Thursday, January 29, 2015

Why Coal Miners Don't Eat Their Vegetables

Mathis was a man of few words. He found few words were necessary in this fine, fine world of ours. He saw not the moon nor the stars nor the sky. Such idleness was for the fanciful dreamers. No, Mathis saw only what was ahead of him - and what was ahead of him was the gaping open mouth of hell.

Say anything and his reply was always the same.

"Hey, Mathis, how's it goin'?"

"Fuck you, asshole."

"Mathis! I want to give you ten million francs!"

"Fuck you, asshole,"

"I just saved your mother's life, Mathis!"

"Fuck you, asshole."

Repeated in the same listless monotone every time, he spoke as a man who's seen the score and knew he'd lost. News of the world was as irrelevant as the stars. Mathis never considered this to be his world. He wasn't the only coal miner like this, just the most committed.

An official handbook of the Belgium region read thusly of his life:
[They] find their work exclusively in the coal mines....The miner is a special Borinage type, for him daylight does not exist, and except on Sunday he never sees the sunshine. He works laboriously by a lamp whose light is pale and dim, in a narrow tunnel ...he works in the midst of thousands of ever-recurring dangers, but the Belgium miner has a happy disposition, he is used to that kind of life, and when he descends the shaft, carrying on his hat a little lamp that is destined to guide him in the darkness he trusts himself to God.
Ah, no quicker way to hell than trusting oneself to God! Of course, Mathis' reply to any trusting of a higher power was also met with his same contempt. Though having never read the book from whence that passage came, he knew the song chapter and verse. The state must always save face. But Mathis had his own translation of the official state of disunion:
The child is exclusively beaten....The child is a special type, not needing love. His life is brutal and trapped with no say in his life, but the child is happy to be beaten, unbothered by his bruises, and when sent to the hospital on the verge of death trusts himself to his parents.

Through a wounded child's eyes Mathis saw the world in its true state. Those who lied and covered up for society - done by even many of its victims - were as living scandals to him. The few gulps of air he ever received were in the sparse words of rebellion muttered by the outlaws and malcontents. But their numbers were few and their force even less. No one dare disturb the sleep of reason to feel Her wrath.

A peculiar thorn in his side were the Apologia, lost souls who'd found their way to a comfortable life in the world after having the life crushed out of them by its merciless, grinding wheels. In their treason and fear, any answer would do so long as it kept their comfortable live alive. Their zombie eyes were emptied out and sightless. And for having committed their treasure to treason and fear, they eternally preached faith and courage to others with an unshakable conviction (having firsthand knowledge of the horror of living without).

Vegetable Lady was a high priestess in the Apologia. Her adamant exhortations were much admired in her circle and she was considered a person of high responsibility by the authorities, granting her safe passage through the world. Her ostensible crusade was to better the life of the miners, to give them good health and inner joy! This was very much appreciated by the authorities who abused the miners as it gave them license to continue the ill-treatment of their workers. After all, they were being taken care of now!
For the men the denoircissement [an "unblackening" of the skin] no longer worked. Most bore the permanent marks of scratches and grazes in the mines, the white skin of their arms and chests tattooed "like blue-veined marble." Indeed, they bore all the scars of their labor: tired, bent-over bodies (life expectancy averaged forty-five years); emaciated, weather-beaten faces; the memory of loved ones lost to the mines; and the knowledge that their children would follow them into the earth because, as Emile Zola wrote, "nobody had yet invented a way of living without food."

Vegetable Lady had all the fervor of the "saved" and enlightened preacher. She handed out recipes of healthy vegetable diets, chastising anyone who dare disengage. For her, there could be no room for compromise with this obviously correct life choice. She proffered the latest indisputable studies showing the health benefits of vegetables. "You can't eat too many of them!" It was all she could do not to physically stuff them down the miners' throats, so sure was she of her rightness.

There were many sly smiles in the room as she one day approached Mathis. On top of his usual contempt it was well known one of the few traces of pleasure in his mine of misery was the eating of grilled meat. Mathis had no use for vegetables, their consumption an exercise in strained torture, taking the air of him. And he understood why. Ever eager to gauge her effectiveness, Vegetable Lady saw nothing registering in Mathis' eyes - which infuriated her morality.

"Sir? Sir! Do you hear me? This is for your own good, not mine. I'm already saved and I'm here to bring you your salvation. Now just what do you have to say?"

The room giggled in anticipation, then roared with laughter. "Fuck you, asshole."

Gasping as if punched in the stomach, spinning around to a room full of laughing mockery, Vegetable Lady had never endured such rejection. Her careful cocoon kept her in deep praise and she had rather marveled at her bravery to go among the lost souls as Christ had. With the last quiver in her bow she struck back at "those savages."

"Do you mean to deny what I say? This is nothing to laugh at!" The room started to quiet. "These studies are irrefutable. I hear you complain of health. Well, here's your answer. Sure, life is hard. My life has been hard too. But this is the way! This is no joke. This is no game. Hear me or regret it for life!"

A stillborn silence gripped the room. All eyes - including Vegetable Lady's - zeroed in on Mathis and his response. In the delay, some sensed his defeat, forced to contemplate bowls of broccoli for breakfast. What did they know anyway? Surely, actually good souls didn't suffer as they. A preacher's strong conviction proved irresistible.

Then Mathis snorted in contempt. The room stepped back. "You fucking idiot," he addressed his nemesis. "Why the fuck would I want to live any longer than I have to? Dying is my only comfort."

Vegetable Lady peered once more into the eyes of Mathis, only this time seeing glowing flames of hate. He saw her for what she was, standing by the side of his abusers, never questioning them. Never preaching to them to give a living wage or better work conditions. No, she was a rapist, predating on the weak and the hurting, mistaking might for right; a savage.

Looking around the room at questioning eyes suddenly open to the truth, she sensed the danger and fled, never to return to "those stubborn, hopeless, godless beings." The miners continued their bad diets to exit the planet post haste and the world kept spinning in oblivious trajectory.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Her Prayer Answered; His Was Not

Now she hated God. God is her mortal enemy, the ultimate Betrayer. If only God never existed she could be fine. Let it be known: God is doom.

It wasn't always like that. God had been her ally all her life. A faithful churchgoer, she claimed the moral authority and approval that went with that. Dare any elected President not be a churchgoer? Proof positive only the irresponsible abstain. She was dutifully humble in her devotion, respectful and sincere. She never understood the animosity the word "God" could bring. "We need all the help we can get in this world!"

But when the last child left the house, no God or hope could save her. It was like a death in the family as she saw herself slowly sucked into a black abyss never to escape. In those 25 years of raising children, she'd denied her feelings and herself with great zeal and passion. She claimed her life unworthy for the greater good of her children. Then she realized she was as a farmer without his crops and for having never planted seed the ground too hard now for sowing.

Panic started overtaking her mind seeing no way of escape. Outwardly, she had all the trappings of success. Inwardly was desolation. She heard a voice mocking, "Congratulations! You've fooled the world! Nobody knows you're in trouble but you!" Like a drunk waking up the next morning to find he'd burned down the house, what could she do? Where could she go?

Suddenly sober, no more could she convince herself of having led a sinless life. So many years of self-destruction and dishonesty raised the bar of redemption. No point in even trying to justify herself. What did it matter? The abyss has no ears. Who could she talk to? She tried her priest - but in a roundabout way that did not reveal the true nature of her crime. "Of course you miss your children," he misunderstood. No, it's me I miss and this aftermath shows just how much I needed to pursue my own life. I feel so lost!!

Her husband away on a business trip, clutching her stomach in the middle of the night in anguish, her mind raced with fear of her coming exposure. "I just can't live like this! It's like I amputated my limbs. This is unlivable. I've been nothing but a lie! Oh God, please help me! Can You even understand my torment? I know I never listened to my little voice nagging me but I had no idea it would lead to this. What is there now? Tell me please!" She stuffed her face in her pillow, sobbing, forgetting pretense, naked before the world.

In her exhausted dream came an angel bearing good tidings. "Debby, rejoice! All is not lost. Your life can still have meaning."

"How? How can that be after I married the wrong man and hid behind my children wasting my life but unable not to serve them. I've been running away from myself my whole life."

"Call him."

"Call who? God? He's not in my cell."

"You know who. The one you lost, the one you gave up for your marriage, the one you wanted."

"No! No! Never! I'll never do that. You can't make me!"

"Your cries have been heard. This shall end your distress."

"I don't care! I'd rather die! Give me anything but don't give me that!"

But only silence followed. In the morning, Debby was a changed woman.

"Goddamit, I don't believe it! I don't fucking believe it! I'm not calling him, I don't care what You say!" She was looking up to the ceiling. Then she was struck by the looming dread of Sunday church - hell, of any mention of that fucker God. "I was an idiot to open up to You! I won't make the same mistake opening up to him! You can count on that!"

Trapped for the rest of her life she'd be, never able to utter or even hint of her contempt for God to her blindly religious family. Doomed to dine on this bitter fruit, she knew above all else she must not let that bastard Harry know God's reply to her prayers. "Life is hell!"


Wonderland 46.

"Hey, lady, what am I supposed to do, huh? Ever ask yerself that? I know you can hear me up there on yer high horse! Better be careful or someone might go pee on yer car. Whaddya think of that? I coulda been a lawyer too, ya know, only I like meself too much."

The early thirties female entered the legal office building and out of earshot. Harry was deeply pained, shaken to his core. There are times when the depravity and desperation of his life can not be hidden. The rest of the time he wasted energy hiding them. Like a cursed yo-yo, when he was high on a lie he convinced himself he was as fine as he fooled the world. But the lying only made him hate himself all the more leaving him to sink back into a more honest state of self-loathing. Then the honesty would raise his esteem only to have him spend it like a wino on lying all over again.

He wandered off to find a safe place - a place far from where the legal lady had seen him. In shattered moments like this Harry wondered why he bothered living, borrowing his soul on unsecured credit. When mired in homeless suffering he hungered and longed for the day when the world would be set right and justice to permanently prevail. Then he would have an honest shot at living. But the way he felt now he wished judgment day never to arrive.

He dare not make eye contact with anyone as he made his hasty exit, with a special notice to avoid cops. Harry found it curious that even in these trying circumstances a part of him wanted to live, was even optimistic. There's more to life than meets the world's eye. By that one thin thread he did hang. But when would that promise ever be fulfilled?

Wonderland 31

It was no coincidence the legal lady caught him. He knew her - as much as he could know anyone not homeless. Starving as much for intellectual food as physical food, Harry knew the place where the building's lawyers gathered outside to discuss their cases and issues of the day. He inserted his own rabid opinions from his hiding spot, forever frustrated he could not join the conversation. He despised most of the voices he heard, sometimes barely able not to lash out and "choke the son-a-bitch like he chokes the truth."

But her voice, that was another matter. He rejoiced when he first heard it and then, over time, the rarest of things happened: he trusted her. But though she sat only a few feet away from his hiding spot, Harry would have to jump the Grand Canyon to ever reach her world. Maybe that's why he let himself become lax, taking comfort wherever he could find it; another mock turtle home.

In his present purgatory of complete isolation, his mind was forced to the most forbidden of places for shelter: Debby. "If only she'd say my name, just once, the world would tilt for me." But how could she - or anyone - ever find him to connect with him? That had been the whole point of running away to the street to begin with. She had feigned no interest in his feelings but the more sure of them he became the further from her sight he ran.

Only in moments like this when he was most hopeless did he re-open his heart to her. He prayed and prayed and prayed to hear the sound of her voice. But if Debby had just witnessed the disaster of his calamity with the legal lady she'd swear off him for life. To take another step, to inhale another breath, to cry another tear was to operate on complete blind faith in the back alleys of life - especially on this day when he'd made a new enemy in the world with the legal lady. "Life is hell!"

EPILOGUE: "Hey, Elise, is it really true? I can't believe it!" Ben was a dick, always the first to kick someone when they were down. But he was careful to always make sure it was socially acceptable and as he leaned against Elise's desk in that smug manner of his when he thought himself clever Elise wished she could trip him to the floor. "Did you really catch some homeless dude whacking off behind the hedge?"

What Elise wanted to say was: "Yes, I think it was your father." What she did say was, "I've got a ton of paperwork. Leave me alone."

"Come on, spill the beans! Was he smelly and shit? I heard he left a copy of Playboy as he ran away."

"If you hurry I think it's still down there." Elise cocked her head and smiled and even a clod like Ben knew this was one of her special smiles - the kind of smile that's no smile at all, her one-more-wrong-step-and-I'll-cut-your-head-off smile. He'd felt that pointed sting before and how publicly foolish it made him feel. Ben didn't know why she was so angry with him now over a person so clearly deserving of mockery. He backed off in a cloud of fear and confusion. Elise said nothing to his hasty exit but what she wanted to say was, "It's called human compassion, you ass!"

Saturday, January 24, 2015

High Anxiety: Calling Doctor DareKill

"Wow, you sure you're at rest?"

"I'm at rest as I can be. I know I can feel my heart pounding."

"That's an understatement. It's at 120. I've seen race car drivers with slower heart rates - while racing!"

"They've got it easier than I do."

"I'll have to take your word on that. Let's check your blood pressure."

"You know the Chinese believe in looking at the whole picture, the spirit as well as the body."

"No one ever patented a pill for your spirit. Wow, blood pressure sky high too."

"I'm just saying I'm more than a mere physical machine."

"Believe as you wish. My major was in medicine, not philosophy."

"Believing I'm only physical is philosophy too."

"You don't want to move to China, do you? Relax, I'm sticking with the accepted doctrines of the West if you don't mind - and even if you do."

"Witch burning was an accepted doctrine once too. Isn't it good to practice some independent thought?"

"Not when it threatens my Porsche payment. Plus, I could get sued if I ever deviate."

"But if everyone stays only with what's accepted and never questions, how can we ever advance?"

"That's for others to decide not me."

"That's what they say too. Life is more than what insurance companies say."

"Now that's a radical attitude! If you want to eat and live indoors, that is."

"It's just that I got a lot of things bothering me and I think it's affecting me physically."

"I can't fix your conscience. And besides, it's probably a chemical imbalance."

"An imbalance caused by my agitation?"

"I'd say it's the other way around. What you need is a pill to smooth out the highs and lows and stop feeling what you're feeling."

"That's really an answer?"

"Sure, with this racing heart of yours and chemically imbalanced state you'll have a difficult time functioning as a normal person. I'm here to get you to appear normal and be socialized as if everything's fine."

"But everything is not fine!"

"Duh, you haven't taken any drugs yet. Leave it to the professionals. This is what I've been trained to do. Any other doctor who wants to continue his practice would do exactly the same. Medical school cost me a fortune and I'm charging a fortune. No one could get away with that unless we were in the right."

"Yes, you're definitely in the money."

"And that means in the right! In a week or so we'll get your blood work back. I'll know what pill to give you and you'll be right as rain as far as anyone knows."

"Ok, doc, I guess I don't have much choice. I'm scared all the time! I can't stop it! I don't know what's wrong with me!"

The doctor walked away to confer with his assistant. When far enough away not to be heard, he shook his head. "What that boy needs is a slap upside the head, knock the whining right out of him! I hate these head cases. You hear him out there questioning me? Don't want my help then go ahead and jump off. See where that gets ya. You want your damn spirit fixed, then go chant something. I'm here to deal in reality!"

"Hey, doc, one more question please!" yelled out his patient.

The doctor sighed, half-debating to not even answer. "Yes, what is it?" he replied in the most annoyed tone he could muster.

"Do you think my perpetually standing on a slim ledge thirty stories up in a high wind is having any effect on my health?"

"How should I know? I told you: I'm a scientific doctor not a witch doctor."

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Military Unveils SHOCKING New Uniform!

President Obama in his role as Commander-in-Chief revealed today sweeping new changes in military outfitting. "I feel in my last two years I have an opportunity to make some real symbolic gestures that have no meaning. Knowing full well my decisions will be either wholly rejected or reversed upon my leaving office by our new Republican overlords, I'm finally free to pretend I'm the liberal I always posed myself to be."

Obamabots were doing a self-proclaimed "victory lap". "See? Now you're getting the real Obama, the liberal lion! Our delusions have come true at last. We're going to fix the world!" This did little to stem the controversy of the new military gear. The most common words to be applied were "inappropriate" and "obscene". However, the president stood firm in his stance.

"I have heard your criticisms: that I lack backbone and honest conviction. It has been said I'm a closet Republican and their bitch. Because I know these things to be true I must desperately provide a smokescreen on my way out the door that proves - at least to the uninformed, self-deceived and simple-minded - I truly am a martyred savior crucified by unreasonable liberals who failed to see the necessity of their crucifixion. So with much pride, I present the outstanding new uniform for our military heroes stabilizing the world!"

Declared obscene

"Outrageous!" "Shocking!" "Immoral!" No issue has polarized the American public like this since Watergate. NSA abuses, wage slavery, assassination squads - nothing has generated the sort of debate this decision has despite there being no changes in the actual use of military personnel. This reporter was dispatched to get to the bottom of the situation.

"I was so proud when my son joined up," cried one Texas mother. "But now he looks like the biggest queer since Liberace. I just can't understand this sort of decision. My son is a good boy - at least he used to be! Oh, the horror!"

"My boy is stationed in Korea - and everyone knows Korea is full of faggots!" asserted a concerned father from Alabama. "I won't have him be chased down the street by a bunch a faggots with their peckers out. One thing I'd like to know: who's gonna respect us now when we goes to invadin' countries? Answer me that!"

"It's bad, I tell you! Just bad!" wept a suburban woman with no family members in the military.

"Can you tell me why it's bad, ma'am?"

"Just look at it! You have to be wearing the proper clothing when killing and maiming."

"And just how can you determine what is proper clothing?"

"It's like art: I know it when I see it. But this strips us of our moral authority! It's not proper to be taking human life wearing a thong, for God's sake! I can't believe anyone has to be told that."

Fears were not allayed by the President's statement that camouflage versions would be issued as a matter of combat practicality. "After all, I am the adult in the room," he sniffed. Even black rappers, known to prominently display thongs in their videos were not in agreement. "It just ain't right! It just ain't right! Looking like girls our boys can't fight!" But some have deferred to the President on this decision.

How to put the actual fear of God into the Israeli military

"The President has secret special knowledge we don't. I can't really say if it's right or wrong."

"I think it's a brilliant ploy to outrage Muslims. I'm drawing Mohammed in a thong as we speak!"

A woman with a life actually gave approval. "Oh, I think it's hot! They should have done this years ago. It's not like the military makes us safe, anyway."

Females in the military are exempt from the new rule as the President wanted to avoid the appearance of sexism, which brought widespread support from self-declared feminists. "It's about damn time we started exploiting men. I'm sick and tired of males exploiting us because we're too stupid to know to keep our clothes on."

Conservative commentators, though expressing the loudest outrage, also crowed in vindication. "I told you, folks! I've been telling you this for years this is the kind of man we're dealing with. This man is just as much a latent homosexual as I am!"

Heady with the success of at least appearing to have backbone, the President will be announcing a furthering of this policy tomorrow. "Six years of exposure as a coward has dictated I don't go down in history as the conservative Judas I am. I am a brave soul, heedless of criticism due to the courage of my convictions. Starting next week all federal judges will preside in nothing but a thong too! Justice is blind!"

Declared NOT obscene

One man summed up the feelings of the crowd I interviewed. "It's just not right. It isn't right to be killing in a thong and it's not right sending people to jail in a thong. When we're doing bad stuff like that, we've got to cover our ass!"

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

TerRorIsm fOr duMMieS

Does this burka make me look caliphate?

"Hey, Leroy"

"Hey yerself, Osama."

"Man, my life is shit!"

"Mine too! What is we gunna do about it?"

"I don't know about you but I'm feeling awfully oppressed."

"That sounds bad."

"That's because it's not our fault we're so unhappy with ourselves."

"I been saying that fer years. We gotta do sumpthin'!"

"We is - err - we are. We must strike back!"

"Yeehaw! We gets to shoots people, don't us?

"Indeed we will! And I've got just the book to get us started."

"That one-a them best smellers, ain't it? I can tell just from lookin' we gunna be real live terrorers!"

"We'd already be that if we were attacking the English language. Ah, here we go, Chapter 1."

"Congratulations! So you've decided to become a terrorist. Terrorism is the hottest growth market on the planet. Whether you're simply engaging in hate speech to rally the masses, carrying out isolated attacks on defenseless civilians, or a corrupt government official looking to fund your defense industry it's key to outline your objectives and enemies before starting. Let's start with a simple questionnaire: Whom do hate? Check each box that's appropriate.

1. Jews"

"Oh, hell yeah! They been making me feel like a worm fer years!"

"Actually, that box comes pre-checked. Let us continue."

"2. African-Americans."

"They means niggers! I'm in on that!"

"3. Immigrant dish washers."

"They's takin' all our best jobs!"

"4. People who watch Baywatch."

"Aw, shit! What they got that in there fer?"

"It's against Sharia law."

"What's Sharia got agin' gettin' laid? She got a sister?"

"5. Clever satirists."

"We don't stand for no satanists around here! That there's like a almost perfect list!"

"Indeed, except for the dish washers. We save those jobs for our Palenstinian brothers, we love them so much."

"Right nice of yer!"

“Hey! Hey! LB Che! How many kids did you kill today?”

"Next, one must find a cause for which to fight. Picking the proper cause is critical! Attacking without a cause will signify you as a misguided, embittered, self-loathing loser and a victim of your own irresponsibility. However, with the proper stated cause, one might one day end up on a T-shirt! Remember, no matter how many women and children you blow up, you're doing it to make the world a better place. You are the cure for an ailing planet!

"1. God, Allah, "The gods", etc."

"Course we's killing all the folks God wants us to."

"2. Freedom fighting."

"I been fightin' to be free of them darkies me whole life!"

"3. You are the purveyor of justice."

Leroy knew nothing of being a "purveyor" other than they mapped out the land.

"4. You're the only one who understands what's wrong."

"Ain't that the Lord's truth!"

"5. People who make you feel stupid."

"Wow, we gunna need lots of bullets."

"Remember: This it NOT a futile exercise causing unimaginable pain and suffering in the name of preventing pain and suffering. And you're NOT a Judas who makes others pay for your own sins. And you're absolutely NOT a life-hater devoid of hope destroying simply for the sake of destroying. Instead, you are a revolutionary, a defender of the faith, the last pillar of integrity in a world gone mad.

Drone strikes bringing stability to the world

"Terrorism is a valuable service! It wakes up the world and sets it on the correct course. Embraced by everyone from Presidents to high school punks, it has become mainstream and accepted. The world is in need of much correction, and we can still do this one terrorist at a time."

"Wowee, that's some fancy rightin' there. Think I'll go pop myself a nigger just for good measure. Sherwood make me feel better!"

Leroy hadn't been laid in 17 years since his wife left him for a liberal union organizer and the idea of shooting someone became more appealing by the day.

"So what will you choose as your moral cause?"

"That's a tuffie, there. Don't know no Jews. Never knows I had to have a reason fer it. Can't I jess do it cuz I wanna? No one gunna believe I got no grand reason anyways."

"Yes, yes! You must have a reason or they will laugh at us! Just pick something."

"Well last week I drives all the way cross town fer some ice cream and that jackass didn't have a lick of pistachio! I goes to all that trouble ya think they'd be ready fer ya!"

"OK, close enough. Mine will be the decay of Western culture, its decadence and rot are growing every day and I must put an end to literary lasciviousness! I will draw awareness to this disregarded issue, the lives lost will serve a higher purpose as we once again return to good and wholesome writing."

Osama declared this while wearing 14 pink ribbons for breast cancer. Fanatic is as fanatic does. Rejected as a book writer he vowed revenge upon the world. "Hey, you're a failed artist - just like Hitler!" The wound never stopped hurting, sending Osama over the edge. All the pair really knew was they were in agony and it had to stop. No one cared to help.

EPILOGUE: Leroy, in a fit of building sexual rage, exploded with his fully automatic rifle at a Blue Bell ice cream factory. Pundits discussed the corporatization of America, the roots of industrialization and the need for better wage growth for lower income workers like Leroy. A noted talk show host flew off the handle when a caller suggested "good ol' Leroy just needed to get hisself a hooker." "Please, sir, enough of your nonsense! We're trying to be serious here!"

Osama covered all his bases, leaving this note at the office building he blew up (which housed the publisher who rejected him).

"I am making this grammatically correct and well written diatribe in order to strike back against the Zionist controlled book publishers in league with Black Power movements taking away the best jobs from Americans who do nothing but watch porn while mocking hallowed terroristic institutions."

Osama didn't get the reaction he expected despite strictly following the guidelines in the Dummies book. The Zionists didn't exist, the Black Power movement was happy just to be mentioned once more, no jobs were lost, porn watchers were too busy whacking off and everyone else continued not to concern themselves with terroristic drone strikes.

"Dammit to Allah! That idiot Leroy has the whole country talking about him, people analyzing his fucking toilet paper. And what do I get for my brilliance? Nothing! Oh, this is the worst - even worse than before. Please, do anything you want but don't ignore me! I can't stand that!"

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

It's The Devil You Don't Know Who Does You In

"The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled 
was convincing the world he doesn't exist."

Kennedy Cooper was special. He died not knowing that. At 1:12 AM on a Monday morning his car was found off Interstate 35 just south of Waco. The car had veered off the road just past a guardrail, tumbling over several times. The driver was the only occupant. It was determined he was travelling at a high rate of speed.

"What possesses someone to drive like that? What could have been so important...," mused highway patrolman Finster, sickened by the sight of yet another human loss.

"The devil got him!" asserted his fellow officer.

"Shut up, McManus! I don't want to hear that shit now."

"Only thing that makes sense. Devil got control of his life and ran him right off this bridge. Was his time to go."

Finster didn't know why but that last remark really got under his skin. "Just shut it, alright! Not this time. Not every fucking wreck is some sort of karmic retribution, you asshole."

"Same thing happened to Bruce Lee. Sold his soul and bam! Gone in an instant." McManus was especially proud of this perceived insight into the human condition. He felt was on the side of Nature and took particular joy in Her justice. Finster simply walked away in clenched fist, questioning his life choices.


T'was the Summer Of Love 1967. A child was born to two rabid Hippies, Dave and Edie. To honor the late President whom they adored over anyone else, the boy was named Kennedy. They hoped with this small gesture the man's spirit could continue, blazing new light into a dark world. The feeling of the times was magical. "We're on the verge of something. I'm not sure what it is but I think we're on the dawn of a new and better world," dreamed Dave into Edie's eyes. Then they both looked at their son. Fixing the world hadn't been so hard after all.

Nixon's election and the assassination of Robert Kennedy turned the couple off from politics for life. Like their late son's car would decades later, the world had veered off the road heading into a ditch. Nixon's first term ended and still the war raged on. The protest movement was but a parrot of its past, no longer knowing what or why they were protesting, merely repeating the slogans they believed they should believe. Nixon's re-election proved the authorities to be self-evident.

"Doesn't anyone believe in peace, love and understanding anymore?"
- John Lennon

Truth was, they never did. Was a bittersweet satisfaction to find out the devil had been elected President. Leftover Hippies cried out, "We told you so!" But too many had blood on their hands with the revelation of high crimes and misdemeanors having been duly voted for by so many millions. Never again would the nation want to know its President. As far as they were concerned from now on the President was as Pharaoh from ages past: descended from the gods and infallibly trustworthy. This helped to sleep at night after the long national nightmare.

Kennedy heard constant leftist rhetoric as he grew up. It seemed so very romantic! Can world peace really be true? His parents spoke with such authority on the issues - and they believed in world peace. Kennedy often wondered why everyone didn't agree with his parents when they were so obviously right. He took their empty slogans to heart just as they wished he would. Be the change we can't be! The couple had followed so many "isms" of the past but in guilty shame they found themselves sucked into an "ism" that silenced their hearts: materialism.

"Why not? We deserve it." Dave and Edie felt that their ideals justified their good living. What does "selling out to the man" even mean, anyway? One should support peace, love and understanding - but only when it's practical. Peace and a BMW, that's the smart play! But their son took them at face value, marveling at how they kept their integrity even in the face of such worldly possession. An enormous pressure began to build, vaguely at first, of living up to their high ideals - and even the Kennedy legacy.

By the time of graduation in 1985, the Reagan Devolution was in full swing. The "Dark Prince", as Kennedy's father referred to him, was throwing a national greed party. In a way this was thrilling to Kennedy, giving him a cause célèbre to fight. He'd researched and studied his namesake and grew to be truly inspired beyond anything his parents had made him feel. Just the sound of JFK's voice sent his spirit soaring. Somewhere in that deep sunshine of the early Sixties lay paradise and he was determined to prove it.

Kennedy felt special in all the world. No one believed as he did! Everyone was talking past each other. "Just communicate and you'll see it's really OK!" He could feel the famed President looking down on him, smiling and approving, keeping the flame of liberty alive. "I am the last living liberal!" His fiery speeches would shame the greed movement into dissolution and right the country back out of the ditch of 1968. The way Kennedy felt he could believe nothing else.

College. The word had an aura to it. His parents had glorified it as a near holy experience when they marched the streets facing arrest while singing in unison. Even deep into the 80's their eyes still sparkled when speaking of those intoxicating times. Kennedy wanted to bring all that back. Why not? The principles of peace, love and understanding were just as valid then as any other time. Once people realized this, the movement would start again - only this time for real!

The rarefied air of the college campus suited Kennedy just fine. Many leftist groups still abounded on Berkeley, which allowed him to have his say. He was complimented on his voice and passion by the choirs to whom he preached but when it came to his first debate he failed miserably. "Fucking moron Hippie! Get over it! Get a job in the real world. What an idiot!" Kennedy never expected anyone to mock peace, love and understanding. To him, that is a death wish. What did they know that he did not.

In October of 1988 the debate between the two Vice Presidential candidates was to be held. Kennedy's parents were long time supporters of Lloyd Bentsen and told Kennedy he could pick up some pointers if he watched. That night changed his life forever.

"Senator, I served with Jack Kennedy. I knew Jack Kennedy.
Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine.
Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy."

And in that moment, Kennedy too knew he was no Jack Kennedy. He'd been horrified by the statement, feeling it had been directed at him. Tomorrow across the campus he'd be mocked high and low. His growing feeling of being special all through high school and into his college years evaporated in an instant. Suddenly relegated to the dustbin of history, his delusional life laid bare, Kennedy's life took a sharp turn into a ditch. What had he been thinking? He went from feeling the smartest man alive to the dumbest. On top of that, Bentsen lost the election. Get a job, you stupid Hippie.

A philosophy degree for a man who'd lost his philosophy proved worse than useless. Kennedy's provisional plan had always been to write a best selling book he knew would set the world on fire. Funny now how certain he'd been of that happening. Now he cringed at the thought of ever even entertaining it. He broke up with his long time girlfriend before she could find out the true measure of his fraudulence. They had spoken of kids so naturally and expectedly. But like the book, that thought now seemed the height of absurdity.

Life in the roadside ditch brought only further disintegration. Kennedy free-fell as his identity erased itself from his memory. Just who had he really been all his life? Certainly not the heir to Jack Kennedy! Think about it. What are the odds? What a fool to believe he was an historic figure in his own right. Worse, whatever he was supposed to be was lost to him by wasting those many years dreaming. The name Kennedy became an albatross around his neck - and he hated his parents for it. "God damn them for suckering me into that bullshit!"

The Nineties were the end of everything. Kennedy's parents got a (ugly) divorce. He himself could find no job, settling for a hospital janitor. The man with the philosophy degree mopping floors. How appropriate! Thank God I broke off with Julie. What would she have said having found out this was her future. I guess that debate stopped me before I made a total fool of myself. And yet, the feeling he was making a fool of himself got stronger every day. Maria the housekeeper picked up on this, finding him a handsome boy whom she could never hope for with his fancy college degree.

"You know how you walk? You walk like someone getting Greek. You know what that is?" Kennedy did not and was shocked to find out. Maria worked on him, though, convincing him that's who he really was. He practiced squealing like a pig for her in the car during breaks. It was the first time in a long time anyone was happy with him so he finally acquiesced to being filmed by Maria as he received Greek from her husband. Since Maria received this on a continual basis this was the highlight of her life to at last put someone else in her position. Kennedy's need for fantasy fulfillment played out his own living nightmare.

Once word got out and the cute nurses started making pig noises at him and laughing Kennedy quit and started living in his car, cutting off all contact with the world. In the go-go Nineties everyone was making money except for Mr. Delusional freezing his ass off in the night cold. The cynical mockers had been right. He'd been wrong. Kennedy'd have no problem dying at that very moment. But he didn't. So somehow he had to make himself respectable outside of the fantasy he'd created as a child, a la a Nixonian cover-up.

He found a warehouse job with decent wages. Married an alcoholic who'd caused birth defects on a child from a previous marriage due to her drinking. They bought a WWII house with a crumbling driveway and his checklist was complete: Job, marriage, home. So why the feeling he was playing the fool? This is who I am! This is what I am! Why do I keep feeling I'm missing out? Kennedy's mind was held in a mental lock. The mind-fuck of his name tortured him with both doubt and faith.

In the 2000's he strove at last for materialism. "The smart move!" Kennedy was pissed he hadn't jumped on the bandwagon in the 90's. "I always zig when I should zag! What's wrong with me?" With the dot com bubble burst times were tough again. Still, he pressed forward, ending his phony marriage, taking the equity from the house and building on it. Guilt dogged him heavily for his vain pursuit. But then again, didn't guilt dog him when he was broke too? Somehow someway he must live the fantasy life of which part of him so stubbornly beyond all reason still believed.

He created his dream vacation in San Antonio. Money was to be no object, first class all the way. Kennedy felt disturbed, that he was violating the space-time continuum, that he was stepping into footsteps reserved for the other Kennedy, the one who'd made something of his life. To create a rip in the universe like that...something horrible would happen! But that's about as valid as me writing a best seller.

River Walk 1

The vacation was like a dream, very often feeling unreal. No rips in the universe, no karmic backlash. In this very delicate balancing act Kennedy achieved the prized illusion of a successful man. He even flirted with the very sexy front desk clerk looking so sharp in her deep blue blazer (also named Maria!) Sitting in his car about to leave the hotel, the experience had become so heady Kennedy started to believe his own propaganda. Maria rushed out to hand him his credit card receipt he'd left behind. Kennedy didn't want the moment to end.

"Oh, uh, hey, could you do me a favor?" He felt like he was asking for sex, fumbling, his mind racing. "Could you throw away this bag for me? Hate driving in a cluttered car."

"Sure, no problem," she beamed. Damn, she does like me!

Not wanting to spoil the moment, Kennedy zoomed off toward I-35. The high he was on was like a floating dream. He had done as he wanted, lived it up like the winners do, and amused himself with thoughts of life with a sexy girl like Maria. And to her, the name Kennedy meant nothing. Perfect! As far as the annoying doubt that kept piercing his side, no the universe had not collapsed. He'd finally erased delusions from his life. Then he remembered something.

"The bag! The fucking bag! Oh, God no!"

Kennedy stopped the car at a rest stop, frantically searching it top to bottom. "God damn fuck, I knew it! Making all the right decisions then I blow it at the end like I always do." Things made sense once again. Trying to impress that girl like a fool, inside that big was the lottery ticket he'd bought, the one he thought was sure to win with the lucky streak he was on.

He'd been driving for three hours. It would be another three hours back. Would her shift be over? Was a hundred million dollar ticket going to end up in the dumpster? The voices were at full volume. "You idiot of all idiots! This defines your whole life, doesn't it? Just can't accept anything good, can you? If you'd stayed honest with yourself and not lost your mind over that girl you wouldn't be in this mess. Now you'll never know what you could have had!"

That last thought tormented Kennedy, roasting him alive. For the rest of his days he'd be haunted by that ticket. But to go back, to reveal his desperation to her over the ticket, that his act was all an act, oh the indignity once more. Back and forth he debated, his mind on fire. "I have to know! I have to put out these flames. I have to go back no matter what." But he only made it as far as his tumbling death.

CODA: The lottery ticket - of which no numbers matched - had been in Kennedy's coat pocket all along. The delusion was in thinking he needed to not have faith in himself and drive back certain he'd lost his one chance for happiness. The 21st century continued on its path of self-betrayal, putting into high office those who lauded loudest the principles they most intended to betray. But the great masses insisted that to not know the devil was to be safe from the devil.

Kennedy's father whom Kennedy so wanted to impress lived as a drunkard in Miami. He never told his son how his parents had given him the middle name of Roosevelt and the horrid pressure that put on him to live up to it. His rationale for naming his son: "He won't be an idiot like I was. There'll be no devil in him. He really will live up to JFK." But in reality, he just wanted to fuck up his own kid just like his parents had done to him.

Cheshyre in Wonderland (Photo Essay)

Wonderland 48.

I walk as an invisible man in downtown Dallas; unseen, unknown, unwanted. The average rent now is $1,800 a month in the downtown/uptown area with a 94% occupancy rate - and they can't build them fast enough. Who are these people? Where do the come from? How could I fit in?

No, the only place for me - the only place that's home - is down the rabbit hole. I must find sanctuary from the six figure cyborgs who rule the surface. But as we all know, escape is rarely easy. Let us begin the search.

Wonderland 29

Above ground the eye is always watching. What are you doing here? Are you a Cheshire spy? The Queen of Diamonds wants you gone! The eye spies on you because the eye must hide its sins.

For the Upworlders life is colorful and benign. They believe all the world is as their world, that the future is theirs. Deep inside they know that is an illusion - and that breeds fear. But that only makes them shut their eyes all the harder!

Wonderland 49.

Wonderland 42.

Wonderland 34

My search for color does not go so well. I see the lost greys and bleak blacks of the day-to-day drudgery. And because I see this that makes me an enemy, a terrorist of truth. But the truth exists with or without me. It is themselves that they fear.

Wonderland 41.

Wonderland 22

Wonderland 44. That's actually a statue on the left.

I see a hint of color in a Chapel leading downward. Is this the way to the rabbit hole? Will they possess me or caress me? Only one way to find out.

Wonderland 47.

I'm amazed at the spiral of lights above. Maybe this is the color I seek!

Wonderland 15

Wonderland 18

But what is the destination? Where does this lead?

Wonderland 17

Only to a dead end: a podium to worship, a flag to salute; monuments of the world. I run outside to find my world blacker than ever. Where is the escape hatch?

Wonderland 4

I fear to enter but what choice do I have? Only creatures as desperate as I would reside in dark places like this. But I need to hide from the people who need to hide.

Wonderland 12

Deep in the bowels the workers are kept to ply their services. This too is a dead end with monuments to the world. This is the anti-city where the Upworlders only visit.

Wonderland 2

Back outside I find a Lady of the Light. She tells me I'm making this harder than it has to be (again!) and that the answer is right in front of my eyes. "You too are blind!" I depart wondering if I can absorb her wisdom.

Wonderland 45.

Shit, it can't be this simple! Down I go.

Wonderland 8

Wonderland 9

The doors of perception stand before me. Will I find my Alice?

Wonderland 10

Wonderland 36

The Mad Hatter! I knew my old friend madness would not let me down. I felt my guard dropping as I entered home at last.

Wonderland 37

Wonderland 38

Down in this rabbit hole I'll stay. The world is mad pretending sanity while the sane are mad pretending insanity. But these colors are mine.

Click here to see the entire set.

Thursday, January 01, 2015

The Sad Man Of The Taliban

For children, some sins are unforgivable, unconfessable. In such a case, one must bury the sin deep inside - so deep that even the sinner does not know. But even then safety proves elusive; a mad dog stuffed into a closet barking and growling to be released - and will eat you alive in revenge. The terror is never far and the guilt a heavy weight. Can you keep the beast inside forever? It only grows angrier by the day. Gradually, all life is bent to barring the door shut.

Omar had such a sin. Worse, he wanted to curse Allah for this sin. "Why was I not made normal like other children? Life would be so easy if I had been! They say I must love Allah but how can I when this has been done to me?" The sin of Omar was truly unspeakable: he hated doing his daily prayers.

Prayer time for Omar was as to be on a bed of needles: never comfortable, always pointed, both movement and non-movement proving painful. No one else seems to have the problems he has. Outside of the calls to prayer Omar stayed in desperate denial, posing no problem on heeding the daily ritual for life. At times, even he would be confused on how anyone could have a problem with salat. But the answer was brutally provided each and every time by a sharp rejoinder of pain.

Omar just wanted to be free.

I got better things to do with my time!

Alone, isolated on his own island with endless water in every direction, what Omar did not realize was it was the world who was at fault, that the world committed sins unforgivable and unconfessable thus forcing him into silence; that mankind was nothing more than an endless series of knives held to throats in a perverse social contract of mutual despair waiting for that one wrong utterance that justifies the kill. But all Omar heard was "Praise be to Allah!" day after day. These must be good men who've created a good world, he assumed (and hoped). As for Allah, I hate the fucker.

Omar's anger became his best friend. True, it tortured him but only it understood - or even knew of - his pain. The anger was a silent partner in life's dealings, always getting its cut. Omar resented this but what could he do? If he ever confessed to his disdain of prayer the knife at his throat would slice him to pieces without hesitation and be called the will of Allah. How would he ever find respite or hope in this world?

Omar had no doubt he was a complete moral failure. How could anyone claim to love Allah while loathing the daily prayers? Even though it was mostly out of a sense of camaraderie, most others boys rushed off to salat as a valued social event. It was also an easy way to gain parental approval; the ability to buy the stairway to heaven the eternal seduction. But for Omar the choice was clear: prayer or his self-respect.

The shepherds knowingly led their flocks astray; betrayal their vampiric lifeblood. Yes, I know the evil I do but do they resist? That proves my righteousness! My evil deeds are blessed. "Praise be to Allah!" It is those furthest from God most in need to be seen of God, just as a traitor always speaks loudest for patriotism. The sheep, desperate to believe in the shepherds (despite evidence to the contrary), praise their deliverers to evil in hope of finding salvation. The day Omar realized the leaders were conscious of their evil changed him forever.

He knew he must become one of them.

Omar's ambitions - and fear of revelation - drove his zealotry. And from his zealotry flowed great praise. He was seen as a pillar of virtue, his eyes blazing with the fire of a true believer it was said. "Death to non-believers! To let one live is the same as letting a diseased cell remain in your body. Who would want that? We must purify ourselves if we are to live. Praise be to Allah!" So spoke the most diseased cell of all.

But none of this prevented the pain of daily prayers he so reviled, sticking in his gut like a burning rock. Blaming his misery on "infidels", the idea of coming clean faded from memory, vanished as even a hope; in fact, now a reviled fantasy met with sharp rebuke. Omar deluded himself this was "growing up". The frustration of his dishonesty only fueled his most ancient and dreaded fear, whose voice echoed louder every day: who could love a man such as he?

"No woman may leave her home unless escorted by a male relative. Education is for males only. What a man does in his own home is his own business, no woman can complain." On and on went the rules implemented by Omar, now top man among the deviants. Every time he felt the pang of insecurity a new rule was issued as if from divine providence. How else could he hope to keep a woman? How else could he hope to be deemed moral?

What Omar never knew was what he and his allies each had in common: a hatred of religion. Had Omar been a simple man with simple needs religious duties would be just another event during the day with no more significance than any other requirement for living on earth. But as one who needed to be free, he must be one who rose by sin or fell by virtue. He and his fellowship of fallen souls never spoke of which they wanted most. No rule, no rhetoric, no revision, however, could erase the sadness from their hearts

CODA: The two angels made their report: "Each one holds a knife on another. If any one speaks of what he truly wants his throat is immediately slit. They claim this is necessary to maintain order! It makes sense only in the twisted logic of a society based on a lie. And that only makes sense because they claim the truth will never work. In other words, the death they threaten to ensure life only ensures their death. If nothing is done, they all die. Will we intervene?"