( part 7 )
Copyright (c) 1996 Cognitec/3rd Force
I was able to get a job with the World Food, Drug and Firearms Agency as inspector-general for Sector 9 of the Nervada Territories, which, I guess, was not much worse than much else.
Sector 9 was, after all, the hottest tourist spot in the world, even though the weather sucked and the flora sucked and the fauna sucked and the people sucked and the cultural climate sucked and the buildings sucked and the neighborhoods sucked and the shops and restaurants sucked.
In fact, there was nothing here that didn't suck.
But people of all classes and persuasions flocked to Sector 9 because, according to powerful rumors, the dismembered bodies of top celebrities of the past and present were disposed of, bit by bit, in the food served to tourists here.
So thrill-seekers and bored revolutionaries from all continents and cultures gladly payed 10 times the going rate for a meal in any of our local restaurants.
And every time the Chamber of Commerce stepped forward to publicly deny the presence of human body parts (celebrity or otherwise) in the food, prices rose and tourist traffic doubled.
I worked undercover, storming into suspect restaurants, acting like a total dickhead, and ordering one of everything -- on a shingle.
Then, when the waiter asked "if there'd be anything else, sir," I'd grab him by the lapel and pull him down to my level and say softly into his ear, "And let's have a little scab from Elvis's scalp in there. Or a JFK pubic hair -- if you don't mind. I know you've got both, and I'll pay whatever you want."
Of course, anyone with a knowledge of history could figure out that the flesh of dead celebrities would not be wasted on the masses, like this, simply for money.
Because the flesh of dead celebrities was needed exclusively to initiate new celebrities who, by eating it in secret ceremonies unknown to even Ted Turner and the Pope, could guarantee themselves long, successful, unblemished careers as celebrated people, till they died and were then, themselves, eaten by the next generation of lifetime-celebrity wannabes.
After a while, my cover was blown and I was transferred to a job leading a caravan of used limos and panel trucks stuffed with Millipino, Malaguan, and Old Californican misplaced persons.
This was all just part of a massive world bookkeeping scam which required an endless surreptitious circulation of refugees, round and round, all over the planet, forever.
In the end, of course, there was no net improvement or gain for any people, yet vast sums of money changed hands and large fortunes were made by a small number of people who, for cover, emitted sanctimonies about "service" and "giving something back," and whom none dared call slimeball.
Since there was no hurry, we frequently stopped the caravan at whatever raucous parties we found along the way.
These parties, however, always seemed to turn suddenly ugly, often within moments of our arrival, disintegrating into quick, angry fights, and people storming out, slamming doors, and screaming things at the host like, "Nice party -- yuh fat fuck!"
Or womens' voices sobbing through bathroom reverb acoustics, while contingents out in the hall muttered "Asshole!" or quavering, angry voices on the stairway to their apartment sobbed, "...the douchebag."
All, further punctuated by 1- or 2-minute silences so intense, you thought they couldn't be broken -- until, suddenly, a new wave of crying, wailing, swearing rolled through the building.
I called my manager and said, "...ahem, I am wondering about the terms of my contract.
"I mean..., am I here as myself, or am I supposed to be acting as somebody else? Am I playing me, or is this just a front? Am I where I truly belong, or is this just some random niche in the World demographic that I've been asked to infiltrate as part of doing my job?"
Since he didn't know the answer, offhand, and didn't want to risk being wrong, he took it straight to Peoples' Supreme Court of The Universe, where it was shown, beyond any doubt and in a unanimous decision that, not only was I not here as myself, but I was also definitely not here as anybody else, either. Case closed.
Instead of alternative service, I was sentenced to circulate endlessly through clandestine backroom meetings of thousands of different support groups that had sprung up to maintain all kinds of different people in the face of absolutely anything. Or absolutely nothing.
Support groups like Mothers of Satanic Child Porno Star Molesters Support Group. Or Sons of Mass Murder Drug Pusher Working-class Transsexuals from the South of France Support Group. Or Innocent Drunk Driver Bomb Scare High School Architect Ground Water Polluters Support Group.
Like the other people in these groups who were also serving out avant-new-age sentencing plans, I was there simply to up the body-count so that real people would feel, you know, really supported.
I didn't even need a bogus story to tell. Just sitting there, smiling, was enough.
But, eventually, Support Fever bit me too, and I knew I had to start my own group.
So I disappeared one day, in violation of my parole, and began travelling all over the world under an assumed name, speaking (and being an asshole) in every stadium and parking lot I could find, trying to hype people up about the new network of Flying Saucer Forecaster Support Groups I was starting.
"Flying Saucer Forecasters," I'd tell my usually rapt audiences of potential supporters, "Have a tough time living with the consequences of their abilities -- regardless of whether their predictions are right or wrong.
"If they're wrong, everybody thinks they're just some lame loser. But if they're right, then people think, 'Wow! This loser is really some kinda fucked-up weirdo.'"
In the end, I always seemed to abandon these groups to disarray and dissolution, just as they were about to get rolling and the members had reached that peak of jazzed up excitement where they were ready to go out and conquer any universe -- for the cause.
Of course, when it collapsed, their loss was so total, it forced them to see (maybe for the first time) the incredibly stupid origins of all their values and beliefs, and to understand (maybe for the second time) the reason why the last person on earth any of them should ever trust was her self.
But then, after several alternating periods of denial and reaffirmation, their new guiding principle would usually become the one about how everybody should just kill everybody they don't wanna fuck, and then just fuck everybody who's left.
Or some paraphrase of that general concept.
Because I held a valid certificate in (failed) Reincarnation Therapy, I was hired as script consultant on a film written and performed by rich people about poor people dreaming about being rich people.
In it, a poor person (really a rich person pretending to be a poor person) sits and stares at changing images on her monitor screen, looking more pissed, and pounding the table harder at each one. Then she smashes the set and goes out and rapes and murders.
The script was an adaptation of a novel written by a computer trying to imitate the way a human would do it if she were trying to write a novel the way a computer would.
In the TV series derived from this book, a gang of upper class youths attacks and kills a party of lower class youths for allegedly depressing the rate of production of ever newer and more bitchin' hi-tech goods.
A gang of lower class youths then takes revenge on a random group of kids in the upper class demo, doin' things to them that only the lower classes even have names for.
Of course, the show's cancellation was all blamed on me for accidentally leaving around the accidentally-loaded gun that was accidentally fired into the head of the leading man, one accidental day, as a joke, by one of the understudies.
As punishment for this was, I was given a bunch of tiny pictures of guns, amphetamines, and troubled teenage girls, and forced to hide them all in a larger picture of mostly trees and flowers, to be used, eventually, for either test patterns or personnel placement exams or personal place-mats. Whichever came third on a scale of 1.
Upon release, or whatever, from whatever, I moved to a surplus, high-tech, 6th-world city, of mostly cardboard/newspaper huts laid out in geometric grids derived from ancient superstition and modern gossip.
The crude walls of these huts contained enough raw processing power to deliver thousands of wireless data streams of culture and science from all time (including prehistory and the future), while family and neighbors roamed in and out, occasionally stopping to pound out a few flour tortillas on the flat stone in the middle of the dirt-floor kitchen-/living-/dining-/bath-room.
Outside, kids, just back from the dump, taped together fragments of torn-up, archaic floppy disks they'd sifted from the debris, and which, by the time they were done, would format and store like new, even though microscopic pieces of lemon rind still clung to a few of their tracks and sectors.
Other, younger kids played the only games they knew, taken from the only mythology they had: the launching of research and tele-communications satellites and space stations.
These games were usually nothing more than long sequences of rapid finger and hand motions, accompanied by hi-speed verbal chatter and explosive sounds made by blowing air and gutturals through dynamically contorting mouth, lips, cheeks, and tongue.
Occasional the sound runs were broken by screams like, "You're dead -- I just wiped out your on-board RAM with a magnetic bomb."
Or by someone hiding behind a bunch of stacked boxes, suddenly jumping out and yelling "Fuck you, asshole! -- Generations ago my ancestors corrupted your systems software with a time-delayed virus scheduled to manifest today -- in fact, this very minute -- in fact, (looks at watch) -- in precisely 10 seconds, you're dead! ...9... 8...7..."
After walking around town for a few hours, I was convinced I could run for Governor of the state it was in and win easily. My campaign would consist entirely of bragging about how I had the solution to interpersonal relations -- which I based on an old fairy tale taken from world history and interpolated till it excluded sex and drugs.
I figured that if each individual had her own Personal micro-Thermonuclear capability, then no one would fuck or mess or interfere with anybody else. If they tried, the other person could just set off a laptop or sub- notebook H-bomb -- in their face.
Of course, once I announced my platform, everyone else dropped out of the race, and the seated Governor even retired 6 months early, stopping only briefly on his way out, to turn off the lights and hand the reigns of government over to me -- sitting there now, smoking quietly in dark.
OK, so I took over the state house with my entourage of sycophants and gofers and bodyguards and groupies and immediately set about implementing my scheme as promised.
But, suddenly, the lab boys were all storming into my office, telling me the technology "just wasn't quite there yet." And that I'd better back off from my promise.
I took that in stride and told them it was better to get it right than to rush it, and then announced this delay to the people.
"Two weeks," I said, on a statewide hookup. "A month, max."
But time passed, and the technology never quite came through, and eventually, we just moved on to other issues and nobody really seemed to even care all that much.
A few people did take advantage of all the PR around personal nukes, and whenever they were threatened by a mugger, just whipped out a jar of deuterium oxide and stuck it under his nose, screaming something like: "Stand back, slimeball. I've got a cold fusion reaction going here, and I can let it get out of control in a split-second -- right in your face!"
As benign, populist, psychopath Governor of my people, I used to wander the "combat zone" of my capital city at night, alone, in rags, begging and stealing and turning over garbage cans and blowing up mailboxes. Then, in the early hours of the morning, still incognito, I'd hit all the bars.
One time, while I was sitting there, whining to the bartender about my fucked-up, piece-of-shit life, she suddenly stopped me with a gentle touch and pointed at a guy seated in one of the booths against the wall, drinking heavily.
"You think you've got it bad," she said. "That guy, there, just spent the last 4 years of his life, day and night, following up hundreds of crazy leads, trying to track down a serial killer who's been preying on our townspeople for years.
"And then, in the end, when he'd completed his investigation -- to his surprise -- the killer turned out to be himself."
Suddenly I felt I had to give a speech, no matter where I was or what kind of shape I was in.
I got up on a bar stool and then up on the bar and addressed the assembled patrons with my arms outstretched.
"Ahem. Uhhhm, fellow citizens, uhhh, well, -- As your governor, uhhhmm, please uhh forgive me here for a moment, as I appear to be having an unanticipated DMT or psilocybin flashback at the moment, and may, ahem, uhhhh, appear to be losing it just a little from time to time."
I paused for a second, then pulled it together and launched into my speech -- viciously berating them ("The people") for creating a world where the drugs just weren't good enough.
I scanned the room and met directly each set of eyes as I accused them of inventing my emptiness in a backroom one night, out of their own stupid boredoms.
"And, so," I finished, my anger peaking, "You can take all your sissy, prissy, pissy nuclear and neuro-cognitive weapons and fly 'em to Venus, if you want, but as for me ...."
But then I just lost it completely and broke down crying and came down off the bar and was consoled by my drunken constituency.
Once it was clear that being Governor wasn't really gonna change anything for me, I just stormed out of my office one day and never came back.
So sue me!
I realized I had to single-handedly take over the world right away -- just to survive. And whatever the actual method, it'd have to be implemented with nothing but objects normally found around the house.
Fortunately I was able to gain immediate majority control of World Peoples' Legislature by use of voodoo and meditational techniques alone, and in my first hundred days, I managed to ram through some legislation that'd pay me a sizable sum every month, just to stay the fuck out of the world.
The bill stipulated that I couldn't appear anywhere or travel around promoting my new social rehabilitation movement, "Alcoholics Ubiquitous." And that I had to keep my criticism of every fucking cc of existence, to my fucking self.
The bill was so solidly supported by the world people that, had the tax forms carried my picture with the caption: "Your tax dollars keep her out of the world," everyone would have loved the World Revenue Service and paid double what they owed, with a smile.
I settled down just outside Angliosiopia and set up a small basement lab where I knew I could discover the gene for being an asshole, in no time.
Then, once this gene was known, parents could immediately abort any fetus about to be born without it, so as not to bring into the world a child already doomed at birth to a life of alienation and misery and even possible imprisonment or execution.
Of course, just as the equipment was all finally connected and tested and ready to go, the project had to be abandoned -- for personal or technical reasons or personal-technical reasons. I forget which.
I got a part-time job with an ad hoc, seat-of-the-pants, bootstrap, cartoon of an organization, writing DNA for the kind of human who could first rise to positions of immense power and then, when confronted with the suffering and starvation of the masses, remark, offhandedly, "Ehhhh, let 'em eat laserdiscs."
This was tricky DNA to write, and if you were off by a couple of guanines, you could come out with an organism who'd attain great power, but then, instead of crapping all over the starving masses, might go out and confess, publicly, how, even though War was the ultimate expression of Body -- Treaties were not, necessarily, the ultimate expression of Mind.
And then where would we be?
I was invited to deliver a paper at the Conmen and Charlatan's convention in Hypercity-7.
This was an old, failed Hypercity in the temperate zone which had been auctioned off and was now used strictly for mass gatherings.
People who'd failed at turning their desires into money were brought here to stock the job slots, and paid in cold, hard culturtainfo-and-E.
Their rebellion took the form of small groups meeting secretly at night, in dark places, ogling pictures of orphans torn from books, while expressing the guilt and regret of not, themselves, being orphans, along with the willingness to someday fight and die to save real orphans, in order to make up for this.
The convention was structured like the town it was in, which was structured like the nation it was in, which was structured like the world it was in, which was structured just like the hackneyed, pedestrian, ham-fisted neuro-chemistry that made it.
I attended the workshop "Effective Communication for Slimeballs and Scumbags," and at the end of it, the seminar leader exhorted us all to "now get out there and win!"
"We must help each other take root in the world," he said, "By credentialing each other and validating each others' lies. Then, once we've effectively eliminated any competition, we can set about the ultimate task of fighting and killing each other. Biggest slimeball take all! Loser leave the fucking planet!"
I went over to one of the life-counselling booths that were available free to registered conference attendees, and begged for some help.
"When the cops come, the tough get going," he advised. "Or 'No Pain -- No pain.' Or maybe, in your case, 'Money Talks, Cerebro-spinal fluid Walks,' would be the best bet."
Then he broke down. "History goes like this," he said. "First there was something. Then there was a lot of static. Out of the static came the con -- which took hold and kept rolling because, by definition, it could pretend to be absolutely anything. Today, the con is everything, everywhere. And anyone who works hard at it (in this context) is really someone sincerely struggling to embrace a profound and fundamental truth."
Shortly after that, the conference ended and I caught the next re-entry pod back to the territories.
I thought things would be different now, once I got home, but as I stumbled out of the podport's decompression unit -- only minutes after slamdown at Donna-and-Lou Reed International -- a clamoring mob was already standing there, waiting for me.
These were all my ex-landlords and most of my ex-wives, and when I walked up to them, they just stuck reams of legal documents and scientific studies in my face, and smiled.
Every scrap of this mass of paper had my name on it, and taken together, their only purpose was to prove, beyond any doubt, that it was my vibes alone, or my pheromones alone, or my karma alone, or my something alone, that had made every place I'd ever lived, totally unfit for human habitation within a day after I'd moved out or left on some vacation, sabbatical, or weekend shooting spree.
"Nothing personal," my ex-landlord said, as the cops stuffed me in a car to take me to the courthouse, "But I can't keep tearing down whole apartment buildings just because you lived there in a basement broomcloset on peyote for a couple of weeks, once. Now can I?"
And my ex-wives all said about the same.
My assigned jail cell was in Mecha Godzillaland, right across the border from Mango Santamariaville.
As part of my punishment, I had to write a famous quote of my own choosing, over and over again on a blackboard.
"Religion, work, nationalism, the family, sex, money, culture," I wrote. "These are not parameters (or metaphors of parameters) of a societal organism. These are the elements of a crowd control strategy, pure and simple." -- Wm. Shakespeare, "Stairway to Clarksville"
Then I had to erase everything and start again.
Endless tape loops of me doing this all day long, were shipped off to servicemen overseas to boost morale. To show them how it didn't matter that they didn't matter, because here was the real asshole at the root of all world hatred, anger, bitterness, and despair.
Eventually I was released from prison on either my own or Satan's recognizance. -- The court didn't make a distinction.
Then, thanks to either my good friends the Rolling Stones, or my good friends the Beatles, I was taken under the wing of either Mike Tyson or Cher (I forget which) for the purpose of teaching me to stop raping and murdering and doing drugs and re-inventing pornography.
But I resisted -- because those were the only things I wanted to do and the only things I knew how to do.
And, since being in the world is not what the world's about anyway -- why worry?