Tuesday, October 24, 2006
I am a lead guitar and electric mandocello player. I don't play rythym guitar much at all in my band, but I've been playing music with my nimble fingered buddy Bess, who knows her way around a violin fingerboard pretty damn well.
I get to play simple farmer chord rythym tunes with her, and I'm finding I like the semi-mindless repeating of chord patterns, it's a nice change from having to listen for places to play lead all the time in the Getaway Drivers.
Here's a little uptempo take on an old folk song. I love Bess's double stop fiddle playing.
The original has lyrics writtten by W.B. Yeats, a guy who would have been a kick ass rapper were he alive today, who also wrote The Second Coming, one of my favorite poems.
But we are doing the song as an instrumental. Click on the link above if you want to hear an MP3 of it.
William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)
THE SECOND COMING
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all convictions, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
Monday, October 16, 2006
Sunday, October 08, 2006
Saturday, October 07, 2006
Saturday, September 23, 2006
Born in 1908, from a different world and a different society. Too young to be in World War 1, too old to be in World War two, he spent his life hunting, fishing, painting, logging, and trying to get more done when he was working than anybody else.
He quit his full time job as a caretaker at a huge summer camp to go back to being a logger when he was 70.
He shot 18 black bear in his life with a bow and arrow. He was fifty years old when I was born.
I dumped his ashes into the lake, like he asked, in 1983. He said he wanted to be fed to the big muskies that he spent so much time catching, so we fed him to the fish, sort of.
Sometimes I miss him, but not often.
I loved him, but didn't really find myself until he was gone. That happens when your father is a human dynamo.
But I can say that in the last few years he was alive, we worked out all our shit, and parted as close to being friends as two people so different and far apart as we were could be.
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
Life is tragic simply because the earth turns and the sun inexorably rises and sets, and one day, for each of us, the sun will go down for the last, last time. Perhaps the whole root of our trouble, the human trouble, is that we will sacrifice all the beauty of our lives, will imprison ourselves in totems, taboos, crosses, blood sacrifices, steeples, mosques, races, armies, flags, nations, in order to deny the fact of death, which is the only fact we have.James Baldwin, "Down At The Cross: Letter from a Region of My Mind," in The Fire Next Time (1963)
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
He was a reasonable guy, a family man who had two lovely daughters and a whip smart son who would someday be an artist just like his great grandfather, he thought.
He had it all, or at least almost all he wanted, and that was something most people never could say. A lovely wife who had a lusty nature and happily made a home out of the house in the country, a fairly steady job designing industrial parts for a slowly contracting Auto industry, with full benefits and a cranky boss.
True, work kept him on edge with a cut throat approach, but every day he came home to a family that loved him, and a life that he never thought would end.
He wasn't really a political thinker, but he took great comfort in identifying with strong leaders, and his political affiliation was mostly something he viewed like he did a sporting team. You picked a side, learned enough talking points to pee in the rice krispies of anybody who disagreed with you, and firmly believed that anybody on the "other side" was either a pussy, wimp, or hated their country. "Do onto others as you would wish them do onto you" simply didn't apply to politics, he thought. Sometimes you had to do first, when it came to those dangerous islamofacists.
When the planes hit the Twin Towers, he lurched even further to the hard side of politics. He took comfort knowing there was a strong leader in the white house, and the radio talk show folks who seemed to have a clue how dangerous the world was. He supported the war, and agreed with the chorus of voices that bad men had to be killed. Aside from some high gas prices, the war to him was ideological, abstract and distant.
He never saw the bombs dropped on the wrong houses, helped carry the dead out of the rubble, never saw the blood and life drain out of people shot at checkpoints because they didn't understand English. He never saw the wounded or the dead, all kept out of sight and mind. It never even occurred to him that his three beautiful children were connected. Those brown people lived in a different world.
But they didn't live in a different world, and when the Iran war was started by the idiot cowboy president needing to boost his election chances to keep control of congress to avoid impeachment and criminal trials, all hell broke loose.
What was supposed to be a "surgical strike" turned into a full blown war. When the Iranians moved against the US troops in Iraq, already burned out from years of war and stress, things fell apart so fast it seemed surreal.
Six months later, when the suitcase nuke went off in Detroit, he lost his wife and son, both on the edge of the blast coming home from downtown.
The bomb was set off and delivered by an angry patriot. A guy who lost his family to a bomb that had gone astray, and wiped out his son, his son's new bride, his wife and his brothers. A guy who wanted his country to be free, a true believer in god, and a man of morals who loved his country and wanted justice. An Iraqi man who thought he had everything, and then had it taken away by those selfish white people.
Sunday, September 17, 2006
I have a degree in upholstery.
I think lima beans taste like spitwads dipped in old candle wax
I like eating thick cold chili sandwiches made on caraway rye bread with raw onions for breakfast
I have been an advertising photographer, a house cleaner, a barn painter, a pulp cutter with a Husquavarna chainsaw, and worked for a while destroying software.
I've cleaned up the messes from dead people more than once, and can tell you that a rug doctor's clear top shows blood too clearly, every pass you make over the pools of it.
I have a fear of black shoes induced by nuns
From the age of about four until about 12 we lived in the back of a bar and went to catholic school
from the age of 12 to about 19, we lived in the back of a convent
My dad smuggled a bear back from Canada, and kept it as a pet in our basment until my mother told him either she or that bear had to go.
I brew my own beer, build my own musical instruments, sew some of my own clothes, cook almost everything we eat from scratch, build my own furniture, but don't upholster it, build guitar amplifiers with my sweetie, and when needed, glue my own woodworking cuts back together with superglue.
I wear size 12 narrow women's shoes, but since I never wear shoes I can't run to or from somebody in, I buy men's. Girl shoes suck, mostly.
I have been sick with an ear infection for almost a month, and have been neglectin' this blog something terrible.
Ok 'nuff said.
Thursday, August 10, 2006
I wanna be her action figure. I want to spend a night with green skin, huge anti gravity tits and giant hair, get all She-Hulk on her buttocks in a slippery fun way.
Maybe take her for a ride in my invisible plane! Have her shoot bullets at me so I can bounce them off my bracelets, then lasso her up and show her how my take on Wonder Woman would make her wonder how she lived without me!
I think I'd skip the big pussycat thing though, I'm not sure I'd look good in that black spandex outfit, hissing and snarling, claws poking her skin and the Catwoman mask making my skull sweat.
I'd spend a night with her in dark smooth skin, blazing white hair and flowing cape, but I'd be afraid that being a mutant who can call up thunder and lighting might get out of control, and the storm I'd call up if I were storm would fry us to a crisp!
I wouldn't wanna be Supergirl though. Too much virtue, too white bread, even if I could fly her to Seattle for coffee and then north to the Arctic circle to make love on a polar bear skin. A live one, of course, hypnotic into sleep with my hypnovision, so it wouldn't tear her up.
I could see being Batgirl, if it weren't for the fact that I get dizzy honging upside down, and find caves to be smelly and dark. But having a utility belt with fun Bat-tools on it would be fun.
Maybe it's a good thing she likes me the way I am. It would suck to be a Menstruating She-Hulk, I bet her periods are a real heavy duty thing. And you know, sooner or later a SheHulk hot flash would burn down the house, and if you were Catwoman, you'd get allergic to yourself, and if you were Batgirl, you'd allays have a faint air of bat guano following you around.
I think I'll be my own mutant. She likes it that way.
Monday, July 31, 2006
with every breath and every step
you feel more and more
like an overheated wreck
the thermostat's busted
the radiator is blown
It's the hottest summer
you've ever known
and it's been thirty years
since you were full grown
the sun beats down
the garden wilts
so you crank the air
with a touch of guilt
the blacktop shimmers
with a heat mirage
the shingles are melting
on the garage
the only thing happy
Is the farmer's sweet corn
it's fat and plump
we've had plenty of storms
It's juicy and huge
a sort of food porn
you hide in the bedroom
with the air cranked high
hoping the powerlines
don't up and fry
a blackout or brownout
surely would suck
and the air conditioner
is broke in your truck
So it's bookstores and bars
and coffee shops
is where one stops
you pray for a cold front
and maybe world peace
but mostly for this heatwave to cease
Tuesday, July 04, 2006
Not to the damn grocery store. Not to band practice, not to the big box hardware store, but somewhere, anywhere it could stretch it's legs.
It was made for the roadtrip. Like a cheetah is born to run and kill, like a mosquito is drawn to feast and spawn, like a republican craves a mommy and daddy who will eliminate possiblility and make all things right, Mabel the Sable craved a big highway and a long unbroken run down the road, chewing up miles and spitting out fumes.
If she could purr, she'd would never stop at a flat 70 mph on the highway. She needed it, needed that wind flowing over her roof ticlking her rear end, needed to spool out on the turnpike, letting the scenery slide by her windows, her quiet interior making a green velvet coccoon for her driver.
She'd been a rental car when she started her road adventures, been nearly wrecked by it too. Her grandmotherly previous owner hardly knew what the pedal on the right was for, but her current owner sure did.
She fidgeted all night long, waiting for five am, when ellie would stumble down the stairs, ready to spill coffee on her upholstery, then settle into a serious rythym of tires clacking on road joints, stopping only till she hit the southwest corner of Pennsylvania for a week.
Of course Mabel allways forot about those regular java and bladder stops. When she did remember the routine, she'd get all cranky for a while and not let the airconditioner work,
showing that bitch behind the wheel that she wasn't completely in charge.
Ellie didn't mind. She like her green machine enough to know no relationship worth shit is frictionless. She'd learned that from her bandmate, who shall go nameless in this missive.
See ya next week, my freakish readers.
He hated fireworks. Every mortar, every firecracker, every loud flash and boom, the drifting smell of gunpowder on the wind all made him feel like throwing up or hiding under the bed.
Even his german shepard didn't get as scared.
As a kid, he loved fireworks, shooting, guns and all the wild energy that came with being a kid and being LOUD. Loud guitars, loud cars, the screaming of football games or the throbbing feel of a big Harley with a blown muffler rumbling along.
Now, every bam!, every flash and bang brought back memories of those days on the big highway, crusing along listening to the big diesel roaring, feeling naked, waiting for those horrible crunching noises, the peppery smell of blood, and the numb feeling his ears had for weeks after the roadside bomb went off, along with his left earlobe, half his right foot and his little finger on his left hand.
It sucked, having his favorite holiday destroyed, along with his self confidence, sense of saftey and large parts of his soul.
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
For three days, there's been a young robin oustide my upstairs window. It keeps flying into the window, falling to the ground, flying back to the branch next to the window, where it shakes it's shoulders, and then flies back into the window.
It does this about every two miniutes for an hour or two, then takes a break and starts over.
If I had a pole saw 15 feet long, I'd cut the limb it launches from off. I've stuck things on the glass to scare it away, I've blasted it with the garden hose, yelled at it, but still it keeps thwacking at my window over and over. Thwak! Thump, shake and repeat.
Maybe it's a message from the universe, but I'll be damned if I can figure it out. I'm not sure I want to get the message if it is one.
Monday, June 19, 2006
Her voice always surprised him. It should have been as deep and powerful as
her swing with the bat but instead it round and fruity, a sweet chuckle.
"So.....watcha' doing, lover?" she asked in that sweet voice. She had an
unreadable expression on her face, and that big old Winchester '97 short
barrel in her hand. Donnie managed a mumbled something about coming' home
from work but before he could get it all out, she interrupted him.
"You been drinkin' some, Mr?" That little playful lilt at the end of the
question tied his tongue in a figure eight. His only answer was a very soft
belch, mouth closed. He eyed the bag, then the shotgun, then the bag again.
His eyes left the bag and traveled up the arm holding them: his gaze rested
on her brass name tag for a moment before meeting her steady gray eyes.
"Roxanne". the tag said.
The very corner's of the deputy's eyes crinkled down a bit, while the very
corners of her mouth turned up a bit to meet them in something resembling a
smile. "I'll bet you're wondering what's in the bag, aren't you? It’s just
a little something I've been working on for a while now, kind of a
collection, I guess you'd say. Care for a closer look?" She held out the
bag a bit, and took half a step closer to the Ford.
Donnie found he wasn't nearly as curious about the contents of the bag as he
was about the contents of the shotgun. Monkey heads be dammed! They were
one and the same with coconuts or acorn squash as far as he was concerned.
Only a fool would stick around long enough to find out first hand what kind
of load that shotgun was carrying too, and although Donnie Delacroix's mamma
may have raised some mishappened crawdaddies, she had raised no little Cajun
Donnie stabbed the gas pedal just as Roxanne took that half step. The rusty
door handle snagged the mouth of the bulging bag just as it was held out.
In one moment the scene exploded into a swirl of dust: the Ford made a
break, rear bumper bouncing like a concertina, the bag caught and spun and
tore, spreading it's contents in an arching cascade. Roxanne spun too,
clutching her dislocated elbow as the bag was torn from her grasp.
To her dismay, she would need a pinch hitter for the rest of the season.
Friday, June 16, 2006
One evening a wise old man told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. He said, "My son, the battle is between two wolves inside us all. One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego. The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith." The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: "Which wolf wins?" The old man simply replied, "The one you feed."
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
Mumbling a few prayers and a lot more curse words without even realizing it, he pulled the big rattletrap four wheel Ford over and waited for the inevitable ticket. There always was one, even when he wasn't cruising with a slight buzz and half a rear bumper.
To make matters even worse, this was one of those county assholes, all full of bloated self importance, donut grease and Rolaids, no doubt itching to take out his pad and fill up his share of the county's "revenue enhancement" quota.
It could have been much worse, at least he wasn't speeding. He knew the drill by now, and kept his hands on the wheel, and waited till the county boy shuffled up to make his life even harder. He still had nightmares about that State Trooper who not only whipped out that big service revolver and drew down on him, but also threw him over the hood of his truck, cuffed him and searched his truck the previous year.
That one was mostly humiliating, and he got off with a warning and a reading of the riot act about not leaving the vehicle. The county guys were meaner, and just had no use for him. Or his kind, anyway. He wondered why he had ever come back home.
He didn't intend to stick around after he dropped out of college and came home to work for the summer, but somehow, it happened. Being a transplant in a dink town is never easy, but being a southern transplant, with a last name like Delacroix, having a Cajun accent, and having a set of parents who were both notorious fuck ups didn't make it easier.
Sometimes he thought people were still mad about the smell his parent's failed crawfish ranch had thrown over the town, but mostly he just figured it was a case of northern polacks not having much use for outsiders. Even ones who had been there for half their life.
He realized with a start that he'd been daydreaming when he looked up and noticed it wasn't one of the usual pricks that had pulled him over, but a the cop, a big dyke who played on his wife's night game softball team.
She must have went about 220, and he'd been more than a little scared of both her ability to swing a baseball bat, and how much his darlin' seemed to be obsessed with her. It was just one of the weird vibes he'd been picking up for a while.He was more than a little surprised to see her standing there with a shotgun and a bag of what looked like big monkey skulls, though....
Wednesday, May 03, 2006
Tuesday, May 02, 2006
All the signs and omens were there to see, had been for a while, but he kept ignoring them, looking the other way.
There had been changes in the strange mental air he moved through, and he was just smart enough to know what was coming wasn't going to be fun. He kept hoping that his coming shitstorm wasn't as big as it felt from where he was sitting.
The unraveling of his home life started with little things that made him feel helpless, like not knowing where Darlene was, or wondering why she looked so sheepish when she rolled in hours late, and fell right into bed without talking much.
She'd been getting more distant from him for a while. Not so much in the way she showed affection, that stayed fairly constant, but in the way she kept dreaming up new things to run off and do without him.
She had became totally detactched from almost everything involving the plans they had made together, and the way she got that distant look in her eyes, like she was staring off at something further away than the eye could possibly focus, and the long frozen silences that had replaced her usual chatter.
Not that the chatter stopped completely, it did keep up, but only when she was on the phone, and it stopped dead whenever Donnie walked in to the room.
It had became obvious that she had been moving on, showing only a strange sort of lingering affection and a desire not to feel like a total asshole for being the one to detach first.
When the wheels started coming off, they did it with surprising speed, and an odd, and totally bland and unexpected way. Like most things, it was not very well thought out, and happened in the way a frog jumps out of a pot of hot water right before it croaks.
In the space of about two weeks, it went from being a comfortably numb life of drinking and desultory and unfulfilling sex into a full blown mind fuck of life changing events.
That was right about the time he found the first of the bones in the backyard compost heap, and when he noticed that she hadn't gone out in the daylight for months.
I started a short novel by accident last year, some of which was written by my pal Pat Webster. I'm going to post it here in a slightly re-written way, partly because I'm too damn lazy to write much these days, and partly because I don't suck as much as a writer. Hope you enjoy it, it'll be mixed in with other posts.
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
You say "bleeding heart"
like it's a bad thing
you only notice yours
when it's pounding with fear
you say peace through strength
but I think it's all about
you talk about responsibility
but your thoughts about
got you up a tree
screaming nuke em'
is getting quite old
whiny ass titty babies
scared and weak
you shout down the adults
every time one comes near
if I could pull a switch
and make you all disappear
things would a lot nicer
on this big blue sphere
what pisses me off
what makes me see red
is that you're shoving me
into wishing you dead
I'm not big on murder
hatred or guilt
and I won't stay in
the closet you built
so you better shut up
and back away from me
when I get mad
'cause it's in your pants
whiny ass titty babies
whine all day long
singing the same
Tuesday, April 11, 2006
She bitched about her dentist and the way his nitrous oxide smelled, she bitched about how cold the stirrups were in her gynecologist's office, about having to wait at least ten minutes to get into the doctor's office, about how her massuse seemed to ignore her sore spots, how her hairdresser had been not spending enough time talking over her fashion needs.
She had bitched about nearly everything, from the way the barrista at the coffee shop made her late too hot, with too much foam, the way the baggers at the grocery store never remembered that she preferred plastic bags, how horrible it was to have to stand in line at the big box store to get a refund for those horrible gift choices her husband had made, how ugly the homeless people had made downtown look, there was just so much to bitch about that she never ran out of things, ever. Her most common complaint was with her housecleaner, and she complained twice as much those weeks her checks bounced.
After the virus hit, everything changed. She made it through, unlike all the other people in her office, and most everybody else who had made her life a living hell with lousy service and rude manners.
Now she wished she had all those things back. Pulling your own teeth out when they became infected was a chore she had learned, and her constant scrounging for unburnt cans of food in the charred ruins of the grocery store was turning into a skill
Just avoiding the rape gangs and marauder packs and sleeping all day on the top of a 5th floor walkup on packing blankets was a full time job, and without her birth control pills, her non-stop periods returned and were making not having tampons and running hot water a special messy hell.
It never occurred to her that she never had the time or energy to complain anymore. Not that there was anybody left who cared about her to hear it.
Friday, April 07, 2006
forget what your mother might think
sometimes what you
think of those things
drives me to drink
I'm sure she's quite nice
but you're fortythree
you worry so much
she's got you up in a tree
someday we'll be dead
worms in our head
or old and in the way
tied to a bed
maybe then you'll be glad
you were so bland
rejecting outrageous things
with a heavy hand
thinking you're the big
conventional thinking is your forte
but when it comes to art it gets in the way
kill the Buddha
toss out magazines
reject all that dogma
make up your own scene
empty your mind
like a dump truck load
go out and
build you own road
make something real
nobody likes a pandering toad
Maybe I'm just being rude
but knowing your mind
it's also quite crude
The long rows of vegetables and potatoes stretched out in front of them for what seemed like endless acres, although it was really only about a 40 acre plot. It had been a cool, wet summer, and the beans and potatoes were heavy with thick green leaves.
All day long, he pulled weeds, picked bugs off plants and spread composted human manure along the rows, slogging up and down in the sun, stopping only to relive himself and fill up again on the water from the creek.
It was backbreaking work, and his hands were beaten to a raw pulp. The last few pair of moldering cotton work gloves had long been worn through, and the dirt in his cracked fingers had caused them to bleed and ooze every time he pulled another weed.
Being hungry all the time had been hard, knowing that he was surrounded by food that he couldn't touch was worse. Thinking about how many would starve the coming winter bothered him, and the fact that he might be one of them made it even uglier to contemplate.
He sure had lots of time to think, something he hated. From sunup to sundown, a long stretch of time in this northern climate, they worked the farm.
Even had he chose to run away, the guards on horses with the few remaining bullets would have run him down. They might not even waste a bullet on him, the last few escapees had just been knocked unconscious and had a plastic bag wrapped around their head, gasping out their last few moments without even being aware of it.
He thought back to his life before the virus. His memories had become sharper and less accurate over time as he took them out and rubbed the edges down. Lots of things had drifted out of his memory.
He'd tried to forget the months of hell that followed the dying times, although he often woke up with images from his escape bubbling up, shredding what little sleep he got. In the 5 years since he'd left the ruins of Omaha, he'd drifted around the Midwest from one ragged band of survivors to another, until he'd been picked up by the Collective's sweep crew. Just another indentured servant at this point, he'd been treated the way peasant serfs had for millennia. Work, sleep, plant seed crops and hope you didn't get beaten dead by guards or by frostbite or a broken spirit. Or worse, a broken anus, since many of the guards were rapists, and the older ones hated the former corparate executives who had shit on them in the name of money or "company policy".
But the worst part of this life was the boredom. He'd been somebody once. An important man in a big company, making life changing decisions for little people.
Now his biggest choices were between committing suicide by attempted escape, or how to kill the potato bugs he pulled off the plants. Sometimes he ate them. It was a protien source.
It was a form of culture shock he never expected. To be on the bottom of the ladder, all his skills as an executive worthless, miserable and bored enough to die.
Monday, April 03, 2006
Mostly because one of my Bandmates has irritated me because he thinks his mom will be upset by a small and shapley breast photo, making me feel like there's not much hope for creativity and joy over there, but also because this blog is mine, all mine, bitches!
Here is a nice little photo for your enjoyment. I call it "A Portrait Of Modern Love". I shot it sometime around 1986, when Bruce Springsteen first got muscles galore, and my pal Skooby rented the house that had these fish nailed to the boathouse wall.
The fishheads are gone, but Skooby is still around. This is a good thing.
Saturday, March 04, 2006
Friday, March 03, 2006
Some of us define ourselves by who we hate, who is pissing in our sandbox, angry at the world as a way of life.
Marty was one of those people. He hated most women. The bitches out for his nuts, anyway. He hated people of color, any color, although he would be mortified to know that the office sysop knew he surfed to Asian she-male websites on his office computer in the mornings before anybody else came in.
He hated spics, Jews, blacks, queers and even tossed Unitarians in the mix because, well dambitt, you have to take a stand somewhere.
In the dead of night, he laid awake thinking up new ways to kill em' all. Mass murder, genocide, he would find himself finding new and better ways to get even with all those ball busting bastards, from his ex wife to his boss to that queer in the shipping department who he was sure wanted to give it to him up the ass.
He started stockpiling guns, ammo, knives and reading up on how to wage war, make bombs, booby trap houses and cars, and how to cultivate anthrax and other nasty things. He actually worked up a good napalm substitute one weekend in the middle of nowhere in the Nicolet National Forest, out camping and shooting guns and drinking heavily, far from his apartment. He thought of it as fun with gasoline and powdered Tide Ultra Clean.
He had a plan, and with time it became a mission, one that had as much urgency and importance as any suicide bomber's.
He was going to take out those fucks at the office, once and for all, and them commit suicide by cop.
He gave notice, sold most of his worthless crap, and headed back into the National Forest to train. He spent a month, the whole time studying commando skills from books, hiking, working out and shooting both his pistols and his AK-47.
He actually became something close to a real Army Ranger, in his own limited way.
He hiked back out to the camper, and headed south, the roads eerily empty, the power out. What the hell was going on?
No matter, he thought, and he kept on driving, playing the scenes from his office massacre to come over and over again.
He made it back to the office as dawn broke, loaded up his guns, strapped on his armor, and headed in, still obsessing over the sheer act of bravery and warrior like intensity he knew he could pull off. He'd start by killing the first ones in the door, and work his way up to as high a count as he could before the cops took him out.
He felt a little bad about making the cops shoot him, but it was worth it to clean up the vipers nest that his workplace had become. Insurance was a pure form of business evil, the thought.
The door was open, the lights out, and he started to get a glimmer that something was seriously wrong. Things he'd been ignoring all the way home finally started to fall into place, and he realized nobody was in sight, and that the glow he'd been seeing on the horizon wasn't the sun over the lake. It was fire, and a big one. headed his way, and there was not a human moving anywhere in sight.
Right before the fires took out the business park, he painted the walls with his brains using a single big, slow moving slug from a .45.
Not because he would burn, although he knew he would, given the wind, the fire's speed and the blocked exit roads, or because of joy over everyone being dead.
It was because he realized that without the rest of the world to give him something to bitch about, life wasn't worth living.
Matthew was a man of god, one who felt touched by his grace, in awe of the beauty of his creations, and well aware that life here on his earth was a gift, but not one without conditions.
He read his bible, followed the calls of his church elders, and kept all those things holy that the bible called for. His biggest concern was the outside world, and the many temptations that he and his family had to face in everyday life.
His wife had given him 6 children, and a lifetime of support. She was a quiet woman with mouse brown hair down to her back that she kept braided up most of the time, and he had never seen her naked. She was ashamed of her sinful body, even more so because she knew that the hips that made making babies so easy also gave her the kind of figure that other men liked to stare at, even in church.
They made their living selling honey, scraped from the many beehives that Matthew rented to area farmers, and lived very modestly in the hills to the east of Spokane. Matthew didn't allow much in the way of comfort in his house. The floors were bare, the walls decorated only with the crosses he had his family pray to every night. His life was a righteous one, and he kept his house and family in a way that he thought of as cruel but fair, like an old testament patriarch.
His children mostly loved their parents, and mostly feared both god and the secular temptations of modern life. Only his daughter Sarah seemed odd to him, and since she had become a young woman, he struggled with her on godly matters. He struggled with his on lustful thoughts, but so far he'd kept the devil in the ditch.
When the virus started sweeping through the cities, they were ready. They had barricaded the road into the farm, had posted big quarantine signs to fool the filthy heathen hordes from town into staying away, and were set with a year's supply of food and seed crops, a barn with horses and plenty of stored fuel and firewood. He looked forward to the return of god's rule, and no more visits from Family Protective Services, telling him what he couldn't to with his own family. Spare the rod, spoil the child was more than a bible suggestion in his book.
They even kept out other church members who tried to join them. He was happier being alone with his family.
The plague had run through several waves before one of the horses came down with it, picked up from a migrating bird or other animal's droppings. It had been hard, but he'd shot it and left it where it was, for the coyotes to eat.
That had been the last straw for Sarah.
She'd loved that horse more than her family, and she was sick of the beatings and
sick of her father's hungry and angry looks. Every time he gave her the eye, she could feel his tension, his lust and his need to beat her ass again. He seemed to enjoy it. Her mother was useless, sometimes egging her father on.
Her brothers just hid like scared dogs. So she snuck out, saddled up the big packhorse, and headed out before dawn.
She was just on the other side of the river, out into the open and fallow fields when she saw the wild fire tearing along the ridge, heading right for the farm.
With no fire department, nature had decided to take back some real estate, including the family farm.
She rode on, looking back only to make sure that she was riding parallel to the fire. She said a brief prayer to the god that had been beaten our of her for her family, and was glad she'd packed a lot of food and the highway map from her dad's truck.
Seattle might be dead, but she was going to see the big city one way or another. Maybe try and find a girlfriend if there were any dykes left, if just to piss off her dad in heaven or hell or where ever it is that god's bastards go.
Thursday, March 02, 2006
Wednesday, March 01, 2006
Mary knew she scared people. Sometimes she scared herself. Skinny, trembling and dark eyed, she'd ghosted her way through high school and college without showing too many signs of the dreams and visions that haunted her, but the older she got the harder it became to stop the images that filled her waking and sleeping moments. They were getting on top of her most of the time the last few years.
She also knew she was a damn fine biologist. She saw through things her co-workers were to conventional to notice, and made intuitive leaps and observations that irritated them.
Leaps that bothered them even more when she turned out to be right. They figured she was off her rocker, cracking her nut and letting her elevator go past the top floor. They had lots of cute ways to joke about her steadily unnerving ways, and didn't care that she heard them using them.
She wasn't a team player, and didn't follow the rules needed to suck up.
But she did know her viral research, and her work with dead crows and other birds had been of interest to a few people higher up in the Lab. She showed enough promise to those who saw her results that kept her on that fine line between useful and too weird to keep around.
The people who didn't see her scars, self mutilated cutting, or have to be around her crazy eyes and neglected hygiene habits.
She was halfway through her fourth year at the research lab when she lost it. Or at least lost it enough to be locked up at the Winnebago Mental Health Institute. They found her in the lab one morning, screaming, gibbering about the end of the world, some drug she had made that could save everybody. She did all this while waving a broken beaker around, and saying she had given herself the antiviral.
So they called the paramedics and cops and decided she was a danger to self and others, locked her up for "observation".
Everybody at the lab took a deep sigh of relief and went back to pushing grant proposals around and doing the tame and safe research that gave them a sense of place. Mary's research was cleaned out of the lab corner she had, her hard drives wiped and sent back into circulation somewhere else in the organization.
At the institute, they gave her a nice thick 400 pound blanket of Thorazine, little orange pills that took away all her demons. Kept her away from sharp objects, and gave her carefully administered shock treatments.
They put her on drugs that were supposed to stop the voices, the crazy fear and the paranoid feeling that the world was going to shit and she had to be back in the lab to prevent it.
The drugs made her fat, made her feel stupid and she hated every moment of it, at least the ones that she could feel when near the end of a dose.
It was the fat that saved her. For three weeks she had been locked up after the dying started, alone, living off tap water and the hope somebody would let her out. When the power finally went out at the nuke plant, the doors to her room unlocked, and she stumbled out into the light of day.
She started walking. Headed west and north. And all those old demons suddenly were quiet, pushed into the background by a world where paranoia and sharp intelligence were no longer bad things.
Mabye it's living in BushCo's world. But it captures how I feel too often.
Sunday, February 26, 2006
She had found them in the ruins of Dollar General store, squabbling over the last few cans of mackerel and the wormy crackers. They were hungry, angry and lost, children from a family that had a natural resistance to the virus.
It was amazing that they had survived as well as they had, even before the virus came and took most everybody they knew as it burned through humanity.
Before the dying, they would have been considered disposable trailer trash children, the bastard children of people who polite society had considered too tasteless to rub shoulders with.
After the Death, they were some of the best at surviving, or maybe even thriving, given the right chances and some guidance.
Angie had headed north after she rode out the multiple waves of infection. She had been smart enough to see what was coming, and had stocked up on supplies, figured out a low profile and tried to ride it out. She nearly made it through, only getting the virus in the last wave, and had been one of the few who could fight it off. When she finally rose from her bed and decided to leave town before it burned, or the nuke plant started melting and spewing toxins, she had headed north and west, away from the prevailing winds.
She'd been considered a joke at her old workplace. A geeky woman who baked her own bread, made her own soap and was a walking repository of what her co workers considered to be useless information. They'd made fun of her, and considered her to be a nutcase obsessive without a clue. She sometimes took comfort in the fact that she was abrasive enough that she kept the worst of the idiot skirt chasers scared enough to leave her alone.
The kids in the Dollar store ruins saw her differently. After months with no adults around, her quiet competence and oddly huge base of knowledge made her seem a gift beyond value. In six months they had built a home, started farming and had begun being self sufficient, in four years they had a thriving community, a school, and the start of a new world.
As she looked back on the 14 years since the Death, Angie realized that the office geek, the woman that people rolled their eyes at and who was thought nuts had gotten the best revenge of all, a life where she had been more than a cog in the wheel of corporate machinery, and had been someone of substance.
The fact that the biggest assholes in her past were dead didn't bother her a bit either.
Tuesday, February 21, 2006
After the last oxygen generator had burst into flames and been doused, the final report from Mission control had come through.
The call came from a maintenance man, the last one left at mission control who knew just enough to tell them how good a job the virus had done at emptying out the planet.
From the sound of his hacking and coughing, he was nearly a goner himself. That had been two weeks and a big pile of the oxygen candles ago. Since then, there had been total silence from the planet below. Every radio, TV or satellite broadcast that wasn't on auto repeat had gone silent.
Large parts of Europe and most of the developed world had gone as dark as the Sahara at night, and the only bright areas were the burning cites.
The plague was burning itself out as it took most of humanity with it. There were some places still lit up, but those were dropping off the grid quickly. Every orbit showed another hole in what was left as the planet slipped into a post civilized state.
They had few choices, all of them bad ones. Their orbit was decaying, their food almost gone, the air running out. It was time to either load into the Soyuz and bail out or learn to breath vacuum.
So they loaded up the last of the supplies, dogged the hatches shut and blew loose from the space station. The Soyuz might have been designed by their grandfathers, but it was a nearly indestructible beast, and they had just enough fuel and momentum to aim somewhere warm.
They chose an island off the coast of New Zealand, one that might be untouched by the virus. If the heat shield held, if the GPS satellites were right, and if the trees didn't kill them on the way down, they might just make it. It was going to be a hellish ride, an untested flight path in a spaceship that should have been obsolete long ago, with no guidance from ground control, no life raft and no supplies.
Much to the amazement of all three of the crew, it worked. Romanov's head took some slight concussion damage, Shultz broke an arm when they bounced off the trees and hit the rock, but Ivanovitch, in his usual irritating way managed to slide through without a scratch.
They blew the hatch, and wobbled out of the capsule on rubbery legs that had long ago forgotten how to walk under normal gravity.
The bright sun, the blast of wet air and the smell of organic decay blew over them with a staggering intensity. After a year on the space station, it smelled like heaven and the monkey house at the zoo on a hot summer day.
Two days of slogging that should have taken an afternoon on legs used to gravity brought them to the sea, and the first signs of humanity in the shape of a costal village.
Shultz decided to make first contact. He had that arrogant air that a lot of the NASA guys had, a rude sort of assumed competence that had rubbed his Russian crewmen the wrong way since his first week on the station.
The tribe called themselves the Kuman, and had a culture that was older than most on the planet. They were hunters, warriors and guarded their land with an intensity that had kept everyone but the most determined away from them for thousands of years.
They were also cannibals, with a long history of serving man.
That night, around the fire, almost everyone was amazed at how tender and tasty that white stranger had been. So easy to chew, and so easy to catch. Shultz never knew how much like veal one could become spending that much time in zero gravity.
Sunday, February 19, 2006
The surviving rats, dogs and other small animals scrambled to the edges, moving in to fill the empty streets of the suburbs. The howling dog packs in the distance made her realize she needed a gun and a way out of the city.
She had been alone now for 4 months, living off canned goods, driving her motorcycle along backroads and sidewalks to get away from the dead and the memory of those last few weeks.
For all she knew, she was the last living human. She was starting to wish she had never left the isolation lab, and had just laid down with the rest of the crew and taken that lethal dose. Her faith may have been shaken and beaten out by the big death, but the stigma against suicide still lingered.
She was about ready to give up on God too, given how lonely and miserable it felt being the last woman on earth. The whole Catholic faith and the message to have as many children seemed like a joke now that there were no men left.
She wanted more than anything to not be alone, to be in the arms of a man, feel his strength and smell that scent. To have a protector, and to make as many babies as she could to fill this terrible empty land, to fill her senses and heart with the sound of children.
It was a warm sunny afternoon, her dirt bike sputtering out of gas somewhere a few miles north of the burning gas storage tanks of Bismarck, North Dakota when she saw him sitting on the hood of an old Buick Roadmaster wagon, eating smoked oysters out of a tin and drinking some warm beer. Just the sight of him hit her like a closed fist to the lungs.
He was wiry, had a curly dark mop of hair, and stood about 5'9" in the coolest pair of cowboy boots she'd ever seen. A few days worth of light beard was on his cheeks, and he was a boyish looking twenty something. As she looked him over from head to foot a few times, wondering if this was another freak out from being alone, or if he was really standing there. Could this be happening? She thought of the babies somebody this man could make, and an end to the solitude she'd come to hate so much. Just looking at him was making her squirm with pleasure and lust like a golden retriever in heat craving to be taken.
They made camp, and talked non-stop almost all night. He'd been out camping when the virus came through, and had seen no one. He'd come all the way from Norfolk, across a dozen states and she wondered if he was as freaked out as her. He sure seemed physically distant. It didn't matter, she thought. He'd come around. She'd have him in the sack in no time, and the nonstop train of thought driving her to have babies would keep rolling. How could he turn down the last woman on earth?
She found out later that night he was gay. No matter, she thought. She just needed his sperm.
She found out the next night when she jumped into his bed he was a female to male transsexual.
He found her the next day. Her nearly headless body anyway, the Army .45 made a pretty big mess, that big slow moving slug did a pretty amazing job of skull ventilation.
He finally made it to Portland a month later. He found a nice boy a few weeks after that in the ruins of a Starbucks. One that loved him enough to stick around another 40 years.
Monday, February 13, 2006
She got in the car, and drove. She drove all night, until the sun came up in the rearview, gassed up and drove again. She did this until she reached the ocean.
A fat red blister of a sunset was slowly sinking into the waves when she finally stopped, pulled over and parked on the beach. She'd come 2300 miles, crossed nine state lines, burned ten tanks of fuel, and drunk 20 cans of redbull.
She climbed out, and pulled the bundle from the trunk and dragged it over to the edge of the cliff, looking down below at the waves beating on the rocks, hammering everything over and over, like they had done for a million years.
Screaming gulls circled over head as she unwrapped his body.
The cold weather she'd driven through had been kind to it. It was still partly frozen, and he looked like he was sleeping more than he looked dead, although a close look would reveal that the last year had not been kind to him. He was really a shell of what he was. A grim smile crossed her face as she thought of how ill suited he'd been to the priesthood, and how strange it still seemed to see him dressed in black with the white collar.
They'd be looking for her now, although without much passion. Stealing a body from a mortuary was pretty low on the list of crimes cops liked to chase after.
She stripped him naked, pulled him over to the edge and with a single short prayer to a god she didn't think had much use for her, shoved him over the edge into the surf.
The gulls, crabs and vultures would make short work of him, and her carefully chosen spot should keep him from being found.
She dusted off her hands, got back into the car, and headed east again.
Her brother had gotten what he'd asked her for, and she was damned if she'd give the catholic church another shot at him.
She'd been pissed off at them ever since Sister Rosaria told her about the pagan babies in 1965.
Saturday, February 11, 2006
Jim White and The Handsome Family put a hell of a show on last night at the Orpheum Stage Door. They're both purveyors of dark Americana music, or what I like to think of as Swamp Noir music, songs dealing with more than happy love or pop sensiblities.Every song is both a short story, and a whoop-ass can of intense images. They manage to bypass most of the self involved, "don't say shit about anything that might be read as a real statement" kind of navel gazing crap that so many afflicted with singersongwriter disease have.Check out Jim White's records "Wrong Eyed Jesus!" or "No Such Place" for the best in tornado bait trailer trash hick-hop demented semi-athiest gospel, and the Handsome Family's "In The Air" for disturbing and darkly funny songs.I got to talk to both Jim and Rennie, and they were as interesting offstage as on. I just wish I could write as well as Rennie, she's incredible. A good banjo player, too, if there could be such a thing. Her playing is sparse and dead on for the songs, and she seems free of that bullshit blugrass wank method of ego bloating soloing that so many of the inbred idiot republican bible slammin' shitbrained "look at me I can play fast and that means good, that's spelled MOON" style of approaching music.But I digress about blurgrass, forgive me. I had a bad experience.
Here's a link to a video of Jim's song, "if jesus drove a motor home"http://www.ifilm.com/ifilmdetail/2667768?htv=12
Cross posted at www.getawaydrivers.blogspot.com
Photo by Vince Sullivan
Friday, February 10, 2006
"Julian Beever is an English artist who is famous for his art on the pavements of England, France, Germany, USA, Australia and Belgium. Its peculiarity? Beever gives his drawings an anamorphosis view, his images are drawn in such a way which gives them three dimensionality when viewing from the correct angle. "
Go check out his work, now.
Friday, February 03, 2006
"Werner Heisenberg (1901-1976)German physicist who, in 1925, created quantum mechanics. One important aspect of Heisenberg's theory was that it only dealt with properties of a system that can in theory be measured (for example, the frequency of the radiation emitted by a hydrogen atom). He said we cannot assign a position in space at a given time to the electron, nor can we follow an electron in its orbit. This means we cannot assume the orbits postulated by Bohr actually exist. Mechanical quantities such as position and velocity cannot be represented by ordinary numbers, but instead must be represented by matrices. As a result, Heisenberg's version of quantum mechanics is sometimes called matrix mechanics. The following year, the Austrian physicist Wolfgang Pauli showed that Heisenberg's theory correctly predicted the hydrogen spectrum. In 1927 Heisenberg published his famous Uncertainty Principle, which states one cannot measure the position and momentum of a particle with arbitrary precision. Heisenberg received the 1932 Nobel Prize for Physics for his work on quantum mechanics. "
Wednesday, February 01, 2006
The big brains down at the DNA lab seemed to have finally come up with a winner. When the research that obesity was sometimes connected to a common cold virus, they started planning how to re-engineer a virus that did exactly the opposite, making obese people melt off fat in no time at all.
The actual gene sequencing and splicing of the DNA into the new virus only took a few months, and in the process they cut out all the flu-like symptoms of the original. Medical testing started at once with lab animals, and progressed to human trials in Africa, where a few hundred grand could buy just about any number of officials to let them test freely without irritating government interference. The hardest part was finding people obese enough to test it on.
The jump from vaccine to airborne infection of the new virus happened so fast that they never even got a chance to contain it for profit, let alone for human health.
Within a few months the cat had not only been let out of the bag, but had literally taken flight to every corner of the world. Within a few years, nearly everybody on the planet save for about 12 percent had shed so much excess weight that the Kate Moss heroin waif look was most common. No matter how much people ate, there was no way they could gain weight enough to look more than scrawny. Even bodybuilders and morbidly obese gourmands became stick figures, the virus was terribly efficient.
Of course, those tem percent of the fatties left found a new world, one where that extra hundred or so pounds meant fame, money and a sure ticket to a supermodel career.
Based on a real article, and human nature.
OBESITY DUE TO VIRUS?
Wednesday, February 01, 2006
Could being overweight be due to a virus? Recent findings of a American Physiological Society study, as reported by the World Science staff, say that hypothesis might be true.
The study found that a human-infecting virus called AD-37 causes obesity in chickens, which corroborated with previous studies linking other viruses with obesity in animals or humans. Its conclusions appear in the January issue of the American Journal of Physiology – Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology.
AD-37 is an adenovirus, which commonly cause upper respiratory tract infections including the common cold. Leah Whigham of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, lead researcher in the study, reportedly cautioned that more research is needed to determine whether it actually causes obesity in humans since the study showed only a handful of people being infected with the virus. The question of whether curing this will lead to a vaccine or other methodologies is still to be determined.
Monday, January 30, 2006
Saturday, January 28, 2006
It's the way they think my time is worth nothing when they over book and leave you sitting for too long as they work on seven friggin' patients at once, the way the force you these days to get a cleaning when you know god damn well that the last time you were there you had cavities you still have, the way they force you to watch not only your gums on TV monitors as they flay, floss and bleed you, splattering your DNA everywhere without a care, the way they make you watch some stupid fucking damn ad with HAPPY NEW IMPROVED WHITE TEETH LIKE A MODEL!AND PERFECT DENTAL CROWNS AND CAPS AND WHILE YOU'RE AT IT WHY DON'T YOU.......... with all those perfect young white people with Stepford Wife smiles and how they morph rotting and blackened teeth into shining white walls of clenched teeth, never having a clue that it looks like a bad acid trip when they do the cheap special effects, the way they say you need a crown here and here and here and here and your teeth aren't quite straight as they do a walletectomy on you when they should be saying this tooth pays for my new nine iron, this one pay little dimwit timmy's day school lunch fees for the year and this one will buy me that nice hotel room in Cabo San Lucas.
May the dental marketing people rot in hell, next to all the bastards who buy their stuff.
What really yanks my fuckin' crank is that this in not one of the teeth they said needed a crown.
Do you need all your molars at 48? Don't get me started on root canals.
Sunday, January 22, 2006
Friday, January 20, 2006
shovel it in till my juices flow
and red leaf lettuce does not suck
unless it's hauled too far on a truck
iceberg heads are worthless to me
unless they're sticking up out of the sea
ramming my ship in front of me
some like bibb, green leaf and cabbage
but they are often just a vegetarian savage
ripping the heads from the ground
chewing them down by the pound
I prefer romaine from my garden
with a steak that makes my arteries harden
with a fine ceasar dressing white as old snow
anchovies mixed in, don't ya know?
He'd been young when his choice had been made, when he begged his way into the Organization, exicted at the power and wealth connected to it, the promise of being something bigger and stronger than anything he'd seen before, knowing his entrance had a seriously high price attached.
He hadn't cared or thought about it much, given how worthless and weak he'd felt. Anything seems better than being of no value or consequence when you're young and impatient enough to feel needed.
He'd risen up the ranks, made good long term investments and setup his people in positions of power and comfort, investing in pharmacuticals and biomedical research. He lacked for nothing he wanted. He'd been head of a powerful house for some time now.
He'd found that none of it mattered any more. He wanted to feel alive, to feel the warm sun on his face, to be back among his long dead family and friends.
So he took a long walk along the beach in front of his mansion, found a fine rock and waited for the sun to come up, letting go at last of all he was and could be.
It was the next night when the younger ones found his ashes, out on a lark to suck on some fresh teenage blood on the beach, even though they had plenty of good blood on tap back at the mansion from the new plasma/blood replacement biolab.
-- Holden Caulfield, The Catcher in the Rye
Tuesday, January 17, 2006
Once I had a bad Hawaiian shirt collection. I stuffed it into the donation bin. The next day one of my bandmates, smiling at how happy it would make me, handed me a whole pile of ugly shirts he'd filched from the bin.
They were the ones I put there the day before.
Having cleaned up after dead people, emptied Rug Doctors filled with diluted blood, cut away the carpet where the decaying remains dripped into rorsharc test blotches, and tossed lifetimes of junk into dumpsters, I think I'll take my junk to distant thrift stores.
Saturday, January 14, 2006
Thursday, January 12, 2006
"Sometimes a scream is better than a thesis." Ralph Waldo Emerson