Airplanes can cross from one side to the other without a scratch and they still bleed and hurt and cry and laugh and consume tons of petroleum byproducts. Who is the landlord of earth, besides the higher entities giggling at our boners?

The little girl who has forgotten her leprotic frog nest will someday see the number 258 in the eye of her mind and wonder why 8*5 is 40, 40 which is 2*2*10 where there are two digits left (hence the square) and one power of ten for the remaining digit, and why 258+40 is 298, whose digits add up to 19 which adds up to 10 which adds up to 1 again. But will she ever see the 1 directly, that 1 which cannot be divided because it is indivisible and infinite and ungraspable without attempting to divide it? Or will she see the 2*5*8 which is 80 which is infinity sideways on nothingness? Isn't that just infinity times zero equals...?

I'd say the way he walks around tapping his forearm and grinding his teeth, he fits the image of a junkie onto the the body of a supermodel for comic effect. I never liked comics; the reek of politics gets to me. And then there's that aftertaste. No toothpaste can wash off that Silly Putty.

No one told him why the house was tilted ten degrees or why he had to pick his nose while wondering about that fact. He was sure the house didn't care about the way it was, although it secretly thought it was cute at times when the rain slid off into the hair of the new mothers, their eyes awash with infantosexual fantasies.

As I've told the psychiatrists many times whilst kindly refusing their offers of drugs, I'm not as much of a narrow-minded liberal as everyone else. I support hunters. I always tell them to shoot for the stars, and I laugh a lot when I see them them try. Those bullets have to come down sometime, I protest to my psychiatrist, and shouldn't there be a law? He only smiles sweetly and says there is a law, popping a capsule of psilocybin, there is One Great Law, with capitals. They have to keep people like me off the streets. The referent was as ambiguous then as it is today.

The intelligent monkeys stay off the streets and never have to look both ways once, twice, and an infinite number of times before being clobbered by a heat-seeking autobus. The intelligent monkeys live in the trees and eat of Nature's bounty. No, no, not humans! Humans aren't monkeys. We're different. We have guns. And none of those cheap-ass coconut bombs those monkeys like to throw, either.

Those who think they have stopped learning await the harshest lessons yet. For example, Nietzsche's doctrine of the eternal recurrence of all events, Kierkegaard's eternal paradox, Heisenberg's Uncertainty Priniciple, and Bart Simpson's sixth grade curriculum. If you thought it was difficult to comprehend God as individual as well as infinite, try memorizing all the world capitals!

I spent a quiet evening recently thinking about all my friends as a boy. It was impossible, accounting for all those extra body parts, and the fact that some of them are women.

Found written on a prescription: "Mr. Fish took my gin to the back side of the storage room, spinning on an old cardiganophone. I'll never see my gin again, and Mr. Fish just laughs at me like the Buddha." The third staunch conservative you meet will also shrug.

Does no one understand? Dust no one under stand? There's no one under sand? There's no one on the stand? Tears -- no -- won on the sand. Terse new wan Hondas tan. Retched Ferengi bastards. Does no one understand?



"When you've understood this scripture, throw it away. If you can't understand this scripture, throw it away. I insist on your freedom."

--Jack Kerouac, "The Scripture of the Golden Eternity"


[Prev | Footer]

by Kilgore Trout


There's a line leading to the airplane's solitary bathroom, and Asian stewardesses wearing baggy blue jeans and white tank tops (brown nipples) break through the crowd shooting blowguns filled with peanut dust at allergic children en route to a medical clinic. The smell of damp crotches and the sound of weakening sphincters spills forth over the intercom as the pilot announces the loss of the fourth engine. Oxygen masks drop from the ceiling, wrapping themselves around passengers' necks and spraying copious amounts of cyanide into the cabin. A row of nuns spontaneously combusts while the plane lurches forward and crashes into Mt. Everest, foiling the attempt of climbers who had almost reached the peak.

* * * * *

"No escape from ennui on a Saturday night," she says, repeatedly flushing the toilet in a rush to finish the makeshift funeral of her German shepherd. "Oh, Mopsy, you little bitch, whatever will I do? Who will I rub to placate my nerves? Who will greet me upon my arrival from work?" The cats jump through the open window, slit her throat and rejoice at their satisfying yet unnecessary preemptive strike. "Bloodlust," Siamese Jukey explains, "requires fulfillment."

* * * * *

It's not my fault that I can't breathe, thought the corpse of Harry Belvedere, so why sweat it? The "1812 Overture" wasn't the music I was expecting in the afterlife, but it adds a nice regal touch to this whole death state, which I guess I'll have to get used to. The absence of a white tunnel of light leading to the pearly gates is a bit unnerving, but at least there aren't flames. I burn easily.

* * * * *

"Ya know, what really gets me about Poe," Samantha said, "is his hang-up with the whole premature death of a beautiful woman thing. It's either that or people being buried alive behind walls. One urban legend from West Point shouldn't provide that much fuel for stories. I say Lovecraft is where it's at."

"Well, in the end, most of their characters end up going crazy or dying," Sonia replied.

"But there's a difference. Poe thinks love is eternal, that it can survive death. Lovecraft knows that truth is what matters, and truth is a destroyer."

* * * * *

Her eyes turned to clay. Bernard watched it happen, seeing her eyes mutate into two grey lumps. He knew her breathing had stopped about an hour ago, and his breaths were short and rapid as he waited for the inevitable. Bernard slowly reached out with his hands, shoving his thumbs into her eyes and scooping out the clay. He examined the empty sockets closely, realizing that she had never really been able to see. Bernard couldn't even remember the girl's name, and, while wondering if he had ever asked, closed his eyes and rubbed the clay on his eyelids. "The blind always lead the blind," he silently intoned.

* * * * *

"So, what do you think the meaning of life is?"

"That question would be better phrased with the meaning of death."

"But everybody dies. Sooner or later, you'll be six feet under or your ashes will be sitting on someone's mantle. It's figuring out what life is about before you die that's important."

"The meaning of life is subjective -- it's different for everybody. Death is the one thing we have in common."

"So what does death mean?"

"It's all in Goethe. Isn't everything? 'As long as you do not know how to die and come to life again, you are but a sorry traveler on this dark earth."

* * * * *

My mother still thinks I'm obsessed with death. I mean, I haven't even dressed in all black since I was sixteen. She's the one who has already reserved a plot in the graveyard for me, and anytime I'm feeling a bit down she thinks I'm gonna knock myself off. Mom still lives in a cinema dreamland of happy endings and romantic kisses before the credits roll, and anything that deviates from her sugar-laden reality is obviously a sign of impending doom. When the apocalypse comes, I'll make sure to give her one last goodnight kiss. It's the least I can do.

* * * * *

  1. There is still poetry in genocide, no matter how much it is denied.
  2. Being a serial killer requires style and panache in large quantities.
  3. A mass murderer has to remember to reload to be successful.
  4. Charles Manson is not a demigod but an imprisoned stand-up comic.
  5. Believing in reality is the surest way to stop your heart.
  6. God is not going to die anytime soon. What's your excuse?
* * * * *

Her grandfather died in her arms when she was six. He had liver cancer and had been wasting away in the hospital for weeks, tubes snaking across his body like a roadmap to hell while everyone waited for him to perish. On that Saturday night, her parents and grandmother had gone down to the cafeteria to eat, leaving her alone with the clunking sound of the respirator to keep her company. When the angel appeared at the foot of the bed, bathing her in a harsh white light and giving her a wry, fanged smile, she asked, "Why do you love the dying?" The angel extended a translucent arm and brushed the hair out of her eyes. "Why do you despise them so?" it questioned, waiting for an answer she didn't know.

* * * * *

The headshot was quick and clean. Private Goldberg lowered his rifle and began stripping it before leaving the fifth floor rooftop. He took one last glance over the edge and saw the ensuing chaos on the street below, cops trying to get people out of the way while newly unemployed bodyguards hovered over the body of the cardinal. "Martyrdom," he said, adjusting the lapels on his uniform, "is the path of the damned."

* * * * *

Society is always blamed for the deaths of the innocent, but GAO reports indicate that it is just a simple case of the dreaded heat death, entropy. The universe constantly consumes herself, giving birth so that she may kill. She is a cannibal, staving off the throes of starvation by continually eating like a junkie with a bank account. One day she will have nothing left to feast on, and then the dead children will sing the songs morticians have been collecting since people have been dying, songs praising the eternal for believing it would last forever.


Jacob sat in a corner booth at another nameless diner, gulping coffee and chain-smoking while poised over a newspaper, pen and scissors ready to circle and cut out articles of interest. His theory had come to him in one of his erratic states of hypnogogia, and he was bent on proving it wrong. Unfortunately, the evidence was mounting. After three hours and a plate of hotcakes, he had a stack of annotated clippings partially sitting in some spilled blueberry syrup.

Car accidents. Government misuse of funds. Unadopted cats and dogs at the pound. New murders attributed to long dead serial killers. Meetings in New York of the Trilateral Commission and the Committee on Foreign Relations. College football player suspensions for drugs and felony crimes. It all pointed towards Reginald, who he thought was his friend.

Reginald was a rehabilitated crackhead, having spent five years after graduating from law school at the receiving end of a pipe. After breaking in to his dealer's house to get a fix and being shot, he vowed to change himself and confided to Jacob that he was going to take over the world. Jacob had laughed it off on their first meeting when Reginald told him his life story. He figured he had seen one too many episodes of Pinky and the Brain, but now he wasn't so sure. And there was the answering machine message.

"I was approached by these goddamn loons tonight," Reginald's voice yelled on the tape. "Bunch of psychos they were, telling me they had been keeping an eye on me and knew about my plans for world domination. Christ almighty! I still don't know how they found out. You didn't fucking tell them, did you? Anyway, they offered me an in. Supreme leader of the free world or some goofy-ass title like that. I just had to tell someone, and I can trust you, right? I've already outlined a proposal on my Newton and they're gonna look it over tomorrow. I'm in Illuminati shit up to my eyelids, and I love it. Are we still on for poker Friday? Later."

That was two weeks ago. Jacob had split town, not wanting to take any chances. Sure, Reginald was probably having a psychotic break with reality, he had thought at the time, but even if it was a hoax, he didn't want to be in the way when Reginald lost it for good. He was, after all, his friend and would likely be the one Reginald would come looking for.

And now, after two weeks on the run, he was afraid. It was looking like Reginald really was on the fast track to becoming the numero uno figure in the world, and Jacob was the only person who knew it. He was probably already a target because up and coming dictators cannot afford loose ends.

"Do you think you'll explode if I give you another cup of coffee?" the waitress asked.

"No," Jacob said, pushing his mug to the edge of the table and lighting another cigarette.

"What's all this stuff you're doing?" she asked, filling his cup.

"What's your name?"


"Amanda, I'm going to tell you something very important. There is a man alive today who, while we speak, is surreptitiously in the process of silently overthrowing the governments of the world. He is sly, crafty and has the backing of powerful secret societies. He is also crazy and was my best friend."

Amanda seemed nonplussed. "What's his name?" she inquired, obviously used to patrons with bullshit tales.


"Reginald what?"

"I don't know."

"What do you mean, 'I don't know?'"

"I don't know. I never asked. He was addicted to crack for a long time."

"Reginald the Crackhead is taking over the world? Puh-leaze."

"He did graduate from law school."

"Well, that makes it totally plausible then."

"But I've got proof," Reginald countered, holding up newspaper clippings.

"'Congress still delayed on passing appropriation bills,'" Andrea read outloud. "Sounds like business as usual in Washington to me."

"You have to read between the lines to figure it out."

"You're not some religious nutjob, are you?

"No, of course not."

"Okay, so your friend -- Reginald -- is taking over the world?"


"And how did you find this out? Did he just tell you?"


"And why did he tell you this?"

"I don't know. But I did have a vision about it."

"You've got problems, you know that?"

"Damn straight I do. He wants me dead."

"So now he's after your ass, huh? Does your fantasy ever end?"

"Look, I know it's hard to believe, but it's true."

"Whatever, guy. If you want my advice, I'd suggest seeing a shrink."

Reginald stood up and put down two fives on the table.

"I don't need therapy, lady," he said angrily. "What I need is a way to stop him."

Jacob stormed out of the diner and hurriedly walked down 15th street. Amanda and her bad coffee would find out soon enough that he was right, and then he'd have the last laugh in the gulag. Right now, though, he needed to move. He popped another cigarette to his lips and lit it, scanning the area for any suspicious characters. Anybody in the milling crowds could be his enemy, and he wasn't even sure what to look for.

Based on his calculations, Jacob figured that at Reginald's current rate, the world would be his in six more weeks. He could try to get the word out, but most people would be unbelieving like Amanda. There were always militia groups in Montana and Texas he could hole up with, hoping to die with a little dignity.

"Fuck it," Jacob muttered and walked to the nearest payphone, punching in his calling card number and dialing Reginald's apartment.

"Hey, Jacob," Reginald answered. "I've been looking for you."

"I'm sure you have," Jacob solemnly replied.

"You missed out on a good poker game. Stakes were a bit high for my blood, but I ended up winning."

"Are you trying to have me killed?"

"Now why would I want to do that?"

"Because I know about your plan."

"Have you told anybody?"

"Just a waitress at a diner. She didn't believe me."

"Don't worry. I'm not trying to kill you. You're my friend."

"I am?"

"You are."

"Then why do I feel like a hunted animal?"

"Silent revolution," Reginald sighed, "has a strange effect on the human psyche. You fear you're losing power that you never had and want to protect what doesn't exist. It's like when I was on drugs: you don't really want an escape, you just want peace. And that's what I'm about to do. I'm gonna give peace to the whole world."

"The world doesn't want peace," Jacob said. "It's not accustomed yet, and the acquisition of peace requires death and chaos first. I've been following you in the papers."

"Good boy. The world will thank me soon, Jacob. Why don't you come back? I could use your help."

"I'd prefer not to."

Jacob hung up the phone and caught the next bus to the ocean.


"Fire was important then," she said, stroking an arm. "It meant something. It was Prometheus' gift to humanity." A shoulder. "Now it's a match, a lighter, propane." A thigh. "But it's not fire, not real fire." A breast. "What happened?" Crimson hair. "What happened to fire? What if there never was fire?" Blackness. "What would mankind's jumpstart have been?" Chaldean oracles. "Fire gives life and takes life away. What else can do that?" A breast. "Fire burns so beautifully." A solitary candle. "Nothing can transfix the soul like fire." Weeping churchgoers. "Burn, burn, burn."


6:42am She's got the shakes again and -- "don't fuck with me." -- he is running warm water on the -- "i'm trying to save you." -- washcloth before placing it on her -- "don't save me." -- forehead. Reality suckles on her -- "you're in the hospital." -- heart through an existential -- "where am i?" -- proboscis nurturing a silent -- "you're too feral to rot away." -- apathy antiquated by social stasis -- "my brain smells like cinnamon." -- and the love of stability. Her -- "sense is deceiving." -- sweat is a sickly green-brown -- "use your body." -- color burning away the hairs -- "missionary position impossible." -- on her unshaven legs and stinking -- "who is speaking?" -- of mental burnout. Cannabis dreams -- "allah's voice is monotone." -- and psychedelic revelations deteriorate -- "it's unreliable, persuasion." -- into a perception of the infinite -- "faith is the door to arcade bliss." -- marred by the illusion of nothingness -- "hydrogen bombs are aphrodisiacs." She coughs up black mucus and -- "i've got travolta's suave." -- feels blood run out of her nose -- "i am not a saint for hire." -- as he puts another charlie parker -- "why plagiarize kerouac?" -- album on the turntable. She -- "the sun will not be extinguished." -- will not die because existence is -- "one astronomical unit from paradise." -- suffering, and she is aware -- "there is another method." -- that he is aware that she is -- "even nerves need endings." -- aware. the wet washcloth -- "salamanders never hurt you." -- mops up a bit of her leaking -- "i can hear jasmine crying next door." -- soul. The phone rings. It is -- "monopolize your destiny." -- the devil. A wrong number -- "the doctor is here with leeches." Apologies are exchanged quickly -- "i don't have insurance." He forces the straw through -- "your pain is necessary for the child." -- her thin skin into her stomach -- "i cannot give you my flesh." -- and drinks.


She said: "You are not dying. Writers have a lot of soul to lose. You just think you're finished, but that's not true. Besides, in your next life, you'll probably be a priest."

* * * * *

piecemeal aids babies get ground up for raw meat behind hotel kitchens to pay for mommy's luck on the heads of nuns signaling the call to prayer to the eastern shores where the elite sip champagne blessed by sezmu in drastic ceremonies with lots of opera and bingo debts being collected by balding men who spend their rent money on viagra and nitroglycerine pills to take them away to a never never land of milk and honey where the faithful always die and rabbits continue to breed by the millions of tickets sold in a futile hope of winning the lottery of souls and running the stop sign without fear of retribution.

* * * * *

"You're too paranoid for your own good. You know that?"

"I'm not paranoid. I know who's out to get me. I am."

"You are your own worst enemy, that sort of thing?"

"I tend to like myself most of the time. My head, however, has other ideas."

"Such as?"

"Ever watched rabid dogs tear a young girl apart? Her remains are my brain."

* * * * *

She wants me to analyze her fiction even though I'm in the middle of writing. Her bumming a cigarette has turned into a full-blown, unwanted conversation. She tells me that she is nineteen and works at a halfway house for released mental patients. She tells me that sometimes her job makes her so crazy that she thinks she should be committed. I look at her work. It is terse. No compound sentences. Her lettering is large and bubbly. I lie and say she has an interesting style. She tells me that she is also a poet and reads on open mike night at another coffee house. She tells me that she wants to be famous and published. I don't care. I am self-absorbed.

* * * * *

I am being followed by a large, burly man with denture odor. He is a frightening specimen of the human race. Wherever I go, he is there. He rides my bus, eats at my restaurants and fucks my prostitutes. He has been doing this since 1993, and I have not confronted him. He carries a gun and wears a badge. I dream about his mouth. That is my secret.

* * * * *

Who is God? A young boy burning ants on the sidewalk with a magnifying glass. His mother is inside teaching piano lessons while her offspring obtains another rung on the natural selection ladder by destroying the weak. He is gleeful in his newfound power. A cat watches from the bushes, unimpressed. "Bloodlust," Siamese Jukey explains, "requires fulfillment."

* * * * *

The shrooms had taken effect, and Lance felt like he was going to piss in his pants. He was wearing the contented tripper's smile on his face, but every few minutes he would unobtrusively brush his hands across his pants to make sure they weren't wet. Some drunk girl, Machinegun Tammy, who had dosed shortly after arriving at the party, was talking nonstop about concerts she had attended. Lance sat on the couch quietly, waiting for enlightenment before he made a mess.

* * * * *

Crass philosophy in action:

"Jesus, not another one of your harebrained tangents! I'm racking up mucho Nietzsche points here with my argument, and you're about to talk about women with fat asses? No, no, no. Absolutely not. What the hell does this have to do with Christianity as a slave religion and the uberman? I will not be interrupted like this. You will shut up or stay on topic. Capice?"

"I didn't say 'fat ass.' I said 'tight ass.' Over there."

"Whoa. I'd be a slave to that uberass."

* * * * *

Christy arranged the toothpicks into a crude, uneven pentagram on the coffee table. She was bored. Lonnie was sitting in front of the television while taking swigs out of a two dollar, half-empty bottle of wine. They both had a test on thermodynamics in eight hours, and this was their study break.

"Do you think drinking is gonna improve your grades?" Christy asked.

"About as much as your wooden Satanic symbolism," Lonnie answered.

Christy wiped away the pentagram and quickly made a thick cross.

"How's that for you?" she asked.

"Religion," Lonnie said, licking the mouth of the bottle, "isn't good for multiple choice answers."

* * * * *

Licking salt from old bones creates a surefire answer to bar exams and the civil body politic while makeshift tarot readers dissolve connections to the ethereal plane by charging fees for their sunday morning worship services where genuflections and bows are required for a door prize and a chance to meet the man with a golden mouth of desire who can kiss to kill and knows when streetlights are about to blink out of existence to fight the totalitarian felt puppets with googly all-seeing eyes that understand macroeconomics.

* * * * *

I once wrote a story entitled "Transportation Blues" where the main character, a freshman at Yale University, constantly dreamed about car wrecks involving large multitudes of semi-trailer trucks. She could hear the sounds of screeching tires and breathe the fumes of burning gasoline everywhere she went. Methamphetamines were a lost recourse to stay awake and avoid sleep, finally culminating in an absurd climax when she goes to a truck stop and throws lit cigarettes at truckers who are fueling up. I didn't really like the story and never tried to get it published because I was worried about the message it might send to kids. Truckers are, of course, an integral part of this nation's infrastructure.

* * * * *

     1. You are sitting on a balcony of a stranger's apartment.  Do you:

        a. listen to the songs of robins
        b. carve crude remarks into the wooden planks
        c. steal the Life & Arts section of the newspaper to make him guess
            what's on TV

     2. Your good friend is vomiting in a trashcan after too many beers.  Do

        a. round up a group of bums who can hold their liquor and taunt him
        b. grab a discarded shirt on the sidewalk and delicately wipe off his
        c. gag yourself and puke along with him so you feel more decadent

     3. Time stops.  Do you:

        a. undress women and masturbate because you know Nicholson Baker's
           Fermata by heart
        b. see how long you can hold your breath without time as a limiter
        c. cry like the linear bastard you are


"It's all about gravity," Liam mused, "gravity and dying."

His steak was grey and clumpy, covered in ketchup to appease what was left of his appetite. The samurai politicians were pushing towards Portland, and his Buddhist friend was in the corner, engaged in makaen no zenjo after going through tabloids to find a suitable koan for contemplation.

"Aren't you done yet?" Liam asked after swallowing a piece of gristle. "Eat your damn lunch cause we've got to work in the garden before it gets too hot."

Billy, in a half-lotus position, remained silent.

"It's all a bunch of shit, ya know?" Liam continued. "You find meaningless questions and give meaningless answers to prove that everything is really just Buddha-nature. But where does that get you, huh? You don't do anything but sit around and be passive. You can't even row a decent row of carrots, for crissakes."

Liam ate the last bit of steak, swallowing it after a minute of chewing, and pulled Billy's plate to his side of the table.

"Goddamn fasting mystic," he complained, dumping ketchup on the steak. He sucked on the first bite in the side of his mouth, trying to seduce bone juice into coming out. Liam ended up with a mouthful of slobbery ketchup.

Four days ago, a nonpartisan group of Congressional representatives from Washington had unveiled their private army of samurai which they said were needed to enforce traditional family values. It was like something out of a bad anime flick, complete with high-tech body armor from a renegade division of SkunkWorks. Seattle was always a strange place, but not footbinding and personal geishas were suddenly in vogue. Even Billy was caught up in the neo-revolution, who had just yesterday renounced his new age crystals and Nordic runes in favor of enlightenment.

Liam wasn't buying into the whole fad. It was just another scheme for re-election, and he had moved up here so he could fall asleep to rain. Standing up, he walked over to where Billy was sitting, picked up the unused zafu next to him, and struck him on the head with the cushion, causing Billy to yelp.

"How do you like that?" Liam asked. "Newton beats Buddha again."


"I survived the war by getting wounded. I ain't proud of it, but it kept me alive, so I don't worry much about it. No, Shea, listen good. Damn Krauts had placed dragon teeth everywhere around this bridge we were supposed to take, and our tanks couldn't get too close to help us out. We were denied air support and the artillery was eating us alive. I was holed up in a pillbox on the front line when I knew I was going to die. If you ever get that feeling, you'll know it. Your legs get all numb, you lose your breath, and you think about the last time you got some pussy. Don't tell your mother I said that. Anyhow, it got really quiet that night, and then all of a sudden these flares go off. It's bright as day, and I see a bunch of movement in the treeline. I ran. No way was I gonna fight off a bunch of Germans by myself. So there I was, running, and I realized that the machinegun nest twenty-five yards to my right hadn't fired a single shot. I stopped, turned around, and got run over by a fucking deer, which broke my arm. War is hell, especially when the wildlife is in cahoots with the enemy. Now go to bed."


Gripping drama is nothing more than fellatio at a distance.

John Wayne on Frenau's "The Indian Burying Ground:" The only noble savage is a dead savage.

Covering a computer with tiger-striped angora doesn't make you an internet pimpdaddy.

Revision acknowledges that imperfection is a bad thing.

After the fires burn themselves out, we will be the exhumers.

Tiny, plush toys look possessed when only a nightlight is on. Parents, tie your children down.

Who needs religion in a boom economy with less poor people than usual?

I do not write koans, but I play a roshi in front of my bathroom mirror.

Two words: babydoll t-shirts. An equation: the price (p) is inversely proportional to the amount of cloth (c).

Synchronicity is poetic license. Hand it out for Christmas.

The blonde chick sitting at the next table is not interested.

TV movies are the industryÆs way of saying, "We understand the plight of women."

My next vacation is to purgatory because I enjoy the middle road.

There is a hand squeezing a smiling lemon on my bottle of lemonade. It is a lie.

University students practice witchcraft to win football games in Texas.

Bolster arguments with made-up quotes, and you will win a gold star for creativity.

William S. Burroughs, Friday, August 15th, 1975: "Not much point in one drink."


She looks like a hippie, talks like a hippie and has a flowery name. She is in her mid-fifties and is a receptionist at a doctor's office. She met Timothy Leary once at a party in San Francisco in the Eighties when he was getting into computers. She still believes in free love even though she has genital herpes. She put two kids up for adoption in two years and doesn't know if they went to college. She cleans up the broken glass after kicking me out and listens to loud Bach. She did not turn out to be my birth mother.

* * * * *

Tall fellows stream though the sidestreet market as Andy hawks his wares. He has a complete set of clay presidential figurines for twenty dollars. They all look alike and are cracking. No one is buying or even stopping to look. Andy is also trying to unload two pounds of brown sugar he found this morning. He needs rent money. No one is buying. He pulls out a twenty and buys the presidents himself, hoping to drive up their value. The clouds know he is a loser. Andy refrains from crying.

* * * * *
NAOMI: They're chained up like dogs in there.
LISA: Breathe with the music.
CARTER: Have you tried praying?
NAOMI: If only they knew...
LISA:...that a well-trained circus...
CARTER: ...signifies omnipotent depravity among the weak.
NAOMI: But they are gorgeous to look at.
LISA: It would be humane to put them out of their misery.
CARTER: A good executioner is not your ally, love.
* * * * *

"So where do we have to start?" Jonathan asked.

"In the beginning, of course," Pat said, laughing.

Jonathan dug into his pork. "Why there? Why not in media res? It worked for the epics."

"They always get there eventually. Besides, I'm no Homer, and you're no Virgil."

"Or Milton, for that matter. Can't forget Paradise Lost."

"You damn educated types always have to get one more name in, don't you?"

"So what happened in the beginning? Figure that out yet, writer boy?"

"Nothing. There was nothing."

"How the hell is that gonna work?"

"It worked for God, didn't it?"

* * * * *

A street preacher gets pithy:

"You sinners are like a computer at the bottom of the ocean -- you can't function."

"Jesus didn't masturbate. The angels don't masturbate. You're just having sex with yourself."

"God will laugh at you on the day of judgement and rejoice when he damns you to hell."

"C'mon, you socialists. Let's go. I'll tell you the truth."

"You've got to take the gos-pill. It's like a bowel movement, a laxative. It'll flush the sin right out of your system."

* * * * *

Mutant midgets sit along the boardwalk stripping the flesh from their fingers as if peeling bananas while monkeys in three-piece bathrobe ensembles pass out bowls of salty beer for dipping stale chips and snacks that nourish the hungry by letting them chew on their own enamel (camptown races and myriad brace-faced children) entertaining lechers and hookers with an easter sale of stoning rocks and crosses (requires adult supervision).

* * * * *

"How come you never want to go see any shows?"

"Nobody's touring that I want to see."

"Oh. That's right. I forgot. You're Mr-Super-Obscure-Alternalabel- Freakboy who only listens to bands no one else on this planet has heard."

"Is that a problem?"

"It's not like I'm asking you to go to Celine Dion or a club on 80's retro night. I'd just like to see some live music for a change. Your idea of a good concert is watching Turkish folk singers on PBS after heckling Deepak Chopra."

"Then let's go. Who's in town?"

"Nobody's touring that I'd like to see."

* * * * *

Walter started clipping his fingernails with scissors after reading Beckett's "Act Without Words" in his drama class. All of his theater friends would whistle at him whenever they would see him, and they all laughed in their smug theater voices One night, Walter snuck into the Brindley auditorium and hung himself on state. When they found him the next morning, there was a Post-It note on his chest which read, "I found the tree." Nobody whistled.

* * * * *

You tie the knot with your fiance and I'll create a wormhole with a deco device of my own design, constructed out of space age polymars and daisy-chained 386 motherboards running in parallel on Linux. I'm not jealous. I just feel the need to exercise my education and experience space opera in real-time, baby.

* * * * *

The riot came to a complete halt when the statues came to life. Men in mid-punch stopped and turned to watch hulking bronze men lift their legs for the first time in a hundred years. Grizzly Civil War generals on steel nightmares opened their mouths and screamed howls of the risen as they spurred their horses into the crowd. Flames leapt from their eyes across the mall, burning the fleeing. "Bloodlust," Siamese Jukey explained as he limped off the battlefield and licked his seared flesh, "requires fulfillment."


Picture this. You're standing at the end of the world, and God is there with you, calling down a great fire to destroy the earth. You beg him to stop and plead with him to forgive humanity for being so cruel and unloving. Your eyes are wet with tears as you ask God to stop his punishment. You are his prophet, his intercessor, and nobody ever listened to your warnings. Now, even God turns his back on you.

You watch the world consumed by fire. Buildings burn, people scream as they melt, and even the sun is blocked out because of the thick smoke. Afterwards, nothing is left alive. The world is a blackened, charred ruin, and there is only a small wind produced by God's mournful sigh. It is a hot wind, thick with dust, and it covers your whole body as you walk the earth endlessly, looking for anything that might impossibly have survived.

And then, you hear a laugh, a sickening laugh that echoes inside your head, a laugh that is horrendous because nothing else could be said, nothing else could be done. You realize that you are the one who is laughing, and you cannot stop. You laugh as you tread the barren lands because God has moved on to another world.

One day, the laughter stops, and you understand what you have to do -- kill God. And you smile because you know eternity is on your side, and God has to come back sometime to clean up his mess. You could wait forever, couldn't you, if you had nothing else?

That's what I did. I waited.


State  of  unBeing  is  copyrighted (c) 1998 by Kilgore  Trout  and Apocalypse
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