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 6/30/99 tahw ro who gniwonk to think. You are in FiFTY-SiX ni era uoY .kniht ot a state of unbeing.... ....gniebnu fo etats a
I should have figured out by now that I always have lots of stuff to do on the day that the zine comes out. It would be nice to just get up after a good night's rest, mosey around the house for a bit, and then sit down and finish up the new issue for publication. But no. Today I've taken a summer final, gotten an oil change, gotten my car inspected, washed my laundry, and now I'm finishing up the zine on a laptop at a coffeehouse waiting for Clockwork to get off work because his car is in the shop and he needs a ride home.
It's not really a problem, unless the half-charged laptop battery decides to die on me in the middle of editing. That just would not be kosher. I think if that happened, I would scream and yell and get kicked out. At least the Guy Who Plays Only Swing Music Or Johnny Cash isn't working tonight. He's a nice guy, even though he iced my vanilla chai last night while I wasn't looking, but he needs to vary his music rotation.
But that's okay. The zine's almost done, and Doorway just sat down and said that he locked his keys in his car and would like some change to make a phone call so someone can get his keys back for him. So I'll help Doorway out, go pick up Clockwork, and finish up the zine.
I am home, and it is now much later than I expected it to be. Getting Doorway back to his car set me a bit off schedule, and some dunderhead decided it would be a good idea to send out the streetsweepers onto the upper decks of I-35 in downtown Austin at 9:45pm. Nothing like having only one lane of traffic when you've got somewhere to go. I'm supposed to be there at 10:00pm and arrive at 10:15pm. Clock is nowhere to be seen. He recently changed buildings, and I knew that, but I wasn't sure if he knew that, so I circled the large campus of the large corporation, going from building to building and hoping that he wasn't wandering around looking for me. By 11:00pm and two unanswered pay phone calls to his cell phone, I decided to go home and see if he got a ride. I get home around 11:15, and he calls me and says he was on a call since 9:45pm. I'm sure he got that call since I had to pick him up. At least I got to listen to that old Robyn Hitchcock tape I forgot I had. And Clock got home fine, cuz, dammit, this zine is all about family. </stump>
So, as you can see, issue release days are always interesting and a tad bit hectic. Cha cha cha. And tomorrow, I don't have to do anything at all. That's kinda nice. I think I'll go scratch my dog's belly and watch her legs twitch and twirl like she's riding a bicycle upside down. Entertainment at its finest. I mean, after all, isn't the world supposed to end pretty soon? That's what the P eople I n T he K now keep saying. I'm not In T he K now, so I wouldn't know. But if this is the last issue you ever get to read of SoB (and I'm not really counting on that), then you should remember that I told you so. If the world doesn't end, then just be grateful that you'll get some more zine. Or maybe you're pining for the end of the world.
Join the damn club. In the meantime, be content and keep plotting.
First person to blow up the world and/or extinguish the sun: drinks are on me. I swear.
From: Bob Clark To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: My Yahoo Page How do I add the "state of well being? Keep It Simple!
[i'm not exactly sure what you're asking here. do you want to add a link to the zine from your home page? That's simple enough. Just put some goofy line like href=www.apoculpro.org in your html code. if you're talking about your own personal well being, well, it gets a bit more complicated. there's christian salvation, buddhist satori, or the ceremonial magician's knowledge and conversation of the holy guardian angel. of course, we here at the zine think that total fanaticism to the zine will solve most of your day to day problems. for one, it gives you a reason to live. you get a cause to fight for, and you can propagate the zine to all of your friends (and strangers, too). tell them the zine changed your life and showed you inner peace. absorb the text into your inner child, and allow it to blossom and grow into the multiheaded gargantuan that it wants to be. leave flyers advertising the zine in local punk clubs, pass out multicolored pamphlets to passersby with reasons why you think they should read the zine. and most of all, get local tv coverage. and then, when your day is over, and you're tired from a long work schedule, you can relax in your easy chair, meditate on life, and know that you have the answer. and when your dog starts talking to you, and your silverware begins to arrange itself in hieroglyphic patters in your drawer, then you'll know that you are blessed and that the zine gods have found favor with you. after all, when your utensils actually mean something, then everything else is pretty simple.]
Dear Editor: I was appalled -- appalled! -- to read the hateful attacks on Jar Jar Binks and on all symbols of the coming post-gendered world in a recent issue of State of unBeing (#55; May 1999). The challenge to traditional, bourgeois gender roles that this obviously transheterosexual -- even transmonosexual -- entity presents could only seem "irritating" to the archaic, homophobic mind. Such thoughtless attacks lead to the mood of rage and hate that condone and promote homophobic assaults on and killings of homosexuals. It is such invective as yours that leads to vicious gay-bashing assaults in our supposedly advanced, tolerant society. I hope it will not be repeated. It is unfortunate such an affront to all victims of hate crimes exists, and it is hoped such enlightened publications as the Texas Triangle and the Village Voice, which have exposed the hateful reality of Jar Jar opposition for what it really is, will prevent an upsurge of gay-bashing episodes. In tolerance and solidarity, Crux Ansata P.S. -- I find myself in need of an emaciated, pale little urchin of a French girl to wear a short, thin, tattered dress, stagger in a hunger-induced haze, and sell cigars and cigarettes in faltering English, because I have a Zippo and hence minimal need for matches. (In the event I move to a place where absinthe is legal, this will, of course, be added to her wares.) If anyone in the SoB audience can arrange for one at a moderate price, or is willing to play the role, please put them in contact with me. C.A.
[see, bob? ansat's an SoB fanatic, and look how he turned out!]
I Wish My Name Were Nathan
Robert James Berry
A hundred years ago, the United States made a mistake.
It had already allowed itself to be fooled by the capitalist media. This was, of course, not the first time the media had been used in the furtherance of war, not even in the United States, where the founders of our Revolution had skillfully used the media to whip up public support for freedom. But, to the best of my knowledge, this was the first time an explicitly artificial situation was created by the media so as to further the goals of those who stood to gain financially from it, utterly fooling a people who had too much of a naive faith in the inherent virtue of journalism. It is a classic event of propaganda and United States history, to the point we all studied it in school, even though many or most Americans never took home the obvious lesson: The media is not infallible; men are not always honest. It also set the pattern for similar media manipulation to fool naive Americans into going to war, from the spin on the Luistania to the possibly staged and certainly spun massacres in the Balkans. We like to pretend the government has been deceiving us; the truth is we have allowed ourselves to be deceived, and by the media and corporate power mongers much more than a government that honestly could do no more than request the shots that were called.
Nonetheless, this is not the mistake I refer to. Allowing a naive trust in journalists -- who, like everyone else, have vested interests; and who have a financial interest and power interest in preserving the capitalist state -- was a mistake, and unfortunately not one that even the insights of contemporary philosophy, literary criticism, and contemporary history have purged. But I refer to a mistake that happened after the war. While it may have been the motivation of those who caused the war, the American people's acceptance of this event caused America nothing but pain for decades.
In 1898, following a somewhat chaotic and almost farcical war with Spain, the United States found itself occupying foreign peoples. These were not peoples the United States ever intended to make Americans, but they also ended up not setting them free. American public opinion supported this government mistake: accepting the burden of empire. America shifted from a nation of liberation to a nation of imperialist oppression.
This was not, of course, the first time an element within the United States had exerted force for territorial purposes, but this was a very vital change from what had gone before. Manifest Destiny and expansion to the west was never meant to be an occupation of other peoples. The west was always seen as being opened to an expanding nation of Americans. The bloody Civil War was not intended to be an imperialist occupation of one half of America by the other; it was meant to be a -- forced, granted -- preserved union of Americans, by Americans. These were people meant to be represented in Congress, extended Constitutional rights -- indeed to be, if only in the future, as much Americans as those in Boston or Philadelphia.
Even the Monroe Doctrine, which admittedly asserted to Washington the ability to dictate actions in other parts of the hemisphere, was nothing like the results of the Spanish-American War. The Monroe Doctrine was not intended to dictate to other peoples what they could do, and was not meant to make the Western Hemisphere a Greater America. This was a strategic policy to keep European interests -- that is, the interests of imperialist aggression -- out of the Western Hemisphere. While the annexation of the Philippines in 1898 was an act of oppression, subverting a national people to a will not their own, the Monroe Doctrine was a liberating policy, disallowing other nations to be oppressed, by force if necessary.
But when the United States government annexed -- and the American people permitted and approved the annexation of -- the Philippines, the United States ceased to be a republic and became instead an empire.
Republics do not have colonies. Republics do not have protectorates. The republic called the United States was meant to be a nation of free people, by free people, and while we have bungled our own freedom, this should be more argument to leave others' alone. But at the end of the last century we forgot this, and at the end of this century, we are forgetting it again.
The United States has no intention of making Kosovo the fifty-first state. This is not contested. However, some think this is reason to believe the action in the Balkans is not imperialist aggression. Nothing could be farther from the truth. To make Kosovo a state, with the full rights and privileges thereof, would be stupid. It would be expansionist. It would be aggression, and it would be wrong. It would not, however, be imperialist. Making Kosovo a protectorate, of the United States or its NATO proxy, is imperialist. Unlike Serbia's position of retaining its heartland, and even unlike the efforts of those fighting for a Greater Albania, the United States does not in this action seek to reunite a people. As America expanded westward, she brought together -- even brought into being -- one people, one nation of Americans. In the Philippines, in Cuba, in Kosovo, the United States had and has the intention of ruling another people. The original sin for which America defeated the British Empire, in the first anti-colonial peasant war of modern times, is now again being committed by a resurgent American Empire.
To understand what is happening, it is probably best to understand what has happened. For, in a real sense, Kosovo is not the beginning of the Second American Empire, but the continuation thereof. The United States has just finished fighting an imperial war. Unlike the imperialist aggression in the Balkans, fought by one empire against one nation, the Cold War -- America's only true imperial war -- was a battle between two empires.
A brief note on why I discount so many apparent wars as not imperialist. The Spanish-American War was not a long term war. In a brief span -- less than four months -- the American Republic seized some lands from the Spanish Empire. It was not a long term conflict to consolidate imperial gains, but a brief battle in which the occupation of some other countries was nearly an afterthought. Empire resulted from, but did not cause, the Spanish-American war. The First and Second World Wars, which were imperialist for many of the nations of Europe -- France, Britain, Austria-Hungry, Germany, the Ottoman Empire, the Tsarist and Stalinist empires -- was not entered into by the Americans as an effort to reshuffle and consolidate her empire. This may have been the intent of some unAmerican elements within our boundaries, but the people of the United States rallied to block other empires and fortify our allies -- and then go home. Our imperialist war was different.
Over the course of the Cold War, generations came and went. Few people alive today remember a time before the onset of the Cold War, and even those that do lived most of their lives under it. George Bush -- the last president to remember an America before the Cold War -- was a Cold Warrior through and through, even if he also fought in the last imperialist war where America intended to go home.
I do not necessarily condemn the United States for fighting the imperialist Cold War. In the shattered ruins of the post-Second World War world, where the previous empires were collapsed or collapsing, only two empires survived, the Stalinist empire and the American empire. The Stalinist empire had already shown itself to be expansionist and imperialist, and would do so in increasingly explicit ways. Poland, 1920, for example. Czechoslovakia of 1948 and 1969. Hungry, 1956. This does not contradict the Soviet Union's Marxist heritage, though it may show a misunderstanding thereof. The Soviet Union did not consider itself Communist, of course. Lenin, and especially Stalin, saw that the world of the Tsars was an imperialist world, and the Soviet revolution was fought against an imperialist state. Unlike the postcolonialist actions in early America, the Soviets inherited not only an empire, but an empire's heartland, the circulatory and nervous systems. The Soviet Union thus was brought into the world an empire, and under the Marxism Stalin understood, the socialist stage of world history, where the Soviet Union would be battling the capitalist empires, the Soviets would have to create an empire to survive, and to export the revolution. "Socialism in one country," therefore, despite the name, was an inherently expansionist doctrine.
It is perhaps the most unfortunate of ironies -- or perhaps the results of a revolution whose time had not yet come and evil forces whose faces history has yet to expose -- that the U.S.S.R. acted on these assumptions under Lenin and Stalin. Not only did the Soviet Union become the enemy through its attempts to defeat it, but the United States did, too. Only the United States was in a position to struggle against an expansionist Soviet imperium, and this was the Cold War. In a constant struggle for land, the two last empires battled for supremacy through economic manipulation and proxy warfare, until the Soviet Union became the first empire to collapse.
But then, America made another mistake. A new world was being born. When the wall came down in 1989, the birth pangs of this new world were just beginning. The new world order Bush proclaimed was inevitable, but which world it would be was uncertain. We will never know -- though many of us suspect -- how much hegemonic power Bush would have fought to hold under the American Empire. We do know that Clinton -- the first American president who knew Cold War and only Cold War -- has increased troop deployment three hundred percent, acted to preserve U.S. hegemony with various degrees of success from Haiti to Somalia, from the Balkans to the Middle East, and acted for the same effect through proxy in all the Cold War killing fields, from Columbia to Turkey. No pacifist -- by which I mean a lover of peace, rather than merely one who fears military service -- can support Clinton, any more than any true socialist could.
When the Wall came down, the United States should have said, "We won," printed up a few million blue ribbons or little silver stars, and gone home. We should have dismantled the American Empire, from its secret police to its occupation forces.
We didn't. For a number of reasons -- preserving economic dominance, preserving an international respect even now many Americans think we are owed, inertia, and the greed of those who saw the Second World as just more markets to exploit under Globocop America -- we didn't go home. And now we reap the whirlwind.
The United States and the Soviet Union, like any two empires, were in a state of constant aggression. Lenin explained this very clearly decades ago, even before there was a Soviet Union. Like two sumo wrestlers, the United States and the Soviet Union slammed against each other over and over again for half a century. While each tried to defeat the other, each also depended on the other. When the Soviet sumo was gone, the American sumo started slamming into the air, and falling on his face. In political terms, this was imperial overreach. If one leans something too far without any counterforce, it will topple over. Every empire eventually does so. Like the capitalism of which it is a form, imperialism survives by consuming. The imperialist world, and imperialist wars, were sustainable because they consumed other empires. Today, there is one empire, and not even any utterly undeveloped nations to prey upon. There is no darkest Africa without any modern civilization, no soft underbelly of the Pacific Ocean. There are any number of nations that, had they existed a hundred years ago, could have taken their places as imperialist nations. On a regional level, some are empires: China, Indonesia, Great Britain. While our current botched foreign policy is rapidly pushing new empires to form -- the E.U., Russia, China -- we still live in a world with only one global empire.
Thus far, I have said nothing new. These are predictions and analyses that have been known for a century at least. Under this model, barring an utterly unforeseen global revolution, there are two possibilities: New empires form now, and enter into a new Cold War of imperialism, or the one empire utterly collapses, and we enter into a time of many smaller nations, until empires reform. The unipolar nonsense about one American Empire -- or one superpower -- being self-sustaining is utterly unbelievable, and I personally don't believe even Clinton believes it. If he ever did, the utterly botched way he has handled Russia in these past couple of years must have disabused him of the notion, unless he is as insulated from undesired information as Nixon had become.
There is a fourth possibility, though, and this the one I see most likely to occur. Imperialism presumes the nation-state. In the minds of some, we have already transcended the nation-state. I don't think we have, but I do think we have a new entity in addition. This, too, may only exist in the minds of some, but I tend to see the efforts to make it a reality well underway.
An American Empire cannot survive, and those who now occupy the White House, who grew up under the Cold War and cannot conceive of a state in any but totalitarian, police state terms, seem to know that. They seem no longer to view their foreign policy in terms of the nation-state. As Marx predicted -- and as, in my opinion, Lenin failed to take sufficiently into account -- Clinton has come to have a global class-consciousness. Clinton sees the world -- or acts as if he sees the world -- in global terms, and seems to think this global ruling class has the right to oppress those who oppose it.
Or do they even see this in terms of oppression?
Chicago of 1968 was a police action. Whether a police riot or the mere imposition of law and order through the barrel of a gun -- because Mayor Daly understood Mao more than he might want to have admitted -- it was seen as a police action. Waco of 1996 was a police action, even if conducted with military material and possibly troops. Both were within our borders, and means of policing the "peace" -- which is to say submission to authority -- that preserves the state. When one sees the world in its imperial terms, one sees that, indeed, Vietnam was a police action, at least in the way the Cold Warriors understood it. Vietnam was within the borders of the American Empire, and putting down a proxy insurgency by the expansionist Stalinist state was a means of preserving the law and order in Indochina. Korea was a war -- a civil war, granted, but a war nonetheless. Vietnam was a colonialist police action.
The disturbing thing today is how Kosovo is viewed.
There is no doubt that, for Serbia, the actions in Kosovo were police actions. Ethnic cleansing, perhaps. (Genocide? No one who has followed the events can reasonably believe so.) But ethnic cleansing in the context of a police action. Why, then, do the members of the Clinton junta act as if we are in a police action? Why are we imposing law and order in the Balkans, and not acting to preserve a national interest? The thing I see, and that should scare anyone who does, is that the Clinton junta, viewing themselves as masters of the world, see the actions in Kosovo as means to preserve the law and order within their empire, which is to say, they consider their new "empire" to be the planet. For Clinton, and those who think like him, one world necessarily implies one government, one state, one force oppressing all other people. For Clinton, the absence of a counterforce, of another empire, is ideal, and allows the one, ideal government to police the entire world.
The republic Jefferson struggled for is, at least for the time being, gone. But perhaps the republic America has transformed into is not Weimar. After all, like Hitler, like Mussolini, we have a leader who rose to power on a declining, "Leftist" movement, working towards reformism to stave off Marxism, mouthing working class slogans never manifested in his policies. Like Hitler, like Mussolini, our leader embraces big capitalism whenever it is politically -- or personally -- expedient to do so, and especially whenever it preserves the state, which our leader, consciously or no, feels must be defended above all else. Like Hitler, like Mussolini, for many he has appeared as a near Messianic leader of authenticity -- through skillfully manipulated press, propaganda, and political theater. Like those who went before him, he has achieved the love of his people by claiming to identify with their suffering. Like Hitler, like Mussolini, Clinton has risen on an emotional, irrational wave of desperation, of a sixties generation who doesn't want to admit they failed, and a rising generation trying to deny it never had hope to begin with. And this irrational hope may be the reason why when Clinton carries out his genocidal policies, either directly (Allied Force, Serbia 1999), by proxy (Storm and Flash, Croatia, 1996; Turkey and Turkish-occupied Kurdistan; Columbia) or through passivity (the Sudan), the people cannot bring themselves to admit what is happening. Perhaps it is true that Clinton sustains himself on a wave of senseless optimism, because for all their cynicism, the American public won't admit not what America has degenerated into, but what Americans have. And perhaps we, too, will have our 1945, when even the dupes and the collaborators will be faced in stupefaction amidst the smoldering rubble of America with the physical proofs of the anti-human and genocidal policies and the madness of a maniacal tyrant.
But perhaps Clinton, too, and perhaps the whole so-called Left cannot see their racist oppression. Unlike Hitler and Mussolini, who were riding on the wave of a recently consolidated nation which was rising on a jingoist euphoria well suited to oppression of others, where the humiliation of Versailles could be seen as an aberration, Clinton presides over a party and a state that have spent so long on divide and conquer pandering to political and special interest groups that perhaps he truly believes there is no -- even was no -- American nation. Perhaps Clinton really believes he rules a multi-national empire, and to invade another nation is just an extension of his despotic will to power.
Yet, we cannot blame only him, or even primarily him. The spirit of the American nation -- distinct from the American state -- is flagging. As is true in most any society, most citizens are apathetic and reformist, lovers of slavery. In this current historical-critical moment, most tend to fascism and anti-humanism. The many should, and the few must, keep alive a love for freedom, in spite of the many and against the state. Complacency is complicity. While America remains a nation in degeneration, it is all of our fault.
This whimpering plate iron gate has been opened, unlocked and tossed aside with clatter and ruffians, and it has all been sweeping through, the rising Nile, fertile and flooding, mirrored sky and Orion. A monstrous gnarled barrier has been broken, tipped over and scuttled into red clay earth, shoved and bulled beneath the earth. Hemingway and his bulls, so tired of the reference, scamper, drive through the gaping wound, purple glowing mantra speech, all from one simple, deliberate act. Or perhaps not, for what occasion has arisen from a single act? Are not all occasions and events the result of a chaotic weaving orgy of influences and facts and conceptions and perceptions? Temperature, humidity, wind speed, dissolved solids, butterfly windfluence, solar sonic flares, pardon me, quarks, neutrinos, the federal interest rate.
Nonetheless, the point is the rapture and rhapsody that has arisen, pushed high by the bulls and big H., pushed up and forth, chest open and arms out, open. Open is the theme, open eyes and ears, no stained filtered nether-regions in the way, filtering, as they are filters, as filters do, and how pure can we get? More likely the act was an effect and not a cause, swept and burrowed with the other Spaniards.
Here I am now, walking like a sheltered boy, dazed and entranced by reflections in the window, hearing a grating electromechanical buzzing strobing constant from every corner, seeing the neon trance advertising -- 45 ft. tall men with horns, beer cans and tacos -- eighty-two worlds of twenty-four hour screaming sex act prescription pictures, in wonder, bewilderment, of how these others can live beneath this. I can feel again, ideals or no ideals, false ideals, I can feel, weep to illiteracy news reports and painted death in Europe, moved and driven by a six-year-old girl in a sunflower dress spinning with grins amongst a room of adults who ignore her, inspired, leaping, screaming passion from Shakespeare and three lines from Joyce, two hours of Timothy in New York, unmistakable uncounterable passion seething whipping up within my gut, jutting forth and frothing over, you make me want to feel, and you make me feel. If you know who you are, if I know who you are, a clue for me and you to know who might be me or you, I wish you to see this passion and emotion as it rises -- oh, the critics, with their handbooks of defunct sexual devices, have your way and burn with Freud -- and know you are held, opening and offering, creating something unsaid.
"So, when's the Sunday wasteland going to begin?"
A typical question. We, the roommates who rent this place, have an understanding about the Quake II LAN parties that have become a habit for us and our friends. What good is a high-speed network if not used at least once a week?
For me, the amusement always wears thin around the eighth hour -- having started around three in the afternoon -- and develops from there into one of three tonal emotions: anger, disgust, or loneliness.
Anger is associated with a low score and jealousy at the ones who play freely and laugh all the way through the night. Perhaps it is being cooped up in my bedroom with the computer that leads to this sense of alienation. This anger begets a short temper, evaporation of humor, and a high degree of mental chattering, the underdog common-sense defense struggling for composure and a voice in a river of leaching battery acid. Upon closer insight, it resembles the seething fury I experience while driving to work, trying to maintain a sensible speed while my life is being threatened from all sides by metal caskets on wheels.
(Look in your rear view mirror some day -- the grilles, headlights, and bumpers of cars, and trucks especially, are designed purposely to look like people with expressions corresponding to the personality of the vehicle. Sports cars resemble the squinting eyes and pressed lips of racecar drivers in their helmets; trucks resemble bulldogs or bulls snorting their way to a matador's blanket; Volvos and station wagons look like grandmothers with square glasses inching their way up the sidewalk to ring the bell for a donation; and all the rest are the apathetic and bored faces of the herd.)
This anger I speak of has no rational roots, none at all. It is the kind of emotion which ceases to exist once a person sits in the passenger seat: it is purely solitary. In fact, it is expressed in opposition to all other individuals, perceived to have some advantage I can't comprehend or hope to grasp. The specific pattern in Quake that triggers it is being fragged right after spawning, six times in a row. Senseless unfairness. Whether or not it is one person's specific goal to exploit my weakness and rack up an easy score, I seek to avenge myself upon only one person, whom is the high scorer in the game. Here charges in the utterly driven and pitiful rampage of the bruised ego, running kamikaze into firefights to demonstrate the fearlessness and brutality of a mind untinged by compassion. Death -- the enemy's or my own -- is greeted with a twisted smile and sense of accomplishment. This sense of accomplishment is akin to that one derives from seeing a plan executed to fruition, or more plainly, from "seeing a job well done," but in my frenzied state, it is merely the reflexive joy of having accomplished anything at all. Do any of the people controlling these digital enemies see my rage? Do they personally feel the humiliation I hoped to bestow upon them? I doubt it. I am a pissed-off boy alone in his room punching buttons. Frivolous.
Disgust visits me too. Perhaps I am playing well, perhaps I am in next-to-last place -- doesn't matter. The only requirement is eight hours. Playing a game like Quake, on today's still limited technology, doesn't afford the opportunity to be disgusted by carnage. There might be the occasional surprise of seeing someone gibbed right in front of you, or revulsion at a grotesquely appropriate sound effect, but the imagery itself does not cause the disgust I feel. This disgust is purely emotional -- though often associated with physical exhaustion -- and grows solely from the affliction of taking the game too seriously. My present analysis of the cause, of course, is detached and rational, but after eight hours of continued play, the mental context is utterly different.
During the onslaught of disgust, after I kill someone or am killed and jump right back into the carnage, my passive mind remarks something apt like, "Wow, life sure is expendable." Were I detached one hair's breadth from that state, I would see that this is the only point of the game, but inside it, the comment demoralizes me. How many places on earth are people playing this game in real life? And how close to them am I?
Is the comparison worthwhile? Listen: in the game, we have two basic classes of players -- individuals and teams. As an individual, I am as likely to fall into a pit of anger as of disgust; my ego could not stand such one-on-one brutality anywhere more real than the shopping market or the highway. The goal is nonetheless simple: kill anything that moves. In Quake, it is remarkably easy to abide to this goal due to the lack of non-player characters. One does not have to make any decisions but must only be armed and well-defended. In team play, the burden of politics becomes clear. Who just came into my line of sight? Good guy? Bad guy? Is "friendly fire" on? Do I care? Or do I just want to kill something? And, why do "our" guys suck so bad? Are "they" just lucky? How can "we" regain our composure? "Let's" teach "them" a lesson.... Is there any real camaraderie here, or is it just my ego lashing out against a subset of the players?
Disgusting!, seeing how I react. Disgusting, seeing how we all act, yes, freely fragging the guy who just spawned, laughing at the guy who died right before he reached a decent weapon, treating it all as if it really were just a game. But see how well we play the roles, how comfortably we fit into the molds? Is this the highest expression of humanity? Is this the skill am I forging for the future, to adapt to any game where I can wear a uniform and carry a weapon and have no accountability?
Being a human, I am privy to the secrets of human nature: this lust, or desire, or need, for unrestrained violence has a place in everyone's heart -- mustn't it? Maybe not expressed in the same way, and certainly channeled into a limited number of acceptable outlets... but what the hell am I doing anyway? Why do I only think about this after eight hours, after the blood has been shed? The weight of the oversight is small in terms of the damage caused, but in extension, in projection, to the burden of realization heaped on the perpetrators of actual murders once they come to their senses? The jaw drops, the heart sinks, a vast suffocating infinity of understanding and compassion -- tainted! spoiled! It must be so! Is the threat of reprisal, the snare of the law, really the only barrier a human has against killing? See us small time hoods -- cables a'gathering, computers a'packing, what do we get out of our transgression into that realm? "Whew, I'm tired. See you next Sunday."
Finally, I am lonely to see everyone leave, even when angry and disgusted at it all -- especially then. Did I really just spend all that time lashing out and the shadows of my friends? Couldn't we have done something more constructive? I can see their faces: they are tired, angry, or disgusted too -- or is that a projection? Didn't this happen last time? It did! But we did it again. Every time, it ends the same....
And that's the basic reality-bending facet of the game itself -- you come back to life, good as new, with the click of a button. Is there an endgame here? A limbo? Any moment to think it all over? Legends say you can remain dead as long as you want, but I am rarely conscious of my death long enough to notice and stop firing, which serves to thrust me right back into the action. This mindless, constant action opens wide the floodgates for the currents of antipathy. Who of all the jungle guerillas, street criminals, or Texas state governors experiences so much killing, both of others and of oneself, in one lifetime, that I experience in eight hours? Is there any better way to clarify the laws of nature -- endlessly turning cycles, spinning wheels, marching ants, flowing rivers, circulating moisture, orbiting satellites, expanding universe? It goes on and on and on, in the same patterns, over and over again! What about it changes? The strategy? The order of events? The quantized reactions? All details! All circumstance, lost in the grander scheme of living and dying. This is the cycle of life -- not a happy disneyfied African safari tour of multicolored dancing animals -- but a happy little boy walking to school and being run over -- an old man meeting death with fear and regret -- two lovers drowning the spark in stale routine -- a girl scout being raped -- a college graduate entering the work force and blindly feeding the cancer in his soul -- all decay, all downward spirals; but all erased and forgotten in time, all reorganized and reinterpreted in a context of freshness and youth, old paths trodden again, the failures of the past illuminating the Way into the future. This is where we lose it -- the path, the lessons, ourselves -- lost in the happiness of movement and of pumping blood and of calculating mind, where the self expands into the generals and specifics of the entire universe, repeating the cycle, honoring the cycle, enriching the cycle with the glory of experience, the glory of the hunt, the glory of the fall. This continues; this too shall pass; this is an illusion; this is eternal.
Oh God, it's time for me to be committed -- I love this game!
[On June 1, 1999, I was sitting around at Mojo's Daily Grind, a local coffeehouse, trying to write. Apparently inspiration was elsewhere, so I was about to go inside and find a magazine to browse through when I saw a magazine lying unattended on one of the outside tables. The covers were ripped off, but the first page was covered in writing, so I picked it up and figured I'd get a quick glimpse of a handwritten note to someone or a personal reminder. What I found was a magazine full of paranoid ramblings and cryptical dates and places.
The text below is the full transcription of what I found in the April 25, 1999 issue of The New York Times Magazine. The writing were scrawled in the margins, across the text, and across pictures. Because the writing was hard to decipher at times, and parts of sentences would be scattered across pages, I have attempted to reproduce the sections as they appeared by breaking the text up according to how it was found on the page. Naturally, a faithful reproduction in ASCII text is not possible, but I have done my best. The interpretation is left to you.
I'd like to thank I Wish My Name Were Nathan for going over about half of my transcriptions and helping me figure out some particular nasty handwriting sections.] page 3
The cars they were out there -- bearing us then between Ivanhoe Circle. And us 2 began and arrive and drive the 3 friends (teen girls) home to whichever alleyway they lived and were born. Almost.
Received me at her mother's and father's and brother's home for the afternoon with her friends. At home were telephoned by her mother.
A natural born grid of Oklahoma and this deed not last.
Here Margaret has approached us and over one of her own age group leeched by this nigger man. She sweared it's her real address, since 1961 or 1960 on Ivanhoe Circle or Lane house. In the later afternoon removed us by 11 or so.
Only other sister reselling and reselling and reselling us, the then youngest Hopkins. Her friend's daughter appearing as one. There were 4 in 1960 and in 1962 with and of herself.
He appeared that afternoon to work with horses in a stable in Houston, Texas.
The month year 1999 around 1960 year -- it looks about like 1961. A colored man drove mischief on about a covered car, I believe a compact, with her.
In 1960 and in the 1961st year. The one friend, youngest of these or the older of these 3, had far far to go to Albightdnonded, Texas to sleep at home and by 10 or 11 o'clock midnight by 11 or midnight hour. Margaret said then she might her or her mother -- maybe herself -- to do it -- drive her home.
The second child-youth, she had to return to one orphanage -- or there on Ivanhoe Circle -- was the second orphan at the home-house in 1960 or as in 1961.
The girl was an attending student, my friend of Zachary Lanier Junior High School or whatever on Duval Road and at Westhauser Street on the corner, remember.
The telephone of the family house Ivanhoe Circle was listed in the Houston, Texas directory.
The year the district 13 or 33 or 30 or 39 or 31. I think it's Zone 7.
There in the 1960-61 year. The young girl drove her own car with two other of older youths year 12 2 the house on Ivanhoe Cir. southside about the fourth or fifth home on your right.
I believe they said they were 12 years old youth. Houses, too, in westside district 21.
There another car arrived, and I believe Gerald Hopkins is there, the name of the telephone listing of his family home in Ivanhoe Circle.
Then -- its driveway to the home's garage of 1 story was on the and in the (4700's) or 4600's or 4500s.
The 4600's were used there properly, I believe. 50. 49. 48. 47. 46 or 4500s.
East on West Kettering Circle, then 1 street southward in 1 direction from Westhauser Road it then traveled.
She said they are high and hiding narcotics use, but one told of the colored chauffeurs appearing from the rear west -- oppose his own the side when one drove the girl (person)
to which dwelling she lived. When he reached Houston said and over is Sharpstown with around the Westbury School of an area angled south vs. west.
The other friend of mine -- friend's younger or little sister -- attended or visited Westbury Junior High School in Longfellows Sharps Sharpstown, Houston, Texas and Bellaire, Texas.
All niggers in Houston, Texas, my hometown, live east of us, behind and of us. Nearer downtown's heart. And where that the colored schools are, also.
For the 1961 fall football there in Houston, Texas, in the 8th grade (7) or 1960 throughout 1961. Then my friends and I ran elected and nominated for cheerleader there at Zachery Lanier Junior High School. His name, very Shelton pretty, and rhymed with the 1 story brick home. The colored man was in the street.
The older gal person in the family was the brother. The other girls -- little ladies -- lived with her most of the time. I agreed after school. The more I question up along the home's north and front curb, she had said in jest and earnestly -- whence she was taken into the car on the front house's south side.
I did have a decent front lawn, I remember. The home had a front north sidewalk to the curb.
They have done this since some preceding year other than 1962. Strangers they are to us. The colored peoples, they believe.
They too work at servant jobs, bartending, and some at private enclosed club buildings. They come to work at differing places in town, such as a senior high school cafeteria or a senior high school hall. There in the city and in hotels they also work, too -- delivering our milk at home and to our front doors, and delivering our newspapers and our telephone books -- each year or so. They too work construction, and park our cars downtown
and out of the city, also.
Garney, Texas, Oklahoma.
The young lady's name was Garney, or she so announced that she lived there in
repeated published article.
Grand Prarie, Texas. Abilene, Texas area, area (a county). Albightdnonded, Texas. Then the colored slave carried this magazine with him. I thought was interesting. Those young people were enclosed in a home.
1960. 1962. 1961 year.
The three men ran through LaGrange at Smithsville, Texas afterwards, only an hour or two in the one afternoon during the week after junior high school.
In the 1962nd year, during the day, they ran eastward on foot -- walked very quickly much alikened to police officers on a man -- on a man hunt. man's trail hunt. Was at an end one of those days by and of 3pm.
And we took Patty home. How it is 1980, and she is back this Margaret getting into the car with one of her 4 friends that did drive cars, took the car over from her mother.
(3) + (1) = 4. That's his name: she said. Or Willhite.
My mother never pays for anything. She leans on this other family member whom she lives with, this other family -- their name and something Willheist, she said.
Jim, Shelton, Patti, Kathie, and Mr. and Mrs. and Mr. and Mrs.
The oldest and the older male. The older female believed her mother.
[Not losing my mind, I begin.]
In first grade, too. NAME.
Snatched from my daddy's car. Then he stood from me.
The colored car driver there on Kettering Lane Circle. THIS IS PLAGERIZED ALSO.
I began repressing in 1984 and went on into 1984 deeply. Withdrew in 1985. She is, so as I, to speak, is no longer at Johnson, no longer at Lee, is no longer at Dotter, and is no longer at Iverson.
Notice: it is not a practice of mine -- sitting on the bathroom or downstairs' other toilet reading smaller contrasting compared points to grunt better. [deficate.]
This was noticed since yesterday evening at the El Patio Mexican Foreign Food Restaurant on Guadalupe Street. HOSPITAL SHIT.
To me, Jacob's the real Margaret. Goodbye! She -- is beautiful and unreal.
I found it -- the automatic pistol belonging to a Mrs. Ros Bankespoole, born either in Birmingham, Alabama, south of Johnnesborough, Arkansas or Hawkinsville, Arkansas, or Hawkins, Alambama, the USA -- in the 1976 1977th year over on Wordsworth or Shakespeare or Dryden Street near the [wherever] Boulevard Village.
2 streets on its south side. The streets are some of them some of the time, one way. One way or the other way.
In Houston in Bellaire, I did drive a sports jeep -- brown it was and was with an open top -- in Sharpstown, Texas in 1976 and 1977. In the Capitol and to it in 1978 and 1979.
Some Chinese food, some work, some $75.00 home out of town, 40 miles.
Rapollo's (pizza). Downtown. Burger with poppyseed buns. Some T-bone steak with fried potatoes. Closed. And roast beef -- cafeteria 5 slices, rare. And mashed potatoes and butter and broccoli at the cafeteria and butter.
Mr. Martin owns and rents. Nor do I want to live in it. If he owns Lawton I don't want to rent it.
It's nearer Texas. The crisis -- is American. This is 1999, they say why and do they know TODAY is off the air?
In this Southwestern state, some have married illegally, some mothers haven't married illegally. This is good.
The criminals are kidnappers, kidnapping and going to work for regular money. My own daddy is one exclamatory remark! of Houstonians, I have heard.
Since 1960 and the 1960first year. Rah-rah.
In 1980, we have proof and saw helicopter flyers, men flying them over in Asia and Iran, get dizzy and ill--
and incessantly demanded and announced they were dead because of then the same.
In the Abilene, Texas area, across central north central Texas, since the 1960 year.
The [bastards] -- it is obviously the howl of the colored person-man-perverted-one making money on a grander, complex scale.
1999. In the Houston, in the Austin Capitol and in the Dallas areas. This is a public dirty drive, of pastime socializing party drinkers, who have decided on their own to do what we see.
Then he went into Germany and flew a jet off a large ship afloat, and the newspaper published the action as an everyday accident transpiring since some year in the late 19sixties and 1970s.
Filling with narcotic -- charging money -- trying to (proof) prove of innocent subjugation. Prosperity: making a real heart filled and dishonorable time of America, in foreign nations, on foreign soil and of foreign countries. Fools. Fools of grown men, fools of more intelligent men and their families, fools of their grandchild, fools of their granddaughters.
Buying time in the United States, time of political professions, sitting out and trying to run it to their fullest. And fathers they were, and Lincoln Continental car drivers they were, and psychoanalysts they were, and Private General Doctors of medicine they were, and husbands of psychiatrists, married 2 or 5 or at sometimes 9 times.
Posterity. And an American citizenship and here on American soil, of German, Austrian, Swiss, French heritage. And Slavic he was thought or in the newspaper in Austin read about as part of the antidereleased.
Sunk down in my hometown, Houston, Texas.
And he flew over some part of the Mediterranean Sea or some sea over there and cursed the baby again with his pure, democratic citizen professional.
And then too he was in this newspaper article characterized or described as a possible crazy adult or a convicted crazy adult, to be caught and assimilated by
telephone. In 1971 spring he also visited and lived in Vicenza with a woman and entered the back door of an Italian home in one of the Vicenza neighborhoods -- because I saw him carrying three infants.
There in the article, there was no discussion of him being an American citizen nor of it, truthfully.
But over in Europe, well, Italy, in 1971 and 1965, part of 1967 and 1969, January. For facial expression, dearly there in Houston, Texas. Our year was 1966.
These 3 women approached an Austin shopping house in the Texas Capitol area and demanded the infants -- 3. From Brackenridge, carried in a car directly from Brackenridge or directly from where in 1970 the infants had been born.
The newborn was not taken at Brackenridge Hospital. We saw them. We do not believe at all one of these at least.
A professional, charging money, and activating criminal kidnapping with a funny little outlet end to his personality. The sigh of he himself at close proximity -- 6 feet.
Then, too, I recognized the man: a NASA aeronautical space corporal in the United States of America's southwest. He was then televised to be in the year 1984. Austin, Houston, and Dallas, Texas. He was the criminal partner in this LSD injection drive flurrie via
a Houstonian. Born there in Houston, Harris County, Texas, in 1947, at Herman Hospital, Jean A. Area.
They need addresses on buildings since 1970 -- on 501 E. 8th street.
U.S. female patient. Unmarried. Adult. White. Wt -- 185lbs. 5'7" ht. Light colored skin. Blue blond.
We believe they stopped over there at, then, the Dover building -- the Ramis Club or New Elks Club building -- and put on a floor up against a wall, in August and in September of 1970, but he saying part of October. 1970.
Are then, and has repetitiously been with the policemen and police department and law enforcement authorities, and examined for almost the purposelessly clad. Idiots as narcotics users. To repress people with an overall lever because illegal dope is pharmaceutically affiliated.
By in large finding the northerners her cousins (3), aunt, mother's sister, and uncle not kidnappers in 1956 nor in the following year. Finally, in 1998 and in 1999.
Circumstantially, admit -- that it is hard to deny these 5 peoples -- there in Kentucky no. However, one does the kidnapping.
Cold Hinoc Fleece cargo vessel. 1927-28 November.
False conjured passport books, false name. False physical descriptions. False home addresses. False country nationalities. False autopsies. False records. Numbers and falsely reliant faces -- data -- facts = lists -- addresses -- numbers. False photographs.
Jewelry -- and pearls. Theft. Stolen. Then -- if you took yours, talking about at the photographs -- snapped Houston County Jail in and of 1959.
1998-1999 year. and we telephoned him and he threatened our lives -- then what are you going to do about it -- he so as to speak entailed.
1968-69. By in large Time Magazine coverage. He told us by magazine he had won a modern gunman.
Alikened -- my personal identification papers. Love Transporting and Storing Company. Houston, Texas. International Interstate 10.
Stolen 1976. 77-1979 years off San Antonio street in Austin, Texas.
Miss (my first name) Martina (the first name) Church (my maiden name) Lee (Last Name)
Lain down -- somewhere in the town, in the county. My identification papers stolen one year to the next -- privately and publicly -- in Travis County in Austin, Texas.
page 7a (insert)
I, cannot read (funny joke)
Bradley Bailey Square claims only 6 flours.
(KKK) office Johannesborough, Arkansas.
Pa -- Ma. Dr. Bass. Male -- Female. Female -- Male. Male -- Female. Male -- Female. 1952-1954 -- Houston 1954. 1952-1953-1954-1955. 47. 1st grade class 1956-57. Had mortuaries, funerals, Texas. 1958. Listed 1959. Beeler Leece.
1966-1968. Lizeze, Italy. Geneva -- Weerne -- Berne, Switz. With Luxemborg in mind, I thought. Brussels, Belgium. For car rent Hertz America. Austria. Innsbrook. Salzburg.
Italy. From Venice, Vicenza, Vienna, and Vicenza. Distance and whereabouts of these two cities. As distant as drives to Ireland, and with Pesci in the rearview mirror -- leaving Florence and prior Rome & Riornie, Italy. And a Venician found there set up in Turkey and Athens, Greece and in Southeast Italy, a central town. And teaching in Italy, 1968s Italy in 2 places-towns.
Wanted from Greenland and sought in America since the outbreak of World War I -- 1928 November. Found out on the Atlantic Ocean at 11:56pm at night with his 143 men, was sentenced with kidnapping and charged with it -- and his men and sentenced (again) as 2 have the weather to Haitian Revolutionary National for life in southwest Indies.
By those names, other preposterous named of criminal, criminal gatherers. Dickson. Larry Laurence Edwards.
With a fuller and a broom I wandered and arguing for 4 harmonial affairs illegally gesturing on appearing parties, some teens as many as 9 parties. Some very small children with an age to question. Usually appearing single to a 1st grade in Houston, Texas district 19. And a student not secured in a class for their study room.
A self-supplied boyfriend and earlier vagabond, a prominent son of oiling company in the 1980s, on a cargo vessel. Then caught -- and found supposedly free of syphilis venereal germ.
Since 1966 has advertised outside of the Houston telephone directory (book). 1928th year, 18th to 23rd November at 11:56pm at night.
All and are they found then by 3 or 4 other men in the Houston area. He has been ushered and bribed in uptown Austin in Texas on East Seventh Street on its north side.
And leading as a televised Houston, Texas man and TV star -- Donn Mahoney. And via askance photographic developments and illegally employed and aliased as D. Mahoney. Since this Donn Mahoney's death in the 1960's in America, I believe. Howdy Doody will have to go, and I will have to be taken away.
Drunk on liquor and alcoholic beverages and on, he says, America's stupidity, especially those of and its teenagers.
In 1966 hence he is in illegal charge in touring "this visitor" by the poor, deceiving the public by dining. Eating out is a crutch, isn't it? He has infringed our public by stolen up Texas streets, usually clueless -- married to a first-rate neighbor -- and drunk on dope in Houston, Texas.
To excuse spastiasms from the public view and to create study of its relief in Texas capitol towns and university area.
Also proposed to the United States of America its Federal Plan. He was a Herculean Randolph Hearst, and for all of his money invested in Texas created wealth and buildings.
4 years here in this USA. 1926 year -- Oklahoma. 1927 year -- Texas. 1928 year -- unrecovered year. 1929 year. 1930 year. 1931 year. 1932 -- turned up, then not ever again.
Hearing a (1980) Orwellian view -- and without assurance of to us. Studying a thing and earlier -- even a missing person. They have found her now, I believe, hanging out in the Austin Capitol, student of the University of Texas, in temporary homes they use while in college, and too, in a house w/ 2 story level.
And too as STOP drunk called a trusting STOP at Lake Granger underneath Houston Lake east and was west on the side from the streets of Houston downtown -- with a house in Harris county. Lying address the other funeral River Oaks area.
And why would he not be feeding you?
Now why wouldn't this man be dangerous?
Then he was found supposing in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas in 1950 and in 1951. A joker entering questions and leaving the prison a helper. Now he is found asking questions.
Once again overcharging and too a private patient earlier whilst in Granbury -- and lying farther to his legal uncle in Houston Texas and Lexington, Kentucky and in Cleveland, Cincinnati, Ohio found him in the telephone directory.
The Brutish Queen in of 1968-1969 caught him at the Austin area downtown uptown police station trying to fortune and replicate disaster in favor of becoming another character with another face and wickedly resought him.
1 son living out of Switzerland side out of Austria side. Out of Italy side. Out of Greece side. Out of Germany side.
A daughter-girl out of Scandinavia.
The man has been announced the same man caught in 1990 through 1991 years and 1992 running -- a pilot over Germany and Austria with a suggestion of facial acne -- and Sebringk is his name.
Then you hear, while you had such exclaimed words in the student area, a real woman.
[and courageously] Found another lived right here uncorrectly.
I would not think you would want any food. He had touched melee.
By which how they always were before. That adult is too criminal and is a dangerous joker. See -- they have found out a cover to use -- that they are adults and were by and with adults -- adult care, adults brought around by criminal and professional pay, of criminal pay.
A public waver of stripteasers in and out of the USA -- NOT NORMIES -- of older and older women since 1957 in Houston's publicity world.
In a white undershirt, trousers, belt, socks, shoes. A Leo, Leonard, Leonardo. Or it (ahead) of us, I swear.
Before being found in this Federal Building and that -- a private FBI officeman in San Antonio and in Austin, Texas.
Say, as example, in something you have seen, in a magazine, hearing this job is not -- a joke -- "Get up, boy" you guys!
Who has paid for this discouraged course of life -- 2907 Ferndale Street, 2905? Ferndale Street, 77006 in Harris County, Houston, Texas. He is trying to list -- and sits on an ottoman in 1984 and swears he is listing others.
(Whom) (Who) is varied of on and sometimes about -- the American use of assumed presumption -- is the way and manner in that he began his illegal escape and that he is still living closely with them.
Relax and extend a hellish hand.
1926-1999. 1926 -- 73 years. 73 years.
2708-2710 Guadalupe Street.
I swear he cannot be of any use. I swear he is of no use no further use -- can he be. Of which he can't be.
Should you see them -- every one of these out here -- in a penitentiary.
This bird full of syphilis and venereal disease -- gone inside deeper. Over these years unfeasible that he should live.
He says -- of 1967 -- "Picked it up -- the teenager -- the young adult female with are -- pocket full and filled with narcotics."
Out of Fort Worth's prison. The loose and toothless say he is an American -- and a prominent official of Texas since 1972. Greek. Greece.
Swore then he told us as the norm or this stuttered gal -- overnight -- north or from the western -- "I might be -- but who knows -- he might be from the United States of America.
The United States of America. 1893-4-5-6-7-8-99. They took him as prisoner away. 1900-1-2-3-4-5-6-7- 8. 1908-09-1910-1911 -- the 1920 year. In talking to her -- that my dad died and was buried in his home -- in Mississippi.
Earlier in 18something9 in Mississippi locked up and arrested in Austin, Texas away from people like herself and his 142 men. The woman was his employee -- may have been. For a long time and housed there, they are been -- injured children -- and infants, outgrowthed.
Riskship -- constitution, life, money, blood, and mindless mental fraud. Rent or lease. In texas since 1980 and 1979. In Houston, Texas and 1969 and 1970. In Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas since 1962. And since January of her and December of 1962 -- hence falsify your television, (telephone), and some radio and kidnappers.
Is it the big yellow page beach or not! For emphasis.
These are just some facts about him -- reasons for staying away from him. I saw you with that lawyer man down at the Burger King, Joe. Away from him too, Joe. You might say thank you.
Skipped up 2710 Guadalupe Street, Austin. Lee -- 1998-99.
The homeless Austinite and Texan understand change.
1998-1999. From Lexington, Kentucky have never been mentioned and they are not going to do me any good.
West University's village, a guitar teacher, also.
It was no help. He worked with the different "psychiatrists" there in Harris County, Houston, Bellaire.
He met, see, other large criminals here in the United States after me. Myself. My other dad with his 142 men.
Since 1965-66 Lykes Line Shipping, Delaware. In 1970 job. Is. It. Not. Italy. Air. Etc.
The guy at work who sits in the next cubicle worries too much. He says he feels constantly guilty about being unfaithful to his wife. I ask him, are you cheating on her? He says no, but that he finds other women attractive, albeit unconsciously, like a mental reflex to the images he sees. So, I ask, there's nothing more than a patterned firing of neurons? I guess not, he says. There's no fantasizing going on? No, he says. Then I say, that's nothing. That's normal. You're a male, you're programmed to react to women. Would you rather be blind to beauty?
I think I should be sometimes. Whenever I see a woman, all the neurons go off. I mean, it's really pathetic. I see her posing erotically, for instance. Then right afterwards, I see her naked. The neurons shift that quickly. And then, I see her masturbating on a bear rug. Then, we're making love. I see us having wild, passionate sex. I see me on top, I see her on top. I see us getting married. I see us buying a house and paying high interest. I see her giving birth. I see our child grow out of diapers. I see our family happily walking through a park. I see our child grow up and go through adolescence.
Say it's a boy. I see him masturbating and fantasizing about women. I see him dating. I see him getting laid. I see him getting married and feeling guilty about being attracted to other women, albeit unconsciously. I see him fantasizing about women he sees, to whom he makes love and gets married to and then has children with. I see him having a daughter, and see him fantasizing about her fantasies. I see myself as his daughter. I see myself going through puberty and entering the menstrual cycle. I see all sorts of biological clocks ticking in my body demanding that I have children. I see men fantasizing about me, albeit unconsciously. I see myself having sex with several men but feeling unsatisfied. I see myself getting married and having children. I see myself giving birth and splitting into two. I see both halves continue on, each having fantasies and sex and getting married and having children and all of them growing up and procreating.
Pretty soon I recognize the pattern and can implicitly fill in my family tree going backwards in time, where I see myselves coming back from their graves and children coming back to their parents, serially morphing into them and restoring their youth until they're adolescents growing younger and younger and dissolving into their mothers and fathers; and sensing the decay as less dead rise from their graves and fewer mothers and fathers are left until that one moment when I am no longer human but pre-human and at that point it's a bit difficult to describe, but past that it's just more rising of the dead and feeling and merging and splitting on up the line until I'm not even a mammal (and then I start to get confused wondering where these children came from since they left so shortly after hatching) and on and on until, well, it gets really mechanical and I just feel like the world's biggest jerk.
The guy in the next cube has it easy.
"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."
The despairing song of waves
The echoing thought of islands
Brings me where dusty winds whirl like dervishes,
Where Allah commands 'Thou Shalt Nots'
From sun-stricken minarets.
The women in purdah I know,
Dry as Old Testament verses,
The idle, burned street vendors
Who keep faith with only their flied produce,
and the foundered ships off Quay Street,
Like desecrated carcasses in the stinking mud
Bitten by sand flies and tides.
When God has swept the furnace of this sky
and his sun haemorrhages over the sea,
Only then the betel palms shall sway slowly
And the final remains of a dead empire
Pedal its trishaw down Beach Street,
Waving generous good-byes.
Tonight an unlikely rainbow has settled over home.
I am thinking of the cemeteried dead
Who fill the hillside.
Always I am aware of their broken homes
slumping but not quite effaced by the high hedges.
Even in blackness empty as widowhood,
There is a vulgarity in death,
The discomfort of their silence.
In more articulate starlight
Headstones show their best profiles,
but still all their grand sentimental words
resemble each other.
New bones erode over old blood.
That is the culture, the tongue
As first snowflakes
Settle on the long lashes
of the gravedigger's starlit eyes
and the mourners ebb off, divide like
tributaries, into the living
I am left standing, clutching the
lonely, sad hands of my dead.
I glimpsed the dark ebb of the event horizon briefly flicker in her right eye. when she blinked, her eyelashes sheared the image of her still pupils, and I heard her softly inhale, getting ready to speak.
"I know," I said. "I know."
She exhaled through her nose. A drop of sweat formed above her bare upper lip. I watched a mosquito land on her neck and crawl inside her blouse.
"Yes," I said. "This is Byzantium."
Leaning back against the granite column, she absently brushed the rough surface of the pillar with her callused fingertips. I pulled the map out of my pocket, unfolded it, and let it flutter to the ground. It landed face down.
"No," I quickly said, anticipating her question. "We can't leave. This is what we came for."
It had taken me a decade to realize that I had passively watched the world end ten years earlier. The fallen wall marked the end of the way things were, and I sat in the grass, following the clouds with shoeless feet, while it passed me by. I grew up after the world was over.
She was the one who brought me the map and said that we should leave, that we should go back to the way things were before. She talked about a golden age with golden birds atop golden trees, and she whispered the magic word into my hollow ear that night which made me decide to go. I woke up that morning with strands of her hair in my mouth.
"We have to burn it," I said, lighting a match and setting fire to the paper. The thick, purple smoke began to fill the large room. She tried to manage a smile but ended up walking outside. The etchings in the walls were barely visible.
I left the broken temple and joined her on the craggy outcrop looking over the sea. Our rowboat was moored below, halfheartedly rocked by dark waves. I turned around and surveyed the island, its ruined buildings, the dead wood, and the crumbled stone.
"We have to burn it," she said before I could stop her. I solemnly nodded and looked up, seeing two clouds moving closer together. They were slowly spinning in opposite directions on their horizontal axes, and when they intersected, I thought I saw a cracked crown.
I heard her stepping on twigs as she went to gather wood.
Kerr answers the phone all day, at this plastic desk. No, not quite a desk at all, really -- an artificial construct unit, modular, made in a blazing slave shop in Singapore for multi-billion dollar companies in economically viable countries. The floor is plastic and hollow -- Kerr can hear his feet pop within the four foot plastic cavern with a plastic echo, plastic tank, plastic sound, holding together a plastic building. Plastic chairs, with artificial thin-layered thready plastic covering. The ceiling, fifteen feet above him, is not plastic, but cement -- gray and splotched, plastic-looking rendered flat cement. Cold and hollow like the plastic floor beneath him, spewing forth air.
When his phone rings, it sounds like plastic -- incalculable strands of plastic slapping against each other to give a plastic applause, pause, applause.
"Thank you for calling, this is Kerr, can I have your name, please?"
"Hi. Yes. What do you need?" in a twangy male voice, fumbling, classic twisting squeaks of a twirled benevolent phone cord.
"What is your name?"
"And your last name?"
"Could you spell that for me?"
"And do you have the serial number of the system your calling on?" There's always silence after that question.
David obviously was flipping through the drawers of photocopied and paper-clipped paper world at his knees. "Uh, the what?"
Kerr is prepared. "The serial number. Should be on the back of the system on a white sticker with a barcode -- seven digits."
More pausing, the drop and dissipation of papers, sliding grating metal, grunts, groans, office phones, stampeding giraffes. "Oh, okay. LK0H21N."
"Are you with the New Jersey Department of Public Safety, David?"
"Yes, New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety."
"OK. And what can I do for you?"
"Well, uhmm, I was trying to hook up this scanner, and it says it goes to COM1, and I think I hooked it up right, to the back, there's a connector that says COM1 on it, and I plugged it in there, but it won't find it."
"It won't find it?" Kerr has this habit of repeating the last phrase said to him in the form of a question -- he wasn't sure if this was condescending, annoying, or reassuring proof he was actually listening.
"OK. And did you run the install program that came with it?"
"Uhm, yeah, I put in the CD that came with it," thicker paper being rustled, "the one that says UMAX 7391b Scanner Installation CD, and it came up and I clicked on install, and... well, I'll do it now."
Kerr had flashes of visualization when he spoke to people, concoctions of facial structure, hair color and style, complexion, posture, gut, what kind of phone they were on, the room they were calling from, what they did in moments of silence.
"David, are you wearing a hat?"
"Uh, no. Is that alright?"
"Oh, sure that's fine. Did you put in the CD?"
"Yes, I did, and now here it comes. It says UMAX 7391b Scanner Installation, and it has a button that says Install, and I click on that, right?"
"Right, go ahead."
One must really be quite careful in this kind of situation -- if someone is asked permission to click on a button for eight hours a day, an array of psychological tomfoolery could easily develop, power issues, God complexes, the belief in gnomes.
"OK. So now it says it's going to put it in sea program files youmax, is that alright?"
"That's fine, click on next."
"OK. And now there's this bar, it says it's copying -- oh, well, it went too fast, and now it's something else. Says it is trying to detect the UMAX 7391b scanner, and it's sitting there."
"OK. And now it says it couldn't find a UMAX 7391b scanner connected to the system. And to check the cable and try again."
"Alright, David. Have you done that yet?"
"Check the cable?"
"Right, the cable that goes from the scanner to the back of the computer -- the one you said you plugged into COM1."
"Oh. No. Well, I plugged it in there after I took it out of the box."
"OK. Go ahead and just unplug the cable on both ends -- unplug it from both the computer and the scanner, and just go ahead and plug it right back in there. And make sure that it is all firmly connected."
"So, unplug the cable and plug it back in?"
"I'm going to put the phone down for a minute, is that alright?"
More plastic clopping noise.
"Are you there?"
"Yes, David, I'm always here."
"OK. I unplugged the cable and plugged it back in."
"Great. Now, let's go ahead and run that same installation program again."
"So. Should I take out the CD and just put it back in?"
"That will work fine."
"OK. The light is coming on. And now it says UMAX 7391b Scanner Installation, and should I click on the Install button again?"
"And should it go to the same place?"
"Right, that's fine."
"OK. And now it's that bar again, and -- it's gone now, and is...oh, it found it."
"It said it found the scanner?"
"Yes, it says it found a UMAX 7391b Scanner on COM1."
"Alright, great, David, than that should do it."
"So now I can use it?"
"Yes, once you go through the rest of the installation, you can use it."
"Oh, wow, that's great. And what was your name again?"
"Well, thanks, Chris."
"You're welcome. Have a -- sure you can hang-up before I tell you to have a good evening, that's fine. Just trying to spread joy to the world, but that's alright."
Kerr didn't think Chaucer had anyone hang-up on him. Did anyone hang-up on Galileo? The church didn't count, so no, nobody hung-up on Galileo. Perhaps God hung-up on Galileo. Though, this is difficult to believe -- one would think if God hung-up on Galileo, God would not allow Galileo to be such an all important figure in the history of the globe. Kerr was a human, too. Simple respect for another being is all that was necessary here, nothing more was being asked. He finished summarizing the phone call he just took for the benefit of the Great Customer Database and anyone who chose to read through it, disregarding the fact he wasn't technically supposed to help the gentleman at all, according to the Great Company Policy, and was misidentified immediately after he told the man his name was Kerr. All just a simple case of misunderstanding, really, nothing to become irate and disheveled over.
Sixteen emails an hour flew into his mailbox: 8:12am - Policy Change Regarding Absences, 8:19am - UPDATE: Policy Change Regarding Absences, 8:29am - Installing Windows 2000 on Windows 98, 8:29am - Installing Windows 2000 on Windows 95, 8:31am - Uninstalling Windows 2000, 8:40am - New Monitor Serial Number Tracking Policies, 8:49am - NOTICE: Disregard Previous Policy Change Regarding Absences, 8:50am - $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$, 8:52am - Linux Support Policy, 8:54am - One-on-One Meeting with Manager, 8:54am - Team Meeting in Conference Room Three, 8:55 - Team Meeting in Conference Room Twelve, 8:55 - Friday is Shorts Day!, 8:58 - Team Meeting Cancelled. Not quite sixteen at the moment, but one can always count on someone replying to everyone on a mailing list in error, and then a flurry of reply-to-alls in response to the original reply-to-all and the social ramifications of replying-to-all. All easily mounting up to at least sixteen separate emails an hour.
Kerr sat at the end of a row, at a high-traffic corner -- the majority of those who entered and exited this floor had to at some point in time traverse past Kerr's cubicle. The elevators were fifteen feet behind him, and the carpet gap was a mecca for travelers. In the past forty minutes, he has continually glanced back as eighteen separate people walked by, coming from the elevator, back into the building, back to their homeworld geometry. Of these eighteen people, sixteen have been carrying food, food in square paper bags, grease-ridden and plastered with logos, Styrofoam cups, colored straws and carbonated darkened drinks. One after one they flew by, toting fast food icons behind them. None were together -- they did not journey in a group to the miniature concrete adventureland a few blocks away, taking no mercy upon the costumed folk that served them their bags of faceless food, then returning triumphant to the camp, sitting in circles to celebrate their plastic hunt. All separate, individuals, different food, different bags. Processed, unappreciated, this is what is deemed triumphant and beautiful here.
"Kerr." It was that echoing voice of managerial authority, piercing through the thin anti-cotton fabric of the walls, reverberating in plastic. "Come talk to me when you have a minute." It was strange, being a disembodied command, originating from the larger cubicle twelve feet from his own. How can he disregard such a call from the self-righteous aristocracy, stuffed in a collar?
Kerr appeared in the one gap of his manager's cubiclized office, gripping a pen in his hand. "Yes?"
"Kerr, come here, sit down." His manager looked as though he was the 2nd string center from a nomadic high school football team, perpetually attending a post-game social event, Josh's parents are out of town, and they left the liquor cabinet unlocked -- Suzy is going to be there.
His manager stared at him with complete blankness as Kerr moved his body into the chair in front of this man -- a single sheet of paper was slapped down on the table. "Do you see those numbers there, Kerr?"
Kerr saw the numbers there. "Yes."
"Do you know what those numbers are, Kerr?"
Kerr knew what the numbers were. "Those are my stats."
"Right, Kerr. Your stats. And Kerr, your stats are horrible."
Kerr just stated at the rows and columns and lines and decimal places brimming over on the page, nodding his head slowly. "OK."
"Kerr, do you see this one here? Logging rate? This is the only decent thing you are doing. What that shows is the percentage of calls you put into the Great Customer Database, which as we know is very important. And here, it shows -- look here, yesterday you logged 148% of your calls."
Kerr looked at his manager. Blankly. "148%?"
"Yes, 148%, and that's great," his manager was beaming with some sort of thoroughbred racing horse smile.
"How is it possible for me to log 148% of my phone calls?"
"Well, Kerr, it happened -- says it right here, and that just shows how good you are doing there. But. Look at this one -- call time. Do you know what that is?"
"That is how much time you spend on each call. And if you look at your call times for yesterday, they are really poor. You took, uhm, 24 calls yesterday, right. And, the shortest amount of time you spent on any of those calls was 38 minutes. 38 minutes! The longest call you had yesterday was, uhm, 72 minutes! Most of the calls were between 45-48 minutes. That is horrible, Kerr! Simply outrageous. Do you realize that you were almost the poorest in this department? On my team? The poorest in the department, Kerr! That's inexcusable."
Kerr wrinkled his brow a bit, moving his eyes back and forth from the sheet of paper in front of him to his manager's swollen face, attempting to calculate what exactly was necessary to perform his job function. "Does it seem odd to you that, well, alright -- I was here for eight hours yesterday, right? Eight hours here at work. And. Those call times. I took 24 calls -- let's just say that all of them were ONLY 38 minutes--"
"But they weren't, Kerr, they--"
"That's fine. Let's just pretend. I took 24 calls, each one of them lasting 38 minutes. And so, that would total 912 minutes. Right? 912 minutes. Which equals how many hours?"
"Well, uhm, I'm not sure."
"That is over 15 hours. Just on those phone calls. Not counting any other projects I was working on, lunch, breaks, talking to you -- whatever. Does that not seem just a bit impossible to you?"
"Now, Kerr, it's not impossible -- it says right here, right on this paper in front of you."
"You don't think the numbers on this sheet of paper are inaccurate at all?"
This man remained calm, strong, and convinced. "Kerr, numbers don't lie."
How does someone argue against this kind of logic? Kerr was a baffled, stammering, drooling mess. One-way gates and the meaning of cause and effect, simple mathematics, flow charts, the measurement of time -- all were suddenly deemed worthless and unusable. Kerr wondered if this man used a pre-Civil War map of the United States when he went on vacations -- reaching the Midwest and questioning why the Missouri Territory did not exist as it said so on his map, proceeding to declare all nine present day states in that region to be mislabeled. Or perhaps reaching the eastern coast of the United States, peering over the edge of his Pangean map, and stating, "There can't be an ocean here. There must be more land."
"Thank you for calling, this is Kerr, can I have your name please?"
"Look. I've called you six times today, and I have gotten nothing fixed. And I have been working on this for 14 hours." An angry, middle-aged, post-middle-aged women, gritting teeth and smoking.
Kerr closed his eyes and leaned back into a plastic chair and plastic darkness. "Ma'am, that certainly is frustrating. Do you have the serial number of the system you've been calling on, so I can pull it up and see what has been going on?"
"Christ. You mean I have to give this to you again?"
"Yes, please, so I can see what has been done to the system."
Inhales, exhales, mumbling, "Christ...you people... what... tired... this... what is this... VL3W11C. Alright?"
Kerr sprung back into an bolted upright position, flooded with fluorescent lights, stating over typing, "Yes, ma'am, thank you very much."
The United States Marine Corp.
"Are you with the United States Marine Corp?" Kerr asked.
"Yes," was the response.
Usually, Kerr did not encounter much strife with members of the United States military, which may or may not be an odd thing. Usually, those who called were Privates, or Private First Class, or something of that sort -- they and them sat low on the handle of the country's ordained peacebringers, and have been bred to take orders from others, cooperate with any and all, not to act outside their bounds as a starter peaceboy.
Kerr continued with questions while he had the chance, "And what is your name?"
Sighs and pride, "This is Sergeant Richards, United States Marine Corp, Birmingham, Alabama."
Kerr jumped up. "Hoohaa!"
Kerr sat back down. "Nothing. What is your first name?"
"Why do you need to know that?"
"It is purely for our records. I would also need a first name if to issue any kind of service on the system. And I'd just like to know who I am talking to."
"Well, I am not going to give you my first name," pant, pant, grunt. "I don't think there is any reason why you need my first name."
There is a magical red button on the phone Kerr uses to speak to all those who call, and on this magical red button is the word MUTE printed in slanted dark text. This is certainly a beneficial feature to have on the phone -- hit once when the technician must cough or sneeze, take a drink or perform other strange involuntary functions, then hit once again to unMUTE. This button is also somewhat of a sanity protection device.
Kerr hit MUTE and sighed heavily. unMUTE. "Alright. That is fine. So you are having problems with Windows NT?"
"Goddamnit, I can't believe I have to go through this again--"
"I just wish to verify--"
"Look. I'm getting all these errors. All kinds of errors with blue screens and memory codes and computer numbers all over the place. I've tried to install Windows NT, Windows 95, and Windows 98 and they all do the same thing: give errors and computer codes and memory numbers, bit-errors and things like that."
"Do you know exactly what the error message was?"
"No. But I've seen this all before, and I know it's not the memory because I've seen what memory does and it's not this. And I've had enough -- you guys better fix this now."
"Well, ma'am, this is what we are trying to do."
"You're not doing a good job."
"I'm trying t--"
"You haven't done anything."
"You better fix this."
"It is your responsibility."
"If you will let me speak, I am going to try to get this fixed for you."
"Alright, speak, go ahead."
Kerr sighed again. "Have--"
"I don't hear you."
"I thought you had something to say?"
"Go ahead. Speak. I'm waiting."
Kerr sat there and did not respond. Sergeant Richards went on about speaking and listening and fixing and such, and it all smeared into a droning noise. Kerr took off his headset, placed it on his desk, and walked around his cubicle for a minute, doing a few quick hops into the air, few quick rollings of the head, and then flailed his arms around wildly. He picked the headset up again, placed it over his head, and the droning reformed into coherent words.
"...I don't think that's too much to ask."
Kerr picked up with a plastic voice, "You're right. Have you tried swapping out parts in the system?"
"So you haven't tried removing any cards, disconnecting peripherals, swapping out the memory?"
"Do you think that would be possible?"
"Look. What's your name?"
"What's your last name?"
"I can give you my location number."
"Location number. And what is that?"
"And who is your manager, Care?"
"Eric Blankenship, number 37505."
Sergeant Richards was silent for a moment, and began again with a superior tone. "Care, we are the United States Marine Corp. Do you know who we are? Do you know how much money we spend on computers? I am in control of purchasing for all of the Unites States military -- I tell them what to buy. And I will -- I don't want to, but I will tell them to stop buying your computers over this. Do you really want to be the one responsible for losing the business of the United States Armed Forces?"
Kerr laughed openly. "No, of course not. What I am trying to do is troubleshoot a bit here to find out what is causing the problem. If we do no--"
Sergeant Richard's voice became an ominous, thundering Oz noise, "I am in the United States Marine Corp, and I don't have to do any of these things. We are much too important, my time is much too important to be wasting it working on this. This computer is not the United States Marine Corp's responsibility -- it is your responsibility! We have hundreds and thousands of computers and they all work fine except for this one, and that is not acceptable! You have to fix this now!"
Kerr hit MUTE and tried to use the Weirding Way on his phone. It didn't work. unMUTE.
"Ma'am, I can send a technician out there with one or two parts, but I would be completely guessing as to what parts to send, and could not guarantee it would solve anything."
"I don't care, that is not our fault, that's up to you -- it's your responsibility."
"Ma'am. Might I point out some fallacies in your arguments here? You state this computer we are speaking of is our responsibility, and not your own. Well, I am afraid that is incorrect."
"How is that?"
"It is like any other good -- once it is purchased it really becomes the owner's responsibility. As you are the legal possessor of this good, it surely has becomes your responsibility. Now, of course, if there are defects in this good, the manufacturer of the good can and should be held responsible. However, it must be determined whether the fault lies in the hands of the manufacturer or elsewhere. Which is why processes such as these are used."
"Furthermore, if you own hundreds and thousands of computers that were purchased from us, and only one is not functioning properly, I would state that is a phenomenally low failure rate, and you should be overjoyed. To expect absolute perfection out of hundreds and thousands of systems is certainly being unrealistic, and yourself, being an employee of the United States Armed Forces, should certainly understand this."
"Not to mention your cartoonical overreaction to one problem with one system -- threatening to cancel the entire account the United States military has with us over one problem. This, ma'am, I find to be immature and somewhat out of line. Perhaps you should look into why you chose to state such things. The attitude of 'I am in the military; therefore, I am superior,' is in fact incorrect and horribly egotistical. Though, this is to be expected and understood, coming from a member of the military -- this is what you are trained to be. However, it does not change the fact that you are a human, I am human, and this is a machine."
"And, finally, at this point in time I would like to inform you that I am not going to provide you with any further support, nor am I going to provide you with any service, because I am now calling into play my own moral code and personal view on the United States Armed Forces. And, ma'am, I simply cannot condone the vast majority of military actions taken in the past ten years or so. In fact, it sickens me greatly to imagine the atrocities brought down upon the citizens of the world, good or evil. I realize that you are not the decision-making individual in these events that have come to pass, but one must start somewhere."
There is a functional gray button on the phone Kerr uses to speak to all those who call, and on this functional gray button is the word RELEASE printed in slanted dark text. This is certainly a beneficial feature to have on the phone -- hit once to disconnect the phone line when finished with a call, or when tired of waiting on hold, or if one reaches a busy signal. RELEASE is somewhat of the equivalent of hanging-up the phone.
Kerr removed his headset and hit RELEASE.
Kerr arrived 47 minutes early the next day, a fairly easy thing to do since he doesn't usually start his shift until 2pm. On his keyboard sat a yellow square, asking him to "See Me Immediately!" Who was he and what did he see? Not everyone left mis-capitalized yellow notes on peoples' keyboards. This was most certainly a managerial tactic, taught on the third day of the Great Managerial Training Class, the same day they are taught to sacrifice themselves for the Great Good of the company. The void left is stuffed full of small yellow notes.
Kerr appeared in the one gap of his manager's cubiclized office, gripping a pen in his hand. "Yes?"
"Kerr, come here, sit down." His manager was fixated on the piece of paper sitting between them. Six minutes passed, eleven minutes passed. "Kerr. Do you know what this says?"
Kerr glanced quickly at the sheet of paper. "No."
His manager now fixated on Kerr, grinding his jaw, red dragon pulsations whipping through his back. "This paper... tells me what happened yesterday."
"What happened yesterday?" such an innocent schoolboy voice.
"You not only refused service to one of our largest customers, but you hung-up on them. Did you do that? Did you refuse service AND hang-up on a customer?"
"Well, I would not say that, exac--"
"Did you or did you not hang-up on the customer?"
"I would like a definition of hang-up."
"Well. It means to disconnect the phone line, I guess."
"Is there an alternate definition?"
His manager looked perplexed.
"Can the word 'hang-up' have more than one meaning?" Kerr offered.
His manager blinked a few times. "Why, yes. I guess so. Perhaps it can be defined as having an emotional preoccupation. Or maybe even an unforeseen obstacle."
Kerr sat a bit straighter. "An unforeseen obstacle? Such as a hitch, or a snag?"
"Right. That is correct."
"And this paper here," Kerr pointed down at that paper there, "states I hung-up on this customer?"
"Yes," his manager pointed down at that paper there, "that is what that paper states."
Kerr lifted his hands. "This is accurate -- I did get hung-up on this customer. The customer was an obstacle, a snag, a hitch, for various reasons, and I was hung-up. But shortly afterwards I overcame this hang-up and proceeded on. As for me having an emotional preoccupation with the customer, well, I do not believe it is within the rights of this company to pry into such realms."
"Kerr." His manager could only loosely look at Kerr, leaning back in his chair, cocking his head from one side to the other. "I guess so. I can't argue with that."
Kerr nodded a few times, grabbed the piece of paper between them, made some long scrawling, covering scribbles with his pen, and placed it back down on the table. His manager leaned forward and fixated once again on paper.
"My. Oh my!" His manager leaped up with paper in hand. "Yes, yes, go, please do. Amor! Amor! Excuse me!" And out of the cubicle his manager ran, waving this paper above his head, not waiting for the elevator doors to open, heading straight for the stairs.
Kerr walked to the elevator, waited briefly for the doors to open, and stepped in, on his way home.
--SoB-SoB-SoB-SoB-SoB-SoB-SoB-SoB-SoB-SoB-SoB-SoB-SoB-SoB-SoB-SoB-SoB-SoB-SoB-- State of unBeing is copyrighted (c) 1999 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) 1999 by the individual author, unless otherwise stated. This file may be disseminated without restriction for nonprofit purposes so long as it is preserved complete and unmodified. Quotes and ideas not already in the public domain may be freely used so long as due recognition is provided. State of unBeing is available at the following places: World Wide Web http://www.apoculpro.org irc the #unbeing channel on UnderNet Submissions may also be sent to Kilgore Trout at <email@example.com>. The SoB distribution list may also be joined by sending email to Kilgore Trout. --SoB-SoB-SoB-SoB-SoB-SoB-SoB-SoB-SoB-SoB-SoB-SoB-SoB-SoB-SoB-SoB-SoB-SoB-SoB--