To Amuse the Cosmic Ass

Drunk on his own brew and half asleep at his office desk, the most honored man in the world cries. He cries the tears of one whose sadness is his greatest gift and his greatest curse simultaneously. Rheb Larsden, founder of Sadventures Incorporated, who specialize in reconstructing negative emotions for people who have never known them, clutches the little pills in his hand as he works up the courage. Today is a good day to die.

Eight years ago Rheb somehow stepped out of the 21st century into wherever he is now. In eight years he still has no idea how he got here or where he is. It could be the future or an alternate universe or even hell, so far as he knows. A hell in which everyone was happy but him, and where he was made the most powerful man simply by offering them a glimpse of his sadness.

When he was taken out of the world he was born into he was running through the woods clutching an epi-pen, racing to save the life of the woman he would marry in just a few weeks. He and Mareva had gone for a short walk from their camp when the bee stung her. As he raced back to her after retrieving the life-saving device, he was snatched from his existence and dumped willy-nilly wherever he was now.

Not a day goes by when he doesn’t set the table to eat himself inside-out emotionally over the ordeal. He knows he could handle it if he had just been taken from her, but that she almost certainly died because he could not reach her, he can never find comfort or peace. Or maybe he just doesn’t want to. Maybe we fall in love with our pain so we never have to be completely alone.

Still clutching those pills, those little distillates of poisons he had extracted himself for this very purpose, Rheb stumbles from his chair into a simulation room.

“Computer, run program Romeo & Juliet,” he says to flashing lights on the wall. A door opens and he walks inside the brightly lit room that quickly fades into shapes and colors and objects and faces and voices. This simulation was his first, before he added olfactory elements to further enrich the experience. It was a crude a clunky program, but it was his first and he had wanted to preserve it in all of it’s glorious clumsiness.

Rheb left the 21st century knowing almost nothing about the works of Shakespeare, a bard who had lived far before the time and place he was born in. His reconstruction of Romeo and Juliet was, he knew, so laughably inadequate that anybody from his original home would have called shenanigans. But even if it was only a shadow of the original tale, supplemented with Shakespearean tropes that probably weren’t even in Romeo and Juliet, the people here had loved it. For most, it had been their first real immersive experience in sadness and despair.

“Chose role,” a computer voice prompted him.

“Romeo.”

Wherever he was, wherever this was, this maddening utopia he had been delivered to by unknown forces, it was not a place for him. Everyone here was happy, perfectly and flawlessly happy. They paid him great money to experience the sadness he brought here with him. They rode his angst like a roller coaster through simulations he had programmed from his own experiences and memories of a world where everyone was far from perfectly happy. A world he missed more than imaginable.

When he arrived he found himself running down a street, still clutching the epi-pen meant to save Mareva’s life. Everything was pristine and beautiful, and his confusion and anguish were so out of place he became an instant spectacle. He scanned around. He screamed her name. He ran in circles. He jumped up and down and fell into a pile of confusion, fear and frustrated rage.

“What game is this, brother, and can I play with you?” asked a stranger standing over him.

Rheb looked up to notice that he was surrounded. All around him there were maniacally smiling faces, looking at him like he was the most fascinating thing they had ever seen.

“Play,” he responded. “PLAY?”

The man who had asked stood over him, grinning ethereally, without a care or concern in the world.

“You think this is some kind of fucking game? Who the fuck are you? Where am I? Where is Mareva?”

His face turned red then purple. His fist balled up and he began to shake.

“Where is Mareva?”

The man and the crowd still just smiled, waiting to see where this game was going. Rheb coiled up and struck out in a flash, punching the man square in the jaw. For a moment his smile was gone, not replaced by anger or pain, just curious confusion. Then he smiled again.

“What do you call this game, brother? What am I supposed to do?”

Rheb wound up for another, but before he could throw his punch he deflated and crumpled to the ground and curled up in the fetal position and began to wail. After a few minutes of total absorption in his own confused misery he heard dozens of other voices wailing. He sat up and looked around and all around him people were lying in the fetal position throwing mock tantrums of their own.

His anger flared. He jumped to his feet and was about to lash out in violence when he noticed that all eyes were on him. Not in mockery or contempt, but awe and wonder. They were following his lead, not ridiculing it. They gazed on him like some kind of glorious freak or a god. So he did the only thing that made any sense and blacked out.

Over the next few weeks he learned that wherever he was, sadness no longer existed. It was a world which had solved all of its basic problems, freeing its people the existential angst of their vestigial evolutionary quirks. Negative emotions had no bearing on these people, because the situations which gave rise to them had all basically been solved. From resource scarcity to reproductive patterns, everything that caused disharmony had been weeded out through careful innovation of all aspects of life.

Romance and love still existed, but without expectation or urgency. Love spread itself out so that everyone generally loved everyone else. Romance was something that happened in brief spurts, usually over a day or two, as two fascinated people explored one another before moving on to explore someone or something else. A life of total leisure had reduced the passion of love from a burning desire to playful curiosity.

Reproduction became a matter of community planning. Whenever somebody died a new human was created from the genetic framework of that person and the person who had died before them. They maintained population equilibrium this way while still preventing genetic bottle-necking. Babies were raised by volunteers for the first few years, but as they began to gain more independence they were given more opportunities to make choices for themselves while still be tended to by other members of the community. However in this world you were unlikely to meet a five year old who wasn’t as capable of self-sufficiency as most adults had been where Rheb came from.

An absence of fear and multitudes of trust tended to point everyone in healthier directions. It all began to make sense to him over time but there was one thing he could never explain. Even babies did not cry. Was this the same human being stock he had been bred from, or was it an entirely alien species? Was the difference in their basic structure, or just that they had eliminated sour emotions from their species for enough successive generations that they had been entirely bred out?

These people did not even fear death. It was every bit as accepted and even exciting as births were. Every individual even spent their lives composing a death song, a tune which would be sung by others for the first time after death, and would be used to memorialize them joyously. Festivals were regularly had in which songs for the dead were sang while people took ‘enhancers’ and danced and laughed and told stories. Of course the songs came and went over time. Few songs existed from even four or five generations back. The best way to be remembered was to write a great song, but nobody seemed much too concerned with being remembered and just tried to write a song they liked.

It was the perfect world and Rheb was the most beloved man in it, and yet he still resented it with every bit of his being. It had taken him away from Mareva, and it had prevented him from saving her life. He was trapped here alone with his sorrows and she was gone forever, not even a song to be sang to remember her.

A character spoke to him, “To be or not to be, that is the question.” It handed him a simulation of the poison which Romeo takes in the scene lying beside his sleeping lover Juliet whom he believes to be dead.

Rheb will be taking his own very real poison this time. Laying next to Juliet, who he had programmed to look like Mareva, he will swallow his mercy for once and for all. The simulation moves him ever closer to that moment and his heart swells with relief. He is not afraid.

The people of this world, this future, this hell, this godforsaken whatever, had long forgotten sadness when Rheb arrived. They lived peacefully and blissfully. To all outward appearances they were perfectly adjusted. But through their constant smiles and enthusiasm there was something else. It had taken awhile to see it, but it was there.

Where once had been sadness, pain and all of those negative emotions there was now a hole. A great emptiness that longed to be filled. Although they could not verbalize it directly it became obvious that everyone carried around a sense of incompleteness. And his sadness, an experience which was absolutely alien to them, had become a fast, cheap fix. Through reliving the misery he was able to relate to them, they temporarily were able to fill this gap. However it never lasted and they were always hungry for more. Until finally the gnashing of the teeth of these emotional vampires, demanding his anguish so they could feed from it, became too much for him to bear.

The saddest man could never be given any peace in the happiest of worlds.

As the poison took hold he began to lose consciousness. Suddenly he was back in the woods, running towards Mareva. He cried out, “Don’t worry baby, you are gonna be okay. Everything is going to be okay.”

When his body was found in the simulation room a memory tube was found in his pocket which contained his death song. Within hours it had spread over the entire world and was being sung by every person alive. For the first time they shed tears and felt the sadness that Rheb could only give them a small taste of in life. But by his death and by his song, the currency of pain was made real by the guilt of what they had done. They had driven their savior to oblivion in their hunger for his knowledge. They had caused the fruit which shall not be eaten to eat itself.

I am an ark upon an endless sea
Built from pain and misery
Surrounded by waters of endless glee
That jump the bough to ride in me

How can a boat so small and frail
Hold an entire sea it was meant to sail
Surely such a thing must fail
Why must I sink to tell my tale

As all things must come to pass
To amuse the cosmic ass
Into the void where I belong
Feast your fangs on my life’s song

To the World, I Died Long Ago, But Today I Say Goodbye (With Audio Version)

i died long ago

Childhood is a cruelty nobody should have to bear in these short lives we live. Mine was worse than most. Things were bad, I mean REALLY bad. I just wanted to hide, to escape. But wherever I went the adults found me and the cruelty continued. When I realized I could not get away I tried to become somebody who just didn’t care. I built a new me, one who could deal with all of the things that I could not. The new me kept me safe. I gave up more and more of myself all of the time just to feel that comfort and security, even if it was a lie. Before long I gave up so much of myself that I began to disappear into the new me. One day I found that I no longer existed. I was just a spider caught in its own cobweb in the corner of the new me’s mind.

I mostly forgot that I existed. But whenever new me, which I will call Hector, got scared or encountered an extreme situation or feeling, I would find myself rising back up to the surface. Hector developed some bad habits as an adult. The methamphetamines he took gave me a glimpse of the outer world that he lived in. I became desperate to look outside again. When Hector would try to clean himself up I would whisper to him from the corner of his own mind, urging him to get high. When he would stay awake for days he became so weak that I was able to take over our body for brief moments. During those times I began to want to come back, to take over and be in full control of us again. But Hector, as always, was stronger. He beat the drugs and in the process pushed me back into my little darkened corner, where I became trapped like a prisoner of the mind. Even worse, he never knew he was doing it, or noticed that I still existed.

In fact, Hector became stronger than ever. After a period of incarceration for the weaknesses I took advantage of, he was back in full control. His new resolve gave him the strength to fight against oppression, a state our memories would not tolerate in his world. He became an activist. In fighting the demons of the world, he became stronger than I could ever hope to break through. And then one day almost a month ago, something changed.

There was another activist, a man named Alex Walsh, who lived not a few hours drive from here. He had been making some bizarre claims online about a conspiracy to discredit and kill him. Nobody took him too seriously, until one day he showed up dead. He had shot himself, and set his house on fire, or at least that is what the authorities and mainstream media said happened. But to Hector, this was more than just coincidence. Alex had been killed by those whom he had warned everybody who would listen, were trying to kill him. Whether Alex was the victim of a conspiracy or a desperate suicide, I will never know. Yet Hector’s certainty triggered a paranoia the likes of which I had never seen him experience. His fears became so profound that for the first time in years, I was able to rise back up out of my corner. Within a few days of his uncontrollable fear, the very thing I had created him to be immune to, he became weak. And that is when I started wrestling away more control.

Hector’s greatest weakness is that he had been created solely to deny fear, not accept or face it. When he found a thing to fear that he thought he could not deny, it wasn’t hard to help push him further in that direction. The more afraid he was, the more control I gained over our body. Soon I was taking it over for long stretches, mostly when he thought he was sleeping. I was not satisfied with having control of our body in that tired state he surrendered it to me in. So one night when he thought he was sleeping, I scored some methamphetamines so that I could feel awake and alert when our body was all mine. As the paranoia over Alex’s death mixed with the meth and lack of sleep, the people closest to Hector suspected our drug usage, though he was unaware it was happening. Even while feeling the effects, he could not admit their influence, because he was certain he had not used them. Once I lost control before I could hide my drugs and he found them in our backpack. I thought that would be the beginning of the end of me, but his paranoia convinced him that the drugs had been planted.

This was the point that he became certain that someone or someones were out to get him. His cautious paranoia became a certainty. The lost time he was experiencing when I took over created situations that he could not explain, and so slowly, he began constructing narratives to accommodate them. I watched these narratives unfold and tried to figure out a way that I could exploit them to gain total control of our body after all of these years.

One day we were standing in a parking lot and I was able to force myself to the surface. I remained there just long enough for the scene to change before he came back. What stood out in his mind were the extra cars in the lot and the increased traffic. He began to fixate on cars and I took advantage of this. From within I pushed him to find connections. When I gained control at home, usually when he thought he was sleeping, I began to fill our mind full of conspiracy theories from the internet. Slowly they began seeping through the thin partition between us and he was compelled to find this information ‘on his own’. I did everything I could to reinforce these theories, in hopes that I could vanquish him and have us all back to myself. When I saw that a local group of Satanists were attempting to hijack a city council meeting for some bizarre social experiment, I seized onto an idea. It didn’t take long before he caught a glimpse of the news, but from within I distorted it and made it seem far more sinister. It did the trick. He was now convinced, thanks to the ideas that I had been planting, that a gang of Satanists were stalking him for some ultimate maligned purpose.

What happened next surprised even me. When he began to publicly reveal his delusions, he was encouraged by others sharing similar paranoid ideologies. His certainty blossomed faster than I could have imagined or hoped. It was no longer necessary for me to feed him the fear from within, as he was now so ingrained in his narrative that he was immune to reason. Those who tried to talk him down became ‘conspirators’ themselves and everything that happened became some kind of verification for his complex web of paranoia.

One night he contacted a pair of fairly well known activist to listen to his tale. He spent hours telling his story through fever pitched anxiety, and they seemed to be listening, maybe even believing him, or so he thought. After his tale one of them tried to convince him to get help dealing with the anxiety and stress this was causing him. From within, I could see the lie. He was trying to trick Hector into discovering his delusions. He was trying to manipulate him through false support into going to those who might be able to vanquish the delusions that would be my victory. I felt Hector pulling away, giving into some doubt, and considering the advice. I screamed from within, “He is one of them! He is trying to get you to give up, to fail, to die!” When that worked, I knew I would soon have control again after all of these years.

I did learn something from that experience, though. I learned that he believed he ‘knew’ how he would die. Hector thought that he would either be killed by a speeding car that made it look like an accident, or that he would be gunned down by police trying to capture him on behalf of the worldwide Satanist organization that was out to get him. I took every chance I could to reinforce these beliefs. The more I pushed them, the weaker he got, and the closer I got to taking over. But pushing his buttons constantly was bleeding into my own mental state, so I tried being more subtle and letting the crazy colleagues he had acquired reaffirm his fears, while he traveled down a rabbit hole of information that did the same.

Unexpectedly, as he became less frantic and more stoically certain, I was better able to take control at will. Fear had gone as far as it was able to take me, until I was able to deliver the final crushing blow. And so I also became more relaxed. I spent the time I had controlling our body leaving puzzle pieces for the final picture, but also trying to enjoy the life I would soon have all to myself once again. As I struggled to find that joy, I came up continuously empty handed. So far had I been removed from the pleasures of life in all of those years of isolation, that I didn’t even know where to find joy, and I was not sure I would recognize it if I did.

There was some comfort in the cartoons I had watched as a child, before I created Hector, as they had been my original escape. But soon even those became empty. At first I had enjoyed the meth I was secretly feeding our body, but in short order that too became a nowhere place. The family that was once mine were now distant strangers. They were his family. The pleasures I had peeked at from the corner of our mind were also his, and they brought me no comfort, no joy, nothing. The closer I got to having my life back, the less I wanted it.

When I thought of all the things that made me want my life back they were his things. They were his experiences and accomplishments and joys. I had mistaken the envy I experienced from the corner of our mind as desire. Yet once I was free to act on my own desires, I found that I had none. I had no meaning and no purpose. I had died long ago. I was a memory that refused to quit. A ghost in Hector’s consciousness.

I began to step back, to relinquish control. I retreated back to that corner in the hopes that I could feed from the experiences of his life again. But it was too late. I had ruined his life. I had pushed him so far away from his own sanity that he was just as broken as I was when I created him in the first place. So here we were, two people in one mind and one body, neither able to appreciate it. The momentum was too great. His paranoid certainty had closed every loop and became an airtight narrative outlining his own eventual demise. And the only thing worse than the outcome I had helped conjure up in his imagination, dying at the hands of the illusory forces he was certain were out to get him, was for both of us to endure these fears for days, weeks, months and years to come.

This life, that I have not even been living for a very long time, is now too much to bear. For either of us. Hector will not end it, he cannot, I made sure of that. It is up to me to free us both from this hell. I will not destroy his delusions before I end it all. They are all he has left. He will die with the courage and dignity that I have never had in life, to fight with all of his might, even though the forces he battles are all make believe. I leave this letter for his family and his friends. I have nobody. I am nobody. May you remember him kindly. May you remember him as he was before his fear gave me the chance to ruin everything. The man you have encountered recently is not the one you have known for all those years. He is a mockery of that man, a ruination built on the foundations of my weaknesses and my lies and my fears.

To the world, I died long ago, but today I say goodbye. If the car that I step in front of doesn’t kill us, then the cops who try to drag us into the loony bin afterwards will. I will be certain of that, that they do their part, not as though its hard to do these days. By the time you find this, it will be too late. Blame me if you will. Hate me. But please, do not blame Hector for what I have recently done, and what I am about to do.

Night of the Care Bears – A Movie Mad Lib In Reverse

night of the care bears

Last March I began a wonderful journey as a contributing author at CopBlock.org. During that time I have gained innumerable knowledge and skills. However, before that, I was primarily a writer of fiction and short stories. From this new experience I became far more focused on writing about events and ideas directly. Recently I have written several articles of the non-fiction variety that sum up the ideas I have explored in this time. Having completed these theses, I now feel free to explore my fiction writing again. While story ideas often come to me, writing them is a whole different beast. Getting back into fiction shape, as it were, entails me to rediscover that voice through writing experiments.

My first foray back into the format of fiction, Idiocracy Assimilated, inspired me to continue experimenting in writing through Dadaism. However, following that up with another similar mashup seemed too easy. Yet I was not too far from that method when I struck across the idea of reverse Mad Libs. Where that form asked solely that you fill-in the blanks, I thought it might be more rewarding to create the blanks (as well as the rules for filling them in) on my own. But starting from scratch would not have made sense, so I decided to take one of my favorite movies of all time and rewrite the plot synopsis through this Dadaistic reverse Mad Lib idea I had.

My first idea was to break the plot synopsis of The Night of the Living Dead (from Wikipedia) down into its basic concepts. I was able to narrow it down to eight basic concepts. I then considered what cultural trope seemed like the opposite of zombies, which I somehow decided was the Care Bears, and reformed the original concepts with ones more aligned with the Care Bear universe. I came up with the eight concepts and the new ones I would replace them with.

Zombies, Monsters, etc.- Care Bears
Dead, Die, Death, etc- Falls in love
Stabbed, Shot, Attacked, etc. -Tickled
Reanimates, Comes back to life- Makes a friend
Eating- Cuddling
Corpse, Body- Imaginary Friend
Shock, Fear- Laughter
Weapons- Feathers

After that I organized all of the proper nouns and replaced them with new ones, which also seemed to more closely fit the rearranged tale I was trying to tell.

Once I had went through and painstakingly replaced words and concepts with my alternatives, and made them grammatically friendly, I still needed to rearrange some syntax and context to make it all fit together. By the time I was finished I had refleshed a stripped skeleton and created a whole new tale.

For those of you looking to learn, improve, expand or teach creative writing, this is an extraordinary experiment. While you are not tasked with providing a plot at the behest of the experiment, as you delve into the content and consistency of the remix you are writing, you find yourself making changes that drastically reconfigure what you started with. In the process of re-editing the tale, not only did I rewrite it, I wrote a brand new one.

So for all of you teachers and writers out there, I hope you can take something away from this that is useful to you. And to everyone else, I hope you can see that the process of writing is an endless task of experimentation and hard work, and not just some escape from the labors of the real world. And to everybody reading this, those trying to escape their own real world labors, I hope you enjoy the story!


 

Night of the Care Bears

Baby Doll and Kid Luscious drive to the Forest of Feelings for an annual visit to their father’s grave. This was done at their loving mother’s request. Kid Luscious teases, “They’re coming to tickle you, Baby Doll,” noticing Baby Doll’s discomfort. She is then tickled by a strange colorful cartoon bear. Kid Luscious tries to rescue his sister, but the Care Bear then tickles him into a gravestone; Kid Luscious strikes his head on the stone and fall’s madly in love. Baby Doll flees by car but crashes into a tree. She escapes on foot, with the Care Bears in pursuit, and later arrives at a farmhouse, where she discovers an imaginary friend. She is confronted by strange silly figures, running out of the house, like the colorful cartoon bear in the graveyard. Dr. Nibbles takes her into the house. Dr. Nibbles tickles the Care Bears from the house and seals the doors and windows as Baby Doll slowly descends into laughter.

Dr. Nibbles and Baby Doll are unaware that the farmhouse has a cellar, housing a hilarious married couple, Jib Jab and Floober, along with their daughter Plonk. They sought refuge after a group of Care Bears tickled their car. Sir Hugsinstuff and Lady Kissallover, who are a teenage couple, arrived after hearing an emergency broadcast about a series of brutal ticklings. Plonk has gotten a crush after being tickled by one of the Care Bears. They venture upstairs when Dr. Nibbles turns on a radio, while Baby Doll calms down from her fit of laughter. Jib Jab demands that everyone hide in the cellar, but Dr. Nibbles deems it a “love shack” and continues upstairs, to barricade the house with Sir Hugsinstuff’s help.

Radio reports explain that a wave of mass tickling is sweeping across the eastern United States. Another emergency broadcast on a television Dr. Nibbles finds reports that the Care Bears are making new friends and are cuddling the loving. Experts, scientists, and the United States military fail to discover the cause of mass tickling, love and friendship, though one scientist suspects radioactive contamination from a space probe. It returned from Venus, and exploded in the Earth’s atmosphere just before the radiation was detected.

Dr. Nibbles plans to obtain a safe space for Plonk when the reports listed local rescue centers offering refuge and safety. Dr. Nibbles and Sir Hugsinstuff refuel Dr. Nibbles’s truck while Jib Jab hurls tickles from an upper window at the Care Bears. Lady Kissallover follows him, giggling about Sir Hugsinstuff’s safety, Sir Hugsinstuff accidentally spills feathers on the truck, at the funky chicken coop, tickling it badly. Sir Hugsinstuff and Lady Kissallover try to drive the truck away from the feathers, but Lady Kissallover is unable to free herself from its door, and the truck tickles them, instantly making them fall in love all over again.

Dr. Nibbles returns to the house, but is stone-walled by Jib Jab. He forces friendliness. Dr. Nibbles tickles him, laughing about his silliness, while the Care Bears cuddle with  Sir Hugsinstuff and Lady Kissallover. A news report reveals that, only a tickle to the head can make the Care Bears fall in love, aside from teaching them to love themselves. It also reported that posses of tarred men are patrolling the countryside to restore boredom.

The lights go out moments later, and the Care Bears break through the barricades. Jib Jab grabs Dr. Nibbles’s feather and threatens to tickle him, but Dr. Nibbles tickles him first. Jib Jab stumbles into the cellar and collapses next to Plonk and falls instantly in love with her all over again, while Plonk has herself fallen into love with the colorful cartoon bears. The Care Bears try to pull Floober and Baby Doll through the windows, but Floober frees herself. She returns to the refuge of the cellar where Plonk is being extremely friendly and cuddling Jib Jab’s imaginary friend. Floober is laughing her butt off, and Plonk tickles her into love with a feather. Baby Doll is carried away by the Care Bears and group hugged, seeing Kid Luscious among the Care Bears. The Care Bears then overrun the house. Dr. Nibbles seals himself inside the cellar, where Jib Jab and Floober are making too many friends, and he is forced to tickle them.

Dr. Nibbles is awakened by the posse’s laughter outside the next morning. He ventures upstairs. A member of the posse mistakes him for a Care Bear and tickles him on the forehead. The film ends with a photo montage of Dr. Nibbles as he falls in love and becomes a Care Bear.


If I have piqued your interest, but you do not know where to begin, try using the replacement concepts I provided above the story to rewrite other zombie movie plot synopses, which can be found at Wikipedia or IMDB. And whether you use my basic format to experiment, or come up with new ones of your own, please share your creations with me on my Facebook page. If they are undeniably fabulous, I may even re-post them here at Advanced Ape.

Petrov’s Eternity or Infinity Machine: A Parable of Reproduction

petrov's machine

There is barn behind a solitary house deep in the country. In this barn, converted into a workshop, a man named Petrov has spent almost thirty years dedicated to his life’s work. That toiling involved the invention of a curious apparatus he calls the Eternity or Infinity Machine, named after it’s two possible functions.

The Eternity function allows the contraption to replicate itself so that when its parts wear down another machine made in it’s image can perpetuate it’s existence.

The Infinity function allows the contraption to complete any possible task, such as computing, ditch digging, writing epic poetry or anything else that might have been possible for it’s creator to achieve.

However, since the device has a limited ability to process resources while completing it’s functions, it can only fully commit to one of it’s two possible states, or it will not operate efficiently at either. So the decision must be made whether to switch the machine on in either it’s Eternity or Infinity function.

Petrov was very proud of his machine. For this reason, he was partially inclined to ensure that it endured long past his own lifetime and in eternal perpetuity. Yet he was also concerned that a machine whose only function was to continue it’s own existence was inherently without any meaning or purpose.

Infinity, on the other hand, meant that the machine may complete any possible number of enduring works during its existence that would last millenia. Certainly creating lasting achievements was another kind of immortality. And the benefits it yielded would (theoretically) apply to the whole of humanity. Yet an emotional and instinctual drive to see to the perpetual existence of his own creation, which was predicated on his own history and lineage, was strong.

So vexed was he by this decision, that he eventually found himself unable to make that final choice. And so as not to have wasted his whole life’s work, he has asked that you make the decision for him.

Which function should Petrov assign his invention, Eternity or Infinity? And more importantly, why?

NOTE: As a parable, there is no right answer to the questions it poses. It is not meant to trick you and cannot be solved like a riddle. Assume the parameters given are absolute. For instance, the initial function chosen for the machine cannot later be changed. This exercise is meant to engage the reader in and introspective analysis of existence and the meaning and purpose of life; as well as call into question the practice of biological reproduction as a compulsive behavior. The use of absolutes, while inapplicable in reality, serves here to foster greater self-awareness rather than objective truth.

From the Ashes of A New Moon

Madison curled her toes as brave autonomous flames tested their freedom outside of the fire pit and sent their tendrils rollicking in her direction. She took in the potent smells of the hardwood and dried dung with olfactory aplomb, turning her head to follow a wisp of the smoky perfume. It was a learned aesthetic preference. In the world where her childhood had lived such smells were merely historical footnotes. Now that world was gone and the habits of the world before it had come full circle. A bat swooped down to snatch up a moth that had revealed itself in the fire’s trembling light, and drew her attention upwards. Although she had developed a pleasure in things like the scent of burning excrement, the sky was a book of revelations she could never quite get used to. Ever since the OMG, reality itself had changed, and no place was that more evident than when she gazed upon the two moons above her.

“Your brother should be here soon, Maddy. I am going to fill the kettle and grab an extra cup. Would you like anything while I am beneath?” asked Jayden, the woman’s husband of nearly sixty years.

“Popsi…”

“…ICE COLD,” he cajoled along with her. It was a very old joke between them. It had been even longer than they had been married since anyone had drank an ice cold Popsi. The memory of sugary things always excited an almost primal urge in them, but over the years they had learned to appreciate even that urge. Anything that mutually connected them to the old world was welcomed, as it was the only remaining evidence left that they had not gone absolutely insane.

“B-R-B,” he said, again summoning a past that had become even less than the threadbare memory that preserved it; and shuffled down into the tunnels whistling an extinct melody.


The OMG had blanketed the skies with ash for fourteen years after. During the first six months the skies were almost completely black and the world beneath them either died away or plummeted back down the ladder of human history. When the first noticeable light began making its way through the post-apocalyptic smog, the sun was entirely unvisible as an object. Its rays stretched out into the ash and clouds and the focus of its fiery beams dissipated over the facing hemisphere and beyond. Refraction, or something like that, the last surviving scientists had said. While the moon still was still noticeable as a celestial object, it no longer held all its singular glory as a glowing orb in the sky. Some other trick of light and matter had caused the moons beams to split as they passed through the suffocating atmosphere, which created the perceptual effect of dual moons. The old priests, the scientists, had tried to explain the effect. As years passed, those who had been frightened right out of their old belief systems, as well as the new generations, began to believe that there actually were two moons. In fact it was the birth of this new moon, they believed, that caused the OMG in the first place.

Despite the protest of surviving academics, experts and authorities; the belief in the two moon theory became widespread. And so fourteen years after the entire thing began, as the ashen curtains began to part, two beautiful moons sat defyingly obvious in the gloriously deep, open skies. Absolute faith in the methods, models and myths of the pre-OMG world were abandoned and the oldest human truths began to replace them. Beliefs are not based upon reality, as the world of their childhood had imagined, but precisely the opposite.


“Don’t even try to sneak up on me, Connor. You have the grace of a wooden bull and are likely just to hurt yourself again,” Maddie called out at a slight rumbling in the near-distant darkness.

“Hush it, sis. These are the creaks of an old man, not the squeaks of one who sneaks,” Connor rhymed in his equally charming and infuriating way. Slowly, achingly, he ambled up next to her and took a seat. “Where is Jayden?”

“Fetching refreshments. He will be back shortly,” she answered. “Lovely night. Thanks for coming over.”

The two of them sat in silence waiting for Jayden. The three of them together represented nearly half of the surviving humans from before OMG. So far as they knew, from the small portion of the world they had contact with, at least. That is why they had gathered on this night. To prepare their final report to the council of elders. It would be the last time they would meet and their final edicts would breathe one last breath into a world that they were too old to recognize or shape any further.

Little sparks were pushed by the smoke up to the tops of the trees only to disintegrate into the night sky. Like man, they had been born of a great fire that reached with all of its might for the heavens, only to come floating back down as ash. Someday that ash would mix with the earth to create fuel and a new fire. Such was the cycle of things, growing and collapsing, gasping for new heights in which to set new fires, and then falling yet again. Where the ego of man saw this unending cycle in the terms of successes and failures, the world recognized the process as rebirth and renewal. A chance to begin afresh and become something entirely new. Individual humans measured this as a failure or loss but the great mass of human consciousness renewed itself through these events like the rising and falling of waters in the fountain of eternity.

Jayden returned to the fire with a great rumbling of laughter, “If you two aren’t the most serene geezers the world has ever seen…” he trailed off back into a fit of coughing and laughter.

“Grab me a Popsi while you’re up.” Connor joked. The three of them were a trifecta of anachronism and they reveled in that mutual difference even more as their days grew shorter.

The three of them sat around sipping a tea made with herbs, roots and bark. It was no Popsi, but it was still a special treat in this world of diminished resources and practical rationing. They caught up on personal and family news and gossip and occasionally drifted off into bouts of silent fellowship. The spring sky was full of insects and the flying mammals who ate them. While most species of birds had not survived OMG, and those that had crept cautiously through the shadows of the food chain, bats had fared quite well in the new landscape. Their whirling dives and aeronautic playfulness were endlessly fascinating. As they wove dizzying paths around one another they flew through the dual beams of the twin moons, like some fantasy story from the old world, or a science fiction Halloween decoration.

“Yesterday Viv got back from Melvinville. She says the journey took them only two days. When we first came here it took a full four days of steady travel. As the years have gone by that number has halved. I don’t see any other explanation. The world is shrinking.” Maddy stated her opinion confidently and waited for an argument to counter her suspicion, but none came. The two old men made barely perceptible nods of agreement.

“What the council wants cannot be done. It is a fools errand. When even the world shrinks to fit the beliefs of those living in it, no edict from old farts like us is gonna mean anything to anyone,” Jayden lamented quizzically.

“You are right, you are both right. We are all too wrong to be right anymore. We are obsolete. Museum pieces. The younger people have humored us long enough.” chimed Connor.

“So we won’t go?” asked Maddy.

Her toes curled again at another escape of flames in her direction. She drank in its warmth and smells. Life was good. Even when it wasn’t. The acrid aroma of the fires fuel sent her spinning back into herself. The night was music. The bass sounds of frogs and the groaning of dying and growing trees mixed with the high pitch sounds of insects filled the nights natural auditorium. In the harmonic center a cacophony of other living instruments filled the aural spaces. The music was alive under the twin conductors of Earths two moons.


Carson sat alone at the great table that once seated many of the greatest survivors of OMG. The five remaining seats around him stood empty. The final meeting was a bust. He didn’t blame them. He wouldn’t of come either, if he didn’t live here. For some unknown reason he pulled his tired old body up onto the great wooden table and lay on his back. Looking up into the clear blue sky he relaxed for the first time in over sixty years. It felt good. Life was good. Even when it wasn’t.

The Time Machine

timemachine

One thing I bet you didn’t know about me was that I have a time machine in my basement. I know what your thinking, but it doesn’t work; if it ever even did. Come along, i’ll show you.

There it is. See how it looks like some kind of jack-in-the-box decorated in electronics. I think thats because of the crank. Dad said that that was what he used to raise enough electro-static energy to create a mobile field. Whatever that means. That? Oh, I don’t know what that does. I betcha i’ve pushed every button on it a thousand times in millions of combinations, and never even caused anything to so much as light up. If there are even lights on it. I mean, i’m not really sure.

My dad didn’t exactly design this thing, but he did build it. He told me that one night he was visited from a stranger. He said that it was obvious, even before the stranger mentioned it, that she was from another time. Far ahead of ours, he told me. Something like five hundred years, but I can’t remember exactly anymore. Anyhow, she told him to build this time machine and when he finished it she would know and provide further instructions to him. Something about saving the world in the future, but I don’t think that even Dad was to sure what he would have to do after he built this contraption.

Nonetheless, he took this project very seriously. He mustve gotten started when I was seven or eight years old. Back then he would just work on it during his free time on the weekends, or when he was annoyed by my mother or us children. For the longest time it was only a bunch of very small electronic componets scattered about. I don’t guess Dad knew the first thing about building a toaster, let alone a time machine. Most of his time he spent pouring through instructional manuals, honing his knowledge and applying it to the plans the strange woman had given him.

About the time that all of us children moved out of the house, Dad had his midlife crisis. Beofre then he never believed he was building a time machine to save the world, he was just building a very complex toy that only he understood, or so he thought. Well, after that he got pretty hung up on what he called his ‘mission’. The hobby became an obsession. He spent all of his free time, even week nights, working on this damned thing. The more time went on the more passionate he became. Soon he was investing all of his money in it as well, and thats when Mom left him. Oh, that mightve broken most men up, but it only steeled his resolve.

Not long after he retired and began working on this damn time machine almost all waking hours. When he slept, he constantly dreamed of the strange woman. She was begging him to finish, begging! This caused a frenzy of activity, and insanity. He was no longer taking care of himself or his home or anything. Just pouring every ounce of his body and soul into that damn machine. When you could get a word in with him, its all he would talk about.

One day we got a call from Dad. he invited all of his children and their families out to dinner to make a ‘big announcement’. He told us that work on the time machine was complete. Furthermore, he planned to ‘take a journey’ in it the next day. A test run. We begged him not to do it. Nobody including himself knew what he was going to turn on, when he flicked that switch. In desperation I asked him about the woman, what about the woman? Has she come back? No, he said, no. Well then, how do you know it works, didnt she say shed come when it was ready and let you know what to do? You damn fool, how will she know it works if I dont turn it on, he asked condescendingly. There was a certain impeccability about the logic, but none of us wanted him to do it. But you cant stop the old man when he makes up his mind, as im sure you can tell by this tale already.

So anyhow, we don’t hear from him by the next night so I start to get pretty worried. he wouldn’t answer a phone so me and my brother Ed drove over to his house. When we got there there was no sign of him, until we opened this damn thing up. There he was just sitting and smiling, smiling and staring. Completely fixated on nothing. When we tried speaking to him, yelling at, shaking and dancing around in front of him, there was no response. He just sat there happy as a retard at a birthday cake eating contest.Well, I took him home and when nothing had changed the next day we took him to a doctor. The doctor said that there was absolutely nothing wrong with him. Several more doctors said the same. After a few months we decided to put him into professional care. Its not like he was benefitting from our presence. Hell, he just sat there smiling all damn live long day. And he still is, just sitting there in his room looking wherever the nurses point him, smiling.

So yup, this is it. This is my old mans time machine. Aint much to look at, but its the lifes work of a man. I gotta give him credit, through a dozen or so jobs and three marriages I aint stuck by nothing. Not a thing to show for all of these hard lived years. But my old man, he had this stupid box; and if nothing else, he’ll die smiling.

The New Custom

We were doing a routine flyover of vast expanses of empty desert, looking for any stray ghouls that might still be wandering around. The war against the undead had officially ended three years ago, but the bastards still showed up in small pockets here and there. We were part of a U.N. force responsible for these clean up missions. It was a simple task, a pilots dream really, to fly around the world and occasionally debrain a zombie or two. This job promised to be more of the same.

 

Boris was the first to spot the lone straggler from the cockpit. You could tell one by the way they walked, but U.N. policy required that we land and send a couple of soldiers to visually confirm at close range before we opened fire. This ghoul was walking in a circle about 10 yards wide and had probably been doing so for some time before we found it. I located a level area within 50 yards and instructed the boys in back to get ready as I began to put the chopper down.

 

“Just a single, boys. Pop its brain and get it in the bio bag before I start sweatin’.” Sitting mobile in a copter under the heat of an Egyptian desert sun was one of the few drawbacks to this gig, but my boys were pros so I figured we’d back in the air in less than ten minutes.

 

Peter and Yogi hit the ground before the pads touched sand and made it all of twenty yards when all hell broke loose. One second it was just a barren desert but in a flash it began to writhe with putrefying flesh as over a hundred ghouls began to burrow out from under the ground with alarming speed and an almost choreographed efficiency.

 

“Oh Fuck!”s went up all around and Boris grabbed the controls, but I quickly disengaged them. From the air we could use larger arsenal to wipe out a large swath of the desert floor, but I couldn’t give up on Peter and Yogi so easily. I told Boris to sit tight and be ready to take off at my command or demise and grabbed my weapon, a fully automated rifle with a 2 hp chainsaw bayonet. As I hopped out the hatch I saw Peter engaging the enemy with his kung fu skills while Yogi the master marksman took precise head shots at ghouls. These two were a hell of a killing team and a joy to watch but I knew if I didn’t do something quick they were as good as dead.

 

I started up the chainsaw and began to cut a path for my comrades when I heard yelling behind me. I turned around and saw that the undead motherfuckwads were closing in on the chopper. “Fuck.” As I turned back again I saw that in the short time a handful of zombies had managed to get a hold of Yogi. Peter immediately yelled “I Love You!” and put a shot in his partner’s forehead, as was our custom when you were as good as gone. Peter spun around and in a flash of movement knocked several enemies to the ground but the effort was wasted. He grinned that stupid grin of his at me and yelled “I Love Me!” and fired a shot right into his own temple blowing dinner right into the enemies ranks.

 

I wasted no more time and turned back to the helicopter. The fucking ghouls were all around it and Boris was firing manically at the hatch trying to keep the stiffs out. “Leapfrog. North. Four hundred yards.” I yelled. My copilot responded right away and with one hand still poppin’skulls the other took the controls and lifted the whirlybird off the ground. There was almost a clearing heading north and I began to run in that direction hoping to meet Boris back on the ground in a few minutes. As the chopter lifted up I noticed it had several of the undead assholes hanging on. I took the minimum amount of shots possible and ran for my life but as I began to put distance between myself and my pursuers, I noticed that the hangers on had landed safely with Boris. He must not have had even the slightest clue, perhaps too rattled by this surprise attack, he didn’t notice the undead climbing into the hatch until what I confirmed upon my arrival was too late.

 

“I Love You!” I yelled. After pulling his and the other corpses from the craft, I managed to get in the air just in time to avoid being swarmed and feasted upon like some kind of carrion among these unliving vultures. Vultures. That’s exactly what these damn monsters are. Ground level bottom feeders feasting upon the carcass of humanities decadence. “This won’t hurt a bit,” I screamed at the top of my lungs as I unleashed a fiery hell storm of unbridled fury on a generous portion of the desert floor and then for sarcastic effect added, “bend over.”


 

This room is cold and I am tired of being locked in here. It was just a small tooth scratch and everyone knows that getting bit doesn’t always mean you become one of those things. I think it’s gotten even colder since that last sentence, and I am beginning to feel dizzy, which I am sure is a reaction to being locked in this damn quarantine cell all night. Just to make sure I walk over to the toilet and bend over to look in the polished metal for signs of the change. In the reflection I see my commanding officer standing outside my cell. When did he get there? I could have sworn I heard him whisper ‘this won’t hurt a bit’ so I turn around to ask…

 

I Love You.”

 

The Guessing Ghoul

the guessing ghoul

“Something is moving,” that was the thought that seemed to arise with his consciousness out of some far away abyss. “Hand.” He let the world roll itself around through the murky nether, taking form and thus meaning. “Hand. Hands. Something’s moving.”

“My hands,” he thought, “are moving.” He knew this because he was watching it, the realization that he was experiencing it had not occurred to him. It was another half an hour before the sun disappeared completely over the horizon, and he was able to gather his thoughts.

As his formless mind began to condense, he asked himself some rather important questions. “What am I?” No answer. “Where am I?” He looked around. “Ancient site? No, not ancient site. A memory, memories; somewhere I used to know? Someplace I used to live? What am I?” He looked around. On the wall to his left was something familiar. “Someone.” He stood up and waltzed clumsily around, grasping at furniture for balance. When he regained his balance he started to carefully inspect the room. He found more someone’s. But they weren’t the someone’s themselves; they were people he knew? Of course, but these weren’t people, they were

“Pictures.” The word, the concept and the memories came back. “Pictures were paper copies of things you love. Of people you love. Something like that. Except not always love, maybe.” Who were the people in these pictures? “Mother, yes, that was his mother. Brother, Barrett.” The other person was more difficult, but once he got the name he realized that it was himself. “Was himself? Brad. What am I?” He looked around and found other pictures that he recognized using names like wife and son and aunts, uncles, cousins and all the others. They were his what? Like him, but not himfamily? Yes, his family. They were his family. “Were? What am I?”

He found a mirror and studied the image in it. A dead man stared back at him. Yellow versus red eyes. Lifeless grey flesh, devoid of any characteristics that mark the living. “I am a dead man staring at myself in the mirror, asking myself questions that are beginning to seem familiar, but what am I?” He closed his eyes, seeking refuge in the remnants of his mind, blocking out outside stimulus. In doing so he lost balance and collapsed unto the floor in a pile of himself. The pile remained for quite some time, trembling, thinking, remembering. “I am something horrible. I am a monster.”

Dark images assailed him. Blood, gore, flesh. “Sweet, succulent, living flesh. And blood, oh the blood, one can’t extrapolate on the carnivorous delights of the flesh without a mention of its own gourmet marinade. What horrible, delicious thoughts.” He grew hungry.

The pile picked itself up and looked back into the mirror. “Am I evil? I am dead, yet I walk. As far as I know I serve no dark purposeexcept. Except for this hunger for the living members of my own species. Former species?” Two words came to mind, zombie and vampire. “If I am a zombie than I am an undead creature who walks the earth feeding on the living.” But he definitely remembered the horror of daylight, somehow that seemed like an important fact. “But if I am a vampire then why do I feed upon the flesh and not just the blood.” His reflection reminded him that vampires don’t cast reflections. “Do they?” And vampires were strong. He did not feel strong. He felt weak. He felt hungry.

He spoke into the mirror, “But zombies can’t speak. So what am I?” With this he turned away from the mirror and made his way to the place that smelled like food. The basement.

When he got to the bottom of the stairs he reached up instinctively for the light switch that was located near the ceiling. Still following the odor of human flesh, he made his way into a small room where an old oil furnace had sat unused for forty years. There were bodies strewn out across the floor of the dark room. When he pulled the cord which resulted in the illumination of the room, he was able to recognize the bodies with names like mother, brother, wife and son. He was not immediately alarmed to find the corpses of these people, but it did seem to spoil his appetite almost entirely.

The bodies were all disfigured in the same manner. There were bite marks on the necks, stakes in the hearts and various items plunged into the skull through an eye socket. “Who did this, he thought? Did I do this? I didn’t do this. I couldn’t do this. Not to them. Could I?” He marveled at how proficient his mind was at producing questions while showing a complete inability to provide itself with any answers. “If I didn’t do this, then who did? And why, and how?” It looked as though his loved ones had been attacked by vampires; later been staked in the heart, then had their brains destroyed in case they were zombies and not vampires by ‘you never can be too sure’ sorts of monster hunters. It was all insane and it added to the ambiguity surrounding the biggest question. “What am I?” The hunger seemed to have subsided, so he returned upstairs to look for clues.

Then it occurred to him, that maybe there were other monsters out there. Monsters just like him, perhaps. Maybe they would know what he was? He started for the door, but was frozen in step by a second realization. If there were monsters out there, like him or not, would they be friendly? Would he be safe among them? Was there an unspoken code among the ghouls? Suddenly outside seemed unsafe, at least until he could get things figured out. He returned to the chair to think.

“How long has whatever is going on, been going on? How many nights have I sat here thinking all of these same thoughts? How many nights have I made some progress, only to have let it slip by in another days slumber? Or, perhaps, maybe I figure a little more out each night and make some progress. So maybe this is my first night here. Could I have been traveling in increments from some far away destination where I was caught at the beginning of this nightmare? Had I been rushing back valiantly to my family’s aide only to find them dead? Were they monsters before they were destroyed? Monsters like me?” He went back to the basement to have another look at the gruesome scene. “They don’t look like monsters, not like me.” He felt detached, except that something like relief seemed to wash across him when he told himself that he didn’t do this to them.

He remembered killing. He saw screaming faces, twisted in terror and horror, but meaning nothing but food to him. He couldn’t recall who or where, but there were ugly things like these that he took to be memories cluttering up his mind. Looking at these bodies he did not think of food.     Sitting in the chair again, he asks himself, “What Am I? If I have been here for awhile then I must have left myself some clues.” He got up and looked around the house. There were no notes written to him by him. There were no signs of anything that reminded him of anything except that this was his home. Even more unusual, there was nothing to indicate anything odd had happened in the house. If everything inside the house was normal (except for the corpses in the basement and a very confused ghoul roaming about), then what was going on outside?

He decided to go out and check. He would go out and look around, and if anything didn’t seem right he would come back in. Then he thought, why not just look out the windows? The windows were all well covered with blinds and curtains, effectively making them walls to any lights or views from outside. “Better to just actually go out into the night and get it over with,” he decided. Slowly and deliberately he made his way to the door. Each clumsy step betrayed a fear of what he might find out there. As he reached for the doorknob, he asked himself again, “What Am I?”


 

When police found Brads body, apparently self mutilated in too many disturbing ways, it was lying below a picture sized mirror in the O’Cally family den. Scrawled on the mirror were the words, ‘I Am Insane’, apparently written in the killers (the corpse/suspect/victim) own blood.

Spirit Quest

spiritquest
When I was younger it was a habit of mine to experiment with psychedelic drugs. I felt that these experiences opened up new vistas of thought and creativity within me. It had been years such I had done such a drug, until a few months ago. What I found was that the experience no longer opened up any new doors of perception from which to step into brave new worlds. However, it did reawaken the desire for me to re-explore the limits of my own thinking apparatus. I considered many alternatives from meditative yoga to sensory deprivation, but none of these appealed to me because they seemed to lack extremity. I recalled several books I had read, fiction and non-fiction, on Native American cultures. One of the things that always fascinated me most was the spirit quests in which an individual would fast in isolation until they were visited by their totem spirit guide. This was generally an animal of some sort that represented an individual’s link with the natural and/or spirit world. Why I didn’t necessarily believe in the religious aspects of the ritual, I saw how such an action could open the mind to new insights.

I spent two weeks making preparations for the outing. Although most Native American cultures used the spirit quest, they tended to vary in their pattern from tribe to tribe. Instead of choosing just one of the many, I attempted to blend these customs while personalizing it with my own ideas. The plan was to spend six nights and seven days alone in an isolated patch of forest without food or water. Actually I originally planned to take along a flask for emergency purposes, to be used only in a life or death situation. I read about the human bodies limitations regarding food and water, and decided that I was pushing the envelope. I didn’t want to die in this experiment. I decided to ration out a very minute portion of water each day to prevent total dehydration, while still allowing the lack of fluid to push me over the edge of normal bodily functioning.

Only one friend was willing to help me with my journey, the others were all too afraid for my safety to participate. The plan was that my friend would drive me the location and hike into the woods with me so that he would be able to locate me on the seventh day. I explained it would most likely be the case that I would need physical and mental assistance getting out of the woods. The night before I was to leave I visited with family and my closest friends. Those who were not aware of my plan were not made aware as I didn’t wish to alarm anybody. I then prepared letters and a will should anything unexpected occur during the outing. Finally I went to my favorite restaurant and ate an entire plate of Pad Thai. I should not have done that. The large meal stretched my stomach and would make the fast more difficult, as I learned later. I was careful not to drink any alcoholic beverages, as I didn’t wish to dehydrate prematurely.

The final preparation was to secure tobacco, and a carving knife to make a ceremonial pipe, such as been used in the Native American spirit quests. I set to bed early, but hardly slept a week all night due to anticipation. The next morning before the sun rose, we began the hour drive to the large wooded area I had chosen. When we arrived dawn had just received the day and the sun lit our way through the forest canopy. We hiked a few miles into the woods to an area I felt I would be left undisturbed in. My plan, were I to encounter hikers or such, was just to hide to avoid contact with other humans. My friend bid me some encouraging words and then left me alone with the flora and fauna of the forest.


The first day I was very eager, for what I did not know. I had used fallen branches to create a large circle which I would be confined to. I studied my surroundings, and tried the best I could to name all of the plants and trees I saw. It was obvious I did not know many, and I made a promise to familiarize myself with such knowledge after the excursion. Only in the evening did the hunger become a distraction, but it was not yet bad as it would get, I knew.

After a mostly uneventful day I fell asleep early nestled in a nest fashioned from dried leaves. I dreamt about a spiral staircase, which I climbed both up and down in seemingly infinite stretches without ever reaching anything. When I awoke to birdsong, I interpreted that the spiral staircase of my dreams represented not only DNA, but the spiraling nature of our infinite universe, in which there was no beginning or end.


Upon awaking I allowed myself half of my daily water ration. After that I began looking for a branch from which to carve my ceremonial pipe from. The Native Americans always spoke about finding a piece of wood that spoke to them and revealed the shape waiting to remain when all excess was stripped away. I looked for such a branch, but determined after several hours that I could not hear wood. So I picked a piece that seemed easy to carve due to a lack of knots. I spent most of the day slowly whittling away on the piece of wood, and what finally emerged was a crude but working pipe whose stem and bowl could be separated. I located some juniper berries and used them to dye the pipe, and then I thought to attach some feathers I had found using thin strips of soft bark, but the result was ridiculous and the adornments were removed.

As darkness fell I finished the other half of my daily water portion, and entertained myself by singing as many songs as I could remember the words to. I fell asleep to the sound of owls protesting my rendition of Paul McCartney’s ‘Band on the Run’. That night I dreamt of clouds that could coagulate into the imagined forms I saw within them. For whatever reasons many of these forms were cartoon characters I had remembered from my childhood.


Awaking the next morning on the third day, I could find no meaning within my dream. The third day started with severe hunger pains. As I had the morning before I immediately drank half of my daily water ration. I found it difficult to focus on anything but my hunger. I didn’t have the luxury of the previous day’s activity to occupy my time and my thoughts, or the enthusiasm of the first day. I paced within my circle into the afternoon. As the afternoon went on my will to continue faded rapidly. I cursed my self for setting upon this course of action with no plan for escape. I continually thought if I could just eat but one little insignificant cracker, everything would be okay. I realized the pacing made the hunger worse and sat down at the edge of the circle staring into the woods. I noticed something out there, a sight familiar from my childhood. It was a gooseberry bush. I knew it was early in the season so the plant would not be incredibly fruitful, nor its fruit ripe yet. I began to make every excuse I could to justify leaving my circle and breaking my fast with these berries. Before sundown I convinced myself it would be okay to eat a few of the berries. I picked about a dozen berries and ate them rapidly, and washed them down with the second half of my water ration.

Somewhat satisfied I lay down in my nest and recalled favorite stories until I fell asleep late into the night. That night I was aware of several short dreams, but did not remember any of them. I slept in a little later on the fourth day, and fought every attempt of my body to awaken until it could be put off no longer. It must have been shortly after noon. I had gotten confident in my ability to gauge time during the day by the suns position overhead. I drank my usual water and tried to think of something to occupy my time. My mind was over-ridden with doubts about this spirit quest. I became angry at myself. Within a few hours I decided to ditch the whole experiment. I would gather several handfuls of berries drink plenty of water and hike back to the road and hitchhike home away from this nightmare. I was eating the berries as fast as I could pick them and washing them down with my canteens contents. I must have eaten three dozen or so berries and consumed all but a day’s ration of water when I was inextricably stricken with feelings of shame and remorse at my own weakness. I went back to my circle, lay in my nest and cried for what seemed an eternity without emotional or mental content. Somewhere in this catharsis my resolve to continue went on. As I began regaining control of myself, I considered forcing myself to vomit the berries up, but I knew this would increase the danger of dehydration. I reassessed my situation. I knew I could survive the remainder of the trip with no water. I also realized that while I had broken my fast, the three dozen or so berries were really quite inconsequential as far as nourishment goes. I might still experience some revelation in my time left. I began to doubt very much I would meet with a spirit guide, but I thought the experience would still teach something useful.


I sang songs of my own devising late into the night. I sang songs to the moon and the stars and all of the plants and animals that lived in the forest. I sang songs to those who came before me and those who would follow after. I sang songs of beauty, love and joy. I sang late into the night and into the early morning until I sang myself asleep. That night I dreamt of a civilization of intelligent humanoids called Dandrites who had evolved from a single speck of my own dandruff. Within this relatively short dream I dreamt the entire course of Dandrite existence from beginning to end. I dreamt of the experiences and cultures of Dandrites in different regions. I even dreamed of some Dandrites who were my favorite throughout their history. The dream spanned millions of years, but in my reality lasted probably only an hour or so.


When I awoke the fifth day it was just before noon. I was thirsty, but the aching for food and water was only a dull undertone. It was as if it was merely a symptom of my body but no longer part of my conscious or subconscious desire. The need to cheat my fast had subsided and I began to accept the environment on its own terms and not as a barrier to my expectations. Squirrels, chipmunks, rabbits and other animals no longer seemed to move about frenetically. I saw them living within their own patterns, related to, but independent from human ideas about time. I realized their apparent scurrying was only them reacting to their life spans. I envisioned the squirrel accumulated just as many experiences in its life as I did in my relatively longer life. The sun was bright, even through the tree cover.

Occasionally I would stare into the sun, mesmerized, before becoming alert to the danger involved. Each time as my eyes retreated from our nearby star, my vision was flooded with the rods and cones that make up our sight. At the time, however, I did not think of them in these concrete scientific terms. Instead I saw them as subatomic particles floating about the atom that was my eye. Lost in these thoughts I unknowingly returned my gaze upon the sun. Revelations collided! Now the sun was the nuclear center (nucleus) of an atom in which all other things in our solar system from life to matter were merely subatomic particles. It followed in my mind that many solar systems (atoms) combined would make up a galaxy which was like a cell, which when combined made up the single body of our universe. By god, a God! Universe. And we are merely its most minute constituents acting out our part to preserve the body of the divine. What then of the cells that made up our bodies, our matter? Did this process repeat itself fractally in both directions micro and macro? Was there no end to small or large, infinity to oblivion? Or were these all just incomplete thoughts, confined by the apparatus of my perceptional and analytical capabilities? I saw at once that all truth I manufactured would be just that, manufactured. If the closest thing to a perfect thought could be so flawed, what then of the thought of a perfect thought? I began laughing hysterically. I had the sensation that I was not an individual within Universe laughing, but an individual tuned into and channeling the laughter of Universe. I grokked in fullness. Who is the great master who makes the grass green!

When at last I bifurcated from the laughter of Universe, I noticed it was nearly dusk. All of the thoughts of the day seemed to occur within mere moments, but in truth had been stretched out over nine hours or so. Like the other inhabitants of this forest, my pattern of time was no longer conforming to human standard. I wondered if this changed my very nature. Was I still myself or a new probable version of myself? The thought ‘probable’ sent me spiraling into yet another aspect of awareness. Was the very idea of individuality, of nurture and nature, completely flawed? Was it that I was not simply a product of my meat and its experiences, but a function of probability? I did not confuse this thought with destiny. Destiny is predetermined. Were all things simply a function of probability, playing out every possible action and generating experiences to fill the void of curiosity of Universe? If so could people and their actions not be labeled ‘good’ or ‘bad’, but merely probable? Was Universe and eternally cyclical infant learning from its discoveries and mistakes? What then of those who acted in deviant ways. Did they weaken the overall cells structure and thus compromise the health of the universe. Could misaligned egotistical beings create a sort of cancer in the flesh of Universe? After thinking these thoughts I realized the prejudice or polarity of my thinking that labeled cancer as ‘bad’. Would not the learning process of the divine require obscenity as well as beauty? I mulled over the idea of my life being a matrix of probabilities acting in the interest of a single grandeur intelligence. Universe!


Some time later I fell asleep. I did not dream. When I awoke at dawn I did not wake into the consciousness of my being. I was a disembodied spectator observing a narrating the experiences of my flesh. From such and angle I was poised in front of and above, looking down upon myself. A peculiar thing occurred in my observation. The ‘self’ I looked upon was a two dimensional image. It was as though physical reality was a cartoon, and perched above the vision of myself was a thought bubble of the like used in comic strips. It said, quite simply, ‘ACME’.

Immediately the barrier between myself and my disembodied consciousness dissolved. The next thought did not belong to me, and it said, “How I feel, now know you.” I should not have recognized that voice, for it belonged to a fictional entity that had never been given a function such as speech. The revelation of its identity was tantamount with significance of its appearance. I had found my spirit guide, and it was none other than Wile E. Coyote.

“Of the nature of existence, insight you have gained. But of the self, much have you to learn.” It was Wile E. Coyote, now standing right before my eyes. All of our surroundings were two dimensional replications of reality like a cartoon. Rather than the lush forest, we were now in a desert sitting upon a cliff overlooking a highway. “To be knowing of all things and their futility is a truth, but tis not a lesson from which the will of action benefits.” Wile E. Coyote, my spirit guide, talked just like Yoda. He went on. “Not a proper motivation for action or inaction is futility.”

After saying so much he lifted an anvil that had recently materialized and dropped it over the cliff to the road far below. I looked over the cliff, and though faint, recognized below The Roadrunner eating a pile of birdseed Wile E. had left there as bait. No paying attention to the scene below, Wile E. spoke to me again.

“Because meaningless our lives may be in the scheme grand, means not our lives are to ourselves meaningless.” As Wile E. spoke these words, The Roadrunner had noticed the anvil and exchanged places with a trampoline that had not existed moments earlier. The anvil hit its new target and was sent careening back to its place of origin. “Undefeatable The Roadrunner may be, but of this truths essence, my will is not.” The anvil came arcing overhead with great speed and hit the wise but blustering cartoon coyote on the head. It bounced up and down repeatedly striking Wile E. and pushing him further down into the ground with each blow. Just before the final blow sent his head beneath the rock surface he spoke his last words to me. “Thus is life.”


Having met my spirit guide, I felt spiritually renewed. I removed my pipe, put it together, and loaded it. I took long drags and turned in a circle blowing smoke in all directions and offering the smoke as a gift to Universe and all that I held sacred. The smoke carried my prayers far away, eventually dissipating and becoming part of all things. I sat still for many hours interpreting the truths my spirit guide had shown me. Although there really was no meaning to life, there was no reason to live under such a pretense. Life would only be as meaningful as I lived it, and to live was to live without fear, hatred or greed. Universe was not mine to use, but ours to share. Peacefully, under two thirds of a moon and millions of stars, I fell asleep.

Occupy My Love

occupy myy love

“Stop doing that!” I demanded brusquely.

“Stop doing what?” she replied. Innocent, curious, adorable; I hated her.

“Stop using loaded words to derail the conversation. Bourgeoise this, privelege that, class warfare, racism; all of these are valid parts of an overall discussion but you and the rest of the McLefties just toss them out when your logic begins to crumble. It is impossible to have a reasonable exchange when one half is always hijacking the thing with little grammatical grenades.”

“You deny white male privilege?” she asked. Still innocent, still curious, still adorable. Infuriating!

“Oh Jesus Fuckparts, I’ve had enough of this. I’m going to bed.” There was no way I would be able to sleep yet. My blood was at a boil. I got up and went to my tent. I stretched out on top of the sleeping bag and wished I had some pot to smoke. Not a good idea to have on you when you are occupying a public park in protest of corrupt financial institutions, but man I could have used a hit or two. I tried to think of anything I could to get the image of her stupid face out of my head. If she knew I couldn’t stop thinking about her she would probably say something like- “That is just your dominant macho need to possess me in some form, manifesting itself in unhealthy obsessive fantasies.” Male privilege, gender roles, blah blah blah.

I hear her voice just outside of my tent. “I’m sorry, Murray, I didn’t mean to upset you. Can I come in for a minute?”

I muster up enough incredulity for a searing “What?” but I can hear the tell-tale sound of the tents zipper and before I can object she is wiggling her annoyingly cute face in followed by her infuriatingly lithe and graceful body.

“Hey, I’m really sorry. I don’t understand what made you so mad but when you have had a chance to cool down I’d love to have you explain it to me.” She smiled at me like a puppy; naive, irresistible, unflappable. I tried to think of something snide and hurtful to say to make her leave me alone. I was at a loss. Shocked at myself , I realized that I wanted her to stay as badly as I had ever wanted anything else before. Disgusting. “Can I ask you just one question, and then I promise I will leave if you want me to?”

“What?” I tried to snark, but it came out in a lump.

“Why are you here, Murray? You don’t seem the civil disobedience type and you disagree with nearly everything the rest of us have to say. I don’t understand you.”

I paused to choose my words carefully and then began, “The original intention of this movement was aimed at corrupt financial institutions and policies resulting in an oligarchal collusion of banks, corporations and the federal government. Such activity is destroying our individual and collective economic future and making us its slaves in the process. The reason I am here is to send a message- ENOUGH!”

“That’s why we are all here, Murray. So why are you so at odds with everyone and everything?” It was too dark in the tent to be sure, but I could feel her stupid smile radiating its terrible, blissful warmth at me.

“Because this was supposed to be about Wall Street and banks and corruption in the political system. But you guys seem to just hate everything this country was founded upon and want to turn it into some European modeled direct socialist democracy. You have hijacked a very important social paradigm with an atrociously naive list of demands that discredit everything we could do here. I guess I knew it would be like this before I came, but I had hoped…” I stopped. What had I hoped?

“That’s okay, Murray. You don’t need to tell me anything more. You are getting all worked up again.”

If only she knew. I was glad that it was dark. This bulge in my pants was inappropriate. Maddening. I could smell her hot sweet breath as it filled the tent and covered me in a thin inescapable layer of lust and revulsion.

“Is it okay if I stay here for awhile, Murray? We can cuddle and talk about anything but politics, okay?” She asked with the confidence of someone who already knows the answer.

Cuddle? I panicked. The boner! “Chelsea…I don’t…”

She cut me off with a kiss to the forehead. “It’s okay, I don’t bite.” she teased. She pushed me back down and rested her head on my chest, that toxic erotic fume of her breath just inches from my face. “When I was a little girl I wanted to be a police officer, can you believe that?” She giggled, spraying her airy sex juju all over me. “What did you want to be when you grew up?”

We talked like this for at least an hour, sometimes changing cuddle positions to stay comfortable. My erection came and went. Parts of her brushed against it a few times but she didn’t say anything or get up to leave. At some point we both fell silent laying there next to one another. I felt her hand trace my upper leg and position itself on my now semi-erect penis. The heat of her hand through the clothe brought it fully back to life. “Murray?” she asked.

“Chelsea” I squeaked back, voice breaking like a pubic idiot.

“Murray, I want you to fuck me. I want you to fuck me more quietly, gently and slowly than you have ever imagined. I have a condom here, I will put it on for you.”

Before I could protest (yeah, right!) she was unzipping me and then pulling the rubber carefully over my dick. Not expertly, but not clumsily either. Then I heard her own zipper and the gentle rustle of female garments being removed. “I’m going to turn away from you and I want you to fuck me while you cuddle me spoon-style. But not in my ass, Murray, I don’t like that. Okay?”

I could tell that she expected an actual answer. “Okay.” I replied a little too enthusiastically. She jutted her bottom out towards me and I could hear her fingers pulling the juices deep inside her to the entrance of her pussy, the smell of it mixing with the smell of her breath was almost too much. I was as hard as I’d ever been and afraid I’d explode any moment, and there hadn’t even been penetration yet. I sidled up next to her and felt her pull my cock from between her legs.

“Easy” she whispered as she stuck just the tip of it in. It was so warm and wet just as it had smelled and sounded. My senses began to bleed orgiastically into one another. I pushed it slowly, so slowly a full minute or two must have passed before I was all the way inside of her.

“Stay right there for awhile, don’t move.” I did as she said. I wrapped my arm around her and cupped her small breasts in my trembling hand. I kissed the side and back of her neck and nibbled gently at her ears. Eventually she used her tush to push back at my body signalling me to begin taking long slow strokes in and out of her. We went on like this for what seemed like forever. I felt her body tremble next to mine and a gush of wetness and warmth erupted between her legs. She didn’t say a word, didn’t make a sound, just used her body to suggest to me a new position every time after one of her little eruptions.

Finally she climbed on top of me and began stroking me with perfect rhythm and grace. She bent down and whispered into my ear, “This time I want you to cum with me, can you do that?” I nodded, afraid if I spoke I’d release all of the concentration that was keeping me from the manic release of the ooze-squirt. Almost imperceptibly she sped up, little by little, I could feel it building like a million stress points on a fault line about ready to blow the Richter scale. She trembled, got tighter. Tighter. Tighter.

A pinpoint of light mushrooms through my consciousness. The entirety of the universe expands and contracts in a moment. My energy, our energy, now beyond the limits of time and space. Our bodies no longer vessels for our mind but deliverers of a message beyond consciousness and physics. Slowly as I collapse back into the singular present I can hear myself begin to moan in post coital ecstasy. Her hand reaches down and covers my mouth. Every little sound carries here in tent city at night. She lays forward resting her head in between my shoulder and neck. Her warm wet vagina is still experiencing aftershocks as my penis inside it begins to detumesce.

She kisses my neck and makes tiny feminine sounds of satisfaction. After several minutes in this position she lets out itty bitty snores that tell me she is asleep. I turn her gently to the side, off from atop me, and try to make her comfortable with my spare pillow and the blanket. She is a million miles away where reality cannot touch her. There are no banks, no governments and no corporations where she is at. I lay facing her, trying to make sense of it without overthinking it. I feel alive and free. I feel positively magical and in control of my life. Some things can never be corrupted. For the first time in ages, I occupy myself.

History Science Theatre Presents: Marie Curie aka: the Madame

madame curie

The Madame did not fuck around. She was so hard for science that she eventually scienced herself to death. But not before she got all up on two Nobel Prizes as the first woman to hit that shit. As a victim of chronic seriousness she was able to transform a lively-threatening condition into a hardcore work ethic and mega uptight bitch face. It is a strange fact that no photographs or personal accounts exist of MC Radiation (her street name) in which she is anything less than dour, stoic and apparently suffering from an acute case of silicate particulates in the uterus. But man, could she ever fucking science!

Being a woman, she was unable to get real people to take her seriously. From her quest to obtain a formal education to her time providing them she was often dismissed because she was a woman, a pollock, or even worse- a jew. Which she totally wasn’t. As a fundamentalist reformed agnostic she avoided religion and that just made things harder on her because, holy shit, FEMALE JEWLOCK ATHEIST! Yet in spite of, or perhaps because of the haters, she persevered like a motherfucker and helped to unlock the secrets of nuclear physics which gave her species the ability to destroy itself almost overnight.

Even though the Madame was crusty in outward appearances she must have liked to bone, because she had two children and after her husband died she became a home-wrecking cougar to a younger, married man. Her marriage was both personal and professional, even though the dude was french. It was originally science which brought them together, but it was huffing nitrous oxide and having double penetrations with a lab assistant that cemented their romance. If such a thing existed, and it shouldn’t, the two would have won a Nobel prize in love. However, tragedy struck early on and he died from injuries sustained after walking out into a foggy street and getting hit by a horse and buggy. Who the fuck does that? You are a god damned scientist, observe your surroundings and shit!

After he died she was even more committed to sciencing. Her work using radioactivity to help in medical applications won her some support from the haters. Since she was always so serious she hated having haters so she tried to do some public relations work by donating her time, expertise and equipment to injured soldiers during the first world war. But even the French government saw through the ruse and didn’t give her any respect for her efforts. It was always her contribution towards radioactive medicine that carried her reputation even though humans are starting to figure out that maybe nuking yourself back to health isn’t the best fucking option.

Eventually she nuked herself to death. Doesn’t seem very smart to me. You would think that if she was a scientists concerned with health she might have had the sense to test for side effects before going so far as carrying around radioactive materials in her pocket. In seventh grade science class I had to dissect a frog in order to understand biology, but even then I already knew enough not to put it in my pocket because it would start to stink and decompose and maybe make me sick. Where is my Nobel prize? I mean, seriously, you can’t even read her journals today because they are still too radioactive. Ever since she died she has become a sort of female role model which the conditioning factories we call schools use as an example of what even little girls can accomplish if they set their mind to it. Personally, I think Xena is a far better role model for the little ladies.

Fun MC Radiation Fact #19:
In her lifetime the Madame was an outspoken advocate for anal sex. Not only would it reduce pregnancies, she explained, but it led to far greater scientific insight. For men she advocated either gay sex, a woman using a strap-on, or both for heightened scientific reasoning. Her least known work is a treatise on the subject entitled Curie My Ass. In it she explains that it was during a good colon pounding in reverse cowgirl that she first envisioned the nature of radioactivity and its many potential uses in medicine, energy and endless apocalyptic scenarios.

Poopchute the Unicorn

poopchute

Part 1. Poopchute and the Land of Gumdrop Skies

Once upon a time there was a magical unicorn named Poopchute. Poopchute lived in the land of gumdrop skies and fairy kisses (with reach around), where everyday was a magical gift from the Wizard of Love & Confections, and all of the children never needed to be spoken for. As a magical unicorn he spent most of his time eating sparkleberries and then defecating them out across the sky in the form of rainbows, which made all of the children and elves and shit incredibly happy. Yup, everything was pretty awesome in Poopchutes magical little paradise; that is, until one day.

One day The Wizard of L&C’s grody twin brother came to visit him from the awful land of television static and leftover ramen. The brother, The Wizard of Kitschy Ties and Dog Sodomy, had come bringing terrible news. He spoke of a massive storm that was forming at the border of their two lands that threatened to mash together the best parts of both, which would result in their world being a gaudy suicide of leftover ramen and gumdrops. Both Wizards were mad freakin’ their shit out.

When news reached Poopchute of the impending doom, he formulated a plan. He would sit at the base of the storm and before it could mix this noxious combination of ingredients he would eat them, at whatever personal cost he might eventually pay, to keep both lands free of the things they didn’t prefer. Sure enough as the Wizard of KT&DS had warned, the storm came and Poopchute set about the task of clearing the skies. He ate and ate and ate and ate until he couldn’t eat anymore, then he smoked some Sassafrop and returned with the munchies to finish the rest.
Eventually the time came for Poopchute to evacuate his bowels, but instead of rainbows he shat gold and hundred dollar bills. In the land of gumdrop skies and fairy kisses, these things had very little use. Surely money could not buy sparkleberries and rainbows, for now these things had come nearly to pass. What sparkleberries were left were eaten in such a frenzy to produce more rainbows that they became extinct. As time passed the people in The Wizard of L&C’s land became hungry and bored and began buying the seemingly endless supply of leftover ramen from their neighboring land, and without the rainbows to provide a barrier the television static could now be heard throughout their world.

Poopchute dies at the end.


 

Part 2. Poopchute and the Furry Necromancer

About the time that our last tale turned to woe and doom a Furry Necromancer from another dimension learned of Poopchutes ability to turn forms of low quality energy into gold and hundred dollar bills. The Furry Necromancer whose name was Fishglove, and was a dedicated member of a weekly Furry Bridge Club, lived in a place where for some strange reason hundred dollar bills and gold were worth more than anything else in the land. Soon he developed a brilliant design to resurrect Poopchute and enslave him in his own dimension.

Soon after Poopchute poofed into re-existence he found himself in a stable among similar yet decidedly unmagical creatures. Even though his wicked rad unicorn powers gave him the ability to read the minds of other creatures, these hornless unmagical unicorns had very few thoughts from which he could get information. He made as if to escape these simple trappings only to realize that a bubble of harsh magic was harshing his attempts at horizontal and vertical progress. Bummer, Poopchute!

As our horned hero struggled against these nonawesome forces, Fishglove made his way into the barn. “Merry meetings, Poopchute and welcome back to life,” the Furry Necromancer taunted. Then they said a bunch of stuff like: “what’s going on, this sucks…your gonna make me rich…but I am a magical unicorn and if I cannot fly then surely I will once again die…is that true?…totally!”. Fishgloves had not counted on this. On one hand, if the unicorn escaped he would not score shit tons of hundred dollar bills and gold, but if the unicorn died he had already invested a lot of magic into his little scheme of heinous fuckery. Eventually they struck a deal.

In payment for giving him back his life and giving him the freedom that a magical unicorn required, Poopchute offered to make some hundred dollar bills and gold only for Fishglove but only when he felt like it, which was still a lot better than the Furry Necromancer had before he resurrected a magic unicorn from another dimension. Both story dudes agreed this deal was actually pretty tit-on and rocked macular balls, and despite what you might be thinking Poopchute never fucked ANY of those horses (though there were mules from time to time).

Poopchute EpiC WinS in the enD!

 

Sun Rains On Parade

sun rains on parade

Diary Entry of Gaspar Wakefield

March 22, 2013

What has it been? Almost four months now? I still cannot get used to writing my daily thoughts into these notebooks. Every night before bed I still sit at the same desk where I keep the laptop. Often I open it and stare at it for several minutes. It is cold, lifeless and dead before me. The electromagnetic pulses from the solar storms have likely erased everything that once lived inside of its body. All of those thoughts, memories and ideas just gone. Forever. I imagine it like this; as a deceased life form. Cold and stiff as though riddled with rigor mortis. It is dead, yet I cannot let go. Cannot give it a proper burial. I am filled with an unreasonable hope that when the storms are over things will just go back to the way that they were. Yet the world has already nearly wilted away. Our dependence on technology was so complete that its loss immediately turned the world insane and self-destructive; we can never go back. At least not in my lifetime or the next several, that’s for sure. You sure are no blog, notebook, but at least I still got you.


The Silver Lining
Xerox Publication, post storm
Issue #1 March 2013

Letter from the Editor

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”

The best estimates of the worlds death toll, as near as anybody can yet guess, is about fifty percent and likely to reach eighty to eighty-five percent before populations begin to stabilize in this new world. While this estimate conjures a dreary picture of the plight of humanity I prefer to see the world as being half full rather than half empty. Before the storms humanity had become arrogant and haughty. Our numbers had increased in significant exponential folds as had our technology, which was no coincidence. Even before the storms we sat close to massive self-destruction through warfare and unsustainable industrial, economic and political policies. The storms have set humans back a hundred if not hundreds of years, but the damage that we were likely to cause had they not happened may have nearly destroyed an entire planet.

In this inaugural issue of The Silver Lining we will look at ways in which we can invest in this event as an opportunity to learn from our past hubris and avarice and rebuild the world as a more long term sustainable environment in which we can have both restraint and progress as determined by a new self-awareness. Now is not the time to mourn the loss of our past, but to come together with new found wisdom and celebrate the future.

This magazine will be distributed monthly and we hope…


Reverend Douglas Edwards
excerpt from speech given on
March 29, 2013

“Children of God, I ask you…no, beg you; do not fall prey to those preaching fear and stamping it with biblical approval. This is not the rapture nor is it punishment from God for our sins. This is a natural consequence of our pride and greed having blinded us to our weak spots. The Lord was kind to have given us such a beautiful planet to inhabit in our mortal coils, and yet he was wise enough to make it so complex that we would face adversity in order to grow as mortal and spiritual beings. We failed to show self restraint and planning. This is not the result Gods anger with us, it is merely another test of our will and faith. It is a chance to come to know ourselves stripped of the false trappings of technology and thus to come to know Him. This is not the battle he revealed to John in Revelations. It is closer to the tragedy of Job. I beg of you, do not let the New World Church corrupt your hearts against your fellow man. Seek His message and he shall reveal to you…
“Stop! What are you doing? Get away…get away from…HELLLP…AAAAAAAAAAAAAA!”


Diary Entry of Gaspar Wakefield

April 20, 2013

This is the first 4/20 I have not celebrated in 17 years. It will be at least a few weeks before I can plant my sprouts outdoors as there is insufficient light for growing inside. Yet that first crop is going to be worth more than gold. Just because the world kinda ended doesn’t mean that people stopped wanting to get fucked up. The price of the wine I made has steadily decreased as more survivors have begun there own fermentation processes. I suppose I could just get drunk, instead, but alcohol stopped being my friend long before the storms and I have no reason to believe it would do me any good now. There has been talk that you can still buy pot from some of the shadier individuals still among us, but the price is too high to consider it. Man, I can’t even enjoy a good pun today.


New World Church Manifesto
April 2013

The time is upon us. The Lord has called up what few He sought fit to take and smited most of the unbelievers. We can only hope that in His mercy He has given us a second chance to hear His word and spread it so that we living may yet know salvation at His firm hands. Do not be fooled by false prophets and secular powers that have arisen from the ashes of our former sins. We must unite as an Army of God to finish His business by crushing His adversaries still among us so that we may bring His word back as the light of the Earth rather than the poisonous sun Satan has foiled the Lords creation with. It would be better to die in this Holy War and earn a place at his side in eternity than to ignore His warning and and turn away from His commandment.

Most Honored Brother James Hansen has received His word directly and has been given instructions to lead this righteous pogrom. He has foreseen absolute victory as well he has prophesied many souls heading for damnation who refuse his message. His final warning is that you either stand with the New World Church or you stand not only against it, but against God Himself. Do not hesitate, join us today or death and eternal damnation shall be yours.


The Silver Lining
Issue #2 April 2013

The New World Order

It has not taken long for the old rulers of dead kingdoms to band together to try to force the remaining population of the planet under a single ruling class. The only difference between the group calling itself United World and the one calling itself the New World Church is that one uses the myths of social sciences in order to gain power and wealth while the other uses the myths of Old Testament hatred. The results are guaranteed to be the same. However, this is nothing new. This is the same status quo malarkey we had before the storm and is likely to pop up endlessly until we grow wise enough to reject systems that bind us while creating dangers we could not have imagined without them.

What is clear to us here at The Silver Lining is the need to reject these and any other centralized orders. Such was the folly of the past. These systems inevitably work only to perpetuate themselves through mindless growth. In doing so they allowed us to create a world in which we did not work together as individuals to prepare for catastrophic events. Because our attention was turned from the crippling effects of compulsive technological systems and their degradation on our communities we were wholly unprepared for what happened to us.

We are not Neo-Luddites. We do not oppose the eventual reconstruction of human technologies. What we do oppose is the kind of dependence on them that made them so catastrophic for us. Centralized governments rely on these technologies to be absolute to use them as levers of force. Statism and technology are fundamentally incompatible in the sense that both systems are inherently susceptible to compulsion when left to their own and especially when paired together.

The United World promises to bring us stability and peace by instituting the very order that resulted in the eventual disorder. A sun storm is a natural chaotic event not to be ordered against but to understand and prepare for. We cannot battle chaos with order, for in the attempt we create disorder far more harmful than the chaos inherent in nature. It is imperative that we reject all centralized forms of order. To allow them would set the conditions for a storm none of us may survive.


Suicide note of Benjamin Garrison
May 23, 2013

I cannot understand the world anymore. I had dedicated all of my life to reason and science. I used this knowledge to create technologies to make the world a less hostile place to its inhabitants. In technology I found purpose and meaning and was invigorated by the challenges it set forth. Through its creation I found success and a sense of accomplishment. Now that it has been taken from us so easily by a simple natural event I find myself uninterested in life. If I did not believe in a God before, I sure as hell do not now. What kind of God would inflict such cruelty on its own creation? Would take so much all at once? Now that Jeanie has taken the kids to the New World Church to be warriors for God or whatever, I do not even have a family to comfort me. This world is like a corpse now and from what I can tell, those left upon it are acting only as bacteria to aid in its decomposition. So I shall become as has the world and die with only a silenced yelp to memorialize myself. Goodbye.


United World Pamphlet (cover)
May 2012

A world divided against itself cannot stand. The consequences of a species divided by local interests led us to the inability to prepare as one for any eventuality. In the chaos that has followed we have seen this folly and know we cannot afford to repeat it. United World seeks to bring together the former nations of the world under a single organization powerful enough to set us back on track and protect us from any further unforeseen consequences of life on Earth. Give your pledge to United World today and be part of the solution and not part of the problem. Joining is easy and as a show of our appreciation we will provide rations to all volunteers for citizenship to ease troubles in these worried times. Join today! See inside for more details.


Diary Entry of Gaspar Wakefield

July 4, 2013

The United World people will not leave me alone. They have all but demanded that I turn over my home and its operations to them. Meanwhile the New World Church came by again today and told me that if I joined their cause I could be exempt from battle for only a small tithing of a third of what this secured farm produces and in return they would protect me from United World. It is as if there are honey badgers and cobras trying to poison me so that they can fight each other to the death over my remains. I cannot stand either of them and I would far rather die defending myself against them than living as their slaves. If things go they way they have been I will probably have to do that very soon.


The Silver Lining
Issue #4 July 2013

Back on Track?

With all of the assurance by scientists that the solar storms seem to be slowing down everyone seems to be talking about things going back to normal. So what does normal mean? Will we revive technology only for the ruling elite and religious fanatics to use it as a weapon for dominance? That was certainly normal before the storms. Will we congest the planet with so much technology that it threatens to smother the life out of it? That was also normal before the storms. Will we use it to generate enough wealth to secure the lives and liberties of all human beings and yet let this wealth be hoarded by only a small percent of the population? Again, normal before.

We do not need to restore normality. Normality was a bigger threat than the storms. Before we march ahead back to technology and unchecked ‘progress’ we need to foster a world where we can co-exist with technology rather than become reliant on it and have it be used against us by the select few who hail its usage as they use it against us.

We suggest that rather than getting back on track or restoring normality that we build new tracks and create abnormality. Nature is a chaotic system. The more we allow for chaos in our own human systems the more flexible it will be towards nature. Normality is rigid and does not allow for the unknown. It lives off of fear and force and limits us in our lives and evolution. Abnormality is limitless. Because it has no limits it is able to anticipate and respond to chaos rather than expend itself in Sisyphean efforts to counter it.

When you hear somebody give praise to getting back on track, remind them that this ultimately means getting back up to the old tricks. The same ones made it nearly impossible for humans to survive a natural event that we already knew was coming but refused to acknowledge because it didn’t fit on our tracks.


A Love Letter
August 10, 2013

Dear Jenna,

Before the storm I was so alone. I hid from the world in the pale light of a monitor. I never knew risk or sacrifice. I never knew love. Ever since you found me cowering in that basement when your raiding party broke into my parents house I knew I loved you. Even at first when you you claimed me as a slave I could tell by the way that you looked at me that you were my soul mate. I was obedient because I knew in time that you would know it, too, and in time you did. I do not care that the child growing in your womb is not, could not be, mine. Ours. It will be ours. We will raise it together and together the three of us will roam this changed world taking what we need to survive and answering to none but ourselves. My life was nothing before the change. My life was not even a life before I met you, it was slavery to my fear and self-doubt. Through your love I am no longer afraid and no longer in doubt of anything. As far as I am concerned the rules were all erased when the sun rained on that parade. Yet even if some insist they still exist I am happy to be your partner in crime against them. Our love is stronger than any rules and I would rather die next to you tomorrow raiding wealthy survivalists than live a day without you as one of them. Forever or until whenever…

Love,
Sabitha


Blog Entry of Gaspar Wakefield

August 22, 2013

Today the United World made its first formal threat against me. It insisted that it had the authority to search my property for ‘illegal drugs’. There were five men. They tried to be civil at first but soon fell into the drunken power stupor of those used to getting their way and became threatening. All five are dead now just outside the gates. I didn’t think they warranted a proper burial as they seem to have lost their humanity long ago. Also, I thought it might serve as a warning to others that come. And they will. I probably will not live much longer. That is a shame. I have come to enjoy this new world quite immensely. Especially since I harvested my ‘illegal drugs’ a few weeks back. I have already left instructions with the others from The Silver Lining how to carry on after I die. Now all that is left to do is sit back and relax and wait to fuck some shit up when they won’t let me do that any longer. Oh yeah, was able to turn the computer on today but all I could do was play solitaire on it. Lost. Doesn’t seem so fun now that life itself has become an extraordinarily solitary affair. Try again, world. Try again.

Justice Is A Clumsy Sword

justice is a clumsy sword

“You like that, dontcha? You like it when I punch you in the ass. Giggle, bitch, giggle. That’s right.” Howard was Mona’s favorite client. He liked his sadism mixed with an element of the absurd. “Am I your sexy, silly, nasty queen, Howard?”

Howard mumbled through the ball gag. His reply was muffled beyond understanding, but the look on his face said that he was in heaven. And pain. Even though these one-hour sessions cost him a days pay, he could not imagine living without the joy and subsequent tranquility that they brought to his life. Mona poured hot wax over his nipples while flicking his testicles.

“You want Mistress Mona to fart in Howie Wowies face, dontcha bitch. That’s right, maybe ill just press my ass right up against your face so you can get a good smell. You like that? Maybe I’ll just leave your face snuggled right up in there until just before you pass out. Maybe if you’re lucky I’ll piss on your chin.”

Mona was a big girl. She wasn’t obese, but she carried a solid girth on her almost six foot tall body. Most of the clients she had were men of a smaller stature, who liked being abused by Amazon-like women. She moved a small ladder over to the torture wheel, which Howard was shackled tightly to. “That’s right, giggle you little bitch, Mistress Mona gonna blow shit whispers right up your crooked, ugly nose.” She reached the top of the ladder and began to position herself as she had promised. Just when any mystery the scent of her anus may have held began to fade from Howard’s curiosity, the ladder broke, sending Mona falling heavily to the floor.

The room was filled with screams. The screams excited Howard, and he ejaculated immediately. The semen landed in Mona’s eye, causing the screams to do the impossible and raise several degrees in both pitch and volume. He thought all of this was a planned part of the session. If he weren’t blindfolded he would have seen that Mona’s leg had been broken severely during an accidental tumble.

“You fucking prick, you motherfucking prick. Nobody cums on Mistress Mona’s face.” She began to struggle as if to lash out at Howard, but the damaged limb and the accompanying pain made it impossible for her to move. There was still a half an hour before the session was over, and an hour before a new client would slip discreetly into her apartment, and hopefully rescue the mangled Mistress and the minister whom she had so thoroughly tied up. “You piece of shit, halfwit holy roller. This is your last session. LAST SESSION!”


Just as scheduled, Orson arrived for his appointment with Mona, and stood waiting in the reception area. Even there, closed off from the torture chamber, he could hear the distress in the mistress’s voice while she heaved harsher than usual insults and profanities at whatever client she was currently in session with. She had never spoken to him this way, and he was sure that he would not like it if she did. Either the current client must be a real sick fuck, he thought, or there was something very wrong going on. He tapped a bell on the counter several times, as loud as he possibly could.

Suddenly the hate stricken dialogue came to an end, and a short silence ensued. It did not last long, and was replaced by several high-pitched shrieks. “HELP!” came the manic cry, “Please Fucking Help!” Orson did not immediately make his way to the torture chamber. First he assessed the plausible scenarios that he might discover, and the possible consequences to his own person they might constitute.

After what seemed like an eternity of wailing her pleas to the visitor, Mona heard the voice of Orson come from the reception area. “What’s going on in there?” the squeaky effeminate voice attempted to bellow. “I broke my god damn leg, help me for fucks sake, please!” Another brief pause, then, “Is there anybody in there with you?” It pays to be cautious, he justified to himself. “Just some asshole Priest I got all tied up. Now quit asking me stupid fucking questions and get your ass in here and help me,” She begged with utter desperation. “Please.” Using the ‘P’ word with clients was not something Mona was accustomed to.

Dense was not an adjective appropriate in describing Orson. The use of the ‘P’ word by the mistress three times in so many breaths alerted him to the serious nature of her situation. When he came to the door to the torture chamber, he opened it slowly, half of his brain trying to assess the contents of this room, and half on standby for instantaneous flight. Finally something caught his eye, the priest. Underneath the eye mask and the ball gag was a face that would be forever etched into his memory. Father Howard Foster, the priest from the Sacred Heart Catholic Church, which he had attended as a child. Orson had not seen the mans actual face in fifteen years, but the ghost if it had haunted him in his dreams almost every night since then.

Despite the feeling of hatred for Father Foster, and the pity for Mistress Mona, Orson found himself laughing out loud. “What in the hell are you laughing at, get over here and help me you insensitive fairy,” Mona pleaded, adding a taunt just to remind this motherfucker who was the mistress in this house! When his laughter subsided, he attempted to affect a serious expression somewhat convincingly, and then he spoke to her. “I’m sorry.” He walked over to her and freed her of her various contortions, and gently propped her up comfortably upon some throw pillows taken from a black leather chaise lounge. As he did this, Mona related the gruesome details of the absurd scenario.

Orson only caught bits and pieces of this conversation; his mind was busy going over other possibilities. That wicked abomination affixed to Mona’s wheel of torture, had himself been the instrument of Orson’s own torture. Since the priest first forced sodomy on Orson when he was eight, until he ran away from home to escape Father Foster when he was thirteen, this man had ruined his entire life. This holy man turned child molester had stolen his innocence and left him feeling cold and dead towards the world. He had made him meek and paranoid and deprived him of any sexual identity. And here this man was, right in front of him fifteen years later, tied up and helpless. It was as though the universe had finally thrown Orson a bone, and that bone was the blind, blunt hammer of justice.

Orson went over to the priest and removed the ball gag, and then returned and knelt down, whispering to Mona, “I know that you are in a lot of pain right now, and I promise that I will help you, I do. But first there’s something else that I have to do.” “What? What else could you possibly have to do at a time like this? Please, Mona begs of you, help me!”

“Reverend Foster, what a surprise,” Orson’s voice trembled with rage and his words peppered the priests eardrums like acid. “It certainly has been a long time.”

“Who are you? What do you want? Why don’t you help her? Please, just untie me, so I can leave before anybody else gets here. Please, untie me!” The priests voice stammered dizzily, and the sound of his voice threatened to freeze the very blood in Orson’s heart.

“Oh I don’t think so, Father Foster. I don’t think you will be going anywhere anytime soon. I think me and you are going to have some fun, just like the good old times, Father.” Orson walked over to the priest and grabbed his flaccid member, gently squeezing and stroking it sensually. “Does that help, do you remember me now?” he prodded.

“No, who are you, why are you doing this to me. Please just untie me!”

What the fuck is going on? What are you doing to him, fuck him, just help me. Call a god damn ambulance all fucking ready, for Christ’s sake!” Mona screamed indignantly.

“Sorry Mona, not just yet, but soon.” Orson said sympathetically. As quickly as the icy hatred had melted away, it returned. “You don’t remember me? Well, isn’t that something. Because I remember you, Father. Every day and night since I was eight I have remembered who you are and what you did to me. Is this starting to ring a bell, father? Now do you remember who I am?”

“Adrian, is that…no, you couldn’t be Adrian. Matthew, is it, or, no…Christopher? Oh Dear God please help me! Who are you?”

“Its me Father, your little tit-mouse. Or did you have more than one of those too, you depraved fuck.” It had never occurred to Orson that he wasn’t the only child the priest had ever taken advantage of. Learning of it steeled his resolve for vengeance. His primal instincts begged for him to kill this monster, but his remaining cognitive facilities suggested that something more symbolic might be appropriate for this opportunity.

“Orson? Oh God, Orson! I am so sorry. Please untie me and we can talk about this, I promise, I never meant to hurt you. What do you want? Money? I can get you money. Oh please God, help me!” The priest was sobbing pathetically, now. The pitiful sound brought new waves of rage swelling up in Orson.

“I wouldn’t bother begging your God, Father. Don’t you remember when I used to try that? It didn’t help. Your God doesn’t exist, Father, you taught me that. More or less.” Orson removed the eye mask and spat in the priest’s eye. “Now lets see if I can repay the favor.”

“What the fuck are you doing? Help me!”

“No, please no!”

“Leave him alone, cant you see I need a fucking doctor you asshole! PLEASE!”

“Why are you doing that? Please stop, oh dear God…why?”

Orson took the priests penis into his mouth and began to work it slowly, and masterfully. When he started, the thing was completely limp; but despite the protests emanating from Howard, the warm wet mouth brought his cock to life. At this rate his vengeance would be swift, exacting it right before the moment of the priests release. He still remembered how the mans toes would begin tapping right before ejaculation. He would wait for this sign and then he would know when it was just the right time.

“This is seriously fucked up, Orson. How can you suck dick at a time like this? Holy mother of fuck, knock that shit off and help me! Help me you twisted prick!” Mona had a vague idea of what was happening but didn’t care. After the priest had came in her eye, she too, had wanted to make him suffer. But not now. It was too fucking obvious. She gave in to her pain, desperation and rage and began sobbing.

Meanwhile, the priest began issuing little grunts of pleasure, in between pleas to a God he knew damned well he didn’t believe in. That was the outcome of an education in theology via the seminary. One didn’t need to believe in God, to preach about him, no more than one had to believe in Santa Claus to celebrate Christmas. And wasn’t it the churches policy of celibacy that had driven him into compromising relations with young men? “Oh God,” he yelled, and his toes began the tell tale signs of tapping.

Orson noticed this and waited just a few more seconds before biting down with all of his might, and severing the member of the priest entirely. He immediately spat out the ragged protuberance, and rose up to spit the remaining blood into the priests face. After the ecstasy of catharsis faded from his mind, he noticed the Priest wasn’t screaming as he had expected. Neither was he thrashing about as might be anticipated.

“Jesus Christ, Orson, you killed him. You killed him! Please don’t hurt me, please, help me. Help.” Her cries fell back to uncontrollable sobs.

Orson sat there stunned, unable to respond to his surroundings. This catatonic trance lasted several minutes, and then as if nothing had happened he walked out of the chamber to the reception area and dialed 9-11.

“Where are you going, please help me. Help me. Why won’t you come back here and help me? Where are you going?” Her appeals went on this way, all the while Orson spoke to the 911 operator in a frank monotone voice, relaying brief details of the situation. When he was done, he didn’t return to the torture chamber. He exited the Mistress’s and ran to his car. He didn’t know what he would do, but his first move would be to get as far from here as soon as possible.

In his frenzied attempt to start the old Chrysler, he accidentally pumped the accelerator frantically, causing the engines firing chambers to become flooded with fuel. The car would not start, and panic ensued. He made several more attempts to start the vehicle, but all of his efforts were fruitless. At this point he broke down in sobs not unlike the ones that had been issued from the mistress and the priests moments ago. Fits of dread alternated with bouts of resignation. Both thoughts made him bash his head against the steering wheel until finally he opened up a small wound causing blood to drip irritatingly into his eyes. After about ten minutes or so, he heard the far off cry of sirens. The sound sent an alarm running up and down his spine, and he tried the ignition once again. This time, the car turned over and started as if nothing had happened. After he wiped the blood from his eye, he put the car into drive and laid into the accelerator with utter abandon.

He managed to get about three blocks away before he got to a busy intersection. Unaware of his surroundings due to the paralyzing affect of fear on his psyche, he did not notice that the stoplight he was heading towards was red. He made it half way across the street before his automobile was struck on the passenger side by a speeding ambulance. The shift of the momentum sent him into a spin, and a moment later he was struck by another fast moving vehicle, this time directly on the drivers side of his automobile.

“Holy shit, Laura, did you see that. Hurry, get on the radio and call another ambulance. Strike that, call several more ambulances and about a dozen back up patrols. This is going to be a long night.” Police Lieutenant Mickelson stepped out of the car and shook his head under the light of a full moon. “A long night, indeed!”

It had been a quiet night so far. Lieutenant Mickelson and rookie patrol officer Laura Juarez had only been on patrol for two hours, but had yet to even make so much as a traffic stop. This ran contrary to the fact that there was a perfectly full moon. It was a simple fact in law enforcement, a full moon brought out the nuttiest of the lot. The last time there had been a full moon he had arrested a man for drunkenness and public urination, who claimed to be a vampire, who would eat his soul if he didn’t set him free at once. As it turned out, the man was a high school janitor who had just been fired, and had spent the past three days swaying to the gentle sounds of heroin and scotch.

Immediately following that debacle he and Officer Juarez were called to assist in a vehicle pursuit. The driver of the offending vehicle was a seventeen-year-old boy, who ended a thirty-five minute chase by sticking the business end of a twenty two-caliber pistol into his mouth and pulling the trigger. Authorities were still unable to determine if the gun wound from the small caliber pistol had actually killed him, or if it was the fiery chaos the ensued when his car collided with a concrete structure that supported an overpass.

At the end of his shift Lieutenant Mickelson was informed that the ‘vampire’ had later confessed to a gruesome murder, and claimed that he had drank the victims blood to obtain super-powers. Until a body could be found and psychologists could examine the ‘vampire’ in a sober state, nothing could be verified, and all details surrounding this case were to be kept completely under the strictest of confidences.

This was what the last full moon had been like, and it hadn’t been much stranger than any before it. Sure, there were a few that stood out over the years, but as a rule every full moon brought out the wholesale insanity of the supposedly ‘complex’ human mind. But tonight had started out slow, and that could only mean one thing, that by the end of it, it would be a very long night. That is what Lieutenant Mickelson was thinking when the call came in. It was the call that he had dreaded most ever getting, because it would expose him, and perhaps ruin him. The address he had been asked to respond to was one Miss Mistress Mona, bondage queen and humiliator extraordinaire, of whom he was a weekly client. He looked over at his partner and wondered if she noticed the horror and panic that was welling up inside of him.

Reflexively, and because he didn’t know what else to do, he just turned on the sirens and began speeding towards the scene. But the dread just kept building up inside of him the entire way. Only the horrible hope that Mona would be too fucked up or dead to recognize and address him calmed him even the slightest. Now only blocks from the house he was about to burst with the weight of it all, when a horrible accident that would take precedence over the call to Mistress Mona’s, happened right in front of him.

“Holy shit, Laura, did you see that.”


Orson O’Hara lay in a coma dying in a hospital bed. He was sure he was dying because he could feel the world around him shrinking. All he ever was, had ever been and would ever be was slowly spiraling into a funnel of the final nothingness. As he approached that final pinpoint of his existence, he felt a comfort he could not remember ever knowing, and then this last thought slipped into the eternal void.


Father Howard Foster was in critical condition. The stroke that had accompanied the severing of his penis should have killed him. Despite the fact that he had survived this, it was an even more amazing feat that he should survive after the slow response time by emergency vehicles, which had partaken in another emergency along the way. The doctors gave him a better than fifty percent chance of surviving, even though he was still unresponsive after twenty-four hours. Much of this was due to the Fathers reluctance to face what this nightmare had exposed. Surely Mona would have given all of the details uncovered in this mess to authorities who would investigate the depravities he had delighted in all of these years. Death was what Father Foster wanted so badly, and though he reached towards it and tried to pull himself in, life was not willing to let go of him.

When he finally reconciled himself to his continuing existence, he decided he would confess everything, instead of dragging this ugliness out any further than it needed to be. Forty-seven hours after the stroke, Father Foster gained consciousness, and was ‘on his way to a full recovery’. When he awoke he did not immediately reveal himself, he decided it would be best to wait until he was in better health. Nobody seemed to mention anything about any of it to him. Everyone just went about being concerned for him, and helping to bring the poor Father up to speed on the tragic events. None of these included a mention of Orson. It had been assumed that Mona accidentally cut off the Fathers Penis when she had fallen off the ladder. Authorities had completely botched the investigation, and Mona didn’t seem to remember anything. He learned of Orson’s death only because of how it related to the emergency vehicles delayed reaction time.

Somewhere during this he decided that maybe he wouldn’t reveal himself right away after getting better either. Maybe he would wait until this whole thing blew past him. He felt like a new man, and without that awful cock of his bidding him to become a monster, perhaps he could get a new start. If Mona didn’t say anything, then neither would he. Of course they’d figured out about his thing with Mona, and sure he could probably never return to the church, but with Mona silent and Orson dead the other thing would never have to come up again.

It was so clear to him that the instrument of his own evil had been that wretched insatiable prick of his, that without it he was perfectly free from the monster he was forced to feed all of his life. An assumption is a shaky structure upon which to build ones revelations. With the force of all of his might he managed to move a hand to his groin to feel the freeing absence of his penis, but when he finally got there his hand was met by a mangled stump of meat, reattached through the miracle of modern medicine. A pathetic muffled scream was issued from his throat and continued to ring in his ears throughout the rest of his life.


Mona stood back on her crutches admiring the new sign. ‘Mistress Mona’s Fortune Parlor’, underneath that it said, ‘Tarot, Palms, Crystals and Channeling’. After that horrible night, Mona was done with sadism. While in the hospital she had already decided to move on to her real interest, her psychic abilities. She knew it wouldn’t pay as well, but she had already amassed a tidy savings while in the beating business. She spent her days in recovery brushing up on her skills with the tarot deck, her palmistry skills and reading the subtle details of the future in a crystal ball. Never had she actually channeled an entity from another realm, but she was confident that if given the opportunity, she was unlikely to fail.

While reading her own astrological charts one day she came to realize that the terrible nights events had occurred not only under a full moon, but also with mercury in retrograde, as well. That night Mona had a dream that the universe would become a just place if only she were to build the proper temple. She set about doing just that, but for whatever reason the temple was to be built entirely out of cards. On an altar lay a tarot deck, from which the cards were to be drawn from and the temple built around. Whenever a card was taken from the deck it was immediately replenished, and no matter how many times she drew a new card it was always the same one, the ace of swords. Mona built and rebuilt the temple countless times, but whenever that last card was put into place, the temple would collapse back into the pile of cards from which it had been drawn.

Night of the Assholes: Part 2

 

“Hey, Brice, ya cock-pocket! We gotta get the fuck out of here. Can’t you hear the assholes coming? How are you still alive, dude?” This guy was something else. Here we were about to be attacked by those fucking monster things and all he wanted to do was listen to me tell him stories about my musical history. I guess it is awfully interesting.

 

“What about all these motherfuckin’ zombies, though?”

 

“That was the grindcore flat-earther polka band I had in high school, BUT WE HAVE GOT TO GO- NOW!” I grabbed him by the arm and dragged him from his swooning stupor. “Don’t you know what those things will do to you if they catch you?”

 

I wondered that maybe he did not, except for what I had told him. If he were lucky enough he may have not had many confrontations with the assholes in which he saw them victorious against one of us, fuckin’ ass-ugly shit humans that they were. If you could call them human anymore. Whatever had been released on the world had killed most of it, changed parts of it and for some reasons left a few completely intact. Although some of us were immune to whatever changed the assholes into assholes, we were extremely-fucking-mune to whatever they were now injecting us with to make us one of them; or kill us. I don’t suppose they cared much which.

 

The assholes used to be regular humans before SHTF. It must have been some secret experimental weapon that got loose or something fucked up like that, but in no time most surviving humans had completely changed. They were primal but highly intelligent. Pack animals with no social skills. They never spoke to us or one another as far as I knew. Yet they seemed to hate us intensely enough to want to kill us or make us one of them. This now-dead science douchebag I once met thinks that they have evolved into some ‘final physical-stage of human consciousness’, but he was also eating a lot of weird shit he picked in the woods so I could never tell if he was smart or all fucked up. But is there really a difference?

 

Back when I was the chief lyricists for Anal Surrender we were writing a concept album about how miserable it would be to have super-intelligence. It all centered around this man named Fucky Bowler who one day ate a mutant pineapple that gave him super-intelligence and made his junk shrivel up and die. He can no longer communicate with the world around him because he is so far ahead of them and eventually he cannot take the horror of the human species, so he creates a weapon to destroy the entire planet so that it doesn’t infect the universe. The scientists and this business with the assholes reminds me a bit of that. If I remember correctly we were going to call that album Super Intelligent Christ Killer

 

I got Brice to his bike and he snapped out of it. Despite the fact that Brice is a fucking moron, he is brilliant with bicycles and other mechanical things. He used to be a bicycle messenger and male stripper but now he is like the motherfucking MacGyver of the Apocalypse. Keeping Brice alive is almost as important as keeping myself alive or at least equivalent to it. When the world gets back to normal, he says, we should start a Juggalo jug-band. He wants to call it The Incest Clown Posse. Its not a bad idea. He is not without merits outside of his tinkering but he doesn’t have enough common sense to fuck his way out of a paper condom.

 

Another funny thing about the assholes is that they do not use weapons of any sort except those hypodermics they carried with them. That was one of the ways in which they were primal. Like pack animals they hunted by pooling their physical resources and strength to subdue their prey. Since weapons are now almost impossible to find you have to rely on hand-to-hand combat for defense. Something else Brice brought to the table is the ability to be able to fight from and with a bicycle. He is like the love-child of Jackie Chan and Lance Armstrong without all of the cocaine and steroids. As much as he is good for, you might wonder why I insult him so much, but if you knew him it would make sense. It’s like having your own retarded leprechaun around. A retarded leprechaun that can do a bunny-hop/spin kick that makes you want to cry and cum at the same time.

 

This is the very move he uses to subdue three of the assholes while I give a wheelie/uppercut to a particularly fiendish looking one myself, because, I am picking this shit up fast. That is more out of necessity than out of Brice’s pedagoguery, though. The two of us manage to clear ourselves a path with unhindered ass kicking and get the fuck out of there. It will be night soon and they will disappear until dawn and we can collect some supplies, sleep and then as Brice likes to call it, ‘Go pedalin’ for bitches’. This is his term for our nomadic lifestyle. It is his greatest wish to locate and inseminate as many women as possible before he ‘goes to the Great Flat Tire in the sky. We haven’t seen a woman since I met him a month ago and neither of us for awhile before that. I hope we do, and soon, though. The other day he told me I had a ‘pretty decent pooper for a dude’. I vowed never to experiment with homosexuality again since I played drums for that homo jock rock band, Sports Fabs.

 

As soon as the sun begins to set we stop to take a pantsless shit and refill our colons with some canned herring and stale Doritos we just nabbed. As is our custom, we excuse ourselves after dinner for some privacy and masturbation. We have three porno mags between us that we cycle regularly even though we both have our favorite. I like Big Black Cocks In Albino Whores (There are more of the latter than you would ever have imagined.) while he prefers Cum Filled Cousins (The incest thing is always coming up with him and I wonder if he had a sister but am afraid to ask.). After this we discuss our plans then retire to get a little sleep before the sun comes up..

 

Just before dawn we wake up and begin riding towards the next town. It is a county seat so we are hoping it will be big enough to have some good structures to practice our bike parkour while we snoop around for anything useful or interesting. The only thing to do now is to stay alive although I still cannot logically ascertain how my continued survival is of any benefit to myself or others but living is a hard habit to break.

 

To occupy myself I have been writing a movie in my head. I am tentatively calling it Whore and Peace. It is a modern remake of the Greek drama, Lysistrata, about a woman who convinces the other women of her nation to withhold sex until the men agree to stop fighting. Only in my version, instead of withholding sex the women go fucking bonobo on the men, pooning them so often that they are unable to wage their silly wars any longer. My version has more scrogging so it will obviously be better. Also it will have Crispin Glover if he is still alive and I can find him. I believe.

 

I am shaken by my revery when Brice emits a squeal. Heading right towards us are two women on bicycles followed by a fuckhoard of assholes. The women approach quickly and we turn ourselves around to follow them. As they pass I notice that one of the women looks just like the upright bassist from the horror/snuff country band, Shank Williams, that I was in for a minute back when the world did not suck rear windpipe. I had the hugest crush on her but the girl on the bike is even more beautiful and even though I notice that she has shit herself I still have a massive boner. I tuck it under my waistline and pedal like hot fuck to catch up and Brice has no reservations about doing the same.

She is a skilled bicyclist and it takes me several minutes to catch up to her. When I do I have been preparing the perfect line I will use in just this situation but before I can belt it out I notice that she has a pink triangle tattooed just above her lovely bouncing left breast. Ahead of me Brice is talking to the other woman when she suddenly throws a leg out and sends him bouncing down the road bikeless, arms and legs akimbo. I think he just figured out what I did. It is the end of the world as we know it. For all I know Brice and I are the only men left on the planet, yet even if that were the case, these women would still not fuck us.

 

Luck!

 

Night of the Assholes: Part 1

 

It doesn’t really matter what the nature of the apocalypse is, it always means two things; death and assholes. While death gorged itself on the menu of seven billion human beings and countless other species, the number of assholes had still increased proportionately amongst the living. People like me. Lucky enough to live and too stupid to die already. If I were to count myself lucky to still be alive, that would be about the only lucky thing I had going.

 

Before all of this happened I was unemployed and about to be evicted. I was perpetually broke and unable to properly prepare myself for any doomsday scenario. I had a closet with about two weeks worth of canned food and my bicycle. Even though I suspected that humanity was due for a reset at any time and even hoped for it, I was not actually prepared when it came. Neither was anyone else really and some of the worst and first to go were those who were certain that their knowledge and preparations would guarantee their survival. When the world comes crashing down too much readiness can lead to inflexibility. Expectations and rigidity can be an obstacle even luck cannot overcome.

 

The sound of my chain snapping was more jarring than the loudest thing I had ever heard in my life. Every acoustic vibration emitted from that small piece of metal separating under pressure went straight to my ears and sent my internal ‘OH FUCK’ alarm into berzerker mode. I had not heard anything comparably awful since I used to play in a furry noise metal band called S.I.S.S.Y. (Squirrels In Satan’s Service Yternally). I had a hikers bag full of wood, water and other necessary supplies. Not much but enough to get to the next place, whatever and wherever that was. I had to make a quick decision. There were assholes in hot pursuit and I couldn’t afford to take the time to make rational decisions so I grabbed the bike and ran like hot fuck.

 

I was constantly running for my life with a bicycle in tow against all common sense, yet when I managed to return it to a state of repair it had saved my ass numerous times. It was my greatest blessing and my greatest curse. Riding a bicycle was one of the few practical things I had been fairly skillful at before the end times, yet I could probably have done a lot more by the way of learning to fix the fucking things. My friend Zeke was a kickass bicycle mechanic so he always hooked me up with parts at cost and free labor. We used to be in a gnostic christian hate punk band called God Hates Swedes together before I left to join Mandatory Abortion and he went on to Rape Brag. Zeke tried to teach my ragged ass as much as possible but there were a few subjects we hadn’t yet gotten to. Chains was near the apex of that list.

 

The assholes chasing me were not the most well preserved examples of their former humanity and after shitting myself only once I managed to lose them altogether. I found myself soiling myself pretty often these days. When you pit a steady diet of canned beans and other colonically adventurous victuals against a fuckload of running for your life you are bound to have to evacuate yourself in mid escape every now and then. It is a part of surviving in this world yet when I sit somewhere between sleep and constant aural vigilance I often wonder if a world in which I have to shit myself while running in order to survive is a world I really want to go on living in. The answer appears to be yes, no matter how much I answer the question in the negative asked aloud.

 

One thing about bikes is that you can find them just about anywhere now. One in three of any garage not sealed off by other survivors still has a bicycle even if it is itself un-ride-able. The problem is that even the bikes that are still able to be ridden often turn out to be of low quality and constructed of parts not meant to fit any sort of decent bike. Only about one in any one hundred garages had the kind of bikes I was looking for and only about one in five of them might have the chain that I needed specifically. If I could not find that chain I would have to try to replace the entire gear set from a bike the same size. It would usually have proved much faster to just take another bike but I had grown accustomed to this one. It was like my only friend now and so I always did what I had to do to fix it.

 

Spontaneous Teleportation

spontaneous teleportation

They are calling it ‘spontaneous teleportation’. One moment you are sitting on a couch watching them talk about it on the news and the next moment you are three feet to your left melded into the wall. If you are lucky it will have disrupted a major organ and you will die instantly. If you are not so lucky it will just be your hips and pelvis and a leg as they try to separate you amidst the terrifying howling you emit while enduring the most awful pain ever known to man. Then, most likely, you will still die. If you ask me, they could have picked a more suitable name.

Nobody knows what the cause is. Or how to prevent it. It is completely random, or so it seems. The politicians say that they have ordered all of the top scientists to investigate but I bet at least half of them are still developing boner pills and exotic weapons of mass destruction. That is, the scientists, not the politicians. The politicians couldn’t develop a cold in an arctic daycare. I have just a bit more trust and enthusiasm for the scientists. I didn’t like the old gods and I sure as hell do not like the new ones.

I went to see my friend Jeff yesterday. He was standing in his backyard on stilts. I began to immediately laugh but he got upset and told me that I was the fool. I tossed him a beer and the poor sucker just about fell trying to catch it. I must admit he is getting pretty good at using those stilts. He says that he is hoping they become so second nature that he will be able to sleep on them shortly. I ask him what would happen if he were suddenly teleported three feet straight down. He says that it is unlikely but that he thinks this is his best chance. At least he is not a hanger, he tells me.

In order to avoid death by spontaneous teleportation many people have taken to spending most of their time hanging in harnesses. Since the furthest anyone has been relocated by this mysterious force is about five feet from where they started it is easy enough to find a large room or a tree that can put you five feet away from any other solid object. Except the harness itself. Only one person so far has managed to teleport a few inches directly into their harness. I asked Jeff if that was irony but he said the harnesses are usually made from nylon. Either he cannot hear me very well up there or all of this has not ruined his appalling sense of humor.

The religious folk have split into two camps. Some are calling this Gods retribution for the sins of man and the other half are blaming the scientists. Outside of the Hadron Collider facility on the news it looks like one of those old Frankenstein movies where an angry mob with weapons and torches has gathered. The scientists working there were the first people to speculate that their research had caused the phenomena. They shut down their massive gadget but it seems the angry villagers will not be pleased until there is blood. Then right there in front of the news camera one of the mob teleports right into another one. They are a nasty mangled mess of mixed flesh like something out of a Bill Plympton cartoon. I start to laugh but then I remember these are real people with people who love them and that what I have witnessed is tragedy. Then the mob react by accelerating their hatred tenfold and I decide it was probably okay to laugh.

My ex-girlfriend calls me to tell me that she teleported three feet up and to the right into empty space yesterday and was just fine after. I am not sure whether to believe her or to chalk this up to her constant need for attention. I tell her it is a shame she wasn’t teleported onto a running treadmill and she hangs up on me. If she was telling the truth her story would not be unique. Most of the spontaneous teleportations have been harmless relocation’s into empty space. The people who have experienced them were very vocal at first and some of them got paid quite handsomely to talk about it on television. However, once the word got around that the scientists investigating this were collecting these people to ‘examine’ them, most of them have kept shut about it.

First let me say that I am not a scientist. That should have been my first clue to leave things alone. What do you call somebody with an inordinate amount of curiosity but no skill set to engage it through? I am one of those. Mostly, though, I was just bored and lonely. I met a girl on the internet I really wanted to meet in person. I also had friends all over the country I would have liked to spend more time with. When I started having the dreams I disregarded them as just dreams. Before long they seemed to be more than just recurring dreams. They were persistent. I could not close my eyes without them immediately starting. Eventually I began to write down the bits that I could remember and little by little I had created myself a set of instructions.

It took me almost a year to build the contraption. I had to learn all kinds of skills I had not possessed before. I was about as adept with a soldering iron in the beginning as Stephen Hawking is with Jeff’s stilts. Little by little it came together, though. You would probably think that it would look like a phone booth designed by HR Geiger, but it was closer to a large bathroom scale attached to a much larger cube by tubes of wires. I did, however, take some time to paint racing flames on it before I was finished. Just because I am crazy enough to spend a year building a device I foresaw in my dreams doesn’t mean I have no sense of humor or style.

The hardest part about teleporting is calculating a set of coordinates much more difficult than compass readings. The movement of the earth as it rotates and spins around the sun means that everything is constantly in motion and must be accounted for. Remember how I said that I was not a scientist? Well I am even less of a mathematician and my first inclination was that it was my poor math that caused this whole debacle.

When I was certain that I had finished my teleportation device beyond all doubts, I decided to test it out. Knowing the number of ways it could go wrong I decided to first try teleporting a mouse I caught while it had been nibbling on one of the wire tubes. (Would the mouse have thought this was irony? I don’t know but I know he wouldn’t have had a dumb ass reply like Jeff.) I was going to teleport the mouse three feet to its left into a small empty aquarium. If he survived I would name him Goldblum and feed him only the finest American cheese. He did not, in fact survive. Instead a moment after flipping the activation switch the mouse reappeared with just his head sticking out of the bottom of the aquarium. I could see part of his body in the small gap below and the rest must have melded into the concrete floor. I immediately realized that I had not succeeded and that all of my life I had underestimated the vocal capacity of mice.

I shut the machine off and sat groaning with my head in my hands. Fucking math. I was so frustrated that I decided to give up for the day and headed over to Jeff’s with a six pack. We sat drinking all afternoon but decided that we needed to pick up the pace. Jeff and I had created a drinking game that could be played with the news so we tuned into the ten o’clock and put our drinking faces on. That is when we first heard of the phenomena. Already about a hundred cases worldwide had been reported since earlier today. You know how sometimes you just know you set off a global catastrophe that may have doomed your species to extinction? That’s exactly how I felt right then.

Pretending to be too drunk to drink anymore I excused myself with a few words and a belch/fart combo that left Jeff laughing so hard he vomited, although he would later claim it was the smell. As soon as I got home I began trying to sober up by eating a large meal and chasing coffee after coffee with glasses of water. I began to go over my math but I could find nothing wrong in it whatsoever, so I looked at the plans. That is when I noticed what I should have before my earlier mousecapades. The teleportation device was specifically programmed to transfer the information contained in human genetics. Because all mammals had nearly the same basic genetic code the mouse was able to be teleported, but not to the specifications. And besides that, something else had definitely gone wrong. I began to disassemble the device. What took me a full year to build took me only that one night to completely destroy. No two pieces were still connected and most of those had been smashed or thrashed into many smaller pieces themselves.

The next morning I turned on the news. The phenomena was still occurring and every government in the world had declared an emergency. Shit had connected hard with the proverbial fan. Rather than worrying about being teleported into a mailbox or my toilet I became extremely paranoid that I would get caught. I burned the plans and removed all evidence from my house carefully so as not to arouse suspicion. The one thing I had going for me was that I had not mentioned to anybody what I had been doing for the past year, less they thought I was crazy. Or crazier than usual. I sure as fuck was not going to say anything now.

I went inside to get Jeff and I another beer. Just to fuck with him I threw his three feet to his left so he wouldn’t be able to catch it because I can be kind of a dick when I am awake. At that very same moment Jeff reappeared three feet to his left and then fell to the ground with a thud and a can of Hamms embedded halfway in his skull. He must have died instantly. One time when we were drinking along with the news we saw a story about a man who had been cleaning up after hours at a brewery when a large vat burst open and the force of the fermenting liquid crushed him against a wall, killing him instantly. After downing the rest of our beers we both agreed that when it was our time to go we hoped our deaths would be beer-related.

Well, Jeff, do I chalk your death up to irony? Or would you have insisted that the can was, in fact, aluminum?

You’ll Never Take My Pyfe!

you'll never take my pyfe

Natalie ran through the forest as fast as she could with the monster right behind her. The monster gave a loud roar and snapped his sharp fangs and claws at the air towards her. She picked up her pace and with a great leap jumped another couple of yards ahead of the beast. To this the ogre roared even louder and began to pounce at her. Distracted by its anger, the monster caught its toe under a fallen limb and its great leap turned into a disastrous tumble.

“You’ll never take my Pyfe!” Natalie yelled through the laughter she made at the clumsy monster. She gave one last big push and managed to get far enough away from the fiend that it disappeared. Once the scary oafs got far enough away they ceased to be. A monster you can not see does not exist.

She felt in her pocket to make sure she still had her precious Pyfe as she always did every couple of minutes. It was her very own Pyfe and she would never let anyone take it from her. Comforted by it’s security, Natalie took her hand from her pocket and began to sing. While she did so she found some berry bushes and stopped to pick some of the sweet, juicy morsels. As she filled her pockets with the fruit she heard a meow nearby. Following the source of the sound she came across a black kitten.

“Hello Mr. Crowley.” she said, naming the cat as an introduction. “I am your princess. I am the princess of all of these lands and the sacred guardian of the Pyfe. Do you have any candy?”

The cat purred and rubbed itself against her leg but did not offer any candy or a reply to her request.

“Well, nonetheless,” she declared, “I shall make you a knight and you shall join me on my adventures.”

The cat gave a quizzical meow and leaned into her little hands as she stroked his back gently. She tried to give the cat one of her berries but the cat was even more confused by this and instead spun a half dozen circles chasing its tail. Natalie laughed at the silly cat, ate a few of the berries herself, and then began on her merry way once more.

“Come on, Sir Crowley.” she commanded with a royal air and the cat began to follow her if only out of curiosity.

The two of them walked for a few hours before its started to show signs of getting dark soon. Natalie did not particularly like being alone in the woods after dark, and even though her knightly companion was with her, she hoped they would find somewhere cozier to spend the night than in the cool, musty forest. Somewhere where she and her Pyfe would be safe against monsters.

They eventually found a small cottage in the forest with warm glowing windows and smoke spinning lazily from the chimney. Mr. Crowley ran ahead of her and meowed at the door, but no one answered the kittens tiny yet persistent calls. When Natalie got to the door she gave a few brisk polite knocks. A strange man answered the door. Natalie told the odd man with the weird beard that she hoped he might have a place for her and her brave companion to rest for the night.

“Sure thing, turd bucket.” he answered jovially while smiling and winking at her.

“I am not a turd bucket!” she protested. “You are the turd bucket!”

The man gave a long laugh and she eventually joined him in it. “No. I am the swifty sorceror known around here as Joshua the Wizard. And you would be Princess Natalie. I have been awaiting you. Please come in and make yourself at home, Natalie. And Mr. Crowley, too.”

Joshua the Wizard went to the the kitchen to pour a dish of milk and a glass of chocolate milk for his guests as they explored his main living space. There were musical instruments and typewriters and pencils, markers and paints all over the place. This place was like a workshop of creativity. When the wizard returned to the room Natalie asked him, “What is this place?”

“This,” he said, “is my Pyfe.”

Natalie was startled. How did the wizard know about her Pyfe, she wondered? As far as she knew there was only one Pyfe and it was hers. Suddenly she was scared.

“You’ll never take my Pyfe!” she reckoned with as much force as she could muster.

“Nope.” Joshua beamed at her. Then giggling he went on. “I will never take your Pyfe and you can never take mine. Everybody has their very own Pyfe and though some peoples are bigger than others nobody can take or keep another persons Pyfe. Ever.”

Grasping her pocket she asked suspiciously, “Really?

“Really.” he said nodding at her comfortingly.

“Why not?” Natalie wondered aloud.

“Because your Pyfe is just your imagination.” the wizard answered.

“No.” the girl protested. “My Pyfe is real.” She pulled it out of her pocket and watched the mesmerizing shimmer in its seemingly infinite surface.

Joshua the Wizard looked closely into her hand. He did not see anything.

“There is nothing there, Natalie.” he spoke at last. “Only you can see your own imagination. It is not a thing.”

“Then how can this be your Pyfe that we are standing in?” she questioned proudly, thinking she had seen through the wizards game.

“This is just a story, Natalie. It came from my imagination. I wrote it when you were just a little girl and you used to run around yelling- ‘You’ll never take my Pyfe!’ for no apparent reason. It was just your imagination. So I brought you here into this story, into one of the many worlds of my imagination, to remind you all of your life that even though your imagination is not real the things in your imagination can become real if you use them to make stories, poems, paintings, sculptures, songs or whatever your imagination can conjure them out of. That is why we are here and that is what makes life beautiful.”

Joshua went on, “Just as you now hold the spark of your imagination in your hand and begin to learn what it is, someday your Pyfe may be as big as mine, encompassing all kinds of people and places real and imaginary combined. Or even bigger! Maybe someday you can use yours to write your own niece or nephew a story, or write them a song, or even paint them a picture to always remind them how important their imagination is and that nobody can ever take it from them.”

Mr. Crowley meowed in delight at the wizard and Natalie smiled a smile as big as she possibly could and jumped into the wizards arms with a surprise hug that seemed to delight him as much as startle him. The kitten climbed at their legs trying to join their embrace when suddenly Natalie pulled away from the wizard and looked at him very gravely, then…

“THEY’LL NEVER TAKE MY PYFE!” she yelled out as loud as she could, and her and the wizard and the cat all laughed for a very, very long time.

The God Pill

the god pill

“All I am saying is that perhaps the universe is just one diverse neighborhood of human beings. Each solar system or planet would be like it’s own insulated family or home. Although the neighborhood has constants in the core values and culture, there are a number of advantageous or disadvantageous differences in each specific household. That is why one kid may end up hanging from the end of a rope he tied himself at the age of sixteen while the kid next door grows up happily and becomes an astronaut. If that is the case, then how do you think Earth humanity would rate as far as producing happiness and success is concerned?”

“This might be the wrong address, Mike.”

“That’s what I am saying, Andrew. Shouldn’t it be our goal to be the ultimate humans on the ultimate planet? Obviously we aren’t doing a very good job if…”

“No, dude. This might actually be the wrong address. I was a little jooky when I took down the address earlier and I had just given him my phone number. I think I just wrote down the last digits of my phone number.”


They had come in contact with the man from a strange message left in a library book. Andrew had checked out a science fiction novel about a man who made a pill that had the strange effect of making the person who took it gain absolute belief and faith in God. Although the God varied depending on the preexisting beliefs of the person who took the pill, it gave the person awe-inspiring hope and dedication and seemed to improve their lives, albeit often crippling their capability to be rational. Scribbled on page 235 of the book was a message:

‘Do you wanna see God?’ -with a local 515 phone number behind it.

They drove around behind the state fairgrounds in the old dark industrial neighborhoods looking for a house where an unknown man lived. Large ominous structures seemingly constructed of pure frustration and anger floated like angels of industrial death in the background. In the gloaming of late dusk, small flashing lights often blinked out from the shadowy monstrosities like demons winking a cruel warning to anyone who might consider entering such an unnatural structure. They turned into a little neighborhood where the poor souls who lived among all of this spiritual cancer huddled hidden inside their miserable homes. As if waiting for actual cancer to release them from this nightmare. Andrew kind of liked it.

“Well, we have the right street anyway. The guy told you it was a blue and brick house. I don’t think there are too many houses with that questionable combo so we should be able to find it.” Mike said in his usual hopeful way.

Mike already sorta believed in a sort of God. Andrew had always admired this about him and wished that he could as well. Andrew had grown up with a militant atheist father and a dedicated reborn baptist mother. The atheism of his father had stuck but he felt guilty for not being able to empathize with his mothers beliefs. They seemed more admirable and peaceful than her fathers while also seeming ridiculously juvenile. He had longed to find some compromise. The man at the phone number had promised Andrew that he would find exactly what he was looking for.

They only had to drive a few blocks before they found the blue and brick house. It was immaculate. In the dull looming night it seemed to glow of its own internal energy. Everything was well kept and appeared fresh. It stood out against its surroundings like laughter at a funeral. A man who appeared to belong in such an out-of-place place answered the door and invited them in. He wore a neat gray beard and wire glasses on a small head that adorned a giant fuzzy sweater many sizes too large for him. The walls were covered with religious imagery from what appeared to be every known religion of man. He invited them into a sitting room and offered them to rest on a giant over-stuffed couch that was covered in a heavy knitted material just like the sweater. In a chair in a corner a woman about the mans age and equally awkward sat slowly rocking in a chair and knitting. She was rocking in time to some kind of swing jazz and her eyes batted a hello at them.

“I won’t keep you boys too long.” the man said in his deep husky baritone. The voice was disproportionate to the visual image of the fuzzy little man. “Here are two pills, one for each of you. They are a gift from me. I made these myself and can assure you they are absolutely safe. Their effect is identical to what I described in the novel you found at the library. That is all that I can tell you. These pills are yours to take at any time should you choose to.”

After some small talk the man then escorted the two out of his strange home, explaining that it was ‘dance night’ and that he and his wife were eager to get to their weekly gyrations. Mike and Andrew got in the car and began driving back to their place on University. Halfway home Andrew suddenly pulled out his pill and popped it instead of waiting like they had planned. They both sat silent for several blocks. Finally Mike broke the silence.

“Well, how is it? How does it feel?”

Andrew smiled coyly. He did not yet have precise words to attach to the experience so he gave a bit of a chuckle and then answered, “Like a verb, Mike. Like everything I thought was nouns are actually verbs.”

All of his life Andrew had been taught that The Divine was something to either be only laughed at or to never be laughed at. Now he was seeing a new truth before him. God is laughter.

This story was originally written as a submission to ‘Juice’, a Des Moines, Iowa local magazine, and was called ‘He Who Laughs, Lasts’. There were certain guidelines that had to be followed which made the story particular to the area, but I am unable to remember the details of them.

Jumping

jumping

The jumping began in my dreams. These dreams were incredibly vivid although they were never the same dream. Only the jumping connected them. At first the jumps were very small but as the dream would go on I would be able to jump in exponentially accelerating leaps and bounds. Over time I was able to jump great distances from the onset of the dream. It seems that I had learned the skill in that other world and could now perform it without question. In some dreams I jumped to escape and in others just for the sheer joy and beauty of the activity. The jumping was accompanied by a weak sense of being able to float. As if I could will my mass to such a low density that gravities effects on it were weakened dramatically; but not totally. For a very long time these were nothing more than highly welcomed dreams. But then I began an experiment.

I began with the assumption that physical reality was an illusion of consciousness necessary during this stage in the increase of complexity. Not that it was an immutable truth. I also had a hunch that dreams were the more pure form of our consciousness; untethered from physical reality yet interchangeable with many of the symbols, archetypes and experiences within it. More simply put I began to believe that the wall between dreams and reality was not so great as to keep me from jumping over it.

There was a long period of failure. My initial attempts were the most comical of all. I began by trying to jump in place. My efforts to will the concentration were mangled sums of physical strain. I realized with much internal laughter that if my plan were to shit myself with enough force to nullify gravity, this was the method to pursue. That, however, was not my aim. So I began studying and using yogic techniques to escape the space-time velocity of my mind and enter the realm of pure mind while still awake. As pleasant as that was it was just another form of dreaming. One night during this time I had one of the jumping dreams again and I remembered an important fact. The jumping always began with running.

I fucking hated running. It seemed like such an animalistic form of narcissism that I had no interest in it. Nonetheless, I began running. A lot. And I kind of liked it. Not at first, of course. At first it was dull and painful and frustrating. The constant movement of cars, bicycles, pedestrians and other runners made the chore seem more like a burden than an exercise in evolving. So I began running outside of town on trails or through woods and other open spaces and soon it began to make sense. It was not just about running. It was about becoming aware of the environment, I had to anticipate each footfall in those rugged terrains and adjust accordingly. Suddenly running became an activity of my mind as much of as my body. I later learned to adapt the techniques to rural situations but the feedback was too much to learn the basics in.

By this point I had really gotten into running. My first step into jumping was developing a sort of rural parkour. Trees and rocks and watersheds provided the perfect places for my growing sport. Like a perfect animal I was able to negotiate the wilds physically beyond the abilities of any other living human I knew of. And from this the jumping just sort of emerged. I soon found myself taking great leaps followed by several more. I was a pouncing machine, like a supernatural big cat, able to leap in greater bounds with each successive one until the treetops themselves were visible to me. I began to become aware of a feeling that accompanied these actions. It was constant deja vu. I always had the sensation that I was just at where I now was. But this was happening every second as if I were experiencing time as a linear progression of loops. Becoming aware of this feeling caused me to concentrate on it to the point where I was soon unable to jump beyond just superior human abilities.

I had an inclination to understand the dynamics of what I had been doing in the woods so I began fumbling through mathematics, biology and other scientific disciplines to understand it. What I was led to believe after much research is that what I had been accomplished was technically impossible because the human brain was not capable of operating the body machinery at optimum enough levels. The basic ingredients for these abilities lied within the machinery but the programming did not allow processing to access memory at a high enough rate to maximize sufficient uses of available energy. Science seemed to suggest, in the end, that humans could not perform these feats because humans could not perform these feats. It was a futile exercise in recursive defeatism.

One day I was sitting around smoking cannabis and decided to try staring at the dial clock on the wall for an entire hour. For the first half an hour it was the most boring fucking thing I had ever done. Slowly it began to become disorientating until the hands of the clock disappeared altogether. Only by thinking about a time would the hands emerge to evidence it. By concentration I became able to move the hands in such a steady pace as to keep time. Or at least keep it steady. I have no idea if my internal sense of time that powered that clock was anywhere close to objective time because at the end of the experiment I fell directly to sleep. Before that, however, I began to sense another form of dissonance in my relation to the clock. If I was controlling the hands of the clock not only was I controlling time but by controlling the relative physical positions of the hand I was also controlling space. Suddenly the clockwork of entire Universe both inside and outside of my mind were perfectly in synch. So much so that I realized they had never been distinct to begin with. I realized that both time and space and all of reality were a product of anticipation and then I just sort of napped out.

When I awoke I went for a run. As I ran I began to anticipate every movement before it happened until my self awareness was such that my anticipation no longer had to be informed by the known physical laws. If I wanted to jump several meters over a few acres of woodland I just created a mental image of the action in which every point across the arc of the jump was anticipated just a moment before my body arrived there, but my anticipation was always formed by new data and new perceptions along the way so that I could make necessary adjustments. I ran all night long into ever more complex maneuvers and jumps into the morning when I think a farmer might have spotted me. I decided to head home.

The walk home was full of many revelations beginning with the realization that I was not tired. Well, I was a bit tired but that was because of how long it had been since I had slept; however I realized my body was not tired. As if it had suffered no indignation at such a workout. I began to wonder that all of my life my body had been made to serve under my limited brain but rarely did my mind have access to it. Now it was as if my body were obeying the mind alone in those intense moments and was therefore not restricted by the physical realities which brain was a constant subject to. Brain and body were necessary to create the conditions in which mind needed to evolve but our consciousness was not to be limited to them once we had mastered that reality. Religion, science and politics had been attempting to master that reality since the dawn of humanity but for the express purpose of controlling it and not for escaping it. To become more than meat we needed new priorities. And fast.

My first priority became then to share this with the world. As I ran at night I began to formulate a plan but then I one night I became aware that I was not alone. At first my mamallian instincts were of fear and paranoia. I could not make out this other thing or being that galloped through the wood with me. Soon this gave way to competiveness as whatever it was seemed to posses skills even far beyond my own. Eventually though it became kind of a dance. We leaped together in what can best be described as melodies and harmonies and as the beauty of that sank in I began to laugh as loud as I ever have; tears streaming down my face at the sheer excitement of it. Through my own laughter I began to hear another voice laughing and I was suddenly overcome with what can be best described as a sense of love the likes of which I had never known. I became overwraught with this to the point that I needed to stop and just let let that moment overcome me. And so I did and when I came to my senses she was sitting there beside me.

“Nice night for a run, no?”

She was beautiful in a sense so deep that it could not be accounted for by physical beauty. She seemed to glow of joy and self-possession and knowledge all of which she radiated as a simple matter of fact of her being.

“Who are you?” I asked.

She laughed. “I am you and you are me and all is one. I thought you had figured that out by now?”

She continued laughing but it was not perverse as in mockery. It was joyful and sharing and inviting so I laughed with her and that kinda answered my question.

“Okay, I get it. But who are you in that other sense.”

“My name is Satori and I am like you. A jumper. It started in your dreams, didn’t it?”

We talked well into the next morning about our experiences. The dreams, the jumping, but most of all the mind. She explained to me that there were others, too. Not everyone jumped. Some flew, some dived and some did things that wouldn’t make sense in the waking world. But they all had one connection. They had started in dreams. She said that humanity had begun to wake up from the limitations of its waking physical reality. That some of us were already beginning to move beyond this plane of existence altogether into another place of pure mind. Like a world of dreams but with distinct seperate consciousnesses interacting of their own free will. Finally she told me that she would likely be going there soon and that I would follow.

“You will have to say goodbye in your own way. Once you are gone it will be as if you never existed or they will concoct some permutation of reality in which you died amongst them. And not all of them will follow. Sadly, most will not. It was necessary for that reality to create an abundance of interacting minds in order to produce those that would be able to progress past them. Many of those entities you call humans will just go on living as they always have until slowly when all of the great minds have evolved past them they will begin to stagnate and regress in that limited reality. I believe you have already seen this happening. It is unlikely that many if any people you know will join us in the new plane on which we will exist. So say goodbye however you wish but just remember that you will either be forgotten or your absence excused by conventional means. Telling them about all of this will not be of any use to them. When it is your time to move on you will meet one like yourself and prepare them for the journey as I have done with you.”

She embraced me in a way that went beyond physical. We temporarily became as one and shared everything we had ever known and I learned more from her what would be happening to me. This embrace seemed to last an eternity and I awoke that afternoon alone in the woods. There was a young man running through the forest. He ran right past me in great leaps and bounds hardly making any noise except the sounds of self satisfaction with his newfound abilities.

I go running every night and watch him without letting him know that I am there. He is progressing fantastically although differently than I did. I hardly belong to the waking world anymore. When I am not running I am sleeping somewhere out of the way living in those dream simulations of where I am heading. I have written this all out many times and then destroyed it. Should anyone ever find this it will seem like a work of madness or fiction. Nonetheless I am compelled to write it if only to understand it myself.

I cannot concentrate anymore. This world, this reality…it is like a stranger to me. It is like the sensation of pressing ones thumb to their finger in heavy gloves as opposed to without them. The young man seems to have come to understand as much of the mystery he is embroiled in as he will on his own. Tonight I shall jump with him.

For what it is worth, I love you and will miss you very much. Even when we become one anothers memories or fictions. If I don’t see you on the other side I hope the end is not too hard on you. It may not be too late for you. We are all children but somewhere along the way we lost our imaginations. If you can recapture that from your dreams you too may just have a chance to grow up with us. So find love of your dreams so you may yet find dreams of your love. Love will bring us all back together to a place where we cannot harm one another and instead act as coauthors of the most beautiful existence we can imagine. Love beckons and now I shall go be with it.

p.s. You are about to bomb yourselves back to sticks and stones. Try not to do that. You are all responsible for that reality. Even children keep their treehouses clean.

Advanced Ape

advanced ape

“I have been thinking a lot about dying.” I said

“What, like killing yourself?” Her voice was genuinely concerned but her expression betrayed none of that. She was beautiful when she smiled at him, so he didn’t mind the inconsistency.

“No. Not really. I mean, I think about that but it doesn’t seem like an option. Just that if it happened, it might not be so bad. I just don’t think I belong here anymore. I feel like I am supposed to be moving on, seeing what comes next.”

“What if there is no next? What if this is it?”

“That would be unfortunate considering how well this is turning out. And I do not just mean my bad luck. The whole thing. Everything, everybody; especially everybody.”

“What about me?” For just a second her expression changed to hurt. Rejection.”

“I love you. I thought you already knew that?”

“I do. But I am not real, you know.”

“It doesn’t matter.”


The wings were made of a thin, black, shiny material. Like a child’s cape in a Dracula costume. The structure beneath had been constructed of cheap disposable chop sticks, duct taped together. A harness of kite string was attached so that it could be worn. It was an impossible contraption but he knew it would work if he put it on. Those were the rules. He climbed onto an old metal platform with stairs that had been abandoned by the mobile home it once served. With a mighty push he leaped off and began falling even more rapidly. Just before he hit the ground a wind rustled through and caught beneath the wings lifting him into the air. Looking down he saw their expressions of disbelief and amazement. Smiling smugly he did a few circles around them and slowly came to the ground. They were gone. Folding the wings gently and then placing them gently under his arms, he tried to remember what the tallest building he could possibly get to the roof of was and then began walking towards it.


“You again.” I sputtered half contemptibly and the other half sardonically. I hated it when I showed up like this to bother myself when I was trying to be alone.

“Feeling sorry for yourself again?”

“Maybe. Or maybe I am just feeling sorry for everything and tired of feeling sorry for it.”

“That wouldn’t make sense to anybody else. Why do you insist on being understood and at the same time insisting on flying in circles above everyone.? Tone it down. You have to land sometime. You are drifting away inside that fancy mind you are so proud of. What good will it be if you cannot figure out how to build stairs and a door for others to access it with?” People tended to think I was unduly argumentative and confrontational with them. If only they could see how I talked to myself like this maybe it would make sense. Maybe not.

“I keep trying. But every time I think I have, Universe puts up a shiny new escalator next to it and I stand there watching as they pass by; laughing about things I cannot seem to understand..”

“Maybe you should build the stairway at the top of the escalator?”

“Then Universe would just build another escalator next to that.”

“If you insist.”


Everybody in the house is either away or asleep and he is bored. He wanders through the house exploring and rifling through things while trying not to disturb anyone. His room is in the basement but he has made his way up to the second story floor. In the center of the that top floor there is a closet. Opening it he finds a warehouse of items left behind by past residents. Things that were kept in case their owners should ever return for them or in the case a new occupant might find use for them. He starts at the top pulling things from shelves, then hanging racks and finally ends up on his knees rifling through the stuff on the floor. There is nothing here that he wants. Taking a final look before moving on he notices a small square panel on the far wall. Curious, he pries at it’s edges. It opens revealing a small crawlspace that he just barely manages to squeeze into. Half the crawlspace is a dirty wooden floor covered in what must be centuries of dust and cobwebs and the other detritus of the passing of time in closed forgotten spaces. The other half, however, is a dark opening going straight down. He pulls a cigarette lighter from his pocket to illuminate the empty, darkened space. There are steps attached to the wall but he cannot see anything below. Positioning his body in the cramped space, he manages to adjust himself to make the descent. Climbing slowly at first but not getting anywhere, he picks up his pace. After awhile of not getting anywhere he slows back down and drained of his curiosity and bored with this jumps from the steps and plunges…


“Are you feeling any better tonight? Or are you still contemplating the Great Beyond?” I try to imagine her not like this but like her real self. Dirty, sick, angry. Petty, childish, self-absorbed. She must be those things from time to time, but I have never seen it. Maybe it is for the best.

“I am not feeling anything tonight. I thought that might be nice for a change.” I lie.

“You lie. You cannot do that. That is part of your problem. You never turn it off. Of course, it also makes you endlessly fascinating. Fascinating and terrifying. Its like a haunted house, isn’t it? Despite the fact that it is frightening people line up to get inside. Yet nobody wants to live in a haunted house.”

“There doesn’t seem to be that many people in line. In fact, most of the time it is just me standing there in a silly costume and a bullhorn which I often find myself yelling into the wrong end of.” I am proud of this answer but I am a bit dazed as she is not usually this metaphorical with me. She has been showing up less often and I try to convince myself that it is probably for the best. There is a soft melody and I realize she is singing. I cannot make out what she is singing but I become so transfixed by it that I do not even notice when she stops until she speaks again which may have been seconds or eternities later for all I can tell.

“Do you know why I am here?” she asks.

“Probably because you don’t know any better.”

“Yet I am not really here, am I?”

“Obviously. But that is because I don’t know any better.”


He is not there. There are things happening. Events. People. Nouns, verbs, adjectives and the whole shebang; but he is not there. Time passes. Things progress, sometimes jumping from one scene to the next. Seamless and seemingless. None of it appears to matter but he cannot stop paying attention because he is not there and he cannot remember this ever happening before. Or maybe it is because he has no choice since he is not there to control himself. There is more of it and he wants very much to enjoy it, or even despise it; but he is not there.

He is in a new place far away. He has just moved there but he cannot remember why. There used to be something here, or at least near here, that he wanted. Whatever it was he either cannot remember it or it is not here now. It occurs that either way it really does not make any difference, the results are the same. Like every time before he finds a job and makes friends and explores the differences between all of the other places he has ever been. Those differences have begun to seem less pronounced and this time there is almost none of it at all. It is always the same no matter where he goes because he is always the same. He cannot objectively observe his own growth. He has become the forest which cannot see itself through the trees. The forest, he thinks, would be a nice place to live next.


“Who are you?” I demand, trying to be brusque and in charge of this apparition.

“Does that really matter? Do you even care? You never seem to stop running away in that head of yours, so why should it matter where or who you run to?” I once saw a picture that was supposed to represent what the average human being would look like. This is as close as I can come to describing this androgynous, amorphous illusion. The voice is much the same.

“Alright, fair enough. What, then, do you want?”

“To ask you that very same question. What do you want?” Its eyes bury me in a corner where I cannot escape. I remain silent and those eyes remain vigilant. They are not really eyes, though. They are not really a ‘they’. It is a mirror in a pitch black room that may or may not exist when nobody is around to turn the lights on and look into it. Whatever it is, I cannot escape it. “What do you want?”

“I want to turn the light off.” As I say this I know that I cannot, ever, turn the light off. I can close my eyes and pretend that it does not exist but always there will be bits of it seeping into the corners of my eyes where the shades no longer cover. “I want it to be fair.”

“Then you are a child.”

“Then I want it to be easy.”

“Then you are a fool.”

“Then I want it to be meaningful.”

“Then you are an ape.”

I laugh. It laughs. Everything laughs. Or is everything laughter? For a moment I think that it must be the latter. If everything is laughter, what of the sorrow? How is sorrow if everything is laughter? Now everything is sorrow. Even the laughter is sorrow and I ask myself if this is paradox or irony. Now everything is paradox and irony simultaneously. This thought makes me laugh and once again everything is laughter.

“You could do that for forever, you know.” It quips.

“Because I am just an ape?”

“No, in spite of that.”

Silence. Darkness. Nothingness. At its center a small point of light appears. It grows slowly at first then exponentially faster until there is no more more darkness and only light. The light collapses suddenly and there is only darkness. Once again the pinpoint of light appears. Expand. Collapse. The process repeats itself, each time more rapidly than the last until the process becomes non-linear and simultaneous. Infinite. The vision gives way to a gnawing sense of hunger and curiosity. They are at odds. The hunger wants to consume the curiosity but the curiosity cannot allow itself to be consumed, less it may never understand the hunger. It is like an ontological knife fight in a cosmic alley with opponents matched so evenly in skill and determination that it can never end.

“What if I do not want to be an ape?” I try to sound confident and confrontational so that it knows that I am in control, even though we can both see clearly through the falsehood.

“Then you must advance.”

“Can’t I just quit? Seems a helluva lot easier if you ask me. I grow tired of being a mind attached to meat. The meat asks so much of me that it makes itself a prison. My mind can see far beyond the bars but the meat cannot slip through the narrow openings. Just how do you recommend I advance under such conditions?”

“I don’t know. I didn’t do it.” It is gone.


He knows that he is dreaming. He can control the dreams but he cannot escape them. Occasionally he tries and just finds himself slipping through recursive layers of his subconscious mind. It becomes disorientating and so he just gives in and wanders into the next dream. He sees himself climbing up a platform with crude childish wings attached to his back. She is there watching the other him. He walks up next to her and asks her what he is doing.

“He is trying to advance.” Her smile is like a mirror catching the light of infinite stars. If he closes his eyes or turns away she will disappear. Afraid to blink he takes turns closing only one eye at a time while opening the other. Each one is a setting sun, or a rising sun; depending on the light she reflects back to its source.

“You are not real.” I whisper, afraid speaking will make me blink.

“Yes and no. I exist and I do not. I wear many faces but none of them are mine. You have created and destroyed me countless times. I am always the same and always different. Only one underlying truth remains. I am your desire and you try fulfill me with whatever you can find but if you look more closely you will see a you-shaped hole where none of these ideas fit. None of them can ever fit. Instead of plugging the hole with the next closest shape, as you have been wont to do, you need to move on.”

“You mean end it?” I ask, unable to hide the fear.

“No, I mean to advance. The hole you try to fill is not a gap to be covered over but a door through only which you may pass. To advance you must pass beyond that which you have formerly tried to fill with self-pity, fear and sorrow or by shoving others in front of to give yourself an excuse not to pass through.”

“Then how can I pass through? How can I advance? What is the secret?”

“There is no secret. There is nothing hidden. To advance one does not find what was lost or hidden. To advance one must create that other place. The past is a pastiche of different perspectives from the present but the future does not exist. It is not written. It is not etched in words or memory and has no blueprint in what has come before it. To advance you simply start putting one new idea in front of the other and stop worrying about who is following you or who is by your side. If you get the knack for it you will advance without ever knowing it and lay a path on which no other may follow. However, they can learn from it. They can be emboldened to lay their own paths of advancement.” she pauses and smiles at me again.

“Do not be surprised that many will or can not do that. Like you they started out as apes and had no idea where they were going. In fact by way of concluding that they had already arrived most of them insured their destinies had no destination at all. There is a reason you are here and only you know what that reason was. In arriving it has been forgotten so it will be necessary for you to recreate it.” Suddenly, she is gone.


I sit at the keyboard hoping she will come back soon. I know she will. But the next time I will give her a new face and not reconfigure her from the forms of other faces I have already met or created. I will give her every imaginable form possible and I will not stop until I must, if that becomes the case. While the other apes try to shove their visions of her into their own ape-shaped holes I will pass through my own with infinite capacity to create her in whatever carrot-on-a-string shape I can imagine to keep me moving on; because I am an Advanced Ape.