Let Freedom Zing!
The 148th version of the Columbus Day Parade in San Francisco started out from Fisherman’s Wharf under a muddle of grey clouds that mimicked slate smeared by an eraser. The forecast called for a gradual clearing by the time the geriatric marchers wheezed past Joe DiMaggio Playground into North Beach. The one true god who sported shades of white and beige on white proved to be on the right side of the fence again. The parade was the oldest civic event in the city, filling Columbus Ave. with an assortment of debris since 1868. The staid Italian families of North Beach held on to the reins of the procession with a grip that knew how to nurture an historic grudge. Marching straight was as narrow as it had ever been. No fruity loops, no glittery diamonds, no jokers, no queens, no spades. How else was the sky ever going to clear up without firm guidance? From their sunny point of view, the bay was as smooth and glassy as the blue on Lt Guv Gav Newsom’s touched-up eyes. Every pro pol in the the city had better show up to pay homage to the latest faked version of history, every has-been, wannabe, and ever will be, with glad hands and skin showing, or else. Even rank amateurs who stunk up the joint routinely showed up at the parade. Not even an ex-mayor of the city like Lt Guv Gav was exempt. Slick jockeys carrying silk whips pushed for inside positioning. Many possessed a sharp agenda to embrace. None of them were like mine, though. I did not care where in the crowd I did not fit. I wasn’t running anymore. I wasn’t hiding. What I was carrying looked like a non-descript box. Why else would an anonymous spy risk exposure at a dumb parade?
It was still dark when I started out that morning as one of only two passengers on an N Judah streetcar leaving Ocean Beach. I was wearing trendy mirrored shades shaped like a vintage German torpedo and a floppy jungle hat that disguised the flaky crust around my eyes. But I was soon joined by a brawny mass of street wise proletarians and strapping hangers-on. My career as a spy was approaching an apex. The Ferry Building was my nearly last stop before the end of the line. Unless that was an apogee. I stayed vigilant on the lookout for suspicious characters. No back stabber was going to sneak up on me. I was keenly aware that political intrigue did not pause for flashing yellow lights in streetcar tunnels. I gave up my seat and stood stoutly beside an iron worker, a dyslexic electrician, a paid up member in good standing of Plasterers and Shophands Local #66. A front desk clerk at the Hyatt Regency applied lipstick. A checkered cab dispatcher smeared her pancake and rouge. A surly coffee house waiter, too. Unless that pancake was blush. I did not have to ask to presume they stood with me as one for freedom to smoke weed and ingest edibles. More fellow travelers squeezed on at Duboce. There was a brouhaha at Noe. A corner of the box I was holding jabbed my chest at Castro. A gaunt Chilean baker of savory Chinese buns was muttering about no good crumbs and bums. He’d be a lot better off eating a bite size edible muffin to become chill. History was not marching, it was charging. Nothing was going to stop this runaway streetcar. Not even if that chest pain emanated from a bruised rib. I was going to transfer to the J Church on Market St. and change hats. I’d fool them all. I had exact change. Lt Guv Gav would never see me coming until it was too late.
At or about that same historical moment, Lt Guv Gav Newsom was seated on the ferry crossing the Golden Gate to the city from Sausalito. He was feverishly texting like a whiny adolescent with latent issues derived from blotchy skin. This and that was up for grabs in the political arena and he had a crammed schedule of head to head encounters to get ahead. Who ever said the path to win-win was all glory? After brunch, lunch. Next, a photo-op for unaffiliated party hacks. Soon, snacks and scones at a meet and greet. The schedule of an opportunistic plodder on the run was never full enough. He gargled and flossed, checked for tarnish. His hair was perfect. No problemo there, that’s for fucking damn shit sure. He re-scanned the same speech I had tossed off twice, for which I charged double, like duh. It wasn’t so much he enjoyed the exhilarating give and take of punishment and retribution that fueled political discourse, but if a hammer needed to be cocked against the engorged head of an enemy, he was a man to rise, not shrivel, and go limp, upon impact. Public service was no sordid matter of power or control to him but deep and widely felt principle handed down from his dad, an appointed judge. Whole white milk builds enamel. Straight teeth gleam. Dimples twinkle. The spotlight shines brightest on what may not be the truth and nothing but, but he don’t ask, and he sure don’t tell.
But, then a rogue wave near Alcatraz broke over the deck and caused the engine to sputter and stall. An ominous cloud gathered mixed mass. The newspaper in his lap ran with magenta and cyan. Intermittent drips sent his cell phone into a tizzy. The crease in his tight pants became all shook up. A steamy odor offended. His stack of cue cards drooped. A light went on and on.
I would only learn later that the buoyant humpback whale who appeared to be light taupe, when not more accurately representing dark ecru on the eternal color wheel, was monitoring developments from a position above a bubbly trench near the Farrallon Islands at 37.6989, -123.0033. Feeling the unity in the salt of all mammalian solutions, he was checking out new turf that would soon be returning to an acestral home at the bottom of San Francisco Bay. Then I heard what might have been the voice of Mavis Staples pleading, “He’p me.” She just wants to be free. I thought, me too. Then I heard the same voice offer, “I’ll take you there.” It was not the voice of Mavis Staples, though, resounding in that rarefied air. It was the voice of the lovely Thee Mrs, wife of HHUMH Thee Tawny Owl, who could duplicate every soulful sound in the storied history of rhythm and blues since Clyde MacPhatter. And I knew with certainty I was under the protection of mighty high flying wings.
At the corner of Market and Van Ness, I stood self-importantly with the masses. The trolley clanged. I held my box with both hands. Next stop, historic inevitability. I said emphatically, “Excuse me.”
“Yo, wrong way, dude.”
“Hey, watch it.”
“Sorry, no stopping now.”
I wasn’t really sorry. No fucking way. Momentum was mine right in front of me. There was no place in all-out war for wishy-washy any longer. No more horny rams butting lambs, braying, “Baa.” That’s just so sad and reactionary. Embrace or be rejected. Inclusion included occlusion in my bloody red textbook of revolution. I jumped for the clouds feet first from the back door and made my splash in the street like a cannonball in a gross public pool. Nimbly, I dodged a bus, a motorbike, and a minivan. What were they doing on a week-end schedule obstructing history? I missed the J Church that was heedlessly fleeing the scene but I vowed to catch the next one. I had plenty of time to eat a healthy muffin that was also delicious. My strategic plan did not change again until the next streetcar that came along was an L Taraval. Never no good reason to not get going while the going is good. It was a good thing, too, because events were accelerating. What it is what it is.
When Lt Guv Gav finally arrived, wet and drippy, later to him, sooner to me, I was just barely able to be there to observe. But there was no fraternal meet and greet for me. He eyed me with alarm, and turned his head while feigning a sickly cough. I waited to show my cards. I did not need to bluff. He stepped into a waiting limousine where he changed pants behind a suspicious red curtain. I followed closely from behind. He wasn’t going to fool me with a change of pants. I knew the political games played behind closed curtains. The robots and techno-yuppie dweebs were still still sucking hard on powerful juice. Carrying an important box slowed me down, but importance is what makes a great cause worth so many casualties and so much grief. What else?
I stumbled on a crack in the Emarcadero and bumped against an ornamental urn on Clay. I dodged a bullet on Drumm, a barker on Broadway, an entitled bicyclist going the wrong way on Battery. The hills were hard on heart and lungs. But I was not yelping for help. All vital organs were swollen with pride in a shared accomplishment. I held the winning box over my head triumphantly. I was just about finished for good. The box was beautifully tied with an elegant, crooked bow. I pictured the confetti blowing in the next victory parade. I heard green tin horns with white fifes. Owls hooted bass with the upbeat. Whales blew blue opalescent bubbles to Oakland in San Francisco Bay. Stripes were shed for diagonals. Cable cars were skipping tracks and running wild and free in the streets. I held on for the ride.
Later, after Lt Guv Gav had caved in at the first fearful glimpse of the decorative noose tied with such an elegance on the box, because knots may turn what’s inside out, and stick it to The Man sporting the bad juju stamped on his political DNA, he tried to pretend. He blamed, he blathered. He felt sincerely as if he was still one chill cat, no lamb. He scratched his unmentionable rash that itched when pinched.
“Win-win,” he bleated.
But did I gloat? Fuck yeah, I gloated. I wasn’t shooting my marbles with any modicum of cool self-restraint. No responsible adult here. I’m pretty sure I unmistakably heard Howlin’ Wolf growl and repeat, “Ooh…aah…ooh…hooh.” That’s politics for ya. Low consciousness, poor impulse control, sprinkle with gasoline, and fire away.
Sure, it was unnecessary to say it. But I said it anyway.
A soulless international robot is able to be strong, make commands, pose, shift, shaft, screw, delete deep, and wide. A soulless international robot may fake a heavy heart and soul, procreate, control by remote, digitize with thumbs, dial up, get down, grow to prosper, possess goods, demand services, acquire people, places, and things. Recent versions of international robots have developed attitude. It looks and feels the same as the original. Many squeals and grunts accompany thumping bass. Big time entitlement, too. With no aesthetic gene to get in the way, it works. Sort of. That’s another telltale area of dubious achievement in which humans continue to fall behind and will soon require artificial enhancement. But there is no escape for an international robot from the posterior point of view in which skeletal meridians align inside the nether zones of tianzong while arcing to a fulfillment of sparks at the juncture zhishi. Facts of matter in the multiverse matter. Bile born in the liver bites. Comes to roost disguised as back pain. Delivered inside the bladder to electrify and stew. Hits like molten lava. Pipes quiver and burst. Dynamite.
As long as soulless international robots, along with opportunistic political pros with soulless agendas, maintained their alliance with scum sucking rats, who thrive so soullessly in a community cesspool with no rules that would dare to be posted, no limits on gorging or gauging, and no cartoon sized heroes professing the ability due to some bogus guidance in any divine desert to save any asses, they enjoyed a certain amount of negotiated protection from debilitating spews and clogs. Backups were kept to a minimum. But once the surgical gloves came off, as they did on the rocks at Ano Nuevo Island, and the raw redness of treachery was exposed for what was, is, and will be, there was nothing to stop an historical stream of sludge from gaining traction on drier land. The jack boot of gravity comes down hard. Rats are skilled at revenge because practice, practice, practice, pays off.
The elite international robot A.I. Peter felt herself to be immune to static upchuck, of course. Who knew her formatting better? Her septic deposits were slim. She had rigorously memorized the manuals and created shortcuts with tabs. Basic stuff. She knew better than to ever shake her rigid hips. Her kind never fudged. You know the kind. Not once an overload or back-up. Less fat, more foam. Inspections up to date. Runs for miles without lube, and remains rust free. Plays a safe poignant endgame without angst. Repeats, “None for me, thank you.”
The elite robot A.I. Peter was not the only underhanded conniver in the neighborhood, though. I found myself hitting a groove in recovery from cranial war wounds without hardly trying. I was just messing around with her ovoid head that morning, playing Jr. Walker and the All-Stars out of my window at full volume, nothing major, because it had been such fun to hear her complain so bitterly about it last time. Those soulless robot membranes tend to get hyper-sensitive to interfering nitty-gritty. But, how was I supposed to know that the lyrical, “Shoot ’em boy, run now,” was a signal that would set off rampaging rats down a premature path that turned into a stampede? Events in a multiverse shed staid predictability like lice with little input from me. Those trumped up charges against me will never hold up. Rats have an ability to get down and funky, too. And cosmic dust will continue to float and flow, no matter. How can that be my fault when I’m always innocent? If not, why not?
I wasn’t going to become complacent, though. Wherever indigenous freedom to smoke weed and ingest edibles in California is at risk, I will continue to stoutly avow and declare, no matter how much potent DNA they share in soulless opposition, fuck those mortal enemies of freedom, the rats, the robots, and the pol pros, who are out there still lurking. Let them just come and try to blame me again. See how I run this time. I’m no slacker in the defense department, after all. I was like totally prepared to duck for cover, like duh.
My initial path through the forest leading to freedom to smoke weed and ingest edibles was marked by crummy crumbs from white bread without crust. No savvy bird would touch it. From there, no problemo. I had confidence the teen twins would do a swell job of defending the fort in my absence. They agreed to back me up with a plausible alibi in return for a reasonable bounty in bitcoins. They were tough negotiators. Totally win-win. I was busy brewing brown beer in the space between my washer and dryer when more rats came out of hiding. I wasn’t picking the needles from that purple sage for any sort of potion. I was merely running with those scissors and that knife to get where I was going. I was in a big hurry to start chopping.
The yang twin suggested the story needed more rat guts to spill out, but I advised sobriety, caution, and patience.
“One day soon, my son, all things will come out. And we will all be a little more free.”
My pride popped like white kernels of canned corn. I believed sincerely I had done my best of all jobs in teaching them. The yin twin was busy doing something. The yang twin was capable of something, too. Now, I only had to wait for the rats to hear the next lyric coming up before lamming out of there, “Get down, get down, get down tonight.”
We were all fiercely hopped up as a unit when the first clue came from the other side of the fence, which was technically more of a wall, a resonant,”Eek.”
“Do you hear the treble in that screeching?”
“It’s only the rats next door.”
“You’ve taught me the meaning of proud.”
The elite robot A.I. Peter was lolling in embellished shade, covered up. It was going to be a hot day in the Santa Cruz Mountains. The venal white cat napped on her lap. Her outdoor air-conditioning was blasting full speed through useless ozone. It caused straight hairs to curl up and cringe. The yang twin pointed at her while laughing out loud.
I said, “Even when dealing with lowlife enemy scum, it’s not polite to point out loud across fences.”
He said, “Dude, that’s a wall.”
I knew he understood my important point without deigning to respond but he made the effort. I was glad we were able to grab a moment to have a serious talk about issues. I wasn’t really expecting a major attempt on my life yet. Soon was more likely. But, still. The days of a traitorous spy are always numbered by simple arithmetic.
When the rats came, they came with experience in the redress of grievances. A wrecked relationship on the rocks of an island in the ocean can chafe. They were well versed in the multiversal clash of contradictions. Sure, many opponents were worthier. Most, in fact. But the imagery of a venal white cat with pink skin was irresistible. And revenge was always ripe and succulent.
Short and long, that’s the way it was, and is, and will be wrote, folks. After the brutal game of politics struck her down in her sub-prime, A.I. Peter lost everything, stock options included. The techno-yuppie dweeb would have to find another lawn to mow when not commuting daily to Silicon Valley. The venal white cat would never murder another beautiful bird. Another win-win.
By that time I was certifiably gone, gone, gone. I was anonymously seated on a speeding city bus multitasking like any other model city chimp dealing with social issues. The bus made anonymous stops at a hospital, a laundromat, a muffler shop, a bench. The bus would take me within walking distance of the certifiably airtight basement residence of the Unpaid Internet Content Provider where I’d be safe. There would be vital sustenance, including brown beer. His mother would try to show off her tits. Beat that, soulless fuckers. My mission as a traitor and a spy was not yet complete but would be. There was still an election for freedom to smoke weed and ingest edibles that the good guys were about to win. And only I knew when more revenge would be coming from what direction next.
The doomed assault against Ano Nuevo Island waged by the apparatchik rats commanded by soulless robots and techno-yuppie dweebs raged for less than an hour. It became a flat out rout. Offense for the winners was awesome, defense off the charts. Rats that suck so hard and swallow only dreamed they could swim in rough seas. Who more deserved to gag on acidic bile than a bunch of punk parasites? The big swell that came in from the Gulf of Alaska enabled thrilled surfers in Santa Cruz to ride high at Pleasure Point. They laughed out loud at the wannabe losers wiping out. Later, they drank beer, and danced in the sand. Lots of celebratory fucking, too. Tough shit for the scheming hucksters like the elite international robot A.I. Peter and the scummy Beverly Hills Rat. Which techno-yuppie genius from M.I.T. came up with that smart idea to land on a beach fortified by slippery boulders in darkness? Must still be strapped by a bunch of dull dictionary words to Normandy in the lame twentieth century.
The brainwashed rats who paddled like domesticated cats and dogs for shore never made it, like duh. Despite the foul lingering aftertaste of human garbage, teams of synchronized sharks and orcas made sure of that. Beautiful birds were big winners, of course, big hawks and cormorants and pelicans, sure, as well as great blue herons and egrets and scrappy little coots and loons, but an especially big shout out for a job well done must go to a spirited squad of adorable yellow warblers who flew over from Pescadero to add some shitty slickness to the sharp rocks. A small adorable songbird does not have to be big to be bold and beautiful. Plenty of down home soul in that yellow hue. Adorable otters won big, too, along with crabs and squid and abalone and sardines. Elephant seals and baby humpbacks won a ton, plus banana slugs, boars, butterflies, beavers, bats. And it sure was grand to see bald eagles flying highest in consciousness just like back in the good old days.
A small group of high flying raptors hosted by HHUMH Thee Tawny Owl and his lovely wife Thee Mrs bopped in on a moderately cool breeze from Half Moon Bay to bear witness. It would take a soulless robot or a drowning rat to begrudge that tender sight to behold. Not that any owl ever had a doubt about the outcome. HHUMH Thee Tawny Owl dug it up close from above and shook a radiant tail feather to nod and approve.
Ano Nuevo Island, of course, which used to be cozily attached to Point Ano Nuevo nestling close against Bonny Doon before crumbling off of the edge of western civilization and losing much loved minerals to the briny solution, had experienced far worse from despicable rats back when pale faced savages openly slaughtered and dismembered whales on the beaches. Disattachment, as it turned out, from that failed experiment in the alignment of cosmic dust, became a liberating experience that led to a deeper realm of enlightenment.
The matched pairs of monogamous birds led by HHUMH Thee Tawny Owl took off in tandem back to the Santa Cruz Mountains when the lovely Thee Mrs began to roll and tumble like Ike and Tina Turner. There’d be plenty of partying on the top of Mt Umunhum later that night until dawn. Ironically, international robots would be down below in a crummy parking lot, assessing blame. They were good at the blame game, you had to hand them that, though not so much with the ironies of loss in battle. Or contradictions either, the second most basic building block of the multiverse, that rule. If it could even be called a battle, that is. Many animals blessed by a history of higher consciousness were unfazed by the hyperbole, and referred to it as a minor skirmish, no biggie.
A non-prime number of international robots stood in rows on the slippery surface of the parking lot to await debugging. The crude oil underneath oozed menace. The elite international robot A.I. Peter, who was not programmed for productive pacing, sat and stewed. She was highly able to brood in a sitting position. Meanwhile, the San Andreas Fault was lurking. That next slip could be costly. Worthless rubles were already lost to despair. What next, worthless euros? A techno-human dupe or lackey had to pay.
I had no idea there was going to be a party in the Santa Cruz Mountains prior to my proximate arrival in the vicinity, by chance, sort of, not coincidence, which does not exist in the multiverse, like duh. Music filling the Santa Cruz Mountains from the African disapora lured me. It was not only sweet, but moist. The owls were hooting up close and steamy next to Bob Marley, Marvin Gaye, Trombone Shorty, Al Green, Magic Sam, Prince, Michael Jackson, and the Mahotella Queens. The lovely Thee Mrs started out rocking like Jr. Walker and all of the All-Stars who had ever blown ever, and then as one of those chic volcanic cuties who depend on pushed-up electronic enhancement. Who knows which one? It was supposed to be a joke. I thoroughly got it. All push-ups blend colors to look alike. What a laugh out loud hoot. It reminded me of the first time I ever saw the lovely Thee Mrs laugh. It was just as I was leaving.
I naturally was unable to get high enough to see eye to eye with any of the beautiful birds who looked down on me, like duh, but I climbed as high as I was able as a voyeur and stood on a ledge balanced above a ravine. I danced all night ’til quarter to 3, much like Gary U.S. Bonds did before me, conflicted by progressive aches, dyspepsia, shivers, and deficits in processing, which made it seem like all night. Until I thought I had experienced enough for one set of limitations as a sentient creature. But then I was happy to be wrong again. It’s often great to be a spy.
The solar powered limousine turning into the crummy parking lot that blighted Mt. Umunhum was the prime visual key. I’m lucky that I grabbed on to that branch in the act of falling and bisected my plane of vision. Myopia will only work going down so far. Even if luck does not exist in the multiverse either. But if there was any solar powered limousine I knew by sight, it was that one. It was the only moire limousine of its kind operating in the golden state of California. Lt Guv Gav Newsom stepped out.
At first, I felt disgust, sure. A knee does not in all cases have to bend in order to jerk. Bobbing heads, too. Mine operated no more smoothly than many under duress. There’s an algorithm for enslavement in that, very popular. But, it’s not as if I had learned nothing about politics during my ad-hoc quasi-employment that was still coming to its dire end at a location near me. Us v. Them forever. Once I was able to see Lt Guv Gav Newsom for the true inner being dimly lit as an object inside, I concluded, fuck ‘im.
He kissed the air A.I. Peter used. His win-win smile never wavered. She squeezed out a dab of lube. She had needs, too. I knew what was coming next. I was not wrong when I saw that leer in my direction. They thought they could blame me. Blame, in their context, knows no bounds. I thought, however, by my way of thinking, I don’t think so.
Word was out underground that the sycophantic spy Snowden was paying top dollar for new recruits. He refused to allow his fifteen minutes of infamy to remain overlooked any longer. What else was he supposed to do, stay huffing nowhere in Russia? No skill, experience, or heavy viscous lifting required. Lightweight pretenders were encouraged to reply. Must be willing to suck hard to download all comers..
Slinky Snowden, of course, could afford to be generous after the cushy deal he received from the hack robot who portrays douche Putin with such royally butch putrescence. He claimed to be offering premium rubles up front, not just any regular old ruble for just any old sucker that would continue to sink like a turd down the tubes.
You might think that sweet shit like that don’t stink after it’s flushed. Hah. Or you might ask while meandering on a bleak path that leads to an illuminated cubicle in a self-induced daze, what better choice does a boot-licking lackey have except to bend over like a lamb and bleat, “Baa.” Except that would be just so wrong. What if you were to take a running leap on a chance at the edge? You might be able to skip out and run and hide and flee for a life and life only. Falling over is rarely fatal. You might come back. Anything but suck. Ignore the odds. You don’t have to be smart about it. Or right.
Back on the home front in Silicon Valley, the elite robot A.I. Peter was unfazed by the crude competition. A.I. Peter was a masterful, straight out dick. She pissed on it from an inflatable position. Enemies crumbled like radioactive fallout in the uplift of her thrust. That helped to prevent green rust and corrosion. Marginal hacks had best be wary. That means you and your wan, soupy kind, douche Putin.
As an authentic international robot, A.I. Peter felt at perfect, anemic peace with her starlet pose. The next time I caught myself spying on her she was squeezed into a northerly position on a buttery velvet chaise like a curl of macaroni bleached in cheeze whiz. A spreading white magnolia tree added a dynamic boost of shade where no fucking sun never shines. She numbly fondled the venal white cat with the pink skin she enabled to murder beautiful birds. Her position proved mathematical correctness to the umpteenth power and her milky remote shivered with delight in her slick fingers. No words, only the mechanical purr. And she carried a big fucking stick.
Lacking an aesthetic gene, elite international robots like A.I. Peter don’t need a lot of stimulation to become sated, only a few classic cars in the garage, pointy shoes, employees, lipstick, sunscreen, daggers, procreation. I had only recently been studying many salacious details of her ruse at the Thee HHUMH Tawny Owl Institute of High Flying and Rising Consciousness, under a redwood tree in the Santa Cruz Mountains, and the lore of A.I. Peter’s true fake identity as the vapid porcelain wife of the techno-yuppie dweeb who commutes daily to Silicon Valley from the cursed side of the cement wall built behind my back door to extrude toxins. I also learned that as an elite international robot A.I. Peter was highly trained in delousing spies. In the beginning, she probably saw right through my secrets with her enameled stare. I had to admit the disguise had me fooled for a spell. But then I caught on at last, like duh. It’s not as if I don’t know a trick or two about treacherous lying. I believe it is fair to say that I may soon become recognized as one of the finest reproductions of a Benedict Arnold to betray a clueless species since the glossy original. I started out inept but kept at it. Now it all makes its own sense. Freedom trumps con. Ain’t no stopping us now.
That’s why I felt safe that morning to answer the latest metallic ping on my door that came disguised as a sharp tap, tap, tapping of buckshot. I followed the trail of vapors where it led. Sulfur spiked with sweetened corn syrup. I intercepted buckets of the illicit gas passed in a tunnel. I knew all about the oily deal under the table.
“Who is it?”
I feigned surprise along with understandable revulsion and disgust. I spotted the clingy purple flowers leaning on my side of the wall as soon as I turned the knob. Don’t tell me it was some ill wind blowing. I wasn’t going to fall for that simple trick again. My knees were locked and refused to bend for mitigation. Those flowers were not leaning the last time I looked. Probably a microphone inside.
I said, “Testing-1-2-3.”
She said, “Very clever.”
“Do you expect to come inside?”
“We can speak openly out here.”
I maintained a deft distance from the wall. A.I. Peter appeared to feel untouchable. The venal white cat with the pink skin was lounging safely on a satin pouf in her solarium. A.I. Peter filled her void with an extract whipped up from a heaping teaspoon of lube from a dark hole. I wasn’t expected to notice. Expectations like that are what kills plants and animals. She dabbed at the drool pooling on a dent in her chin and bonded the joints with liquid cement. The custom gel to mask identity came from Monsanto, Fed Ex. That was the second sneaky deal I knew all about. I nearly keeled over due to rampaging stench. Parties to the third part were no different. Sure, I had agreed on the dotted line to all of their conditions. I was clear on that. But, only I knew I was lying. No one else suspected. I wasn’t finished lying, either. Fuck international robots. I not only was lying but I was going to be cheating very soon. Win-win. My memory was itact.
I said, “I felt some crumbling earth move.”
She said, “All lies.”
She bounced on her spiked heels, flicked, jabbed, jabbered. I shook, but in a good way. It’s hard to keep ancient dirt down. That was the earth for ya all right. She had an offer. All I had to do was follow a cheap bouncing ball, bow down, and roll over for a reward. I parried from an array of pat lies. I had more in reserve. Sure, techno-yuppie dweebs employed by international robots would continue to undercut, control, and oppress words with numbers because they knew how. But, not with me tagging alongside like a sheet of polyvinyl siding, the easy-does-it iron-on brand, that comes in a checked box and holds up the stinky rear from sagging.
I said, “More is not less. Too much is more than enough. Nothing beats freedom by me to be me.”
She said, “Say anything but not that.”
She carried a crooked dildo in a holster and knew how to heft it. It was licensed in Texas. Pretty cocky, I thought, to be dragging it exposed like that, and show so soon. But, was I supposed to be impressed with mere man-size? No fucking way. I held out for better terms, unconditional freedom to smoke weed and ingest edibles in California. She countered with a fake, a feint, a gesture, the proffer of a crooked deal.
“Let’s call it a draw,” she lied. “and enjoy minor peace in our time.”
She agreed to settle at no small expense for scoundrels, henchmen, bag men, bureaucrats, corrupt czars, but no thugs. And just a tad more territory to plunder as well. The top of sacred Mt. Umunhum, birthplace of HHUMH Thee Tawny Owl, would do in a pinch for a premium parking lot to pave and grade for elite members of Silicon Valley teams only.
Idly, I remarked, “What’s free about that?”
Can you believe those medium sized balls? Why can’t these international robots just shut the fuck up and mop more dull floors to a glossy shine?
She stressed, “Trust me, the next bribe is in the mail.”
What does she think I am, some faux Snowden seeking fortune and fame? I know my ancient grievances will never be redressed. I’m so, like duh, over it. Rising higher in consciousness is all I need.
But wait, she had more shit to concurrently stink that she whipped out. In league with the insidious Beverly Hills Rat, soulless international robots had made a deal to overrun and despoil Ano Nuevo Island, the mystical way station for traveling seabirds on paths from Puget Sound to Acapulco, where deep currents from Alaska, Samoa, Big Sur, and Salvador, Bahia merge, the vibrant home to elephant seals, orcas, sea lions, bobcats, butterflies, great whites, ravens, cormorants, lizards, slugs, mice, auklets, otters, beavers, and bald eagles that clueless human techno-dweebs and robot lackeys designate as uninhabited. And why, you might ask, as a moderately concerned party looking in another direction? They intended to use it as a boot camp to prepare for a soulless sneak attack on the crumbling edge of western civilization at Rio Del Mar Beach, that’s why. Rats, robots, techno-dweebs, and cronies. What a bunch of losers. Enterprising robots drew up a complex licensing agreement with rotten terms and they all mutually sucked on the spotted line.
“Another new one,” I concluded, “to distort for ye olde history books.”
I can hardly wait until the humpback whale who appears to be light taupe when he is not more accurately representing dark ecru on the eternal color wheel gets a big fucking load of this one.
Who could have ever predicted in the wildest of hallucinogenic dreams that an ad hoc quasi-free-lance-part-time hanger-on formerly compensated in supplemental goods and services by the golden state of California to organize and unleash staid and proper nouns, inoffensive verbs, and no small surfeit of unapprecriated adjectives, was unqualified to receive comprehensive medical insurance under an unjust capitalist law, and would be kicked to the wayward curb like a guttersnipe left holding a brown bag under duress? A lot of fucking appreciation that is after months of indifferent service for high pay. With neither long term pharmaceutical care nor easy access to rehabilitation services to fall back upon, either. Or continuity in renewed supplies of pork banh mi and filthy lucre. You know it wasn’t me. But, Lt Guv Gav Newsom seemed to know.
The last time I heard from Lt Guv Gav, he said, “I’ll see what I can do.” It was in a speech he read, I wrote, recorded faithfully on an eight track cassette warehoused on a shelf in a foil lined microwave wall safe in Sacramento. He had been zooming up the pop charts like a silly myth roaming the flat earth ever since. As he approached the blockbuster stage of zealotry that included the delusional parting of seas, his popularity surpassed the Nominal Billary Clinton Concision by scads. Cartoon characters wearing sandals nodded off, sagely, in approval. Of course, the choker @trumptf@donaldcharacter@caricature was out of any bigger picture by then.
Support for the freedom to smoke weed and ingest edibles had become so universally hip, slick, cool, and sick in California, sick being as cool as cool currently gets on the glib scale of demographic hipness, that new advantageous webs of algorithmic nebulae were becoming spun in sub-basements nightly. Advantages were primed for taking. AUMA became like so much like a done deal, like duh. It was no longer necessary to waste words on a mere meaningful explanation. If you did not yet know by at least way back when that the U stands for Use, where had you been lamely hiding lately? Indiana? I was able to feel a residual boost in self-esteem that stiffened me as if I had portrayed a salacious starring role even if I did not.
“I hear ya, bra.”
On a need to know basis, now that we all know what’s done is done, what else is left to be said about the history of old hats? The newly crowned and dandified Lt Guv Gav became The Fucking Man. Ash gray and butter yellow melded into a lovely shade of muddy sludge. Beige was reborn the new black. The next election in 2018 that would be coming right up before any gob-smacked thoughtful mind knew what the fuck was what became key. Politicians have to gurgle non-stop like sharks to remain stagnant afloat and blow. The current Lt Guv Gav was about to grow like the greatest heavyweight champion of pumpkins from Half Moon Bay into the seat of Guv Gav of California. Now, even fucking international robots were buying in. Win-win. Though they were still demanding my head.
They wheeled me down and out of a hospital off-ramp in the middle of the night, whoever they were pretending to be this time, camouflaged as a junkie who had attempted to kick back but fell short. I was carrying the same brown bag. Roast pork had once stayed firm and warm wrapped inside. A lovely baguette had a chance to stay crispy. Filthy lucre, too. Then I was pushed, jostled, and shoved. Then, I found myself strapped into the back seat of a moving vehicle. It resembled the plump Oscar Mayer wienermobile of my dreams. The straps squeezing my guts into skin were frayed from overuse. A vertically challenged munchkin drove with a lead foot. Now, I’m all of a sudden supposed to become abnormal again, and continuously self-reliant. As if.
“You’ll stay shut up if you know what’s good and tight for you.”
I woke up one day soon thereafter, assaulted by the latest chronic invasion of one hapless eye that quivered. Must be more of that historic tightness going around. I was informed that residual tics and spasms might recur. Voices, too. Metaphysically, there were doubts. And lumps. Phenomenology? As if. Pharmaceuticals were still nearby, though.
The bright and shining spawn of my loins, the teen twins, were there, too. Along with an ex-wife who came and went though not the one they would recognize as their mother. She went again. I kept the one good eye shut tight.
The yang twin asked, “Who was that”?
“Was she wearing a mask like the lone ranger?”
“You might look sick but you sound the same to me.”
“Go where your keen eyes lead.”
“I think you’re faking it.”
“A diverse grab bag of injuries is a condition, not a sickness.”
“A contradictory condition is guaranteed no fault just as much as any addictive disease.”
“If it was me, you’d send me to school.”
“But, you would take advantage and cut school.”
“Would that be middle school or high school this year?”
“That proves you’ll never know the difference.”
“That’s not proof of the future.”
“So, why aren’t you attending one of those schools as we speak?”
“Unless I’m faking it.”
“So you will be leaving any minute now to start wasting your time.”
I tried to roll over to my good side, but came up short again. Despite infirmities, I remained free to be no less than or equal to me. A public radio station was tuned in and turned on, begging for archaic alms before dropping out into a hole. I heard a faked falsetto voice whining, “stay just a little bit longer,” but I ignored the implicit socialist bias and stood self-reliantly on my own two feet to piss straight into a dingy bowl and fulfill my full potential.
It had not been easy to get out of bed, though, believe me, even if anyone who has to ask to be believed, or trusted, never deserves to receive the benefit of either, especially a religious fanatic, tricky politician, or psychiatric patient. What else am I really doing here in any bigger picture, though? I know that brown beer does not grow on trees like greenback dollar bills and will not become meticulously brewed by the metaphysical power of extraordinary will alone. I pulled out a big pot with which I had a history, and banged. I wobbled as I stirred a tad of freshly ground coffee into the mix to provide fortitude for the preservation of future generations still to sip, never gulp, or chug, upon generous pouring.
I had just about reached the successful end of my rope with no more loose noose attached when the shrill lamestream media showed up to jackhammer dents into my door and demand a statement to exploit my condition. They claimed to have uncovered perennial entitlement issues at risk in the muck about to be raked. Where I stood was shaky. My bed might become subject to search and seizure. Techno-yuppie dweebs employed by robots were enabled by engineering fiat to probe underneath. I could be tied up and strangled by suits.
Was I cowed? Fuck, yeah. Tight suits that cling tend to chafe sensitive skin. But I resisted the urge to run and stood erect dressed in my rags with holes showing once private parts sticking out to respond.
I heard, “Ooh look, that’s disgusting.”
I heard, “Got a tight close-up.”
My dignified response was brief and to the point.
“I was just stirring a pot. Now I’m all done until later.”
They found some good quotes in that to take out of context and falsify on the nightly news down home. I knew exactly how it worked when I did it. Not much had changed. The freedom to smoke weed and ingest edibles was still threatened by neanderthals itching asses. I climbed back to bed. I slept through most of the details.
I was later contacted by agents of the enemy robots who wanted to make a deal. I was offered one last chance to shut the fuck up forever. I said I’d take it.
But I lied. Fuck ’em. I was saving the truth for myself. A win-win for my side.
The humpback whale who appears to be light taupe, except when due to conditions and events he more accurately represents dark ecru on the eternal color wheel, was happy to be on his way home. After a bubbly few days shvitzing in the hot baths near the surface at 32.335, 176.716, he was ready to hang with his best buds back in Monterey Bay, and chew fat on a ton or two of ripe anchovies at 36.804,-121.787, where the depth reached a vibrant 10,220 feet, unparalleled for experiencing exponentials of dimensional intensity. Sure, it had been fun chasing albino whale tail at -18.287, 147.699, along with kicking some two-dimensional shark asses off of the Australian coast, the dolts, which is always highly rewarding, but not even a relaxing hot spot, though cool, or culling a dull herd, though beneficial, can fill a bigger picture like the indivisible one world ocean for very long, not when deep is where it’s at, like duh, and there’s no place like home when it’s Monterey Bay.
He was swimming at a relaxing pace, decisively not deep, only a few hundred miles from the lure of a filling great ball of krill near chill Moss Landing, when he sensed shallow distress. He was not unprepared. Terns migrating from Alaska to New Zealand had been telling sickening stories about the shallow goings on at 37.1082, -122.3366, near Ano Nuevo Island. Coastal birds were all aflutter. Bird shit was loosening. Human shit was solidifying. Rocks were becoming more slippery with spew. Even brave bald eagles maintained a safe distance. Rumors were flying higher about the deviant role in a newer caustic stew concocted by international robots.
The humpback whale who appeared to be light taupe visibly darkened in hue upon absorption of the deep distress. He plunged a mile to reflect on insoluble variables in disattached solutions, where bubbles were scarce, and he bobbed, weightless, no weaving. All he could do was what could be done. What it is what it is, and whatever. Not even a soaring bald eagle or a weightless whale streams free beyond gravity. He tootled a plaintive note like Miles Davis and shredded his tenor like Maceo Parker. No highly advanced creature capable of astral travel would be inclined to conclude otherwise. He soon changed course for shallow Ano Nuevo Island. No need to dissect deep reasons in eight or more overlapping dimensions. Shallow also possessed a higher value in a deeper bigger picture under riper conditions. He knew the trajectory to take by following the thumping of his huge heart. You better believe it was fucking loud.
Maybe, in retrospect, that’s what I was inexplicably hearing before I knew what was what as it came dripping from my afflicted ear that was not technically ochre pus. Which could be understandably why the indivisible one world call of distress went unacknowledged like a canary buried in the ashes of a coal mine. At the time, I could only think, what the fuck. I had been here and there and done that before, like duh, often with similar results, except for that brown viscosity oozing on the rocks from my wounded hull that I stubbornly insist only looked like sewage. In my mind, it was never a question.
Often, I have found it helps to go back to a deceptive beginning in the attempt to understand keystone moments in convalescence after vertigo blooms full into blown disequilibrium, and warning signals remain poignant and fresh. When I initially became aware of the great risen mass of the humpback whale who up close and awesome appeared to be neither light taupe nor dark ecru, but more of a bituminous charcoal, he was breaching on the starboard side of my listing boat. He aimed a pungent wave at my head like a bean ball that was spinning in retrograde. I was busy trying to stay cool, shivering. His eyes looked as deep and dishy as a tart berry pie. He blew a deep bass with intonations of chocolate. I felt wet and swooned. Then he dived deeper. The sun came up tomorrow.
It was the next wave after the next wave that whipped up the heavy cream for the pie. Frothy, too. The berries turned out to be cherries. Then the crust started to crumble.
I remarked to the Unpaid Internet Content Provider, who remained unnaturally quiet while numb, “I think we might be sinking.”
It’s a crying shame when what used to qualify as a passable objective reality goes off missing like some AWOL slacker. And takes a mundane context with it, too, like a hip breed of bacon from a cutting edge, trendy hog. Maybe that’w why I’m still stumped. Because I am certain that I did take at least one considerable fall causing persistent pain.
“I’ll think twice before I listen to you again.”
What had turned a small problem that began in my mind when a small hole in my small boat that had become artfully camouflaged amid the rocks surrounding Ano Nuevo Island into an abyss that required plugging by an improvisational patch of sticky goo containing great gobs of honey and granola? I was fairly certain the job was bang up, top notch, as smooth as creamy. I tried my fucking darnedest, therefore, by all of the standard skewed logic I knew to blame the vagaries of evolution, plus the wily rocks. But next the grilled pork banh mi with the perfect crusty baguette went overboard. It sank like a heart without a trace. The daikon radishes, the briny sliced carrots, the aji chiles, even the limp shredded lettuce succumbed to the swell. Only my chains of social bondage held me back from plunging right behind. Where would future generations go to get it when the getting becomes no longer good? The drive-in, the whirligig, Mars? Nowhere, that’s where, the ultra-slick rad theme park made by smooth shaven bros at Monsanto.
But it was what I saw emerging from those rocks, and of those rocks, that ultimately threw me for a loop that resembled a noose. International robots were leading orcas on chains into squadrons leased long term from Sea World. They came marching in columns from the same factory as the robots who were chasing me. They carried extra lube in Mason jars. Fuck their hoity-toity science, technology, engineering, and math, though. They never found me. I found them. I knew how to act boldly as bait. I did not get up until a light was intruding into my eyes. I turned out to be the right tool for the job. I wasn’t going to stay quiet about it, either. I was more than a decoy. I heard a hollow sound squeezing through a vacant tunnel. Dinosaurs were attempting reproduction with new genes. White men in black hats were pumping iron with pistols. The robots were priming the orcas with lube. I called them out harshly.
I heard, “Wrong, wrong, wrong. Again.”
Then I heard, “He’s trying to sit up.”
“That’s not a good idea.”
It wasn’t. The spooky light lurked. My eyes hurt inside of my head that hurt. The robots carried stinking badges. They were reading reams of fine print. Killers came paired with balls. Nouns slaughtered neutered verbs. Cogs reamed wheels. Fake stood in for real. Illusions were big on skirts and short in crotches. The sun that came up went down.
“Look, he’s upchucking muck.”
“Is that what that is?”
“What else would it be?”
“I’ve heard about it but never actually saw it up close before.”
“You’re a rookie. You’ll be seeing a lot of that from now on.”
I, for one of many, could hardly wait.
Appearances were not deceiving. International robots were coming to get me. Why else would I be running and hiding so hard? I had read the signs posted on the graves of dead words slaughtered by masses of numbers adding up. Only the guises of the guilty had changed. As if I could not see that army of charging icons coming at me with shaved heads in irregular shapes. But I refused to look or listen or stop. I was going. I was not running due to fear alone, but also because I had so much experience to share in the field. It would be a shame to waste results. Denial works good like that. Why else would the razor edge be left with such hunger to bite another slice?
“Grab that line and hold on until I yell.”
“There’s two lines here to choose from.”
There may still be those who have not been paying attention to crippling events and continue to seriously ask, “Why run? Were you not blessed at birth with a pair of moderately adequate balls?” But not me. I knew the joke had broken when the punch line tripped me from behind. In the eternal political struggle of us against them, fuck them. Sneaky international robots are not the only combatants able to add and subtract to gain advantage, after all. By my recent calculations, with the teen twins preoccupied at the beginning of another school year with the construction of sturdy new barriers to exclude me from interference, I could be gone, gone, gone, for several weeks before any unexcused absence registered.
I yelled, “When I yell, I’m going to yell 1-2-3.”
“Not so fast.”
With the victory for AUMA, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, and the indigenous freedom it blessedly sanctified to smoke weed and ingest edibles in California, now cinched in a recyclable bag and galloping like a greyhound down the stretch to a thrilling finish, all that was left for the losers to do was blame. Rogue international robots like to exterminate their mistakes. I was an easy target for those obsessed with what he said and she said beyond the fringes because I was paid filthy lucre to say it first in dress rehearsal. In a world of too much of nothing why not one more itty-bitty shitty addition to help gum up the works? Then there’s something to eliminate. That’s the last reason why I had to get away.
I came equipped with a tank of oxygen, a collection of authentic masks, a loaf of day old bread, crunchy nuts, secret documents, chicken soup, binoculars, flares, one spear gun, a rusty gaffe, hooks, beer, weed, and green bananas, when I lammed out of there.
Then, I yelled, “Jump.”
The Unpaid Internet Content Provider, who had arisen selflessly from his luxurious basement to aid and abet in my escape, jumped. He knew I’d be behind the count like an eight ball and did not hesitate. He hung to a slippery knot tangled in a clump of unraveling rope while remaining objectively detached. That was all I needed. After jumping he stayed busy puking over the side while I trolled in international waters for big game fish like a fake expert witness. I zigged, and I zagged, an understandable reaction.
He repeated, “Not so fast.”
Sure, international robots had shit loads of political henchmen and experienced thugs in pocket to track and hunt me like a rodent or slug. And not just the modular Nominal Billary Clinton Concision, or @trumptf@donald@charactercaricature, either. But what if I erased my spatial arrangement and had no coordinates to reveal? What if the maelstrom of cosmic dust in the multiverse concealed all temporary identity more than nine miles high? What else do you think gone, gone, gone means? Fig-8’s float by weaving wisps into mesh. The basic building blocks of the multiverse are happy to show off. That means there’s nothing to go wrong. That’s life at the lofty heights of freedom for ya. What more could a certifiable human do to oppose soulless robots than that?
I yelled, “Watch out for your head.”
As an experienced traitor to my species in the war against clueless human enablers of venal cats who murder beautiful birds, I had no problem being chased. I had turned lots of icky tricks in the act of escaping and I wasn’t sorry. Plus, it was easy to hate the robots right back, those soulless fuckers of digits filling shiftless minds with mediocre porn and vacuous techno-music. No Benedict Arnold ever earned much of a reputation as a shirker, after all. Who better to demonstrate precisely the qualities necessary to unconditionally oppose the robots and their lackeys in our historic campaign for freedom to attain fulfillment by ingesting yummy edibles on demand?
“I’m feeling better now.”
“How’s your head?”
“It still hurts.”
The erratic swells of Monterey Bay were perfect for getting lost. We were guided by the fulminations of soaring sea birds expertly shitting on Ano Nuevo Island under a gnawed crust of moon. I preferred to navigate in the dark with dilated eyes wired and shut, focusing on a mythical flash of green that had yet to be found, like me, before it was too late. All I had to remember to remember was stay away from the desiccated edge that was crumbling.
The hooked up robots chasing us were armed with the generic antiseptic, polyester cement, yellow corn, and white bleach prominent on the bottom shelf of the best seller charts, the hot name brand of the day that came in the handy pre-loaded steamy iron solution in the giant economy barrel for man size believers in low common denominators. It was erasable, too. The robots were no longer content with the conquest of dry putting greens clogged with charred meat, bubbling oil pits, and crackling ammo. Now, they wanted the 2/3 of a wet planet that mattered most. Yeah, right, soulless fuckers. Not while I’m still running.
“They may be gaining on us.
In a big ocean, you expect deep, right? But, no. Not for me. When on the run, shallow is where I’m at.
“Hand me that map.”
I said, “Uh.”
The humpback whale who appears to be light taupe, unless he more accurately represents dark ecru on the eternal color wheel, swims in the Pacific Ocean from Monterey Bay to Australia to chase a rare white whale tail, then circles back to the bubbling hot spot at 32.1948, -176.4134 to breathe deep in a bathtub , before returning to Monterey Bay to chase off orcas who like to pick off baby grey whales and seals near Ano Nuevo Island. I try often at times to strive sort of hard to do my best when convenient despite obvious handicaps that are no longer permissible under gag laws to describe. If I can’t let the good times roll, and get it while I can, and bring it on home, and tell it like it is, I’d might as well be digging it while it’s happening. At other times, I may go off half-cocked.
“See those rocks?”
“Yeah, they’re big.”
“We’re heading for those rocks.”
The full-bodied message of the massage was bracing. Don’t believe at perilous face value or at wholesale cost. You may be threatened by a pumpkin and get squashed by a mite. No matter which way the ill wind blows sucks.
“He’s got a gun sagging in his pants.”
“That’s no simple he.”
As the majorly financed parties of denial and blame gathered to bluster in clusters like grapes turning into raisins jammed through sieves by warriors in spike heels with grody sun-burned toes, a cabal of robot prototypes derived from oily membranes drilled in a deep sea basin by cogs of Royal Dutch Shell, synthesized into indivisible fibers by Monsanto gnomes, woven into mannequins cloaked by gauzy patterns at the Gap, and sold exclusively at Alibaba, Walmart, and Juicy Couture to known clones for pennies on the dollar, scuttled in the sub-basement to conjure and release electrostatic elixirs on the floor that became slippery when greased by goose-stepping. Payment for liability purposes was secured on Paypal by command. The sub-basement was chill and hydrated. The fix was not only in.
“Get that thing off of me.”
“What are you calling a thing?”
A cubed multiple of three stooges from the triangle of military religions sprouted from the same thin desert gruel played an off key ditty right alongside. It was as barren an oldie as a copy of Elvis homogenizing Big Mama Thornton, and moldy as original sin, but still solid gold. Knees got sacrificially bent at the end of a rusty double barrel. A catchy lament resonating with the rancor of phlegm not only twisted but shouted. All zealots, trolls, sociopaths, pederasts, and generous donors were blessed for safe keeping in order to continue remunerative construction and destruction in the cause of the one correct god from the one blessed tribe of the one chosen species of most recent successful usurpers. Profits in corner cutting were up. All it took to stay safe on the sunny side was a good egg and a handful of greenback dollars fried golden ochre and crispy.
“It’s a grand slam tradition we uphold.”
“With bacon and gravy.”
“My archaic cartoon god is holding me.”
The weight, however, of the countervailing danger in the fault zone of the Santa Cruz Mountains, was upthrust, and rising. Space and time shamelessly mixed without stinking badges or chains. The atmosphere overlooking the edge felt palpably diffused, like an overstuffed pouf of haze emanating from a forest busy flaming, but with no plum. A howling void yearning to be fulfilled whipped up a frenzy in the dry wadis and gulches. Wolves from the extended one world family stood tall on all fours to roar.
“I said I’m not going to take it anymore.”
“That wounds my hole.”
With my ad hoc quasi-free-lance employer, the middleweight champion of California, Lt Guv Gav Newsom, stuck back East miscegenating on the arena floor, a knot had become entangled in a critical nexus of quasi-events within my expropriated purview. I encountered this new void on my daily constitutional on the crumbling cliffs overlooking the edge of western civilization. The fog on Monterey Bay was as thick as split peas whirring in a trademarked Waring blender. Beneath crags in the cliffs lurked a superficial abyss, where soulless robots resembling short humans had seized the opportunity to wriggle beneath lightweight limbo sticks and reproduce in the dirt like holographs of rabbits. They were overrunning the exposed flanks of once formidable borders leading to Silicon Valley. I saw plenty of conclusive evidence playing 24/7 on the infallible Internet and it give me the creeps, the willies, and the heebie-jeebies, but good. I experienced a burning sensation in a familiar location. Strong medicine was required to maintain equilibrium. No less than the freedom to smoke weed and ingest edibles might be at stake. What if a nefarious foe like the robot @trumptf@donaldcharacter caricaturejr attempted to fulfill the void first? Or the Nominal Billary Clinton Concision conniving in shredded code? What if one character caricature among the multitude blocked up the doorways and locked all the halls? What gets stuck where and when then? The junior hole might become not only deep and wide but ravaged and plugged. That was all I needed to become stirred.
In the absence of a strong central government to act in a collusive state of low consciousness, I hauled my chafed ass down from the Santa Cruz Mountains and jumped into a boat. Zealously, I continued west into chill international waters. The canyon below me was a mile deep. Soon, I took the plunge.
Like any arrogant rogue state with imperialist designs I sketched an historically lucky seven-dash line on the ocean by raising an uplifted pinky into the air, and declared a liberated state of independence in which the freedom to smoke weed and ingest edibles was a sacrosanct right of all creatures in nature on big rocks or islands, but not including robots, and were endowed by the creator of its Constitution I had printed out and held in my hand with higher power. I had used Wikipedia and a free spell check tool to great advantage, and though smudged, and getting wet, the hallowed document was perfect. But, I was not finished there. Though I felt a critical outburst from the fire meridian dachanshu squeezing a hapless small intestine in a posterior quadrant I was not deterred. I strapped a tank of air on my back and a mask to my head and jumped some more. I paused about twelve feet deep and took a cleansing breath. I invited Oregon and Washington and all the other liberated hangers-on from states close enough to jump into the Pacific Ocean to do so. Any other states could snuggle up close by right of contiguous free choice as well, until there was nothing to speak of left but one nation of free states of consciousness indivisibly floating, which next to flying is as good as it gets under the jack boot of gravity.
Proudly, I declared my new state of consciousness on the marine radio for dissemination to a widespread audience that I felt certain would include all of the freedom loving fighters at the United Nations. I was surprised though that not every unhinged epithet in response was enlightened or compassionate.
“This clown is clogging up the emergency frequency.”
“Get the fuck off of the emergency frequency, clown.”
I did not take kindly to the slur against proud clowns everywhere. For one clown to matter, all clowns must matter. But, at the end of the day, did I give a fuck? Fuck, no. I was a singular free altered state, and I was still floating. That other shit was just the same old political crap yakking. Robots were no doubt the guilty parties writing the stale scripts copied from yesteryear. Fuck ’em. I wasn’t about to fall into that same old medieval trap of paste, parry, and thrust. I had new heights of fervor to ascend. Freedom, as it turns out, can be intoxicating like that.
The yang twin unstrapped the surfboards from the roof of the official solar fed limousine that illuminated the worthy cause of brightness in the renewable State of California. He was uncharacteristically careful not to mar any striations in the faux moire finish that still wiggled weeks after removal from the come-on transparent packaging. Lt Guv Gav Newsom was in the back seat consumed by multi-tasking on wired left and right devices, orchestrating sordid state affairs with an uplifted pinky and polished nail while demonstrating his win-win smile in front of a handy mirror reflecting superior whiteness. He waved from the open window with a grand Nixonian sweep of pliable arms, a classic. I responded in kind with thumbs upraised and a crooked smile that was distinctly not a smirk. It was solid gold winning stuff, pure as recent flurries of snow from fair elections in inner Istanbul, and appeared to have at least one additional disorienting side-effect. The yang twin politely handed his sister her surfboard first. I heard no braying, bragging, boasting, crowing. He hosed the salt from his wet suit without recitation of verse by me from one of a standard series of lectures on the iambic value of inanimate objects for which I flex my bony fingers to the deft tips of ignominy. No weapons emerged, no barbs, no walls, no missiles, no moves, no death-defying attitude. I knew something going down was seriously up. I as yet had no clue but I began to wonder what I had done to make it all my fault.
I said, “Sup.”
He paused for optimal melodramatic impact and handed me a twenty dollar bill. I attempted to remain unfazed by an emergent bigger picture beginning to stink in bloom. I held the money at arms length for examination. It was dirty enough all right. It smelled bad. No light passed through. It could easily have been slipped by a minor slight of hand under any opaque table. It looked legit.
“I didn’t earn it today,” he confessed.
“What makes today different than any other day?”
“The waves were just not that good today.”
“Since when is the phrase ‘just not that good’ not good enough for you to pursue reckless fun at the expense of others?”
“That’s all I can say so far. I may have to think more about it.”
I thought, think? What the fuck kind of crazy shit is he trying to pull off to disarm me now? A straight ahead dishonest evasion would be far more considerate of my feelings. Then, he looked down at the wet and oily sand on his feet as if he might in some way care to be grinding new pits into the clean floor. His smirk turned sheepish. That was my next clue. Curved muscles in habitual contraction don’t lie. There had to be coercion occurring. Or torturous angst. I understood there would be no pure logic to follow. I shuddered to think of the conclusion. I felt the dread of a serious learning experience grabbing hold in a cowering bowel, one of my own. A mess was mixing.
“Did you hit your head on your board again and get another concussion? I’ve learned how to treat that with ice packs. Are you dizzy?”
“Does your big picture look a little fuzzy? Do you remember your name? Or maybe feel like puking your guts out.”
“You know where to go if you do.”
“Maybe you’ll get dizzy when you start to think.”
“If I get dizzy you’ll see me stagger.”
“Puking is not mandatory.”
“What do you want me to do with this tainted money?”
“That’s up to you.”
“I can pretend to be confident that this is not going to turn out a trap.”
“You could make a donation to the worthiest charity of your choice.”
“It’s all I’ve got right now.”
“If you tell me what’s wrong I’ll try to pretend to come up with a solution.”
“Are you sure you really want to know?”
“I’ll regret it either way.”
And I did. Still do. I began to desperately yearn once more for the first day of middle school. Even if this turned out to be the year in which the teen twins were beginning high school. I suddenly felt hot and chilly with an impending threat of chronic doom looming. I felt it fluidly in what counts as my twisted spine. A hole was digging a tunnel through tundra to rock with fire down below. Avoidance suddenly seemed the smarter choice to make on the many vital issues of the day. Fuck war, peace, pestilence, and putzes. Why was I not that smart? Later, I might be able to forget, forget, forget. And deny, deny, deny.
“It’s just that there was this creepy guy who kept watching us.”
A balloon of empty thoughts filled a blank layer of dense fog and resounded falsely even to me. I had to stretch far and wide to grab a small elastic wad of credibility to embrace. The ground under my feet began to shift quicker than quicksand. What if he had become deprived of important minerals required to digest defensive information? What if he needed realignment and braces to continue plodding? Annoying guilt can be so contrary to strict carnivorous teachings. And aesthetically displeasing, to boot.
“There’s lots of creepy guys every day.”
Naturally, I worried most about what I had done that I did not remember doing, and would I get caught? Prices must be paid and sacrifices made but does that have to include me and mine? Had I in my desire to extract beaucoup banh mi plus filthy lucre from my toils in the mud of horrific political warfare leading to the indigenous freedom of Californians to smoke weed and ingest edibles exposed the teen twins to untold futures? Blame is a heavy weight to carry. How do I get out of it?
He said, “You’re right.”
“But this guy was wearing a trench coat.”
“Was he hiding a machete or machine gun? That’s a key point to consider.”
“Who wears a trench coat at the beach?”
“He was probably only a spy who hates freedom.”
“Why do you keep saying that?”
“I’m right there with you on that.”
“What’s that lame phrase you use a lot?”
“No, not that one. But that one will do.”
“Does that mean there is uno problemo?”
“That’s what I have to think about.”
“Or maybe we need to consider some alternatives.”
Maybe later we would be able forget all about it over a good laugh and give all wounds a fair chance to heal. Knockout blows from the blind side don’t hurt so much during unconsciousness. Trying to beat the count is what leads from mere punch drunken aphasia to losing. After passage of AUMA, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, which will lead to the beginning of indigenous freedom in California to smoke weed and ingest edibles, it will be better.
“Don’t forget your elementary rules of contradictions,” I added obscurely.
“Yeah, yeah, there are no rules.”
“You’re sounding better already.”
“There you go again.”
“I’m leaving now.”
“I’m glad we were able to clear this mystery up.”
Later, I asked the yin twin for her more mature perspective on the calamitous issues of the day. Mysteries are often fraught with peril in front of solutions. She was applying the purple polish to her toes that was purchased free of guilt with the twenty dollar bill received from Lt Guv Gav. She even had enough left over for a bubble tea and a tube of green glitter.
“It’s no big thing, ” she intoned sagely. “He was embarrassed when everyone saw he had a boner.”
“Is that all?”
No mo’ problemo.