Ladies and gentlemen - yeoman - all ships at sea and natives of any stripe lets go to press.
cannot remember the first dispatches we wrote ... HRI thought them
diaries for an unborn son and chucked them into HTML text-boxes ,
punched-out over Raman and punched-up after midnight. Militia attacks
snapped at the Blue-belly dragons-head! We raved media beside the
lone-wolf; after the interview with a Militia-man now safe ... after
torching a GOOGLE bus ... after snapping a 5.56-cal into the head of
a LaRaza bitch politician. Safe or dead. We miked raw-boned
interviews and pumped them into the web. Did other Militia night-owls
read them , before going on patrol? We knew our own feeling;
snatching at yesterdays abomination gave body to a hopeless cause.
But, after victory who hopes? What makes an end and marching in
triumph what a beginning ... to a last chapter shredded all-the-fuck?
Who reads now ?
Not Tahoe lights -- be hells coldest day before I see them again --
but a snowbirds Christmas bulbs. Chrisakes ... December already. Most
windows glow red and green, silver and blue flakes small as a finger
nail, those bulbs or pastel winkers from the new Chicago factory.
New, like the glass of old whiskey in my hand. Bright bulbs orderly
as a Seattle brigade. Squared off, they rim fields of poppy or wooden
window-frames ... or dangle like uncertain straggles of Kentucky
volunteers shipped to armoured warfare platoons on the Nebraska
plains. Honor bright and crisp ... it's what we fought for. Right ?
Just yesterday a council historian happened by, wondering about
accuracy of the paired 30-mm cannons AGROS sported ... just yesterday
... Wind cross the lake turns ripples into waves and how wave-fronts
of Christmas bulbs shimmer. Light formations like allied battalions
formed up into columns and gathering before a battle. Distorted
formations on the liquid surface mimic the roiling battlefield.
Drained. No more gawdsakes .... no more.
clatter inside the patio door. "I'm out here, Mary!" She
beagles me about this time every night for nurses ware hoarding all ,
metal and flesh. " ... no, I've got the wool plaid." Mary
knows a nest.
than the men who put us here. Us. More than me. North Florida BBQed
the last two snowflakes drifting south. Pastels roost above me. I had
draped a black & red wool shirt across my shoulders to climb a
ladder ... hang the second set of orange and yellow frosties ... my
own random weave never lacking style. Still warm. How they sparkle
across the lake. Rippling wind does them no justice. Careless bulbs
make artistic discipline of the blue and silver light-strings
cat-corner my patio and embarrass the pale white peaked washroom
window directly across. A single pilgrim labors over the one
double-load washer; laundry works glitz-free this time of night and
the window-sills red Santa jukes in the Nor'easter whipping south
from the Carolina coast.
tea , Dr. Scranton. Earl Grey. Commissary wouldn't send me the
decafe, so I mixed half-to-half with apple-juice." Half-to-half
... something of a Boston expression, I think. Watchers all seem
Boston bred. Her voice tickles. "Be sporting, Will ... won't ya
now? It's my own fav brew. Anyrate best come inside after a taste or
the pot will cool. Fresh storm blowing down from the Chesapeake
evening weather report claims. Frosty!" She smiles careless. "No
reason to drink cold tea."
casual. Nurse Mary-Jean means well. Couldn't live without her. The
Council thought so ... a nurse, like the green and yellow caplets
siting in a paper cup beside the pot. "I'm thinking!"
lips tighten and she leans against the patio door. "Seal left a
message on your memdex. He never messages on Tuesday ... but, feeling
the need ... " Schoolmasters voice trails away fishing the
sing-song air ..." ... the sorcerers apprentice ripped you!
Called you out! You're a lax Trotsky-slut bastard ... so it seems,
and yer latest article for the TOMES CHANGE column ... a piece on
mobile warfare reporting yer remember that if forgetting all else ...
it's 3 days late." She plays with an orange shawl and wisp of
hair. Watching gay colors flutter across the lake. "They didn't
stop you from writing."
stop the smile. They. The Militia sub-council for State Security ...
the joint Militia/Federal Commission of National Unity ... "The
Okhrana , my ever faithful watcher ... yanked me out of the gold
vein, out of daily struggle, beyond the human stream where wealth
breaths." I drain the liquor, bite into the hot bitter end of
the Camel straight. High above elm branches scratch at a black sky.
... dammit Will just words. Your Militia HRI readers killed 75,000
Blue-bellys after the Silvercoin raid. Went all postal and
think we wouldn't kiss them now would we? And what do numbers mean,
after all ... shined-up to a aesthetes gleam. Gleam bitch while
unmarked patriot bones rust on a thousand hillsides. Skittering wind
cuts hollow paths through the elm. "Judge I was made to deal
vengeance just and hot. Had progressive revanchists not murdered half
the Sacramento command over poached fish no blood sport would have
of your lecture! Sacramento spooled the dying twitch of a boiling
fanatic fringe. All hope of victory decayed to bloody submission."
I think ... don't kid yourself sister. Hate of liberty -- love of
slavery -- worship of power festers deep in the Trotsky meme. Even
the dead may live again! We all knew that rotted core could not be
repaired. "Since Rawls no other piece of progressive fabric, but
fringe has been woven. Cripple the strong, dumb the wise, lame the
swift. The many-colored fabric is of a piece, so the modern weavers
knew from elite Eleanor to beaner slut Ocasio."
of raw wind saw at the patio. She ... drawing the shawl about her
neck. "No longer true ... we live a cold peace. I do, while you
live a bad dream. Friends move on; your ex-squeeze had both of her
data-cam appreciations submitted last Monday. HRI fans of small-unit
tactics accuse you of holding out for a fat Huffington Post check!"
the universe, I think. The trivial replaces the horrific. She knows
lots of trivial ... especially those words ... data-cam ... tactics.
"Bollocks on the fat-ass bitch." Vassar grads cannot read a
report with more than two equations, but they can appreciate subtly
say you beat her, to extract the last ounce from that ass."
as needed ..."
Mary scoffs, and hands me the paper cup with a no-nonsense bottle of
lemon-water. Beta-blocker the prescriptions say and I must believe
it. "Some pre-teen posters wonder if you ever fought close-in or
why HRI even hired you ?"
... sulfa-drugs taste like 19-th Century German pig-shit! I gag.
Reach for the battered pack of Camel Straights and send a long thin
irritating stream of grey smoke over the nearest light-bulbs. Frosted
too ... those Amazon special buys in silver and white framing entire
patios or sheeting down the patio sliding doors. Lights and glass
doors those also newly baked in Chicago. Angels of a sort, if seeing
through is seeing past.
the warm china-cup nestled in my hand as her fingers brush mine. "The
Irishman called again. Chatty sort isn't he? His son had a first boy
baby, and somehow you're responsible."
a baby gets loose in some womans knickers, well ... somebody is
responsible." I turn away my face. "Talked about
peas-porridge, pottage and mush I imagine?"
of the sort. Obscure mind that... identified his-self as
five-leaf-clover and I'm supposed to play along. Seven-leaf five-leaf
... that's odd. Some kind of code? You're copying LeCarre ... tinker,
tailor, solder, sailor . Nesting darklings! I will look it up if you
chose to be bitchy. Major Bevens will not be pleased ... if I need
report ... I'm expected to report infractions ... why haven't you
called him back?"
The Irishman's long dead."
die hard ... they tell me. That and proton therapy if you can believe
his chatter. Bat blind. A Washington snot-poodle ... not even
Militia! I hate philosophers more than spys. Christ Will what kind of
darkling shit are you pulling us into?" She again touches my
Nurse Mary responds to constraints ... indeed much more than a nurse.
Like unemployed Captains, well appointed Vassar girls either run 3-D
print-shops or ... or hire-out their long legs and fingers into the
company of spys. Like that after every war Lao-Tzi says.
your hands get cold you can keep them to yourself!" Her lips
pout, hitting the Camel Straight and she backs away. I am not
special, and understand when any Militia DARKLING has been retired
the local Judge Advocate assigns him ... or her should a woman so
fail her breeding a companion , a filter, a guard, a caretaker or
dream-maker as the case required. Assassin if the case requires ...
so this nurse-Mary scans my dreams searching for the back-slider
within all old Militia supporters; the blind-case who wishes for the
ol' days of butchery, liberation from the SNEEZE laws and vengeance
against thought-crime hoes. Labeled like side-of-beef ... prime
cases, we hundred ... or two-hundred rank-ordered by git I never
copied a clean revanchist-klan number from my own dark web. Slipping
... you're slipping bastard! I fumble the cold Zippo metal. Media
straining in the new American Republic is ever so competent.
yes I'll come in shortly. There's a football game broadcast at 9-PM
... Steelers vs Saints and we shouldn't miss it." I kiss her
lips softly. Her breasts erotically hidden under starchy-white brush
against my chest. The patio door slides almost shut.
... click ... think about it. The numbers ... 1 ... 3 ... 5 ... 7 ...
a sequence of matching odds. If I needed to I could find 9 as the
last digit of this-mornings pass-code. Punched right out of the noise
floor. But ... sometimes you don't need more . Afterthought. "I
never heard the call."
men do naps."
yourself Will Scranton! You'll sleep through the MOMA tour tomorrow."
art exhibits advise Darklings and we must show appreciation; trust
the Councils concern. "Two stale Rothkos are supposed to excite
exactly what? But, don't kid yourself. When we walk and when we watch
and even if we sleep ... we always listen."
alarm clock rings 9-PM. Nurse Mary laughs. "Ding Dong the bitch
is dead, what sort of witch will ye take to bed. "
prods me! After the game ... and before the games ... a struggling
one I pray. Swatch of her red hair slaps at the glass and I snatch
the smoking slim-jim from her fingers. Almost crumbles; that's OKey.
A stiff draw makes the tip flame-red. "What do I want? A
struggling witch a slippery witch a witch with no hair and no memory
and a bare-ass witch stretched across my belly who can roll a fatty
doesn't believe me, I can tell. I think she laughs. Could I tell her
what I needed .... shimmering waters to which I can stretch out a
hand. Strain baby! Our new Republic has considered everything for the
Darklings distemper. Everything except numbers that never fail to
escape their ever struggling grasp. The Irishman knows this, as one
of the Council. Numbers.
war puzzle was settled I truly believe. Nine Militia generals, 3
Blue-Belly warlords, the Mississippi Flotilla Admiral and
Air-Marshall Weitz representing G*d knows who had met after
firestorms surrounding the Sacramento massacre died away. One week of
calculation , one month of wheedling and Young Turks won their point,
stopping the slaughter after Rochester and Austin and Santa Barbara
had been cumberbunned, drowned in seas of Trotsky-slut blood. Militia
rage had been given its head, then yanked-up short. Militia
hardliners determined to purify the reassembled Union were stopped
... both battle-hard killers and their media memory. While Russia
still occupied Anchorage and New Israel Manhattan, links in Americas
novel power-chain were being forged among those 14 republican
apostles. The new unity would freshly welcome back 40-million
defeated blue-belly and Quislings into the raging trans-national
consumer market-place. So much catching up to do against the Euros.
before accepting a mercantile solution, the Darkling Militia and a
broad patch of western yeomanry retained influence ... demanded a
blood price : the revanchist and still simmering cities of Vicksberg
America remained a badlands during most of the civil war. Mex and
Colombian cartels swam rafts of Haitian, Cubano and Brasil niggars
into the chaos muling narcotics, money and guns. Low country Bantu
peddled the wares into mid-Atlantic cities and steadily gained
power-bases until IDF aircraft began blasting their honey-holes.
Land-hungry narco-kings penetrated far up the Mississippi ... as far
as Vicksberg before the final Blue-belly collapse. Bantu had
lawlessly pillaged the city for fifteen months, finally declaring THE
NEGRO REPUBLIC OF ETHIOP , built a cinder-block temple worshiping a
crocodile god and from the local marijuana crop producing paper
coinage. A prime-cut cannibal market was well known to flourish south
of Clay Street. The Vicksberg bone was given the Mississippi
Admirals snarled. War as ye may, Annapolis grads had not lost a step.
Their 76-mm armed Catboats chewed the Vicksberg waterfront and behind
a wall of 25-mm spewing MOLESTORS 9,000 Negro Marines landed, cleared
snipers and stormed the Eastern hillside. No quarter was taken ...
and none given ... Marines killed 25,000 hostiles before the red tide
smarmy, self-satisfied Portland smoldered for months in its own
ruins. Loutish, belligerent ANTIFA mobs had controlled the western
ridge since the city police chief and mayor got trapped by a MOBSTER
raid on a poppy-den east of the river fucking their companion pigs
and declaring no Militia woman their equal. Deer-rifle toting Oregon
farmers surround the city, starving out the less dedicated
fellow-travelers and butchering die-hards ... wheat-grass gym by
fern-bar by micro-brewery by used book store. Makes ya tired; Militia
soldiers killed willingly. Block by block Portland burned, and
firemen pulled bodies of Antifa, ISIS, BP, NOI, Spartacists and
Wobbles from the ashes. After four months a pack of 900 howling
progressives as starved of hope as they were of food formed-up on the
north side & charged a double firing line of farmers at Union
Station. To the wailing of steam engines Willamette River ran blood
red ; to a man these fanatics were slaughtered and clipped ears
decorated the water-front.
finally united. Then the Militia Council ... now a
multi-reconstituted Federal Agency came after us. "Popcorn?"
squads that rounded us up were called Polaroids ... a mis-allusion to
missing light or more properly to a cycle mis-phased. Really, best
not to live beyond your time and thus become part of the clean-up.
Pleasant professional men, civilians, they projected strength,
avoided scenes and reported you promptly to their masters unbound and
un-bloodied. Our masters also ... military men drawing very straight
lines. Run? To whom ? All, but the most hard-case
republican-sovereigns were parted-out to a tranche of urban gulags
far from battle sites ... where patriots sometimes gathered ... and
even farther from the political hubs of Philadelphia, Seattle and
butter, but we have to eat the local salt. It's full of nitrates!"
train derailed again ...?"
silence. "This month most trains are headed north." I fuss
with a bottle of raw Chianti while nurse Mary sorts through her
filters. "Well not like it's a big secret, the trains. HRI did a
spread on tank-hauling flatbeds this morning and claimed the Pickets
carried new 90-mm hyper-velocity main-guns." She bites at the
words like bad licorice. "You haven't read HRI today have you ?
Be like that ! An old story, actually with the Brit Canadien
government sending in raiders. They are determined to recover
Vancouver and America will have to fight to keep it."
Brits ? Why bother? The dank Molson attitude discourages while too
many Chinese roam Vancouver for my taste. And their women are
dragons! Experienced ten-thousand years in corruption. Told Banski
that. Kinda like mixing nitrates in salt."
different Bunco! Florida salt comes free with the nitrate mines ...
it just seeps in and the mining company must wash it out. We eat the
wash ... makes you feel self-reliant."
Not everything that seeps is free ... I think . A salt taste sticks
to my tongue. Patio glass door closes behind me. Inside, my flat
sounds & feels bigger than from the patio or garden. Nothing
special ... living-room, dining-room, study, kitchen ... a fire-log
toasts weak red light. I strip away the hunting shirt , snatch a cola
and turn on the kitchen lights. Nurse Mary has a suite tacked aside
mine .... her music, retro a blessing ... her kitten a silent pest.
My bed or hers and the cat will sleep on my chest if allowed. Mary
sleeps as she pleases and does not fear my fight/flight taboos.
out. "Cheddar or Swiss?"
Bevens -- a bitter twice wounded peasant -- may snarl , but our
confinement becomes more gentile. Gates to the green, tree-lined
compound had sported guards when I arrived. Crippled veterans still
killed from vengeance ... I never remember a jury convicting. After a
year men forget ... not women, but they forget death. Except for the
10 acre woodlot straddling the lakes south-side a wrought-iron fence
surrounds the compound ; only an old man would lack strength to scale
it. I drive in-and-out, only the Jeep complaining over speed-bumps.
The MOMA bus too will drive right into the compound and none check
the passengers. A retired reporter may be connected or comfortable or
free ... pick any two.
you Steelers and 6."
Gone is the nurse. Couch fabric feels modern and mysterious. Marys
black hair spills over my shoulder and her bare toes tickle. She
wears my jelly-bean necklace, beige jeans and a braless lamb sweater,
and has curled-up between my legs with her head resting on my chest
turned just enough to catch bits of the 60" video screen. The
popcorn salt does indeed taste like gunpowder, beneath the lamby
sweater a swollen sensitive nipple responds torment silent and
worldly to the gold clip and the Steelers have racked up a quick 13
number strings extend unbroken; my internal eye winks. Rogero Street
bawds run them out every time a knee twitches. The gawds play with us
and with their numbers and we cannot be smart with them; Rothko the
faggot bitch, oozing melted snow colors. Why do exhibits always pimp
him like a whores best tit ? If Klees Balloon wasn't on the program
damned-straight I would sleep though it. Who got lucky? Nurse Mary
with her freshly painted black lipstick raving silent carnality.
Shouts without speaking words unlike tomorrows Greyhound belching
noise. Did the Irishman know I'd think about fortune warm as a
chocolate mug and steaming sausage served at the Plutos Plunge cafe ?
violet-tinted head-light beams scatter from the foggy rain ...
wiper-blades slap at thunder ... drunk shouts from open windows
bellow above Terrapin Station ... it was a great thing, the faded
many-wheeled Greyhound . Hell bent on reviving house-bound sinners
and MOCA arts the devil-bus shambling reconstructed frame comes
rambling over the narrow tree-lined compound passages snatching
without really stopping one stuffed mushroom umbrella after another
... not hunting us down , but gathering like the hippo in Dr Rat
gathered lazy, but sharp-beaked pelicans when humans intruded ... and
swinging fenders wide at the corners dares rose-bushes to keep their
Do I really want to see another brutish WW2 Picasso? Shouts from
friends, shouts from strangers heavily fueled with the trips 3rd
bloody-Mary swing the bus into view. Bloody red-arsed Mary left
whimpering into my goose-down. Last of my fuming Camel Straight flips
into the grass; I'm ready with trench, farmer shoes , fresh morning
copies under my left arm of ARLINGTON STURMER and REGENCY SPARTACIST
-- two of the dozen poly-rags that had grown locally after the new
Federal FCC mocked & locked-down internet messaging -- and spare
pack of Cubano manufactured fags. Wallet too, primed with blue
Militia-chits that replace all but $20 real money. Those and the Colt
38-cal revolver snugged beneath straps of my painters pants. Not
everyone who knows me likes me. Federal councils have taken the
Euro-view ... that only government may practice violence against its
least desirable citizens. Self-defense serves the citizens new
masters and is thus defended.
burnt-out patch of patio leaves marks my 3-AM snatch at code-book
memes, looks and passing phrases and the fag-butt that powered it.
Paranoid? Wishful imagination? Unlikely odds would not be the first
false flag sprung from a rotted network of reporters, line officers
and hobos. I shake my head, look back thru the patio-door glass,
whisper a curse ... then venture my gate open ... slippery grass and
the nearby whine of AC units. I leap to the rubber-soled entry as the
bus sweeps by; toll, ID, permissions, weapons scan ... all
auto-magically recorded by a data-bar above the youngish Negro
to see you again Dr. Scranton. Rain's in Spain, but MOCA rarely
showers a prize like the current showing."
so? Same at'cha Mr. Betters. Slippery driving no doubt. Is the toilet
his eyes ... shaking head ... "Body-builder and Ms Forthwright
are at it again. She killed three white Russians, rolled 4-7s and ya
know what cheap money does for a woman! Whatever you need better save
it till we stop at the transit station." Driver wears a union
cap, chrome 357-cal strapped to his chest and a look of casual
watching intensity and would have pointed to a seat if the ill-kept
Jew hadn't shouted.
beside me , pilgrim. Call me Micha. New here arent'ch? Mebby not!
Best view from the front seats." He hunches toward the window
making room ... "Can't figure where you hide the piece so ya
gotta be worth something."
in ... "Yeah you too ... how's the chess column?" Micha is
working thru Caruana vs Gukesh on the back page of PVP. Jews publish
most of the local rags and Ponte Vedre Pederast takes the plum for
hottest new text-cherry.
grins. His black-and-silver pigtail loops on his right shoulder and
the hook-nose seems everywhere his steel-framed eyes search. "The
Najdorf smothered him. Can't play NxBb5 so he's screwed; see ... see
! so much for an early a-6!"
Scranton. The Jew abstract enough for ya," whoops from the craps
table fixed port-side rear where teen-couples grope on a standard
bus. Not on our Greyhound, and not farther back at the bar or velvet
blackjack table nor in the ceramic bathrooms. Only top-tit for the
at the red-nosed ex-fighter-pilot gone to fat. His blonde junkie
bimbo who might have been 17 last April gives a one-finger salute and
tit-flashes a pair of well-used 36s. "Not say'n much are ya
scrambleman. Best chew thru a bloody Mary," she snickers. "We're
all bozos on this buss." And tosses two-Oz of over-spiced rum at
my head. An old man in loafers and check-pants jumps up heading for
the mens-room. Couples near us ... as arty people come in pairs ...
break into a sing-along to RUBY TUESDAY , Micha catches the flying
bottle, pops the cap and swigs it ...
yesterday can't matter cause it's gone ..."
last passenger -- a trim woman daring mid-age in brown skirt , busty
silk, Coachbag and box hat flys in beneath a spray of raindrops and
pays with cash; Mr Betters mumbles an apology , but takes the 10-spot
and returns no change. She takes the seat behind us, and shaking rain
from a leather cape removes all threat that we should remain dry.
... place your bets now place your bets ... Easy-8", calls the
craps-man, as our Greyhound swings out from the compound.
you take it for an evil sign, this fierce rain before a show of
abstract art," Micha opinions raising his eyes from the lurid,
water-splat front page of PVP. "I heard Mr Betters claim a
European source for rains power, but people say Baselitz would only
paint nudes in monochrome during a thunderstorm." He shoots a
glance of pure venom at the women behind us. "I draw as well as
publish true emotion. "
Dick Tracy, I think. "True enough ... never trust a wet artist,
but who on this bus would do worse?"
would." Micha eye sweeps back-of-the-bus revelers. "Like
Shands ER treating bullet holes with licorice sticks ... because the
Spenser," says the high cheekbones and pouty lips leaning over
our seats. " I am Helen and I could not sketch a worse
un-treatable atrocity than the front page of that perverse rag. What
is it? Your Rosemarys Baby! A Christian cross -- dear Lord -- stuck
in a pigs bladder jug of urine!" Her fingers are quick-as-sparks
popping a Chesterfield from a gold cigarette case and blowing thin
gray streams of irritation over the page-inked art. "I see
there's a watersplat directly upon the pigs eye. Crap soaked through!
May he go blind in hell!"
you madam may soak your bladder, while I wash your potty-mouth."
me? Not after 4-martinis, Spenser." Her right hand raises .. I
think to slap Michas stubbled face.
croons the craps-man above rake-hiss.
the 24 passengers have come standing, cocktails in hand to watch and
iPAD our fray. But, another drunken U-TUBE video may not affect my
future. I finger pocket cell-phone. It's been rooted, loggers removed
so I can expect 11 seconds of unshadowed transmission on TOR to
announce my presence. "Barman ... drinks here!" Sharply
spoken. "Yea gawds ... Helen ... Micha ..." I push them
apart thinking nonsense. "We zoom to chaos on wet rubber wings.
Must feathers fly?"
of thunder announces the pothole chirping five-way intersection
through which our Greyhound races into a maze of intersecting
4-lanes, past a pair of big-boxes riddled by leafless trees, over an
optimistic swooping concrete spillway and belching rain-quenched
retread fire through a curtain of road-brine dives alongside a
pig-snouted Kenworth cement truck onto the six-lane cross-town
Greyhound rocks into place beside the KWOPPER, traffic light both
ways on the rain-swept freeway, tires hissing at the slick concrete
and our onboard stereo breaks into DIXIE CHICKEN. Boris too. "Your
bones feel lucky, Scranton," raps the gravel-edged craps-table
question exactly ... or a challenge, but I knew the field player who
owned it. "Racing a 40-YO magic bus against a cement truck
toward Mathews Bridge on a speedway known for hydroplaning ... yeah I
feel lucky as a November neon goose chancing the Chesapeake flyway."
kinda answer you make ," mugs the thug. I'd seen him before,
betting craps even money against the bus casino x3 payoff when we
visited gun-shows. He fingers a stack of yellow chips. "No good
driving a road like this. I report to ..."
south-bound Cadillac swerves to the berm and we rush by. "Tell
the KWopper to move over. I can smell his breath."
ruts down a bus window and throws a finger. "Ha what a joker you
are. One of your Darkling trucker friends ... no?" Concrete
strip malls tumble behind us, washed clean beside funeral homes
promising sea burial and empty brick-sided Baptist churches.
... Woot" growl the black-bildging KWopper pipes.
pellets Boris face dissing the Kenworth alongside ... hub-to-hub ...
window to windows ... water-skin from the two massive front grills
joining to a smooth sweeping curve , beating up a fume-cloud stinking
of salt and slicing down the expressway razor-edged spray meant for
the Gulf-Stream, but no longer.
hiss; trucks red-strip rotating cylinder grinds advertising .... WE
MIX YOUR TRIX
tweedy jacket heaves over his belly ; sneering ... "bastard
won't live till MLK!" Boris fat ill-formed slacks drag the
floor. And if he wasn't a talent scout for Nikitins Kremlin then he
was just a great fan of imported Volga sausage and meaty Militia
data-flow. If he were a Brit or slant an Everglades gulag would chew
his ass; but, the Russians were Militia pals ... along the Sacramento
River even fought beside us. After the war Russian gropers never got
the wrist-slap they deserved. So with Boris. "Maybe your devoted
Council prepares for you a new pair of cement shoes ... ha hahaha
lights flash above and Mr Betters voice snaps out. "All
passengers return to your seats. Buckle up Boscos we're in for bad
does he see, Micha?" I release a small silver flask from a
breast pocket and swig. Pass it over ... "Cars are few, MOMA
won't open for another hour and Helen's strapped in too tight to
share this Wild Turkey."
kinda fast, busboy," whines a teen queen with blue hair and
gamblers ruin face. Her iPod snaps away at the hazy white cloud above
Mr Better head."
golly Ms Molly you'll get the poor boy shot," sings an old women
with her bald head scarfed.
shit Sherlock," pipes back as he holds up the fatty for
inspection. Snap ... Snap Snap ...
hand clamps on my neck. "At least it's not Polaroid. Hand over
the flask, Buster."
craps out. He raises ivory dice-cup over his head shaking it madly!
"Place your bets scrambleman ... when did you ever sit out a
storm? HRI still pays you ... no !"
talks too much or knows too little; he has this much right. Space
between the Kenworth and our bus ... racing along together ....
sucked them together just because the less space you have the more it
sucks; we can't drive on like this, pushing one pilgrim GM after
another pretending Arizona only made Fords from the 2nd lane and into
the side-street exits.
you're a darkling," Micha grumbles. He seems to know the trade.
"Officer ..? Where did you fight?"
you're ... you're a writer! Need I guess ... pro-militia. "
own website?" I say nothing. He's hunched over, trying to buckle
his seat-belt and light a Marlboro. As a child of Abraham he does not
care that we fly into the void. "Who did you piss off ," he
raps crisply. "I knew a couple IDF girls who got tired of the
drama long before bullets stopped flying."
or silver, bullets have never stopped flying."
... I see .. one of those ... the Militia cardcore that never liked
... Weinstein ..." I snack on the Chesterfield Helen has passed
over. Has a nice draw , but tastes like teen tit.
... "Like I said ... never liked Jews."
mean hated Jews original sin ... making law precede culture?
Intuitions been steaming around the corner since Ya'veh dropped the
oxcart on Uzzah. One after another Trotsky-slut rules even Baptists
saved-by-faith had to follow. Thislaw thatlaw mylaw ... every tyrants
back-door to ethics."
black eyes gleam. "Can you wonder why we hated you?"
darts under Cesery overpass and into a bridge view; eyes see what
they believe. A north-bound Green van spins-out pinning itself to the
guard-rail and spilling a stream of orange flame. Top of Mathews
bridge ironwork has vanished in a white squall; before us red/blue
bubble-lights lead a short line of water-struck pilgrims to the right
lane and would have plunged them into JONES COLLEGE if someone had
remembered to unlock a door.
won't try it," puffs Micha wide eye. The Chesterfield does not
please him. Helen snatches it back.
the law," I exclaim !
releases a long low whistle. "But, his brakes are Ford."
ways, eh ? I met a defense attorney who thought like that ... and
lost his head ... "
up Boscos," shouts our loudspeaker and the Greyhound leaps
ahead. Not that it makes sense, but we catch the Kenworth Detroit
diesel shitfaced, truckers COORS LIGHT saluting as we pass. Greyhound
grabs empty space, grabs another and slews left into the second lane,
pounding Mixers grill with tailspray and slipping round ass-end of
the car-line so cautiously led by the bubble-top black & white. I
can see the road for the first time. I can see how totally vanished
is the top of Mathews Bridge, red-iron beams melding into a cloud and
the illusion plays out that the entire bridge roadway twists in the
water tinman," shouts Mr Betters as he hurtles ahead our
Greyhounds racing legs! Not what you might think from the cautious
driver of a Militia pleasure bus, but his bright young-mans face has
assembled a devils learing grin.
rumples his satch, feeling for lost history, but doesn't have time.
Our Greyhound lurches right grinding gears, feeling for the
non-existent guardrail while punishing a rising grade. Metal scrapes
and tears and screeches. We are both thrown toward the window, thrown
together and Helen unbuckled and leaning ... listening ... is thrown
tumbling ass-over-cups ... into our laps.
together, in one instant our Greyhound veers left ... tickling the
outside lane we enter fuzzy grey white-out top of the bridge, and
belching Detroit diesel fury the cement truck shears by our portside.
Cab mixer and cones fly by in a flash of red-stripe nipping at our
space, clipping the bus-mirror, ripping the Kenworths bumper and
diving ahead. Brakes slap ... slap ... slap on our bus ... skidding
fractions slower ... behind ... hearing the ever-so-fragile SNACK
of metal-on-metal. Once a road-king and prince of the foundation
workers art now now an airborne red-stripe in our front windshield.
screams! I flew once in a darkened kitchen after tripping over a big
sleeping dog that stood up throwing me across the room into a
glass-pane door. "Glass," is all I manage! We fly now lost
pilgrims I think hotly Helen ,Micha and me tangled together in a cage
of water and distorted liquid forms, a sphere, a cylinder a
tumble-home ... moving 'round in chaos as iron-colored winds swirl.
wouldn't think it, that a fender-bump has unseated cement truck from
roadway on water-wings born by the wind. The Kenworth flips in a
twisted liquid tunnel across our Greyhounds path, all six violet
headlight beams paint its death-spiral ten chrome-edge wheels
spinning madly smashes grill first into the bridge railing ... a
clear shock of sparks and wet fire ... and spewing torn metal parts
and drifting cement lathe dives for the St Johns River 200 feet
below. A machine in all its parts dead before an engine piston tears
free of its shaft and comes ripping through the drivers face.
blind, skidding side-to-side the white-out clears. "Bastard
tried driving us off the bridge," Mr Betters shouts into the bus
been shaken back into our bench with Helen sprawled across our knees.
She struggles to wedge between us; her hands grip what they can, but
skirt never bares a knee.
quicker. I drove an AGRO in the Peninsula campaign," recalls
Micha, feeding Helen the last of the silver flask.
bridges are steeper, and against MOLESTORS the Blue-Belly truck
bombers worked in pairs," I recall ...
Betters has clamped a death-grip onto the steering-wheel and brought
the bus rear end onto the broken painted stripes, wrestling
a'distance rubber treads , diving for speed into the gentle curve of
Mathews Bridge south end. And though his cap and 357-cal remain in
place and the professionals smile returned to a buff face AFAICT he
has not looked at the road since we entered white-out.
magic our Greyhound might have held vanished with the insane concrete
mixers plunge. Chaos rules behind us, and pilgrims crawl from beneath
tables once chip-heavy under a dealers gaze , but no longer. Was our
Greyhound still diesel powered transit, or a hate-driven comet
searing a path through circles of Hades? Were we really still alive?
will have none of it. "Bravo, my darklings," she croons
firmly planted between Micha and me ... a woman composed, knees
together and plucking modestly at her A-line. "Such an
uncontrollable pair. While assassin truckers plunge to their doom,
you piss on walls of your own making to see who splatters most high.
No wonder Council shuffled you off."
you Micha," I say astonished?
certainly not as obvious as the ex-editor of bloody-handed HRI."
know from the start? "Words, Micha only words ... starting with
SNEEZE and ending with cumberbunne. Words carry the Logo, but the
listener may unpack them according to his own heart. And you ... a
nice Jewish boy ... as surely yourself?"
now, our Greyhound 'round a gentle curve and driver chats to his
headset. No vehicles travel with or against us, our football stadium
looms to the east and a copse of birch quietly shed white rain. Has
Mathews bridge really prepared us for the city? Instead of traffic
lights at the 4-way intersection marking Mathews Bridge south end a
white-belted gendarme parades a blue suit ... and discouraging
other solid lanes of traffic waves us through. Driver whispers
furiously and slows to a crawl; gears I didn't know the Greyhound had
grind away. Straggles of homeless leer through our bus windows ...
some stop their pushcarts to spit at us. Back of our Greyhound
pilgrims cry and curse. Glass shatters. Blackjack dealer is punching
a girl in the face; the crapsman has gone down under the weight of 4
passengers pounding him senseless. Something about lost money I hear
one pilgrim scream.
you need to lose discipline, go postal and call out that word,"
Judas count his silver? I have struck men for asking less. Great
breathing ... then ... "With headless defenders, legless
generals and armless servants all about me, I could not think of
another word to say."
you were a victim ...?"
... !" Helen lights my Camel Straight and her own. "And
you? Where did you preach sedition? Who was inflamed? What
money-seam or fighting words did the Council think ... unfortunate?"
like a gentile, to believe verbal or financial sins are a Jews
worst crime. The ancients knew better when they accused us of
was your Christ?"
you know medieval Jews paraded young Christian boys across Rumania
and into the Califs butt-fuck brothels?" I say nothing which
seems to please Micha. "Who what where why ... well it's no
mystery. My Christ was a pretentious Trotsky-slut bitch from the
Spartacist hives of Manhattan. She claimed to represent the
socialist spread on both Long Island and Manhattan in the Blue-Belly
Congress, and expected to do the same now. Driaoca Siocort EzAlexan
she called herself ... big eyes big mouth big lips ... a real
shiksah. Clever bitch! Called herself a Portugee, but had beaner
tattooed on her ass."
fit right in ...?"
the ace-of-spades. I'd never seen a political district ... New Yorks
14-th ... Gerrymanded so bad ... took a bridge over Long Island
sound to hold it together. A bitch district make lizard weep, held
by the truckers darling of I-678 ! Fact was she ran Jamaican drugs
for the Harlem mafia ... and was Manhattans best blojob and Long
Islands juicy lay while Federal mongrelizers picked up her tab.
did she want?"
all the Blue-Bellys wanted ... power! Jewish New York was under IDF
control when our Militia military came calling to negotiate
surrender. I came as a Captain ... intelligence service ... a
velvet hand on a very politically sensitive nerve. Federals were to
be integrated with both the IDF and the Militia. "
NYC councilmen knew the stakes. Jews controlling Jews."
Jews aren't all that smart. Inbred .... IDF agents had imprisoned 500
for sedition. Zionists are like that! " Micha drifts fitful,
eyeing a pack of wandering young niggars at a street corner.
Passing, he catches their eye ... a flaming bottle of rotgut flys
willingly and smashes against our rear bumper, but flames stay behind
us. Curses too ... angry ... I see the muzzle of Michas GLOCK-38
for the first time. Now our faces lock together. "At our first
meeting EzAlexan demanded both IDF and Militia leave New York city.
She denounced malehood and demanded a seat at Council! She promised
snipers and assassins otherwise, and attacks by deep-cover agents on
Militia families. Big red mouth big tits would always get her what
she demanded; that's the feral meme! "
understood her side lost the war."
socialist side never loses; they would kick dirt at you from the
grave. When our second meeting started, in a CCNY physics lecture
hall both colonels leading our negotiators seemed confused. Imagine
that ... uncertain in the face of evil. EzAlexan wore a mini and no
bra under a silk halter ... it said fuck you. It said I'm the big tit
and aren't you a lucky guy. As I remember I came face-up to her ...
and put three 9mm FMJs between her eyes. Damn her head exploded! She
was dead before she was surprised. Militiamen at the negotiating
table cheered as I walked out. That afternoon Council "gentlemen"
found me at the main NYC library ... found and escorted I was with a
one-way ticket to St Augustine muni airport. One shirt one trow one
pair of socks ... no battery charger for my iPOD ... it was an offer
I could not refuse."
the left-front brake banging our Greyhound muscles into the
Jacksonville bus terminal. For the febs, felons, spaz and fools
surrounding the glassy terminal building could'a been Karachi ...
could'a been Bombay ... could'a been Abuja spewing Blaxonvilles bad
juju into the asphalt arteries of Duval County. Ragged pants, baggy
camo-jackets, torn white sport-coats of a nouveau leisure class
complete with back-packs and sit-upons .... this is the mongrel tribe
that greets our Greyhound with howls of anguish as they wait for any
bus, but ours. You couldn't find a white woman in the mob, and the
rare suit addressed more panhandlers than an Alaskan gold-mine. A
beggar raps his wooden stick against our windows and they do not
open. A crying teen queen slams hers shut while her boyfriend also
camo-dressed examines her bare knees.
out that's getting about," announces Mr Betters. He has opened
the coach door , and unclipped the catch on his 357-cal shoulder
holster; he's looking for trouble.
catches me unaware. I jerk up. "I remember, Micha, just before
the bomb-blasts started ... I was taking to ..." Shock ends when
a tramp tries forcing the doorway, and Mr Betters tumbles him off
with a chest-kick WWC would approve. I look around. Helen and Micha
stare at me as if I'd just announced the discovery that gravitation
is the 4-th harmonic of a proto-electroweak force raging the early
universe, but done-in by inflation. Foolish thought, Bosco I think.
Thinking about who said what to whom before the world exploded. But,
Helen and Michas faces show new sadness. Then.
the beef with MOCA?"
eh? That's the new work by Okumbzu Jefferson, that portrays the
Militia as blackened jerk chicken ... the severed heads all have
Well that's a bird of a different feather. I'm game if you are,
me shortstop. We can catch the mono from here, cross-river, for
breakfast at the Abalone Sunrise. Their champagne poached eggs
on-the-half-shell are not to be missed. "
purrs and I grumble. "Desertion! What's wrong, guys. You have
something against shitty Rothko?"
for us," chimes Helen. Turning to Micha ..."Will can see
for himself, if he moves left."
for an singleton unreconstructed Militiaman."
him a copy of your new-left rag. The artwork's sure to please."
that advice and a few quick steps Micha and Helen depart our
Greyhound , hand-in-hand ... joined at the hip and vanish into ragged
throngs. A most unusual romance, I think. Hardly started, before
they're shacking up. Not a prelim mocha and lemon-cake at Starbucks.
Forget dinner and a movie. Hells bells they hardly spoke to
each-other. I hold Michas rag in my left hand as Mr Betters lurches
our bus though the crowd and onto Lauri.
blue-hair goth-girl appears at my shoulder. "All alone by the
telephone! Need a date danger ranger?"
I'm booked up this week. Try the crapsman ... if you can get him to
grim blocks away Mr Betters eases our Greyhound into a HANDICAP
PARKING ONLY space alongside NEEDLE PARK. Rags and bags and
coffee-cups litter the torn grass. Junkies live here and a bus will
not wake them. Jacksonville feeds, fondles and coddles its drug
addicts like Spokane does its fat white dykes ... or
pearls-of-pleasure if you believe Spokane council. Jacksonvilles
Baptist rulers ceded drug-addicts a park rather than seeing them at
church. Across the street MOCAs lunchroom windows stare out at the
junkies while above four floors of modern art hide behind gray stone
and a lurid splash-banner announcing in orange and red the brash new
traveling art exhibit.
special for you Dr Scranton," chimes our busman. He grins,
but watchmen employed as drivers will do that. "The Bible says
one good brushstroke destroys an army of chariots."
Saul really say that? "Indeed Mr Betters, though I believe
they can find a better special " .... NEEDLE PARK appears
emptied of humanity in this morning rain. If you think of a park an
image shines of kids and dogs, strollers , food baskets and the
speckled play of sunlight. How different has this nest of despair
been populated; lounging junkies, stoned junkies, junkies
mumbling to the devils that bait them ; under trees a few blindmen
wait for St Michaels kitchen to open. Two pimps and their whores
surround the bronze statue. An urban park, this, coming into its
full shit-stained alcohol flavored glory. I count the inhabitants
... 22 ... nothing there for me . A quad of yellow taxis appear to
release morning-shift MOCA employees.
pilgrims push at my back. "You will return at 3-PM ," I
ask Mr Betters ?
the creek don't rise."
still raining, I think. He's a kidder .... or am I ? My feet feel
heavy, balancing on the bus steps and my head woozy. What have I
really seen calling the god of odds? Steady old man ... they will
need you once again. I clasp at the chrome pillbox at my neck:
chemicals of last resort if my legs suddenly will not carry me.
Damnable resort not a mans ... that, the mad scramble over rocky
ground with 7.62 FMJs chipping at your bootheels. My breath catches
a burn. Damnable that hope remains, even as the rain pelts down so
with trench belted, Apple-cap slanted off my forehead, Michas
art-rag tucked under my left arm and umbrella grasped firmly in my
left hand I jump from the Greyhound over a sleeping junkie and onto
Needle Parks unforgiving sidewalk.
Kaleidoscope, eh, this Jacksonville peep shifting, noisy and washed pale. I wince, as a kneecap chipped by Federal FMJs complains. "Goth-girl!" She ... short black leather and naked throat had got out first and stands handsomely where-ever I intend to walk.
"Swath-girl, not goth-girl Bosco," trills her longing voice. "Swath ya know, like the Grim Reaper cuts a swath?" The reefer-tip burns red. "Your friends ditched you, but pink hair makes me flare no dare," she manages without the least dada embarrassed pink cheeks.
"Friends?" I fumble for a word. Pale ten-story tombstones of central Jacksonville squeeze me from three sides. Graveyards close a mans mouth. Zippo fails on a damp Camel Straight. I hack, "ever wish for sunny weather," and cringe under the Hawaiian flap-cap as a stream of bus-art passengers push us along. Splat ... splat the rain does not care.
Bogarting the lefty she takes my right arm, leading ... "You're a man in need of company. Tell me you're not. Ha! Like my lipstick? Walk to the corner with me. We can cross to MOCA ... or snark a hotel room and fuck." Gusty rain whips under her half-trench, against bare white knees that do not care. "The Omni doesn't check wedding rings."
Or death certificates, I think. Last week three cold white hookers had been pulled from a 13th story pain-room. Omni clerks had no room-record, and never saw the Haitian candy-man who vandalized the coal-burners, cutting off nipples and stuffing their cunts with enough frog-skin make an Amazon princess proud. Swaths nipples play peek-a-boo under sheer silk. "Too fast swell little girl, I hardly know you." Can't remember which sig manual, but the line was ...fuck a hotel room and snark ... and hair blue not pink . Kids won't study these days.
Her loose hair slaps at the rain and she pops an umbrella. It's a big black sheet, with images of a woman in high heels walking a poodle. Pata-pat-tat tattoos the rain and rivulets stream. The tag-line around the rim reads ...fuck you I read the New Yorker ... she says, "you're weird , Bosco. What's love got to do with it?"
"Love? You won't believe me if I tell you." I wear an old mans leather soles, slapping at wet pavement and brick hums a city tune; like the city a wet pockmarked surface sprinkled with rat turds. Kat-corner, step-lights flicker out at City Hall, while at the chrome doors two cops argue with a drunk and a vet missing his right leg, but not the Silver Star pisses over the rail.
PEANUTS ... GETCHUR PEANUTS ... cries a pushcart vendor elbowing close. Rancid brine soaks the paper bag; Swath-girls languorous paws do not care. Seagulls screech, pecking at a boiled peanut box. My Swiss Army watch ticks past 10:01 AM. The stoplight flashes green. Raindrops smear the day, but I know a day late when I see it.
Cigars ... cigarettes ... Tipparillos ... A pair of chiming ragged cases draw close. "OKey fuck the beur, Scranton," drools the blind homeless threadbare creature. It's a Scranton voice wet from morning whiskey and textured Irish flat as a coal car.
"Beur?" The Irishmans shot from heaven! It's a thrill. Speechless, I might have said anything, but I remembered. "We gotta get out of this place." I hand him the art-rag.
His left elbow tucks it. "Hang on Sloopy."
"Oh, very much so ..."
Uncertain first steps together. "Certainly. Boy, wife and their son doing fine in Colorado. He found a scattered Militia battalion without field officers; still chaos in the provinces after all these years. They didn't mind an ex-Federal Major as commander, then brevetted to Lieu. Colonel. Family sends regards. I eat what the doctors allow. Council let me keep my townhouse; Georgetown is livable again , if short on butter and eggs since Militia SWAT put-down the wilding."
What did I expect? Two Chevy low-riders whiz thru the red-light, chrome rims cutting huge pink paths, tires chirping the brick crosswalk, shotgun Haitians fingering 1911-45s too small for their hands and too kanted for a shot ... they laugh with gold teeth. Fortunes-of-war I think. After Vicksburg fell, white bush-rangers lynched most of Gillums Tallahassee crew. A few sought Jacksonville racial harmony. Some claimed Flotilla Lieutenants armed and led the whites. HRI sent MsK and her digicams to follow-up, but she returned with nothing , but a miserable case of clap!
Our hands fumble ... clasp. "I ... I didn't dare believe Mary, when she relayed your telephone posts. But, I came thinking a castaway can expect only uncertain meeting. What a strange collection our friends have become." Our friends? Think about it ... the bus, the park, the bums ... I remember a shredded forest glen and dead troopers eyes closing ... blood and treasure wasted for this ... so soon after ...
"Georgetown still does good medicine."
Sandy hair as much Warsaw as Dublin wisps from his cap; I say to him face on like he can see. "You beat it!"
Rain beats a steady tattoo around us, swirled by uncertain wind, cloaked by its own mist and guttered by a hundred channels. Swath-girls umbrella covers his face. "Some days I just retreated to our old basement lab in the Castle, redesigning opamps Shien Wu used in her parity experiment. Bending my head into reality. Waiting for a knock at the door, especially after Paradise Ridge. Knock from the Gestapo ... and the Gang-of-Four-bitches had drilled that function deep into NSA & FBI ... knock from refusita thugs .. that know never came." His face pushes up the umbrella. "Something odd, Will about Federal security thinking what I knew, or who I knew. An angel marked my door, while the prog-tide swirled around me. Something perhaps about my knowing you, about HRI. You were always their enemy, but HRI never was the enemy they expected. What to make of it ..."
Cold as brass. "And the tumor ...?"
"Payment rendered," he says stumbling over his cane. "The cancer got one eye; Georgetown still had one machine working, so hot protons snatched the other. A close thing to watch the tumor shrink week-by-week."
Payment. You ever walk blind? Escorted by two Militia hard-cases onto an Eagle Air prop leaving Spokane from a dark empty iced-over runway at 2-AM. Hot breath chewing a Camel Straight. Still had a penciled HRI notepad in my breast pocket. Night-flight. Thought I was taking the last para-shoot jump. F-28s shadowed us over Nevada. The air-hostess served sliced apples and cheese and wished me luck when we landed 12 hours later at Jacksonville Int! I was sweating .. sweating now ... "Too hard ... our ... too fucking ..." I reach for his arm.
"Our ...?" Irishman hacks, playing with his heavy black eye-frames. Spray covers the bus now turning corner, out of sight. Swatch-girl stands languid, wishing ... she might turn wet in your arms, but never soft spade poodle doesn't like two Swede-flagged backpackers and their Nikon lenses ... he has stepped toward them. "We goto MOCA, that's the plan. Our whole scrum! " Eyeing Swath-girl , " she feckin-A fits in better that way."
Mebby they never met before this rainy morning. Good crews are like that. Mebby she figures I hadn't either. She takes two hits on my Camel and butts it. "Some fella you are Scranton. Won't give a girl the rush, but know all the bums. Smooth as silk, but no high hat. Ever go all the way? I'd like to find a man who could go all-the-way."
"Better than most white writers ," spits the poodle. "Face in the front line to report battles, but frisky with troop moral and unreliable. Id'a gulaged him in Pottsville, with the WSJ bitch."
Blind eyes search for a target. "Mebby he drew the snake eyes, Trey ... mebby not. Where-ever HRI had drifted he's our man now."
I snap "Back in the business?"
A drawstring linen pouch appears from beneath the rags. Hickory-nuts pop out and his teeth casually snatch one "Never got our gravitational boson scattering to work, did we?" He hesitates. "Joint Council now considers me fortunate to run errands."
"Bunged ," spits Trey. ... then ... "Always were a bitcher ... ar'tya," barks The Irishmans seeing eye poodle swinging his black face into mine. Sniggering ... "looks a little shopworn, slow on de draw." He's a big night-black spade, covered by a plastic raincoat and dirty breath and cracked goggles match buildings, sky and concrete grey and threatening ... "Writ'n much these days?"
"For the trade ... only." The stoplight flashes bleary red-arsed, like a bad-girl just got her spanking and wants to know when it's her turn. "HRI went soft, hired a professional editor from WIRED, the little birds tweet."
I look him over again. Trey ... Admiral Devon Trey, Mississippi Flotilla ... who served the Constitution. Out of uniform he fooled me. HRI did a spread on him, after his marines butchered their way onto the St Louis docks, carved a notch into BLM rioters and bayonets dripping red retreated upstream. Maybe Jefferson was Adams poodle. So many memories ... Needle Park shrinks. I draw back ... raindrops scatter the first pitch.
"Step lively, Scranton. Light won't wait forever." We hustle across.
"Coffee first?" Swatch-girl points to the tortoiseshell cafe on our right. Her nose twists. "MOCA serves Maxwell House and I'd rather snort mothballs." Quick tangled movement colors the bare glass panes from hip slickers faking their morning art moves around ten-dollar lattes and Crispy Cremes. Girls too on the Coachbag express, rolling hips and eyes, some noses pressed out against the glass , pretty faces blurred, trapped looking for salvation. There's a suck to it, the food, pink noise and humanity any drop-in-op appreciates as distraction.
The Irishman shakes his head. "Local art makes a creamer for local coffee, no matter how coarse the grind." He laughs at the simile. Best move along. I understand Cummings fades toward noon."
We turn away toward cold abstraction. "Cummings made the show?"
"Put her right next to Rothko so people don't just stroll by." We walk steady and the buildings grey slab cut the rain.
"That's the idea ... we meet just strolling bye?"
Irishmans head shakes, black lenses search me out, red-rimmed the LEDs flicker toward the park, where two Geeche vagrants battle seagull beaks for a pocket of peanuts. Before and after. Time forgot this moment, both cold and hot, straight, uncurved, mindless without the suck of any gravity. Then the lasers focus on me and Irishmans voice goes dry. "Proofs, Will ... the gods grant me three proofs."
Clutching his chest. "Proofs. I have them, documents and photos and a risk appreciation. Wrote that appreciation myself, got it to Council and none believed."
"Proofs by ... text, voice, photo ..."
Irishmans cane guides him to the plate glass window. His face presses in, cheeks flat and nose smelling bear-claws, hard-rolls, bagels and muffin aroma tunneling thru just for him. "Can't smell them can you," he says.
"In my imagination, yes. MOCA pastry always out-did their art." Beside him my face now at the window, jaunty chin pressed flat and worn. Eyes too narrow for their reflection.
He nods, flips a hickory-nut from his pouch. Chews patiently. "So like the proofs. Since the peace aromatic Black Swans for all they're worth." The Irishman claws away.
Swath-girl again has my arm. "Proofs? What proofs, Bosco ; whose proofs? Why prove? Got your hand on my ass, but your head's in the clouds. Are you back in the business?"
Business ... I'm carrying her folded umbrella, pinching a bare nipple between stem and finger till she bit blood onto her lip. A small blood-price I thought for boldness, her legs are all skin against mine. "Monkey business, sweetheart." And to The Irishman. "Visitors walked by your old Smithsonian digs."
"Yes they did ..." The Irishman remembers something and stops under the garish art banner. "You recall the notion ... eh ... 'course you do that the Brit government when migrating to Canada would bunker their nuclear weapons in Nova Scotia, not Toronto?"
"I recall Ukraine weapons pouring into Bristol and Yarmouth , after Paris fell to armed Normandy guerre. HRI reported the smuggling. Most of the small arms were Russian manufacture."
"Yes yes. Amazing the CIA , Zinichev proved a true logistics magician shifting transport from Petrograd to Black Sea ports and a fleet of cod buses. Saxon patriots quickly snatched the advantage. They and three Gurka regiments took to the streets, butchering out Londonstan and Oxbridge pestilence. You remember Will how we speculated on the racial Black Swan approaching England? Rastas or rude-boys had to go down ... one or 'tuther. The AK-47s allowed unemployed whites to strike above their weight. When Army fusiliers joined them, Merkels false-front fell within a month. Canada express was their only survival."
The reporters itch grabs me. "How many nukes have the Brits retained? How big, how determined, transit by plane or ship?"
Irishman grins meanly , waves a dismissive hand and catches breath. "Queen Merkle absolutely simpered over that weapons deal, assuming of-course USA Militia returned both Vancouver and Toronto to Ottawa." Pensive now ... "with Quebec in revolt why wouldn't she? And with Vancouver chicom ex-pats screaming for their poppy .... !"
We stand toe-to-toe watching Needle Park and listening ... "Yes, especially Vancouver. Lawful , tax-paying and ordered before, during and after our ... our troubles."
My Zippo burns into a pair of damp Camel straights. Admiral Trey snatches one, chews on the end and flames it red. "Not so with cosmopolitan Toronto, right on my doorstep. Flotilla troopers drove Antifa and ISIS progs north, butchering the hard-cases in their ghettos. WannaBes escaped Michigan and Illinois like vermin, polluting the eastern St Lawrence Seaway. They quickly corrupted mincing Toronto into a mini-La. Burning, looting, raping ... a perfect Urban farm for the harvesting of White guilt. Molson Mounties needed a thousand Guards force to clear the pavement every night. Can't believe it was ever considered. "
Irishman sends a long thin grey stream of smoke toward the park. "As for that, violence rarely precludes weapons. Federals stored neutron bombs beneath Treasury until Hillary moved them to Atlantic City. Some Molsons would have loved a nuclear bunker next door. Quebeker freebooters had certain plans ... hehe oh yes they did ... weapons snatch-plans pushed by Russophile Frenchmen." The Irishman laughs. "Imagine a libre force-de-frappe descending on Ottawa with a dozen tactical nukes; Molson SJWs would have crapped green! But, most important, Northeast Militia leaders and their IDF pals wanted Brit Nukes on the Seaboard, away from Mississippi Flotilla influence."
Admiral Trey grunts, whispers ..."Never depend on Perfidious Albion for anything , but your next faggot BBC or CNN presenter. "
"Did Aston offer you the defeat-codes as well as cores hardware ?"
Trey removes his leather goggles to reveal pepper & salt handlebars. "Mississippi Flotilla retired me two years ago. I give uplifting speeches to young cadets approaching battle. What do I know?" His arms waving, raindrops snuff the cigarettes red tip. Then ..."We had three dirty, 50-K fat-babies lost from McArthurs Korean war. Might be 25K left in each core, old timers weren't sure and outer hulls were too hot to remove. If Federals had crossed the Mississippi in force and in anger ... if in anger , we had a half-dozen B-58s and would have taken out DC, Phili and Boston. Too many Jews alive in NYC to pickle that peach."
"Had?" Trey says nothing. Did the Militia have nukes ... did the SandPoint Nazis? I don't know. Air Force nested their eggs at the SAC mountain pit and dared anyone to approach ! Treys admission is a stunner, not in the script ... jaw smasher.
But, I know the Irishman learned to talk with a bloody nose. "The Admiral tells quite a tail; believe what you want. But, an allies power is the least problem our new Militia government faced. Sure thing that Merkel deal ... both Vancouver and Toronto were packaged up and returned within a month of Blue Belly surrender to the Militia Council. Ottawa signed on to pay occupation costs and ... then ... nothing ... nada ... silence of the lambs from Brit SeaLord Aston."
"The Canadian PM?"
"His boyfriend needed 4 blojobs a day. The Molson never could keep a head on the pint."
"Which buys us ... ?"
"Us?" He shuffles, chuckling. "What was certain vanishes ... belief falls apart and the center cannot hold. Nothing stands between us and art ... but the door."
Door?Step-right-up Padre ... say all my intuitionsand fall down the rabbit hole. MOCA sports the faded pre-war banners , a scarlet and pink cubist design boosting the UNF gay socialist alliance; 600 died at the Battle of Sisters Creek, when they swarmed out of Mayport in mamas yachts singing the prog paeon to Madonna; girls just wanna have fun and blasting papas skeet-guns over decks slick with the blood of newly deflowered virgins. Just as the swells breached St Johns tide-line Remington-armed Amelia Isle volunteers came out of the swamp in flatboats and MAGA hats & shot them dead. But, Spartacists know a good design when they see it and the flags outlasted their creators. All modern now and shiny the brass-handled glass entrance. A poncy sophomore picks at his dry skin and guards the glass. I punch at the brass tongue and the door swings open; cold air smells of creme covered chocolate. A watery Kennell dangles by chrome threads. Right there quick as kish Admiral Trey and the Irishman turn away from the dark street, open to all yet invisibly strip down their rags in a heap leaving linen blazers and trow in place. Ears red, Ponce keeps his mouth shut.
Skin tightens around Treys high cheekbones. Memory says he's lost weight; Out of rags Trey moves lean and purposeful, like a hungry raccoon. He says," Soft touch, this. I'm ready for some overtime. " Ties and Apple-caps straightened and Swatch-girls smutty umbrella bagged ... we step in.
have got to get someplace, Will. Places actually. Three. Paintings. I
never expected MOCA to be so ... rectangular ... or smell so
chocolate." Josh-the-Irishman lifts his face toward a guard.
"Gar'soun, bitta ..." The trim Nigress cocoa-puff skin
tightens around her red lips. "Have you a brochure, madam for
the showing? You know, a list of paintings, thumbnails and their
places in the gallery?"
eating a sugar-toasted bear-claw and hesitates, chewing ...
confused. "You mean whats floor?"
eyes flit from bearclaw to parted lips. Flits a hickory-nut from his
pouch and nibbles it. "Well, if that's it, yes. What floor,
madam? Very desirable information for a lost and hungry soul. "
quick defensive bites into the sugar-dough. Then, from a table she
shuffles a trey of glossies. "These be it. Who you want?"
... most any will do. Klee, Carra and Milo ..."
be it? We have an O'keefe; Blue Flower. Men like that one ... eat it
bit abstract for my tastes."
you. I guess some blind men can't see colors ..." she smirks
all coco-puff and Hershey-kiss smooth. Ruffling pages ..."Then
you gotta walk, cause we got one on each floor. Upstairs. But, the
Klee ... Southern Gardens ... be over there, past the donut bar."
I snatch the brochure cramming it into a side pocket.
smiles. "Superb. Danka schon," he blurts as Cocoa edges
away scuffing pale bamboo flooring, checking lipstick in a mirror,
putting the table between her confection and my hungry eyes. Behind a
her a small crowd rustles breakfasts at the curvy 1950s-style dinner
nook that MOCA fronts on Laura. Crepes and crap a local food
critic called the window-scene. Bums weren't invited to eat inside
and toilets not installed outside, on Needle Parks lawn . Inside
espresso shot-glasses bang the Formica. Bacon sizzles. Over the
espresso lane hangs a blue MAXWELLHOUSE sign reading GOOD TASTE
DOESN'T COME CHEAP. I believe it.
LEDs blink and the Irishman turns to me. "See, see here,
galleries, halls and stairs it's cubes and rectangles all the way
knew that. How do you know that?"
leading me away from the diner and its bustle, into a small white
maze, toward the Klee. "The Georgetown physicians are so clever
with sub-millimeter microwaves. Makes you tired, how determined they are. If you're about to die they will try
of 1024, like an old video card."
on archtypes and a huge cache?"
that, Will. On the micro-scale, colored pigments exhibit
differential reflectivity and polarizations; the computer
sorts-it-out. Facial features take a few seconds for the FPGAs to
calculate, so if you smile ... smile slowly." Josh touches his
eyeglass LEDs. "Come along Will. Klees SOUTHERN GARDENS may
jostle your memory."
right. Old men forget. Forget what? Trey and Swathgirl in tow we
traverse a white-walled corridor and turn into a white-fenced
alcove. SOUTHERN GARDENS pastel stares down at us like an mistreated
Rubics Cube. Josh smiles ruefully. "Angry, don't you think?
Paintings like wars can be a broad-brush swath, a smooth weave ...
or a scatter of chiplets. What say you about ours?"
and stems ... chiplets."
retreat to a white leather sofa. "The painting? Artist wit ...
or a lovers spleen. No artist would admit painting from an idea! The
war ... our civil war? So many different outbreaks for so very
different outrage ... before the Militia, before the Flotilla and
Pennsylvania riflemen ... the shear outrage of self-entitled
Progressive venom pulled yeomanry together."
... yes." The Irishman holds his peace ... then reaching to a
pocket extracts a silk purse and from it dumps a melee of colored
glass squares into my cupped hands. "And these ... what might
unify what appear as a childs toy?" The chips shift and scratch
and shuffle meanly against each-other. Each chip the size and
weight of a nickle was stamped in black with a 3-letter word. "We
found them on the body of a dead Molson officer floating in Lake
Erie!" Irishman adjusts his glasses. "I believe you've met
the man ..."
ran up my arm. "Officer you say?"
Major ... Colonel Jack Major by the time somebody blew two 22-mags
through his chest. You met him in San Francisco I believe ..."
of St Francis scones and black-tea fill my head. "Molson bastard
tried to buy me, buy innocent the war-crimes convictions for nine
Sac butchers. "
scowls. "Well then sure you remember, if only the insult.
Drank a lot did you ... well men at war will drink. But, for the
murder curious caliber, eh a 22-mag? Womans round, or an assassins.
No matter. We found the floating body off-shore, north of
Marblehead, between Kelleys and Pele Islands ... shot and bleeding,
but drown swimming for the Canadian side ." Josh chews on a bit
of hickory-nut. "Man must be determined to swim wounded in that
But, running from something eh? The shooters, but running for
something as valuable as his life. Most certain!"
the hand-full of glass chips. "These?"
smiles. "Compare the colors, Will of those glass chips to the
SOUTHERN GARDENS pastels. Except for nine missing chips --- and I
assume they are lost-at-sea ... and for the eyebrow squares John
Majors colored glass-chips match one-to-one against the painting
many colors ... how much luck do you need for a random match? Let's
see ... dadumm dadumm ... about 70 panels in the painting. Random
luck needs about ... 17 colors. " I shuffle the glass chips,
with a bit of smarm. "That's about right !"
chuckles. "Any solution in a storm ... but you forgot each chip
holds a word. Look at them again; all 3-letter nouns and adjectives.
If you match colored chips to the painting, the random words make a
two-dimensional array ... that looks like a one-time-pad. Our
computers think it's a quadratic letter-shift cipher ... of-course
the missing letters hurt ... but a best guess for the intelligible
script is: MET THE BLACK QUEEN IN CLEVELAND AND SHE IS OURS. "
Josh chew on his lip. "Black Queen? You know any?"
a reporters war, black queens are manufactured like
salt-water-taffy." Yet the contrary bugs me. "Would Major
have carried the chips if he felt secure?"
think the chips were stored inside a lost flotation, packaged in a
Styrofoam shell we found partially torn."
I say, Majors smelled a rat before being intercepted. Burnt-out
Cleveland never was a Militia town."
at Swath-girl, the Irishman grips my arm ... pressing . "Not
holding out on me are you Will. Not protecting a pal ... a source ...
a lover ... ?"
Trey pulls him back. "More went missing from the body than 9
glass chips. Colonel Majors carried a message from Mississippi
Flotilla Joint Chiefs to Brit SeaLord Aston. The message ...
stored in key-memory and swallowed ... refused his offer of six
300-KT nuclear weapons in exchange for control of Lake Erie southern
settle for six?"
start. " Brits want the entire lake!"
complete with a new home, don't you see for repatriated big-city
Trotsky-sluts even the Brits cannot tolerate." Trey rolls his
eyes. "Lots of our own people there, who fought alongside
imported Chico bangers , but by-damn Washingtons wooden teeth the
Constitution will not have back the traitors!" Trey turns his
back on the painting. "Instead, we offered joint control with
Trumps government of all Brit nukes delivered and bunkered on Nova
Scotia. Real deal for a new northern peace. Anybody who was anybody
... in the new Federal gub'mnt signed that message. Before Majors
escaped to the water his captors & killers ... the Black Queen I
figure ... squeezed that key out of his gut."
has iced over like a November fish-pond. "Did ... did Major know
"Speculation on the migrating Brit nukes ran rampant in every
Officers Club on the Mississippi. Young men too easily crave the
pair, power and safety. Similar worry among Trumps Feds, cause
Vermont and Maine volunteers were already arming 105-cal artillery
along the St Lawrence , in preparation for a Brit attempt to force
the Seaway. How smart does a Molson Air Force Colonel need to be
guessing the quality if not sincerity of a handshake?"
on it. "Majors could have been mistakenly thought the actual
negotiator! Negotiations with the Brits went dark, of-course, without
yes that's just the point Will," The Irishman tempers. "Best
efforts at a weapons accord squashed. Confused. Replace by ..."
Josh snatches another hickory-nut. "Who was so very smart and
connected to snark a nuclear weapons agreement securing Americas
northern border ?" He pauses ... works his black eye-frames
around till LEDs flash madly and kaleidoscope lens point directly
at me. "That is my first proof."
dangling rectangle raindrops flood the staircase ... moats in G*ds
eye ... and sounds of the kitchen dim to the rustic wet clatter of
porridge bowls ... as if the muted clatter were served up and
discarded by early grain harvesters whose burlap vests muffled the
spoons, oak tables could not afford Formica and whose sleepy eyes
would as well fill them with malt ale as horse oats. The steep swirl
of steps sucks my breath away.
I ask ...?
he's distracting Gothgirl."
does not appear the distracted type."
"Observe, she is a woman of many parts and properly distracted
by ... them." Irishmans head turns and nods behind.
the two Euro-hikers with chest-mounted Go-Pros and expensive
strapped-on Nikons and once delinquent have crossed the street and
followed us into MOCA. SNAP_SNAP_SNAP go the Nikons serving the diner
neon-bright to posterity ... as anyone might think ... but the lens
roam. I look for trailers behind them, a hand-off team and see only
bums. Between us and them, Swatchgirl between shots chats them up
all casual flirt and promise while Trey hovers, the threatening
unexpected uncle. Surveil method practiced, without wink or flaw ,
I think ...
off the buggers nicely," Irishman observes. We have reached
2nd floor, and through the last tangle of maroon-frosted
rain-plaques look for the Miro. "Over there, Will , beside the
snark. "Noone has been paid more than Miro for black dots."
" What has chromodynamics cost? " Irishman smiles wistfully.
Effortless, yet my face flushes. " "Classical physics is like a painting of reality, an impression. QM reminded me of a man who eat reality, then vomited.""
floor enclosure ... white of-course and a skylight paled rectangle
... enameled fog-lights mist and bleach pearl carpet dares a stain.
To the tits. No 2nd fiddle drawing room for Miros wandering spirit
or for any who aspire to spread dead-dots into a living world.
Ozymadius mad for power over a misty world would understand. Yet as
Miros gobs dance from one blue field to another, they do not seize
the pastures alone. Did Miro build-in a flaw, a counter-fact? Who,
you might wonder jumps from the balloons and wanders across the
landscape? One or many explores discovering a flat-world, options
reduced to two? I say that to Josh; he mutters about the tyranny of
action, how spherical coordinates dissemble, snacks from his
hickory-nut bag and steps arrow-straight toward the red slash.
now, we all see that," he grumbles.
mouth turns dry and my stomach rancid.
ends not with a whimper, but a howl ... your war don't you think?"
Irishman picks from one Miro to another. "What were you doing
it out with Almonds corp. Lost an elbow, did you ..."
I say , but think he will not discover that part of my gut. Cheerful
... "With a lead that bleeds, another million-hit day for HRI
... if we got out as well as in. We flew aero-suits into the fray. "
Josh offers a hickory nut and I take it. "A recon squad had got
to the blast-site first ... all chewed up; unfriendlies too. Almonds
command arrived days later, having motored south from Fresno. War
may be hell, but a webzine needs banner ads!"
business as usual then, for HRI." Skeptical face washes over my
own. "Banski ordered ... Banski knew ... or did you have a
source, an angel, renegade, a gold-seam streaming intelligence from
inside the enemy ... whichever enemy ... perhaps whoever
pays-the-bill?" To the jab I say nothing. The Irishmans ragged
jaw chews air. Then ... "CL carried more than a foul mouth to
head reels back to the rocky gulch where FMJs chewed at flesh and
death came easy. Incredulous "You knew her ...?"
the Irishman when you stumble. "More than a Navy Lieutenant,
Will she was a walking MASINT lab. Carried the best micro neutron
and beta-decay dosimetry CERN would sell." Josh turns toward me.
"Noone has ever claimed the Johnsdale nuclear weapon as their
own. Not the Sand Point Nazis, not the cartels , not Libre Quebek!"
assumed the cartels had bought a rogue Russian nuke, a tactical
weapon that could be fired from a truck or Chi.com half-track."
...?" Joshs lens sin-black lost in the Miro. "Intels
rough estimate ... an eleven kilo bomb that a dozen actors could have
constructed. Morning of first light, just hours after satellite
neutrino detectors caught the flash, Air Force commanders ordered
the shadow united council into session, Blue-Belly, Militia and
Flotilla men who a week before had been slaughtering . Being
terrified by a lone-wolf nuclear threat, council declared a local
truce. They brought together a joint ranger unit ... I think even
Sand Point sent a squad ... and vectored them into the hot-zone.
Big deal, really, the first joint op for a yet-unformed united
American government. A Militia leader was chosen and brevetted ...
CL had the stones. Her cover was an imagined rafting expedition to
clean-out feral Blue-Belly units."
... "Yes, yes that's the grunt-work she explained to me."
step, from a search-and-destroy operation, to deciding-by-fact
which power-centers fit into the new American Federation ... who sits
at the table when its formed ... which parties do as they will and
which as they must. " Josh pauses, shifting black lens across
his nose. "Job-one for CL was exposure to and measurement of
nuclear decay products. Step right over the shit that glows."
suicide mission ... then ..."
strides across the pale-lit floor. "She knew the risks and
importance. If you know extremes of what can be done, then you know
by technical savvy who can do it. Once identified those bastards
would have got a knife in the belly!"
said or hinted nothing."
not likely to say so ..." Irishman sinks into a fuge. "Silent,
yet she had visited the blast-site; got that out on a micro-burst. CL
carried the detailed flux-data on a time-fused key. No real-time
broadcasts, to avoid detection. Her key time-fused for security;
the data would speak volumes about its creator! 'Course by the time
her body was recovered coyotes had gotten to her ... the key had
luck for the council ..."
yes, all of that. A battalion ... was a battalion wasn't it, of
hard-core Militia on that march ... yes, good, well Colonel Almonds
weathered, disciplined battalion attacked by a rag-tag company of
Blue-Belly irregulars. Last legs so-to-speak and lead by a
know this?" Josh finds silence. "Rag-tag? All soldiers had
morphed into natural killers by that end-of-the-war period."
you insist." Josh pops another hickory nut ... one drops to the
floor. "What do you make of this," he asks snatching an
iPHONE from his breast pocket. The display beckons.
over. Noisy white bands dapple and shift across the screen. "FHSS.
Could be any mil-spec radio transmission. Intercept? How? Where
did you get it?" Even HRIs digicams use that modulation."
I tell you this," the Irishman muses ... and laughs.
"Surovikins broadband satellites are ever so efficient.
So-called STURGEON-class. NPO-Almaz could only build a half-dozen,
with super-conducting antenna, but one is stationed over California.
It snatched this signal from Colonel Almonds command. Signal Corp
decoded as a pair of repetitive numbers .... 36:33:10.57 ....
118:37:38.21 .. interspersed with progressive values. Went on for
days. No other transmission on that key."
clicked. "Latitude and longitude?"
We got lucky. Italian crypto was approached by a Russian broker
with aero-space connections. Claimed he owned American jewels.
Said it just that way ... diamonds and pearls. AISI haggled ...
traded a purse of Brussels Bourse futures for the gem. More
dickering. Falangist Italy needed help butchering-off the last of
North African migrants. Sand-niggars were swimming across in
Michelin tubes French socialists had provided. We sent two
Gatling-gun armed corvettes to the Gulf of Hammamat in exchange ...
and felt screwed by the take until ..." Irishman screws down his
head, away from the frosted white lighting. "Once our Z3s
broke-the-code it takes your breath away! A continuing piece of
data matching position to the Sierra clearing and firefight where
CL was killed. The remainder with the same crypt tracks the
changing path of Colonel Almonds battalion. Data ... and a
surprise," I say, "that Almonds reported position."
enough, but this signal did not use Almonds key! And from the
western Sierras no fewer than 16 satellites occupied the reception
cone, but only the Russki satellite managed intercept. "
thought ...". An image vanishes, of a webzine perched on a city
of light. "Why would an actor risk signing the dirty deed? Was
signature part of the code? Who signed it ... the data ... ?"
shuffles about the Miro, eyeing sequences of black blobs ... and the
red slash ending them ... as if walking the path. And says finally.
"Signature? The Black Queen. That is my second proof!"
Sluggard machine struggles upward. Arriving at the threshold, ribbons bar the way, though we see clean through the gallery. "Your
pass, Sir," challenges the young black sophomore in a fraternity
blazer. One hand on the velour ribbon, the other fingering a
platinum cell-phone. "University restricts access to disturbing art ..."
a gold-stripe card and the ribbon drops. Nodding to Josh. "A
friend of-course -- disabled -- a real trooper near death. Surely MOCA has made
Sophomore cringes at the word TROOPER yet smirks over the dark lens. "Lame and blind? Far superior to the swift and insightful! University rejects
privilege and always favors the unable and unwilling. Take care he does not fall. "
I touch Joshs arm and lead him for'ard, before he strikes the fool.
hack returns, chewing on Irishmans face. Pain passes ... "An unwilling archtype. Do
you suppose he graduates," the Irishman hectors? I have no
to the this 3rd floor had come with a red placard ... DOCENTS ONLY
... as I fear for every exhibition sporting an edge. Give us not the young, the
critical, the unconnected ... Florida universities will not
disturb them. MOCA has reserved this gallery, beside the 3d floor
patio for works of violence and awe and distemper. No children would
enter, and if University had their way no adults. It's the hidden price of victory. The oak patio door had
opened to a brash lightening-laced cloud-burst; embracing lovers and a pair of aging
academics hustle from a rolling chrome and glass bar to benches
under the awning.
"Avoid triggering study if possible "Sophomore
is negotiating Swathgirl. "Madam, are you ..." Trey snarls
at him, and the ribbon drops again.
to a fault," snips Josh.
modern way requires permission to be offended."
Black lens flit across paintings as LEDs wink. "Did
the SNEEZE laws offend? You reported from La the music industry first caving, then clawing back in fear of destruction. American society tore itself apart trying to
make that decision. Who gets to say when enough pain is more than
separate; it's a big rectangular gallery. Violence abounds. "Over
here, Josh. Look how they have done it, paintings against the bright
white near wall. Contrast eh ... facing the dark outside windows.
As bright and clever the trak-lights, lightening streaks the art.
"Does 1024 do it justice?"
consults his iPHONE, though for truth or error I do not know. "What
justice exists in art ... yes I do believe so." I lead him to a
bench before the Carra, all black and red revolt or bacchanal. He muses one face after another, if without eyes a face can be found. "Don't
suppose do you the revelers all stoned on absinthe?"
one, perhaps and him ..." FUNERAL OF GALLI ... if a
drunk pisses paint during his heart attack, but perhaps if you have nothing then nothings lost. Nothing, but rot at the base of Renaissance culture. Wilsons BYPASS
hangs beside it. "Bet the fun ends with a casket tour."
would kill for a detour." Irishmans nods toward Bacons VIOLENCE,
which hangs on the other side framed unlike all others by a grey
plexi panel. "Clever juxtapose wouldn't you say?"
abstract. Chaos, foolishness ... and the grip of terror. "
really, can a human scream that loud? In what possible world do they
and remain human? Did generals scream at the Sacramento massacre?
Did the women? Did you ... ?"
What world was that when I screamed? I cannot remember ... not ... not ... not ... A
lightening-bolt flash tears through MOCA darkened windows, flooding
the white room with white violet. Lights flicker. "Terror took
consults his iPHONE for a screen of text. "Courts of Inquiry
decided that Silvercoins guard had been penetrated by Arapaho
activists. Their motto: Land for the Band. Militia scouts during
the daytime, they cut throats after six. Affirmative action meets
the long-knife. After Silvercoins outer perimeter crumbled, two
Humvees crashed through, onto the porches, ten onboard assassins
then shooting their way into and through the manse."
Do you know Irishman I cannot got there ... not ... not ... not. "Yeah,
I know Josh. I was there, fighting with a dead assassins shotgun. Guards inside carried only sidearms; a
dozen died beside eight field officers bringing down the attackers.
No words can do that chaos justice."
found one word, Will, to do that justice. "Cumberbunne!"
My lips stutter proof; only the Irishmans proof? stuttering "I ... I
never claimed, never wanted justice; like others I was shot-up ... lost friends I
had known since power-towers tumbled. No ... no justice intended,
only mindless rage."
Irishman really not understand? "Men with holes punched through
collected on debts; Trotsky-sluts payed in blood. Politicos
preferring safety to justice cringed; our provisional joint
government tottered; six months of leaderless terror followed.
Many of the younger Militia never forgave HRI ... or me. "
... yes. So with the painting." Irishman empties the
hickory-nut bag. We each get two. Hickory-nuts, I think. So American
and so illusive. like the wild turkey or rattlesnake. From the
bottom of the bag Josh retrieves a ragged note, bloody and
water-stained. His fist grips the folded paper while his mouth
moves silent, pondering his last nibble ... then says softly. "How
many police horses in the painting?"
I pull away from the edge, eyes blinking where no eys live. "One
horse many hoofs."
... how red banners deceive. Indeed most viewers see one, a few
sky a second, it's body forced to ground. But, there, Will, between
the rearing and fallen horse a 3rd riderless mount struggles against
the anarchist tide. Without a rider the horse is ignored, though in
terror it tramples mourners under-hoof. For all we know, the 3rd
horse could have belonged to a wealthy art patron, but no longer."
coming on a cold damp breath of storm. I can feel it. "Whose
horse would be the 3rd?"
opens the dirty, palm-size paper note. "Came from the body of
an assassin not torn apart and burnt! Control tracked him down though DNA filters. We know
quite a lot. Age 22. A Chechen schoolboy, ISIS thug in Iraq, oil-tanker
driver for the Syria Mujad on the Deir Ezzor to Turkish borders
run. Vanishes after Russian SU-25s blow-apart his rig. Stews in a
German court, accused of murdering Kurds. Skips jail. Reappears as
a homeless migrant on the Texas border ... El Paso ... where La Raza
agents adapt him as their own. Vanishes again; next seen driving a
Chi.com truck steaming into Las Vegas." Hand shaking Josh
passes the note to me.
eh. Wouldn't be able to read ..."
clean cursive appears. Pencil marks have been erased, under the ink.
Among blood and water-stains the text screams. Blessings to
JiHad. Trust the BLACK QUEEN. Her bare head disgusts, but she has
been deeply fucked by Allah. I say. "Do you suppose he wrote
it, or got messaged just before the attack?"
"Behavior intel says his fingernails were too long to write such
a script. But, whomever wrote it, this ragged scrap is my 3rd proof!"
alongside Trey and Swatchgirl, at a MOCA diner table, scratching the
Formica, chewing biscuits and drinking weak coffee ... damn the
heat-sucking art-deco cups. Incessant rain beats on the windows.
Patrons and servers swirl about us, as does their noise. We are
talks. "I promised you three proofs, Will, three proofs ...
that an agent, a provocateur a mole has buried deep within Militia
Our table goes silent, my eyes say a kind of signal among the noise. "Fog-bound and still active. "
Josh nods. " Perhaps other events were influenced. But, three is
enough for certainty. The mole sits deep enough to identify and
target important projects, while still moving within our common
ranks. The BLACK QUEEN ... man or woman ... though you would like to
think it's a woman all smooth skin and claws."
Three sets of eyes claw at me. Demanding. Yet a craving churns my gut. "Suppose
I'm also certain. Then what?"
the Lone Ranger."
play the refugee with me. Swathgirls got your back; she's a real
your lizard, Bosco." Her eyes glow red, it seems.
hacks heavy and weighs on the table. "You've been to the line,
Will and over it; you know people, how parts turn other parts with
the Militia. Make sense of the patterns. Find the flaws in cover.
Hunt down the bitch, track her forward and backward till light
exposes the hidy-hole. Get her before she screws us again. Dig! You
owe it to us." Irishman sips at black watery dregs. "Flush
her out and put her down."
almost funny, I think into a dark haze; Irishman believes I need a
promotion. "Who knows about this ... project Josh, this
mechanics work ... besides us. Who debriefs. Where is the
gold-seam and who is your master?"
Will. Our masters." Irishman hacks again, a deep painful hack
that rips at his chest. Waits some. Then ..."You weren't
Jacksonville gulaged to go rancid, useless and shove poppers up
some bitches ass."
I reject a grin, then shudder; first with fear running 'round the reptile brain, then with hunger for the ice-sharp cold of contact ... of battle. Fear, hunger, amusement, dis-belief ... all compete for the same space my awareness. Time awaits ... you know time that transports gravity making gruel of our delites. Right hand clasps for my chest, expecting the 357-S&W as it once hung. I stare up at Irishmans black lens, where truth lives.
screech; pavement groans. Smash of a headlight howling against metal. A whore screams curses.
...BANG ... BANGBANGBANG ... a barrage of 40-cal firecrackers.
Like so many cafe attacks when Blue-Bellys war raged. Sirens wail outside.
Patrons stumble whichway, into chaos. An off-duty cop runs to the MOCA doorway.
"Let's move Papa." squirts Swathgirl.
Thoughtless precis ... evacuate to stay dim. Slickers in tow we push past into forever rain. Two police cruisers have jumped pavement at the street corner, their officers crouched with guns drawn. Homeless gather round ... over
their shoulders we see the two Swedes lay in the gutter, legs
splayed, torrents pushing at foreheads once home to GOPRO, but no
longer. Mangled red. A black hoe edges away.
" You Scranton. Done deal." Trey, huddled about the Irishman like a blanket
pulls us both into a stream of cars suddenly moving east. We dodge bumpers while drivers curse.
Yards away, Banger-boy in a big-wheel Chevy rolls by. "Serves dem white boys right, dey wanna see ev'thang."
Merc lurches stop at our feet. Trey and the Irishman dart cross-street and move on.
I'm alone. Swathgirl rolls down the window. White breast bunch careless against the
frame. "Get in lovrboy. Without a legend not time to die ... not even close."
home with another HRI. Returning to port in stormy weather , ladies and gentlemen good