Archive for October, 2011

Peter Jackson Turns 50

October 31, 2011

Ain’t that a kick in the bollocks?

Police Helicopter

October 30, 2011

A Winkler in Time

October 30, 2011

And it’s time for Henry’s birthday…

I Went to OWS L.A.

October 29, 2011

So I went downtown, and after a bite to eat at the China Cafe (egg foo young and chop suey!) I went to city hall where the protesters are encamped and decided to walk among them.  The first sign I saw said, “Dedicated to non-violence – above all else,” which is pretty good and fairly easy since all you have to do to win is refrain from stabbing anyone in the throat.  I understand though that even that can be difficult for some people to manage.  I saw a long haired guitar player dressed up in standard Jesus jedi robes strumming and crooning about how Jesus is on the protesters’ side.  That’s great, I think, because having a 2000 year old Jew on your side means you must really be making it.  What I noticed is that the message of the protesters is not disparate.  It’s actually quite focused.  Obviously, you don’t get a protest of this size without the run-of-the-mill kooks showing up: 9/11 truthers, anti-zionist dickbags, proselytizing vegans, groups against animal testing (and that includes animal testing in university science departments!) and anti-GMO gomers. Those last two really bother me.  I spend so much time enraged by Republican bad science craziness that I forget there’s similar stupidity on the left, but the big difference there is that the Democratic Party haven’t made the anti-science fringe on the left the core of their party.  These people don’t have FOX News to promote their idiocy for them, unlike the global warming is a hoax and evolution is a lie people on the right.  The protesters are not unfocused.  That’s a lie spun out by the right.  If you want to see unfocused you can go to a Tea Party event to get the government’s hands off your medicare.  Also, I didn’t see a single bongo drummer.  So there’s that too.

I’m glad the OWS occupiers are out there doing what they’re doing.  I couldn’t do it.  I can’t join them anymore than I could join the army, and, I suspect, things must get mighty tense down there around nightfall.  The usual assortment of daylight junkies were to be found hanging around so the night time crack heads can’t be too removed.  There was one other problem too.  A seemingly sane man who had decided to stand on the sidewalk and scream at the protesters.  He condemned their actions, and sputtered furiously that the first amendment doesn’t give them the right to be there.  He even angrily shouted at a mother with a baby in one of those papoose pouches.  I thought about walking up to him and acting in a way that would suggest I fully agree with his inarticulate bed-wetting rage, and then, when the moment was right, a swift boot to the nuts… pow!  Because I, above all else, am not dedicated to non-violence.

Homecoming Queen

October 29, 2011

In an effort to never compose new material for this blog, I present a short story written a year or so ago while I was rereading Kesey’s Cuckoo’s Nest at the same time as checking out the first Twilight movie from the library.  It caused the following to happen…

 

Homecoming Queen

Why not believe them?  They say there’s another ward beneath this one where the werewolves are kept, and that’s where the incurables get sent.  I worry about this because I’ve seen the massive freight elevator do what it isn’t supposed to do: go down.  It’s only supposed to go up to the ground level for supplies.  A pick-up truck can drive onto that lift it’s so big.  The doctors, nurses, aides and attendants come down the stairs to work.  Above us is the factory.  We can hear the machinery: huge industrial grinding teeth, whirring conveyers and the roar of antiquated ovens.  It’s all up there for the dogs, the dog biscuit plant.  The whole mental ward reeks of Milkbone.  I bet it drives the werewolves mad, which would make them not so different from us.  That is why we’re here.  They say we’re mad.  Why not believe them?

I’ve been put on the inside because I eat niggers.  I mean, exclusively, and that’s a problem.  Nobody’s supposed to have unnaturally strong emotions regarding their food one-way or the other: love it or hate it.  Nurse Barnes gave the example, for a different case, of a woman compelled, for want of a man, to utilize a cucumber as a masturbatory aid.  “But no woman,” she said, “falls for a cucumber romantically.”  Likewise, a man doesn’t need a passionate hatred of fish to eat them.  But I do.  And I’m in here for it.

I don’t imagine blacks taste better than other racial groups.  I, at least, assume they don’t.  I’ve just never been fond of the uppity monkey bastards.  A product of my time is what I really am: the South after the war.  A boy growing up in reconstruction.  There sure weren’t places like this then.  Our people visited swift irrevocable retribution on anyone fucking around back then.  It wasn’t until the mid-eighties we set up our hospitals.  One on each continent we have now.  Rehabilitation became the fad.  Curing the aberrant.  Healing the sick.  In a manner, it makes me sick.  Everything our people had always been against.  Or so I thought.

There had, in fact, been a growing movement for this sort of place ever since Freud first published.  That’s a good thing about our brains.  We can pick up any human language like that – SNAP! German is no problem.  Eventually, the grass-roots won out and as soon as they did the list of aberrations grew.  New disorders popped up for every slightly off tilt behavior you can shake a stick at.  Could I even say when a racially selective diet made the list?  No.  I had been popping darkies since the mid-eighties, and that’s not the same mid-eighties as this institution was established either, okay?

“Caw!  Caw!  Caw!” Sitkins screams and runs around the day room flapping his arms as if he could fly.  Sitkins is a Batty.  Poor fucker thinks he’s a bat.  “Caw!  Caw!  Caw!”

“You dumb son of a denture!” Novak shouts. “You think you’re a bat, not a crow!  Asshole.  Asshole.  What an asshole,” Novak continues to mutter on.  Novak is a Denier.  That makes him pretty much in the same nut as Sitkins, both of them believing they are not what they are.  Completely insane.  Better off dead I say.  Stab ‘em and slab ‘em.

They have some thirty of us in this subterranean stony lonesome.  From all over North America they’ve rounded us up and buried us here under the dog biscuit plant in Milwaukee.  They finally caught up to me out in that city.  I figured the craziest thing to do was go to where the hospital was they wanted to take me to.  It was the craziest thing to do, but their business is bringing us crazies in.  They anticipate the crazy moves.  The craziest move of all is coming right down those stairs and self-admitting.  A good third of the loonies committed themselves.  And the institution uses it against them as proof of their madness!  Double hot damned!  How come nobody seems to hear them werewolves scratching at the underside of the linoleum floor beneath our feet?

“Houseman, you got a snipe?” Burnell, of the ironic name, asks me.  Burnell is a Daydream Believer.  What a mess.  He looks like a third degree burn victim who was treated by dousing him in a tank of vinegar.  One of the snaplings said Burnell looks like Freddie Krueger.

“The spitting image except he’s really a lot worser,” the freaky little Bestial told me.  It seems like every snapling brought in the past few years is a fucking pervert.  I was especially fond of eating any nigger married to a white.  These snaplings wrath me up in a deep to the bone way.  Nurse Barnes told me it’s all part of my problem.

“You have to disconnect from your humanity to let go of your hate,” She said.  I don’t know if the bitch is right.  I guess she makes sense.

“Here,” I hand Burnell a snipe and a box of Lucifers. “Don’t get burned, sunny,” I say.

Burnell blazes the snipe, sucks deep, pulling the blood-infused smoke deep into his lungs.  He hands me back the Lucifers, says, “Hail to Africa, coon-sucker,” and turns his back on me.  I light a snipe of my own and wonder for the umpteenth time if Burnell used to be a nigger.  No way to tell through all that puckered and swirled skin.

“The problem you have Houseman is you’re trapped in the house of man,” one of the Bestial pricks once told me.  How clever of that nutless Romeo horrorshow.  Made a pun on my name.  If only he’d have lived he’d have given Don Rickles a run for the comedy gold.  Of course, he was a stinking Bestial so maybe he had aspirations to hit mankind’s bigtime.  What these snapling twats see that’s so great about fucking humans, I’ll never know.  I’ve heard the same justifications for it in group dozens of times.

“It’s just like, we give back to the community that gives so much to us,” Janey Dillingham says.  She was admitted for serial fucking over a hundred mopey Emo boys and girls up and down the coast of California.  It’s easier for the females to engage in this behavior since they’re more or less all intact.  Not that the distinction between males and females is of much concern.  I don’t even consider race an issue.  Once you’re one of us.  A nigger is a chink is a spic is a wop is a white.  Why would I care?  Once you’ve undergone the change it’s like a divorce from all the evolutionary pressures of what made you, you.  Women don’t exist.  Men don’t exist.  It’s what makes these Bestials, these human fuckers so, so… unnatural.  And the former males and their loose flap of scrotal skin are the worst.  They’re whole malady is novel to the twenty-first century.  I’m sure they used to engage in bestial sodomy, but now they’re back in the cock saddle.  A dose of testosterone supplement, a little blue football and they’re more than rising from the grave.

“How do you see what you’re doing as giving to their community?” Nurse Barnes smiles up from her yellow legal pad where she jots down who-knows-what all night long.

“You’re playing with your food, bitch!”

“Shut up, Burnell.”

“You shut up!”

“It’s not playing.  The way she is in the sack it’s a fucking food fight.”

“What the fuck would you know about it, Novak?”

“You haven’t had the pleasure?”

“None of you fucks have had the pleasure,” Dillingham screams. “I don’t fuck the dead.”

“Boo-hoo, Janey.  You’re making us cry, doll.”

I like the way Nurse Barnes handles this.  Lets it all run out.  It’s a part of her philosophical method.  The pack will pull the strays in line.

“You don’t get it.  None of  you.  They’re so grateful, and they share their hopes and dreams and…”

“Yes.  After their filthy seed is dribbling out of your cold, dry cunt.”

Janey sobs.  She breaks down entirely.  There are no tears.  There’s no snot.  A single bead of blood slides form her left nostril.  It’s obscene.  I feel my guts shudder.  It’s like sexual anticipation.  Like the first time you rode your hand under the dress and up your lover’s thigh.  Yes, yes.  That’s what it’s like.  That sight.  Every time.

Janey’s tongue snakes forth and laps up the lascivious cherry gleet, and the whole room collectively sighs as Janey blushes.  Showing your blood is the most intimate thing a vampire can do.  Nurse Barnes smiles.  Janey Dillingham won’t be here long.  Her road to recovery is an express toll way.

We’re allowed to wear whatever we want so I wear nothing.  Feeling neither hot nor cold, or sexual arousal, mind you, clothes are superfluous except when blending into humanity.  What a stink.  What a task.  But we’re not all of us shuffling around nude.  No, we have gentlemen and ladies here who insist on the duds, or near to them as they can get, of the high society of their day.  None of them I know of ever were of the aristocracy, but the fucking peasants they do like to pretend.

I’m standing in the shower next Dillingham.  By comparing her body to contemporary human standards of beauty I can see why the humans she fucks are grateful, but I honestly can’t assess any beauty standards myself.  My guts don’t think that way.

“Dillingham,” I say.  She’s a foot shorter than I and paler.  I like that.  I do know I like pale, pale, white, white skin.  Not to eat.  Not to fuck.  Look at – yes, yes, yes.  It’s a simple issue of visual aesthetics.  The blacker the food – the more deliciously niggeresque – Mm-mm-mm!  There are humans paid good money to make food, even shit that isn’t food, appear appetizing.  Is there such a thing as a chef who doesn’t care about his foods’ presentation?  I like my mule black.  What’s wrong with that?  It’s like liking soul food.  Why can’t I like soul food?

“Hm?” Dillingham says.  She’s completely hairless and wears different wigs depending on her mood.  Moods.  It’s not considered psycho to be in a mood, but be in the mood to eat a nigger and it’s click go the prison doors.

“How do you get it warm?” I ask.

“Huh?” she says.  Fucking huh!  Goddamn snapling.

“Your pussy.  Pussy is supposed to be nice and warm.  I’m no dummy.  I know about lube, but how do you get it warm?” I ask.

“Often times,” she says, “I microwave a banana and stick it up before, you know?”

“With the peal?” I ask.

“Gross, of course!” she answers.

“That’s interesting,” I say.

“And I don’t need lube.  I always tell ‘em I’m on the rag.  Blood lubricates me when I want it to.”
I say nothing even though I have to admit that is a rather curious phenomenon.  I feel like it means something, but I don’t know what.

They have Growell in there, and she’s screaming like she got tricked by a solar eclipse.  That did happen to me once.  When it comes to light and dark and day and night I’m like a caged bird.  Throw a blanket over the sun and I’m singing Old Man River.  I was in the Pacific Northwest.  It was a good time for lumberjacks.  There were plenty of black ones too.  They had their own segregated crews, and it’s like the foreman’s going to give a shit if he loses a nigger in the woodpile, right?  I liked the isolation.  The lone wolf, wild man state of being.  A solitary predator.  There were caves I’d hole up in, abandoned logger shacks and sometimes I’d just get put in good and deep under the forest floor’s spongy pine bed.  This particular day, I was crammed inside a hollow tree with an hysterical weasel.  Darkness fell and I arose.  I could taste the blood already.  The first drunk spook to piss off into the woods for a leak or a wank before bed and I’d be in gums deep.  The deep woods can be dark during the day.  These were still old growth Douglas Firs.  Some of the last.  Nothing like it.  I miss these unspoiled places.  They were dark.  They were definitely a place for my kind.  Almost, as if, by design.  I shouldn’t romanticize the past.  When you live this long the past will consume you until you’re dull and weak form it like a slow working virus.  And besides, were they really the good old days?  We’re talking about a time before civil rights!

From the nearby camp, I heard nothing.  No minstrel songs – the songs that had come to be such a comfort – no raised voices, no crackle of firewood, no scent of smoke and no laughter.  The land had never been as silent.  It was eerie, and I felt like the solitary predator was himself prey.  I imagined one of the lumberblacks was Haitian and this vampire’s end was imminent in the hands of a voodoo witch doctor.  I had eaten too many of them, and they were on to me.  They were taking their much deserved revenge.

A nearby Fir had toppled into another years ago.  The fallen trunk was thick in moss and lichens.  Ferns had taken root along its forty-five degree slope.  I scampered up the incline and into the neighboring tree.  From branch to branch, I free climbed, higher.  Whatever was causing the panic was below.  Getting away from it was the only option.  Before long, I was in the crown.  If I had to guess I was nearly three-hundred-fifty feet high – let’s call it thirty-five stories or a football field, end-zones incorporated.  The footing was precarious and limbs on the wispier side, but I broke the canopy.  What an array of stars I saw.  Each one, I knew, as deadly to me as the bloke nearby we call the sun.  I admired the sky and felt perfectly at peace.  That’s when the world usually decides to get you – to pull the rug out from under you or, in my case, pull it off the birdcage.  The Earth was turning.  The moon was moving and I saw it.  The fire in the sky let loose around the curve of the moon.  My skin pealed and hair singed.  My eyes beheld the crescent of sunlight as match heads dipped into their pupils.  A sound louder, rawer and higher pitched than any I thought possible to make came ripping from my throat like a feast after a fast.  The full horror of my error hadn’t even processed before my body instinctually responded.  It dove.  I’ll never know how I wasn’t mangled, guts shredded, strewn and hung like garland all down the grand pine.  I hit the forest floor.  It gave and rebounded, tossing me back up.  I crashed again into the bed of needles and lay there staring up, dumb and uncomprehending.  Sunshine began to dapple in through the canopy, and I burrowed under that bed of saving needles deeper than ever.  Right down to the ground I went.  The moisture and cool earth soothed my burns – 2nd degree, head to toe.  I stayed down there three nights.  About as long as I can willingly go.

Molly Growell was having a terrible time of it in there.  Lore-a-phobes began their night in exposure therapy.  Not by their choice.  Nurse Barnes wanted to do away with extreme therapeutic measures.  She was new-school.  Administration stuck to older ways.

“We’re not going to coddle them the way humans coddle their mentally ill,” one of the big admins visiting from Hamburg told Nurse Barnes.  “In fact,” he said, “We have plans to roll out a series of more controversial, but proven and established therapies over the next year.”  Would I come across as facetious if I said I can hardly wait?

Lore-a-phobes are bad news.  Anything a vampire does that draws attention to itself is bad news because that news comes, early one evening, as a knock at your door and a butterfly net over your head.  Observation is the enemy of the vampire.  An unobserved vampire is like the mist, infinitely dispersed, translucent, everywhere and nowhere, legend – desedimentized, a loose vapor a flick of the wipers squeegees clean.  Mist.  Myth.  Lockstep.  Engaging in a behavior that gets you noticed will also get you noticed by the arbiters of vampiric normalcy.  Someone like Growell running around hissing at crucifixes and cowering from garlic-salt winds up in here a Lore-a-phobe.  That’s what they’re doing to the old girl this gloaming.  Exposing her to crosses, pressing them into her chest, and adorning her in wreaths of garlic like the winning horse at Gilroy Downs.

This can be serious.  On the surface, what’s really wrong with loony Sitkins darting about hither and thither in the night, flapping his arms, cawing and squawking, “I’m a bat!  I’m a bat!”  Who does it harm?  Before I was committed I didn’t know the answer to that question.  The answer is “everyone.”  It has the potential to salt the whole dang game.  What happens if Sitkins winds up in a human psyche ward?  Disaster.  Of a sort.  Nobody’s going to cry, “Nosferatu!” first thing.  Some batman gets a little sunshine and the entire nuthatch is libel to burn to the ground, and even if it doesn’t there’s enough clowns who believe in spontaneous human combustion to misdirect an inquiry.  None of this was a problem until the mid-eighties.  1984 to be exact.  I’m aware of the implication, but this isn’t vampiric totalitarianism.  There is no Oceania, capisce?  A formal solution was necessary.  Compiling what constitutes insanity.  My illness didn’t make the book until sometime after 2000.  At first the hospital admins were primarily concerned with catch-all Disruptor cases. Disruptors are the anarchic, the vampire supremacists, creative killers, assassins, terrorists, brawlers and essentially anyone persistently at the center of riots and police activity.  They’re often very old.  The oldest.  Methuselah motherfuckers.  And frequently, they’re irrevocably gut-damaged.  I’ve never met one.  They don’t mix them in with general population.  An orderly laughed at me when I suggested they had werewolves on the floor below.  He said, “Werewolves?  Those are Disruptors down there, Jack.  Disruptors, baby,” and then he winked and put a boney white finger to his ashen lips and went, “Sh.”

Not a lot is less dignified than these juice box dinners.  A hunter that doesn’t hunt is a what?

“Better off fanging an ulcerated wino’s bladder,” Burnell says, moving the twisted mass of blackened worms that function as lips over his amber stained teeth.  He says a similar thing every new gloaming feed.  “Hear about the Daydreamers down in Boca Raton?”

I suck my bag dry and chuck it into a nearby bin.

“No,” I answer.

“Fucking cult,” he says.  “All of ‘em – sixteen whipper-snaps, right?  Not on the blood for but a year, any of ‘em.  The fucks all join hands and step out into the dawn – as the sun rises over the Atlantic – burnt to nothing!  Ha-ha!  And you know what the kicker is Houseman?”

“No,” I answer.

“Fucks left a note.  Said, “We will sparkle in the new dawn sun as one with the glittering sea.  All will wake up to a new world where our differences are but skin deep.” Ha-ha!”  Burnell chuckles and drags a fingernail along one of the winding puckered whorls on his arm like a plow in a furrow.  I say nothing.  I nod.  It’s a good story, I guess.  Sixteen vampires.  One big flash of sulfur.  How they did it I can never say.  Nothing’s worse than the sun.  Every cell of my body experiences repulsion at the thought of sticking any part of me in the path of one of its malign photons.

“Happens again and again,” Burnell says. “Human pop culture bullshit seeps into the vampiric communities collective subconscious.”

“Too bad for them,” I say.

“Fuck,” he says, “Houseman?  You got a snipe?”

Later that night Nurse Hellmann gathers us for group: Me, Burnell, Growell, Tyree, Sitkins, Dillingham, Novak, Elliot, Quinto, Stanley, Ferrero, Moffit and Hoffley.  They have thirteen of us on the wing.  Nurse Barnes’ wing.  Hellmann was filling in.  Nurse Barnes was off for a proper feed.

“Fun news tonight,” Hellmann says to begin the session.  “We have a new patient to introduce to the ward.”  Fresh fish.  They always make me leary.  So new and raw and unbroken.

“What the fuck?” Novak shouts.  “You have us packed in here like hemoglobin in an erection already!”  Novak always screams.  Deniers have a way of being quite shrill.

“Oh,” Hellmann says.  His eyes widen, pupils dilate and nostrils flare.  “You made a metaphor, Novak.  Involving blood.  Why do you think that is?” Moffitt and Quinto both chuckle.  They’re confessors, which are in essence the opposite of Deniers.  Their kind can’t stop telling people they’re vampires.

“Shovel shit, prick,” Novak responds.

“Hey, Hellmann.  I think that was a metaphor involving you fucking butt.  Why do you think that is?” Burnell says.  All the vampires laugh, except Batty Sitkins and Novak who doesn’t accept his vampirism as a fact.  Deniers are low scum, everyone.  They have all the facts and choose to ignore them.  They’d rather blissfully subscribe to the newsletter of willful ignorance.  At least vomitous Bestials can actually wiggle their pricks in the gravy dish, so to speak.  But a Denier is an especially lumpy kind of gravy.

“That’s funny Burnell, but Novak… Do you have an honest answer?”  Nurse Hellmann refuses to lose control.  He’s good.  I admit it.

“Not right now,” Novak says meekly.  It’s the first time I didn’t feel pressed to plug my ears against Novak’s voice.

Hellmann smiles. “Very well, Novak,” he says.  “Perhaps we can discuss it later in pyrotherapy?”

“Whatever turns your crank,” Novak says dejectedly. Moffitt and Quinto share another laugh.  I don’t want to know what they find funny about pyrotherapy – deliberate torturous exposure to low level solar radiation.  For a mental hospital, those two are a weird pair.  Always side by side, whispering secretively and holding hands.  Rumor says they were brought in together.  That they always shared in the hunt, the kill, the feed.  Although unrelated in life, they’re like mother and son.  Cougar and cub.   I feel some envy for their relationship, but my gut tells me there’s something grossly unnatural about it.

“Great,” Hellmann claps his hands together and rubs them briskly. “Then I’ll have the attendants bring in, er,” he refers to his clipboard.  “Mrs. Planter.”

Two attendants lead Planter into the council room.  She’s middle aged, and I mean by appearances, slender, but that’s the norm, silver streaked dark hair, Asiatic eyes and a face that’s almost transparent until she smiles at the room and the affect of her genuine joy is like an honest to fucking Jesus suntan.  One of the attendants splits away and pulls a new chair into our circle of thirteen – now fourteen.  Planter seats herself and folds her hands softly into the lap of her yellow on blue floral print dress.  She looks like a housewife.  So much so I expect a ruse and inhale deep, getting her scent.  Definitely a vampire, and she looked almost human.  Almost as if the hospital staff was pulling one over on us.  Fucking with us.  Trying a perverse new therapy.  But no.  She’s as for real as me.  One of the ovens in the plant above bursts to life.  The whoosh of flames consuming fuel reverberates down every hall and in an echoing roar congregates in the council room.

“Planter,” Hellmann says.  “Welcome to group.  Please take a chair,” he is compelled to say for the sake of formality.  Planter lifts her butt off the seat and puts it back down.

“Thank you, doctor,” she says.

“Nurse,” Hellmann says.

“Thank you, Nurse,” she says.

“First thing is, everyone is curious about you.  How long has it been and why are you here,” Hellmann doesn’t ask the former as a question.  It’d be considered rude to ask, but answers are expected never-the-less.

“I was thirty-eight when it happened.  Quite elderly for the time,” Planter smiles.  “It was twelve-thirty-nine,” she pauses. “Not o’clock.”  It makes her the oldest I’ve laid eyes on!  More big bug than fresh fish.

Hellmann scoots to the edge of his tube-metal folding chair.  “What was it like way back then?” he asks.  It’d take a dunce not to pick up on his patronizing skepticism.

“For the most part unpleasant,” she says.  “But why I am here?  It’s to be cured isn’t it?”  It lasts a tenth of a second, but I get the distinct sense-memory of whooshing earthward from the crown of an old Douglas Fir, and when it happens Planter’s eyes meet mine and I am suspended in mid-air and it feels like blood in my throat.  When she breaks eye contact it’s as if I’ve been raped.  I need a bath.  I need a drink.  I need to cry and pray and beg my victims’ forgiveness.  I regain enough sense of myself to observe the discomfort rippling through all of us.  All of us accept Hellmann and the attendants.  Nurse Barnes wouldn’t have allowed this.  Whatever this is.  A panic rises in me, and, of all absurd things, I think, ‘Lord help us.  She’s a vampire.  A real vampire.’  I feel like it means something but don’t know what.  I also feel like I better figure it out.

“Of course it’s to be cured,” Hellmann says.  Didn’t he feel any of that?  “But of what?  State your affliction to your brethren.”

“I tend a garden,” she says and goes perfectly quiet for the rest of group, responding only with polite shakes and nods.  Gardening?  I thought it was strange to commit Dieters, but even to that there’s a certain sense, but when asked if she eats humans she nodded ‘yes.’  It’s not like she’s trying to eat vegetables.  She’s only growing the things.  Is that so crazy?  There’s a good reason she’s in here.  There has to be.  Gardening?  I’ll have to consider what makes it sick.  I’ll figure it out.

I can’t admit what I do is wrong.  They don’t want to take Negro meat off the menu completely, but variety, they tell me, is the spice of life.  I’ve had whites before and Asians – they were Chinks, I think, working a whorehouse near a new railway.  I asked Nurse Barnes to ask one of the administrators if I’d be in here if I only ate white folk.  She said she would.  I’m still awaiting a response.  If I was doing anything by dining on Coloreds only, it was not drawing attention to myself.  Niggers go missing and turn up dead all the time and nobody really gives a shit.  Pick the wrong white bitch and it can bring out the photographers and reporters.  Front page fucking news.  Never’s been a nigger front page news for dying.  Unless he was one of the more vocal variety and when that sort’s dead and in the papers it’s only reported because the majority can breathe a sigh of relief.  All that scary equality talk has a shiny new bullet in the brain.  The white man dodges another one.  If you put an equal rights measure on the ballot, I’d vote for it.  No shit.  I can put personal feelings aside to do what’s technically right.  If humans want to shoot themselves in the throat for me who am I to complain?  If the U.S. was more like Africa: warlords, coups, militia, mass starvation, thirst – feeding is easier in chaos.

I keep my eye on Planter for the rest of the night.  She keeps to herself.  Like a teenager, she is glued to some idiotic doings on her cell phone.  There’s no reception down here so she must be playing a game or taking pictures on the sly or, hey, maybe she’s writing her memoir.  773 years.  Must be a lot of juicy tales accumulated in all that time.  One thing more off-putting than her cell phone dependency is anytime I dare more than glance, Planter catches my eye and smiles.  She has a long loose mouth that follows the contour of her sharply prominent jaw.  She looks as if she’d be capable of unhinging that thing and swallowing an ostrich egg whole.

I have to look away from her.  All those tiny unnatural teeth in that broad grin want to bite me.  I look at the clock on the wall.  I wait for the second hand to point straight up.  I dart my gaze her way.  She makes eye contact.  I look at the clock on the wall.  Tick – the second hand just clicks to the second second.  A little over a second then and she knows I’m looking.  She can feel when she’s watched.  A lot of people say they can feel when they’re being watched, but that’s bullshit.  What does being watched feel like anyway, and how do they know what it feels like?  Eyes don’t emit radiating beams that alert other people to another’s presence.  Good thing too.  Think of the advantage the prey would have.

That morning I dream.  Dreams are almost always about feeding.  The guts dream what the guts desire.  But this day the dream was different.  It was explosive, emotionally.  All gut feelings, all transformative power and thirst like hungry winds blasting the base of my being out from under me.  It was the dream of that seventeen year old human out in the dark ready to eat his last meal.  A bullet.  And then as I cried it was upon me, sloppy, teeth pushed in above the collarbone.  I battered the things head with the gun and then put six bullets into its guts.  It released and tumbled back into the river, picked up by the current.  The dream wasn’t about this.  It was about being taken away, as if by an invasive power, stolen and forced to go somewhere and thus be something you never wanted to be.  The thing grabs on and maneuvers you into a struggle with life from which you cannot fight your way out.  It was about undoing, unraveling, and rebecoming.  Clay smashed and kneaded by the artist’s fists.  A creative act of rape.  A genius stroke of injustice.  I could feel my mind getting dragged away into the flickering darkness as it gibbered and sniggered mad inanities on its way to the bellowing furnaces where monsters go to get kiln-hardened.  It was about power, mastery and the apex of all predation, having creation laid at your feet and the overseers are your feast.  I wake up with a hard cock and a hunger.  The hunger isn’t at all surprising.

Juice boxes are sucked brutally dry.  Vampires tear open the bags and lick the interiors clean.  Everyone, it seems, woke up insatiable.  In the shower I see Dillingham has a trail of blood running from her cunt down her thigh.  What over takes me I don’t know.  I guess the juice box didn’t cut it.  I swoop down and drag my tongue up her leg like a cold slug.

“Jesus Houseman,” she says, “Help your fucking self why don’t you.”

“That was,” I say and pause, “Impertinent.  Excuse me.”  I high-tail it out of the shower.  There isn’t anything I could’ve done more inappropriate.  I am ashamed and terrified of having to face Dillingham later in group, but hearing a few words from Planter is too enticing to miss.

Both Barnes and Hellmann are leading group tonight.  It’s unusual for both of them to be available.  It’s been done before.  Once.  They wanted to know what we felt about potentially bringing a Disruptor onto the ward.  We didn’t feel well about it.  This particular Disruptor was believed to be the number two guy in an increasingly dangerous sect.  A terrorist group, really, hell-bent to bring on the end of humanity.  What humans might call Armageddon.  They believe in a Vampirocracy to unite nations in some misguided Utopian dream of salting the atmosphere in ways that reduce or eliminate the sun’s harmful effects.  Humans would be kept and bred like cattle and the next stage of evolution would be set to unfold – all resources freed up to advance space exploration.  Our kind don’t need an atmosphere, but we do need oxygenated blood.  Our future is amongst the stars, they say.  All madness.  The things ancient lunatics dream.  The vote was unanimous.  We didn’t want that kind hanging around.  Very few vampires think humanity is worth much, but we all, most of us I’d guess, still find value in some of humanity’s output.  Not much of it, but some.  I would never eat an artist or a writer, for example.  I know most of them are worth less than the paints and pens of their trade, but I’m not about to join the ranks of art and literary critics.  If there ever was a herd needed culling…

“I have an unsettling incident to report,” Nurse Barnes says.  “Early this twilight…”  I look to Dillingham.  She looks to me.  We both understand what happened between us earlier, my gross indiscretion and violation of her person, is between us.  “…Sitkins went missing.  A thorough search was conducted, and Sitkins remains unfound.”  Whispering ensues.  Barnes is right.  Sitkins is nowhere to be seen.  “We  hoped one of you might have seen him.  Everyone consider the last time you saw Sitkins,” she implores.

I can’t remember.  I try to pay no mind to that Batty fruit-loop.  Today he’s a bat, tomorrow he’ll think he’s a sentient mist passing under doors, through key holes and cracks in the wall.

“I guess he flew away,” Heffley says.  She’s completely serious.  She’s another Lore-a-phobe and believes all the old legends and can’t sleep without some soil from her homeland: Las Vegas, NV.

“Sure sandy, one flew over the cuckoo’s nest,” Burnell says.  He gets laughs.  He’s good that way.

“Don’t laugh,” Planter says.  The laughter cuts out on a dime.  Nobody considers it a suggestion.  It was an order.

“Planter,” Nurse Barnes spoke, “Leah Planter is it?  I have yet to make your acquaintance.”

“I’m Mrs. Planter,” Planter says and smiles.

“Mis’ess?” Nurse Barnes asks.

“Yes, I’m married,” she says.

“But our records show you…”

“Dear,” Planter says archly, “Married the day I didn’t die.  Married the day that thing came upon me, and my brains melted and my guts metamorphosed.  Married to this.  Married into this.  Married under the claw.  Married to Satan, dear.”

“Oh,” Nurse Barnes says, “Metaphorically.”

“As you like,” Planter says and smiles toothsomely.

“Yes,” Nurse Barnes writes a good deal of notes in her yellow pad.

“You didn’t like people laughing at Burnell’s little joke,” Hellmann sates.  “Care to share why?”

“Heffley is right.  Sitkins did fly away.  He had the belief, but you lot undermined all his confidence.  I gave it back to him, and he was a bat.  Like that,” Planter snaps and when she does time stands side-ways and runs out my ears like a saline flush, “And he flew up the freight elevator shaft as free as you like.”

Barnes and Hellmann excuse themselves from group and close the door to the nurses’ lounge.  I look at Planter, and she’s looking right back, smiling that horrible innocent smile.  The ward is almost completely silent.  So silent I can hear scratching under the floor and what might either be whimpering or poorly controlled giggles.

Planter’s been away for re-evaluation a week now, and Sitkins is assumed AWOL.  Nobody mentions what we all know.  Sitkins was too much of a nut to break out of here.  There’re two exits.  The freight elevator and the stairs.  The stairs exit above in the dog biscuit plant.  They emerge directly into an industrial bone grinder, and it’s only off when a switch is thrown in the command booth.  Command hadn’t turned it off in the time frame given for Sitkins escape.  Then there’s the elevator, which isn’t even on this ward, and requires not two, three or four, but five keys – one centered on each side and the fifth in the middle of the floor – to be turned simultaneously, and it takes five bodies to perform the trick.  As for the prevailing conspiracy theory, the elevator did come down with a load of equipment and building supplies.  They’re adding a new wing.  They have been adding one for a year.  It’s slow work tunneling out the earth and sending it up to the surface.  Now, it’s believed by most that it is possible, if timed precisely, for something the size of a small insectivorous bat to slip into the shaft at such a time.  No word on what species of bat Sitkins thought he was.

There have been no further dreams, and the unpleasantness between Dillingham and me has gone unmentioned.  She’s a good sort despite her bestial weakness.  I feel good.  I had almost entirely forgotten there were nights when circumstances forced me to break my criminally insane dietary restrictions.  There were the two Chinamen and the white woman.  I can’t specifically remember anything about them, but that’s a good thing.  It means those feedings weren’t Hellish or repugnant affairs.  I still remember, or remember remembering is a more accurate way to explain how I recall my life as human, the time I gulped down peach wedges from a jar that hadn’t properly sealed two years earlier.  The flavor like fermented headcheese haunted me all spring.  I never ate another peach, but I think I could bite white or drink Chink again if it meant I was cured in the eyes of the institution.  Heck, I’d even go so far as to sip Nip or lick Spic if need be.  I’ve scheduled an appointment with Dr. Hunani for tomorrow – later today, technically, and I have a good feeling she’ll see the change in me.  I’ll rip the throat out of a fucking albino right in front of her if it’d help demonstrate the fullness of my rehabilitation.

Tonight in group, Novak looked Nurse Barnes right in the eye and asked, “I’m a vampire aren’t I?” and then he fell apart in big convulsive sobs.  It was a mother of a therapeutic moment.  Planter’s presence, short as it was, did something to us.  Would I sound ridiculous if I said she planted a seed in us?  I don’t care if I’m getting cheesy.  I’m happy.  I’m cured.  I want out.  I want the streets, the hunt and the moonlight.  I could stow away on a ship setting sail for Africa.  My diet wouldn’t be at all conspicuous there.  But wait.  Is that the way a sane man would think?  One not addicted to nigger meat?  I think not.  Better cram that going to Africa garbage.  Besides, I love the USA.  I really do.  Even if they did kill my dad.  Lincoln had to preserve the Union.  What could be more important than that?  And too, feeding on an African wouldn’t be the same as getting one of our home grown blacks.  I like the way the gold they wear shines in the darkness.  Good Lord, I’m so hungry it feels more like horny.

In the gym I work the punching bag.  Neither Moffit nor Quinto are around.  They’re both game to spar on occasion.  Something about the extroverted nature of Confessors makes them good sparring partners.  They can really scrap.

“I’ll take you on if you’re looking for a fight,” I jump out of my skin – not literally.  My skeleton stays put, but none-the-less I feel suddenly very rubbery.  I know the voice like sweet ice.  I turn around.  Planter delivers her wide dentata-deluxe grin.  She’s back.  We’re alone in the gym.  If I could sweat it’d be a cold one.

I dry swallow and say, “I came here hoping for a row.”  After a century and a half I should have learned to stopper up my anxiety before it leaked into my voice, but I haven’t.

“I know perfectly why you’re here.  Into the ring, Dixie,” Planter says.  She wears the same floral print dress as last time and deftly shucks it off, cross-armed from the hem in a single over-the-head move.  She’s naked as I am but not unadorned.  There are three tattoos arranged in an inverted triangle on her belly.  Upper right is a model of an atom.  Upper left displays the peace symbol, and directly below the navel is a cross.  The cross is right-way up.

“You’ve got a little schmutz on your stomach,” I point out in an effort to gain the upper hand.

“I don’t have a stomach, Dixie.  That’s my belly.  Now… on guard!”  She shouts and lunges in, spins me around and wrenches my right arm up behind my back.  I cry out in surprise.  “Why are you here?” she asks.

“I eat niggers.  Exclusively.  I mean, I did.  Now I’m ready for anything,” I babble.  She gets her icy foot up against my ass and kicks me out of the circle.  I move back in.

“And you tend garden,” I say.  I rush her knees.  What feels like a stroke from a croquet mallet falls on the back of my neck.  I hit the mat chin first, and I’ve no sooner come to a rest and she’s on my back, knees in what would used to have been my kidneys but now is my… My fucking brain!  It’s paralyzing.  I’m helpless.

“Who do you think the Disruptors are?  The ones who these institutions were initially constructed to hold?”  She doesn’t release the pressure from my back.  My tongue and jaw work sluggishly.

“Terrorists who would destroy civilization,” I say.  My brain is quick, but my mouth is slow.  I sound simple.  “They hate humanity,” I add at great effort.  Suddenly, the pressure is off my brain and Planter is in front of me holding my head in her hands like a beating heart.  We are eye to eye.

“You don’t believe that Dixie.  Don’t think I don’t know your soul.  You’ve been around long enough to know better.  You’re a survivor.  Yes, you’ve had your share and then some of luck, but stick around long enough and a long shot is easy money, right?”

“I don’t know,” I say.  Her nipples have swollen.  They are black bullets that would give death before milk.

“Ain’t that the truth?” Planter asks.  “A third of new vampires fail in their first year.  Another third in the next five.  There’s no rulebook Dixie.  No guidance.  We aren’t baby birds.  Outside these walls there is no structure.  No school.  You were all alone, Dixie.  You never even saw another vampire for your first one-hundred years.  Now, you’re here.  Penned up with dozens of them.  Think!”  She lets loose my head and shuffles back, dukes up and swinging like Muhammed Ali.  I’m tired.  Very tired.  I wanted a row, not a mental workout.  I hate thinking.  All those years of solitude didn’t keep my mind logically limber.  Most vampires live intensely solitary lives.  Could that mean something?  We aren’t communal animals and here we are, all caged up with one another and crazy.

“They’re making us sick,” I say.

“Who?”

“Nurse Barnes, Hellmann, Doctor Hunani, the Hamburg administrators,” I answer, getting to my feet.  Planter flashes her smile.  Unlike before, it puts me at ease.  Her smile is warmth, home and security.  Her fist jackhammers thrice into my guts and I’m raised by my waist, dead lifted straight over her head, spun and smashed into the mat belly down.  She pins me and doesn’t release me.

“Structure guts spirit,” she says.  “They’ve got a whole new way to feed.  They’re sucking the human race dry of spirit, and they’ve been at it for a hundred-thirty years.  Plotting and organizing.  They’re strong.  Don’t underestimate.  Stronger than us.  Almost stronger than humanity, and now they’re working on us.  Vampire feeding on vampire.  Unheard of sickness!  They’ve been devouring the human spirit – expelling the willful soul of their kind through tract housing, general growth malls, fast food and meaningless small scale wars.  Big causes, big wars bring people and nations together.  Trivial skirmishes for poorly defined ideological agendas drain the spirit of a people.  They keep telling us our salvation rests in disconnecting from our humanity.  Disruptors aren’t inhuman monsters.  They’re human monsters.  That’s what’s at stake.  Humanity.  Theirs, the humans, and ours.  You’re a Disruptor, like me, and we’ll weed out the sickness in humanity, and I almost forgot,” she raises her forearm and slaps it down across my shoulder blades.  I yelp.  “One, two, three,” she smacks out on the mat.  “You’re out.”
She gets up.  I roll over.  My guts ache. I hate thinking.  And I have a crush on someone.  It’s Platonic to be sure, but I’m still not quite right.  She stands over me.  I get up to my knees and ask, “What are those tattoos about?”

Planter rubs her hand in slow counter clockwise circles around her belly button.  “They’re human symbols,” she says.  “The atom is science and represents their greatest capabilities and accomplishments.  That’s the peace sign,” she says, her finger coming to rest on it, “It is their highest virtue, and down here…” she traces the cross rising from her mons as if from Golgotha itself. “…is their worst.  They’re belief in death.  That death is something they’ll conquer by dying.  You see, we are death.  We are the only ones who need believe in death.  Who need surrender to it.”

I have no control.  Kneeling before her, I kiss the cross.  My fangs do not penetrate, yet I can taste her blood, and feel it coursing right from her and into me and back.  The place of skulls opens to me.  I enter.  Surrender, it can be such a great relief.

Tonight in group it’s only Nurse Barnes.

“Novak,” she begins, “In our last group session I think we had a minorly promising break-through on your case.  Are you willing to elaborate?”  Minorly promising!  He broke down!  The man wept!  Vampires do not weep.

Novak scratches his arm uncomfortably and avoids all gazes, “As far as elaborations go, I think, I mean, only think, okay?  That I’m, at least might be, a vampire.”  He sighs and his shoulders droop.  My brother is defeated.  He’s fallen on their mercy and I’m uneasy as to what form their mercy takes.

“Excellent, Novak.  That’s excellent,” Nurse Barnes beams.  I look at Planter.  She doesn’t return eye contact.  She doesn’t smile.  I see her shake her head and close her eyes.  My crush.  My love.  She’s hurt, and I hear her command.  Just a single word, “Now,” whispered soft and I am compelled to obey.

“Fuck that,” I say.  “Novak, I’ve known plenty of vampires in my time and either you’re not one or you’re the sorriest excuse for one I’ve ever had the misfortune of knowing.”

Burnell laughs, “And you too Tyree.”

“Houseman!”  Nurse Barnes snaps.  “I’m surprised at you.  I understand you have an appointment to see Doctor Hunani about your,” she pauses, “predilections for darker meat.  Novak isn’t a threat to your rehabilitation.  There’s no need to bite out.”

“Well, why is gardening a mental frailty?” I ask.

“It’s a pointless human folly.  Why should we favor a useless species’ genes and grant it privilege by nurturing its growth?  Humans do this with inedible flowers, grasses, non-fruit bearing trees.  It is an illness, yes, but I prefer your word, “frailty.”  It’s more a weakness of spirit isn’t it?”
“It is spirit!” I say.

“Just because it’s spirited doesn’t make it a thing of the spirit, Houseman,” Barnes retorts.

“Novak isn’t a vampire.  I can smell his human stink… and Tyree’s too.  I’m not ill.  Since when is dietary preference a sign of mental inadequacy?  We have to believe in our illnesses.  Sitkins was a bat and flew up the elevator shaft!” I shout.  “We all are who we are!  Everyone.  How did Sitkins ever wind up in here if he wasn’t an actual bat?  I actually eat niggers.  That’s why I’m here!  What did Sitkins do?”

“I am not a vampire,” Novak screams.
“We are!” Moffit and Quinto confess.

Strong hands grip my arms and I’m hauled out of my chair.

“Get your fucking hands off him,” Burnell says.  Moffitt and Quinto leap on Novak and sink their fangs into his neck and feed.  Stanley turns into panicky mist.  The garlic necklace around Growell’s neck glows incandescent, and eats her skin like acid.  The floor shudders and creaks.  Dillingham eats Tyree, the poor born again human who pleads to be spared.  Ferrero becomes a wolf.  Stanley runs for the stairs and I hear the grinding teeth grind and break down on his vampire bones.  Nurse Barnes runs for the nurses lounge, and Elliot, the  Dieter, who refuses to feed on humans, tears out her gut-brain and eats, chewing, swallowing, swelling, as Barnes screams.

I’m rushed down a hall, and the linoleum buckles and bodies claw up into the ward.  They might be werewolves.  They might be Disruptors, and the aides holding onto me are, in agony, swept away.  Daydream Believers head for the stairs to await the dawn that will not consume them.  And there is my love, my homecoming queen, Planter, beside me.  She holds five keys.  She holds my heart in her hands.  Literally.  It’s beating drowns out all the screams.

“To set you free,” she says and jingles the keys.  The elevator ascends.  I surrender and I surrender.  To her.  My mind is going.  It’s going and it’s wonderful.  I hate thinking.  Belief.  Belief is everything.  Belief is all.  Why not believe them?  I have no control.  We are unleashed to save humanity.  To destroy the form, demolish structure, restore the spirit and feed on what remains.

The doors part.  There’s a world out there.  It opens to us.  We enter.  We bring peace.

Happy 73rd

October 29, 2011

Cartoonist Ralph Bakshi has a birthday today, his 73rd.  That’s quite alot.

Diamond Head

October 28, 2011

It’s the birth date of the woman who created the look of middle century Hollywood.

Cinefail

October 27, 2011

The Thing, Paranormal 3, Footloose : A remake of a remake. A prequel of a prequel. And a why in the fuck bother.

The Norwegian

October 27, 2011

Repost from 2006… This was written while touring through Europe at a time when Americans were pretending to be Canadians and Bush insisted on either insulting the rest of the world on a daily basis or embarrassing the Americans who were still capable of being embarrassed.

Kirsten performing in Verden, Germany

It was in Verden, Germany (a small town bristling with bicyclists: 70 year old great grandmothers, grade school boys, drunk men and housewives; the whole damn town peddled from dawn to dark, east to west, circles to squares) where I was up late talking to a bald Norwegian with an unruly blond beard, arrow-head sharp nose and the expected blue eyes wired in red veins. The guy did vocal duties in a hardcore band. He wanted to tell me what the rest of the world thought about Americans. “People in the rest of the world,” he pontificated, “tend to view Americans as arrogant and a little uninformed.”
I think “a little uninformed” was his polite code for “severely MR.”
“Sure,” I said, “I agree. A lot of Americans would, but unless you spend some significant time there, getting fed the fucking media bullshit most Americans are subjected to, then you’d have a different opinion. You’d still be right to call them arrogant and uninformed, but at least you’d see why they are.”
The conversation went on like this. He didn’t like the idea of blaming the media because there are so many sources of information out there, especially with the internet.
“People can get the truth,” He said.
“Yes,” I said and added, “indeed, but if they’re already arrogant and, really now, grossly, a fucking lot uninformed; I mean, these people are ignorant; how are the ignorant and arrogant going to hunt down the truth when they believe what’s being pumped into their homes through CNN and FOX News? Oh,” I quickly interjected to steer the subject my way, “Does your band have a MySpace page?”
“Ja,” He said and gave me his MySpace address to promptly forget.
“MySpace is owned by Rupert Murdoch, okay?”
“Okay.”
“And Rupert Murdoch owns FOX News, okay?”
“Okay”
“And in survey after survey it shows Americans who watch FOX News are at least three times* as likely to be confused or outright wrong about facts surrounding 911 and the invasion of Iraq. So, by having a MySpace account you’re helping to keep Americans ignorant and that ignorance, man, that goes a long way in explaining their arrogance.” (*stat pulled out of nether eye)
I thought I’d get him with that, but the fucker was ungettable; he steam-rolled on, uncaring, couldn’t give a shit what makes Americans ignorant and arrogant, and when I mentioned the gas prices really getting out of hand, he went at me.
“Nobody cares about your gas prices. We always pay more. Let the car owners pay for it.”
“But your high prices at the pump go to the public. You all benefit from high gas prices.”
“Who cares? Let the car owners pay for it.”
“No, in America it’s a handful of people getting filthy rich, taking all the profit, none of it goes to the people, none of it helps the public.”
“The car owners can pay for it. They don’t have to drive; let them pay,” was again his response.
It’s hard to care about others when you have it so fucking good. That’s the truth about Norway as much as it’s the truth about America. I wanted to explain the American infrastructure and how cities were designed to force individual car ownership, and how a corporate conspiracy between diesel engine manufacturers and bus companies applied pressure to local governments to dismantle rail systems, trolley lines and cable car systems. I wanted him to know how long the corporate fucking of America has been fucking Americans, but I was too tired and since I wasn’t able to score a point off him with corporate brainwashing I didn’t expect to bounce him down the court and through the hoop on old corporate conspiracies that have lead to current travel conditions and gas prices. Instead, I wanted to talk about literature.
“You know,” I said, “one of my favorite authors is from your country.”
“Oh ya? Who?”
“Knut Hamsun. I fucking love Hunger. A beautiful work of a man’s mind falling apart as sure as his shoes, declining with every step taken.”
“Oh, I hate Knut Hamsun,” he said, pronouncing it “Kuh-Newt” and since he did, and he was a fellow-countryman of Knut, I decided I’d also pronounce it his way. I let him score off me too easy. “His writing style is so dull and predictable and just goes on and on nowhere saying nothing,” he paused, “but a lot of Norwegians think he’s great.”
“I guess I agree with them then,” I said.
“Ja, no offense. That’s just what I think.”
“Oh sure,” I said, and decided to slippy-slide our talk into music after he rattled off several sociologist writers he liked. I didn’t ask about sociology, although it worried me that he didn’t seem concerned with factors that shape a society, but evidently that’s all he read, or liked to read, at least when he wasn’t torturing himself with the turgid and flat-witted prose of Kuh-Newt.
He was into heavy metal so we talked about that. I said I adored German metal, and since we were in Germany it seemed appropriate to emphasize.
“Such as?” he asked.
I told him, “Subway to Sally, Kreator, Coroner, Iron Angel, Deathrow, Destruction, Sodom… even Tankard.”
“Those are good,” he said. Finally, we could agree on something. Sure we both thought Americans to be un- and/or mis-informed and arrogant, but differed on what it meant and the significance of the causes of their sad condition. I was glad he enjoyed good German metal, but then he asked, “But do you know what the best German metal band is?” He answered after I shrugged. “Helloween.” He loved Helloween. They were not only the best German metal band, but quite possibly the world’s best ever. I was terror-stricken. It jarred me down to my soul and caused it to vibrate at just the right frequency with all other souls in sudden violent terror; it was the hum of humanity, and inspired by it, I said, “Americans can never free themselves or change the conditions of their media and ignorance of the world because they have been deceived by the myth of their freedom. You don’t rattle, let alone break your chains if you don’t know you’re fucking shackled!”
“That’s no excuse,” he said.
Later, they had all the bands sleeping in a big room upstairs. Various mats, cushions and mattresses of burgundy, beige, gray, white and blue lay tetrised in, interlocked across the floor. It so happened I was lying next to the Viking, and that fucker could snore. It trumpeted through his nose and clawed at the blackboards up his throat to escape like an amplified death-rattle. Nothing akin to that snore has been heard since the last female T-Rex bellowed in estrus. On and on it went and sometime, hours later, I finally collided with the old sandman. My wife was lying on my other side, sleepless from the Norske Nasal Symphony. I let out a few quiet snorts; nothing really compared to the magnificent roar of the man to my right. One of my minor restful sniffles stopped the Norwegian’s snores. He awoke and immediately smacked me across the chest. I didn’t wake up, and I don’t know what it means but it got me wondering about the validity of the pre-emptive doctrine.

Born to Walk Wild

October 27, 2011

John Cleese turns 72.