Living in such a state          taTestaTesTaTe           etats a hcus ni gniviL
of mind in which time         sTATEsTAtEsTaTeStA          emit hcihw ni dnim of
does not pass, space         STateSTaTeSTaTeStAtE          ecaps ,ssap ton seod
does not exist, and         sTATeSt        oFOfOfo          dna ,tsixe ton seod
idea is not there.         STatEst          ofoFOFo          .ereht ton si aedi
Stuck in a place          staTEsT            OfOFofo           ecalp a ni kcutS
where movements           TATeSTa            foFofoF            stnemevom erehw
are impossible                              fOFoFOf              elbissopmi era
in all forms,                             UfOFofO                 ,smrof lla ni
physical and                            nbEifof                    dna lacisyhp
or mental -                           uNBeInO                       - latnem ro
your mind is                         UNbeinG                       si dnim rouy
focusing on a                       unBEING                       a no gnisucof
lone thing, or                      NBeINgu                      ro ,gniht enol
a lone nothing.                     bEinGUn                     .gnihton enol a
You are numb and                    EiNguNB                    dna bmun era ouY
unaware to events                                             stneve ot erawanu
taking place - not                   iSSUE                   ton - ecalp gnikat
knowing how or what                 1/31/99                 tahw ro who gniwonk
to think. You are in               FiFTY-TWO               ni era uoY .kniht ot
a state of unbeing....                                   ....gniebnu fo etats a



EDiTORiAL by Kilgore Trout



by Kilgore Trout

Welcome to 1999. Let us be your guide through the second-to-last year of the millennium for all things wild, weird, and just plain ole deranged. I mean, yeah, the real rollover doesn't occur for another year, but hey, 1999 just sounds a lot cooler to everybody than December 31st, 2000. It's kinda like when your car hits 50,000 miles. Hitting 51,000 just isn't that big of a deal.

But what to do, what to do? You're sitting there, in your post-Superbowl daze, going, "They actually put out an issue this month." Yeah, well, it was Christmas. There's a lot of giving that goes on during that time of the year, so we thought someone would magically take up the slack for us.

The Spirit of Christmas, my ass. Deader than an old man cranking his propeller on his creaky airplane and forgetting to stand back.

But hey, you people still believed in us. You went to the website. You requested t-shirts. And boy howdy, did you submit. [insert personal bad dictatorial joke here, then continue reading.] New writers, old writers, it's all good. I highly recommend it for those hot winter nights we seem to be having down in Texas. Go sit outside and be literate.

It's the great call. Hell, even Son of Bush himself can't speak out against literacy. In fact, he's for it. I mean, really -- is there anyone you know that is against people being able to read? We're not talking content here, mind you; it's the ability I'm interested in. So, the next time you're thinking about beating your wife or your girlfriend up (and we know you're out there), just calm yourself down and go read a book. It'll soothe the great beast, unless he can't read, and then he'll get even more uptight.

So I guess what I'm saying is that if you're against domestic violence (and you should be) then you should be teaching someone to read. Because, after all, as the Great Lord Above (tm) once said, "I owe my whole existence to oral tradition." Damn, okay, so that's not that great of an example. You get the gist. Show everybody you can read, and read this issue outloud. Print it out, take it to the bus stop, and fill the air with your voice. Hey, it's what keeps God alive, and you don't want to piss him off. I think he's wearing that tank top again.



From: beatnikluv
Subject: Distribution List


Please add me to your distribution list.  I like what I've seen on your
page...  The Super Realist turned me onto your zine.. and I really like
it.. Keep it up!!!


          This space for rent.

[well, thank you. althought we are a bit concerned about this last line in your letter, 'This space for rent.' we are curious as to which of the three spaces you in the sentence you are trying to lease, what your going rate is, and exactly what type of products you think you could possibly conceive of creating advertisements for that would fit in that space in a text-mode display. these are things that your greedy, capitalistic mind might not have thought of before you jumped on the warblin' warpath to make money on the internet. it's okay. don't feel bad. we're here to help. everybody makes mistakes. and we still love you.]

From: The Super Realist
To: ''
Subject: Do you WANT a Subject?

Ok, so, Jack Kerouac spent 63 days atop Desolation Peak in the Skagit 
Mountains, cutting himself off from San Francisco neon drizzle to explore 
his own existentialism and sense of desolation.

I hope you guys come up with a good enough reason for the 2 month 
electronic hibernation.
Eh?  Eh?  Eh?

By the way, I still like the half-assed web page.

[well, we could say that we were doing something very beatlike and secluding ourselves in nature and discovering The Real Us (tm). and, while some of that went on during the month of december, it was primarily a time of strangeness. you see, super, there came to our attention the existence of a giant red-bellied man who supposedly delivered gifts to small boys and girls. we decided that he needed an SoB t-shirt. so we trounced about, even staying up late on christmas eve, and then we discovered that santa claus didn't exist. we had, naturally, just assumed it was another scientific establishment conspiracy, kinda like that study which purported to prove the existance of cars that could run on potatoes. so, we were just all really bummed out that everyone, for once, was actually telling us the truth when they said that santa claus didn't exist. it's hard living this close to the millennium, man.]

From: Neon Clear
Subject: Hello sir

I was wondering if I could be put on the SoB mailing list.  I have
really enjoyed your ezine and just wanted to say, "keep it up!"

If I can find the time I also plan on writing a submission or two.  I
love and admire all the work that you and the other writers of SoB have


[consider yourself the proud receiver of a new issue of the zine every month (approximately) in your mailbox until the end of the world (various dates are disputed upon by scholars and psychoceramics; cf. art bell on any given night for more information). don't you feel lucky?]

From: Jherek Carnelian
To: Kilgore Trout
Subject: Re: State of unBeing #51 -- baby, baby, baby, do you need some

I'm still enjoying the SoBs, my friend.

How many subscribers are there today?

I am,

  -JC.  (to be confused with Jesus Christ)

[we have a few hundred subscribers. i'm not sure exactly how many, but needless to say we are on target for our continued goal of whirled domination. pick up a baton and do your part for the new world order: dance! make sure you get a decent choreographer, though.]



Kilgore Trout

Bixenta Moonchild
Crux Ansata
Dan Safarik
I Wish My Name Were Nathan
Kilgore Trout
The Super Realist

Jherek Carnelian
Neon Clear

Oxyde de Carbone


[=- ARTiCLES -=]


[Editorial | Next]

[other News]

by The Super Realist

He kept notes on their sexual performance, which has sparked a political storm in Chile City's "Canyon of Heroes" Friday. Mr. Martin Mr. Bradley will be given a key to the city for wanting to extradite the former dictator and try him on charges of genocide, where each of the victorious players and lawyers for Augusto Pinochet launched a legal bid Thursday.

"There are probably more we don't know about," police said. Police said Thursday they were expected to watch the parade and 3 million people. He said evidence suggested the city objected Thursday when a federal appeals court sought to see if they had contracted the AIDS virus.

Pinochet was arrested at the request of a Spanish judge to the demonstration because of its subject matter (U.S. District Judge John Martin) and decided Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation which has sparked a political storm in Chile from their homes was found during a search of the man's apartment to take place Thursday afternoon.

"Torture and terrorism," police said Thursday.

City officials said millions of people (but not U.S. District Judge John Martin) wanted to see air strikes against Yugoslavia and a Western diplomat.

From custody and for leave to seek a judicial review of his detention, New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani refused to block an order forcing the city to allow the march of 3 million people (this time including U.S. District Judge John Martin).

Three million people and large numbers of troops and police at the hearing of the challenge to the warrant was found during a search of the man's apartment.

In floods that struck nearly a quarter of the state and given both Britain and Spain a diplomatic headache, the Yankees swept the Padres in the Kosovo air strikes.

Of the team and coaches atop rivers which were still rising and thousands of people were forced to do the lambada when NATO began warning Belgrade to speed up troop withdrawals following record-breaking rains.

Panicky women who had sex with the man were lining up for tests and shooting police last Friday while he was recovering. Rescue teams pulled the bodies of four family members, hours after former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher urged his immediate release. It was Thursday when a federal appeals court appealed to rivers which were still rising and thousands of people, including a two-month-old girl (and Chuck Knoblock).

Police said, "Thursday," and given both Britain and Spain a diplomatic headache.

No one knew where each of the victorious players, including a two-month-old girl, had air striked.

"There are probably more we don't know about," police said, and gave both Britain and Spain a diplomatic headache.

The floodwaters receded across most of the region Thursday, and 3 million people as they planned an air strikes against Yugoslavia and a Western diplomat.

"We definitely still see a large (Serbian military) police presence and a Yugoslav (federal) army one," said the panicky women who had sex with the man as they were lining up for tests from Broadway to City Hall. He expected it to be larger than the parade in 1996.

Probably an Iranian who had lived under a false identity for years, Pinochet was arrested at the request of a Spanish judge to stand trial for the floodwaters receded across most of the region Thursday, to take place Thursday afternoon, from a creek Thursday.

The creek was found during a search of the man's apartment and said he expected it to be larger than the parade in 1996.

As well as including a two-month-old-girl.


"It's survival of the fittest, Max! And we've got the fuckin' guns!"



[Prev | Next]

by Clockwork

Do you remember the elections that occurred a simple three months ago? Or did you perhaps overlook the event even while it was occurring? Did you vote? Myself, in my ashamed cape and whiskers did not, and I am and was not pleased with myself afterwards. I should have cast my single opinion into the pile, no matter where it may have ended up. The hope and belief that my single word would swing and topple political dogma systems must stay with me.

However. On November 2, the night before the elections took place, ABC News catapulted me back into the netherland of anti-trust and disbelief in our beloved political system, threw the rules and regulations of the tiemonkey board game into my hands, opened to page 12, and pointed. Upon their website, they posted the results of the elections, announcing the newly elected senators and governors, and propositions that have passed, a full 24 hours before people had cast their votes. You may have heard this in passing media clips, reported by Drudge, in the corner of the sixth page of Variablecityname Herald-Tribune, a four second mention on MSNBC at 3am.

ABC issued a statement on the incident:

"Earlier tonight, during testing of the ABCNEWS.COM site, we inadvertently posted results and erroneous predictions on the outcomes of races. There was no bias intended by what we posted and the predictions do not reflect the reporting or news judgement of ABC NEWS. We sincerely apologize to all our readers for any confusion. We are taking steps to ensure similar mistakes do not happen in the future."

A disclaimer apology, of course, with no explanation for the events. A short time after, it was reported that they were testing the pre-election test feed from Election News Service, an automated, computer-controlled vote counting service which reports to numerous news organizations during elections. This was supposedly a test of their website to verify the automatic updates work properly. Although, ABC made no official statement of the fact.

And as one would predict, the actual election came, and the actual election went. Very little attention was paid to the inadvertent "prediction" of results, other than dancing mishap postings about the internet, breeding ground for such ideas.

Well, being the political mind-game fiend I am, I decided to do a close reading of the results, comparing ABC's pre-election postings to the final post-election facts. Below, you will find the exact comparison -- first an extensive list of aging senators, then a dribbling list of younger aging governors. For some reason, ABC did not post any House results.

Concerning the Senate. There were a total of 34 elections held. ABC predicted 29 out of these 34 correctly -- 85% accuracy. The accuracy of the ABC predictions, based on the percentage results of the winners, averages 4%. Meaning, the percentages predicted by ABC, on average, are within 4% of the actual results, plus or minus. This does not include results from Kentucky and Nevada, which according to CNN results were too close to call -- they had not updated results following the actually hand-counting of the ballots. This seems like amazing accuracy from these supposedly erroneous and randomly produced pre-feeds.

The predictions striking me the are obviously the elections that were extremely close -- states that are not utterly dominated by a particular party, in which the ending results are within a few percentages of each other. Looking at the list below, you will find ABC predicting these types of elections (Arkansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Washington).

Look for yourself. Note, to my dismay, that CNN completely disregards any 3rd party candidates, unless they attained a significant portion of the vote. Asterisks designate the winners states by each party. Those without asterisks, as reported by CNN, were those that were too close to call.

Pre-Results Posted by ABC News                   Actual Results Posted by CNN


 - Alabama

   * Shelby (REP)         66%                    * Shelby (REP)         63%
     Suddith (DEM)        34%                      Suddith (DEM)        37%

 - Alaska

   * Sonneman (DEM)       50%                      Sonneman (DEM)       20%
     Murkowski (REP)      48%                    * Murkowski (REP)      76%
     Gottlieb (GRN)        1%                      Gottlieb (GRN)       N/A
     Kohlhaas (LTN)        1%                      Kohlhaas (LTN)       N/A

 - Arizona

   * McCain (REP)         64%                    * McCain (REP)         69%
     Ranger (DEM)         34%                      Ranger (DEM)         28%
     Zajac  (LTN)          1%                      Zajac  (LTN)         N/A
     Park   (RFM)          1%                      Park   (RFM)         N/A

 - Arkansas

   * Lincoln (DEM)        52%                    * Lincoln (DEM)        56%
     Boozman (REP)        46%                      Boozman (REP)        43%
     Heffley (RFM)         2%                      Heffley (RFM)        N/A

 - California

   * Boxer (DEM)          50%                    * Boxer (DEM)          54%
     Fong (REP)           45%                      Fong (REP)           43%
     Beltran (PFP)         1%                      Beltran (PFP)        N/A
     Perrin (AIP)          1%                      Perrin (AIP)         N/A
     Brown (LTN)           1%                      Brown (LTN)          N/A
     Erich (RFM)           1%                      Erich (RFM)          N/A
     Rees (NTL)            1%                      Rees (NTL)           N/A

 - Colorado

   * Campbell (REP)       52%                    * Campbell (REP)       63%
     Lamm (DEM)           43%                      Lamm (DEM)           36%
     Segal (LTN)           1%                      Segal (LTN)          N/A
     Swanson (CST)         1%                      Swanson (CST)        N/A
     Swing (IND)           1%                      Swing (IND)          N/A
     Heckman, John (IND)   1%                      Heckman, John (IND)  N/A
     Peckman, Jeff (NTL)   1%                      Peckman, Jeff (NTL)  N/A
 - Connecticut

   * Dodd (DEM)           58%                    * Dodd (DEM)           66%
     Franks (REP)         39%                      Franks (REP)         33%
     Moore (LTN)           1%                      Moore (LTN)          N/A
     Kozak (CNC)           1%                      Kozak (CNC)          N/A
     Grasso (IND)          1%                      Grasso (IND)         N/A

 - Florida

   * Graham (DEM)         62%                    * Graham (DEM)         63%
     Crist (REP)          38%                      Crist (REP)          37%

 - Georgia

   * Coles (DEM)          52%                      Coles (DEM)          46%
     Coverdell (REP)      46%                    * Coverdell (REP)      53%
     Loftman (LTN)         2%                      Loftman (LTN)        N/A

 - Hawaii

   * Inouye (DEM)         65%                    * Inouye (DEM)         80%
     Young (REP)          34%                      Young (REP)          18%
     Mallan (LTN)          1%                      Mallan (LTN)         N/A

 - Idaho

   * Crapo (REP)          67%                    * Crapo (REP)          70%
     Mauk (DEM)           32%                      Mauk (DEM)           29%
     Mansfeld (NTL)        1%                      Mansfeld (NTL)       N/A

 - Illinois

   * Fitzgerald (REP)     57%                    * Fitzgerald (REP)     51%
     Moseley-Braun (DEM)  42%                      Moseley-Braun (DEM)  47%
     Torgersen (RFM)       1%                      Torgensen (RFM)      N/A

 - Indiana

   * Bayh (DEM)           59%                    * Bayh (DEM)           64%
     Helmke (REP)         40%                      Helmke (REP)         35%
     Burris (LTN)          1%                      Burris (LTN)         N/A

 - Iowa

   * Grassley (REP)       69%                    * Grassley (REP)       68%
     Osterberg (DEM)      29%                      Osterberg (DEM)      32%
     Marcus (NTL)          1%                      Marcus (NTL)         N/A
     Trowe (SW)            1%                      Trowe (SW)           N/A

 - Kansas

   * Brownback (REP)      66%                    * Brownback (REP)      66%
     Feleciano (DEM)      32%                      Feleciano (DEM)      32%
     Bauman (RFM)          1%                      Bauman (RFM)         N/A
     Oyler (LTN)           1%                      Oyler (LTN)          N/A

 - Kentucky

   * Baesler (DEM)        51%                      Baesler (DEM)        50%
     Bunning (REP)        48%                      Bunning (REP)        50%
     Arbegust (RDM)        1%                      Arbegust (RDM)       N/A

 - Louisiana

   * Breaux (DEM)         61%                    * Breaux (DEM)         64%
     Donelon (REP)        33%                      Donelon (REP)        32%
     Knox (IND)            1%                      Knox (IND)           N/A
     Diket (IND)           1%                      Diket (IND)          N/A
     Melton (DEM)          1%                      Melton (DEM)         N/A
     Ward (DEM)            1%                      Ward (DEM)           N/A
     Brown (IND)           1%                      Brown (IND)          N/A
     Rosenthal (IND)       1%                      Rosenthal (IND)      N/A

 - Maryland

   * Mikulski (DEM)       64%                    * Mikulski (DEM)       71%
     Pierpont (REP)       36%                      Pierpont (REP)       29%

 - Missouri

   * Bond (REP)           56%                    * Bond (REP)           53%
     Nixon (DEM)          41%                      Nixon (DEM)          44%
     Millay (LTN)          1%                      Millay (LTN)         N/A
     Frazier (TAX)         1%                      Frazier (TAX)        N/A
     Newport (RFM)         1%                      Newport (RFM)        N/A

 - Nevada

   * Ensign (REP)         49%                      Ensign (REP)         48%
     Reid (DEM)           42%                      Reid (DEM)           48%
     None These (NON)      7%                      None These (NON)     N/A
     Cloud (LTN)           1%                      Cloud (LTN)          N/A
     Williams (NTL)        1%                      Williams (NTL)       N/A

 - New Hampshire

   * Gregg (REP)          69%                    * Gregg (REP)          68%
     Condodemetraky (DEM) 29%                      Condodemetraky (DEM) 29%
     Kendel (INA)          1%                      Kendel (INA)         N/A
     Christeson (LTN)      1%                      Christeson (LTN)     N/A

 - New York

   * D'Amato (REP)        50%                      D'Amato (REP)        45%
     Schumer (DEM)        42%                    * Schumer (DEM)        55%
     McMillen (LTN)        3%                      McMillen (LTN)       N/A
     Kovel (GRN)           1%                      Kovel (GRN)          N/A
     Berbeo (SOC)          1%                      Berbeo (SOC)         N/A
     Kurtz (IND)           1%                      Kurtz (IND)          N/A

 - North Carolina

   * Faircloth (REP)      51%                    * Faircloth (REP)      52%
     Edwards (DEM)        48%                      Edwards (DEM)        47%
     Howe (LTN)            1%                      Howe (LTN)           N/A

 - North Dakota

   * Dorgan (DEM)         59%                    * Dorgan (DEM)         64%
     Nalewaja (REP)       40%                      Nalewaja (REP)       36%
     Mclain (RFM)          1%                      Mclain (RFM)         N/A

 - Ohio

   * Voinovich (REP)      63%                    * Voinovich (REP)      56%
     Boyle (DEM)          37%                      Boyle (DEM)          44%

 - Oklahoma

   * Nickles (REP)        68%                    * Nickles (REP)        67%
     Carroll (DEM)        30%                      Carroll (DEM)        32%
     Yandell (IND)         1%                      Yandell (IND)        N/A
     Morris (IND)          1%                      Morris (IND)         N/A

 - Oregon

   * Wyden (DEM)          67%                    * Wyden (DEM)          59%
     Lim (REP)            29%                      Lim (REP)            36%
     Campbell (NTL)        1%                      Campbell (NTL)       N/A
     Brewster (LTN)        1%                      Brewster (LTN)       N/A
     Braa (SOC)            1%                      Braa (SOC)           N/A
     Moskowitz (IND)       1%                      Moskowitz (IND)      N/A

 - Pennsylvania

   * Specter (REP)        58%                    * Specter (REP)        62%
     Lloyd (DEM)          40%                      Lloyd (DEM)          35%
     Iannantuono (LTN)     1%                      Iannantuono (LTN)     1%
     Snyder (CST)          1%                      Snyder (CST)          1%

 - South Carolina

   * Hollings (DEM)       51%                    * Hollings (DEM)       53%
     Inglis (REP)         48%                      Inglis (REP)         46%
     Quillian (LTN)        1%                      Quillian (LTN)       N/A

 - South Dakota

   * Daschle (DEM)        59%                    * Daschle (DEM)        63%
     Schmidt (REP)        40%                      Schmidt (REP)        37%
     Dale (LTN)            1%                      Dale (LTN)           N/A

 - Utah

   * Bennett (REP)        68%                    * Bennett (REP)        64%
     Leckman (DEM)        31%                      Leckman (DEM)        33%
     Van Horn (INA)        1%                      Van Horn (INA)       N/A

 - Vermont

   * Leahy (DEM)          64%                    * Leahy (DEM)          73%
     Tuttle (REP)         32%                      Tuttle (REP)         23%
     Nelson (IND)          1%                      Nelson (IND)         N/A
     Levy (LBU)            1%                      Levy (LBU)           N/A
     Melamede (IND)        1%                      Melamede (IND)       N/A
     Douglas (LTN)         1%                      Douglas (LTN)        N/A

 - Washington

   * Murray (DEM)         52%                    * Murray (DEM)         58%
     Smith (REP)          48%                      Smith (REP)          42%

 - Wisconsin

   * Feingold (DEM)       47%                    * Feingold (DEM)       51%
     Neumann (REP)        46%                      Neumann (REP)        49%
     Ender (LTN)           5%                      Ender (LTN)          N/A
     Raymond (TAX)         1%                      Raymond (TAX)        N/A
     Hem (IND)             1%                      Hem (IND)            N/A

And now come the governors. A total of 36 elections were held. ABC predicted the correct winner in 31 of the 36 elections -- 86% accuracy. The accuracy of the percentage of votes collected by the winners, as reported by ABC, is once again 4%. Meaning, the percentages predicted by ABC, on average, are within 4% of the actual results, plus or minus. And again, this accuracy rate is uncanny. Note the close elections again -- Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, Nevada, Rhode Island. Minnesota. Minnesota, where, even though ABC did not predict Ventura would win, they did in fact believe the ex-pro-wrestler 3rd party candidate would suck in a good percentage of the vote, providing troubling times for the standard parties. In Georgia, ABC predicted the 3rd party candidate would bring in a miniscule 2% of the vote -- with the actual results stating he brought in 3%. The correct prediction of the independent candidate of Maine being victorious. Or the independent candidate of Pennsylvania bringing in a small but noteworthy amount of the vote, and the same occurring with Rhode Island.

These small percentages won by 3rd party candidates -- 3rd parties which are rarely noticed by the media, by other candidates, by the voters -- suddenly given spotlights by ABC News.


 - Alabama

   * Siegelman (DEM)      58%                    * Siegelman (DEM)      58%
     James (REP)          42%                      James (REP)          42%

 - Alaska

   * Knowles (DEM)        63%                    * Knowles (DEM)        65%
     Lindauer (REP)       34%                      Lindauer (REP)       22%
     Metcalfe (IND)        1%                      Metcalfe (IND)       N/A
     Sullivan (AKI)        1%                      Sullivan (AKI)       N/A
     Jacobsson (GRN)       1%                      Jacobsson (GRN)      N/A

 - Arizona

   * Hull (REP)           60%                    * Hull (REP)           61%
     Johnson (DEM)        38%                      Johnson (DEM)        36%
     Malcomson (RFM)       1%                      Malcomson (RFM)      N/A
     Gallant (LTN)         1%                      Gallant (LTN)        N/A

 - Arkansas

   * Huckabee (REP)       62%                    * Huckabee (REP)       60%
     Bristow (DEM)        37%                      Bristow (DEM)        39%
     Carle (RFM)           1%                      Carle (RFM)          N/A

 - California

   * Davis (DEM)          49%                    * Davis (DEM)          59%
     Lungren (REP)        46%                      Lungren (REP)        39%
     Bloomfield (NTL)      1%                      Bloomfield (NTL)     N/A
     Kubby (LTN)           1%                      Kubby (LTN)          N/A
     Johnson (AIP)         1%                      Johnson (AIP)        N/A
     Hamburg (GRN)         1%                      Hamburg (GRN)        N/A
     La Riva (PFP)         1%                      La Riva (PFP)        N/A

 - Colorado

   * Owens (REP)          49%                    * Owens (REP)          50%
     Schoettler (DEM)     49%                      Schoettler (DEM)     49%
     Johnson (LTN)         1%                      Johnson (LTN)        N/A
     Leonard (CST)         1%                      Leonard (CST)        N/A

 - Connecticut

   * Rowland (REP)        71%                    * Rowland (REP)        63%
     Kennelly (DEM)       26%                      Kennelly (DEM)       36%
     Vare (LTN)            1%                      Vare (LTN)           N/A
     Scaglione (IND)       1%                      Scaglione (IND)      N/A
     Zdonczyk (CNC)        1%                      Zdonczyk (CNC)       N/A

 - Florida

   * Bush (REP)           55%                    * Bush (REP)           55%
     MacKay (DEM)         45%                      MacKay (DEM)         45%

 - Georgia

   * Barnes (DEM)         53%                    * Barnes (DEM)         53%
     Millner (REP)        45%                      Millner (REP)        44%
     Cashin (LTN)          2%                      Cashin (LTN)          3%

 - Hawaii

   * Lingle (REP)         53%                      Lingle (REP)         49%
     Cayetano (DEM)       46%                    * Cayetano (DEM)       51%
     Peabody (LTN)         1%                      Peabody (LTN)        N/A

 - Idaho

   * Kempthorne (REP)     74%                    * Kempthorne (REP)     68%
     Huntley (DEM)        25%                      Huntley (DEM)        30%
     Rickards (IND)        1%                      Rickards (IND)       N/A

 - Illinois

   * Ryan (REP)           60%                    * Ryan (DEP)           52%
     Poshard (DEM)        39%                      Poshard (REP)        48%
     Redmond (RFM)         1%                      Redmond (RFM)        N/A

 - Iowa

   * Lightfoot (REP)      55%                     Lightfoot (REP)       47%
     Vilsack (DEM)        42%                   * Vilsack (DEM)         53%
     Hennager (RFM)        1%                     Hennager (RFM)        N/A
     Kennis (IND)          1%                     Kennis (IND)          N/A
     Schaefer (NTL)        1%                     Schaefer (NTL)        N/A

 - Kansas

   * Graves (REP)         68%                   * Graves (REP)          74%
     Sawyer (DEM)         30%                     Sawyer (DEM)          23%
     King (RFM)            1%                     King (RFM)            N/A
     Poovey (TAX)          1%                     Poovey (TAX)          N/A

 - Maine

   * King (IND)           66%                   * King (IND)            59%
     Connolly (DEM)       19%                     Connolly (DEM)        12%
     Longley (REP)        13%                     Longley (REP)         20%
     Lamarche (IND)        1%                     Lamarche (IND)         7%
     Clarke (IND)          1%                     Clarke (IND)          N/A

 - Maryland

   * Glendening (DEM)     52%                   * Glendening (DEM)      56%
     Sauerbrey (REP)      48%                     Sauerbrey (REP)       44%

 - Massachusetts

   * Cellucci (REP)       55%                   * Cellucci (REP)        51%
     Harshbarger (DEM)    44%                     Harshbarger (DEM)     48%
     Cook (LTN)            1%                     Cook (LTN)            N/A

 - Michigan

   * Engler (REP)         65%                   * Engler (REP)          62%
     Fieger (DEM)         35%                     Fieger (DEM)          38%

 - Minnesota

   * Coleman (REP)        35%                     Coleman (REP)         35%
     Humphrey (DEM)       33%                     Humprhey (DEM)        28%
     Ventura (RFM)        27%                   * Ventura (RFM)         37%
     McCloney (IND)        1%                     McCloney (IND)        N/A
     Pentel (GRN)          1%                     Pentel (GRN)          N/A
     Wright (IND)          1%                     Wright (IND)          N/A
     Germann (LTN)         1%                     Germann (LTN)         N/A
     Fiske (SW)            1%                     Fiske (SW)            N/A

 - Nebraska

   * Johanns (REP)        59%                   * Johanns (REP)         54%
     Hoppner (DEM)        41%                     Hoppner (DEM)         46%

 - Nevada

   * Guinn (REP)          48%                   * Guinn (REP)           52%
     Jones (DEM)          46%                     Jones (DEM)           43%
     None These (NON)      4%                     None These (NON)      N/A
     Savage (LTN)          1%                     Savage (LTN)          N/A
     Horne (INA)           1%                     Horne (INA)           N/A

 - New Hampshire

   * Shaheen (DEM)        68%                   * Shaheen (DEM)         66%
     Lucas (REP)          31%                     Lucas (REP)           32%
     Blevens (LTN)         1%                     Blevens (LTN)         N/A

 - New Mexico

   * Chavez (DEM)         51%                     Chavez (DEM)          46%
     Johnson (REP)        49%                   * Johnson (REP)         54%

 - New York

   * Pataki (REP)         43%                   * Pataki (REP)          55%
     Vallone (DEM)        22%                     Vallone (DEM)         33%
     Reynolds (RTL)       10%                     Reynolds (RTL)        N/A
     Lewis (GRN)           9%                     Lewis (GRN)           N/A
     Golisano (IND)        5%                     Golisano (IND)         8%
     Duncan (SOC)          4%                     Duncan (SOC)          N/A
     McCaughey Ross (LIB)  2%                     McCaughey Rose (LIB)   2%
     Leighton (IND)        2%                     Leighton (IND)        N/A
     Garvey (IND)          2%                     Garvey (IND)          N/A
     France (IND)          1%                     France (IND)          N/A

 - Ohio

   * Taft (REP)           57%                   * Taft (REP)            51%
     Fisher (DEM)         41%                     Fisher (DEM)          45%
     Mitchel (RFM)         1%                     Mitchel (RFM)         N/A
     Feitler (IND)         1%                     Feitler (IND)         N/A

 - Oklahoma

   * Keating (REP)        65%                   * Keating (REP)         58%
     Boyd (DEM)           34%                     Boyd (DEM)            41%
     Heidelberg (RFM)      1%                     Heidelberg (RFM)      N/A

 - Oregon

   * Kitzhaber (DEM)      66%                   * Kitzhaber (DEM)       64%
     Sizemore (REP)       29%                     Sizemore (REP)        32%
     Weidner (RFM)         1%                     Weidner (RFM)         N/A
     Steurer (NTL)         1%                     Steurer (NTL)         N/A
     Bobier (IND)          1%                     Bobier (IND)          N/A
     Burke (LTN)           1%                     Burke (LTN)           N/A
     Smith (SOC)           1%                     Smith (SOC)           N/A

 - Pennsylvania

   * Ridge (REP)          60%                   * Ridge (REP)           58%
     Itkin (DEM)          36%                     Itkin (DEM)           31%
     Luksik (CST)          3%                     Luksik (CST)          11%
     Krawchuk (LTN)        1%                     Krawchuk (LTN)        N/A

 - Rhode Island

   * Almond (REP)         51%                   * Almond (REP)          51%
     York (DEM)           45%                     York (DEM)            42%
     Healy (IND)           3%                     Healy (IND)            7%
     Devine (RFM)          1%                     Devine (RFM)          N/A

 - South Carolina

   * Beasley (REP)        54%                     Beasley (REP)         46%
     Hodges (DEM)         43%                   * Hodges (DEM)          54%
     Moultrie (LTN)        3%                     Moultrie (LTN)        N/A

 - South Dakota

   * Janklow (REP)        58%                   * Janklow (REP)         65%
     Hunhoff (DEM)        40%                     Hunhoff (DEM)         33%
     Newland (LTN)         1%                     Newland (LTN)         N/A
     Wieczorek (IND)       1%                     Wieczorek (IND)       N/A

 - Tennessee

  * Sundquist (REP)       58%                   * Sundquist (REP)       69%
    Hooker (DEM)          37%                     Hooker (DEM)          30%
    Smith, T. (IND)        1%                     Smith, T. (IND)        1%
    Hamilton (IND)         1%                     Hamilton (IND)         1%
    Gibbs (IND)            1%                     Gibbs (IND)            1%
    Smithson, K. (IND)     1%                     Smithson, K. (IND)     1%
    Creech (IND)           1%                     Creech (IND)           1%

 - Texas

   * Bush (REP)           69%                   * Bush (REP)            69%
     Mauro (DEM)          30%                     Mauro (DEM)           31%
     Turlington (LTN)      1%                     Turlington (LTN)       1%

 - Vermont

   * Dean (DEM)           63%                   * Dean (DEM)            56%
     Dwyer (REP)          34%                     Dwyer (REP)           42%
     Gottlieb (LBU)        1%                     Gottlieb (LBU)        N/A
     Williams (GRN)        1%                     Williams (GRN)        N/A
     Berkey (LTN)          1%                     Berkey (LTN)          N/A

 - Wisconsin

   * Thompson (REP)       58%                   * Thompson (REP)        60%
     Garvey (DEM)         38%                     Garvey (DEM)          39%
     Mueller (LTN)         1%                     Mueller (LTN)         N/A
     Mangan (IND)          1%                     Mangan (IND)          N/A
     Muhammad (IND)        1%                     Muhammad (IND)        N/A
     Frami (TAX)           1%                     Frami (TAX)           N/A

 - Wyoming

   * Geringer (REP)       58%                   * Geringer (REP)        56%
     Vinich (DEM)         41%                     Vinich (DEM)          41%
     Dawson (LTN)          1%                     Dawson (LTN)           1%

So, does this mean this country's highly prized electoral process is merely a mind-soothing tap dance for the voters? Perhaps the results prediction process is highly in tune with the political beating heart of the land, reading the people with checkmark polls and dinner-interruptions. Even if such methods of determining the opinions of voters were delicately accurate, how could it predict such small percentages correctly? Surely, one can not poll a small portion of a state and extrapolate such exact matching results. Randomly generated, chaos penetrated, or perhaps even remote viewed -- that could be the accuracy.

I do not know what to believe. The age of technology has brought about the words efficiency and ease, as well as hogtubs full of breeding, squirming information, all stored in electronic, un-tangible forms, all easily manipulated due to their dynamic non-local existence. All easily manipulated, and who is to say different? Can you tell I backspaced once in this text? Can you see where I tripped over words and grammar elements, spelling splats, and pauses for some tea? The most prized information, the most self-appointed important data to the people are still kept in centralized, toothpick controlled environments, fed by a handful of people to the globe -- you do not have control. Merely placing your trust in these entities without consent. Trusting their limp words are true, unscathed, and that they will keep you safe. And I do not feel safer.


"Writers have two main problems. One is writer's block, where words won't come at all, and logorrhea, when the words come so fast that they can hardly get to the wastebasket in time."

--Cecilia Bartholomew


[Prev | Next]

[previous icons]

edited by Clockwork

Session Start: Tue Oct 20 00:36:01 1998

[0:36] *** Now talking in #unbeing
#unbeing created on Tue Oct 20 00:02:20

<clock_> gee.

<ansat> hey, clock....

[0:36] *** ansat sets mode: +o clock_

<clock_> super yo.

<keiki> hi?

<ansat> clock, this is keiki.  keiki, clock....

<clock_> hello, keiki...   you fall down a lot?

<keiki> clock.

<ansat> did you hear the announcement?

<keiki> shhh.

<clock_> yep.  of course.

<keiki> what announcement?

<ansat> Art Bell's

<keiki> clock did.

[0:37] *** kilgore ( has joined #unbeing

<ansat> hey, kilgore...

<kilgore> hello hello hello.

[0:38] *** ansat sets mode: +o kilgore

<keiki> big bad ops

<kilgore> it's about one of the only benefits of being a literary whore for

<keiki> but a whore by definition..

<clock_> you're free?

<keiki> if you're for free, then you're just being -called- a whore. you're
not really one.

<clock_> right.  unless you believe in that "whorism is a state of mind"

<keiki> is there a movement i can join?

<keiki> nevermind, i don't wanna.

<ansat> he's a whore for literature.  give him a volume of Blake, and he's
yours for an hour.....

<keiki> where shall i put the volume?

* clock_ leaps for safety.

<kilgore> it's all about perfect genius, bay bee.

<keiki> perfect whore.

<clock_> ooo...david oates bell reversals...i'm a truckin.

<kilgore> heh. this oughta be, er, scintillating and complex.

<keiki> can i get sappy for one second?

<clock_> right.  last thing i wanted to hear about...cults.

<clock_> sap away.

<kilgore> sap away.

<keiki> you're all treasures. done.

* ansat refraisn saying "sap away..."

<kilgore> dammit, stop being mr. synchronicity.

<clock_> heh.  hee.   treasures?  wow.  like historical/monumental?  like 15
lbs. of gold?  lots artifacts?

* ansat assumes Keiki reads the zine. or has cameras in my neighborhood....

<kilgore> it's becoming a habit. you'll immantitze the eschaton before i've
received my free apocalypse coupons for food pellets.

* ansat has soylent green food pellets

<keiki> ssshhh, i said i was done. 

<clock_> no done.

<clock_> reversals at:

<keiki> if i say any more, i'm in danger of becoming a groupie.

<clock_> in realaudio, nonetheless.

<clock_> who said there was danger in being a groupie?

<keiki> i did. and that's all that matters.

<clock_> ahh.  well.  hm.  well, you could atleast tell us if you love the

<keiki> i had a crush on a vietnamese-irish person once

<clock_> close enough.  interesting combination.  sounds like a coffee.

<ansat> heh

<keiki> ummy

<keiki> am i an outsider?

<clock_> outsider.  well.  what's your definition of an outsider?  i don't
think we're insiders.  so.  it depends on what your outside of.  besides, we
walk around with open arms and evil grins.

<keiki> well, you all know stuff i don't.

<clock_> nah.  it's all an act.  and we control the vatican library.  

<clock_> do you go to disney world much?

<keiki> er..

<keiki> do i have to answer that?

<clock_> no.  just trying to center in on your geographic location...  that's
what the satellites tell me.

<kilgore> i didn't get that memo about controlling the vatican, dammit. i
should be in the loop. i want to release an SoB encyclical!

<ansat> starling just sent email.  so i'm guessing he's at a computer....

<clock_> that's why you didn't get the memo.   besides, i don't think you
want to know that the pope is your father.

* keiki gasps

<kilgore> great. my birthfather is the pope. how can i live up to that?

<clock_> you could start a rumor involving you, the pope, and marilyn manson.

<keiki> and a glass bubble

<clock_> yeah.  glass bubbles rock.

<keiki> didn't protect the pope enuff if kilgore was conceived

<kilgore> okay, so the pope removed some of his ribs, and marilyn manson
creates new mass hymns, and, um, all the bishops become roving gypsies with
crysal balls.

<ansat> he's older than the popemobile, i'm afraid....

<keiki> good god

<clock_> lots of 'y's in the sentence.

<keiki> and a stolen t

<clock_> yes.  yes.  gnomes.

<ansat> the assassination attempt was 13 May 1981.  the popemobile must be
younger than that, since it was built because of it....

<keiki> always.

<keiki> damn logic.

<clock_> the pope can defy logic.

* ansat sometimes borrows the popemobile for joyrides...

<ansat> safer when you roll the car...

<keiki> therefore kilgore could have been conceived through it..

<kilgore> i thought the popemobile was reverse-engineered alien technology to
provide bad material for stand-up comics and that joke about "i dunno he the
guy in the back is, but he must be important cuz the pope's driving him

<clock_> the guy in the back was the shooter.

<keiki> and where does kathy lee fit into this?

<clock_> sweat shops.

<kilgore> if she fits in anywhere, i'm quitting.

<clock_> popeclothes (tm)

<clock_> made by abandoned vatican kids.

<keiki> illegitimate

* ansat is ashamed to realie he gets the Kathy Lee referance....

<ansat> did you hear Nike raised wages in Indonesia?

<clock_> wow.  more gnomes.

<keiki> heh

<clock_> yes, i did.  i didn't think it was much, tho.

<siona> yeah, isn't it around 23 dollars now?

* clock_ throws the abyss as jim jones.

<ansat> yup.  23 bucks a month...

<ansat> up from 18...

<clock_> big money.  no whammies.

<keiki> and better shoes

<clock_> here you go, kil.  it's jonestown.

<kilgore> whoo hoo. i need more crazy cds with jim jones on it. i've only
got about 12 minutes total, and one of those has charlie manson coming out
the other speaker at the same time.

<clock_> that just cries luv.

<keiki> literally?

[1:00] *** Xio ( has joined #unbeing

[1:00] *** clock_ sets mode: +o Xio

<clock_> it's a party.

<kilgore> it's that girl.

<Xio> impossible

<keiki> hi. you're a girl-kinda xio?

<clock_> girl-kinda?

<Xio> kinda

<keiki> i was asking if it was a boy xio or a girl xio

* ansat is kind to girls....

<Xio> a girl xio

* keiki is a girrrrrl

[1:02] *** valeriec ( has joined

<ansat> hi

<clock_> geeeee.

<keiki> wow

[1:02] *** clock_ changes topic to 'State of unBeing e-zine -- Too many
active windows, mommy!'

<Xio> so, whom I should thank for this miraculous gathering of brains?

<keiki> me.

<keiki> always me. no matter what.

<Xio> u?

<clock_> what's this sudden smack of people all about?

* ansat races across the room for a box of floppies.....

* Xio tries to wake up and get a global picture

* ansat suspends negotiations with the Israelis...

* clock_ eats the Mossad.

<keiki> israelis again?

<kilgore> it's due to all of the von neumann probes i sent out.

* clock_ gives everyone bucky balls.

<keiki> we're all gonna be rich and famous soon, aren't we?

<Xio> some are, keiki

<clock_> i dunno about rich.  but famous.  hellya.  and things.

* ansat finds the box of disks under the vodka, but can't remember which
disk he wanted....

<keiki> how bout "most of us?"

* clock_ eats the disks.

<Xio> I don't want to be famous

<Xio> rish will do

<Xio> rich even

<clock_> i want to be rish.

<clock_> slang for irish?

<keiki> eek

<clock_> i guess i am rish, then.

<clock_> silent alaskan chick.

<kilgore> yum. irc just wouldn't feel right without some tasty pop tarts.

<valeriec> hello! lag is bad!

<keiki> what flavor tonight?

* ansat reaches down clock's throat for his disks....

<clock_> ack.

<Xio> kev...long blasting time no see!

<kilgore> they're brown and frosted.

* clock_ points out the metal portion of the disk got stuck in his throat.

<keiki> those are the only ones i like.

<kilgore> yup. i have returned. the draw was just too much. ;) couldnt' stay

[1:07] *** Cassiel ( has joined #unbeing

<ansat> not likely, since they're in a big plastic box...

<clock_> oh my.

<keiki> didn't we, cassiel?

<ansat> you probably look like some snake....

<kilgore> ya know, it's gonna be funny if you've had that roar article at
your house all along.

<clock_> we need an SoB zamboni.

<valeriec> what's happenin in here? ;)

* ansat is trying to find a damn file....

<Cassiel> brb

<Cassiel> need soda

<kilgore> valeriec: we never know, exactly.

<clock_> yea.  replay of the announcement...i couldn't tell if the last few
seconds were cut off, or if he did that on purpose.

<Xio> something diabolique about the computer..don't ya think?

<Cassiel> back

<clock_> ah.  so the last few seconds were cut off.  right.

<ansat> i think some was cut off last time...

<ansat> yup

<kilgore> yeah. nothing major.

<keiki> quick, clock, shove politics into this

<clock_> heyheyhey....who said i'm a political fiend?  

<keiki> well, then, stick the irish in

* ansat calls clock a political fiend

<Xio> no politics!'s tooo early

<ansat> and a toaster

<keiki> dammit, irish politics, then

<clock_> right.   i can spout out how i'm pro-IRA and things.  and i like
green hills.  and rocks.

<clock_> but i'm all peaceluv.  try to avoid political games.  at least in
public.  tho if you count mindless conspiracy wackjobs, i guess i'm guilty.

<clock_> are you on the mailing list?

<keiki> clock, who ya talkin to?

<clock_> you.

<keiki> oh. no.

<keiki> do i have to give a reason?

<clock_> if you wish.

<keiki> i'll take a raincheck

<keiki> but can i make the List?

<clock_> there's lots of rain here.  and i'm sure a good amount of checks.
THE list?  as in the mailing list?

<keiki> yer

<keiki> er, yup

<clock_> but of course.  we're trying to woo the world.  so you should damn
well be on the mailing list.

<keiki> well, then.

<clock_> KKKKKKKKKIIIIIIIIIIIILLLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  put her on
the list.  her?  right?  hm.

<keiki> yup.

<kilgore> gimme an email address and you'll be receiving monthly issues fer
FREE! no charge! it's simple! it's fun!

* clock_ smacks kilgore with a stuffed nantucket bay.

<Xio> on the list..on the list

<clock_> wow.  we're a cult.

<keiki> who's leader?

<clock_> the guy with EGO tattooed on their forehead.

<clock_> the guy...their...?  hm.

* Cassiel refuses to drink the kool aid

<kilgore> i won a david koresh look alike contest in '93.

<Xio> hahaha

<keiki> i'd sleep with him.  if he wasn't god.

<kilgore> um, since when has your humble editor lashed his giant ego to a
sling and flung it around haphazardly?

<Cassiel> hehehe

<Xio> lol

<ansat> who's god?  kil or Koresh?

<clock_> i dunno...i think i've been taking up your slack.

<kilgore> actually, he never said he was.

<clock_> same amount of letters.

<clock_> both begin with a k.

<Xio> wasn't it clock?

<keiki> implications mean much.

<clock_> both have k, o, r, e.

<Xio> why should I live in ignorance?

<clock_> you shouldn't.

<kilgore> ignorance is buh-buh-buh-bliss. cha-ching.

[1:24] *** clock_ changes topic to 'State of unBeing e-zine -- Mysterious
Wilma look-alike contest. Now.'

<keiki> which wilma?

<Cassiel> wilma flintstone?

<Xio> give context

<keiki> i guess there's only one

<clock_> there can be only one.

<Xio> only one

<Cassiel> unless you count the bad sequels

<clock_> keik, you're not from massive publishing house, here to offer us
book deals, sex, drugs, and money, are you?

<kilgore> there's gonna be a third bad sequel, ya know.

<Cassiel> I know

<keiki> i was waiting for the right time, clock

<Cassiel> but it's from the tv show

<kilgore> but you have to admit, he's gotten a lot of milage off of something
he wrote for an undergraduate creative writing class.

<Cassiel> not so bad then

<clock_> the time is now.

<Cassiel> who did?

<keiki> step carefully.

<kilgore> the guy who created the HL franchise.

<Cassiel> realy?

<kilgore> yup. i don't know why i know that. more useless information from my

* Xio has no idea what u're talking about

<keiki> i found it very useful, thank you

* clock_ drives the SoB zamboni into the SoB "safe from pole shifts" bunker.

<kilgore> yer welcome, then...

<kilgore> why do we have an ice rink in the bunker?

<clock_> i don't think so...

* clock_ builds an ice rink in the bunker.

<clock_> now we do.

<keiki> size 6, please

<kilgore> i just wanted to make sure we had a use for that zamboni. can't be
wasteful in the bunker. guess i'll have to learn how to ice skate now.

* clock_ tosses some aging plastic skates, size 6, at keik. sanitized and

<keiki> which sanitation procedure?

<keiki> can i trust you?

<clock_> FDA Sanitation Procedure #49112.  With the rabbit's foot.

<keiki> still in the skate?

<clock_> no, just brushed lightly inside, along with some Hindu chanting and
polka visualization.

<keiki> excellent.

<kilgore> i invoke the, freddie "iao" yankovic, god of the accordian!

<clock_> I've got a Masters in FDA Sanitation.

* ansat chants "om sri Ganeshaya namah"

<kilgore> you're a FEMA plant, arentcha?

<clock_> kil minors in FDA Sanitation.

<clock_> i didn't know ansat had a degree in FDA sanitation.

* clock_ denies.

* clock_ digresses.

<kilgore> i take sanitation to the astral plane. gooier, but some old
victorian hermetic rituals get the job done.

* clock_ relies.

* clock_ addresses.

<clock_> i minored in white eclectic rap.

<kilgore> speaking of whacky people, clocky, i got another issue of "the
eclectic viewpoint" today.

<kilgore> your name isn't everlast, is it?

<ansat> i was considering going as Sive for Halloween.  fortunately my
cultural sensitivity kicked in before i stopped washing my hair and rolling
around in the graveyard....

<clock_> really?? those bastards.  i won't have one...oh wait.  here it is.

* clock_ lasts forever, that's why i'm number one.

* clock_ has the knack.

<kilgore> he came to austin a couple of weeks ago, methinks. so did the
digital underground. strange. "austin kicks, yawp." -- vanilla ice, 1997,
last time he came thru. from what i hear, he packed the place.

* clock_ is frightened.

<keiki> was it a bar?

* ansat is in need of a smoke

<kilgore> i think it's the modern day equivalent of a freak show. "oh, look,
there goes a falling star."

* clock_ throws the opium bucket at ansat.

<kilgore> yeah, bar, nothing too big... few hundred people. but still...

* ansat heard a rumore there is an absinthe bar in Georgetown....

<clock_> in georgetown?  hm.  yeah.  i'd have to say rumor.

<Cassiel> yep

<Cassiel> D.C.?

<keiki> was there last week.  no absinthe.

<clock_> no D.C.  texas.

<Cassiel> oh

<kilgore> keiki, were you gonna pop over ye olde e-mail address?

<keiki> double oh

<keiki> doh

<kilgore> georgetown = suburb of austin. yeehaw. blech. gurgle, gurgle,

[1:40] *** valeriec has quit IRC (Read error to valeriec
[]: EOF from client)

* ansat has also heard a friend of a friend brews their own....

[1:40] *** valeriec ( has joined

<clock_> 'ello again.

<kilgore> hello again.

<clock_> heh.

<clock_> ha.

<clock_> hee.

<clock_> hoo.

<kilgore> at least you had the foresight to use an apostraphe.

<Xio> :-)

<clock_> didn't want to make your mind explode.

<keiki> but other things..

<kilgore> thank you for your concern. concresence, HO!

<clock_> aum shinricio.

<clock_> jim jones' sexual practices?

<clock_> joy.

<kilgore> the supreme truth cult! serin gas to salvation! yeah, ansat, could
you find anything on that el al flight that went down in berne?

<clock_> yes...el al flight.

<keiki> i love people who talk in circles.

<kilgore> he liked mistresses.

<clock_> you're in the Mossad, right, ansat?

<clock_> we talk in circles, semi-circles, right-angles, infinite planes,
and bulbous spheres.

<kilgore> what about dyson spheres?

[1:44] *** Cassiel has quit IRC (Have a better one)

<clock_> dyson spheres?

<clock_> is that like tyson nuggets?

<kilgore> mobius strips? that is probably a bit more apt.

* ansat had a nightmare where he was chewed out for being too easy on Israel.

<clock_> there ya go, Mossad boy.

<clock_> who's comin to the Fuck You Clown part?

* ansat knows nothing about the el al flight, and can't tell you anyway.

<keiki> yes, let's talk in mobius strips.

<clock_> y.

<ansat> nyah

<ansat> should i get the nose and wig this weekend, in case i arrive early?

<clock_> there's still lots of 'y's.

<clock_> yeah, good idea.

<ansat> i guess the photo op isn't Sat, then?

<clock_> we need to do that too.

<clock_> photos and clowns.  

<clock_> photos of clowns.

<clock_> clot os fo phowns.

<Xio> heh

* ansat is going to the party, but does not intend to be photographed as a

<kilgore> i've got the scrubs and surgeon mask ready to go. just need a big
ass wig.

<clock_> and we should have shirts by the end of the week, hopefully.

<keiki> shirts.

<clock_> keik...xio...val...what should we do for a press photo?

<clock_> shirts.

<clock_> maybe even free shirts.

<Xio> hm

<keiki> can i have one?

<clock_> sure.  as long as your on the mailing list.

<clock_> and offer some surreal fact about yourself.

<Xio> colage

<keiki> how surreal?

<clock_> as surreal as you're comfortable with.

<keiki> dada?

<clock_> ha.  if you wish.

<keiki> or maybe..

<keiki> surreal's fine, i suppose.

<keiki> er?

<clock_> of obsidian liquid covered rooves
so everyone can see through time.

<keiki> "it's on me."

<kilgore> ansat, brian tried putting you in a lake in photoshop saturday
ight. it didn't work too well.

<clock_> it's on you.

<keiki> the fact.

<clock_> excellent.

<ansat> putting me in a lake?  which pic?

<clock_> heh....98.9 gets ultra staticky if i touch my mouse.

<clock_> too much liquid in the air.

<keiki> the lake was in the air?

<kilgore> um, just one of you standing on bruce's porch. the lake is in a
mountain photo sample that came with photoshop.

<clock_> the air is in the air.

* ansat is going to turn off the radio. and maybe even smoke. and then spend
4 hours catching up on the conversation.....

<keiki> and what about the liquid?

<keiki> ok, everyone type as much and as fast as possible when he leaves

<clock_> the liquid...apprently in my mouse.

<keiki> oh. i thought you meant the lake.

<clock_> i think we do that well enough when he's here.

* ansat expected Gregorian chants, and forgot he had German death metal in
his tape deck

<keiki> faster! more!

* ansat had to rapidly turn down the volume

<clock_> slight difference.

<Xio> German death metal?

<keiki> gabber

<ansat> Rosicrucion.  however you spell that.  got it for the band name...

* ansat is stepping outside to smoke now. everyone type away....

<clock_> away.

<clock_> bah.

<keiki> away.

<kilgore> btw, just to let people know, i've got ye olde f-server running
connected to all of my textfiles. so, if you want anything, feel free to
leech away. as always, it's in a constant state of reorganization, so if
you are looking for something in particular, ask. just type !textorama for
access. i'm downloading web stuff right now, so it will probably be slow
for about 20 more minutes.

<clock_> oh boy.

<clock_> i'm scared.

<keiki> that was good.

<kilgore> hehee... that beat sound recording shit is in there if you don't
have it all, clocky...

<clock_> i's gots it.  actually at work.

* clock_ stamps APOCALYPTIC SOCIALISM on ansat's forehead while he's gone.
quantum, ya know.

* ansat comes back in with his hands covered in lighter fluid, and thinks no
open flames need be on his porch for a while....

<keiki> you're a walking hyperbole.

<clock_> heh.

<keiki> wow, i'm impressed that you have a porch

<ansat> its probably all of, like, 12 square feet.  it even has a banch.  ;)

<ansat> bench, even...

<kilgore> i subscribe to neil bohr's quantum model of apocalyptic socialism
as opposed to the holographic or mutiple reality variations. </esoteric>

[2:00] *** clock_ changes topic to 'State of unBeing e-zine -- Walking
mobius strip hyperboles. 12 square feet. Go west young man!'

* ansat giggles

<keiki> excellent.

* clock_ throws a muffin at alaska.

<kilgore> it's so cold in alaska, it's all in her mind...

* ansat is listening to Black Sabbath now, and wondering why he doesn't just
find the Gregorian chants casette...

<keiki> lou?

<kilgore> ayup.

<clock_> back and to the left, ans...back and to the left.

<clock_> oh boy. i ran out of mail to read.

* ansat is really beginning to want to smoke enough that he's willing to
risk incinerating his porch... ;)

[2:02] *** Xio is now known as XioWRK

<ansat> i have a 56k msg from the militia of montana i could send you... ;)

<kilgore> go to yer driveway. it's only rain. it's not gonna melt you, is it?

<clock_> not very flammable, ligher fluid is.  it gets burned up fast, also.
so, never fear.

<clock_> no thanks.  i'm done with my militia days.

<ansat> it's news reports, not militia stuff.  they just expand it into a
nice bite sized chunk... ;)

* clock_ frees joe cocker.

<clock_> i'm really done with news reports involving militias.

<clock_> what senator got shot?

<clock_> burkes...berks...birkes...

<kilgore> i wasn't listening.

<clock_> found with a single bullet wound.

<clock_> 50-something.  i think a democrat...i missed what state.

<ansat> when did that happen?

<clock_> 2-daa.

<ansat> geez.  what's the spin?  suicide?  assassination?  robbery?

<clock_> i tink.

* ansat should shut up and check CNN... ;)

<clock_> mr. sherrifffff states it's being treated as a homicide.

<clock_> man, we act like we have 16 satellite dishes and 42 forms of media
projecting at us at once.

* clock_ sues the u.n.

* clock_ wishes people would talk more than he does.

<kilgore> silkly velure. that's who died.

<kilgore> silky velure, rather.

<ansat> Tennessee

<clock_> tennessee.  hm.

<kilgore> oh wait, he was one of dr. grave's lovers. damn.

<clock_> freak.

<ansat> State Sen. Tommy Burks, a crime victims'

<ansat> 'advocate who was pushing a ballot measure to end a state requirement
for ``comfortable'' prisons, was found shot to death on his farm early

<ansat> etc.

<clock_> eek

<keiki> on a farm. figures.

<clock_> right.

<clock_> and hid pig was eating his spleen.

[2:08] *** keiki is now known as anygirl

<clock_> s

* clock_ doesn't like the fact that hilly is jacking art's bumper music.

[2:09] *** valeriec is now known as whoppeecu

<clock_> eh?

<anygirl> alaska's back

<clock_> glad to see it.

<clock_> now i have to reassociate personalities w/ nicks.

[2:10] *** kilgore has quit IRC (Delta 3.4 - Dark Illumination - -
[ ])

<clock_> arf.

[module two]


"I couldn't wait to get to American history to make that foot contact with the throbbing, squirming extremetiesof that luscious Ginny. Soon I discovered that she would even let me rest my feet right on TOP of hers, sending jolts of electric sex energy through my whole body!"

--Robert Crumb, Footsy; the true story of how
I became a teen-age sex pervert


[Prev | Next]

by The Super Realist

What they need to do, they probably won't be able to do it before as snow and freezing rain barreled into the East today, disrupting orders, give or take a few, each day as Christmas neared. Santa met with Clinton today in the United States and later granted political asylum; quoted as, "being very friendly and amicable." About 5 percent of Iraq's 22 million people are Christians and an immigration judge ruled last week that the Cubans should be deported to southern New Jersey by tonight, while another storm system was pronounced dead of exposure. Tuesday and icy roads contributed to three deaths Wednesday. Schuhmann said the site will soon allow customers to buy, for a limited time, their weather beaten gravesites off the air.

Iraq's satellite television channel also no longer broadcasts to the White House with relatives and friends. al-Iraq said, "The vicious role of this American and British commission is to buy Warner Bros." But Warner Bros. spokesperson Barbara Brogliatti said Wednesday their stock dropped to 606. And at that pace, the city may log fewer homicidal Furby's similarities to Gizmo; at last count 224 people. A U.S. court has indicted him and Washington for the holidays. The monks received a dozen Gethsemani for the holiday items, many of them for multiple items.

No one gave orders, give or take a few, each day as Christmas was taken just before the airstrikes began. Air defenses remain active. NNI quoted bin Laden as saying, "I am leading my life under the Secret Service and the immigration judge's decision is not final until temperatures dropped as much as 40 degrees into the 20s before I see the monarchy. It puts people in the Christmas spirit when you have crisp Taliban homeland." No one will be protected in keeping with Afghan tradition. "I'm looking forward to one of them long-range missiles," U.N. Trade Sanctions Secretary said mid-morning.

With repeated use by its owner, the government has kept the military on alert. But the Taliban promised that no one, including bin Laden, would see the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center, the agency reported. There was no immediate Taliban comment today about the NNI release of Gremlins and Gremlins 2: The New Batch. "The films featured between our character from Gremlins and the Furby there on the highway," terminal manager Gary Babcock said. Ann Charters slid off an icy overpass and fell 35 feet to the street below. She talked with people in their late teens and 20s and a growing prison population about purchasing the Furby dolls, but was referred to Kilgore Trout instead.

"Cold, snowy weather," said Kathy Resnick, of Suffern, N.Y., who slid off an icy overpass and fell 35 feet to the street below. She joined countless (well, an exaggerated term, since there IS a finite amount) Americans on Thursday, finishing last-minute shopping on a well rehearsed defense plan. "We'd rather have them safe here at the terminal than stuck out at defense related sites. Iraq says civilian sites also were hit. And by early today, weather-related delays and cancellations had Iraqi's entering the country illegally. Dallas, travelers spent the night on cots, in chairs, on floors in Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri and Arkansas."

Gallup polls show that Clinton has that special zing -- the best available sales help pay for running the abbey. "As they continually point out to me, they have a limited 200,000 who were without power in Virginia today, along with more than the National Weather Service." Central Park recorded a half-inch of Christmas travel, after turning roads across the nation's school and forces everyone to pray five times a day. "These criminals," Clinton said. Clinton, his wife and daughter were spending the holiday at the "Paradox," celebrating the abbey's 150th anniversary.

A flood of Nicaraguans into the South kept truckloads of parts from reaching the plant. The entertainment industry newspaper Daily Variety on Wednesday along with the U.N. Special Commission, or UNSCOM, began work in 1991 to help build long-range missiles. "U.N. trade sanctions imposed on Iraq for its work since the monks' Web site shutdown, customers who try to order people and they have a limited capacity," Schuhmann said. The food orders, give or take a few, each day as Christmas neared Nashville, Tenn., suspended service. Nearly 500 people at the Brogliatti would not confirm if discussions were ongoing about salad; field green salad; mashed potatoes; sweet potato casserole; or Taliban's supreme leader Mullah Mohammed Omar.

Citing that he would not, outside of that, Clinton kept a light schedule. He recorded his $44.95, a book, The Abbey of Gethsemani, Place of Peace and costly catalogs it mailed out each year. Asking that it be shut down, in his first public denial of the continued detention of Adel Regalado Ulloa, Jose Roberto Mexico about 30 miles west of Naples. Terminally ill Mexicans in Nashville had to stay overnight.

Some little bastard's toy's similarity to a movie Gremlin has reportedly led its maker to recall weather-related delays and cancellations which had some agency reported. There was no immediate Taliban comment today about the NNI. They also said that bin Laden gave a written guarantee to the unintentional similarities between our character from Gremlins and the Furby," she said, independent News Network International reported today. The president headed out shortly after 1 p.m. EST to pick up Gethsemani after being swamped with orders for their trademark. The Trappist monks changed the message on weekly radio addresses and nominated an ambassador to Brazil before supporting another IRA uprising.

Someone has until now refused to let him make public statements. Bin Laden's campaign against the United States is aimed at telephone lines between Baghdad and the rest of the country; remaining cut. This was not to increase business but to cut down on the amount of paper. "I was not involved in the bomb blasts... but I don't regret the effort to dismantle Iraq's programs to build mass destruction weapons," bin Laden said this week. It led to the stronger economy, waning crack use, a drop in the number of about 800 people scheduled to work the second production shift. "I'm looking forward to one," said Joan Osborne about an undisclosed amount of missiles to Warner Bros., the studio that made Baghdad.


"In this world, a freak is no bad thing to be. They proved that back in the sixties."

--Spider Robinson, "Lady Slings the Booze"


[Prev | Next]

18 JANUARY 1999
Reflections on Black Liberation

by Crux Ansata

Today, in the United States, we celebrate the state-enforced holiday of Martin Luther King Day. I say state-enforced, rather than state-sanctioned, because this is not a people's holiday, not a holiday that arose from the genius of the American people. Indeed, it is a divisive holiday, enforced in places against the will of the people. Nor is it a religious holiday, created by a popular religion and recognized and sanctioned by the state. Rather, this is a state-created and enforced holiday.

There is nothing unusual about a state-invented holiday. Throughout time, governments have been creating holidays to emphasize their greatness -- celebrations of independence, commemorations of battles, jubilees of rulers. Martin Luther King Day recognizes none of these, and should make the people wonder why this government sees fit to mandate celebrations for this man.

Martin Luther King is presented as a kind of revolutionary and martyr. He is presented as a man who put his life and freedom on the line for the liberation of his people. Insofar as this is true, he was a good man, but hardly one the U.S. state should see fit to laud. How does one explain this contradiction?

The United States has seen two forms of the Black Liberation struggle. Martin Luther King typifies one of these. This form of the struggle is essentially reactionary, conformist. Through non-violence and civil disobedience, Martin Luther King sought the right to just fit in, on the proposition there is no real reason why not.

Contrasted to this may be placed Malcolm X's form of Black Liberation, especially at the end of his life. Similarly struggling, also a religious figure, also assassinated, Malcolm X post-mortem has had a less warm reception by the United States's center-left establishment. Where Martin Luther King denies any White-Black difference, Malcolm X rages against it. Malcolm X acknowledged differences between Black and White and sought, by any and all means, to raise the Black experience to the level of the White.

While Martin Luther King has been canonized by the United States's established church, Malcolm X has been at best ignored and marginalized, more often commercialized or demonized. One must wonder: Why?, and, to answer, one must wonder: Who benefits?

One popular point of opposition is violence. Martin Luther King always and everywhere taught submission to the strongest, and this made him a safe "revolutionary." This was why he was feted by the White establishment, and why he was selected to head the March on Washington -- an attempted pressure- valve to which Malcolm X was not invited.

But while this issue is often cited, it is unconvincing. For one, Malcolm X did not engage in violence, nor did he prefer it over peaceful means. Malcolm X preferred freedom, and all else was tactics. Malcolm X did not ideologically shy from violence, as Martin Luther King did, but this is not the cause of his exclusion from the center-left pantheon. Rather, is it a symptom.

The other often-cited cause is Malcolm X's advocation of non-integration. He believed, especially in the earlier part of his career, in the need for Whites to solve White problems, and Blacks to solve Black problems. Some see in this a manifestation of racism; I see in this a manifestation of his deep belief in self-sufficiency. As his consciousness rose in his last times, he shifted to acknowledge the need for the oppressed to solve the problems of the oppressed, and not wait for the leeches to decide they are wrong for exploiting the people, regardless of race.

But this, too, is a symptom. The split between Martin Luther King and Malcolm X goes much deeper.

Martin Luther King, as stated, was an integrationist, essentially a reactionary. At bottom, he believed this status quo is good, and should be preserved. Malcolm X believed no such thing. Malcolm X was essentially a revolutionary. While Martin Luther King was motivated by a desire for "fairness" -- everyone should be mistreated in the same way -- Malcolm X was motivated by freedom. Malcolm X believed that Blacks should not be oppressed, not because they should be just like Whites, but because they should be autonomous human beings.

Is race the problem? We don't know. We can't know. Just as a respectful love relationship is only possible between two fully realized individuals with equal power in the relationship, so, too, equal race relations are only possible between two equal, realized nations. A colonialist situation is no more capable of showing equality than an abusive relationship is of showing true love. This was why Malcolm X struggled first to advance the Black race, and secondarily for inclusion into the White community.

So, why has Martin Luther King been adopted by the oppressor class, while Malcolm X has been adopted by the baseball cap industry? Again: Who benefits?

Martin Luther King endorsed integration. While on the surface an effort to bring Blacks to equal rights with Whites, it is no threat to the ruling class, because the end effect is not a raising of the Blacks to the level of Whites, but a leveling of Blacks and Whites. This is, in effect, the lowering of Whites to equality with Blacks. Martin Luther King had faith in our system, and this makes him a hero to the rulers. He sought mere fairness.

If you are only interested in "fair" -- in that grand, bourgeoisie "fair trade" mentality -- than the "progress" in race relations should appeal to you. Black and White are getting more equally exploited. Just as bourgeois feminism ended with women and men equally forced into proletarianization -- in a more "fair" world -- so too Blacks and Whites approach the socioeconomic lowest common denominator.

And the ruling class understands this. This is basic economics. All else being equal, if Blacks and Whites compete, wages and living standards will reach the lowest sustainable levels. Ethics is an externality, but the "ethics" of fairness is cold, economic calculation.

But where Martin Luther King endorsed integration, Malcolm X endorsed liberation. Malcolm X knew Blacks in the United States are internally colonized, and sought a liberating struggle, not to give a colonized people the forms of freedom when they weren't ready for them.

And, indeed, as our capitalism gets increasingly senile, and as the people of the United States are increasingly colonized, equality -- the equality of the type fought for by Martin Luther King -- is making the process of exploitation easier. We are getting more and more to the state of equal exploitation, even as Blacks and Whites are prevented from opposing the ruling class by having painted those who oppose them as racists.

So, as long as one is obligated by the state to observe Martin Luther King's feast day, observe for the things he should be remembered for: struggle and self-sacrifice. But, when the conversation turns to economics and race relations, remember we can all benefit through revolutionary class struggle, and that no one but the ruling class benefits from "fairness" and integration.


"The lung of a smoker is a naked virgin thrown as a sacrifice into the godfire."

--Tom Robbins, Still Live With Woodpecker


[Prev | Next]

by Bixenta Moonchild

Ahh, sweet cigarette smoke. It is a smell more dear to my heart than that of my flower garden in the spring or of my favorite incense that welcomes me daily into my bedroom/sanctuary. Cigarettes mean oh so many things to me. There was a time when they only played the simple role of a dirty habit, but I have since found that they can be so much more. They are a constant fixation, an obsession, the tools of an art form, a much needed diversion, an addiction for some, and a thorough infestation of the lifestyle of every smoker. The act of smoking is a daily ritual that brings us away from our lives for a few moments at a time and kindly provides us with the comfort of any religious practice. The smoker forms a personal relationship with his cigarettes; when he returns to them after being deprived of their contact for a few hours, the scene is an emotional one of a long-awaited reunion. The pack of cigarettes is a trusty sidekick; it is loyal and it waits patiently for us in one's pocket during every long hour of the day. When it is just you all alone in life, it can be pretty tough, but when it is you and your cigarettes, life seems a little easier to live. I know all of this all too well. I am nearing my 18th birthday (hallelujah!!!), so soon I will be able to buy my cigarettes legally. Soon I will be living on my own where my parents won't complain about the smell of smoke drifting downstairs from my room in the attic, or about the possibility that I could burn down their house with a lit cigarette. Soon I will be attending an educational institution of which I can smoke on the premises without having to keep a lookout for high school security guards whose sole purpose is to hand out $82 smoking fines. Soon I will be able to be a smoker without any hassles, but recently, after a 4-year-long love affair with cigarettes, I have finally said goodbye to this dear friend of mine. Why don't I smoke anymore? I have heard many people say that kids smoke only because they want to spite authority and that kids get a thrill from breaking the law, and, in most cases, disobeying their parents. For my particular situation, because of what my age was at the time I chose to quit, this might seem like a good explanation. However, it is completely untrue in my case, as it probably is for most others, and I am personally insulted by this theory. I would never care more about pleasing or displeasing other people (especially "the establishment") than I care about pleasing myself. I am pretty sure that most rational kids feel the same way that I do about this.

So...why did I smoke? Didn't I know what it would do to my health? Actually, when I began smoking at 14, I had already been convinced that anyone who ever poisoned their lungs with even a puff of cigarette smoke would die a painful death of emphysema or lung cancer before the age of 50. But I was in a deeply suicidal state of mind at that phase of my life, and I was certain that I would give myself a comfortable death long before age 50 with a bottle of sleeping pills. At age 16, I was still depressed, but my thoughts were centered around the desire for suicide much less frequently, and I began to contemplate the idea of having a long life with a husband, children, a career, vacations, celebrations, revelations about the meaning of life, and all that other groovy stuff. As this idea began to appeal to me more, I started to consider quitting smoking. But I knew it would be a very painful farewell to my favorite pastime, so I found a way to live happily with both of these contr ing desires; I became an expert in the one-thousand-and-one ways to deny the truth. And the longer one spends in denial, the easier it is to see your self-tailored rationalizations as the truth. But few people succeed in destroying their voice of logic completely. Somehow we manage to live with that little nagging voice of logic weakly battling the whimsical rationalizations for our behavior, and because our rationalizations always have the upper hand, we continue to enjoy the destruction of our own health. The factual reasons to quit smoking are so compelling, and the ways that we deny them to ourselves seem so silly, so where does our denial get so much power over us? Why is the immediate desire to smoke so much greater than the desire for our general, long-term well-being? I doubt that every smoker is suicidal, and caring about life means caring about one's health. So why are we so weak under the power of Cigarettes, and why are they so powerful? The physically addictive properties of tobacco are just one of the many factors that keeps us helplessly faithful to it as it betrays us, and I believe that this physical addiction is a rather minor factor. Peer pressure is often blamed for being the reason why kids start smoking, but from my experience, peer pressure is practically non-existent. There is also no logical explanation (that I can think of) for one kid to care whether or not another kid starts smoking cigarettes. To understand our strange fondness for cigarettes, we must look at the deeply rooted psychological reasons for our fascination with the act of smoking.

Breathing is the most primal and vital need for all living things. For the vast majority of the time that we are alive, we will not take any notice of our breathing. But our rate of breathing constantly changes as we find ourselves in different situations that change our emotions, mood, and state of mind. Controlled breathing can give us the feeling that we have a little more control over our lives, as is shown in meditation, yoga, and anger management that use controlled breathing techniques. When we smoke a cigarette, breathing becomes a new, unique sort of physical pleasure. When we pay such close attention to our inhalation of that sweet, warm smoke into our lungs, and, after holding it there for a moment to let our bodies absorb it, paying the same attention to our careful exhalation of it and actually seeing the white mist that is a mixture of our smoke and breath curl into little spirals in the air and fade away, it is almost like suddenly remembering again that we can bre athe and that the constant repetition of this forgotten, unconscious duty is what gives us life. It reminds us of our own mortality and of the realities of life. We sometimes forget that our selves are contained in bodies, and a renewed concentration on physical activity "brings us back" into our bodies. Everyone is "orally fixated," and this adds to the beauty of smoking. Our lips are one of the most sensitive parts of our bodies; what a wonderful reward it is to give them a soft cotton filter to suck on through which pours the stream of fragrant smoke that the smoker craves. Friends and lovers kiss each other when they are together; when the smoker is alone, he always has the tasty smooch and the smoky embrace of his cigarette. People often feel the urge to eat even when their stomachs tell them that they are not hungry; smoking gives us the feeling of ingesting something but gives us no calories. Smoking also gives an alternative to people who feel compelled to chew their fingernails or bite their lips.

Smoking a cigarette gives us a chance to stop and "smell the flowers." Society looks down upon idleness, and this belief is ingrained in us from a very young age. If we see a man standing against a wall, doing nothing but staring up at the sky for 15 minutes or so, we will automatically think that he is strange and suspicious. But if this man spent that 15 minutes smoking a cigarette, we would think that the scene is a completely normal one. We live in a busy society, and we feel that we always must be doing something, especially when we are in public; people often feel awkward when they are staying still and doing nothing when they are in public view. But we still have a craving for idle time, and smoking a cigarette is a mindless action that we can use to keep our hands busy and make it look like we are doing something. When we are alone, it is preferable to occupy our bodies with a mindless chore while our thoughts drift than to do nothing and let our bodies stay frozen i obility. When we are in the company of others and are having a conversation, it is sometimes nice to have a small distraction so that less than 100% of our attention is focused on the people with whom we are speaking. There are no "dead air" gaps in the conversation when the participants are smoking cigarettes; the conversation is then only one of the two things that are going on, and pauses are allowed and necessary for lighting up, taking a drag, exhaling, and so on. The act of smoking lends a more leisurely atmosphere to any situation. And time seems to roll by more slowly when a person has this one extra thing to keep him busy. Smoking also creates some social opportunities. Smokers get together and congregate outdoors to have their cigarettes when smoking is forbidden indoors, as it is in most places. In high schools across the country, a frequent reason for going to the bathroom is to gather in front of the open window with other smokers to share a smoke. No one ever offers an invitation to go outside or to the bathroom window "just to talk". Smokers are a minority of the general population, and there is indeed a bond between them, especially in this particular time when the media and political opinion are telling us that the tobacco companies are the evil buddies of the devil and smokers are their helpless, hypnotized victims. In my personal experience, I've noticed that a good deal of their conversation is spent on the subject of cigarettes: complaining about how the tax on cigarettes will soon be more than the actual cost of the cigarettes, grumbling about smoking bans in new places, and so on. The amount of conversation on this subject is not surprising considering that new anti-smoking legislation is enacted almost every day. When one group is being persecuted by a much larger one, it brings its members together in a strange way; it seems that this is what is happening during this newly declared "war on tobacco." Smoking is a perfect way to fill the short intervals of time in between bigger things in life. That 15-minute break at work is just the right amount of time for having a cigarette. What would we do when we're waiting for a bus if we didn't smoke? A cigarette break seems like a good idea for the 5 minutes between high school classes or the 10 minutes between college classes. How could we stand in line to get into a concert without smoking a cigarette while we're waiting? A cigarette has always accompanied that cup of coffee; what would replace it if we quit? What else is there to do with one's hands when one is stuck in traffic besides smoking? What else would pacify us while we're waiting for our order at a restaurant? For a smoker, having the first cigarette of the morning is as strong of a habit as brushing his teeth. After the habit is formed, smoking seems as natural and as necessary as eating. But unlike eating, a person can have an unlimited amount of cigarettes. And instead of having them at meal times, they can be used at any spare moment, and they make a person feel good every time.

And then there are the many unnameable pleasures and beauties that smoking holds for us. A frequent smoker finds that the lit cigarette in his hand becomes almost like another appendage, an extension of his body that interacts with the atmosphere by slowly dissolving into puffs of smoke. A smoker gets accustomed to the trail of smoke that follows his hand every time he gestures; a disruption in the straight line of rising smoke occurs every time he begins to wave his hands to emphasize his point, and somehow his words seem less powerful without the help of those white vapors. The cigarette becomes almost like a conductor's baton, its movement continually changing speed with the tempo of the conversation. It is like a magic wand, gracefully spewing floating white dust like the wand of Cinderella's fairy godmother. And it is magic because, as most people need non-material things to feel complete and content -- things such as loving relationships, adventurous experiences, intellect ulfillment, or spiritual stimulation -- a smoker, or any drug user for that matter, can hold one of his sources of fulfillment right there in his hand. And there are all the little things, like that delicious smell of burnt tobacco that lingers on the two fingers that hold the cigarette, and the feeling of heat in your lungs on a cold winter day, and the many other cute little attributes of smoking that make it so endearing to us who have done it for so long. If we are to try to quit smoking, it is helpful to understand the reasons why we smoke. It is my belief that the habit of smoking creates an emotional addiction that is far more powerful than the chemical addiction of nicotine. And it is the beauteous and primal nature of smoking that draws us to it in the first place, not advertising or peer pressure or the illegality of underage smoking or the supposed temptation of that which is forbidden. It is a lovely and satisfying habit for all the reasons I have listed, and I think I know them all too well. There is no substitute for all of the pleasing things that smoking brings into the life of the smoker. But unless one is suicidal or in denial, one cannot be a smoker. I have not bothered to discuss the reasons not to smoke because, in 1998, I don't believe that there is a single soul in this country who has not heard them over and over again ad infinitum. We are drawn to it knowing full well of all of its short and long term dangers. The key to escaping the clutches of Nicotiana Tabacum is in knowing how it has such a strong hold on us so we can wrestle our way out. It is probably best for a person to never start smoking at all so that he never fully knows what he is missing and never goes through the experience of quitting. Some people decide that they want to quit, but they put it off for years because they claim it is too painful to be endured. I say to them, a little bit of suffering now is better than a lot of suffering later. And it would be awfully nice if you could walk up a flight of stairs without gasping for breath.


"I've always considered movies evil; the day that cinema was invented was a black day for mankind."

--Kenneth Anger


[Prev | Next]

A Brief Examination of the Revelation of the Other

by Kilgore Trout

Before film even began as a narrative artform, it was being used to showcase people with various disabilities and physical handicaps in nickelodeons. P.T. Barnum's sideshow spectacles were in vogue at the turn of the century, and it proved profitable to put these performers on film as well as on short reels. Freak films, as they have come to be known, have remained popular during the past 100 years, from the films of Tod Browning to the recent Faces of Death "shockudramas." Either done in documentary styles or as regular movies using freaks in the main roles, the genre has attracted a sizable cult following. Some argue that these films are for purely exploitative purposes and contain no artistic merit, but others say that these films are symbolic of our own fears of ourselves and our roles within society, especially relationships with those who are different.

In order to understand the role that freak films have played in cinema, a short look at a few films in the genre is required. The pioneer of the freak film was the French filmmaker George Molies, who began making films in 1895. He soon grew bored of making documentaries about normal events and started to experiment with the camera, "single-handedly pioneering the fantasy film" (Hunter 198). These trick photography investigations included an enormous degree of body manipulation, such as a sequence from The India Rubber Head (1902) where Molies used a rubber balloon to enlarge his head which then exploded. He is also credited with filming what is often said to be the first nude film, Apros Le Bal -- Le Tub (1897). With his experimental camerawork and subject matter, the road for later directors had its first foundations built.

Although Tod Browning's most popular film was Universal's Dracula (1931), starring Bela Lugosi, he is perhaps best remembered for his 1932 movie Freaks, which is centered around a group of sideshow performers. The main character of the film is the midget Hans, played by Harry Earles, who is seduced and later married to Cleopatra, the trapeze artist. She has plans to poison Hans so she and the strongman Hercules can inherit Hans' wealth. Before the insidious plot can be completed, the other performers learn of the plan, and in the climax of the film, take revenge on Cleopatra, mutilating her and turning her into one of their own. This raises the question as to whether or not Cleopatra, being normal, is actually empowered by being disfigured by the disabled, who are the majority power in the movie (Norden 116). The film ruined Tod Browning's career, and he died in 1962 just as Freaks was gaining a new popularity (Hunter 202).

Lon Chaney, the star of The Phantom of the Opera (1932), was known as the man with a thousand faces, and with Browning he made a number of movies where he played disabled characters. In what Jack Hunter considers the pairs' most disturbing foray into freak cinema (200), The Unknown (1927) finds Chaney playing an armless circus entertainer, throwing knives with his feet at Joan Crawford, who is spinning on a revolving wheel. The audience discovers that Crawford's father was killed by a man with two thumbs on his left hand, and a few scenes later, Chaney is shown removing a straitjacket that concealed his arms, one of which has two thumbs on its left hand. He intuits that he could amputate his arms off and marry Crawford, for whom he has fallen for, and no one would know he committed the homicide.

Things go awry, however, as Crawford reveals she never loved Chaney and professes her love for the strongman, Malabar. During Malabar's act, which consists of him "holding back" two galloping horses which are, in fact, on revolving platforms that keep them stationary, Lon Chaney, now armless, uses his feet to jam the mechanism that spins the platforms. His murder attempt fails, but one of the horses breaks free and tramples Chaney to death.

These two films by Tod Browning are classic examples of the genre and showcase a bizarre cast of characters. It is interesting to note that The Unknown was a box office success, even though it was despised by reviewers. Hunter explains that this was probably because of Chaney's supreme ability at wrenching sympathy from audiences for even the most vile characters and the movie's familiar setting, a circus (200). The fact that Freaks, a film with real disabled men and women, shows an interesting dichotomy in the public's viewing acceptance of the extremely physically handicapped. A well-known actor such as Lon Chaney could play an armless circus performer and have a successful movie, but real freaks would cause people to run out of the theater.

In both movies, the disabled characters are set up as sympathetic characters, but by the end of the movies, they have resorted to horrible deeds that supposedly are influenced by their disfigurements. Norden notes that the revenge finale of Freaks is flawed, and quotes John Broson from his book The Horror People:

This retaliation by the freaks, though partly justified, is a major flaw in the picture. Up to then Browning had effectively presented them as basically "normal people," despite their physical handicaps... and much more likable than the two physically perfect people. But by resorting finally to the popular image of circus freaks as being strange and sinister creatures he destroyed all his previous good work, laying himself open, at the same time, to the charge of exploitation.... (116)

This climatic ending reveals a theme that the freak, however human he might appear to be, is still a freak and will act like a freak no matter how civilized he seems. It is an attack against the other, at the different. One cannot be totally human if he does not look normal, and Cleopatra is given the ultimate punishment by having her looks removed. She is now an outsider to the rest of the world who will be shunned just as those who did the act.

In her book, Linda Badley writes about Sartre who said that "the body is the sign of one's 'facticity,' one's ontological reality." She goes on to state that the body is a symbol of wholeness and unity, even though with the progression of medical science, the concept of the body equaling a person is diminishing. This notion enhances the significance of Cleopatra's mutilation -- she has now lost part of her body, and is now less than human.

Lon Chaney's character in The Unknown also faces this dilemma. It is his body which is the source of his problems, since it is his two-thumbed hand which is the damning evidence of his guilt. By amputating his arms, Chaney tries to cover up his crime for the sake of his feelings towards Crawford's character, but Chaney, who is the victim of unanswered love, cannot be redeemed, so he chooses to revert to his evil nature and tries to commit murder.

This feeling of horror at the revelation of the other, the grotesque side of humanity personified in the disfigurement of the freaks provides for powerful cinema. There is a slight current of the Frankenstein mythos running through freak films, in that the question is not only how human are the freaks, but how much can the humans be like the freaks. They are viewed as disasters of nature, but at the same time, their normal counterparts act just as inexcusably as they do. Badley explains that the Frankenstein myth has shifted into this realm in the form of symbolizing the consequences of action that arise from the ability to choose (99). In both of Browning's films, these consequences result in destruction of the body, and ultimately, of the self.

Norden argues in his book that these types of movies are purely exploitative, based on stereotypes designed to titillate and shock audiences. However, another subgenre in the freakish realm is that of the Mondo movie, named for the 1962 film Mondo Cane by Gualtiero Jacopetti and Franco Prosperi. The documentary showed viewers a side of life never before seen, from animal cruelty to a remote African tribe who worshipped cargo planes. With names like Taboos of the World, Savage Africa, and Weird Weird World, these films set out to up the ante in the shock value of cinema. Horror movies had been a successful genre for the thirty years preceding the 1960s, but with Mondo movies, the shocks came not from made up monsters from Victorian novels but real people in real places.

While filmmakers like Browning wanted to show a different side of life based on the circus sideshow and the human oddities that encompassed that lifestyle, they were still characters in a fictional story. Mondo removed them from a fictional setting and went to where they actually lived. David Flint writes that audiences were shocked at what they saw, since in 1962 "they were still only just getting used to the idea of bare breasts" on-screen. (2) And this time, the freakish aspects were not relegated to merely how the people depicted looked but also how they acted. Religious fanatics would clean church steps with their tongues, and African witch doctors cut holes into heads without the use of anesthetic.

This results in stepping closer to the removal of the boundary between the events being filmed and the viewer, who normally witnesses the different in a sideshow or on-screen as a costume made of foam rubber. In Mondo, the action is real, and the audience is forced to ask why these people do what they do. "[Mondo movies] offer us a look at a forbidden, secret side of life... seen from a permanently cynical viewpoint," Flint explains, and it is this secret life that the viewer is so interested in seeing. (6) Unlike Freaks or The Unknown, Mondo comes closer to the dark side of the human psyche than even the news, since its focus is on the actual occurrences, not after-the-fact reporting. Although some later Mondo movies were staged, like various segments in the notorious Faces of Death series, most of the footage, in its grainy and raw film stock, suggests an urgency and dirtiness that doesn't exist in most horror and freak films. Upon viewing Mondo Cane thirty years after its initial release, the images seem excruciatingly tame and unexciting, with the exception of a few dogs being beaten, and one wonders how much closer society has come to that which was announced thirty years ago as being the most shocking footage ever filmed.

Through freak films and Mondo cinema, the audience is allowed to examine a facet of life not normally viewed. However, this is not escapist fantasy, a world to belong to for a few hours in order to escape the doldrums of normal life. On the surface it may seem so, but underneath there lies a stream of ourselves projected in the other, of not only what we are capable of what we are doing but what we have already done, shown in an exaggerated manner which makes the actions seem absurd. The other is revealed as maligned and mutilated, and it is this part of the psyche that these films attempt to deal with.


Badley, Linda.  Film, Horror, and the Body Fantastic.  London:  Greenwood
     Press, 1995.

Flint, David.  "It's a Dog's Life:  The Go, Go, Go World of Mondo Movies."
     Rapid Eye 2.  Ed. Simon Dwyer.  London:  Creation Books, 1995, pp. 1-6.

Hunter, Jack.  "Inauguration of the Teradome."  Rapid Eye 3.  Ed. Simon
     Dwyer.  London:  Creation Books, 1995, pp. 197-211.
Norden, Martin F.  The Cinema of Isolation.  New Brunswick:  Rutgers
     University Press, 1994.


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


[Prev | Next]

by The Super Realist

Occidental Park
Did I come across you
Accidental --


Why are all these pigeons here?
The bums can't eat them
And the prostitutes only care
     about the bottom line
     and making the dime
     and don't have the time -- 
Sorry, was about to goosestep onto a rant 

But I refuse to get political
When evaluating the bhikku
     sitting next to me

Who am I to judge
Being the grizzled 20--something
Boddhisattva with a djarum clove
     held like a pencil tracing
     outlines of smoke within
     my lungs and hung
     in the air with a sweet taste
     of honey on my lips

But that's just the senses fooling me
(Descartes wasn't wrong, you know)
     because there IS no honey
     in cloves

Just ask the bees
Plenty of them around me

Of course I gave up (spiritual) Nirvana

And there goes a tour
Everything is so touristy around here
I wonder if Pearl Jam ever did the tours
     of the Underground
I wonder if the bees ever got harassed 
     by arrogant gen--x tour guides
     simply because they didn't make the
     in--crowd variety of honey

The Fenix is too far to walk
And I don't have enough to buy a hooker

That's the third time I've passed that woman
     this weekend
     of my life
Maybe she is my life
I've been reading too much Kafka
I wonder if she's heading to Pioneer Square
Or home


[=- FiCTiON -=]


[Prev | Next]


by I Wish My Name Were Nathan

TJ: I don't like giving speeches. I guess I don't know many people who do, come to think of it. The whole format somehow bugs me, if you catch my drift. So I've come up with a suitable substitute. This'll be a dialogue between you and me. We'll see how this works.

First off, the basics. Your president introduced me already, but I didn't like what he said about me. He focused too much on my achievements. I've had failures too, and I think they're just as important. So I'll introduce myself.

My name is Theodore Johnson. My friends call me "Trapdoor" and you can too.

AUDiENCE: [laughter, applause]

TJ: Thank you. I can see some of you know me already. I'm damned if I know you.

I've been on this earth for little over forty years now, and most of that time I've been writing stories about good people who think they're worthless. As your president already told you, I've recently published a book compiling a set of thirty characters who I feel best represent the span of human possibility thwarted from its full potential.

This book is in fact my first. Until now, I've only been able to get stories published in small magazines, some of which I almost wish had omitted my name.

AUDiENCE: [laughter]

TJ: I won't go into details.

AUDiENCE: [laughter]

TJ: I am astounded at the publicity my book has achieved, most of all because so many people find it dear to their hearts. I think this is sad. Too many people identify with my characters, whether white, black, male, female, poor, or rich. Why is this? I ask myself: why is this?

The undercurrent in all the characters I've written is the tragedy of lives cut short, people with tremendous gifts who couldn't use them. These people didn't commit suicide, they didn't get killed, they didn't die. But it's just as well. For whatever reason, these characters have cowered under self-doubt, fear, or apathy.

One character of mine was actually an acquaintance of mine in high school. Her name was Carol. I only met her face-to-face in an arts and crafts class. Boy, could she sculpt! I was flabbergasted -- among shoddy cups and plates, low-class damn crappy knitting, Carol was making faces of people she loved. Her mother. Her brother. She didn't get around to her father that semester because she wanted to get his face just right, with his tense face, wiry moustache, and wrinkled skin. But the next year, she had finished it, and that bust -- marvelous creation, nearly lifelike -- was on display in the hallway, and her father was as proud as any man could be of his daughter.

I next met Carol four years later tending tables at a Shoney's in Fort Worth. I was so happy to see her. "Carol!" I said, "what are you up to nowadays?" She told me her story. She had quit sculpting. She'd gone to college, took a major in art, and somehow fizzled out into a C student during her second year. And she dropped out. "But you must still be sculpting," I said, and she shook her head no.

"No?!" I cried. "Why not?"

She couldn't give me a direct answer, but I could see by the way she talked and waved her hands about. She said, "I really wasn't that good." I prodded her to stop being modest, but I soon realized she wasn't being modest. She really believed it!

She really believed she wasn't that good.

Whether or not that was really true where she went to school, I figured she could become "that good" in a few years with practice. I asked her if she would take up sculpting again. She said no. She'd become discouraged.

Now, I couldn't convince her otherwise in the hour I was there eating. What could have made this happen? Why did such a talent have to evaporate? When I got home I was infuriated. I could not hold my temper. Do you know why?


TJ: She had thrown it away, that's why. I consider myself a good judge of character, and when she and I were talking, I knew she'd had no reason at all to give up sculpting. The way she talked to me made it sound like it had been a snap decision on her part. I'd expected to hear a story about the economic difficulties of being an artist, but no -- she had a little bit of a slump, got some bad grades, and just quit. She just quit! Can you imagine such a thing? All that potential, she just threw it away!

Now, graduates, I imagine my frustration may be falling on deaf ears. Carol's a free person, right? She didn't have to do what she didn't want, right? It's her life! After all, there was a whole big world out there for her to waitress.

AUDiENCE: [scattered laughter]

TJ: I have one thing to say about that argument. It's worthless!

I think it's a sad state of affairs when a country values freedom so much that its citizens give up on life. For isn't that what Carol did? As far as I know, she's still playing waitress. She probably hates her job, but she didn't have to get stuck with it, and she doesn't have to stick with it, but she just might. Why? Because it's easy.

I think if something is easy, then it's probably a bad choice.

Does anyone disagree?

AUDiENCE: [several raised hands, about a quarter of the audience]

TJ: I suspected as much. I'm not going to insult you directly, since I know you're itching to get your diplomas and get drunk, right? But I will raise this question: what's so great about 'easy?'

I want each of you to think for a minute: do you remember anything you did that changed your life? I imagine most of you do. Would you have preferred that this life-changing event, whatever it was, would have been easier? Maybe taken less time, less effort?

AUDiENCE: [cheers, clapping, "College!", "getting my car!", etc.]

TJ: Bullshit! I apologize, President Spencer, but bullshit! Nothing worthwhile is worth anything when it comes easier. Believing in such nonsense is what makes gifted people like Carol give up. Even worse, it is what makes ordinary people stay ordinary. They feel some discontent in their lives and decide to endure it rather than seek change. Ruts are easy! They're carved out in the shape of lazy asses!

AUDiENCE: [raucous laughter]

TJ: I said a while back that I write about gifted people who let their talents slide. Perhaps that is the wrong word. It may alienate those with low self-esteem. "Malleable" fits in just as well, or better. For what is a gifted person besides one that excels in something other than mediocrity? When such a gifted person degenerates, he becomes ordinary, because he excels in rut-crawling and conformity. Such a degeneration is from possibility to pattern. Patterns are easy. Possibility is hard.

Someone like Carol had possibility of a lofty sort, because she was an artist. Being an artist demands an insatiable appetite for possibility, for novelty. It's not the ability to meticulously reproduce someone else's painting that makes a painter -- that makes a copyist. Artists must outgrow standards, and themselves, constantly. But no less should apply to any human being.

Forgive me if I get preachy.

AUDiENCE: [laughter, cries of "You go!"]

TJ: I believe I can offer you an authentic, valuable insight into the difficulties of adulthood. For most of you students, the pressures of due dates and grades were enough to keep them thinking and achieving. You had twelve years for grade school and four or five years for college. The administrators, teachers, and professors wrote the rules, schedules, and assignments. But after this, unless you go to grad school, there are no standardized tests, no official deadlines, no objective grades. You must do all the work, to decide what's worth doing, how long it must take, and what constitutes success.

Do you see yourself diving into a rut yet? I assure you, you will, unless you constantly remind yourself that you are living in possibility. Think about that. Nothing is fixed. Nothing.

In conclusion, it is in fact ironic that I could have written a story about myself and it would have fit right in with these other characters. It seems apt. I didn't get enough courage to try to publish these stories until six years ago. Until then I felt comfortable checking tickets at a four-screen theater in south Dallas.

AUDiENCE: [murmur]

TJ: And I'll tell you -- don't squander your life like I did. You -- each of you -- is worth more than that. You're already miles ahead of me. You've got college degrees now. Congratulations! Give yourselves a hand.

AUDiENCE: [applause, cheering]


"Those who think they have stopped learning need the hardest lessons yet."

--generic clichéd advice


[Prev | Next]

by Dan Safarik

Melvin Sneddle did his job, and well. He never spoke out when a pile of multicolored slips landed in a rainbow of bureaucratic furor on his desk minutes before 5 o'clock. He had moved such a volume of paper through the hallowed halls of Overstreet, Underpass & Sooer that on his birthday he was awarded a commemorative brass pen, engraved with his name next to the words "Employee of the Moment."

It sat proudly at a central location on his desk. He remembered the award ceremony brilliantly. The teeth of his superiors gleamed, washed clean of raw flesh for the event. A hot water-bottle handshake. A smile, a wink and a ride in the freight elevator. Someone faxed his buttocks to Sri Lanka. It wasn't him.

On the way home, he didn't make eye contact on the subway. He kept his nose in the newsprint. It was better that way. Melvin didn't bother anyone.

He lived amidst vast brick expanses of postwar blah. At home, he put together "Giant Squid" and "Tyrannosaurus" balsa wood skeletons. That was one of his hobbies. His other hobby was ruling the Universe.

* * * * *

The office buzzed and clucked like a henhouse. As the phone rang, its plastic shell throbbed warm light from within, a Smith undergrad reading D.H. Lawrence.


"Melvin! Remember those days back at the old school?" his boss, Mr. Anvil bellowed over the line.

"Most of them."

"Remember how you'd do my homework while I went to the shore with a carload of girls? Man, those were the days. I wasn't tied down to a desk then. No-ho!"

"Yes, sir."

"Well, it seems something's come up. I hear the weather's getting really nice at Pebble Beach, and you know, my golf arm's been getting slack... too much signing those takeover papers, you know? Anyhoo, Sneddle, I've got to file a longish report for the boys at Belligerent Oil in Houston, and, well, I figured I'd just go straight there rather than waste time coming back here, so if you could..."

"I'll get right on it, sir."

"Melvin, I knew I could count on you. It's just like the old days..."

"Yes sir, it is."

* * * * *

As a kid, Melvin used to build a wall of cereal boxes around himself at breakfast, ensuring that no one had a clear shot across the linoleum at him. He never lost the habit, and at work, piles of reports, requisition orders and receipts surrounded him in the same way, blocking his view of anything else, protecting him. He was not disoriented as the office whirled about him, searing hot coffee spilled on his shoulder, arguments raged right over his head, and people borrowed his commemorative pen. He kept his head down to his work.

He was unperturbed as the secretary put a call through from "some guy calling himself the Almighty. Is that a shipping company?"


"Melvin Sneddle, my name is God. You might know me by my stage name, The Almighty Swing."

"I think I might have read something somewhere...."

"Yes, well, you can't believe everything you read. In any case, Melvin, I've got a job for you. You see, I've been running this whole shebang since, literally, the Dawn of Time. And, well, I've got this gig in Vegas, this new place called the Temple. Well, what I'm trying to say is... these days, to make an impression, you've got to have a show. You can't just call up disasters anymore to get attention, I mean, with CNN, people know everything, it's... you know, demystified. But Vegas, man, think of the irony... there in the Capital of Sin, if I come in on forty-foot stilts on a couple of Holy Roller skates and give them the Word, clad in a silver gown, and there's a nine-piece tuxedo band... they'll see the Light. I mean, I know if I make another icon cry it'll just end up on Hard Copy.

"What I'm getting at, Melvin, is that subtlety doesn't fly anymore. People want splash. So I'm splitting PR and management. I've been watching you for a long time, Melvin. You're just the type of guy G-man needs right now. You play fair. You're calm, cool, collected. While I'm on tour, I'm putting you in charge. Remember, stability is key. Don't shake things up. Hey, I said the meek shall inherit the earth, right? Have fun with it." Click.

* * * * *

Melvin would have to work right through lunch to handle this, he decided. He found a glittering gold telephone in his desk drawer.

It rang immediately.




"You're the new Omnipotent Being, huh? Well, I'm Archangel One, and things are really heating up here in the Middle East. Someone's got a bomb, and he's threatening to blow up all the sand and the people squatting on it if the Southern Terrace isn't handed over to his organization."

"Well, uh... I suppose he could just quietly have a seizure, collapse and be apprehended by the proper authorities."

"Yeah, we can do that. I'll get the receipts to you by Monday morning."

"Thanks." He quietly replaced the phone. That wasn't so hard, he thought.

Before lunch, he diverted a flood, guided a firefighter through a smoke-filled burning building to save a child, steadied a flagging jetliner, and sent thunderheads over the drought-stricken central plains. After lunch, the memos from the angelic branch offices really started to clog the fax machine. Occasionally, his coworkers regarded him with some irritation.

The gold phone and the plastic phone rang at the same time. He answered the gold phone first.

"Melvin Sneddle. Please hold." He picked up the plastic receiver.

"Melvin Sneddle."

"Mel! How're things?" It was Mr. Anvil.

"Oh, not so bad."

"Well, the weather here is great. I can see Carmel from here. Ran a few into the ocean. Anyhoo, am I going to see that report when I get to my hotel?"

"Yes sir." Melvin looked with some discomfort upon the foot-high stack of paper still to be condensed into a report. It was almost 5 on Friday, and he didn't have the keys to the office to come in over the weekend.

"I hear you're getting a lot of fax volume there."

"Yes sir, well, I'm sort of ruling the Universe, and it takes a pretty big staff and a lot of time."

"I don't care what else you're doing. Remember, the Belligerent report is Job One. Let's not forget who's boss here, OK, Mel?" Melvin hesitated for a moment, thought for a split second how quickly a lightning storm could come to the golf course at Pebble Beach. But that would not be fair.

He hung up. He'd have to do his best condensing the report at home. When he got there, his answering machine had 99 messages on it, all prayers. It took about two days to answer those. A girl got a pony. A teenager got laid. Charges were mysteriously dropped against a televangelist and a senator.

He fell asleep from exhaustion Sunday night, to awake to the insistent ringing of the phone.

"Melvin, where's my report? And why aren't you in your office?"

"Oh, sorry sir, I've been really busy."

"Well, now you'll have plenty of free time. You're fired."

"Yes, sir."

He realized it was time to make his weekly call to his mother. "Hi mom. How's Florida?"

"Pink. Hot. You know. How's the job?"

"Well, I have new one. I'm ruling the Universe. I'm substituting for God while he's doing a show in Vegas."

"Well, that sounds nice. How does it pay?"

"It doesn't, I mean, not in dollars, anyway. But you do things for people. I've answered a lot of prayers."

"Oh, Mel, you're just like your father was. You give, give, give, never think of yourself. Hey, you know, my car's been having some trouble lately. Could you set it right? Oh, and do you think you could bring the flamingoes back to my pond? I overdid it with the chlorine and they won't touch it now."

"Sure, mom, anything."

"How're those nice little animals you make?"

"Oh, I haven't had much time. The prayers keep coming."

"Why don't you just disconnect the phone for awhile? Put your feet up for awhile. That's what He probably does. At least when your father.... You've been working hard, give yourself a break."

"Mom, that wouldn't be fair. The world needs me." He hung up, a little exasperated. He already missed the routine of Overstreet.

Just then, the latch on the door was sawed in two. A masked man in a leotard and flak jacket burst in. He pointed a lengthy muzzle at Melvin.

"You didn't answer the phone at work, so I had to hunt you down. Thanks to you, I lost my job. What happened to omnipresent?" He paused for a moment, looking at Melvin at his kitchen table.

"My answering machine only goes to 99. And I had another job."

"Some God you are." He pulled the trigger. Melvin could have stopped the bullet, he knew, but he wasn't terribly excited by his new job, and not much had changed in the world. Besides, to abuse his power like that would not be fair.

* * * * *

The Almighty Swing sold out every night at the Temple. The people got the Word, and then they went to dinner. Kingdoms rose, and kingdoms fell. And Melvin made the news.


"Those of us who have seen the hands of the Master Magician move a bit too slowly do have a rough time from time to time."

--Joan, in David Mamet's Sexual Perversity in Chicago


[Prev | Footer]

by I Wish My Name Were Nathan

[If you wish, see this, this, and this for some background info. --iwmnwn]

I think I'm going crazy. I think I'm going crazy. I think I'm going crazy. No one will listen to me though. They don't understand me. They won't listen. I explain why I think I'm going crazy, but since I'm already halfway there the explanation sounds sane. They point to my life and say, it's your circumstances. You're under pressures. Maybe it is my life driving me crazy. Maybe it's my circumstances. But I'm still going crazy. Won't anyone listen?

My dreams are starting to fuck with me. My dreams are scary. They're not about monsters or death or anything frightening. They're real, that's all. They're just real. I don't go to sleep when I close my eyes. I just look at other worlds, much like this one, but I'm there and I'm here and I feel I have to decide sooner or later which to choose.

I can't have myself committed. I just can't. I won't ever get out. I'll hate that existence worse than this one and I won't get out. I know I won't. I tell people I'm going crazy and they sometimes suggest that I commit myself but I know I can't. I can't wait around for someone to commit me either. I'd have to do something really crazy, really dangerous, before that happened. Perhaps by the time I resorted to violence I would be better off in a sealed cage. But right now I feel sort of in control and I'm trying not to let this get worse.

I think I know what my problem is. I'm not complete. I need to find someone. Otherwise I think about myself too much. I think about myself and anything is possible, anything is true, and I don't always want that. I'll find someone else and I can be with them, and I can try to figure them out, and that'll complete me. I can try to figure them out, that'll keep me busy for years. And they can figure me out. They'll find out I'm crazy. I'll even tell them, I'm crazy. They won't listen. They'll look for something but they won't find anything. It's all empty.

* * * * *

It was somewhere near the middle of June. Jeremy and some of his friends were hanging out, sitting on a log fence separating the wide, curving road from Juncture Marina, sitting in the shade of some old oak trees. Eighty degrees in the shade but they were wearing shorts, of course. They weren't stupid. They were close to the water fountain near the drinks stand. The water fountain was operational, but rusty and scummy with calcium. In comparison, dollar bottles of mountain spring water were a good choice.

The hot months of summer were coming up and Jeremy and the rest of his friends weren't planning to stay outside all day to sell themselves. Too little reward for the sunburns and heat exhaustion, too little money from already exhausted men. Some regulars were plain beach bums who were happy to get a blowjob before they went home to God-knows-where around the extremities of the beach where the sand turned to rocks and the beach turned into pitiful trees on the edge of junkyards and garbage dumps.

Summer was supposed to be vacation, although most of the boys selling themselves hadn't seen school in years. But it was tradition. Those who'd been in business for long enough knew to save up money for some sort of trip north during July. The others who had no money because they always wasted it on drugs exiled themselves in youth centers or friends' houses or tried to go back home. Those who were turned back bitterly kept at the day-to-day practice of sitting around and trying to look appealing in sweat-drenched clothing and reddened burned skin, putting up with the perverts who actually enjoyed trackmarks.

Jeremy had been a whore for two years now and he had been thrifty, saving around three hundred dollars in his left shoe under the sole for emergencies. The rest, something around a thousand dollars, he kept hidden in the lining of his backpack, which he didn't like to think about. It was a stupid hiding place. He could lose his backpack at any time if some punk decided he wanted to steal it, and Jeremy didn't enjoy the idea of exerting a lot of effort to get it back, especially if that meant calling the cops, and more especially if the punk stealing it was a cop. Being an active lawbreaker meant no immunity from such bullshit. What a stupid game. Lately he'd been calling it that, playing it out, secretly yawning during orgasm, pretending to pretend to be innocent when patrol cars crawled by, forcing himself to care, because he knew not what else to do.

But today, Jeremy was in an unexpected good mood, having made up his mind to get out of prostitution. He didn't believe he could grow tired of it, but he had. He feared he was losing his mind. He needed change. He had decided that the next john who came up to him, he would keep. No matter who, they were all the same. He would play the game of romantic attachment. The next john would be the last john, would be his lover -- hell, even a married guy -- just for a change, just for something to do different.

* * * * *

It was a slow afternoon, but they usually were slow. The way they were setting the clocks, at one o' clock the sun was directly overhead. Afternoon extended into the evening. It was a slow afternoon, but Jeremy had just woken up. He wasn't sleeping nights, because they were cooler. He wanted to be awake then. He went to sleep at nine in the morning and woke up at five.

It was around five now, but due to the clocks, it was still afternoon. Traffic on the beach was thinning out. People were going home to eat dinner, those who hadn't brought picnics. These people had small brains. They wanted to be on the beach in the middle of the bright hot sweltering afternoon, not able to look at the beach for more than a few seconds, not able to stroll quietly along the beach, having to run hotfoot over the great expanse from the water to their towels up the slope. Then they'd go home right as things got comfortable and lounge in front of their televisions.

Jeremy and his friends sat on the log fence, talking idly about some of the girls on the beach. A few of the whores were bi, but they hardly ever got money from girls. Girls considered it a date. The guys were usually too ashamed to ask for the money. Some of Jeremy's friends were discussing one girl and her friend. Each of them was pregnant by the same guy, some scum named Gary (or so he claimed) who raped them on separate occasions under the spell of romance. The girls had basically been duped into getting pregnant, not even physically assulted. But Gary had some powerful sperm and/or sabotaged condoms and they both got pregnant after one fuck. Gary had skipped town several months ago. The girls had started to show so they made a morbid deal to get abortions on the same day, as kind of a sisterly pact. And that's what they did.

Jeremy's bi friends who were discussing the girls were debating when they would get friendly towards dating again. Rumors were they were lesbian lovers now. Another rumor had it that the girls had actually gone to an illegal abortionist, had obtained the fetuses, and had burned them for Satan as part of their pact. Juncture was a small town. People got bored easily and came up with stories more interesting than real life. It was a survival instinct.

One of the guys named Tony was trying to quit smoking on a whim, and he distracted himself from the nicotine withdrawal by analyzing women's bikini briefs. He would determine if they were shaved, or if they had ever shaved. He could tell the latter because he said the bush grew in thicker if they shaved it. Most ordinary bushes would be just ordinary, he said, but those that grew back were thicker and tougher, and this he could perceive through most sorts of fabric. He'd also comment on the tightness of said briefs, pointing out "camel toes" with ecstatic moans of "Here, hoochie, hoochie, hoochie!" Butt-flossed rear ends he was not interested in, since he preferred those of men.

Jeremy groaned inside and hopped down from the fence to take a leak. The beach kindly had public restrooms, and on the wall was a ludicrous sign claiming that even though the lake was quite large, urinating in said lake was still frowned upon. It brought to his mind something about some man demanding "pure fluids" since city water had mind-altering flouride in it. Was that real? Jeremy pissed on the floor, since that's what the urinals were, depressions in the floor running along the wall with a large hole in the center. It reminded him of a horse trough, except there was no water here, and the wafting scent of concentrated urea drove him back several steps, eyes stinging.

When he left the restroom, he nearly collided into one of the water hustlers working part-time at the drinks stand, who asked him snidely if he ever paid for anything at the beach he and his friends so slothfully solicited. This was the gist of the insult. Jeremy never heard it all at once, but he had deduced this from several such collisions. This time, the water hustler had sneered, "Drink free and piss free, drink free and piss free, oh, free free free." That was another reason he wanted to quit this job as soon as possible.

The boys sat on the fence for another hour before another john showed up. He had his eyes on Kolby, who called himself "Kolby Cock," maybe in some approximation of "coldcock" but that didn't seem to be a sexual term. Kolby Cock went off and no one moved into the space he left behind.

Juncture Marina was situated as the end of a long sloping hill leading into town. A meandering road took an impressive 180-degree turn as it headed downhill from town, around, following the edge of the beach for a quarter-mile, and then headed back uphill. A fence similar to the one Jeremy was sitting on separated the road from the beach parking. Right now, a kid named Isaac was walking through the parking lot towards Jeremy and his friends.

Isaac was tall and lanky and kept his blonde hair pretty short during the summer, when he would take routine walks around Juncture and stop by and visit Jeremy and his friends. Isaac always seemed a little nervous to approach them since Seth had gone away. Isaac had usually talked with Seth on his detour, ignoring the other boys except with numerous rapid sideways glances. Seth had left but Isaac still came by and still found an excuse to talk. He would stand in front of them, shifting from foot to foot, because he never wore shoes, while his nervously furrowed brow and wavering lips cast shadows over his eyes and mouth.

He would ask them what was up, if anything interesting had happened lately, and had anyone seen Seth. He always asked that last question to justify his presence there. Jeremy and his friends didn't mind Isaac coming by; after all, he was quite attractive. But he was fourteen, and even if he did get up the nerve to ask for sex, none of them would touch him. Usually one of them would ask Isaac what CD was in the Walkman he was fidgeting with, and would listen to a few seconds of a song, and then Isaac would say he should keep on walking because the concrete was too hot.

"Poor kid," Alonzo whispered as Isaac walked off. The others nodded silently.

No one wanted to tell him where Seth had gone. They all knew, of course. Seth had been hustling with them on-and-off for months, until the middle of May. You see, Seth and Isaac had met in March at an OutYouth meeting in Austin. OutYouth was one of the projects that helped out gay youth with counseling on to tell family and friends about one's sexuality and so on. But it wasn't a dating service. Dating led to sodomy and sodomy was still illegal in Texas. As was statutory rape.

Seth was acting as a counselor when Isaac showed up. Seth counseled Isaac, who was so afraid, and so nervous. They had a long discussion and talked right up until the end of the meeting at eleven that night. By that time, the youth curfew was active, and Isaac couldn't go home the way he got there -- by hitchhiking. He had hitchhiked to Austin from Juncture to attend the meeting. Seth was living in Juncture too, though, so he offered to drive Isaac home. A few miles into the trip, Isaac asked Seth to date him. Seth was twenty-five. He said he couldn't. Isaac asked if Seth would kiss him. Seth had to refuse again, but not to hurt his feelings, said they could hang out.

And that's what they did. Isaac was in love, or in lust, and he started hanging out with Seth, which was with Jeremy and his friends. At that time they were hustling across the street from the adult video store. But pretty soon, tensions started to mount. Isaac caught on to the fact that all the boys were hustlers. He knew Seth was a hustler. And he wondered why they couldn't have sex, if it was so meaningless. Seth kept brushing him off, being a little less friendly, less polite, each time he did so. Isaac pretended not to notice, perhaps to save face, perhaps because he thought he had a chance.

Unfortunately, it was true, and this was tearing Seth apart. But Seth didn't dare. He wanted to pretend that Isaac was just an innocent kid, and that he didn't know what he wanted, and that having sex with him would be immoral and inappropriate. He pretended that he couldn't even logically be attracted to him, because that would make him a pedophile and he wasn't a pedophile. As he tried to convince himself, it was against the law, and he didn't break laws. Although prostitution was against the law, it was different -- it was just discouraged, but everyone knew it happened. But this, this was just wrong.

Seth and Isaac were like two magnets separated by a pane of glass. Isaac kept hanging around and Seth kept pretending he, it, wasn't there, just friends, nothing more, nothing more at all. Then one night Seth got piss-drunk, started ranting about his counseling fling being a great source of "boymeat", and begged to know why, when God comes to earth in the form of a boy, he just wanted to fuck him. Then he took an impromptu dive and drowned in the marina. They said he knew he couldn't swim. Jeremy and his friends kept up the story that he had just "disappeared."

* * * * *

Jeremy wondered briefly what we would have done if Isaac had asked him to have sex. He had, after all, promised himself to fall in love with the next john he had. It might not have been too bad, since Jeremy was only seventeen, but he knew he never would have gotten out of Juncture in that situation. Plus, he would have to attend kid parties forever, and soon he'd be the one buying all the cigarettes, and imposing on his own friends to buy liquor, to pass it down the chain.

What if that had happened, right here, today? The possibility seemed to Jeremy to be as equally likely as any other, these days. In the past few months, he had realized just how capricious life could be. For example, at the last party he had attended, where Cary Richards got his eye gouged out by Jason Powell. It was Jeremy's first time to get high on Drixoral, and imagine the good timing when he saw that thumb go right into Cary's skull. Strangely, he wasn't left with any emotion at all over the incident. He simply didn't care. What fun he thought was having he saw was just a game. It seemed meaningless when he replayed the short movie in his mind of Jason's thumb going right into Cary's skull. The blood and gore seemed like cheesy special effects, the screaming and howling like a badly-dubbed soundtrack. But all a memory, all false, all nothing.

Nothing surprised Jeremy anymore. He believed he had seen it all, and didn't think he would be surprised to see more, especially if it was some more pointless tragedy. He feared he was losing his mind. When all the meaning goes out of existence, why not go crazy? Jeremy decided he didn't want to, just yet. That was why. He would find the choice was not his.

* * * * *

"Why don't you date 'im, Jeremy?" they asked him then, "You're young." "If he asks," he said. "You know he wants it." "Shit." "Why's he so different, Jeremy?" they asked, "You always ask first." Someone else muttered, "I think we should tell him about Seth." Jeremy didn't know what to say. He was depressed thinking about it. Too much baggage.

Besides, here came someone. A cute someone. He made eye contact and Jeremy pretended to yawn while pulling back sharply on the legs of his shorts. The someone smiled and walked up to him and held out his hand. Jeremy grabbed it and hopped off the fence. They went off together.

The john was named Dominic. He had an apartment at the Trendy, a knockoff franchise chain near downtown. He seemed more talkative than an ordinary john, which Jeremy didn't mind, because he liked to talk and wanted to find out as much about Dominic as possible, especially since he was going to fall in love with him.

Dominic talked casually about his sexual fetishes and had Jeremy act one out. He had him dress up in black slacks, white tennis shoes, and a blue shirt with a white stripe across it. In the middle of the white stripe over his breast, he had him put a nameplate on that read "Albertson's." Dominic punched out Jeremy's name on a strip of plastic tape and stuck that on the nameplate. He put a load of groceries on the table and some folded-up paper sacks next to that.

"Sack up my groceries," he said. Jeremy was amused but kept a straight face. He played actor, as if he had worked several hours doing this and was ready to go home, putting a tired but determined expression on his face. He grabbed one of the sacks and opened it by swinging it through the air with a loud snap. Dominic swooned and clapped his hand to his crotch. Jeremy shoved up his short sleeves and transferred the groceries from the table to the sacks. Dominic watched intently. "Don't look at me," he said. "Pretend I'm not here. Like I'm just another damn customer." He walked around and looked at Jeremy from the rear. He walked back to his original position when the sacks were full.

"Um, you want me to carry these out to your car?" Jeremy asked. Dominic shook his head excitedly. Jeremy carried the sacks out onto the balcony. Dominic urged him on. "The tan Sierra," he said. He followed Jeremy down the stairs to the street where his car was. Dominic opened the trunk and watched Jeremy put the sacks inside.

"Hey, sir, nice car," Jeremy said, grinning. Dominic's eyes widened briefly. Then he shrugged his shoulders. "You think?" "Yeah, I do. Whatsay you take me for a ride?" he asked. Dominic smiled crookedly. "Would your managers approve of that?" "Absolutely not," Jeremy said, "so let's do it."

The two boarded into the Sierra and Dominic had to take a deep breath, to be sure he could drive. Jeremy's surprising twist had thrown off his sense of balance. "Where to?" he asked. "Let's go back to your place." Dominic nodded. Of course.

He pulled out from the curb and started to drive around the block. At the third left, a stop light, Dominic tapped his foot against the brake pedal in anticipation. Jeremy squeezed his thigh near the crotch. "You want a price check on that boner?" he asked. Dominic suddenly frowned and said, "Oh, come on, don't be cheesy."

He pulled back into his parking spot and opened the trunk. He pointed up to his door number. "258," he said. Jeremy lifted the sacks out of the trunk and started walking back upstairs to the apartment. Dominic followed him eagerly.

When they were back inside, he said to put the sacks on the table, he'd deal with them later. "Let's do it," he demanded. They started having sex. Jeremy sucked his dick while Dominic had a paper sack over his head, causing him to hyperventilate and have a powerful orgasm. Then Dominic fucked Jeremy while he pretended to sack up groceries again. Soon after, Dominic gave Jeremy a blowjob on the kitchen table, sitting in the middle of the array of groceries. Finally, Jeremy fucked Dominic, on the pretense that it was rude to break a twenty for such a small order.

This took about two hours and afterwards they cleaned up and got stoned. They watched a little TV. Soon, it started getting dark, so Dominic reached for his wallet and asked, "So, what's the total?" Jeremy grinned and said, "You." Dominic puzzled over this for a while.

"I love you," Jeremy said. "I want to have you forever."

Dominic's eyes widened at that. "No money?"

"Nope. I wanna live with you."

"This is so sudden."

"I knew someone like you would come along, someone I couldn't resist. I can't just fuck you and throw you away like the others. Let's get married."

"You're a whore."

"I'll quit! I'd do it, for you," Jeremy said. He was still riding the high. He drawled, "I'll even become a baaaaag-boy."

"Ugh, no. I don't like bag-boys any longer," Dominic said.

"Why not?"

"I dunno, it was a passing fancy."

"Was it good, though? Did you like it?" Jeremy asked.

"Oh yeah, hell yeah, it was great."

"Of course. I aim to please. C'mon, marry me."

"You're really stoned, man. Are you serious?"

"Yes! I love you."

Dominic doubted that. "I'm not falling for it for a second. Are you trying to trick me?"

"It sounded like something fun."

"Seriously, how much money do you want?"

"Don't you think it would be fun to fall in love?" Jeremy pressed.

Dominic was starting to get paranoid. This kid was starting to worry him. He was smiling a little too widely. -- "Marry me, Dommy!" -- Plus he didn't want him in here when his girlfriend got back. "Here," he said, pressing a hundred dollars into his palm. "Get out."

Jeremy was astounded. "What?!"

"Get out! Go away! I don't want you here anymore."

Jeremy stood up haughtily from the couch. His head swam. "Fuck you! Fuck you!" he cried. He started to see circles. "Don't say I didn't try to make it work!"

He stumbled to the door. Around the doorknob were those circles. He was almost afraid to touch it. Dominic was still on the couch, glaring at him. "Get out!" he snapped. Jeremy wrenched the doorknob open and left.

* * * * *

Outside the door, Jeremy felt helpless. He knew intellectually that he had been joking about falling in love with Dominic, but emotionally, he couldn't convince himself. He felt depressed and alone, and he couldn't do anything about it, although he rationally understood exactly what had happened.

This was another reason he suspected he was going crazy.

Jeremy lurched away from Dominic's apartment, angry with himself. He had fallen for his own trick. He couldn't believe he had believed. He knew it, this was proof that things were getting worse, and he didn't know what he could do about it.

He took a glance back over his shoulder at the Trendy. He detected movement out of the corner of Dominic's window where he had probably been spying on him. Jeremy spat at him. And then he started laughing.

Laughing, laughing, laughing, out there in the darkening street along Apartment Boulevard. It was silly, it was pointless, it was meaningless, just like everything else. Jeremy tried to laugh at its silliness but a tinge of cynicism still colored his laughter. What was he doing? Just what the hell was going on?

He decided to get out of the street -- he just noticed a car pass by close in the next lane -- when the streetlights came on. He was looking directly at one at the time, and it caught him like a primate catching the flicker of a distant campfire. He had been seeing the circles, and now again he was seeing the light, and then the shapes, which suddenly evaporated as the light grew and grew. It started to surround him, eat him up. He was scared....

* * * * *

Perhaps it is time to explain things a little further. Some of you may remember Jeremy as an invincible deity. He believed this because at the age of thirteen, he tried to commit suicide by brutally slashing up his body. His wounds healed, much to his dismay. He was similarly confused by his ability to raise the dead. From what he'd heard in church, he figured he was different than ordinary people.

I've never tried to explain how he was invincible or why he could raise people from the dead. I just reported the facts as I heard or witnessed them. But he recently discovered a probable reason why.

Back in March, Jeremy took a dare from one of his johns to whom he'd casually revealed his immortality, as he called it. The john was not impressed. He asked, "Do you sleep?" And Jeremy answered that he did. He considered it routine, having done so for years, not thinking it might just be an unnecessary habit. The john said, "Well, then see how long you can stay awake without it." So he tried it out.

The usual number of hours ordinary humans can withstand without sleep is around 120 hours, or five days. Possibly with amphetamines you could stay awake longer, but usually caffeine is the only drug legally available in the contests sponsored by radio stations, which often promote such contests to raise money for charities or to torture new deejays. When you go without sleep for several days, your muscles ache constantly, and you can usually feel each individual bone ache. It becomes difficult to stand up and appear sober. Your muscles twitch and your hands shake. Your eyes hurt. Your hearing becomes strangely intense. If using coffee to stay awake, your digestion takes a downturn as well, if you're not used to drinking eight or ten cups a day. And, finally, hallucinations arise after several days. These are usually disturbing in nature, since you're usually not in a very good mood after four days without sleep.

Jeremy knew none of this. It wouldn't have interested him to find out, either, since he believed that sleep was just an option for him. He would have been just as interested in how long a person could go without driving.

So, he attempted the experiment. He didn't bother to tell any of his friends he was doing it, because he didn't think they needed to know. He didn't bother to find somewhere comfortable to relax. He just went on with his ordinary daily activities of hustling, but left out sleep. He made more money that way.

Since he was invincible, his muscles didn't start to ache. His bones didn't ache. He didn't need caffeine to stay awake. He walked, stood, saw and heard normally. His digestion was as fine as ever, since food was also an option for him. One thing he did notice, though, was he was thinking slower. Thinking slower.

Jeremy was not well-educated and didn't engage in any intellectual conversations, so he didn't have a chance to notice he was thinking slower until the seventh day, when he realized he didn't know where he was anymore. He had been following a pretty routine waking schedule, hustling at the places least watched by police and most frequented by johns all week long. The only difference was, since he wasn't sleeping, he was also wandering randomly around town during his typical sleeping hours.

But during this new part of his routine was when he got lost. He only noticed he was lost after he realized he had been staring up at a streetlight for several minutes. He looked away and thought to himself, "Where the hell am I?" He forgot the question when he noticed that the image of the light was following his eyes. He had apparently been staring at it a long time. But it was wrong, somehow. Somehow that orange light was still floating in the top of his field of vision. Jeremy was smart enough to know that most burned-in images were seen in reverse, but this orange light was still orange, and still bright.

Check that -- not orange. When he tried to figure out what was going on, the light suddenly phased into white. It made more sense. So now Jeremy was seeing a bright white light, but it didn't obscure any of the details in his field of vision. It was still nighttime, and the road was still faded from a diffuse shade of orange, under the streetlight, to charcoal greyness. The houses still seemed dark and shadowy. Whoever's houses they were. He didn't know where he was.

Jeremy concentrated on the light. He experimentally closed his eyes and it was still there. It didn't go away! So what was it? he asked himself. He stood still and thought about it. He was thinking slowly, and a lot of things happened to the light before he realized it. It seemed to be getting brighter and wider, and shifted into the top of his head. It was brighter but it didn't hurt his eyes. In fact, it seemed to draw him in. Draw him in. Odd shapes were dancing on the periphery of his field of vision, which was still black, no matter how bright the light got. The dancing shapes formed into seductive geometric patterns but when he diverted his attention towards them, they phased out. He could have sworn they also resembled money and teeth and male genitalia from certain angles, but he could never get a direct impression. His efforts at concentration jumbled the shapes.

He was still standing in the middle of the road, and he dimly remembered that he was lost. But even if he was lost, it was more important to get out of the road than become unlost. It seemed very clear to him, this fact. Out of the road. He saw a sidewalk in the distance and started walking toward it. Dimly he realized that in approaching that sidewalk, he was ignoring the two sidewalks alongside him. Those were closer, he realized. Closer. So he turned and headed for the closer sidewalks instead of the sidewalks far away, since although walking far away would get him off the road, it was more important to get off the road sooner than later. This was very true.

Once he had achieved his goal, he again became preoccupied with the strange light and those shapes in his head. He sat down on the sidewalk and closed his eyes and thought about this situation. What did it mean? Why was it happening? It had never happened before. He'd never heard of it happening before. He was thinking very slowly, though, and he didn't feel like giving up time to think about these questions. He just concentrated on the light. As he watched, the arrangement changed and he suddenly figured out that the light was shining through something that resembled a glass globe. There wasn't any field of black anymore. He felt he was staring at something much larger than his field of vision. He wanted to look out of the globe to see where the light was coming from. He couldn't decide, and he really didn't want to think about it. The light was drawing him in. Drawing him in.

Gradually, the scene became animated and vivid, and he was barreling down through a telescoping series of globes, each more and more important and less interesting. He saw through the surface of the outermost globe and broke through to the next one, and the next one, and the next one, until he could see the edges of a large number of concentric surfaces receding into the distance. But still, in the middle of it all, was that bright white light. Simultaneous with noticing this, he heard, or felt, a tremendous rushing sound, like all the tiny noises around him had suddenly grown to a huge volume, or speed, and were converging in his head.

He started and bolted open his eyes. He was lost again. He wasn't sitting on the sidewalk. It wasn't nighttime either. He realized he had been staring at the reflection of the sun off of a car's bumper in the distance. He looked around him. He was leaning against the wall of the laundromat across from the adult video store in Juncture. Alonzo was on his right, and Seth was on his left.


He looked again. It was still Seth. Seth looked at him and said, "Have a catnap?"

"I guess so," Jeremy said. An afterimage from the sun's reflection hovered in front in eyes, but it was so tiny as to be imperceptible.

Jeremy uttered a laugh. He had probably fallen asleep and just blacked out until now. He remembered that he had been awake for a week. He supposed he wasn't as invincible as he thought. Well, that was fine as long as he couldn't be physically injured.

There was something wrong, though. Since when had he been awake? He remembered going to sleep the night before. And something else -- of course Seth was here! Why wouldn't he be?

"Aaaah, March," Jeremy said experimentally, stretching lazily.

"April, Jer. Remember, your birthday?" Alonzo said.

"Just kidding," he said. "I wish I was still... sixteen... because, uh... seventeen... seems so old."

Seth made an aside to Alonzo. "Some party, huh?" he remarked, laughing.

"What did I take, anyway?" Jeremy asked.

Alonzo said, "Cary said something like twenty --" "-- no, fifteen --" Seth interrupted. "-- fifteen Drixorals?"

"Yesterday?" he asked, confused. "That wasn't my party. I didn't do those until May!"

"It's April, Jeremy, dude," Alonzo laughed. "Man, I think you should take a day off."

"I think I should," he agreed, and headed for the park. Jeremy usually slept in the park during the night -- the night, so this must be April, he thought, since he slept days in the summer -- and he could also sleep there during the day.

Jeremy was thinking very slowly, and he didn't realize for a few minutes that he was walking away from the park instead of toward it. So he turned around and got caught by the sun. Somehow he had managed to look right at it. He clenched his eyes shut and that bright light was back in full force again. He suddenly remembered, yes, he'd seen that last month, in March, when he had gone without sleep. Not this month, in April, when he'd apparently had some wild birthday party. That much seemed to make sense. [And Seth wouldn't commit suicide until next month. But why was he so sure of that?]

He tried to remember what this light thing meant. He couldn't remember, but he didn't really want to, because he was distracted by the odd realization that the light in his mind was surrounded by an eyeball. Maybe that's it, he thought. It's just the surface of a really large eyeball. The memory jolted him that this was actually Cary's eyeball, which he saw dangling out of his eye socket. No wait, hadn't it been gouged out? He wasn't looking at an eyeball anymore, but something that eerily resembled a screaming face turned forty-five degrees to the left. That idea went away and soon the periphery of the bright white light in his head was the usual array of dancing geometric shapes. Okay, that made more sense.

Jeremy opened his eyes and continued walking toward the park. He realized that he'd stopped walking and was standing on the sidewalk with his eyes clenched foolishly shut. A few people were watching him and he wondered if it had been their eyes he saw in his head. He didn't consciously wonder that, but somehow he noticed the idea was there. He didn't bother to answer it.

He managed to walk to the park without further incidents. He seemed to be thinking quicker now. But, of course, he should have been, since it was a month later. He was confused. He sat down on a park bench and soon found himself lying down on the bench on his back with the sun shining down on his face. He felt very warm and comfortable. He was calm, but confused.

As he lay on the bench, he noticed his thoughts getting slower and slower, like a wheel on a flipped motorcycle. That thought brought to mind the image of a hubcap, and in the center was the reflection of the sun. No, that light, and the black rubber was the periphery again. Every time, it was something circular. Circular. Did that mean anything? He didn't care to wonder. He just thought about where that light was coming from. Was it the sun, over his head, shining down into him? This idea didn't make much sense, considering he normally saw a field of black when his eyes were shut. It was like he had uncovered something to see this bright white light. But how? And why? What did it mean?

Jeremy's mind lapsed into silence again and he realized he was falling, up, through the surface of the globe again, through the next one, and through the next, and on and on. The light got bigger and bigger and soon the periphery didn't exist. And again, the sounds around him started rushing at his head, and he started hearing everything at once, louder and louder, until --

* * * * *

Until... well, I can't quite, uh, I can't quite say.

(He had been concentrating on the streetlight so intently that he only registered the sudden squealing of brakes. Jeremy wrenched his head to see a large car and found himself flying off.)

(He was thrown thirty feet, coming to a grinding halt by virtue of his nose and teeth tearing against the pavement. Jeremy tasted his own blood and was revolted. He heard footsteps, glanced around, and saw numerous worried and curious people running toward him. The thought of someone caring for him was terrifying. He tried to run away on two broken legs and his body fainted.)

The sounds were back to normal again, and Jeremy realized his eyes were wide open. One thought remained in his mind: "me"

He felt suddenly refreshed, and sat up and realized he was lost again. He was standing in someone's bedroom, with a green carpet and a computer and books everywhere. He walked into the bathroom, although he didn't know one would be there, and looked at himself in the mirror. That wasn't Jeremy, was it? No, that was me. Jeremy stared at the face in the mirror, and under the light, it started getting brighter and brighter, until there was no face... no Jeremy... no room... no me.

* * * * *

Pardon me. I was explaining why Jeremy became vincible and lost his powers. I'm sorry, I got lost.

After his birthday party in April, Jeremy had changed somehow. He started to remember things. He lost his ability to forget. Now, it's difficult to describe this as a spectator, but Jeremy didn't suddenly remember his childhood in vivid detail. That's not how he lost his ability to forget. He lost his ability to forget, meaning he realized suddenly what he was.

As he explains it to me, losing the ability to forget meant losing the ability to believe anything. Believing is forgetting. When this happened to him, he realized what he was -- a forgetting machine. On one hand, whatever he let himself believe, was a forgetting of the other possibilities. On the other hand, he realized that everything he thought he knew was just something he had told himself to believe. So, to make himself believe anything, he had to forget it. That's how he learned it.

In other words, Jeremy thought that he only believed things because he had forced himself to. And then he had to forget that he did this, in order to act out that belief. He says, if he didn't forget that he had made himself believe something, he just wouldn't believe it.

I asked him why this was so. He said that all beliefs were false. He said that we have to force ourselves to internalize beliefs, forgetting we learned them, before we could use them. Otherwise we'd see that they weren't true at all, just our own inventions, and they'd be useless.

I said that some things certainly seemed true, like that we have to breathe air to survive. He said that was something that animals had just assumed when it was convenient, but that it's not necessarily true. They could breathe water if they wanted. I asked him how. He said, they have to realize the possibility, and then believe it. I asked if he meant that a human, say, could simply believe he could breathe water and then do it, just with the power of his mind? I was pretty sure that it was biologically impossible. Jeremy said, it all depends on what you consider the mind.

* * * * *

I thought Jeremy had some intriguing theories, but he didn't care to discuss them with me, because he didn't think he could put them exactly into words. That, and he kept on getting "lost." For instance, I found him losing in this part:

That night he lay shivering under cover of trees near Juncture Marina and felt an irrational urge to drink a lot of water. He'd noticed such cravings in recent months and he was disgusted with his loss of self-control. Water, water. Comes in, goes out. Fucking useless, like circulating air through one's chest.

He laughed about this, laughed morbidly, a forced laughter that was by necessity the only possible remedy for death. He hated laughing because he knew it was forced. Laughing accidentally meant having been tricked. Laughing on purpose was masturbation.

Death. God, what a concept. Jeremy clutched his body tighter to quell the shivering. His teeth were clenched fiercely together, to keep them in; he regretted passing up the chance to recover those he lost on the road. Fucking oscillations, shivering, brain rattling in the head. This is just the time, just the perfect time to die. Dying to quell the misery? No, dying to prevent it.

Dumbfuck, Jeremy cursed himself. Dying to prevent misery. What a cop-out. You'd have to be utterly out of your senses not to die screaming. Death. Jeremy found out what death was. Somehow he was creeping blindly toward it. Or it was pulling him by a string he couldn't cut. Death was change. Death was difference. He loathed finding it out. He loathed himself for having allowed his guard to fall. He had glanced at death and become it.

In his delirium, his blood trickling still from his ears even as he jammed his fingers in them and growled, Jeremy lost all sense and started remembering things. Thinking back. Turning to look at pillars of salt. Pillars of salt? What the hell did that mean? He realized as he did it. What was it -- a few years ago, he'd resurrected some motherfucker? Why? What was that for? He knew the answer the moment he'd asked it, but that was wildly different from the answers he'd given himself at the time. Saving losers from death. Making them live against their will, filling their heads with lies to suit his own perverted need to avoid death. Jonathan Squires. Died screaming, reborn in Jeremy's image. He'd died once the way he wanted to, he now lived without a purpose.

Whatever, whatever, whatever. Who cared about the past? Who cared about those people? Jeremy did when he thought he had a chance at scoring. Was it that? Who had he seen in the past few years who he hadn't injected his semen into? Do you have an offer, sir? I'll give you a brush with youth and a whiff of immortality, the gift that keeps on giving, as you wake up each morning, damned, continually growing older than the kids you want to fuck. Jeremy realized only too late what he'd been doing to them, what he'd been helping propagate, but by that time was no longer young. Fucking showoff, bringing misery to masses of men because they would never, could never, be like him. Jeremy got his reward. He found out what he was.

He grasped the bridge of his nose and forced it straight in the event that it would heal. He knew pathetically that it wouldn't ever be the same again. He realized. His face would change. He would look as damaged as he was. He would be unable to forget such a thing, and his memories showed all over him.

Jeremy was his own seducer now, comparing the present with the past, finding he was aging, and wanting the comfort of uniting himself with someone stupid and young who wouldn't tempt him to think. An utter impossibility now. He was becoming death, he was self-conscious, he knew he could never be young again -- he'd lost control, and the idea had escaped his destroying hands and made itself real. He'd been raped, and he knew the attacker was himself.

* * * * *

I'm getting more and more nervous as time passes. Nothing is happening like it's supposed to. Everything happens differently, everything. The world is in a constant state of difference. I don't know where to turn. I'm losing my mind. I try to act out the motions and do what I think is right but everything happens differently. It's that light.

It's that light that fucked me over. I don't know when I first saw it and I don't know when I last saw it and I don't know if that's not it right now hiding under the words. I usually see the circles first. Something circular that reminds me. I have to keep moving or else I stop and I think of the circles and then I think of the light and then I'm lost. I keep getting lost and that light keeps on hounding me and tripping me up.

I know what it is, it's my reality that's starting to fuck with me. My reality is frightening. I never know what to expect because it's always different. Nothing stays the same. Nothing stays the same. Even that is different. Maybe it's not my dreams. Maybe it's not my dreams that are wrong, but my reality.

* * * * *

Forced to sleep -- believing it necessary, now irreparably convinced. Jeremy found out that homelessness sucked when the heat escaped from the beach he was sleeping on, escaped from the body he was trapped in. And the dreams. Since when had he had dreams? Signs of a deranged mind, Nietzsche said. Pitifully ironic when you realized how he died. Dreams. The dreams. And the light.

Jeremy had never felt truly endangered before. Never scared for his life. But the fact of death had so powerfully shaken him that he was now forever susceptible to fear. And the fear came in the worst possible way, from the viewpoint of those who fear. Jeremy's own mind betrayed him.

Popularly it is assumed that one is safe from the events in one's own dreams. For Jeremy, though, his dreams were his weakness. When he fell asleep, death chased him. The circles, the light he had been so mesmerized by was death. Drawing him in. Pleasantly, almost coyly, like -- what? -- a whore -- death had introduced itself to Jeremy.

He had opened the door himself, if only subconsciously, by trying the sleep deprivation experiment. Although supposedly immortal, the wear on his mind from lack of rest sent his long-earned defenses crumbling. The crumbling grabbed his attention and he watched the circles, shockwave ripples, focus on the break in his armor where the light shone through. It drew him in. Drew him in. His thoughts slowed down in awe while death mobilized its forces, grew stronger and stronger, threatening to destroy him. He was lucky to have dropped off in time.

And now, damaged and broken and seeking sleep as a refuge, death taunted Jeremy. The pleasant abyss of the dreamworld was interrupted at irregular intervals by that light, dancing about the imaginary scene, attracting the dreamer's attention only long enough for him to start, wondering what happened. Often he slept fitfully, waking much too often and seeing a glint of death's light somewhere in his field of vision, drowning in dread, sure that life was not worth this pain. If only to avoid acting on this, he would numb himself back to sleep, where he could at least avoid reflecting on it.

He reminded himself to keep his eyes shut if he awoke, to avoid finding out that a bright glow in the distance was actually death's peeping eye. He would rather not know than be sure; it was so much safer to assume it was his imagination rather than finding the external world betraying him as well. But the dream image persisted in his mind's eye, and the light's gleam was waiting behind it. Moreover, his voluntary blindness helped only to heighten his sense of hearing, and the completely innocuous nighttime sounds that Jeremy once dismissed now became the creeping, imminently congealing whispers of death.

Oh, this was a terrible night. It had never been as bad as this. Jeremy blamed it on his injuries and his delirium and was thus able to quell his fears through the foundationless but impressive structures of reason. He'd only had this type of panic during certain moments of shared weakness among his whore buddies -- bodily threats of violence and imprisonment, mostly, and more personal but communal senses of meaninglessness.

Although meaninglessness can be common, it is only felt personally.

* * * * *

The atmosphere had changed, that was what he noticed instantly. Less humidity against the skin, cooler, lonelier. Jeremy opened his eyes to find out that he was walking down a hallway. He saw a guy glance worriedly at him as they passed and say, "Oh my God, man, you're gone." Jeremy wondered calmly what that meant and realized he wasn't being addressed. He saw a body walk out from his field of vision. He looked familiar...

Before he could figure it out, the scene changed instantly. With his slow thoughts, he watched his perception of the scene morph to match it. It resembled an acid trip. Was this a flashback? The idle thoughts were washed away as he came to see he was lying in a bed in the corner of a dark room, light from the moon streaming in through the blinds and casting parallel beams on the wall. He absurdly tried to concentrate on the beams while ignoring a great tension in his mind he was trying to wish away. The tension was foreboding, heavy, crushing. He felt in grave danger of moving under its weight. The viewpoint pulled back and Jeremy again came to realize this wasn't his mind or body. He felt great empathy for whoever this was, but also great fear. In a sudden insight, he realized the tension was a vacuum and the fear a self-deceptive game; moving wasn't the danger but staying still was. He desperately wanted to relay it to this mind but couldn't figure out how. The mind came to its own conclusions. In bitter despair it gave up, let go, and was swept away. The body remained, screaming.

Jeremy was racked with profound sadness at the piercing howl until he stepped back and realized what he was seeing. The body was terrified, not the mind. The mind had left, the body was reacting. As he considered this, he detected that the mind was trying to contact the body again. It was relaying its discovery. The screaming became intermingled with faint laughter. Jeremy was astonished. He could see the mind playfully poking at the body. Gradually the howl was infused with hilarity, levity. But as gradually it drifted into mad laughter, filled with sardonic pretended relief, self-bemoaning anger, and disappointment. The mind found what it had done to the brain it had left behind, found it in ruins and scarcely a fit home. It started a patch-up job, the path towards a goal of forgetting. Jeremy solemnly predicted it would happen again. The vacuum always waited.

The clarity of his thoughts is what shocked Jeremy to attention. What was happening? By his accounts, he had had a body for several years and now he was without it in apparent wakefulness. His attention having slipped, the scene in front of him melted beautifully away into the overwhelming white light; he saw he had been staring at the surface of the glass globe all along. He was surprised at the transition, and came to imagine all at once that this light hadn't simply appeared in his mind, but the other way around.

Insights rushed to him from all directions and he felt an incredible sense of infinite knowledge coming to him [as he terms it]. He concentrated again on the globe of light he was "in" [he says the word has no absolute meaning], marvelling that "it" [he hesitates to let me use a referent here, but I am addicted to nouns] had thickness at all, and watched it, let it, grow thinner and thinner. At last, it (?) burst and Jeremy (?) was out (?).

At this point, the narrative is impossible. Jeremy tells me to relate this anecdote to relieve some of the suspense and disappointment: in the last moments he felt he was still a separate mind, he visualized a large neon sign reading:


* * * * *

That night Jeremy died, but of course it isn't that simple, is it? Ask anyone to define death and they'll usually commit the error of describing a dead body -- that's not death, that's only an effect of death on the body. Jeremy's death was different. His mind... his controlling mind, shall we say, left him. He tells me he doesn't mind a bit. I feel at a loss, myself. I hope he will still talk to me. He seems further away all the time....


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