Ansat looked about, bewildered. He had been on the hunt for three days now, and still there were no signs of his prey. The grip on his knife slowly tightened as his eyes scanned the horizon, looking for any clues.
"Where the hell is that bastard?" he mumbled disgustedly.
"Over here, man," said Kilgore Trout, stepping out from behind a tree. "Ya know, I've been following you for three days now. What are you looking for?"
Ansat turned, repositioning his beret to keep his long hair out his eyes.
"What am I looking for? You. Just where the hell have you been for the past four months?"
Kilgore smiled lackadaisically. "I've been here, hanging out. Why, is something wrong?"
"Wrong? WRONG? We didn't know what happened to you. Figured Agent Williams snatched you or something. You've put us through a lot. And people want more issues of the zine, too."
"The zine? Oh, whoops. Sometimes priorities change, ya know? Hey, lemme take you to this wonderful little clearing about five miles due east where I bathe everyday in this beautiful pond. I'll introduce you to Lilo."
"Lilo?" Ansat inquired. "Who's Lilo, and what's he doing out here?"
"He's a duck. He's also my friend."
"Jesus, Kilgore, you've flipped your gourd. Why'd you come out here?"
"Because it's beautiful, and that's the only reason I need."
"Bullshit. You're lying."
Kilgore glanced down at the ground. "Okay, I just wanted a break. I wanted to be lazy. You can understand that, can't you?"
"If you don't come back with me, I'm going to cut you." Ansat drew a huge knife out of his pocket. "Besides, you've got around 200k of submissions sitting around."
"200k of submissions?" exclaimed Kilgore, his eyes beaming. "Why the fuck didn't you say so? This forest is so boring. Hey, before we go, let's kill Lilo. He really pisses me off. Don't ask why."
"Uh, let's just kill the duck. You DO know how to cook duck, right?"
"Sure," Ansat laughed. "Just stick him over a fire and wait a while."
"Sounds good to me."
Ansat and Kilgore took the other's hand and walked off to find Lilo.
--SoB-SoB-SoB-SoB-SoB-SoB-SoB-SoB-SoB-SoB-SoB-SoB-SoB-SoB-SoB-SoB-SoB-SoB-SoB-- Living in such a state taTestaTesTaTe etats a hcus ni gniviL of mind in which time sTATEsTAtEsTaTeStA emit hcihw ni dnim of does not pass, space STateSTaTeSTaTeStAtE ecaps ,ssap ton seod does not exist, and sTATeSt oFOfOfo dna ,tsixe ton seod idea is not there. STatEst ofoFOFo .ereht ton si aedi Stuck in a place staTEsT OfOFofo ecalp a ni kcutS where movements TATeSTa foFofoF stnemevom erehw are impossible fOFoFOf elbissopmi era in all forms, UsOFofO ,smrof lla ni physical and nbEifof dna lacisyhp or mental - uNBeInO - latnem ro your mind is UNbeinG si dnim rouy focusing on a unBEING a no gnisucof lone thing, or NBeINgu ro ,gniht enol a lone nothing. bEinGUn .gnihton enol a You are numb and EiNguNB dna bmun era ouY unaware to events stneve ot erawanu taking place - not -number- ton - ecalp gnikat knowing how or what EIGHTEEN tahw ro woh gniwonk to think. You are in 09/22/95 ni era uoY .kniht ot a state of unbeing.... ....gniebnu fo etats a
Long time, no see, eh? Heh. Go ahead and throw your vegetables. I deserve it. And you deserve an explanation. You're gonna hate it.
This summer I was lazy.
That's the explanation. I almost scrapped the zine at one point to do something else, but a few side projects did arise (we'll keep you informed of those Apocalypse Culture Productions as needed) which are looking very promising.
I know you were hoping for something a bit more dramatic. Well, my computer DID die, so that did kind of delay the issue by another month after I finally got my shit back together. We're still working on that.
As for the zine, rest assured that we will continue to publish on a regular basis from now on. I've had my break, and now just sit back and enjoy. This issue hits from all different angles. You might notice that something is missing. Personal decision of mine. E-mail me if you don't like it.
I figured I'd keep this short so you could get into the articles, but one more thing. We're closing in on issue 23, so naturally it will be a theme issue devoted to all that is strange with the world. Metaphysics, magick, synchronicity, weirdness in general, the paranormal, I Wish My Name Were Nathan's life -- you get the gist. If you have anything of this type to go into the 23 issue, send it in, and mark it as such.
Yeah, we're back. Start those submissions in again, and remember, we've got egos out to here, and body parts to match.
People, I recently read a similar letter in the last issue of SoB and I decided that Kilgore's request should be honored. I would like to discuss with you (or anyone who would listen to me) a topic that is very near and dear to my heart. Throughout the ages (whether they knew it or not) people have been doing something that can only be described as unforgivably rude! This is more than an epidemic, people all over the world have been doing this and they need to stop it! I am, of course, talking about movement. Yes, movement! Am I crazy? Perhaps, I wouldn't doubt it. But the voices tell me that I make sense. I'm inclined to believe them. Have you ever stopped and thought about what you're doing when you move? Callously shoving millions of microorganisms out of your way, perhaps permanently separating friends and family. And all this breathing! In, Out, In, Out! With not one care about the feelings of our microscopic neighbors. Now, I'm sure there are those who disagree with me. To those people I offer this advice: Shut up! You're obviously wrong! You are free to form your own opinion of what I've said, to ignore it if you wish. Just remember, the day will come when they (you know who I mean) rise up and seize control. And when they do, you'll be sorry! Thank you for the use of your minds, Flying Rat's Nostril
Oh faithful readers of SoB or something, Well, as some of you have probably noticed, I haven't submitted anything in a long while. Well, just to let you all know, I wasn't carrying out bombing raids in Bosnia. Heh. Anyway, some of you are probably pleased at absence, and another few issues that you haven't had to deal with my Socialist Transcendentalist Democrat (STD) drivel. As for the others of you sitting out in the mountains in your old BDU's with C-4 and sandbags stacked about, I'll have the next installment of Blood in the Streets out in a little while. It'll deal with the tactics of the guerrilla war, a touchy topic which takes a bit of research, and it's not something I want to screw up. So be patient. In this issue, I have the first part of my "A Terrible Beauty is Born: The Irish Rising of 1916." I've ranted and raved about the Rising in many of my articles, and now you finally get know what really went into it. It's a total of about 30 typed pages. I originally wrote it for a course I was taking on world history, and I'll be publishing it completely revised in three parts. It originally had many photographs and a map showing rebel troop deployment to go with it, but since SoB doesn't have a company GIF scanner, you're just going to have to do without. Bummer. For all of you Spam cultists, you should be pleased to know that the great Flying Rat's Nostril has written the Fourth Tale of Spam, which should should be in this issue. It is yet another tale about the great King Bubba and his knights of the Not-Quite-etc. Table. It's longer than any of the previous tales -- over 30 hand-written pages. This should prove to be quite a task for the SoB company typist. Heh heh. Just thought I'd tease you with that tidbit... While you're waiting, you can check out a new book I saw while browsing in the New Paperbacks section of a certain large retail book-store chain. It was entitled The Silent Brotherhood, and discussed how the militias were full of White Supremacist paranoids. Apparently the authors of such works choose to ignore things like the fact that Mark Bowers, a former artillery officer and the head of the Montgomery County branch of the Texas Constitutional Militia is a Jew. Ignore the facts and the opinions will follow your leads. I may not like all of the politics of the militia leaders (many of which have several different views on how America should be reorganised), but they're doing what they believe best for America, and they're willing to fight for what they believe to be right. You have to respect that. Seriously, I would like to recommend The Burning Season, a two-hour 1994 two-hour movie staring Raul Julia and Sonia Braga. It's about the true struggle of Chico Mendes and the Rural Union in Brazil in the 1980's-1990's to stop Bordon and local ranchers from building a road through the rainforest and clearing land for cattle production, and essentially killing the poor rainforest inhabitants. After the killing of the more violent Union President, Mendes, then Vice President, takes over and organises a non-violent opposition to the road which is eventually successful, though not until after Mendes becomes a martyr to the cause. It showed the non-violent, and preferable, solution still works. It was recently on HBO (a delightful change of pace from their usual unsavoury programming), and is probably available in video rental stores for those interested. There was a suggestion made to me by a friend of mine which I will pass on to any of you who are interested. She suggested I write an article about this a while ago, but I don't have any information on the subject, and I don't have the funds to carry it out myself. The suggestion was that, in order to provide a transit system for both men and arms that goes throughout the country, the railroads be bought by those wishing to organise a militia movement. The railroads are currently falling into misuse, and are now available at virtually dirt-cheap prices. With the railroads, arms and troops could be conveyed speedily across the nation in a way that the authorities would be unlikely to notice. It would be interesting to see someone who knows about such matters as real-estate and appraisals write an article for a future SoB about this -- I don't consider myself competent enough to do it. Well, I would like to take the time to welcome a new Socialist theorist to the ranks of SoB writers, Lares et Penates, who first published in #17. I would, however, like to discuss a point he made in his "Automation: Supplanting the Worker." Lares pointed out that Socialists often have a romanticised version of manual labour, but this is only to be expected. It must be realised that the lower strata of the working class are made up mainly of manual labourers. The majority of the middle class, the class set up as a buffer between the upper and lower classes in order to prevent a class war, are the ones given what Lares calls the thinking jobs, and the majority of those who are petitioned to have such jobs. While the leaders of such a movement, for example Marcos, Che, Castro, Lenin, and Trotsky, are usually from the middle or upper class, the workers must rise in support, or the movement will be crushed. Also, a hammer and sickle make much more recognisable symbols of the labour movement than a pencil and a computer console. The more potent the symbol the more likely it is to be noticed. I must agree that people should be saved from manual work as much as possible, but until there is a true Socialist revolution, automation will be the worker's bane. Also, we cannot be afraid of hard work. Work is not an evil thing. A person should be willing to work to further both himself and society. The Republicans are fond of spouting about "An honest day's work for an honest day's pay." The problem is when a man is working in the fields and is paid so little he cannot feed his family and someone like Rush Limbaugh is paid $10 million a year, neither is getting a honest day's pay. There is nothing wrong with working eight hours a day, playing eight hours a day, and sleeping eight hours a day. The problem is when a man is not given his due pay or his due leisure. The influx of youths in the workforce has just made the problem worse. When a man must find a job on which he must feed his family and another man is only doing the job for pocket money and will work for less than the first, the wages are obviously lowered, forcing the former to forsake the leisure due him. I believe that in a true Socialist society both leisure and wages will be considered important, eliminating the overworking of people. I would also like to complement Bobbi Sands' piece "The Politicization of the Militias." She points out that each militia must have its ideological view of how the world should be. However, I believe the militias must work together to meet a common end, which may mean sacrificing some of their political views for the greater good. While none of them must give up their core values, the militias must be willing to compromise with both each other and civilians. Well, I've talked on long enough. This issue I'm sure there's much excellent material in this issue, following in the SoB tradition of good articles, fiction, and poetry. Remember: Never give up your core values, whether they be Socio-Democratic, Communist, Anarchist, or even Capitalist, even if they with all those around you. As Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. said, "The greatest good of a minority of our generation may be the greatest good of the greatest number in the long run." Land and Liberty! Captain Moonlight
America, Political Correctness is in fact an epidemic that is spreading through America like wildfire. This epidemic while not deadly (yet) has an appeal that draws people to it. Equality, belonging, being part of some greater whole, but when you chose to belong or be equal by their standards you lose a very important thing. Your individuality. The key to this equality is the use of labels. The theory is good. We'll make categories and put people in them. They don't care if they want to be put in these groups. The use of labels has worked to a point, like a police officer or fire person, to hopefully bridge the gab between the sexes. There are the ones that go further giving titles to others like African-American, Asian, Caucasian, Latino (or Hispanic), and others used for such things as census and national school tests. But why is there a need to know how many of each 'category' there is in are country? It spreads out into more than just the labels. It now seems to be a fad which is spreading. The fad is being accepted by those people who leave to gossip, like newspapers, televisions, and mainly talkshows. Where if Mister Joe said a remark about someone's skin color he's now a racist for life and probably molests small children. The worst thing is that the people who use P. C. as a daily routine are also enforcing it. They're telling you how to live your life; eating meat is bad so be a vegetarian. It's gotten to the point that no one seems to really have privacy or the freedom to live their own way. The people who mostly use political correctness are those it's supposed to be fighting; they're using it to hide. They use the labels, the health concerns and other polices to control the populous. They don't care about any of the people they're supposedly helping. They made the labels to put people into categories and leave them there. It's an illusion to give false hope to those so desperate to look for it anywhere. You want peace, you want the poor to be well off, you want the homeless to have homes, fine. But you can't solve a world problem when you're too worried about the label you or other people belong to. Look upon others as equals and not a race or label and you're starting to solve the world's problems. But if you have to use labels use only one: Human. Wrathful Prodigy
Dark Crystal Sphere Floating Between Two Universes
Flying Rat's Nostril
I Wish My Name Were Nathan
"mommie!@@!1" you cry out loud into the night as you awake from yet another one of those nightmares with large hairy men that smell like taco salads in their arm pits. those dreams are getting more realistic by the day, aren't they? i think it's time to get professional help. mogel help.
inside jokes. the whole idea of it leaves a bad taste in my mouth. a bunch of people that are in some group have a joke and they're the only ones that get it. i wonder why people can't make universal humor more often. something like pure wit, that transcends petty goofiness.
what the hell am I talking about? someone slap me next time I babble like that. the truth is that making special groups and cliques is wonderful and very human. it's great to leave people out! it makes my butt cheeks tingle at the very thought of making someone feel like an outsider. that's why i've put inside jokes down to a study.
check it out, you wanna be the stud at parties don't you?! you want all the girlies (with big titties!) to come talk to you right. but you don't have muscles, a personality, looks, or money. what the hell are you to do? you have nothing to offer anyone. you'll make no friends except that retard kid down the street that no one talks to because he beats himself with tree branches and laughs for hours on ends at the site of any passing blue car. you'll die a 60-year-old virgin. is that a life?! is that a motherfucking life!? no, it is not a motherfucking life! so, i ask again in a fit of redundance, what are you to do?!
enter the 'inside joke'. now you have a chance to tango with the big boys. when someone walks up to you all you gotta do is say the most goofy, rude, and asinine thing that comes to your minds.
girlie -> hello. could you move out of the way so I can use the
you -> don't you wanna see my 'corpus cavernosum'?
girlie -> oh, only if you wanna out it in my 'posterior commissure'!
see what i mean? here's a good rule to follow: you play stupid - others will follow. it's as simple as that. on deeper analysis you'll see that the inside joke is actually a tool to make everyone have something to talk about, thus there won't be awkward silences that peirce the night like the rage of a cow being milked.
at this point i'm one hundred percent sure that all of you are saying to yourselves "this whole thing is all very interesting, eccentric, and boring at the same time mogel. good job. but how can I make my own inside jokes?!"
phear no more. making inside jokes are easy. they are invented all the time. there are two more common types:
type 1 - 'i said something oh-so funny! let's totally ruin it's humor!'
this is the type of inside joke where someone has cracked a joke while a group of you are hanging out. for example, if a group of guys were sitting at a 2600 meeting and one of them said "let's make a new type of box for phreakers - the shoe box!" and the other laughed lots and replied "i'd rather make the sand box."
bingo, following this "conversation" that me and my pal frannie had once, you see the invention of an inside joke. later, we proceeded to say "wow! let's hack it!" whenever we came across any form of electronics or machinery anywhere. basically the idea behind this type of inside joke is to take something funny that was said in a conversation and relay it in all its various varieties over and over again, making the people that know the joke laugh. this idea is so easy it's a wonder that there's so many losers that don't get it. just say goofy stuff with a little humor, and if people laugh go into overkill mode and say the joke until their ears bleed at that crucial 'this is the right time to say it' time. this type of joke often dies after a while, but fortunately, it's so easy to create these types of inside jokes there's no chance of any real conversation with depth or meaning. yes!@$#!1
type 2 - 'here's something totally random - stick with it forever!'
this is the most interesting type of joke because it makes people laugh, but (by great irony) it's simply not funny. amazing but true. i'm told that dead cheese is a master of this fatal special super-natural ability. well, phear me magical cheese boy - i'm giving away the secret plans!
this type of inside joke is created by letting your mind sit free and wander. after you wander you drink a sprite and watch some T.V. after you watch some t.v. and you masturbate to re-runs of three's company, your mind comes up with a completely and totally random idea.
random meaning something with that oh-so insignificant quality. it's best when it's something that sounds awkward and is a bit silly.
spam. turnip. rubber wallaby. rutabaga. chumpy galoshes. maple syrup. toaster hacker. blue severed hamster head. red rooster. turtle. paper clip. rudyard kipling.
getting the idea? find that one object and nail the world with it 'til they get so sick of you they want to molest you like the psychotic kiddie porn downloading ansi-artist you are. just accept it and move on with your life. i know for a fact that abigwar will carry his 'wombat' thing to his grave. cdc has latched on to the awkwardness of the common cow. just use it or lose it. that's what I say.
at any rate, i hope this article served as a good introduction into the exciting and profitable career of inside-jokes. go outside right now and show off your new talents. that's right! go! run into the woods naked tell everyone. they'll not only approve - it'll be an (ding!) inside joke. don't go to the bathroom for three weeks and then pee the full load on your grandma. she'll laugh for days. the possibilities are infinite. have fun my children, and remember:
it's not what you say - it's how you say it!
I can remember the first time I saw the commercial vividly, for I was scarred eternally, not unlike the first time I had a woman look me square in the eye, force a smile, and mumble "Don't worry, I heard it happens to a LOT of guys." While channel surfing a few months ago, I found myself landing on MTV. It was The Real World Two that was on, and I couldn't change the channel because it was my favorite one, where Tammi purposely wired her mouth shut to lose weight. I was thinking about taking up a collection to keep it wired shut forever, but alas, I digress. A commercial interlude began with a Mentos commercial, and I was appalled to find myself mouthing along "Mentos, the freshmaker!" with my television. That was bad enough, but when I realized I was actually holding my remote triumphantly, not unlike the girl holding up her mighty Mentos, I knew I must turn off the television and get some fresh air. I reached for the "off" button on the remote, but found myself unable to hit it. Instead, I my eyes were glazed as I heard my RCA beckon: "The following demonstration has been made suitable for television." It piqued my interest, I figured I'd watch the commercial. Big mistake.
It was a naked woman prancing around the screen with a spray can, covered only by two blue bars that followed her around covering her breasts, and her holiest of holies. Now, seeing an attractive naked woman bopping around on a television screen, this is not what scarred me. Don't you worry. In fact, it made me laugh hysterically. A voice-over was explaining "First, spray Designer Imposter Spray on your arms, and then spray some on your (beeped out the breasts), and the same time the woman was spraying it on the described areas. It went on to describe all the different places one could spray it, while the woman, seemingly in ecstasy, followed suit. It was truly a ridiculous image, the quasi-orgasmic quality of spraying some cheap-assed imitation perfume all over herself. She wound up spraying every part of her body really, as the voice-over told me that spraying this poisonous smelling fluid all over feels so good "you could spray them everywhere". But this, of course, is not true. She missed a spot. If she was to spray the faux-spray in one particular place, shall we say, below the equator, this would not produce the ecstatic result as it provided elsewhere. I believe the correct word to describe the result would be "agony". But, thankfully, she missed that spot, so the commercial, which I thought was over wound up being just silly, not traumatic. Little did I know that in just ten seconds, I would be huddled in the corner of the room, rocking in the fetal position, hand immersed in my pants, a la Al Bundy.
It seemed as though the commercial was over, as they showed a bottle of the stuff on the screen. But then it happened. Like all horrible things in my life, I saw it in slow motion, like when Marsellus Wallace in Pulp Fiction had Zed give him a proctologic exam without the courtesy of a sigmoidoscope. A nude man appeared on the screen, bottle in hand, blue bar on crotch. The voice-over triumphantly announced, "Available for men too!" The man, with a smug as hell grin, SPRAYS HIS CROTCH AND CHUCKLES! He laughs with this smirk on his face, as if it were the most euphoric and wonderful experience he had ever experienced. And the commercial was over. It was an overload for my brain, I believe that was when I went into shock. In my trauma induced state, my entire life passed before my eyes. Well, okay, not my WHOLE life, but an incident in particular that involved myself, and my cajones.
I flashed back to seventh grade, I must have been around twelve or thirteen years old. I remember being twelve quite well, it was when I was a tiny 5'4 boy, and knew that someday I would grow and grow and finally be able to conquer that freaking sign that said "YOU MUST BE THIS TALL TO GO ON THIS RIDE". Now I'm twenty-five. Hey, it's not that I'm still not allowed to go on certain rides, I just CHOOSE not to okay?? I could go on any ride I want, I just don't like waiting in line! Wait, I'm mixing up my traumas. Let's go back to my being twelvish.
My dream girl, Penelope Horowitz, had asked me whether I wanted to go over her house on Sunday and study with her for an algebra exam. I could hardly sleep that night, knowing what would happen when I was alone with her, perusing the subtle nuances of algebra. I knew in my heart of hearts, that in the midst of studying, we would look up from the book, stare into each others eyes, admit our undying love, have a torrid affair, get married, have children, and happily grow old together. I just had to make sure everything was right. Sunday morning, I spent two hours getting myself absolutely perfect for the big study date. When I felt I was ready, I started to leave the house, but ran back into the bathroom.
As I was singing along to "Islands in the Stream" on my radio, I realized I had forgotten the key to getting a woman to think of me as real man. Cologne. So I covered myself with my dad's English Leather, not thoroughly unlike the naked woman in the Designer Imposter commercial. But what if Penelope begged me to have sex with her? This was a real possibility. The prospect of her finding me "not so fresh" was strictly unacceptable. So in the middle of singing the Dolly Parton part of the chorus, I pulled out the waistband of my underwear, and did my final spray.
"Islands in the stream...that is what we AREEEEEEEEEEEEGHHHHHHH!"
I had never experienced such excruciating pain in my entire life. I had to cancel the date. I spent the remainder of the day holding my wounded huevos and cursing the day I had tried to spray myself "there". Penelope went on to date and marry my best friend. Oh Penelope, I miss you so... if you're reading this give me a call, I know I can make you so happy...
Back to the story at hand. The man in the commercial had made the same mistake I had made, yet suffered no ill consequences. It was the most unreal and unjust act I had seen since Marisa Tomei had won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. But like the Tomei tragedy, this wrong could be righted, I knew it. I knew then why I had been put on this earth. It was to get that commercial modified. I wrote letters. I made urgent phone calls. I boycotted using the product. Okay, I hadn't really used it in the first place, but hey, manufacturers didn't know that. Yet every day that blasted commercial would come on time and time again. Hundreds of times, I saw that smug bastard spray his crotch. Was there no justice in the world? The horror, the horror. But just as I began to give up hope, it happened. The commercial began the same, bimbo dancing around in her Imposter glory. Same guy, blue bar on privates. But this time, he sprayed his CHEST, smirking and chuckling. Glory, hallelujah! Can I get an amen? There's no need to thank me. Just knowing that I might have saved one pubescent boy from making the same mistakes I made is enough. All I ask for is a page in the history books documenting my selfless effort to make the world a better place to live. Or maybe a statue.
"...Most important of all has been the fact that an area of free land has continually lain on the western border of the settled area of the United States. Whenever social conditions tended to crystallize in the East, whenever capital tended to press upon labor or political restraints to impede the freedom of the mass, there was this gate of escape to the free conditions of the frontier. These free lands promoted individualism, economic equality, freedom to rise, democracy. Men would not accept inferior wages and a permanent position of social subordination when this promised land of freedom and equality was theirs for the taking. Who would rest content under oppressive legislative conditions when with a slight effort he might reach a land wherein to become a co-worker in the building of free cities and free States on the lines of his own ideal?"
Often I ask myself whether I have been priveleged, or cursed to have grown up in such strange times. Many of you are young people like myself, possibly labeled by the media as "Generation X". There is a heaviness in our hearts; we all feel a certain aprhension of the future. And not just our individual future, but the destiny of our entire society, of our species.
I see it in the articles here in SoB, I see it on the news at night, I see it on the Internet, I see it in books I read. There is this dread of the fork in the road, the cusp of destiny which quickly approaches our planet. Hope is fading fast.
I will not depress you with the symptoms of our dying planet, our stagnant species; you know them all as well as I do. We all sense the disease, yet no one knows what to do, no one has a cure. Under the weight of the malady, we continue with our lives as normal and race into oblivion; we haven't the strength to make this runaway train jump it's tracks.
Or do we? Perhaps we should look to history to solve our problems. Mr. Turner has outlined our solution perfectly, if only we have eyes and imagination enough to see it.
Humans are a frontier species. Humans expanded their domain and explored for several hundred thousand years. About 75 years ago, we stopped. Humans would settle a region and then a few would leave and go somewhere else. The frontier spirit fostered the imagination and ingenuity required for the tremendous advances made by humans in the past hundred thousand years; but we stopped. We stopped because there was no more land to settle, no more places to go. Now hundreds visit Mt. Everest every year; who gives a damn?
History has spelled it out for us: the disease is stagnation, the cure is expansion. Many will stay, but some must push open the doors to the next frontier: space. If you disagree with this, or if you have no desire to go anywhere: fine... stay. Very few members of the human species have the rare "get-me-the-hell-out-of-here" gene. It is productive for the species if most members stay put, while a few forge on to new places. If you have this desire to get things changing and moving, then this plea is for you.
I am offering you the sparkle of hope, the oppurtunity to DO something which will directly mold your future, your children's future, and our species future. This article is not written to convince you of the incredible wonders that await us in space. This article is written to inform you of an option, a solution to problems which weigh so heavily upon us. If you explore this option in depth, I am convinced you will see it is the way to go.
There is a tsunami of support building for the private colonization, exploration, and exploitation of space. There is a flood of support for leaving Earth, setting up governments however we choose, living life the way we want, and for FREEDOM. There are organizations, just getting started, which hope to achieve these dreams and push humanity to the stars.
If you want to know more about the possibilities that await us in space, contact any or all of these groups:
NAME: First Millenial Foundation
ADDRESS: PO Box 347 / Rifle, CO 81650
BOOK: The Millenial Project by Marshall T. Savage
This is the group that I support. They have their complete plan outlined in the book. They not only support colonization of space, they are actively trying to do it. They show real promise.NAME: Space Frontier Foundation
Request their Frontier Files by e-mail. Claim to be most radical space activist group.NAME: United Societies In Space, Inc.
"The U.S.I.S. is a nonprofit corporation located in Colorado, U.S.A., promoting outer space as a societal place to live and work in the third millenium."NAME: Space Studies Institute
"The Institute's mission, continuing under the direction of Prof. Freeman Dyson, is to open the energy and material resources of space for human benefit within our lifetime. SSI's first commitment is to complete the missing technological links to make possible the productive use of the abundant resources in space. Its second goal is to promote the formation of private, governmental, or multi-national programs to use space resources responsibly and carefully, avoiding environmental damage."NAME: National Space Society
"Mission Statement: We want to promote change in social, technical, economic, and political conditions to advance the day when people will live and work in space."NAME: Lunar Resources Incorporated [The Artemis Project]
"The Lunar Resources Company is organized to advance and engage in space flight as a commercial enterprise, to establish and operate a permanent manned lunar base, and to transact any and all lawful business--on Earth, in outer space, and on other celestial bodies--for which corporations may be incorporated under the Texas Business Corporation Act."NAME: Space Access Society
"Dedicated to promoting affordable, reliable access to space for all."NAME: The Atlantis Project [Oceania]
"The Atlantis Project is dedicated to the goal of establishing a new country named Oceania. This country will be devoted to the value of freedom, and will first exist as a sea city in the Caribbean. As no collectivist nation is likely to sell us the land we need, we will build an island out of concrete and steel."
The government sucks, right? Isn't that the Gen-X battlecry? Hell yeah it is! It looks like term limits won't make it through any house of the Congress, and that the line-item veto is simply a strategic political carrot- on-a-stick. Shit, this stuff ain't working out.
Well, the problem is huge and complex, and I feel can be attributed to the makeup of our government. Old fat white guys. Oh, and conservatives too. The kind of conservative that people don't like, that is. You know, the mean ones.
So our government's screwed, and these old farts never seem to die off or lose popularity with the enraged public intent on looking for change. What to do? Well, we have to imagine a new world order. Here we go.
One day, a magic nerve gas or something passes over all the local and federal institutions, driving politicians apathetic. They all go home to their estranged wives and mistresses. Quietly, across the nation a movement for Pacifism In Government forms (and damn, they didn't notice the acronym until later). Thousands of happy idealistic pacifists from all two political parties with money are elected.
This new government is chipper motherfuckers. Much like the Contract with America, they decide to enact a Contract On Peace (once again ironically missing the acronym). Pennsylvania Avenue is reopened for traffic. Happy families walk by and wave at the President, who's sitting on the lawn with his kids and buxom wife, playing lawn darts. Meanwhile, the real work is going on in Congress.
Hundreds of bills are passed through the Houses, unamended and undebated (because it's rude to tack on messy amendments, and who wants to argue about such cool shit?).
One bill has diverted 99 percent of defense spending into the reconstruction of the nation, a move happily accepted by the masses. In place of border patrols and Coast Guard are placed the Old World politicians, with signs reading "I Can't Keep You Out Anymore, World Citizens!" Happy immigrants walk into the nation, playfully spitting upon Newt Gingrich and Pete Wilson.
Inside the nation, police and judges and Jesse Helms are summarily executed to create a truly kinder and gentler nation. Jails are opened to the public. Ex-cons wander out into the street with their pink slips (because, hell kids, prison is a job, not a vacation!), wondering what made everyone so fucking happy and feeling much out of place. Seeing the prison guards strung up by the balls, they breathe a huge sigh of relief and return home for rehabilitation.
Huge corporations and monopolies are dissolved by decree of the U.S. government. Bill Gates stands outside his home peddling copies of MS-DOS 10.0 for Windows. Television and long-distance services disappear. Since the wannabe 'Net providers like AoL and CompuServe and GEnie had been huge bloodsucking corporations, they are now gone, and by natural selection the pure uncentralized Internet remains for the enjoyment of the masses. Shareware becomes the rule, and e-zines become the source.
Lacking television and long-distance phone services, people wander outside their homes and meet their meighbors. Politics doesn't divide them, because both parties run for peace now. Economics doesn't divide them, because people, working for small local companies, now know their bosses and can't get screwed out of good money. Religion doesn't divide them, because, as mentioned before, the corporations and monopolies have been dissolved.
Gun control ceases to be an issue. The elimination of an oppressive representative-democratic government leads to a feeling of self-worth among citizens, no longer being beaten like dogs and fed rich junk food, and the need for self-defense weapons loses importance. Hunters no longer feel a need to get their aggressions out, no longer haunted by religion and government. Criminal types hear no more horror stories about police brutality, and are unmoved by childish impulses to annoy them, leading them to take up lives of art.
We are conquered by France.
Our current government is militaristic and mean. The pacifist idea above is the opposite. From the comprehensive study of logic I received in grade school, these are the only two possibilities; therefore, our current government is the best way going. So we Gen-X'ers oughtn't be so whiney! Everything's just fine.
The citizens of the United States have often overcome amazing odds, internal strife and turmoil, and have prevailed in the face of certain defeat. Americans were at one time the most educated, creative, and technologically advanced people on Earth. But something has changed along the way. Americans no longer possess superior educations, America is no longer generating the technological saviors of the past, and we have the lowest participation in government of all the industrialized nations.
Over the decades, as Americans became more comfortable with their global status, they began to take for granted the marvels that their industrialized standard of living has brought them. Americans have grown complacent with their lifestyle and our capitalist economic system has generated an intense desire for material wealth.
In the first century of the United States, the character of the nation was high in spirit, innovation, production, and optimism. The ideal of the American Dream is a product of a time when Americans were much more bold than they are in the present day. This bold spirit can largely be attributed to the American Frontier, the open territory and resources of the Western United States. It was this territory that contained open prairies which, in turn, opened minds. Business and production flourished as rail lines were built, communications were enhanced, and people moved West. This served as an outlet for Americans, it provided them with a dream and an adventurous spirit.
The awareness and attention of their surroundings seems to be no longer present in mainstream American culture today. American values have turned to those often valued by a stagnating culture: security, comfort, convenience, accumulated wealth, conformity, power, and control. These are the values of a culture which has turned inward upon itself, focusing within and on the present period of time. Attention to those things which truly effect the lives of Americans, such as the technology that their lives absolutely depend upon, has fallen by the wayside in light of issues which are less demanding on educational background. A society is doomed to failure if the majority of citizens cannot comprehend the underlying principles of the processes by which they work and live.
A steady stream of media sound bytes, commercials, and advertising, in less than 50 years, has turned into a method of controlling the public, of feeding them data which is easily digestible since it is purely entertainment, hence it requires little or no thought. The American public has been thoroughly brainwashed, control by the media has become a simple matter considering the educational level of the majority of Americans. If there is little power of reasoning to begin with, it takes little effort to convince people to agree with you. Control of the media means control of everything in a pseudo-democratic society such as that of the US. As I write this article, Walt Disney has purchased the rights to ABC and Westinghouse has purchased CBS. Turner broadcasting may make some rather large purchases very soon. Power is being focused into a tight elite; an elite which controls the tools for swaying public opinion to whatever they wish. The issues that affect our lives are no longer addressed in an academic fashion, but in a political and entertaining manner, in ways that speak to our ignorant fears and prejudices and not to our minds. The Media sits back and makes shadows upon the cave wall, as Americans watch transfixed, willfully bound to their seats.
The American public must learn to think for itself again, must want to think for itself again, or it will forever be a slave to the media and those who control it. A shepherd amongst a herd of sheep is not a democracy. Unfortunately, it seems apparent that Americans are quite content to be told what to do, what to think, and what to believe, and would be quite happy if someone made the hard decisions for them. Lucky for the United States that the public officials in charge of the government are no more educated than the average American.
Nine months ago I prided myself on my maturity and intimate knowledge of human nature. With these tools, I thought, I'd be able to make rational conclusions and somehow see things, think them out, in an objective manner, and come to obvious conclusions about the world. Boy, was I wrong.
Over the past six months, at first against my better judgement, I have started reading up. About Waco, a well-orchestrated massacre. About prison conditions. About Congress, and the missing 13th amendment. About police brutality. About the filtration of the news. This isn't fiction; it ain't the fucking Illuminatus! Trilogy; it's true. I have barely started my work. I see myself having high blood pressure at 21.
April 1995. I'd read up on Waco, following Linda Thompson's reports. I noticed a certain slant, a big fucking slant, in the newspapers after reading that: "... The Branch Davidian compound went up in flames in an apparent suicide maneuver." The media's lying to me, I thought. I hadn't yet dared to think: "Are they lying about everything?"
Kilgore and I used to hang out at my college some weeknights, talking and watching him smoke. Recently he'd been annoying me with talk about the horrible oppressive government and our lack of rights. Shit, he was peeving me. Never happy, always foreboding, so fucking detailed too. I knew he wasn't lying to me, and I was no longer naive enough to pretend that he was.
I burst out one night, yelling at him to shut up, be more positive, just don't worry about it. "History repeats itself," I said. "So what if the government is oppressing us? It's happened before. There'll be another revolution sometime, and then it'll start all over again. It's inevitable. Why waste your life worrying?" Why waste his life being paranoid and suspicious? Do we not have the freedom to lay back?
Bobbi Sands sez (SoB #17, "The Politicization of the Militia" ):
... If need be, a free people will fight with forks and spoons for its freedom. Any person who denies that at times his nation's government might be his nation's enemy -- for we must oppose all enemies, foreign and domestic -- is either naive, foolish, or a coward. Most likely, he is a coward -- someone who feels that as long as he can continue to work and as long as the government hasn't started to oppress him yet then he can keep on keeping on -- and a coward can never be a free man. ... The coward is content with the government -- any government -- that "keeps the streets safe" and lets him "make a living," and a government is content with a coward because he pays his taxes and doesn't start trouble. The coward is happy to make a living, but he will never truly live a life.
In April I was a coward. Damned proud of it, too. Since then, however, I've read more. Gobbled it up, still cynically reading between the lines, hoping that it was all slanted too. But it isn't. It fits perfectly with my "intimate knowledge of human nature". I just never saw it before.
I still must take exception to Ansat's, er, Bobbi's definition of a "coward". One key detail was left out: knowledge. At the beginning of this year how could I, a neurotic short-story writer, be called a coward for trusting the government? Looks like a fuckload of people do! The simple fact is, most people, like me back then, do not have access to reliable news.
The AP wire is censored and slanted. I bet even some respected newscasters out there believe the shit they say. Of course, some of it must be true; like, I can believe that a man named Bill Clinton is the President. But I don't believe that what he says is what he means, or even what gets done. I used to be a Clinton supporter. Rooting for the Arkansas underdog. But no more. He annoys me, perturbs me, insults me with his rhetoric. And nofuckinway do I support any Republicans, or other Democrats for that matter. I'm sure somewhere in Congress is an honest man or woman taken aback by the shit that's happening. Well, maybe not. Those people aren't real. They know nothing either. They spend all their time kissing corporate ass and arguing about money. I guess the only people, other than unfunded unelectable citizens, who know this are in the CIA or FBI. Sad thought.
June 20, 1995. This morning at three o'clock I was ready to explode. A good morning's sleep calmed me down a little. I see myself at a juncture right now. I've not gone so far that I can't go back. What should I do with my life? Revolt -- or relax?
I'm still sane and I can still lie to myself. I can go get a nice job after finishing college (two wonderously humorous and ironic topics, I might add), make nice money, and write nice stories about stupid kids in the meantime. This idea fucks with my mind. My stomach goes tight and acidic. I remember lying to myself five years that I was a nice straight boy. A fuckuva lotta good that did me. I still shudder when I read the stuff I wrote during that time. It scares me. Currently, I'm lying to my family about writing for this 'zine. They don't know I write at all. I'm lying to my friends. I'm lying to my professors. (Well, not during the summer.) I recently went to the dentist and was told that I appear to be grinding my teeth in my sleep. I lied to myself, saying I was sure I had no reasons to.
But is it really lying to myself not to fight for what I believe? Should I try to preserve my thin sheath of naivete and fool myself into happiness? Shit, I mean there're a lot of obstacles out there, all agents of what I want to fight against. I can't possibly do it alone. Is it lying to myself to let myself be happy and immune? It's not lying. It is cowardice. But educated, calm, collected cowardice. I don't know if that's good enough for me.
I could probably live a nice yuppie life, oh easily. But I would always know the danger that lurks around the corner. I'd always know that something isn't getting out. I'd always know that somewhere, people are being beaten for speaking out, silenced by force, with lawless government justice. Could I allow myself to be one of those people? Sometimes I tell myself I value life, my own, especially. Could I live as a schizophrenic with a smile pasted on my face, and corroding away inside?
When I sit and think about it, I do not see myself in the future. I do see neither a job nor a revolution. I do not see anything. My future is as yet unnamed. Maybe it is because I will not live to see my future. Maybe it is because my future is wide, unrestricted, and vital. Whatever it is, I must soon make a decision. And I can probably rationalize whatever decision I make; it's my human nature.
"For all that is done and said.
We know their dream; enough
To know they dreamed and are dead;
And what if excess of love
Bewildered them till they died?
I write it out in a verse --
MacDonagh and MacBride
And Connolly and Pearse
Now and in time to be,
Wherever green is worn,
Are changed, changed utterly:
A terrible beauty is born."
"And I say to my people's masters:
Beware of the thing that is coming,
beware of the risen people."
"For our part we take our stand
openly upon the fundamental truth
that Ireland is a subject nation,
and that therefore Ireland has no
national enemy in Europe save
one, and that one is the nation
that holds her in subjection."
This work is respectfully dedicated to the members of the
ZAPATiSTA NATiONAL LiBERATiON ARMY,
fighting in the true spirit of the Irish Citizen Army.
"A true revolutionist must never count the cost, for he knows that a revolution always repays itself, though it cost blood, and through it life be lost and sacrifice made. He knows that the flame of the ideal which caused the revolution burns all the more brightly, and steadily, and thus attracts more men and minds, and because of the life-blood and sacrifice becomes more enduring."
BTUC British Trade Union Congress
DMP Dublin Metropolitan Police
GPO General Post Office (of Dublin)
ICA Irish Citizen Army
IRA Irish Republican Army
IRB Irish Republican Brotherhood
ISRP Irish Socialist Republican Party
ITGWU Irish Transport and General Workers' Union
NUDL National Union of Dock Labourers
RIC Royal Irish Constabulary
SPI Socialist Party of Ireland
UVF Ulster Volunteer Force
"Then Jem yelled out "Oh Citizens, this system is a curse
An English boss is a monster, An Irish one even worse
They'll never lock us out again and here's the reason why
My name is James Connolly, I didn't come here to die
"But to fight for the rights of the working man
And the small farmer too
To protect the proletariat from the bosses and their screws
So hold on to your rifles, boys, don't give up your dream
Of a Republic for the workin' class, economic liberty."
Just as with any armed conflict, the Irish Rising of 1916 was merely the climax of a series of events, events which spanned several decades, and which involved not only Ireland and Britain, but also Germany and the United States. Events in Ireland since the British occupation in 1171 when Henry II invaded have only fostered resentment against Britain. The Battle of the Boyne, on July 12, 1690 (July 1 by the old calender), which solidified Protestant rule in both England and Ireland and Lord Cromwell's ensuing reign of terror merely increased Irish hatred of English rule, and made the two groups irreconcilable, with the exception of Ulster, which was repopulated with transplanted British during Cromwell's reign, the original inhabitants being moved to Connaught or killed. The cultural gap and resentment could only lead to either the suppression of one culture or the separation of the two. The Irish were proud of their Unbroken Tradition -- the tradition of a rising each generation. The growing Nationalism in the beginning of the Twentieth Century, increased by such cultural groups as the Gaelic League, only spread the resentment, making a rising inevitable. One of the major catalysts which led to the Rising was the Great Dublin Lock-Out of 1913.
The Lock-Out of 1913 was caused largely by the 1909 formation of the Irish Transport and General Workers' Union (ITGWU) by James Larkin and the 1912 founding of the Irish Labour Party by Larkin and James Connolly. Larkin formed the ITGWU on January 4, 1909, when he broke with the National Union of Dock Labourers (NUDL), forming his union from the Dublin branch of the NUDL. This union joined the Irish Trades Unions Congress the next year in 1910, and by 1911 had grown to have 5,000 members, at which time it formed a Belfast Branch under the direction of James Connolly. The Union's increasing power became evident to the bosses of Dublin, leading to clashes between the Union leaders and the bosses, particularly William Martin Murphy, the biggest boss of them all. In 1911 Larkin asked Murphy and his Employers' Federation, numbering about 400 by then, to have talks with the Union about working conditions and pay. By this time Murphy had raised enough employers that he had the power to refuse this demand, and set out to destroy the ITGWU and unions in general.
By 1913, Murphy became rather irate at Larkin's demands, and organised a severe blow to the Dublin working class. In August of the year 1913, Murphy had his employers' union order all of their workers to sign a form forbidding them to join any unions, including Larkin's. All who refused were fired, and the Union supported thousands who lost their jobs in these cuts. At this time Larkin called on the employees of the Dublin Tram Company, the Board of Directors of which Murphy was a member, to go on strike, a strike which he hoped would paralyze Dublin's transportation. This was answered by 700 Union members in the employ of the Company, leaving some 1,000 still working there. The Dublin Metropolitan Police, also owned by Murphy, were then used as scabs to keep the trams, and the company, running. The leaders of the ITGWU were then arrested, but were released next day on bail. When Larkin gave an illegal anti-boss speech at the Murphy-owned Imperial Hotel, however, the Dublin Police began their dreaded baton charges, raiding the meeting and batoning several attendees into unconsciousness, and beginning their attacks on Dubliners in the streets. Using such terror-tactics, the DMP successfully made the streets unsafe for the citizens of Dublin.
On September 2 of that year, the coal companies locked-out their workers, and on the third, the entire Employers' Federation locked-out their workers, resulting in a total of about 25,000 workers being locked-out by September 22. Including their families, about 100,000 men, women, and children, or one-third of the population of Dublin, were starving in the streets, where they were batoned to death by the DMP.
By the twenty-ninth things had become so bad that a government inquiry was started, under the direction of Sir George Askwith. Timothy M. Healy spoke for the bosses, and Larkin spoke for the Union, with both British and Irish trade unionists presenting evidence. The Askwith Report, though condemning the sympathetic strike (a strike in which workers of different professions not directly bound but often owned by the same people struck for the common good), also condemned the employers' use of anti-union restrictions. The state then turned its back on the issue. The Employers' Federation continued to heap public opinion against itself by rejecting the report, for which it was attacked both in Ireland and Britain. George Russell, the Irish poet and mystic whose pen-name was AE, who earlier had worked with Sir Horace Curzon Plunkett, uncle of the author Lord Dunsany, for the good of the Irish farmers, wrote an "Open Letter for the Dublin Employers" ('Masters of Dublin') on October 7 denouncing their treatment of the Union workers, and gave a speech on their behalf on November 1 in London at the Royal Albert Hall. Also on the seventh an editorial appeared in The Times in which the employers were criticised for their treatment of the strike.
All of this, however, did not feed the workers nor their children. To take care of this problem, the Countess Markievicz, who had been converted to Socialism by James Connolly, working on what donations could be mustered from all over Britain and Ireland, worked the giant kitchens beneath Liberty Hall, Headquarters of the ITGWU, producing food for the strikers and their families. Nora Connolly, daughter of James Connolly, said of these kitchens (in The Irish Rebellion of 1916; or, The Unbroken Tradition, p. 2):
Here the Countess de Markievicz reigned supreme -- all meals were prepared under her direction. There were big tubs on the floor; around each were about half a dozen girls peeling potatoes and other vegetables. There were more girls at tables cutting up meat. The Countess kept up a steady march around the boilers as she supervised the cooking. She took me to another kitchen where more delicate food was being prepared for nursing and expectant mothers.In this way the strikers were also clothed. Ms. Connolly said of this (p. 3):
'We used to give the food out at first,' she said. 'But in almost every case we found that it had been divided amongst the family. Now we have the women come here to eat. We are sure then that they are getting something sufficiently nourishing to keep up their strength.' . . .
We came to the clothing shop next. Some persons had caught the idea of sending warm clothing for the wives and children of the strikers; accordingly one of the rooms of Liberty Hall was turned into an alteration room. Several women and girls were working from morning to night altering the clothes to fit the applicants. One of the girls said to me, "It was a wonder to us at first the number of strikers who had extra large families, until we found out that in many cases their wives had adopted a youngster or two for the day, and brought them along to get clothed." Not strictly honest, perhaps, but how human to wish to share their little bit of good fortune with those not so fortunate as themselves. How many little boys and girls knew for the first time in their lives the feel of warm stockings and shoes, and how many little girls had the delicious thrill of getting a new dress fitted on.Shortly after the criticism by AE and The Times, on October 27, Larkin was imprisoned in an attempt by the bosses to break the Union, serving a sentence of seven months, and James Connolly was sent for in Belfast to come and take over the union. Connolly is regarded as one of the chief Irish Socialist theorists, trying to bring about a Republican-Socialism and supporting the cutting of both political and economic ties to Great Britain. Connolly was born in an Edinburgh, Scotland slum, the son of Irish immigrants, where his earliest experiences set his political and economic beliefs. Almost entirely self-educated, having left school to go to work at age eleven, he gained military experience while trying to escape poverty in the British Army. During this time he served some time in Ireland before deserting at the age of twenty-one and returning to Edinburgh. He founded the Irish Socialist Republican Party, later renamed the Socialist Party of Ireland after Connolly emigrated to the US in 1903, where he founded several other Socialist groups. After his work in the US, in 1910 he returned to Ireland after being guaranteed a post in the SPI by William O'Brien, who had taken over the ISRP after his leaving for America and reorganised it as the SPI. O'Brien later got him his job with Larkin. Under Connolly a plan was made to take the strikers' children to Britain until after the Lock-Out. Dora Montefiore and Lucille Rand, with Larkin's approval, arrived in Dublin to take the children of consenting parents to England to be provided with food, shelter, and clothing. The Archbishop of Dublin, William Walsh, however, upset at this brotherhood between the British Protestants and the Irish Catholics, condemned this action. The DMP then arrested the pair for kidnapping. When James Larkin's wife, Delia Larkin, tried to take over the venture the Dublin clergy saw to it that she failed. Walsh did, however, see to it that the clergy helped provide relief for the strikers. The playwright George Bernard Shaw went to Ireland in November of that year to work on the strikers' behalf.
Larkin was released shortly thereafter, and he and Connolly took over joint-control of the Union. Attacks from the police continued to get worse. Robert Monteith, a British Noncommissioned Officer, who later become a member of the Irish Citizen Army, had his step-daughter, fourteen at the time, batoned into unconsciousness. He had the power to personally see that the culprit was repaid, but the majority of Dublin was unfortunately not able to stop the violence. To protect the citizens from the Dublin Police, James Larkin and James Connolly formed the Irish Citizen Army, one of the major combatants in the Rising of 1916, from unemployed workers. This band was led by Connolly and trained by a former British officer, Captain James Robert "Jack" White.
The Irish Citizen Army was trained in an area outside Liberty Hall known as Croyden Park. This park had been taken over by the Union and was generally used for sports, and upon formation of the Citizen Army was used as the major drilling grounds, where the Citizen Army often drilled using broom handles due to the shortage of rifles. Not being one for inaction, Connolly shut-down Dublin Port. Larkin then went on to Britain on the "Fiery Cross" campaign to gather food and clothes, as well as support, in England. When he tried to get the British unions to close docks on their side of the Irish Sea he was criticised by the British Trade Union Congress for dictating to the British unions. He got into a major fight with the British union leaders J. H. Thomas and J. H. Wilson, until the only major British union leader for the Irish was Keir Hardie. Eventually, in December, the British helped him to get talks going again, but they were short-lived and broke down on December 20th. That Christmas was the coldest spent by many families in years. In January 1914, workers petitioned that they be allowed to return to work without signing their souls and unions away. In February the BTUC decided to cease the Dublin Relief Fund beginning February 11th. The Lock-Out was ended later that month. In the end, four labourers were killed during the strike, with many injured. (James Nolan and John Byrne were batoned to death by the Dublin Metropolitan Police. C. Byrne of Dun Laoghaire died after ill-treatment in prison, and Alice Brady was shot by a British "free-worker" or scab.)
Due to the extreme debt the Lock-Out put the Irish Transport and General Workers' Union in, Larkin left to raise funds in America, where he stayed for nine years, having become, like Connolly, involved in the American Socialist movement. With Larkin gone, Connolly became head of the Irish Transport and General Workers' Union. After the Lock-Out, the Irish Citizen Army numbered about 200, which Connolly kept drilled and ready to strike for Irish independence.
Watching the events going on during the Lock-Out were not only pacifists like Francis "Skeffy" Sheehy-Skeffington, but also such groups as the Irish Republican Brotherhood and individuals like Patrick Henry Pearse (who used the Gaelic equivalent of his first name, Padraic) and Thomas J. Clarke -- militant self-rulers. While all of these groups are usually lumped together under the collective title of "Sinn Feiners" -- indeed, the Easter Rising has often been called the Sinn Fein Rebellion -- the Sinn Fein was just one of the many groups at that time, being a pacifistic self-rule party. The Sinn Fein was formed between 1905 and 1908 by Arthur Griffith and Bulmer Hobson, based on political ideals of Griffith's put forward in his 1904 work Resurrection of Hungary, which had the King of England having another position as King of Ireland, and having separate Parliaments for each country. The Sinn Fein, Gaelic for Ourselves or Ourselves Alone, tried to go about this by doing such things as boycotting British goods for Irish and refusing to acknowledge the British Parliament, instead electing an Irish one. These reforms included the "establishment of protection for Irish industries and commerce by combined action of the County Councils and Local Boards; development of . . . mineral resources; creation of a national civil service; national control and management of transport and waste lands; reform of education; non-consumption as far as possible of articles requiring duty to the British exchequer; non- recognition of the British parliament." If this were done, and the Irish people were to recognise the new government, it was presumed that the British would remove themselves from Ireland's shores. The Sinn Fein had no real ties to any paramilitary groups until it was taken over by Eamon de Valera in 1917, after he was released from prison for helping lead the Rising. The Socialist vegetarian teetotal self-ruler journalist Sheehy-Skeffington, a feminist who added his wife, Hanna Sheehy's last name to his own to show their equality, who condemned the bosses' actions during the Lock-Out also was against the use of violence by the ICA. Only a few groups such as the Irish Republican Brotherhood approved of the Irish Citizen Army's actions.
The Irish Republican Brotherhood, formed in Dublin on March 17, 1858, by James Stephens (with the monetary support of John O'Mahony, who also formed the New York Fenians), was formed with the intention of overthrowing the British government in Ireland and forming a Republican government in Ireland. Their watchword was "Soon or Never". It was denounced by the Catholic hierarchy in 1863, the Archbishop of Dublin, Dr. Paul Cullen, in 1865, and in 1869, in response to the Rising of 1867, by Pope Pius IX. Despite this, it continued to grow in ranks, its main recruiters being its founder, James Stephens, William Roantree, and Patrick "Pagan" O'Leary. (On a side note, O'Leary was a rather interesting character who, after abandoning studies for the Catholic priesthood, fought in the Mexican War, in which he is believed to have sustained a head injury. He later despised Christianity because it taught to love your enemies. He held in especially low esteem St. Patrick, for converting Ireland to Christianity, the Pope, whom he called "the boss", Rome, the seat of the Church, England, for obvious reasons, and Queen Victoria, the Famine Queen, whom he called "Mrs. Brown".) Eccentricities aside, this was a very serious organisation, and attempts to suppress it simply made it stronger. In 1898, when such major figures as Arthur Griffith, it received support by James Connolly, John Redmond, and Maud Gonne (who later married Sean MacBride), which caused great confusion in Dublin Castle when the British tried to figure out who was and was not an IRB member. Thomas J. Clarke, having returned to Dublin from New York in 1907 (after having left Ireland in 1898 when he was released from prison after going on a Clan na Gael mission to blow up key positions in London), reorganised the IRB, which had fallen into a state of disorganisation and became their treasurer, using funds provided by John Devoy, a leading figure in the Clan na Gael, an Irish self-rule group in New York founded after the Fenian Uprising. Also working to reorganise the IRB were Sean MacDiarmada (AKA Sean McDermott), Bulmer Hobson, and Denis McCullough, working in Belfast. Members of the IRB did help found the Sinn Fein, though the two were distinct parties, each using different techniques to change the government. By 1912 the RIC was concerned about the RIB, though Dublin Castle did not take them seriously due to their small numbers of about 1,660 in Ireland and 367 in Britain.
Many of the members of the IRB and other revolutionary organisations, Pearse among them, were originally members of the Gaelic League, a group trying to revive the Gaelic language, the original language of Ireland, which was suppressed by the British. This group, formed on July 1, 1893 by Dr. Douglas Hyde, Fr. Eugene O'Growney, and Eoin MacNeill, Professor of Early Irish History, was formed so that all Irishmen of all political and religious views could work to restore Gaelic as the national language. This group went so far as to begin sending out traveling teachers, or Timiri, to the more rural parts of English-speaking Ireland to promote the use of Gaelic. While not originally having a political stance, it gained one in 1915 under Padraic H. Pearse, who declared that the primary aim of the Gaelic League was the political freedom of Ireland. This caused many of the less hard-core members, Dr. Hyde among them, to resign. Pearse said, in his November, 1913 article "The Coming Revolution" (Reprinted in Political Writings and Speeches, p. 91):
I have come to the conclusion that the Gaelic League, as the Gaelic League, is a spent force; and I am glad of it. I do not mean that no work remains for the Gaelic League, or that the Gaelic League is no longer equal to work; I mean that the vital work to be done in the new Ireland will be done not so much by the Gaelic League itself as by men and movements that have sprung from the Gaelic League or have received from the Gaelic League a new baptism and a new life of grace. . . . it was a prophet and more than a prophet. But it was not the Messiah. I do not know if the Messiah has yet come, and I am not sure that there will be any visible and personal Messiah in this redemption: the people itself will perhaps be its own Messiah . . . .Thus the Gaelic League was used for recruiting even before taking the official stance of pro-self-rule. Once members joined, they met and became influenced by not only Home-Rulers such as MacNeill, but also more hard-liners such as Pearse, the IRB becoming a major influence on Gaelic Leaguers.
The Loyalists, however, were also eager to have their way, and keep Ireland a part of Great Britain. In order to do this, they formed the still-existing Ulster Volunteer Force, or UVF. The UVF was formed in January of 1913 by the Ulster Unionist Council in order to prevent Home Rule. This was seen as a terrible danger to the Ulsterites, who viewed Home Rule as Rome Rule -- they believed that if it were implemented Ulster Protestants would be oppressed by the Catholic majority. The Third Home Rule Bill, which had been introduced by Prime Minister H. H. Asquith in 1912, had by this time had passed parliament, and the UVF considered this dangerous enough to arm. However, by this time the UVF was as anti-British government as the Irish self-rulers. As Padraic Pearse said in his essay "From a Hermitage," published in November, 1913 (reprinted in Political Writings and Speeches, p. 187):
The Editor of Sinn Fein [Arthur Griffith] wrote the other day that when the Orangemen fire upon the King of England's troops it will become the duty of every Nationalist in Ireland to join them: there is a deal of wisdom in the thought as well as a deal of humour.The Orangemen are of course the Ulster men -- so called because they supported the Protestant King William of Orange (who was brought in from Holland to reseed the Catholic monarchy with the more popular Protestants) over the Catholic King James of England during the Jacobite Wars, particularly during the Battle of the Boyne in 1690. By this time both North and South had had enough of Britain, and both were willing to use force to make Britain follow their own views, to keep Ireland or to set it free, respectively.
On November 25, 1913, two days after the formation of the Irish Citizen Army, a new self-ruler paramilitary force was formed -- the Irish Volunteers. The Irish Volunteers were formed as a result of the formation of the Ulster Volunteer Force, and, in fact, the Irish Volunteers were formed using the UVF as a model. The Volunteers were formed after Eoin MacNeill published an article in An Claideamh Soluis on November 1, called "The North Began," suggesting the self-rulers form an Army on the same principles as that of the UVF. Bulmer Hobson then approached him from the IRB to implement this. Hobson and the IRB then organised a public meeting at the Rotunda. This attracted people from several self-rule groups -- from the IRB to the Gaelic League to Sinn Fein. MacDiarmada joined Hobson as a main IRB leader in the Volunteers. Padraic Pearse also became a major founding member, and when the IRB saw how valuable he indeed was he was inducted into the IRB, where he quickly rose to the Supreme Council. By May 1914 about 80,000 members had joined the Volunteers. At this time Captain Jack White of the Irish Citizen Army then quit the ICA in order to become Volunteer organiser for Derry and Tyrone, where he trained a large battalion of the Volunteer Forces as he had done with the ICA. He was later dismissed when he tried to make the Volunteers an Irish defence force recognised by the British Government. Funds were provided, as with the IRB, by John Devoy and the Clan na Gael in New York, where Irish-Americans were all too happy to fund Irishmen willing and able to overthrow the British.
To call either of the two Irish self-rule armies -- the Irish Volunteers, or Irish Citizen Army -- supremacists would be, for the most part, untrue -- they were indeed nationalists, but they did not believe in eliminating others from their lands. These armies were both formed for the same basic reasons as the American Colonial Forces during the American Revolutionary War -- that is, to free the country from an oppressive foreign government. For one, the Socialists, such as James Connolly, the Countess Markievicz, and James Larkin, were for international revolution with local rule -- all peoples, no matter their ethnicity or nationality were believed equal. As James Connolly said in his speech at the outbreak of World War I, while trying to get all the working class, from all countries including Britain, Russia, France, Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Ireland to unite instead of killing each other for the governments of those countries (reprinted in Labour and Easter Week, pp. 1-2):
Should the working class of Europe, rather than slaughter each other for the benefit of kings and financers, proceed to-morrow to erect barricades all over Europe, to break up bridges and destroy the transport services that war might be abolished, we should be perfectly justified in following such a glorious example and contributing our aid to the final dethronement of the vulture classes that rule and rob the world.And, as his actions show, in his recruiting the Countess Markievicz, both a Protestant and a woman, as well as a former aristocrat as a main leader in the Irish Citizen Army, Connolly was not prejudiced based on sex or religion. And in the fact that he was on the side of the Dutch Boer Settlers of Africa during the Boer War he does not believe Irish as a race above others, but rather in a universal revolution and equality of mankind. Also, by reading Pearse, it is obvious that he was not prejudiced against any one section of Ireland, Protestant or Catholic. In his "Psychology of a Volunteer" of January 1914 (reprinted in Political Writings and Speeches, p. 106), he said:
I propose also that we substitute for the denominations Gael [Irish, usually reserved for the Catholics], Gall [not of Irish descent, usually reserved for the Ulster Protestants], and Gall-Gael the common name of Irishman.And again, as he said in "From a Hermitage" (November 1913) (repr. in Political Writings and Speeches, p. 185):
It is foolish of an Orangeman to believe that his personal liberty is threatened by Home Rule; but, granting that he believes that, it is not only in the highest degree common sense but it is his clear duty to arm in defence of his threatened liberty.This shows how both groups' leaders were for uniting all peoples in Ireland under a common self-ruling government, not in the oppression of a people.
"And how," the reader may well ask, "did all these paramilitary groups form and drill in public without government intervention?" To understand this one must look at the history of Ireland prior to the Twentieth Century. Had such groups formed in Britain at the same time, the armies would have been broken up and their leaders imprisoned. In Ireland, however, the formation and drilling of private armies and militias was entirely legal, just as it is with the various militia groups forming in the US. Though there was tension between the groups and the government, a strained peace was kept, at least temporarily. This is thanks to the agrarian secret societies, including the White Boys, Ribbonmen, Carders, Defenders, Hearts of Oak or Oakboys, Hearts of Steel or Steelboys, Lady Clares, Peep O' Day Boys, Thrashers, Whitefeet, Blackfeet, and many others. These groups were led by various individuals calling themselves such names as Captain Moonlight, Captain Starlight, Captain Lightfoot, Captain Rock, and Captain Right, while others in the group called themselves such names as Slasher, Echo, Fear-Not, Burnstack, Cropper, and others. Ireland owes to these men many a liberty, though many of their methods were blood-thirsty. These societies were formed mainly to solve the pressing problem of land-lords. During the time when these groups thrived, Irish were not allowed to own land, and later, after these laws were repealed, many Irish were driven so far into debt that they could not afford land. To make matters worse, the land-lords charged so much that the majority of the Irish families had to go without eating to pay their rent. During this time, houses of those who could not pay their taxes were pulled down or burned so the evicted could not move back in. Fed up with this, the Irish banded together. The secret societies would hunt down any land-lords who would evict those who could not pay the over-charged rent. Those methods most often used by these groups were desperate, as their ways-of-life were threatened, and included such tactics as crop burning and livestock mutilation, as well as shooting into houses, assault, rape, and murder. These societies were not nationalist, but were merely working for the good of the farmers, and did not take time to decide on elaborate theories of social and political structures, instead working for what they needed to survive. Notices such as the following, which was posted by the Ribbonmen on May 23, 1851, were posted in areas where land-lords evicted tenants (quoted in Hickey and Doherty's A Dictionary of Irish History Since 1800, p. 506):
To Landlords, Agents, Bailiffs, Grippers, process-servers, and usurpers, or underminers who wish to step into the evicted tenants' property, and to all others concerned in Tyranny and Oppression of the Poor on the Bath Estate.
That you are hereby (under pain of a certain punishment which will inevitably occur), prohibited from evicting tenants, executing decrees, serving process, distraining for rent, or going into another's land, or to assist any tyrant, Landlord or Agent in his insatiable desire for depopulation. Recollect the fate of Mauleverer, on this his anniversary.Now the landlords were terrified; now the common man had a champion. Some areas were so bad that only small safe-zones were patrolled by the soldiers, after that the landlords were left to their own devices. Because of this many landlords raised mercenary militias to counter the secret societies, which they armed and drilled in public, while the vigilantes secretly organised. The government, because it could not cope with the societies, left these armies legal. Had it not been for such groups, the ICA and the Volunteers, as well as such groups as the UVF, may not been able to train as well, and the Easter Rising may not have occurred in the form that it did, and may instead have been merely small terrorist acts like those performed by the later IRA.
As Pearse said, in "From a Hermitage" (November 1913) (repr. in Speeches and Political Writings, p. 185):
Personally, I think the Orangeman with a rifle a much less ridiculous figure than the Nationalist without a rifle; and the Orangeman who can fire a gun will certainly count for more in the end than the Nationalist who can do nothing cleverer than make a pun.Both armies began to arm in 1914. In January, 1914, the Ulster Volunteer Force made a night gun-running, during which a British official was killed. Arms were moved off to various parts of Ulster by the means of private cars, some even Rolls Royces. This brought 24,600 rifles and three million rounds ammunition to the Ulster Volunteers. Shortly after the Ulster gun-running, though it was still legal to have citizens' militias in Ireland, Britain made the importation of arms illegal. The Irish Volunteers, having weighed the consequences, decided to arm, disregarding legal laws for the moral laws of what they believed was right. By this time the Volunteers numbered about 108,000. To arm these numbers, and to prove their daring against the British government, a daylight gun-running was planned. The arms were bought from Germany under the pretense of a rising in Mexico. The money was mainly provided by the Clan na Gael, under the monetary direction of John Devoy, and the organisation was undertaken by Sir Roger Casement, a former British diplomat, Eoin MacNeill, Chief-of-Staff of the Volunteers, Michael O'Rahilly, (who was called The O'Rahilly, being the head of his clan), co-founder and treasurer of the Irish Volunteers, Bulmer Hobson, a leading member of Sinn Fein, Darrell Figgis, who also made the arrangements with Germany, Robert Erskine Childers, a British author and Royal Navy Air Force soldier who went by the name Erskine Childers, Mary Spring Rice, Anglo-Irish cousin to the British Ambassador to the US, and Cathal Brugha, born Charles Burgess, second in command to Eamonn Ceannt, an Ulster-born Volunteer. Off the Belgian coast arms were transferred from a German ship, the Gladiator, to the private yachts Asgard, under the command of Erskine Childers, who also helped organise the running, and the Kelpie, under the command of Conor O'Brien, a Dublin journalist. Due to the fact that O'Brien was too well known as an agitator to not attract attention, the arms from the Kelpie were again transferred off the Welsh coast to Dr. Sir Thomas Myles' boat the Chotah.
On July 26, a group of taxis arrived at Howth Harbour bringing a group of young men and their girlfriends, apparently for a weekend summer outing. However, when a ship sailed into harbour action began picking up, and more people arrived at the harbour. The Irish Volunteers, who until then believed they were following a routine drill, marched into harbour to have guns put in their hands. Also helping in the expedition was Connolly's ICA. The Na Fianna Eireann, the Irish Boy Scouts, which had been founded in Dublin in 1909 by the Countess Markievicz, based on the earlier (1902) group of the same name founded by Bulmer Hobson in Belfast, including the Girls' Branch, arrived with heavy wooden clubs to be used as batons, left taking hundreds of rounds of ammunition, so that none of the Volunteers would decide to revolt then and there. Rifles and munitions were loaded into the taxis and sped off to various areas of Ireland. Men appeared from apparently nowhere and guarded the pier with automatic pistols. When police arrived, the sight of these armed guards, and having some of the unloaded cargo pointed at them, was enough to keep them off. The police, being deterred such, notified Dublin Castle, then the seat of British rule in Ireland.
Dublin Castle, fearing the fact that they now had armed paramilitary groups on both sides of the Ulster boarder, mobilised the King's Own Scottish Borderers, then stationed in Dublin. Requisitioning trams, they hurried to Howth Harbour, which was only a short way from Dublin. The two parties met at Clontarf, on the way back to Dublin. The commandeered trams stopped and blocked the Volunteers. The soldiers were ordered by Captain Cobden to load their weapons, and as the Volunteers halted, the police were ordered by Assistant Commissioner David Harrell to seize the Volunteer weapons. A short scuffle ensued, during which the Volunteers, lacking ammunition, fought off the Scots and police with their clubs, the Scottish countering with riflebutts. When this ended, the Volunteer leaders, Hobson, Figgis, and Thomas MacDonagh, a university lecturer, began arguing with the British and Scottish leaders as to whether they were committing a crime taking charge of illegally imported weapons. While this occurred, the Volunteers, under command of Edward "Ned" Daly began running off across the nearby fields with their rifles. Finally, when the heated argument ended, the Scots found not only the Volunteers, but also their commandeered trams, nowhere in sight. The Scottish Borders then began the long march back to Dublin.
On the way, the Scottish Borders were harassed by crowds about their attempting to disarm the Volunteers, and about what they had (or didn't have) under their kilts. As they got closer to Dublin, the crowds became more violent, throwing sticks and stones, as well as bottles. Major Haigh left the barracks to take command of the Borders when he heard what was taking place. In Bachelor's Walk, Dublin, Haigh ordered the soldiers to halt and face the crowd, not realising they had loaded their rifles at Clontarf. When he raised his hand for silence, one of the soldiers mistook it for a signal to fire, and the rest followed, some bayoneting as well. Three were killed, one died as a result of wounds, and at least thirty-seven others were wounded. One of those killed was the mother of a Irishman serving in the British Army. These killings, especially that of the soldier's mother, were snatched up and used as propaganda for the Irish cause, especially in the US. As a result of this and the successful gun-running, contributions poured into the Volunteer and Clan na Gael coffers. Public opinion was raised so much against the Borderers that they were secretly removed from Dublin.
On August 1, the Chotah, which had had engine trouble, landed the remaining arms without incident. In all, 1,500 rifles, 900 from the Asgard and 600 from the Chotah, along with 45,000 rounds of ammunition, were landed. These arms were distributed among not only the Irish Volunteers, but also the Irish Citizen Army, which helped to move the arms once they were landed.
The Irish Citizen Army and the Irish Volunteers also armed themselves with captured British guns, which were of better quality than those bought from the Germans. On two specific occasions ICA attempts to seize arms proved fruitless, as described in Nora Connolly's The Irish Rebellion of 1916; or, The Unbroken Tradition. On one of these occasions, the Citizen Army marched on a British weapons storehouse to seize arms known to be there, but the British Army heard about this and moved the weapons. Later, the ICA tried to seize arms from a unionist group called Georgeus Rex (King George). This group, made up of men past the age to fight in the British Army, would often march, as did the Volunteers and ICA, in uniforms and armed through the streets of Dublin. The Irish Citizen Army decided that the weapons these people owned were too good to be kept by people who would not use them, so one night they went off to capture them. After the ICA had entered the Georgeus Rex storehouse, they seized the arms, only to discover they were clever fakes.
About a week after the Bachelor Walk Massacre, Great Britain went to war with Germany. Recruiting posters went up over the British Empire, including Ireland, much to the disgust of the Irish, who were deeply upset about the slayings. At the beginning of the war, very few recruits were made. Prime Minister Herbert Henry Asquith came to Dublin as the guest of John Redmond to address an invitation-only meeting on the war, at which a troop of soldiers were set up on guard. This meeting took place at Mansion House, at Nassau Street and St. Stephen's Green. A counter-meeting was held outside Liberty Hall, seat of the Irish Transport and General Workers Union, at which several major rebels, including Sean MacDiarmada representing the Irish Volunteers and James Connolly. According to Nora Connolly, in The Irish Rising of 1916; or, The Unbroken Tradition, the cheering at this counter-meeting was so great that at one point the speaker at the Mansion House meeting had to stop and wait for it to die down before continuing. The Mansion House meeting netted a total of six Irish soldiers for Britain in World War I. Previously, in the House of Commons, Redmond had said that both paramilitary groups in Ireland would defend their own shores. This, however, was taken to mean that Ireland would defend Britain, which made the meeting's result more of a surprise to the British. Due to the low turn-out of recruits, Britain wanted to create conscription in Ireland. This was largely spoken against by all Irish self-rulers as an infringement on Irish rights. Even the more conservative Home Rulers vowed to resist this in arms. Augustine Birrell, Chief Secretary of Ireland and Sir Matthew Nathan, his Under-Secretary highly advised the British government against this due to the civil upheaval it would cause, and eventually Ireland was left out of those in the Empire in which the draft was enforced.
World War I also had a major affect on the Third Irish Home Rule Bill. In 1912 the Third Irish Home Rule Bill was brought before the House of Commons by Prime Minister Asquith. By English law, if this were to have been approved three times it would become law. The Ulster Unionists were greatly against the Home Rule Bill, which is the main reason for the forming of the Ulster Volunteer Force; in fact, Sir Edward Carson, one of the main leaders of the UVF, called the Third Home Rule Bill "the most nefarious conspiracy that was ever hatched against a free people." This bill, much like the Israeli-Palestine Liberation Organization Peace Accord, was really only a nominal freedom, but it was seen by most as a step forward. It gave Ireland the right to govern strictly Irish affairs, and guaranteed forty-two Irish seats on parliament. However, Britain maintained control of the Army, Navy, and foreign affairs, as well as administration of the National Insurance Act, old age pensions, and land settlements. Britain also kept the right to levy taxes, and the royal veto remained. Free religion was also guaranteed by this act. However, war broke out in 1914, which was to be the third voting term for the bill. The bill was approved yet, due to protestations by the Ulster Unionists it was put off until after the war. After this promise was made, the UVF joined the British Army as a group, thus removing them from the self-rulers' way. When war broke out, the Irish Citizen Army and ITGWU proclaimed its beliefs loud and clear. Connolly hung a great banner above Liberty Hall proclaiming: "WE SERVE NEITHER KING NOR KAISER, BUT IRELAND!"
During the Great War the Irish Volunteers split, the majority going with John Redmond as the National Volunteers, and the remainder, numbering some 11,000, went with the Irish Volunteers, now almost entirely in control of the Irish Republican Brotherhood. After the reorganisation, Eoin MacNeill became Chief-of-Staff, though this was more of a front position than one with actual power -- the group needed MacNeill's more conservative reputation to avoid being immediately suppressed. The poet Padraic Pearse had the real power as Director of Organisation. Another poet, Joseph Plunkett became Director of Military Organisation, and a third, Thomas MacDonagh, became Director of Training, while The O'Rahilly was Treasurer and Hobson Secretary. All of these except The O'Rahilly and MacNeill were members of the IRB, and all except these two and Hobson were on the secret War Council of the IRB.
The Supreme Council of the IRB, also had a new Chairman elected at about this time. Thomas Clarke and Sean McDermott had Denis McCullough elected, as he lived in Belfast and could therefore be more easily controlled.
Meanwhile, in Germany, Sir Roger Casement, holder of the South African Medal, was working for the independence of Ireland in his own way. Earlier, Casement had stopped the abuse of natives in the Belgian Congo and the Putamayo region of Brazil, at that time British-owned. There he found such abuses as limbs chopped off of those who did not meet the rubber quota, as well as the Amazonian mistress of one of the British who had been flogged and had hot fire-brands inserted into her various bodily openings when it was discovered she had a venereal disease. His reports changed that, and he was knighted for his services. Later, after his health had begun to fail him, he turned his interests to Ireland. He had been a main figure in the arms-running in 1914, and now he was trying to do the same thing again -- and more. He hoped to not only get about 100,000 rifles for use in Ireland and German officers to help train the Irish Volunteers, but also to raise an Irish Brigade of PoW's in Germany. He was unable to raise either of these as he had hoped.
A Rising was planned for September of 1915, and all the leaders had their hearts set on this. Unfortunately, Casement was not able to get the arms in time, so the Rising was aborted. Connolly was especially disappointed at this, as he felt that a Rising, whatever the outcome, was good, if only for the moral implications. In October of that year, during one of the common midnight trainings of the Irish Citizen Army, Connolly and the Countess Markievicz, along with Michael Mallin, Connolly's Second-in-Command, led a mock attack on Dublin Castle. After accepting the guard's surrender, they returned to Liberty Hall and celebrated, while the Irish police and intelligence officers stood outside in the rain to observe the actions that took place. Nothing further went on that night.
In January, 1916, the Easter Rising was planned for certain. The IRB, afraid that Connolly would do something to get them all disarmed, invited him at gunpoint to have a discussion with the leaders. Connolly was determined that he would have a Rising, even if his band of 200 men only lasted ten minutes, for it would be a glorious ten minutes. The IRB convinced him to partake in their planned Easter Rising, he becoming Commandant-General of the Dublin Division of the Army of the Irish Republic. After this, strategy was drawn out as to how the Rising would take place both in Dublin and in the other counties. Connolly began giving lectures on urban warfare, and drilling of both armies kept up, including mock battles between various battalions of the ICA and the Volunteers. The National Volunteers, disillusioned with Redmond, began to split with that group, the majority joining the Irish Volunteers. In short, the call to arms was answered.
In Germany, Casement was joined by Robert Monteith, who had stowed away on a American passenger boat to help Casement. They had many problems with the German government and the Irish Brigade, the idea of which was based on the Irish Brigade formed during the Boer War by Sean MacBride. For one, the Germans would not give up any weapons except 20,000 inferior rifles made in Orleans, France, which were captured from the Russians at Tannenberg, and ten machine-guns, which the Volunteers were not trained to use. It was obvious the Germans merely wanted a distraction rather than Irish independence. The majority of those who joined the Irish Brigade were untrustworthy, joining not to help their country but rather to save their own hides and get out of the PoW camps, and it was eventually dissolved before it was used. Casement and Monteith did, however, manage to get a manned boat, originally an English steamer captured at the beginning of the war in a German river and disguised as a Norwegian ship, renamed Aud, to carry the rifles to the rebels. Unfortunately, however, the ship was told to arrive at the wrong date. A message from Count Plunkett, father of Joseph Plunkett, was supposed to be marked with a change of date, for the boat to arrive after Easter Sunday, while the note mistakenly said before, and the boat planned to arrive on Holy Thursday. By the time this was noticed the ship was already at sea, and, as it lacked a wireless radio, there was no way to contact it. The Irish envoy which was sent out to meet it on the Saturday before Easter plunged into the sea, killing several of the occupants. The Aud was intercepted by British destroyers near Queenstown, in Southern Ireland, and was scuttled by the crew. It had sat in harbour waiting for the rebels at Tralee for nearly twenty-four hours until it finally had to leave, by which time it was already too suspicious, and was followed by the British ship Bluebell. British intelligence knew of the Rising by intercepting German signals, and decoding them using code-books captured from the Germans. Apparently the code-books were too big a secret to tell the British government about, as they only gave hints as to what would happen.
Casement, hoping to try to stop the rebellion due to his failure to secure sufficient arms and help, or, if he was unable to stop it, to take part in it, managed to get a U-20 submarine from the Germans. He planned to rendezvous with the Aud when it landed and convince the rebels to postpone the Rising. In his last diary entry before he left Germany, Casement wrote of the Rising (repr. in Rebels, by de Rossa, p. 136):
I am quite sure it is the most desperate piece of folly ever committed; but I go gladly. If those poor lads at home are to be in the fire, then my place is with them.Casement's U-20 broke down en route to Ireland, and he was put onto the lesser U-19, arriving with Monteith too late to stop the rising. He and Monteith were washed ashore in a rubber boat provided by the submarine, but Casement was captured shortly after landing at Kerry and shipped off to London on charges of treason, though Monteith managed to escape authorities.
On March 24, about a month before the Rising, the British government in Ireland, under General Friend, ordered the suppression of the Irish newspaper The Gael. This was seen as an infringement on the Irish, and the Irish Citizen Army responded. Connolly was informed by the manager of the Workers' Co-Operative Society, a small store located in the front of Liberty Hall, that the Dublin Metropolitan Police were ransacking the store. Connolly burst in just as soldiers were behind the counter taking old copies of the newspaper -- the newer copy had not yet been delivered. When Connolly asked if they had a warrant, the officers replied in the negative. Connolly then produced an automatic pistol and calmly said, "Then drop those papers, or I'll drop you." The officer then dropped the papers, and after their commanding officer talked with Connolly, the group left to get a warrant. This was not really necessary, as under the Defence of the Realm Act the Government could do anything it believed necessary without a warrant, but this bluff gave the ICA time to mobilise. By the time the DMP returned, ICA men and women guarded the store, including Countess Constance Markievicz and James Connolly, armed with automatics. The officers produced a warrant, and were told by Connolly that they could search the store up until the door where it joined with Liberty Hall. If they tried to pass that point they would be shot. An hour after the first call 150 guarded the Hall, and, by the end of the day, over two-hundred of the ICA were garrisoned at Liberty Hall, with more still arriving as they heard the news. Men left their places of work in the middle of the work day, dropping whatever they were doing to help the Union. At the docks, one supervisor, having heard the Union workers called out by messengers, and believing it a strike, shut the doors at the Dublin Bay-facing warehouse. Undaunted, the workers jumped in the Bay and swam across to land, heading to Liberty Hall. The Women's Ambulance Corps and the Na Fianna Eireann also mobilised and joined those at Liberty Hall. Dubliners returning from lunch, seeing men running from work, rifle in hand, feared an uprising, and Dublin Castle was barraged with phone calls requesting news. After this incident, Liberty Hall, with Connolly in residence, was under armed guard night and day until the Rising, and the Volunteer leaders went into hiding, only each other knowing where they were staying. They were determined not to be arrested before the Rising went on, as the Fenian leaders of 1867 had been.
A week before the Rising was planned, one of the Volunteers leaders, Captain Liam Mellowes (also spelt Mellows), organiser for South Connaught, was arrested and deported to Britain. Rumours of the planning of other deportations spread. Connolly, believing Mellowes to be vital to the Rising, arranged for his daughter Nora to go with another ICA member to Britain to bring Mellowes back. The act was successful, and Mellowes was brought back disguised as a priest, retaking his command in County Galway.
During this time the leaders of the Rising, particularly the IRB members, needed to make the atmosphere more favourable for a Rising. In order to push more moderate Volunteers, such as MacNeill, towards favouring the Rising, Joseph Mary Plunkett and Sean MacDiarmada forged the Castle Document, claiming it had come from an informer in Dublin Castle. This document outlined the plans of the British to make arrests of many of the rebel leaders, including Plunkett himself, as well as Pearse and Connolly, and more conservative leaders like MacNeill and The O'Rahilly, and to occupy areas which were known to harbour pockets of subversives. It was published on April 19, 1916 in Volunteer newspapers in order to gain the support of all the Volunteers for the Rising. It was partially successful in its aims, gaining support of many Volunteer leaders outside Dublin, as well as pushing moderates such as MacNeill to favour the Rising, and giving the Volunteers the self-defence card. It was not discovered that the document was a forgery until it was too late to matter.
By April 1916 Ireland was ripe for a Rising, though it lacked arms. Many supported the politics of a Rising, though they may not support the Rising itself. The national spirit had been held down for seven centuries, and the rebels did not want it remain that way for an eighth. With the Castle Document, even more moderates were seeing it as them-or-us, and were preparing for a Rising. With the stunt the rebels had just pulled with the attempted gun-running, it was only a matter of time before the British really did crack down on the rebels: It was soon or never. Ireland would indeed see a Baptism by Fire at the time of Christ's Rising in 1916.
In my strip, there's a bust going down. All executed in the most tasteless manner. Officer Overbound is badging and badgering, hassling and amassling; he's wreck & flexin for an audience of his peers. The harried bureaucrats of the underground economy stoically endure the procedure.
I'm in tights and a cape, and I pop on the scene [to fanfare].
Announcing: The First Short Jewish Angstithologist and Superhero... at your service.
The players are puzzled, which buys me time.
"Have you gentlemen considered the weight of your crime?"
Next frame shows me pointing, not at the accused, but at the stunned gaggle of law enforcement officials.
"But Schmeltfisch," -- (thus was I for eternity dubbed by Officer Overbound on page 12) -- he says, "But Schmeltfisch, what the hell are you talking about?"
"Clearly the curse your 'Ethics of Monotony' has cast on our young civilization is at fault, not these innocents. Imposition of a hostile moral code in an inflexible and wrongheaded manner. Let's get down to the sloppings, Officer Pignut: If you can convincingly argue the case for human free will on the repentance-and-salvation model upon which your legal system supposedly rests, why then I'll shut down shop without taking up a minute more of your precious time."
Mute disbelief and incomprehension. I don't even know what the fuck I'm talking about.
"I didn't think so. Hand over the guns. That's right, the big ones, too. My sidekick Boony requests a small peace offering from the illicit goods in question. He's in the hall. Oh, Boony! Chill out, you dopey- spaced hippie, there'll be time enough for that back in your cage. Kidding, kidding, you dreary sourpusses!"
These people are now so hopelessly absorbed in their private existential crises that I can float off without having to worry about that miscarriage of justice ever taking place. I'm sure Officer Overbound is already on his way to the nearest 12 oz. self-help seminar and has forgotten all about his duty to a drug-free ghetto.
Thanks to my placid nature, I sometimes project a false image of easy leisure. My time, however, is dear. Surely you will excuse me so that I may write more adventures for your reading pleasure.
All this crime fighting has left me famished. Boony, more mentally fragmented than ever after all the excitement, pulls up in the temporary Schmeltmobile, the 1986 Toyota Tercel, adoringly referred to as "Yota." You'll have to imagine any Batgadget-type accessories because there are none; Yota is essentially a glorified go-cart with a tape deck and one working speaker. The whole Jewish anarcho-syndicalist superhero gig takes a while to get on its feet, you understand.
I'm rapping at Boony as we Toyodell over to the Grease Pit for a quick bite of corporate swine.
"Been trying to get back into that topical singer-songwriter shtick that was bringing home the bank circa '71, you know. Our most recent adventure still fresh in mind, I'd imagine something like this: (of course I'll tighten the rhyme scheme after some revision)"
I've got a semi-automatic shotgun, Woh, I got a night stick, I got a computer that knows all about you, Talking 'bout a Peace Officer, George, Talking 'bout a public servant-- and furthermore: I got tear gas for your comrades I got handcuffs and pepper spray...Now Boony is appropriately modest about his critical appreciation of poetry (and post-Dylan folk rock, for that matter), but perhaps this time his coarser instincts were just. My muse is momentarily silenced by Boony's philistine brawn as he swerves us into the drive-thru lane at Crapburger.
"Gimme a minute, you grouchy shit. You're just my fucking sidekick, you intolerable bitch."
"Two Burgerdaddy Combos with Root Beer! Say boss don't look at me that way. How many times you gotta tell me that you're 'ethically and systematically opposed to the notion of human choice?' I always gotta sit in the fucking drive-thru lane at McAssholes with four hundred deranged rush hour bureaucrats leaning on their horns while you meditate on the issue of causality."
"Boony, that's why I keep you around, pal. Hours of lethargy and self- indulgent compulsion broken up by lightning flashes of eloquent genius. Your toned monstrosity of a body doesn't hurt in tight situations, either. I say, old chap, bring on the Burgerdaddy combos! Let's go out there and fight some fucking crime."
"Pitch in $2.20, boss; I ain't spotting you no Burgerdaddy."
His Benevolence Razorslash will see you now. No easy task to get an audience with a CEO at a major conglomerate, even for a short Jewish angstithologist/superhero wearing tights. Luckily I was able to convince the temp tending the front desk that his paradigm needed shifting and so he scurried off to the spa for a vision quest at my recommendation. I have that effect on people.
I had to leave Boony back in the car with all those drugs we stole from the cops this morning. A good heart has Boony... an open, generous nature... an excellent vocabulary (thanks to his S.A.T. compulsion--more on this later); but dumb as Montana before the Ice Age, and lusty like yer uncle's German Shepherd! Good Lord! It's like leaving a Republican congressman in a room with hot insider stock tips and a bad hair piece! And this stoner is supposed to be ready to tear out of here in the getaway vehicle at a second's notice!
"Ah, Mr. Schmeltfisch, or, pardon me, Lord Schmeltfisch" (I had to do some, er, exagerrating to get Mr. Razorslash's attention), "Lord Schmeltfisch, what can I do for you?"
"Your Benevolence Razorslash: May I speak frankly with you?"
"Sure chum; for a Harvard man? We're family already."
"What if I told you that I can take care of your little 'indigenous' problem in Ecuador?"
"Those stinking Spic Injuns won't give up an eensy little bit of their precious forest and now those goddamned tree hugging, hairy-assed feminist greeny-assed muthafuckers got all their goddamned Jewish banker money fucking me up the ass, goddamitalltohell!"
"Right on, white man! Have I got a bacteria for you!"
"Oh, you vicious fuck! I love it! How much will it cost me?"
"I only request a small cash donation, preferably in the million range."
"I'll have one of my temps run to the bank while you wait."
"A pleasure doing business with you."
When I get outside, Boony is snorting lines of a dexterity-enhancing designer drug off the hood of my car. He fucks around with his nose, looks at the briefcase, nods, looks at me.
"I'm gonna make Yota do things you never before thought possible."
Had the driver's side door worked when Boony pulled at the latch, this would have been a forceful and terrifying declaration; instead the gesture approximated low comedy. Humiliated and starting to max out on all that shit he'd been snorting, Boony rips the door off its hinges and miraculously starts the car with sheer willpower.
What the fuck do I care? I got Herr Razorschmuck's million bucks and possibly the most dextrous and high-strung chauffeur this side of Paradise. I buy myself a new door, send the remainder to the Ecuadorian People's Liberation Movement, if there is such a thing, and call it a wash.
"I hope you're ready to hug some trees like you're hugging those shoulders, Boony. To the Earth First compound! We've got some industrial sabotage to coordinate!"
Let him who does wrong continue to do wrong; let him who is vile continue to be vile...
"...of course, you are free to indulge of any of the books around, or just to get some sleep. There are only so many hours until nightfall...."
I was not quite sure how to take the admonition about watching the approach of nightfall, but neither could I ask as it had been called back over his shoulder after he had seen me to my room. In a building of this size one would assume that a servant of some kind would be assigned to show a guest to her room, but then the place appeared to not be a common site of visitation, and I had been specifically invited. I did not expect this special invitation would simply get me filed away into a back room, however.
The contents, as far as furniture and the like were concerned, were Spartan, but what was there was lavish. Wall hangings in deep shades of burgundies and maroons hung all around, and the queen sized bed, too, was decked out in violet sheets -- already pulled down -- under maroon blankets. The bed itself was in hardwood, and the head was a sort of nightstand with a couple of candles -- lit when we entered -- and a single shelf of books.
I gave the bookshelf a tired, cursory glance. An eclectic collection of titles covered at the same time an immense range of subjects, yet all apparently were related save a few odd fictions and such intermingled with the scholarly works. Hence, beside Unausprechlichen Kulten and The Golden Bough were the works of H.P. Lovecraft and Dr. Robert Anton Wilson.
I was slightly sleepy from the journey here, but by no means exhausted. I had some time before nightfall, and even if he did intend for me to nap before whatever festivities he had planned, I by no means needed to. And my short friendship with my poet had taught me the value of books. And opportunities.
Almost at random, then, I selected one book, noticing only after it had leapt into my hands just how different it was from the others. Unlike most, this was a hand bound book. Alone it was also in its relative youth. It seemed to have just recently been placed here -- the strata of dust had not yet claimed it -- and appeared to have been both bound and written by hand.
Still wondering at such an anomaly, I opened the text's heavy leather binding to be greeted by a frontispiece that, if memory serves, appeared somewhat as follows:
Do not tell lies, and do not do what you hate,
for all things are plain in the sight of Heaven.
For nothing hidden will not become manifest,
and nothing covered will remain without being uncovered.
It did not become less erudite. I suppose that, as the note I would find in later flipping said, the text was quite allusive -- the note in particular mentioned one book called Lolita. To any extent, it was quite dense.
I delved into the text, at a more or less random location, and more or less again towards the beginning, until I happened upon an interesting entry. As with the rest, the date was not even marked, unless it was removed from this transcription or those numbers marking each entries beginning and end had some occult meaning, and even then I could not be expected to recall them now. Suffice it to say that, as far as these Confessions went, the entry was bound towards the front. I now recount what I can recall of the text, liberally supplemented with my own prejudices and imaginings; I do not trust my recall except so far as I can verify with historical documents.
... all I could say was that I was in need of a new affection, and my selected effecter was the pretty and intelligent Lorilei, speaker and, unfortunately, sister of a friend whose friendship I was not in a desire to hurriedly end. I had at least to feign the motions of consent.
Let me now take a moment to, retrospectively, love Lo with my mind; so, speak memory. She was one of those that was still innocent in her visage. Her hair was not the false blond of the old whore, but rather the true golden blond of the Aryan princess, as pure in blood as in spirit. Her flesh and her body were the pinnacle of any race, and were among the most beautiful I had ever seen or would ever see again until I had begun to transcend this plane visually as well as spiritually. Her eyes were deep and blue, but I am afraid that despite their beauty -- and their beauty was simply not comparable, let alone describable -- her eyes were the sole mar on her beautiful body. If one had the fortune to gaze into her eyes, provided one had the eyes to see, one would have seen the age and sadness contained therein. To this day I cannot say with any certainty whether this layer of filth that separated her soul from her body was the scarring of the life she had led, the sights she had seen, or if it was simply the sadness of a goddess cast down from Olympus into this hell in which we, the damned, are forced to dwell and toil.
But this is not an elegy. I digress from my narrative where, gracious reader, you will recall I was seeking a new -- and consensual -- love.
To the end, then, of feigning consent, I had fresh in my mind, fevered though it was, the teachings of the Master Therion (Specifically "There is no need to knock the girl down when she will easily do as you wish if you only speak a few nice words to her," although I confess the traditional epigrams sprang too among the mushrooms 'rooting,' in my psyche.), as well as a de Sade-ian, although hardly Sadistic, method of approach adequately sketched, though still untried. To this test I then went.
Any highly charged emotional scene can bond the individuals ringing up that charge to meld together as a result of this, even frictionless, heat. Thus the concept, however misguided, of taking a young, impressionable girl -- or the most reasonable facsimile still available on this continent -- to a 'horror' film. (I put horror in quotes as there is little horrible about today's cinematography save its quality and its budget. The slasher is far from horrifying, although I do discover new levels of nausea each one I am subjected to.) Thus, too, the concept of hostage bonding, of which the so-called Stockholm Syndrome is an example. (The emotional bonding, it should be noted, not the physical bondage.) (NOTE: Write an essay on the concept of emotional friction -- generalized -- and bonding.) [Transcriber's note: The alluded to essay is affixed after this entry.] With this in mind, I set out to set a highly charged emotional scene.
As effective as a natural disaster would have been, I'm afraid such acts of God were a bit out of my price range at this time, and hence I set out for a disaster every bit as unnatural as the result which I sought. With my selections thus limited, I chose the most blunt and direct of choices; I set out to begin a frivolous and inexplicable fight with the angelic wench, with the aim that with the flames thus stoked, they could then be directed towards the parts I wished to enflame of her delicate anatomy. Entering her classroom, then, I began.
The latest theory among women's assault prevention classes is that most assailants begin with a barrage of obscenities, and women, being the delicate and eternal waifs we all know them to be, should learn to be unfazed by such a verbal assault. I don't really know why the women's assault prevention theorists have suddenly taken such a view of women, but I would say their practice, however well intentioned, is misguided. We hardly need to drain the last remnants of softness our fair folk still possess, for how then would they we? Still, I took hardly such an indelicate approach. I waited until she went to the back room, a foreplanned path played out previously in my plotting psyche, and followed, closing the door and lighting into a series of assaults, undeserved by the delicate girl, I am sure, about how she and some cabal of plotting public speakers had launched an unprecedented assault against the debaters of the area by intercepting information, dragging out all that they had placed in, and stealing it for her and hers' personal files. The best offense is to defend aggressively against an imagined attack, for then the defender is placed in the awkward position of having to strike back by defending an assault, improper, that never occurred. If you can't defeat them with the facts, confuse them with the frictions. Fictions. I meant fictions.
Humbert the Horrible, then, pressed his little butterfly further against his glass, with every intent to nail, I mean pin, her right there and then. Towering to full height over the girl, even I was able to overshadow her, as she withdrew into herself still in shock from this most uncharacteristic of moves. As my voice rose -- in intensity, not volume, as I knew full well we were beside a classroom full, well, sparsely inhabited, by teenagers whose hormones were sensitively positioned to alert the individual at any hint of sex or violence by the electronic programming device installed in every living room, and not a few kitchens, bedrooms, cars, etcetera ad nauseum -- her defenses did the inverse, and with an electric charge of joy indescribable, yet, I assure you, as pure as a virginal admiration of a sunrise and as intense as the smell and taste of clean sea shells, I saw her eyes begin to moisten.
With this watery grave opening up, though not, I suspected, for me, my epee was thrust into the must vicious position possible: rest. I opened an ambushing opening for her to retreat into my arms, and the violence of our row was redirected into our lips, our arms, our tongues -- even the ambrosia of her mouth seemed intent in entering into me, and, for my part, I embraced her in ever way possible in such an abrupt about face. My arms were about her shoulders, crushing her bulk, or her lack thereof, to press our heaving breasts together, and to feel her plush yet developing ones against my chest, wishing that even the few -- three? four? -- scraps of cloth separating our torsos could be withdrawn. My lips and tongue were all across her face and ears and beautiful porcelain neck, and she was pressed against me, whimpering her release from this noose that only I knew I had never intended to tighten.
Amidst laps and nips I whispered meaningless lies into her elegantly sculpted ears, the kind of ears that would make one believe, truly believe, that if God was not a carpenter, he was certainly some kind of artist. "I am so sorry, ma cheri." "Can you forgive me?" "Oh, ma chara, ma chara, I could never admit such a thing as love. Not to a friend's -- nay, a veritable brother's -- sister." Evil or no, and I should have words with any person selecting the latter, it worked, and soon we had developed a reciprocal infatuation of days, or even years, firm and real in her memory. What a foul mouth that titan has! What a foul sense of humor!
Memory is not alone, however, and our eternity of passion, oh so soon entered, was rapidly invaded by our own Goths, with McFate leading the way into the sack. No sooner had I begun to maneuver our somas to the couch, trying to alleviate the previously noted difficulty of over clothing, the carefully closed door was no longer so and our intimacies were made less so by the introduction of a new element into our fair universe. Had our arms and our tongues been slightly less entwined, she may have ended up unceremoniously released as any inanimate burden, but fortunately for her, and perhaps for me, let future memory pass judgment, she simply ended resting between a knee and an arm -- although only the former was mine -- and the furniture did the rest. My leg strained under the luscious pressure of her weight, and her body arched invitingly back as her arm pressed her body against mine in an attempt to stabilize our position. She had the dignity to hide her tear-stained face, and I turned to deal with the invader. Oh, the curses of vassopressin!
There was real danger here, for to avoid at the least a morals charge or perhaps a quite nasty attempted rape trial, I knew I had to enter firmly both of her precious hearts, or else all was lost. This so, I knew I must keep the intensity up. Fortunately, the invader was more concerned at his inelegant reception than was she who I hoped would provide mine, and was only too glad to stumble out without whatever it was he had hoped to have. This provided the impetus to lead the girl bodily out of the school or risk having her withdraw her favor altogether and forever. I was pressed against her immediately.
Fortunately, for me, her body was less jaded than mine, and her mind less vicious. She was still flushed despite her almost intimate introduction to the throw rug, so to speak. I and my mouth made sure there was no opportunity for her intensity to lessen.
The delicate shell of her dry, hot mouth pressed against my lips, my face, and I maneuvered my own to propose in romantic, covert whispers that we relieve this particular school a little of its over crowding problem, and go somewhere else. When a girl is in that state, you can propose anything from marriage to suicide and get little more that a raspy "Yes, my love" and a thoroughly enjoyable rush of kisses. We left. ...
I let slip the text and only when looking back for the title, "My Lovely Lorilei, or Good Deeds (Almost) Well-Chastened," did I realize just how far I had gotten in the narrative. Hand copied in an elegant, spidery hand, I rapidly leafed forward and verified that indeed when this episode ended, an essay, "The Creation of Love in the Alchemist's Furnace, or a Practical Guide to Seduction," was appended, scribed in the same hand. From the cut of the episodes it was clear that this was a portion of another work, and I suppose it consisted of the relevant portions of the diary previously mentioned.
I looked on a few pages to both sides and confirmed that, indeed, all were about the rapes, seductions, and other erotic abuses of women, and, if the few photographs inserted here and there could be the base for generalization, Nemo has a taste for the destruction of innocence. The name looked oddly familiar, though I supposed it was in a foreign tongue.
I resolved to read more, and too look into the identity of this Nemo, if I could only remember on the morn. When I undressed for bed, putting on one of the long silk dressings draped across the high backed chair alongside the bed, I secreted the text in my discarded clothing, swearing I would study it at the first opportunity. In the meantime, I didn't even seem to have time for my normal, daily prayers, as sleep stole over me almost as soon as I was free of the spell of that tome.
The personages in these pages are not men. Their humanity is buried, or they themselves have buried it, under an offence received or inflicted on someone else. The evil and insane SS men, the Kapos, the politicals, the criminals, the prominents, great and small, down to the indifferent slave Haftlinge, all the grades of the mad hierarchy created by the Germans paradoxically fraternize in a uniform internal desolation.
There is a point which no man can pass and still be a man. He becomes some creature, less than human. In a word, he becomes a Haftling -- he is just as the Nazis wish people to believe all we Jews are -- a hollowed shell. We thought we had reached that point with the invasion of Poland. My father couldn't take the sight of the grey swarms descending upon the city and, Masada-like, rather than live under the Nazis, he died in the cellar a free man, with a bullet in his head.
However we learned we could go still lower when we were forced into the ghettos, with the pogroms running like wild dogs through the streets, the streets running with the blood of those who opposed them and those who simply were in the wrong place at the wrong time. I remember young Rosina, young thirteen-year-old Rosina who used to sell the matches in the courtyard outside my house, young Rosina who was found raped and murdered by 'persons unknown', dumped by the road-side wearing nothing but her red hair-ribbon. Rose red. Blood red.
But I have learned, and those who lived to see what I have seen have learned, that a man can go lower still. I learned it after we passed through Mengele's selection, as Sarah and I were directed to the right, Mama and young Isaac, just turned ten, to the left, with those unable to work. Sarah pleaded to go with Isaac, but despite her protests, Mengele persisted in sending her to the right. When we passed through the disinfections and walked past the sign proclaiming in large letters Arbeit Macht Frei -- 'Work Makes Freedom' -- and learned from fellow inmates just what that sickly smell and black smoke was which came from the other nearby camp, we thought we were the lucky ones. Now I realise how wrong we were.
I remember I asked the young men near the gate how long we would be there. It is the question all new prisoners ask, that which has but one answer, though it is often phrased with different words -- sometimes it is answered with a mere look of despair. That answer is always this: Until you leave through the chimney.
I learned what happened to Sarah about a month after we had arrived, and it had to come from that bastard green-triangle Heinrich. He came back from the Frauenblock, the camp's brothel, to tell me of what he did to my wife. I broke his nose for that; kept hitting him until his face was bathed in blood. If the Kapos had liked him better they may have hit me harder.
When he came to tell me how she had been gassed when she got syphilis, I was already a sub-human. I merely gazed at him with my empty eyes; I barely heard what he said. Now the tears course down my cheeks for the loss of her, and for the shame of not feeling anything when she died, but here death is the only thing one can look forward to, the final escape from Auschwitz. I had thought that our love would overcome all, that I would never forget her, though I have since learned that this may be true when humans are concerned, but the Haftling has no feelings beyond the constant pain and the constant hunger.
I remember what was probably the crowning physical display of my inhumanity, the forsaking my wife being the final confirmation that I indeed was no longer human but rather had become a true Haftling. One night almost half a year after my arrival, I followed a group of fellow prisoners from my block who, during evening meal-time, quickly devoured their rations and crept towards the morgue, bidding me follow. Having snuck into the morgue, Jan, a non-Jewish Pole from Breslau, pulled out his spoon-knife (made by prisoners and often necessary for survival, though technically illegal in the camp), and began to cut the fleshy buttocks from one of the nearby corpses. Horrified I gazed on but, by degrees, my horror was blotted out by my growing hunger, and I quickly consumed my portion of the bounty. Hearing a noise in the nearby infirmary, we scampered out and managed to escape with our prize. It was best not to think about from whence it came; best to accept it for what it was: meat; meat which could keep the body alive for longer than the watery slop they called food here, meat which was a rare delicacy here, uncooked and festering though it was.
Very few people still think in this Sheol, this dark pit of despair. We all have rituals to help keep us from thoughts -- whenever we start to remember we immerse ourselves in them to forget the pain. I used to think great thoughts, I used to contemplate and build great castles in the air, only to be smashed by Fate. Heinrich, though he would have everyone think he can withstand the camp, goes to the Frauenblock to escape the camp and his thoughts of the home and wife he left behind. Jeremiah, the young Dutch Jew, scarcely older than fifteen, collects old cigarette wrappers. He shows them to none but me -- he trusts none but me. But, when he starts to remember the old windmills he used to tend, or his mother, killed during the Nazi invasion, he takes them out and goes off where none will see him, and sorts and resorts them, helping himself sink into that comfortable numbness which we all go into to escape the camp.
There are, however, a few who have something to cling to, and thus are able to still think and in thinking keep the Nazis from having their wish to kill the mind and soul and then the body. The old Rabbi Isaiah Schwartz has his rituals, and yet still thinks. I remember hearing him reciting Psalm 102 one night, when I awoke from yet another nightmare, and heard his rich voice softly reciting in the bunk next to mine:
. . . Listen to my prayerHe used to have long conversations with the Gypsy Roman, one of the others who still managed to remain sane, if Roman could ever be called sane. I remember one day when he was given an egg by one of the civilian workers at the Buna, the factory we built, (a great crime had he been caught) and, having smuggled it back to the camp, rather than eat it as so many of us would have longed to do, he broke it open and stared at the yolk. I think he never sank because he was insane to begin with. The good friends Isaiah and Roman have long since fled through the chimney-stacks: they both were taken in the great selection of October '44, their bodies being burnt in the nearby ovens; their souls escaping to the Beyond.
and, when I call, answer me soon;
for my days vanish like smoke,
my body is burnt up as in an oven.
I am stricken, withered like grass;
I cannot find the strength to eat.
Wasted away, I groan aloud
and my skin hangs on my bones. . . .
I think much now. I think enough to know how to escape this 'land of gathering shadows, of deepening darkness'. I learned it from our martyr, our 'last one'. That day when we returned to the camp to find the scaffold set up for a hanging, merely one of many we had seen before. This one, however, was for a true man, one of the rebel Sonderkommando Zwolf, who had blown up one of the nearby crematories, a feat the likes of which the camp had never known. He stood there before us, bleeding and tattered, showing the effects of the torture inflicted on him by the SS and, though dressed in rags, showed himself for the man that he was. The SS man's long speech meant nothing -- their 'example' merely showed us what a few true men can do against the insane butchering machine, men who died and won by dying. The condemned's five simple words, however, pierced through the shell which the Nazis had forced upon us and struck the men buried within us; the men the Nazis would have destroyed. "Kamaraden, ich bin der Letzte!" -- "Comrades, I am the last one!"
The next day in hushed voices we told the civilians at the Buna of the events of that day, of the heroic struggles of this handful of men who brought down seventy SS soldiers. We told them of this just as we had told them of the atrocities of their rulers, and of the hardships of camp life, and of camp death. We told them because we knew that it could happen to any group of people anywhere that one group could pretend to be superior to another. For us all is over, but for them it has just begun. The thing we knew they must all learn from us, the damned, is that they must fight to keep this from happening to them or anyone else, and that a handful of brave men can make a difference, though it costs their lives. Even that one man whose limp corpse was suspended from the gallows that day in our camp tore through the veil of darkness which had surrounded us here and, with his death, showed us the truth of our lives.
We needed a martyr, and his blood washed away the shells of many of us who stood around him that day. Now I think. I think of his lifeless body hanging from the gallows, the death which returned thought to so many of us. And now I know how to escape. It is the light I had been deprived of for these years past, which I now see before me. However, without him, I never would have seen it at all. Tomorrow, I will be free from this 'land of gathering shadows'. It's so easy, so simple, just a touch and that is all. Tomorrow I will touch the fence; I shall feel the electricity ripping through my flesh, searing my hands as I escape to the Beyond. I shall touch the wire and see the face of God.
It must have been another rough day. You can't tell it from the way she looks, so much. She always manages to look beautiful, whether she is high and ready to deal, rolling you in the bed, or flat out exhausted. But you can get the feeling of it if you've been with her long enough. Something about the deflated way she sits. Something in the way she slouches in the chair once she sees it's just me coming home and not some pig who got a tip off from a turncoat. Something in the way she just sits there, glazed, staring at some hip hop band bumping and grinding on the telly. Or maybe it's just that all her days have seemed rough these days.
"Give me a smoke."
"They're bad for you."
"Give me a goddamn cigarette. You know I could take them from you, if I weren't so tired."
"Eight minutes off your life, my love. And anyway; I don't smoke."
"Give me a fucking cigarette." Even calm and monotoned she can sound furious and ferocious. "I know Kevin gave you a pack. I'm out."
I toss her one, and drop the pack on the table. "Rough day?"
"Fuck off." If she weren't so beautiful, I don't know if I could put up with all the attitude. I mean, I wouldn't leave her. No one could, so far as I can see. I'd just have to be away a lot.
It isn't really her, though. If she could be her, she wouldn't be like this. Not at all. But she cannot be her. She cannot be Alison Kelly, Irish girl from the streets, just getting by getting by. She has to be Bobbi Sands, political revolutionary. Why? Because she can. Because she will. Because if she left, there just wouldn't be anyone to take her place.
That's the funny thing about the revolutionary. When it comes right down to it, they are just like the rest of the world, except for two things. They have a heart and they have guts. They have a heart, meaning they really care about the world, and they have guts, meaning they know there is something that can be done and they are willing to do it. They are dead from the day they realize this. I don't just mean that they will die. Everyone will die. And I don't just mean they will die soon, or they will die violently, or that, unless something goes pitifully wrong, they will kill, too. I mean that they have to die as much as a magus, as much as the Master of the Temple. From the day she put on her beret, Alison Kelly died, and Bobbi Sands was born in full armor from the head of the State.
Killing the self is what keeps the revolutionary sane, but remembering that this person, killed but still alive as we all are, is what keeps me sane.
I never knew Alison Kelly. Not really. I came in to this picture much later. The pictures of Alison I have I culled from hints and comments that she could tell me because I am her lover, and in that I am her. She would probably have lost her mind much earlier if she didn't have someone to put the skeletons in, because our closets can only hold so many. And so I remember the stories, and I hold on to these pictures and memories as viciously as if I lived them myself.
When I'm alone, or when I'm depressed, I pull out these pictures and I remember the way she was. I think about how we would have been if I had been there, and I think about the way she was when I wasn't.
Don't get me wrong; I have a lot of pictures of Bobbi, the revolutionary, and I think of them. I think of the way she looks, her natural pallor accentuated by the glow from her computer screen and a haze of smoke wafting around her like it is now, as she carries out some job or other from one of our hotel rooms dressed in a black lacy bra and some red skirt, and somehow pulling off a beautiful image even half clad and face au natural.
Or I think of her the way she was when I first met her that Thursday night at a coffee shop, surrounded by hangers on who only managed to enhance her beauty through their sad attempts to match it. That day there had been no computer and no real hacker business. There had just been her. Her personality, her body, and her face with the power that only a feminine beauty can manage. I think of her in the height of fashion that even her close hangers on could only hope to match months from then.
There is something different, though, about thinking about the way she was. There is something different about Alison.
One picture I come to a lot, for example, is from many years ago. It may not seem a lot of time to some people, but then she has lived more in these last ten years than some people manage to drag out of an entire meaningless life. She doesn't like to talk about it, those early teenage years in the ghetto. I've had to piece it together from scraps and hints almost like a jigsaw puzzle. But this picture of this fourteen year old victim-predator is well worn and well loved.
It is odd, but in America -- the America of the Midwest, of shopping malls, of trailer homes and the middle class -- the word "ghetto" has become some kind of caricature. The ghetto, or the 'hood, or whatever it is being called that week by the word mongers on Madison Avenue, is a glossy place where crack dealers dwell and shootouts happen as often as in the fifties' "Wild West". This is a world of hip hop videos and middle class black fellows who act as if they came from this mythical land that their audience believe is true as much as a Fellow Traveler believed in the two dimensional workers' playground the Soviet Union was said to be. It is sick, but this is what the ghetto is said to be, as stripped of meaning as "cyberpunk" or "hippie".
There is another ghetto, though, and you don't have to be black to live there. There is a ghetto which means just a place where you are too poor to leave playing the games the middle class people do, and so you play the games the middle class imagine you do. The twisted thing is they are the same games the middle class mavens' sons and daughters play, and the same games they played when they were children, only for them it is a choice as they claim they are getting in touch with the "real world", as if their reality isn't real, and drugs and sex will make it so. Sometimes I wonder if it is more sick that these people live the lives they live, or that they actually seem to believe the fronts they put up to other people. And the fronts they put up to themselves.
Alison grew up in this ghetto. Hers was in Belfast, and it was mostly white, mostly Irish, and mostly Catholic. That didn't make it any less squalid, or any less bleak, and they were still in danger of being killed either by rival gangs -- hired by the British government -- or occupying pigs -- also hired by the British government, and specially imported for the mission. On the other side, the "terrorists" -- the IRA -- at least tried to keep the hard drugs down.
Bobbi says in another few years, everyone except the Bushes and Pete Wilson will be living in this ghetto. Oh yes, and except for her. She says she will never go back to the ghetto. She will die first. If she continues in her mission she is right, because if this ghetto becomes as global as she fears, she will have failed. And if she fails, she dies. She is fighting to keep those idiotic middle class mavens who are voting for the Bushes and the Pete Wilsons and unknowingly financing their baby boys' crack habits and baby girls' abortions out of the ghettos their tax dollars are building. She believes what she is fighting for is more important than her life, and I believe her. If she and the people like her lose, none of us will really be living.
This particular photo has her laying down in a bed. She is not asleep, but neither is she awake. She just is. She lies there, and the ceiling lies above her, and the vacuous space between them holds the utter attention of her vacuous stare.
The whole room is gray, if you can imagine such a thing. It is a gray tinged with beige. It is the gray of grit and grime, of the accumulated dirt of poverty and desperation. The floor is hard gray cement, and the grime covering the only window makes the very light turn a shade of gray. The only thing in the small room is one bed -- the bed on which she is lying -- and of course her lovely bare body, half covered in the dirty sheets. No blankets are to be had.
She was thin then, even more so than she is now. She had the bony thinness that generally only junkies can achieve. She had, though, because she was so young and didn't have much of her time occupied with eating. Back then she was barely getting enough to survive, and the time she could afford away from managing that much was spent on the rifle ranges or wherever the rebels and so-called terrorists -- so called by the tellys in the middle class homes over in Britain or even further over in the States -- could be found. It was that culture she was trying to get into, using whatever leverage she could bring to bear.
I picture her there with the white gray of the bedsheet meeting the white gray of her flesh just above the waist, cutting her body into two halves, one visible and one invisible but for the reverse impression in the bedsheet. I picture her small, teenaged breasts rising and falling with the heavy heaving of the crushed.
She wasn't, though. Crushed, I mean. Sure, she had been used. Sure, her young body had been used for someone else's pleasure. It wasn't the first time, but it was no less important than that first time had been. She tells me that when she began to feel again, it wasn't regret or depression she felt. Not any more than she usually felt regret or depression. Then again, is there a thinking man anywhere who does not feel a constant regret and depression? "I do not think they were asking why they were dying, but why they had ever lived."
No, she was feeling victorious. She had been used, but she had been the victor. To her mind, at least. This was the first time she had used her body to further her political goals, by getting in with the people who could get her in with the terrorists.
Sometimes it bothers me to think about how much she has used her body to further her goals. She doesn't, and she claims not to understand why it bothers me. (She does, but she cannot admit it to herself, much less to me. It is a subtle system of self-deception and illusion that keeps the revolutionary sane intruding on her world again.) It isn't even that Alison is dead, because even long after, even now, Bobbi uses the same tactics when it can advance her mission. She tells me I fell in love with Bobbi. Bobbi was never born. Bobbi has no body. Bobbi is an idea.
Maybe that's why I can never imagine what went on before, or any of the times she has been used like that. I don't mean this in a fetishist way, like I want to fantasize about her with other men, or I want to fantasize about her being raped as a child. I mean I am emotionally incapable of imagining what went on before this picture was taken.
This picture itself, though, is very valuable to me. As valuable as any of the snapshots of her I keep in my mind and in my journals. Perhaps it is because in that scene another part of the Bobbi I love was born. This is not it entirely, because I love the Alison, as well. But maybe.
Once again (for medicinal purposes only, I assure you) we will figuratively travel back in time. Back one thousand Glocklyn Spam-months (that would be 999 years, 11 months, 3 weeks, 6 days, 23 hours and 59 minutes) to the age of Spam, and to the court of King Bubba. The royal court of Spam, affectionately called...... Slothalot. (Ha! you thought it was going to be Spamalot! didn't you!) Anyway, we're traveling back to the court of King Bubba (whether you want to or not). Why, you ask? Well..... do you have anything better to do? No? I thought not. Besides, the following words will be the tale of King Bubba's search for the:
Warning: Those persons with weak wills, weak bladders, or no imagination should read no farther. Reasons for this:
1. You wouldn't enjoy the story.
2. If, by reading this story, you were to go mad and start running around naked and clobbering people with large, artificial Jello Pudding Pops, I might be liable.
Although, that would be very amusing. In fact, I would rather like to see that. Therefore, I will drop it in your lap. Use your discretion, keeping in mind the price of therapy and the golden rule: 'Never use real gold when bribing the arresting officer.' Now that this is out in the open, I will leave you with one final warning: The Tectonic Plates are watching.....
When last we left our hero, Bubba, (although I should call him the star since he really wasn't her material) he had been coronated as king of Spamshire and had hired eight (give your take a few) knights to sit around his not-quite-round,-sort-of-off-center-circle-without-being-an-elipsoid-coffee- table. This has not changed, in fact they were doing quite well. They had brought much glory on themselves by discovering and persecuting many cantaloupe-molesters who had hidden themselves in the community. That was until that fateful day, with the messenger came.
It was a pleasant, sunny day. Birds were chirping, sheep were bleating, and large, hairy-backed men were collecting such sheep for horrible purposes that I won't mention. Bubba and all his knights were relaxing in the courtyard, watching a match of pleasantly harmless, an interesting sport in which two peasants throw small children through burning hoops. If a peasant dropped one of the babies, he would get a limb cut off. Whichever peasant survived longest lost, and was boiled alive. Like I said, very interesting. Suddenly there was a flash of light and a clap of thunder. The formerly cloudless sky was filled with clouds, which promptly parted allowing a glorious light to shine down on the earth in front of Bubba. Out of that rift in the clouds, an object could be seen floating down to the earth. Everyone squinted up at this object but were unable to determine what it was; it seemed to be wriggling around or shifting its shape.
Everyone watched the object, their surroundings forgotten. Little by little, the object began to take a definite shape. An hour passed. Then a New York minute. And finally the life span of a Glocklyn blood-sucking horse fly passed.
The object was now partially identifiable. It seemed to be a large throne or chair floating down from some high place (like a sky scraper); it also seemed to be gently wobbling in the wind.
After an excruciatingly long time, the object finally settled on the ground. It was indeed a large, ornate throne. Made, of all things, out of latex. Upon this throne sat an imposing figure. He was a large man, over six foot, with a muscular build. He wore a large well made toga with a button on the breast pocket (yes I know togas don't have breast pockets). The button said: 'Kiss me! I'm a god!'. His toga left his arms bare to the shoulder, revealing three tattoos, two on the right shoulder and one on the left. On the right shoulder he had a can of Spam and a heart with 'Aunt Jamima' stenciled on a little white ribbon. On his left shoulder he had a Spork. His head was topped with a fantastical mohawk, which was all colors and none, swirled in a way that twisted the eye and broke the mind. He sat regally on the throne, as if waiting for a sign. His mouth began to work as if he were speaking, but no sound was made. Five seconds after he finished talking, a loud booming voice said: "I am Lorg! Bow down and be humble!"
There were gasps of awe and amazement as everyone complied with the demand. That is, except for Bubba. He reclined on his throne with a bitter smile,
"How do we know that you're really Lorg, and not just some something-or-another-molester trying to find a home?".
Lorg (or the something-or-another-molester) smiled kindly,
"Ah, Bubba. My cynical king. Do you not see the signs? My toga? My button? My hair? My tattoos? My throne?!" With the last statement he kicked the throne sending a series of ripples through it.
"How many others do you know who go flying around on latex thrones!?!".
Just then, a figure on a latex throne went zooming across the sky.
Bubba said nothing.
"All right wise guy," said Lorg, "prove that I'm not Lorg. You can't do it. Can you?"
There were appreciative gasps and murmurs from the crowd.
Bubba swallowed nervously,
"Well, urm... uh... er..."
"I'm waiting," said Lorg.
"OK chief," said Bubba, "you got me. I can't prove that you aren't The Great and Powerful Lorg."
"Well now, that's better." He sat down heavily and grabbed the President of Algeria by his collar.
"Listen honey, would you mind getting me a martini? Stirred not shaken."
The man swallowed nervously and said, "Shouldn't that be the other way around?"
Lorg didn't bother to answer Porat. That moment the man was killed when a very, very, very large, very dead chicken fell from the sky and landed on him.
"Bubba," Lorg began, "are you familiar with the story of Spam and Spork?"
"Of course, my Lorg," Bubba responded, "we all know the story."
"Good," stated Lorg, "Bubba, I have a quest for you. I want you to find the remains of my brother Spam."
"A quest? I don't know... They're such hard work, and I've got an ingrown toenail. Wouldn't you prefer a shrubbery?"
"Hmmm... a shrubbery would be nice.... NO! I want you to find Spam's remains! I want them! I want them! I want them!"
"All right, don't have a conniption. Jesus Christ!" said Bubba annoyed.
"Are you in need of my services, my lord?" asked the Royal Carpenter.
Lorg nodded in satisfaction. Quickly his throne rose into the sky disappearing behind the clouds.
I will skip over the rest of the events seeing that after a visit from Lorg, they seem rather boring. Besides all they did the rest of the day was to dismember a couple of chickens, listen to a politician's speech and a few other similar monstrosities.
Bubba and his knights set out the next day. They carried no supplies in the way of food; they were on a holy quest and Lorg would provide. Or, failing that, they could always steal from the peasants.
It was cloudy and humid the next day and it looked like it might rain. They stayed home. The second day, however was sunny and pleasant. They stayed home and enjoyed the day. Finally on the third day (very average as the weather went) they started out, riding to the north. The beginning of the journey was very merry. Their days were full of songs and the killing of small woodland creatures, and their nights were full of sleeping.
Five days out of Spamalot (ok, ok, I changed my mind) they came upon a small village. It was a dilapidated little town, most of the houses were collapsed or on the verge of doing so. Only a few people were visible. Staring faces peeked out of doorways and windows.
Bubba and his knights halted in the center of the town.
"Who is mayor of this town?!" called Bubba regally. Only silence answered him.
"It is I, King Bubba and the knights-of-the-not-quite-round, -sort-of-off-center-circle-without-being-an-ellipsoid-coffee-table! We have been placed on a holy quest by Lorg himself! You have nothing to fear!" declared you-know-who.
Finally, a pale, old man wearing a mayor's robes of office shuffled out.
"I am the mayor of this town, great sir," said the man as if admitting something shameful.
"We are on a quest for the holy remains of Spam. We were told by Lorg himself," Bubba said proudly.
The man looked startled, ducked his head and tried to run away. Bubba leapt off of his horse and tackled the man.
"Why are you running away? You're a spy aren't you?! A horrible, evil spy!"
"No!" begged the man, "No, my lord! I swear! I know nothing!"
Bubba had an idea:
"Are you sure that you know nothing?" said Bubba slyly.
"Yes! yes!" shouted the man, "I know nothing! I'm sure!"
"Ha!" shouted Bubba triumphantly, "you just said that you are sure, therefore you know, that you know nothing. Therefore you lied when you said you know nothing; you know that you know nothing! That means you know something!
"Liar! Prepare to die you evil spy-fiend!"
The old man cowered, expecting the fall of Bubba's sword.
The blow never fell.
For at that moment, there was a minor explosion (which resulted in the death of three blind field mice). When the smoke cleared a tall, evil-looking, robed man stood several yards away from Bubba.
"I am the God Spam!" he declared raising a staff above his head, "Bow down and be humble."
Bubba and his knights were stunned, after all The-official-know-all-be-all-Holy-book-of-Spam said that Spam was dead. The old man's face lifted, "Master! Master! Strike down the infidels! They've come to kill you!" As he spoke, he ran to the evil-looking man and bowed at his feet.
"State your business here infidels!" demanded the man.
Bubba was in a rage, "How dare you claim to be a god! Evil! Scourge! Prepare to die!"
Bubba climbed back onto his horse and prepared to do battle, as did his knights.
The evil wizard (did I mention that he was a wizard? Well he was.) looked worried for a second, but then he was calm.
"My children! Come to me, my children!"
Within moments all the starving and bedraggled inhabitants of the village flocked to the wizard, surrounding him.
"Well, my noble knights! Do you want me so badly that you will kill dozens of innocents just to get to me?"
Bubba looked at his knights. His knights looked at Bubba. They shrugged, drew their swords, and the slaughter commenced.
Three days had past, as days have a tendency to do, since their encounter with the evil wizard. Bubba and his knights continued their journey, only stopping for periodic meals and executions.
It was midday when Bubba called for a halt. There was a fork in the forest path. Sir Spamson climbed down from his high horse (it was a special breed of tall horses) and inspected the fork. Suddenly, he exclaimed, knelt down and picked it up.
"Sire! This is no fork in the road! It is a Spork! Surely this is a sign!"
Bubba rubbed his chin sagely.
"Hmmmm," he said.
He scratched his head.
"Hmmmm," he said again. "Well, it appears to be as you said. This can mean only one thing!" he said wiping the parasites off his hand with a small dog. "Quickly Sir Spamson! Which way was the Spork pointing?!"
"Um..." said Sir Spamson patting his head and rubbing his stomach at the same time.
Finally he shrugged his toes,
"Ha! Just what I thought! Onward men!" Bubba shouted urging his horse forward.
Many months and many adventures later Bubba and his knights reached the dreaded grove of the Spamtree. Many legends claimed that the SPamtree grew from the spot that Spam was buried.
As Bubba and his knights approached the edge of the woods, they spotted a small, twisted figure of a man.
Bubba signaled his knights to halt, "I am King Bubba, and we are on a quest for the remains of Spam!"
The old man nodded his head, but said nothing.
"We are looking for the Spamtree, can you tell us where it is?" Bubba asked. The old man smiled, nodded, and started into the forest.
Bubba and his knights followed.
As they penetrated deeper into the forest the trees became twisted and dark.
The farther they traveled into the forest the darker and more twisted the trees became. Suddenly a noxious, green mist appeared. It promptly flowed over the knights' feet, spit-shining their boots and begging for spare change, generally making a nuisance of itself.
Finally, they came upon a toll booth. Inside the booth, a dimensional shambler was busy playing black Jack with Elvis. The old man paused in front of the booth and cleared his throat.
The dimensional shambler sighed and shambled over to the little window. "Glock-bak-Noth-weev?" it asked the man.
"These fine gentlemen wish to see the Spamtree," he responded importantly.
"Bock-Nar?" it asked.
"No," the man chuckled, "I don't think they would appreciate that."
"Slag, Ack-mar, cod-dak-sed," it laughed
"Hmmmm. I don't know... I'll ask," he turned to Bubba and his men, "Tell me, do you drink red or white wine with human?"
"What? How dare you suggest that I would know that?!" Bubba shouted, enraged.
"Um..." said Sir Athlete's Foot, "I personally think red wine works best."
All the knights were now looking at Sir Athlete's Foot with a very odd expression.
"How would you know that?" demanded Bubba.
"Well..." he said guiltily, digging in the dirt with one toe.
"Hey," said Sir Bubba angered, "haven't you been the one packing our lunches?"
Sir Athlete's Foot blushed and ducked his head.
"Hey!" exclaimed Sir Sir, "has anyone seen Sir Asparagus?"
Sir Athlete's Foot shrugged and cleared his throat nervously.
"You ate him, didn't you!?!" demanded Bubba.
"Well........ yes," Sir Athlete's Foot admitted.
"Hm. Oh-well," said Bubba, "I never liked him anyway. Well, we'd better get going."
Sir Athlete's Foot nodded once and turned away from Bubba. Just as he mounted his horse, Sir Athlete's Foot's saddle bag opened (as if by divine intervention) and a round, wilted object rolled out and fell to the ground. Sir Athlete's Foot gasped and jumped to the ground, quickly snatching up the object.
Bubba looked up startled.
"What was that?" he asked suspiciously.
"Nothing, my king," the knight said humbly. "Just Sir Asparagus' decaying head."
"Really?" he asked boyishly, "I wanna see it!"
"No, my liege, you don't. It's really icky."
"I said: 'I wanna see it!'" said Bubba angered.
"No, my liege! Please! I am in reality a voodoo priest. If you see my shrunken head, then my powers will be decreased!"
During this time Sir _____ , the Brave had been approaching Sir Athlete's Foot from behind.
"Sir Athlete's Foot! That is your king you speak to! Do as he says or I will be forced to kill you!"
As he said this he drew his sword and now laid it against the back of Sir Athlete's Foot's neck.
"Yes, my lord," he said brokenly.
He slowly straightened and turned to face his king. What he held in his arms was no shrunken head. It was... (dramatic pause)..... a cantaloupe.
"You sick bastard!" exclaimed Bubba.
The knight only nodded, sadly.
Sir _____ , the Brave was furious. "You fiend! May Lorg damn you to a Spamless Hell for all of eternity." He swung his sword with all his might (well most of it, anyway) forever separating Sir Athlete's head from his shoulders (he had no neck to speak of).
The rest of the journey to the Spamtree was made in silence.
In the very center of the grove stood a tree. It was a horrible, twisted thing. It was twisted and blackened with what appeared to be screaming faces in the trunk. The roots were thick and exposed, making it easy to imagine the tree capable of climbing out of its hole and moving around. The branches drooped and held no leaves, giving the appearance of arms.
"The Spamtree," the old man said in an awe-filled voice. "You may ask it three questions and it will answer, but I warn you ask only three questions."
Bubba nodded impatiently and stepped forward.
"Great and powerful Spamtree."
He cleared his throat.
"How ya doing?"
"Peachy" replied the Spamtree in a low, wise-sounding voice.
"Well, is Spam buried beneath you?"
"Nope" replied the Spamtree.
"I see," said Bubba.
"Well, um, can you tell me where Spam is buried?"
"Yup," said the Spamtree sagely.
A few minutes passed.
"I don't think it's going to tell you, my lord," said Sir Frog-Tongue.
"Hmmmm," said Bubba, "we'll see about that."
He stalked over to the tree. "Hey! You lazy piece of driftwood! Answer my question!"
The old man dashed over to Bubba.
"The mighty Spamtree has already answered three questions!"
"It did not! Did you?" he asked the tree.
"Yes" replied the tree, this time its voice had take on a malicious sound.
"You fool! You asked a fourth question!" the old man screamed and ran away. Just then a high-pitched evil scream began to emanate from the Spamtree. The Spamtree became horribly animated, pulling its roots free of the earth and moving towards the knights. Its branches became animated as well, grabbing Sir Frog-Tongue and ripping him apart. Sir Spamson, Sir Bob and Sir _____ , the Brave drew their swords and threw themselves at the tree.
"Run, my liege, we shall cover your retreat!" shouted Sir Bob.
"Never!" shouted Bubba, drawing his own sword, "I shall never abandon my men!"
Just then the Spamtree shot one of its limbs forward and impaled Sir Spamson.
"Then again, I am a very important person, I've got a whole kingdom to rule, I can't just go around getting killed! Sir Sir! Sir Bladder-Control Problem! To me!"
Bubba then beat a hasty retreat followed by his two knights.
The three surviving knights traveled forever northward, into the frozen wastes. The journey was a bleak one, but the three men took comfort in each others company. Then one day Sir Sir woke to find that Sir Bladder-Control Problem had frozen to death in his sleep. Apparently he had wet the bed and the urine had then frozen him to death. Sir Sir recoiled in disgust, Sir Bladder-Control Problem's features were barely recognizable through the thick yellowish ice that encased him. "Sire! Sire! Come here quickly!" he shouted.
Bubba had been on the bank of an icy stream, wrestling with a large trout. Bubba released the fish from the "half-nelson" hold and bounded up the hill.
"What is it my fairly adequate man?"
"It's Sir Bladder-Control Problem, my liege," Sir Sir responded.
"So it is, what seems to be the problem?"
"Well, he's dead sir."
"Oh... How unfortunate... Who's going to carry my stuff?"
"I would be honored to!" called the river trout.
"Jolly good! Well, we must be going!"
Bubba, Sir Sir and the river trout (his name was Harvey, if anyone cares) continued north. They soon reached the dreaded pass of Yetisquat, on the other side of this pass stood a lone mountain. At the summit of this mountain, legend held (according to Bob's Big Book of Legends), there lived the wisest man of all time. It was not to this mountain that Bubba traveled. Rather, it was the mountain just behind and to the left of the previously mentioned mountain.
The base of this mountain, according to Bob's Big Book of Restaurants, was the location of the best chili dog stand ever to be devised.
First, however, they had to traverse the dreaded pass of Yetisquat.
Horribly cold gusts of wind traveled down the pass, making icy ground even more treacherous footing.
As they traveled, Bubba began to sing softly. A very special song to him, one he had first heard in his youth, before he was king. Harvey, who was traveling just behind Bubba recognized the song and suddenly suffered a brain embolism. He died as he had lived, pathetically. Bubba and Sir Sir did not notice their companion's departure for at that moment what they had thought were boulders and snowmounds suddenly stood up. They were surrounded on all sides by Yetis. Yetis were horrible creatures, many rumored (not to a Yeti's face of course) them to be a cross breed between men and Carlayctethum. This theory was widely supported for they were roughly man-sized and had the general appearance of the Carlayctethum although they did not smell as bad, nor did they have the inborn car-selling ability of that reclusive race. The Yetis stood and glared at the two knights. Suddenly, something cold and brown impacted with Bubba's armor. He spotted it lying in the snow and bent to pick it up. It appeared to be the frozen feces of a wild mountain yak. (Very rare and valuable feces.)
"A shitsickle! That thing just pegged me with a shitsickle!"
Suddenly the air was full of shitsickles, prematurely darkening the sky. Then, they stopped. As quickly as they had appeared, the Yeti disappeared.
Bubba and Sir Sir stood waist deep in the tiny, frozen, brown cylinders. Bubba drew his sword,
"I've never been so insulted in my life! I'll kill every last one of those things!"
"No, sire! Wait!" Sir Sir exclaimed, grabbing Bubba's sword arm.
"This was a friendly gesture! Showing awe and great respect!"
Bubba looked at his knight as if he had just said that he liked the taste of black licorice (which he actually did, he was a sick man).
"How can you say that!?! We're waist deep in frozen turds!"
"Yes, sire! Turds, but turds fit for a king!"
Meanwhile, back on the farm, little Timmy had fallen into a muddy ditch and broken his leg. Fortunately, the ranch hands found him before he drowned in the horse manure. Unfortunately, he got gangrene in his leg and the doctor was forced to amputate his head. (To save it from gangrene.)
Three days later, Bubba and Sir Sir emerged from the dreaded pass of Yetisquat. They entered a barren and lifeless valley. (Actually, it was less of a valley than a flat open space that, when compared to the surrounding mountains, only seemed like a valley.)
As I was saying, they entered a barren valley, whose only occupants seemed to be two lonely mountains.
As they approached the first mountain, they saw a very old, very strangely dressed man waiting for them.
"Greetings, King Bubba!" exclaimed the man, "I have been expecting you!"
"Who are you?" inquired Bubba, suspiciously. (He had had quite enough of people who recognized him.)
"I," said the man with a flourish of his flesh-toned robe, "am... uh... Zormel! Yes! I am Zormel, the wise man!"
Bubba stared blankly at the man. Something about the man seemed vaguely familiar. Could it be his eyebrows? No, it was nothing, he assured himself.
"So, uh, you're a wise man, huh?" asked Bubba.
"Yes!" he responded smiling, "And I sense you have a question that requires my wisdom."
"Well, I guess... Where are the remains of Spam?"
The old man smiled,
"Ah, that age old quest. Lorg put you up to this, didn't he?"
"Well, yes," Bubba admitted sheepishly.
The old man chuckled,
"That god needs to stay up on his skyscraper and stop interfering with the lives of men."
"Oh, it was no trouble!" Bubba protested.
"King Bubba, I will give you the answer that I give all seekers of Spam... You will find Spam in H. E. B."
"Atcheybee?" asked Bubba hopefully, "And where in the land of Atcheybee will I find Spam?"
"In the canned food aisle. But, beware of generic spiced pork products, for they are the work of the devil."
"Ah, and one more question."
"Where will I find Atcheybee?"
"Alas, King Bubba, H. E. B. will not exist for another thousand years."
"Oh," said Bubba, disappointed, "Well, do you mind if we wait?"
"Of course not! Come, let's get a chili dog!"
The old man threw a leg over Bubba's shoulders and together they walked toward Mel's Bodacious Burgers ("All burgers, all the time!").
Bubba did wait (happily I might add) for several days, living off of chili dogs and garden slugs. Until one day (a Wednesday as i recall) Bubba's shoelaces came undone. This depressed Bubba and he took to wandering the hills until he finally tripped and fell, being fatally wounded as he landed on a hedgehog. King Bubba died as he had lived, pathetically.
I, the author, feel that this epilogue is too short, so I will add to it. First, you may have thought that the ending sort of sucked. I won't argue, I don't have to. We both know you're wrong.
Second, I would like to apologize for the amount of time it took me to write this story. Let me explain.
I was half way finished with writing this story when Elvis Presley (yes, he's still mad at me) stole my only copy and fled with it to the horrible catacombs of Under Bed. Six months passed before I got around to cleaning out and vacuuming that nest of demons, finding this story in the process.
You don't believe me, I can tell. Just ask my tailor, he'll tell you. You could ask Rush Limbaugh too, but I wouldn't bother, he'll just deny it. (He's still mad at me about that whole hit-man fiasco.) And of course Elvis knows about it, and if he does, you can bet that his daughter does. And if she does then Michael must. But I won't get into that.
--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) 1995 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) 1995 by the individual author, unless otherwise stated. This file may be disseminated without restriction for nonprofit purposes so long as it is preserved complete and unmodified. Quotes and ideas not already in the public domain may be freely used so long as due recognition is provided. State of unBeing is available at the following places: iSiS UNVEiLED 512.TMP.DOWN 14.4 (Home of SoB) THE LiONS' DEN 512.259.9546 24oo TEENAGE RiOt 418.833.4213 14.4 NUP: COSMIC_JOKE GOAT BLOWERS ANONYMOUS 215.750.0392 14.4 ftp to io.com /pub/SoB World Wide Web http://io.com/~hagbard/sob.html Submissions may also be sent to Kilgore Trout at <firstname.lastname@example.org>. Thank you. --SoB-SoB-SoB-SoB-SoB-SoB-SoB-SoB-SoB-SoB-SoB-SoB-SoB-SoB-SoB-SoB-SoB-SoB-SoB--