Saturday, December 8, 2007

Kill Me Twice...

This is some kind of fuckin' joke. It has to be. Any minute now, God is going to come out from the cosmic back room with his camera crew telling me I was "Christ'd!" People don't die like I do and just come back from it, not even in shitty daytime soap operas.

I'm sure many of you had already assumed as much, and congratulations, you were right, I was killed! Again! That's two, if you're keepin' count. One more and you all have to throw your hats at me. You are probably wondering, though, how the fuck I could pull something like that off twice? Am I some kind of human cockroach? Possibly. I've been called a lot of shit in my life and I wouldn't be surprised if that was one of 'em. Am I a magician the likes of which Harry Houdini could never dream of becoming? No, probably not, though there isn't a straight jacket in the world that could hold me. Am I some immortal Scottish warrior and the only way for me to die is if Christopher Lambert chopped off my head? No fuckin' way! Those movies were trash.

The simple answer is that people like to fuck with me, and I guess that includes really bored gods.

As I told you before I disappeared again, I was going to see an old friend who would probably know something about the fuckheads who stole my computer and burned down my apartment building. I figured 'em for spooks, y'know? Some black ops paramilitary rejects gone soldiers of fortune. What the fuck they would've wanted with me, I have no idea. I'd been off the government radar for years, every price on my head had been dropped, I hadn't even rented any porn from the video store or checked out any library books in a while. I was perfectly content to wither away in my shitty apartment and rot my brains out of my skull with some cheap drugs until my landlord had to bust my door down one sweltering Summer afternoon to mop the stink of decay out of his already disgusting apartment building. What they wanted with my computer is still a mystery to me; but I convinced Anansi, the King of Stories, that what they wanted was one of the greatest stories ever written, something of much interest to the old spider, which is why he brought me back to life after the fuckers cooked me alive in my ratty shithole of an apartment.

That was the first time I'd died. This last time was a lot less dramatic and overly complicated. In short, I was shot in the back. A lot. But I got better.

Now, to elaborate on that, let me take you back to the swingin' Eighties. Oh, I loved the Eighties. It was all coke and whores and gun running and ridiculous music and fucked up hair and stupid clothes. Truly a Golden Age. It was also a decade of huge economic turmoil and foreign affairs fiascoes. You see, kids, I wasn't always a charred, homeless drug addict. For a time, I made a living doing horrible things for horrible men in horrible countries. I'm ashamed of it, which is rare for me to admit, being than I'm a shameless bastard. Eventually, I got tired or bored or sickened enough to stop selling little pieces of my soul for a couple hundred grand a sin, but I'd made a lot of connections.

Which is what led me to Munich last month. Back in October, a certain powerful individual who owed me more than a couple of favors was run out of Paris for all of the horrible things he's done in his life, more so the horrible things he's done recently. He was spending some time at the embassy here, cooling his heels, relaxing after the circus show in Paris. I decided to pay him a visit, see what he knew about these guys who were after my shit, if they were after me, who sent 'em, why, and all of that.

Now for the idiocy. I don't know if it's that I'm rusty in my old age, or if I just wasn't in my right mind, or something else; but instead of slipping in there in the dark with a knife in my hand squatting on his chest with a wild grin and a glint in my eye as the moonlight caught me just right, just in time for him to open his eyes from his comforting dreams of strangling puppies and jerking off on dead hookers to be terrified by this mutilated face from his past, instead of something timeless and classic like that, I walked right in the front door.

I blame the mask. With it, I can look like whoever I want, whenever I need to. It's come in quite handy since, without it, I look like an overcooked campfire hot dog. The trouble is, when I wear it, I don't feel right. I don't feel like me. I feel normal, but not my kind of normal. I feel like I used to, long ago, before I ruined every inch of myself. I don't like that feeling anymore. And it gets worse the more often I use the mask, which is probably what led to me slipping it on and appearing as the bastard himself as I waltzed through the doors of the embassy to see my "old friend."

It wasn't hard getting past security. The mask lets me look however I want, and if I know exactly who I want to look like, I can become that person, from their looks right down to their voice and mannerisms. It's fucking creepy, but effective. It even convinced the two guards at his door who swore up and down that I never left my room. Of course, the one person it didn't fool was my old friend, but it wasn't meant to. All it was meant to do was confuse him long enough for me to take him to the floor and gag him with his own tie while I revealed my true face.

I don't know how he knew, but he recognized me. Maybe it was the sharp, narrow chin, or my high cheek bones. Maybe it was the disgusting grin and my wheezing laugh that whispered through my crooked, smoke-stained teeth. Or maybe it was my eyes, the same steely eyes he stared into decades ago as he ordered me to do horrible things for him and his bosses. Whatever it was, he recognized me; under all of the wrinkled, crunchy flesh, he recognized me.

Dragging him off the floor, I took the gun from the back of his waistband and held it to his head as I drove my arm into his back, gripping his collar like a reign, and burying his face into his mattress. I told him specifically to answer my questions by nodding or shaking his head, nothing else. When I asked him if I was back on the government radar for anything, he shook his head. When I asked him if he was sure he wasn't lying, as I cocked the gun and pushed it harder into his skull, he nodded. I asked him if he knew about anybody putting a price on my head. Shake. I asked him if he was surprised to see me. Nod. I asked him if he heard that I was dead. Nod. I asked him if he believed that before I busted into his room and pinned him to his mattress with a gun to his skull. Shake.

Then, I was going to ask him if he'd recognized the three men who broke into my apartment, when I realized something: I couldn't remember a fucking thing about them. There were three of them, I'm pretty sure they were wearing suits, and I remember one of them pulling something out of somewhere and setting my apartment on fire, but nothing else, which is impossibly odd for me. Forever, I made a living remembering everything about everyone I ever met and using it against 'em, and no matter how much of whatever I stuffed up my nose or shot into my veins, I'd never forget that much. Everyone has something distinctive about them to remember them by. So I asked him, "do you know of anyone in existence so unremarkable that I wouldn't be able to remember what they look like?" And he hesitated, which in hindsight may have been a feint, but seemed genuine at the time. Then he shook his head.

Of course I was intrigued, and if it was a feint, it worked perfectly, because I wouldn't have wound up the way I did otherwise. I loosened the knot in the tie around his head and took it off as uncomfortably as possible, grabbing the back of his skull and getting my mouth as close to his ear to whisper to him like a violent lover. I told him, "if you raise your voice any higher than a high school girl losing her virginity in her bedroom as her parents slept one room over, I will shoot you in the fucking skull and use your body as a goddamn shield to make my way out of this fuckin' place." I must have used that one on him before, because he laughed, so I cracked him with the butt of the gun and told him to get talking.

He went on for minutes about a ridiculous conspiracy that goes above and beyond any national government or global religion, about impossible experiments being performed deep beneath the capital, and about the faceless leaders of the world controlling their puppets from the shadows. Then he told me about stories he heard, of men without faces, without forms, figments of the collective imagination of humanity existing in the creases of reality, serving the secrets masters of creation. They held power over even the most powerful men on Earth. They manipulated the manipulators of the masses. They were cosmic agents of order or chaos or both. If these beings existed, and were indeed the men responsible for my current situation, what the fuck could they possibly want with me, let alone my computer?

It all fell apart after that. I heard something in my head, but out of my mind, something faint but familiar coming from existence itself. It startled me, and in that one moment, all of the things that could've possibly gone wrong went wrong. The old fuck threw an elbow just right, caught me off guard and sent me backwards over the edge of the bed. Between the clamor and his choking cry for help, security was in the room immediately. I figured I might have been able to make a dive for the window in the couple of seconds they'd be confused by the disfigured man who just attacked their employer, but apparently they make these boys as brainless and violent as they did in my day. I made it to the window, but not before I caught a hail of bullets in the back.

Movies and television glorify the shit out of bullet wounds. They're small and painless and either "shock" or "nerves" are responsible for urban cowboys taking slugs like fucking monsters and diving out of windows without feeling a thing or dropping more than a couple dots of blood. Fuckin' horseshit. Unless you're lucky enough to take one in the spine, you feel everything: from the white hot burning pain of a projectile tearing through your flesh and bone and organs to the searing, lingering feeling of jagged metal ripping your insides slowly apart, and the utter horror of having a bullet explode out of you, Jackson Pollacking your insides all over a window, right before you barrel into it and slice yourself up even more. You feel all of that. And if you're really lucky, you land on your neck and don't have to worry about surviving the fall.

I'm sure all of you know by now that I'm a lot of things: an asshole, an alcoholic, verbose, but I am not lucky. When those boys opened fire, I felt it all. Every last bullet, every shard of glass, and every inch of pavement. It may have been only minutes later, or even seconds, but as I lay in that alley while blackness clouded my vision, it felt like an eternity again. The last fuckin' thing I wanted was another one of those trips. Of course, the next to last thing I wanted to see was a tall black figure stalking down the alley on three legs to greet me, or the top hat he dropped right before I passed out.

Once everything had gone dark, I became more aware. I was dead. It was beginning to become a more familiar feeling than being alive. I wasn't quite back in the little corner of creation I'd wound up in before, but I knew Anansi was there, in the darkness, watching me. He didn't say a word, but I could feel his thoughts. The phrase "heart full of venom" came to mind, and I suddenly felt very hot- a stark contrast to the disheartening cold of my first trip into nothingness. And then, another phrase, "the secret masters of creation," exploded in my brain, and I remembered something from my talk with the spidergod. Nothing specific, but something prevalent in everything he said to me, as if he was telling me two things at once and I could only hear the first. And as my mind wandered, my body suddenly shuddered and my veins exploded with fire. I screamed, but whatever cracked noise escaped my throat was drowned out by the darkness around me as it fell as a deluge of black spiders over me.

All too typically, I woke up screaming, thrashing about wildly in a bathtub filled with warm water and a shower running over me. The angel beside me tried to calm me down, but I was so disoriented and confused by my last seconds of consciousness, I grabbed her by the throat and growled something hateful and guttural as I glared at her. She was helpless in my hands, and she looked so sad, but not for herself. She looked sad for me. Then I realized how I must have looked, mutilated as I was, recovered from some dingy alleyway with two whole clips of bullets in my back and bleeding from cuts all over my body. And despite all of this, this poor woman, this beautiful woman, dragged me into her home and tried to help me, and in my weakness, I rewarded her kindness with violence.

I was ashamed, a feeling lost to me ages ago making its long-awaited comeback. With shaking hands, I let go of her elegant neck, and as her expression relaxed, I cringed. The bathtub was pink with blood, I could see the bullets laying at the bottom of the basin. My hands traced the exit wounds on my stomach, already scabbed over with even more scar tissue. Whatever disgusting poison my heart pumped now instead of blood, it healed me. My body at least. The angel spoke to me in German, "It is alright. You are alright. Everything is going to be alright."

And with burning tears in my eyes, I looked at her and said, "No. I don't think it is."

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

I'm in Rheinstetten right now, taking a night off to celebrate All Hallows' Eve the traditional way: liquor and a pirate hat. The man next to me started early and left his laptop open on the bar. He also left his wallet closed and in his back pocket, but I fixed that. And he left some smokes in his jacket. And a pretty nice watch on his wrist. Trick-or-treat indeed! So I've got some walkin' around money for my trip to Munich. Shame I'm in such a hurry or I'd waltz around South Germany a bit. It's beautiful here.

So, thanks to my new friend, I've got some much-needed alcohol in my system, and thanks to my neat mask, I at least look like a pirate. Maybe with a little more rum and some Altbier, I'll feel more like a pirate. At any rate, I just wanted to let you kids know what was up one more time before I start taking care of my business here in Deutschland. This place is wacky. Here, check this out. Sorry, I know, linking you to FOXNews is almost as bad as linking you to animal porn with the animals on the receiving end; but it was the only place I could find that actually reported on some small-towners booting a zombie off their public transportation.

Alright, I'm off to drink a little more. Maybe find something to put directly into my bloodstream, or get there as fast as I can through my nostrils. And then maybe I'll go hooker huntin'. You kids be safe tonight! I know I won't.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Wanna See A Magic Trick?

I could be the next David Copperfield! Minus the rape charges...

Six months ago, I died. Nothing fancy, really. Meth lab explosion, one of the fastest rising fatality rates in the United States. However, I came back, and not to rub my own cock, but that's pretty fuckin' fancy. That puts me in a very elite group of people including Jesus Christ and Cher. Unlike Jesus and Cher, though, I didn't go around bragging about it the minute I came back to life. Took me about six months to make it out of the States and find a nice European computer café that didn't turn me away because I smelled like something died in my coat, or that I looked like walking beef jerky. Well, to be accurate, it took me about six months to get to Europe and a couple hours to find an Internet café that didn't mind the smell of funk and burning. Yes, I'm in France right now. Have been for about a week.

See, something odd happens when you die nowadays. You don't just die, everything about you dies. They certify it! I have a death certificate in some county hall in the States. They make it official, so official that it's nearly impossible to come back from it. So, kids, my grand magic act? Jack Zodiac has disappeared completely. I don't exist. How's that for a metatextual mind-fuck? I know I'm still reeling from it. My home (read: rathole), my friends (read: dealers), my identity (read: plastic shit that proves I'm not just a well-done hobo). My computer. Still workin' on that one. See, before I was shuffled out of the cosmic deck and then reshuffled back in, some cocksucking firebugs in fancy suits tore my place apart, stole my laptop, and torched my home. I'm thinking spooks. The reason it took me so long to get back to you fine folks was because of the peculiarity of my situation.

I have no I.D., no money, and I look like I've been barbecued, but without the sweet hickory scent. Without most of my usual resources, I had to do some incredibly grueling things to make my way to Europe. That big motherfucker of an ocean didn't help a bit, and I had to make a few stops between Central America, South America, Cuba, Haiti, West Africa, North Africa, and then finally France. Let's say it took some conniving, deceitful, and sometimes violent stuff for me to get where I was goin' and leave it at that. I probably wouldn't have made it here at all without this sweet little mask, though.

After I made my screaming peace with existence, I trudged through non-existence for an eternity, before the good baron of the graveyard delivered me to Aunt Nancy. The King of Stories told me I had a tale that was topping his hypothetical sales charts, which caught me the fuck by surprise, what with being dead and unpublished, so I told him it was probably on my computer and I just couldn't remember it. Yeah, I duped the trickster god- at least, I'm pretty sure I did. Tough call. Either way, the old spider gave me another crack at life and a couple of gifts to help me find my untold story: a heart full of venom (like I didn't have enough), and a mask.

Now, I felt pretty gypped when I woke up in a morgue with skin like a convenience store hot dog, and I figured the old lyin' fuck juiced me like some asshole fly in his web; but I soon realized that this wasn't your typical magical genie gift fuck-over, I was really given a mask by a god. When I need it, I can turn this tire track of a face into an ivory mask. And not just a plain old mask, either. It's like a living theater mask. Comedy, tragedy, the full gauntlet of emotion. Now, some of you might be wondering, "Uncle Jack," and I think it's absolutely goddamn cute you kids still call me that, "What good is a mask when the rest of your body looks like Phyllis Diller with a tan?" Y'see, when the mask is on, I'm a completely different person. That's not just some recklessly thrown about metaphor, either, I literally become a completely different person. I even feel kind of different, which is why I avoid using it when I can; but it came in pretty damn handy making my way here, and it'll help even more to look like whoever the hell I want while I'm in Europe, too.

Right now, there's a man I have to see. He was in Paris the other day, but he had some... complications... that forced him to cut his visit short and head for Germany. If anybody would know if the douchebags who stole my computer were spooks, it'd be him, and he owes me for a couple of favors I did for him back in the Eighties. Oh, those crazy Eighties. I'll be in touch, children. While I'm gone, remember, don't trust anybody!

Auf Wiedersehen!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Don't Forget Your Mask

Where have I been for the past six months? Good question.

Six months ago, I was in my apartment, cooking something in a spoon you won't hear about for another couple years, when I heard footsteps in the stairwell. Typical, of course, if you live in an apartment building with neighbors, landlords, and lead-footed pimply-face delivery boys; atypical if you live in a dilapidated shitsty in the middle of a fucking slum. My neighbors are meth dealers, my landlord's a retired pimp who still slaps like a fuckin' hammer, and the only delivery people who come in and out of this place use the fire escape and carry all their packages in their rectum; and none of these people make noise, ever, not even when they're mixing cold meds and match books in a coffee pot right next door to me. So, needless to say, I was quite alarmed.

Instinctively, I hid in my closet, which isn't so much a closet as it is a "House of Usher"-esque crack in my bedroom wall I can spider into and hide drugs. Not a moment later, some jackbooted thugs kicked my door in, which was wholly unnecessary considering it hadn't been bolted into its hinges for years and the lock was merely aesthetic. The three of them overturned everything in my place: the couch I found on the side of the highway, the television I stole from the nice neighborhood, the microwave I pilfered from a hotel in Delaware; until they found the laptop I jacked from some suit in a coffee shop holding up the broken table I used to eat, sleep, and sometimes fuck on. What horrible, deceitful thing had I done to lead these venom-filled cocksuckers to my den of malfeasance? How did it come to be that these pitiful flies had trapped the spider in his own web? I'd decided then that any rash course of action would do me no good. Were these guys spooks? Feds? Or just well dressed crooks? I'd find out later, and I'd find out what they wanted with my piece of shit computer.

That was all they'd come for, apparently, and I figured all I'd be short come the end of this was a laptop and some irreplaceable Swedish lesbian porn; but then one of the pigfuckers reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out a white tube with a flintlock on the end, flipped it, and tossed it screaming into the corner. Within seconds, the wall was completely on fire and spreading fast, and I'd be cooked alive if I didn't hurry. I jammed what little of my stash I could fit in my mouth and rolled out before flames engulfed the wall behind me. Then I heard it, soft at first, but growing louder and faster by the second; the sound of glass bursting, of liquid spilling, spreading, and burning. Beneath me, above me, in front of me, behind me, on any side of me, I was surrounded by imminent death. The meth labs had blown.

Hell washed over me, and I was all too ready to burn to death and welcome sweet oblivion as the last of my skin blistered and sloughed off my body. In my head, I'd already composed my "fuck yous" to God, the Devil, and any other motherfucker out to claim my dirty, rotten soul. Though ever the cynic, even in death, I was completely unsurprised when I was greeted at the end with total nothingness. At the very least, I was hoping for some sort of Buddhist monk "congratulations on burning to death, welcome to Nirvana" scene; but no, no Nirvana, no Samsara, nothing but nothing. Unless that's Nirvana, in which case I'd take eternal insanity over nothingness any day of the week. I'd rather burn and toil in Hell, telling the Devil to suck my cock as little bat-winged bastards jammed carpenter's nails into it, than be lost forever with nothing but this shitty journal and some illegitimate children in South America to mark my existence.

That was my seeming punishment for a reckless and useless life. Years of being a relentless asshole, a violent alcoholic, and a hackneyed writer had landed me in eternal darkness with the most grueling torture of all: my own fucking thoughts. I lost all sense, or whatever sense I had, if I ever had any; and for an eternity I drifted, while my thoughts pecked at my sanity like a skeletal vulture over roadkill in a parched desert. If it were at all possible, I'd say I went mad, but it's hard to go somewhere you've never left, and that seemed my resigned fate. I was never going to leave this prison of disorienting derangement.

Years, decades, maybe centuries after I'd been immolated, screaming in my ratty apartment, I found a companion in the darkness. Another silent traveler on my nihilistic path, a tall black man in a tux smoking a cigar, tipping his top hat towards me in greeting. I smiled back and nodded, and he winked at me through the one missing lens in his sunglasses. Did I know this metaphysical transient? Why did he invoke both terror and hope in me at once? And would he toss me a stogy? I hadn't had a smoke in ages. He removed his hat and bowed with a sweep, revealing a tenebrous, hellish pit, even more desolate than the void we shared, buried within his caved in skull. It was then that I realized who my new friend was. He was the graveyard baron. The keeper of the crossroads. Samedi. For whatever reason, he was the harbinger of my eventual fate. Fearless, or more accurately cockily, I marched into his deadhead towards my end.

Shunted into something even more unknown than nothingness, I grinned in anticipation. Finally, I'd be able to tell some arrogant cosmic piece of shit to stuff a broken beer bottle sideways up his fucking asshole. Or so I had thought. The end of this jet tunnel didn't take me to Heaven, which was no surprise, of course; nor did it drop my pathetic ass shrieking towards Hell, which honestly was a bit of a surprise. Instead, I found myself bound in some corner of creation no one had ever seen or would ever see again, trapped in an intricate silver web made of stars, facing a creature of pure ether: a spider whose many jeweled eyes were entire galaxies and who spoke in supernovas. He was Anansi, the great spider. The web-spinner. The trickster.

He shuffled toward me across his infinite web, spinning more cosmic silk in his wake as entire cosmos were destroyed and reborn with every movement. As he spoke through the soundless void in a voice that pierced reality with terrible bass, I could hear the whispers of the secret masters of creation in his throat, and their revelations ripped through my brain leaving none of their relevance but all of their importance. The great Anansi told me that he had made a deal with his father, Nyame the lord of the sky, eons and planetary lifetimes ago, that upon the death of every living being, he had the divine right to ingest all of their knowledge and imagination before they resigned their fates to whatever gods they worshiped, and that my death was one he had been looking forward to. In my mind, he said, rested one of the most incredible stories he'd ever glimpsed, and he wanted it for himself.

Needless to say, I was completely goddamn boggled. What was this great idea I had that I didn't know about? Some incredible sequel to The Bible? An off-off Broadway play about political corruption and ineptitude? A ridiculously popular reality television show where the Osmonds move into a whorehouse? Whatever it was, it must have been great if the fucking god of stories wanted it, and I'd be fucked backwards if some plagiaristic deity was gonna have it! I had to think of something fast, which given the situation was grandly ironic. What cosmic tar baby could I concoct to out-trick the trickster god? Then it hit me, harder than the ceiling when my apartment collapsed.

I'd been floating in nihility for so long, I was beginning to forget how I'd gotten where I was; facing the King of Stories to keep one of my own, apparently. I told him what an honor it would be for my creativity to survive long after existence started folding back in on itself, but I had no recollection of any incredible story he might be after. Years of rampant, unadulterated drug abuse had diffused my fragile mind, and I relied heavily on technology to recall and collect my imagination, which worked a lot better than some star-formed bottle gourd. He sank his fangs into my soul and searched my thoughts long and hard before coming to the conclusion I'd hoped he would: my mind was so fucking broken, whatever was in it before I died was nigh-unsalvageable.

Obviously, I was feeling pretty cocky, but I supposed I was expecting a bit much to have beaten a god so easily at his own game. Anansi, disappointed, told me that I had nothing to offer him and that I could be on my way to whatever fate awaited. And luck! Another stroke of half-genius, half-kismet! I told him I worshiped no gods and had no kings, and that my fate would be more nothing if he let me go now. Of course, he didn't care, until I told him about the three strange men who stole my ideas and left me for dead in a torched slumhole. Once more, he painfully struck his godvenom into my heart to see into my past. Whatever story he thought he foresaw in me, he easily believed was in that stolen laptop.

Appearing as a man to me now, but still quite spidery, the trickstergod told me what he saw. He saw death traveling with those three, and not the fun kind of death that you can bribe with rum and jerked chicken. He saw me driven mad and madder still. He saw a world of chaos pierced through its heart with words of order, or maybe it was the other way around. Most importantly, though, he saw a good story. And I wondered, had I been some kind of cosmic tar baby, or was I the one having my strings pulled? It's never easy knowing where you stand with metaphysical beings of abstract proportions. The godspider told me, for the sake of stories, he'd send me back, and with two gifts. He said he'd give me a mask and a heart full of venom, as if I needed any more, and sent me on my way, back to the world of peons and fuckheads.

When I "awoke," I was still surrounded by complete darkness, but something else, too. Chilling cold, a stark contrast to how I exited this fucking joke of an existence. I kicked and screamed my way through an ebony womb and spilled crying onto the cold, sterile, tile thighs of life. Blind, I crawled through the insufferable light of my new world as my infant eyes adjusted to harsh reality. I was in a morgue. My fingers traced the Y-shaped scar down my chest, but more than that, the disgusting, bark-like texture of my stomach as well. My arms, my legs, and I could only imagine my face. My entire body was covered in horrible scars and burns. I was a monster, inside and out.

A couple of attendants walked in to witness my glorious and horrifying birth. One managed to scream in absolute terror before fleeing, the other simply passed out at the sight of me. I stole his clothes and ran for the street and didn't stop running until I was blocks away, wheezing in an alley in the noonlight. While I rested against a wall, face in my hands, I contemplated my "gift" as my fingers traced my disfigured countenance. I deserved this, cheating death somehow and finding my punishment back among the living. Anansi, the trickstergod, the web-spinner. Old gods love games and mortals are their favorite gamepieces.

I ran my hand down my face from my temples to my chin, a habit I fall into when I'm stressed. Then I stood up and dusted my sad self off, ready to look for these suited fuckheads with quite possibly the only thing I had left worth living for, a story, when a fellow street urchin croaked something to me from his pile of trash. "Nice mask," he said. I turned toward the window behind me and stared into the wild eyes of an ivory face grinning like a maniac. A mask and a heart full of venom. Neat trick.

"Thanks," I said, and then took my leave of the piss-soaked alleyway. I had shit to do.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Witches Float...

...or burn, or both, or whateverthefuck.

This past Tuesday in Cary, Illinois, eighteen year old high school student Allen Lee of Cary-Grove High School was arrested. Don't believe me? Read this, fucker! "Real" journalism. After completing a creative writing assignment, Lee's teacher felt compelled to alert the English Department chair, who then felt further compelled to contact the school principal, who also felt a strange need to alert local authorties and, via proxy, his Marine recruiter- all because of the kid's completed homework. What was this horrible, dastardly affront to creative writing that could have forced all three of these authority figures to daisy chain their way to the cops? Did young Allen plagiarize some incredible writer? Was he ripping off yours truly? No. Did he hand write a suicide note? Uh-uh. Did he confess some elaborate scheme to kill the President of the United States involving black-ops Vatican agents and an army of illegal immigrants led by the zombified corpses of our founding fathers? I fuckin' wish! No, he wrote this piece of shit. The only thing this kid's guilty of is vomit-inducing grammar.

Lee wrote a short, worthless piece of tripe in which he makes mention of firearm violence, necrophilia, our President's inability to lead, his love of the "Super Mario Bros." video games, and his teacher's craptacular baking. Sounds like a typical round of discussion my senior year, substituting "Super Mario Bros." with whatever you'd call playing "Pong" with sticks and a rock. Was his writing unusual, bordering on disturbing, and slightly theatening? Absolutely. But if we're gonna' flag every writer whose work borders on the disturbed with being possibly psychotic, and definitely, probably, potentionally violent, you'd better throw King and Koontz in some well-lit, padded cell with Michael Gingold, Joe Lansdale, Kim Harrison, and Anne Rice. Then dig up and burn the bones of Lovecraft, Howard, Bloch, and Patricia Highsmith. Throw me in the mix and we've got one hell of a fuckin' party.

Removing human interaction from situations like this is one of the stupidest goddamn things to do, but sadly, one of the most prevalent practices. Instead of sitting down with Allen and asking him why- why he thought making jokes about shooting people and fucking the corpses, his teacher's shitty baking, and inspiring another school shooting were fitting for this assignment- instead of actually talking to the kid, they lambast him for expressing himself in an, albeit, unusual way and potentially ruin any future he sought in the Marines. He's eighteen, he ain't a minor anymore, and this is gonna' stick around with him forever- like herpes, but without the fun of getting it. These educators aren't opening any doors for him, they're slammin' 'em shut on his cock and giggling over it while patting themselves on the back for being brave enough to tattle on some kid's shitty writing.

Last week, when Seung-Hui Cho, the sick motherfucker who killed thirty-two kids at Virginia Tech, was all over the news because of his slaughter, everybody from the students to the media where playing the "blame game" and trying to make the whole ordeal anybody else's fault but the messed up asshole who actually committed the murders. Fingers were pointed at everyone from the faculty, for not keeping their students safer, to the video game industry, for "inspiring violence" in young people, to fuckin' YouTube, quite possibly for exposing us to Nora, the piano playing cat. The fact that Cho had also written some disturbing creative writing pieces was explored, but the little touched-upon fact was that his teacher was denied any response to his writing when she confronted superiors about it.

This hands-free, "not my fuckin' problem" attitude people in positions of authority have is more at fault then Rockstar for making a game where you can kill hookers, or Marilyn Manson for making music about... well, who the fuck knows? Ultimately, the sin is always on the sinner's hands. However, there are always circumstances to be considered in every case, but all too often those circumstances are used to escape from the situation instelf- to shift blame, to lose focus. Cho probably would've shown up one day and killed as many people as he could anyway, whether or not an educator had stepped in and tried to understand the crazy bastard, but they would have at least tried to make that attemp- to make that connection- to bridge that gap between babysitter and mentor. For Allen Lee, at Cary-Grove High School, instead of extending an olive branch for a young man who might need it, his teachers slapped him in the fuckin' taint with it and labled him for future ostracizing.

Man, that'll be one awkward fucking reunion a decade from now.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Dear Earth...

Thanks for being a good sport.

It seems like only, oh, four and a half billion years ago that the sun vomited you up. A few hundred million years later, little microscopic bastards were crawlin' all over ya', fighting to shoot fins and flippers out of their slimy little bodies. Over time, the tiny fuckers got bigger, crawled out of your watery womb, and spilled out all over your sandy thighs kicking and screaming for survival. You took care of us, nurtured us, taught us, punished us when necessary, and eventually, one day, after we decided we knew everything, we started taking care of ourselves.

We got our own places somewhere in the old neighborhood- close enough to keep borrowing shit from you. We got jobs, raised families, taught 'em everything you taught us with our own personal spin on things. You kept watching over us, beaming with pride at times, scowling in disappointment at others. You had to sit there and watch your kids argue about inane bullshit, fighting over ideas and possessions, squabbling over the gifts you gave us. And every time you tried to step in and tell us that we should stop, that we should play nice and share, we told you to jam a cock in it or we'd put you in a fuckin' home.

You're gettin' old, Mom.We're still acting like spoiled fuckin' brats; but at least once a year, we get together and make you a card to tell you we still love you, maybe get you something nice to make you forget what rotten fucks your kids are and how much closer you're getting towards death. Yesterday, we couldn't have cared less, and tomorrow we'll go right back to treating you like shit again, but for today, we love you and we want you to know it.

Happy Mother's Day, Earth.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Happy Unadulterated Drug Abuse Day!

I'm writing this... I think it's midnight. I keep dipping in and out of coherence.

The first thing I did this morning, or yesterday morning, whatever morning this wild holiday started, I weighed myself. Once, long ago, when dinosaurs roamed the freeways and cavemen carpooled to work, I heard that the only way you could overdose on marijuana is if you smoked your weight in it. Being a lazy, indulgent slob (aka an American), I'm comin' in at a sturdy one-eighty. That's... roughly thirty-six thousand dollars worth of pot. A year's salary for Joe Paper Pusher, one dead prize-winning race horse for Jack "The Beastmaster" Zodiac. At eight in the morning, I had one hundred and eighty pounds of marijuana. I woke up early.

Somewhere between nine and noon, I'd made my way to an Indian casino. And when I say "Indian," I mean "Native American," but when I call it a "Native American Casino," they get offended. Normally, I wouldn't give a steaming shit if I offended somebody, but it was a holiday, and I was in a good mood. Pounds of weed'll do that to ya'. I spent about an hour counting cards, waiting for security to nab me and drag me down some seedy hallway to the big guy's office. Never happened. No, instead, the big guy comes right to me. That's class. Vegas, you fucks could take a note from these folk.

His name was Boss Double Down, which sounds like a thrown-out Bond villain, but fuck my dead dog's corpse if it ain't true. And in a stereotypically deep, monotonous voice, he asked me why I was "deceiving Fate." No shit. Not "cheating," or even "conning," but "deceiving Fate." And I responded in my gravelly, dragon-throated voice that it wasn't anything as abstract or transcendental as "Fate" that got me to his office, but cold, calculating guile. He was the man I wanted to see, the man capable of getting me what I wanted. Desert emeralds. The Divine Cacti. Peyote. I'd swindled his operation out of thousands for a mind-altering hallucinogen... and he was okay with it!

He said he'd give me what I wanted, take me where I wanted to go, be my guide, for my winnings. Fifteen minutes later, we were tearing off into the desert in a '69 Pontiac GTO with a glove compartment full of heroin, cocaine, and blotter acid with little pictures of nuns masturbating and a trunk filled with roughly one hundred and thirty pounds of marijuana. One of the conditions of what he was calling our "spirit journey" was that I had to drive, which was ridiculously awkward. There I was, tearing across an endless desert with a needle jutting out of my neck and a face full of white dust driving someone else's car! Awkward. Meanwhile, Double Down was triple-upped. The fucker'd been holding out on me with meth.

Along the way, I inquired about his tribe. He belonged to the Tlingit tribe, but lost his ties. He was pretending to be Navajo or something, like anyone would inquire anymore, to run his business. The Tlingit, pronounced "clinket," had adopted Christianity, and that just didn't jive with ol' Double Down. Where others saw Jesus guiding them through life, Double Down saw Yiel Shan, the wise old raven. Where others found strength in God, he found strength in Kinstaadal, the great brother bear. It was around this time I noticed the silver tower, jamming out of the sky like some cosmic kickstand, or the moon's cock.

We stopped. Double Down approached the sheer silver pole. I was cramming as many narcotics, hallucinogens, and amphetamines into a duffle bag as inhumanly possible. After jamming a fist full of peyote down my throat, we stumbled right through this metallic cord seperating Earth from Heaven, for Heaven it truly was. Inside the silver spire, a huge man covered in eagle's feathers sat on a throne made of half the sun and half the moon with all the stars above, below, and around him; and in a voice that was thunder, he delivered his sermon unto us.

He was Tahit, the Tlingit god of fate. Perched on his right shoulder was Yiel Shan, the wise old raven, and sitting to the left of his throne was Kinstaadal, the great brother bear. I was in deep, man. Crazy deep. It was all over me, and I fuckin' loved it! Overhead, the sky of Heaven shattered like glass, and Double Down started cupping his hands as it rained silver into them. I drank myself towards enlightenment, drowning myself in the moon's tears, when Tahit handed me a wooden goblet filled with fire. I ate the sun, and it burned its way into my heart. We fed the bear entire sheets of acid and gave the wise old raven shotguns of pot smoke. It was beautiful. So beautiful, I blacked out.

I awoke several hours later, several hours ago. It's... almost four in the morning now. I've been drifting in and out recounting my heroic journey today. The smoke, the dope, the mountain of coke, wallpaper of blotter acid, and fistfuls of peyote are all gone, but the memories are still here. And thanks to the Internet, they'll be here longer than me! I reached nirvana at some point today, probably right before I blacked out. For one night in the desert, I drank the moon's tears, tasted the sun's heart, achieved a profound sense of enlightenment, and got seven kinds of fucked up with a bear and a bird. And despite all of this wonder and beauty... I committed several felonies tonight.

A lot of people who could really use it are missing out on some amazing experiences. I hope you all enjoyed your day, too.