07MAY2012 – Humidity plus cat hair equals crazy. Fighting off a sinus infection for many days now; some sentient slime has taken up residence somewhere in my skull. It communicates with me in a series of high-pitched squeals and clicks. Possibly related to Delphinidae Delphis? Must research this…
09MAY2012 – Older me to younger me one night in the half-light:
“I don’t have much time, so listen closely. Open this book once a day.” I hand it to him without breaking eye contact. The cover is nondescript, the pages filled with hand-written instructions. He — me — blinks sleepily, dressed in his Star Wars pajamas. He accepts it slowly without cracking the cover. I can just make out the colic on the top of his head that didn’t go away until I was much older…
“This will be your point of reverence, your ceremony and your only religion. The fact that I stand before you here and now, thirty years in my past and but for these three minutes, defies all laws of physics. Obey these instructions to the letter and hide the results to the best of your ability. Live where this book tells you, eat what this book tells you to and adhere to the laws laid forth within. This is not a drill. This book contains lottery numbers and specific opportunities, ideas for novels, songs and inventions stolen from the future. This will ensure our income for the rest of our lifespan, and save us the need to succumb to soul-sucking employment.
“You MUST live in the shadows for our plan to succeed. I know you understand; we have that in common. Use your first lottery winnings to buy a small home in a nice neighborhood. Take welding classes, carpentry classes and learn to ride a motorcycle. Learn to rely upon yourself. Learn to handle firearms. Learn first-aid. Think like a spy; blend in wherever you go. Speak to no one about this. Enlist in the military in order to broaden your knowledge base. Stay off the grid and beneath the radar as much as possible. Avoid relationships. Save your money. Don’t drink to excess. Exercise regularly and discuss our plans with no one. Be alone, stay alone. Remember: you are the eternal sleeper, lying in wait.”
(A good spy is at all times pregnant with a redundant copy of himself. In the event of System Failure, the back up copy will burst forth and complete the mission.)
26MAY2012 – A muggy afternoon, waiting for the rains to come. Waiting for one of two phones to ring. Listening to the ancient dust of The Mars Volta. Barefoot hipsters on a faux leather couch in this Brooklyn coffee house scribble higher math equations in battered notebooks, conversing like a pair of jabbering Binars. The streets are alive with sundress girls on fixed gear bikes, pronounced thigh muscles, bountiful breasts, auburn bangs and reading glasses. I am a cat on a windowsill, watching intently.
I feel that much of my creativity has rotted away; all that I imagined in my youth has come to pass. The only hope left to me now comes in clots of possibility, finding the place where the past collides with the present tense collides with alien life forms and other dimensions: Aztecs on the subway, financial stability based on individual character actions, space travel as a matter of fact. All of history is colliding like fat children at the bottom of the playground slide. Our cage becomes ever gilded with each passing day.
Note from the GhettoGround: Western Union is located always at the epicenter of gritty hopelessness. The future isn’t frosted glass, brand-name drinking water, self-mowing lawns or free-floating graphic display. That shit’s for the rich and the untroubled. Real technology happens in the trenches; the run-down shit-show shanty shops where middle-aged African-American women with etched faces and an ironmonger’s breasts will test and weigh your gold jewelry in exchange for low-grade cell phones, knock-off cologne and pirated DVDs purchased from the bulletproof stall near the exit covered in Spanish warnings. (For some reason, she had the word ‘Scorpio’ tattooed on her wrist. Talk about wearing your heart on your sleeve…) Shallow luxuries sell first and fast.
The following commercial loops on the big screen TV: Carefully-cast actors apply for a new credit card – no background check and pre-paid, of course – and suddenly they’re catapulted into a life of unspecific wealth; stepping forth from limousines to the fantastic thunderstorm of flashbulbs, slipping behind velvet ropes with the ease of the manor born, spontaneous noblesse oblige attending A-list parties where EVERYONE looks simply AMAZING and they’re all having THE. BEST. TIME. EVER. Lots of dental work, new suits, designer shoes and artisanal tits. Everything is a goddamn giddy delight here; luxury is haughtily expected.
Not so for the skinny crackhead girl I pass on the corner; she forcefully expels what appears to be a half pint of sherbet ice cream onto the filthy pavement at my feet, glaring as I move away. There is no champagne for her. Her name is absent from the guest list.
What a fantastic fucking lie…
Accept transport to Pier 90. Enter the Manhattan Cruise Ship Terminal. It will be zombie-empty. Three separate but equally fresh-faced teenagers carrying approximately $1500 worth of automatic weapons will check your credentials as you pass, eyeing you suspiciously. Take the cargo elevator to the ground floor. Show your credentials to the minimum-wage security guard, he’ll usher you ahead of the waiting line. Board a three-masted sailing vessel moored just ahead of a naval warship. Politely decline all food and drink. Remember, you have a job to do. Smile and nod your way through the gathering crowd. You have nothing of interest to offer this gentle mob; there are no rings of significance on your fingers, no gold on your shoulders. Stow your gear, assemble your camera and find a vantage point to wait. Wrap the camera strap casually around your right wrist and don’t look at your watch or your phone. Avoid appearing anxious.
In exactly thirty-three minutes, seven high-ranking naval officers from three different countries will board the vessel. Photograph each of them as they arrive, ensuring best light and resolution. Next, photograph four men dressed in woolen garb dating from the War of 1812. When the time comes to depart, stow your gear and shake hands with the ship’s captain. It’s only polite. It will begin to rain immediately after. Unfold a raincoat from your camera bag. Exit the vessel and walk quickly to 51st street. Hail the first cab you see. Return to base. Forward your imagery to November Yankee and await approval to disseminate to local media.
You’re done. Go home. Speak to no one about this.
Later: The girl behind the counter at the salad bar told me that I changed her life last night. All I did was open my mouth and speak briefly about universal connection, the necessity for heartbreak in personal evolution and love at the sub-atomic level. Words came out of my mouth and I watched her eyes begin to tear up. I don’t remember exactly what I said.