Timothy, I presume you have asked your darling punkette out to the Patti Smith gig, and that you will be handling your own ticket purchases. When I mentioned to Sue my logistics dilemma in coordinating all this, she said, and I quote, "Let Tim buy his own tickets. He needs to take responsibility. He's got credit card and computer access. Why does he need us?"
Well, she had a point, so I'm buying mine probably Thursday afternoon after I drop Sue off at Dulles for her flight to Atlanta. Just tried to call it in, but grew weary of listening to muzak and ads. The web form tacked on eleven fifty in charges for a two week mail delivery window where any number of things could go wrong. Waiting until Thursday hopefully won't blindside me with a sellout.
Hey baby, put your dress on, we're going to the rock show. Any comments, news?
Date: Thu, 13 Apr 2000 19:12:26
From: Timothy S. Shipman
Admittedly, he is very resourceful. Chalk one up to cleverness and saavy on Steve's part. Boy he must have worked pretty hard on coming up with the right e-mail address config for me.
As far as the house goes...glad you received an offer, sorry it was lower than your asking price. I'm not quite sure what to make of the whole realtor scenario. It doesn't sound like you guys are having it go your way. I've heard it said that persistence pays off, and if there's anyone more persistent than you I'd like to hear of it.
Steve is now threatening to come down here on the guise of testing the voice-over market, even though he, himself, admits to not really being able to afford it and that NYC is really the voice-over venue. On the bright-side if he gets down here he might get his VCR back from me that he has been pineing away for. He wants me to mail it to him. Hell's Bell's it's a mono VCR. Peter had been in the market for a VCR, so I suggsted to Steve that he negotiate an equitable cash agreement w/Peter. But oh no, that was too troublesome and expensive. Off course, that left me wondering more troublesome and expensive for whom? I expect to have been able to run off a tape of Ministry by the end of the weekend, so will be in touch over the weekend.
Thanks for your help on the "Steve w/Tim's home e-mail address" quandry. I did know it was possible to find out or at least get pretty close to someone's e-mail address with certain sources, but my goodness he did a vigorous and thorough job. Anyway, what is your intended schedule for the weekend? As usual given the circumstances, I mention in passing that a bunch of my work associates and I will be convening a Happy Hour gathering at The Big Hunt Fri. 04/14/00 @6:30p, and you and Sue are welcome.
I'm hoping the new move will open up my sinuses again with a taste of the splendid, I had rejected living so many years in a disordered neighborhood, but I look around with that quiet joy that I fought the good fight and won here more than my own share of battles in the ghetto wars, though as the endgame approaches, my scars are many, and I wear most of them around my waist.
Well Tim, you'll just have to ask him if you guys ever joe friendly again. Lots of news on the GSIS front office relocation project. We're a jot and a jane from signing a deal, AT OUR ORIGINAL PRICE.
And without post drilling a sign out front.
Or having Lillie hosting a general open house. Or the preferred realtor's open house. All tried and true approaches user by finer salesmanship types, let me agree, but gently rejected by GT, replaced with a few whimsies, and strong purposes a faith and daring you know to be true of meand then not even needed. Is this real thing? Am I really living a charmed life and don't even recohnize it? Is this Sue and Gabriel DOING the Baby Dance or WHASSSUPPPP? Or a mere peace offering of my own warped imagination? Are my literary compulsionsa gift from the One True God of Inexplicable Coincidences, or merely the whip of wind around the pole that knows nothing but the warring process of oxidation and the errors even sub-atomic patterns contain within them? Can't say for sure. But the details are rich, and worth a sift.
For now I'll leave the dashing against the rocks for others, but there's no doubt we've offended every face of god in the house with our presumptuousness, but then MY kind of behavior generally always carries the hour. What this offense earns us is the undeniable urge to move uptown first a vision, then a reality. And now these new Raders inherit the role the perfect people for the place, and it makes us feel good because they just WANT the place, and should be able to handle it, and that's all they are asking for. And they are are prepared to move boxes. Bottomline I figure it's because it's an easy in and out again for parents from where they live north in Laurel. And here's the gasper, the third place in two weeks yet at the Essex Building in the 4700 block of Connecticut has come on the market. Cumberland Street cross-bearing. Hey I nixed with some Connecticut Rockefellers on Cumberland Island once. Lots of stories there. We're whizzing by early tonight. I'll risk Metro to Van-Ness, and walk the four or five blocks north to the building. I'm hoping the new move will open up my sinuses again with a taste of the splendid, I had rejected living so many years in a disordered neighborhood, but I look around with that quiet joy that I fought the good fight and won here more than my own share of battles in the ghetto wars, though as the endgame approaches, my scars are many, and I wear most of them around my waist.
Thanks for the invite, but probably won't be able to find the BIG HUNT with all that's grabbing me by the shorthairs around here. Yes, I mentioned all those moving details in mail, and schedule, ah, THAT'S where you heard it, and as fer the weekend, who knows? painting the backyard fence again, remember five years ago, househunting, packing, resting, et cetera.
Just call when you're feeling like you can swing by. Chances are we'll be here.
Date: Wed, 29 Mar 2000 04:00:08
From: Timothy S. Shipman
I can only... guess, after my comments of the other night regarding not having furnished Steve with my home e-mail address, that you, prior to that night, not being aware as to my dilemma regarding, enabling or getting dragged under by one Steve Taylor, must have furnished him with it inadvertently. I'm not attempting to place blame; rather I dislike the unexplained; it bothers me. As you may have concluded, I've received two e-mails from him in the past two days.
I can't be sure as yet, but I don't think I've e-mailed him since the home e-mail has been installed. Either from home or work. So I'll be checking my work e-mail logs tomorrow to see if I can get to the root of this. Any enlightenment you might shed would be appreciated.
Thanks to you and Sue for Sunday afternoon and evening, again!
Nope, no clues, no bruise from over here. I haven't emailed him in weeks, and haven't mentioned you at all in ages to him, so I'm not sure how he got it either, Tim, except we might have mentioned Earthlink over the phone that night, and like Jack, Steve is a resourceful fellow with something that appeals to his own sense of espionage and personal cleverness, and if Steve is anything, he's web savvy, at least on the surf. And yes, it was great having you here. Thanks again for everything. We got an offer on the house from that Kevin and Marcia Rader-Rhodenbaugh couple that swept through here Sunday, about five grand lower than we are willing to accept, so we chipped away a little from our listing price, and counteroffered. That other house we wanted on Connecticut Avenue is gone. Poof!
The Sue and Gabriel show may finally wind up on the street without a place to live yet.
The mortgage banker recommended by the Virginia realtor has stalled, or is a heavy procrastinator in giving us a nod or anything at all, so we may have to look elsewhere in saddling up with our own new mortgage services, and that next step is crucial. Anywaze, yeah, I miss Steve, but he's a jackass, worse than me it seems in terms of the friendship wars. If he would just grow up and try to be there for "his" friends once in a while rather than always needing somebody to be there for him, then he'd be a great person to know, but nobody can expect Steve to step outside his own calendar, so otherwise, yikes, let me out the door, splat, before this thing goes terminal...
Date: At 10:08 AM -0500 3/3/00
From: Timothy S. Shipman
My birthday went as I had planned, fairly anonymously! I had the folks take me to the DC Chop House on 7th St NW near the MCI arena, and that was about that. My father, as is his way, made a spectacle of himself by complaining about the prices, both of food and drink.
Being deaf he has a bad tendency to over compensate when others don't hear what he says, so there was a good amount of yelling outbursts. I think that is the last time I'm ever going to go out to a restaurant with him. "Can't take him anywhere!"
Before I all but quit going out into the city farce, I'd gotten that same way at bars and clubs and with myself in general. Life has a tendancy to become too busy and stall out completely, but nevertheless, I sweat beads of kinetic energy in my own special task to become more focussed on the project and determined to stay focussed on the project just so I can face myself with quiet intelligence despite what the world has to say about me, and in keeping to that intelligence, it feels a lot better now that I've identified how I want to live and where I want to live it, have taken a solid gaze at the old trusty game plan I developed as a child, and after having throttled myself with detection bits across a thousand shortcuts and hand-polished voices I like to think I find in books written just for me, music, fleshpots, sweatshops, moving violations, kindly nods to city fathers to endorse, system bugs, and bugged rugs created just for me, and other photosynthetic blankets of doom, parting gloom, private room closed eye well-hung mushroom clouds a=made for me, all fitting for my time, our tenor, these tribulations flitting back and forth like a ceiling cluttered with Blum's chintzy wire mobiles pointing nowhere in particular and everywhere at once, so much so that sometimes life in this old neighborhood just feels in a word, obsolete.
That this has anything to do with Richard Shipmanhe would most certainly plead confusion, that would make him correct once again. Everything is too expensive, and he is confused, and no doubt very proud of it. Sometimes, I chagrin to see myself in him. In others, I thank God every day is Judgement Day and that we, he and I, boast not a few spectacular differences that I shouldn't worry about Richard's particular hill of beans, but have enough bean hills of my own to keep me busy sorting out this from that, thank you very much...
I’d have the room that I need to live another ten years without clutter or squalor except that of the street itself, or should we really begin to cash in on ourselves, we could sell out and get into that promised mansion in the sky, mountain or seashore, urban or primal, heaven or hell, wherever the American pursuit leads.
But I see how it is. Take away man's dignity in work, his manhood, his relevance, and he soon becomes unnaturally obsessed about the smallest speck of dust in the universe when it is very obvious that this particular speck of dust is somebody else's job.
It still may be tougher getting from here to North Arlington than I want it to be, and so the quest to annex the property next door continues its haunt and eats up a lot of brainpower better spent elsewhere I suppose, but the whole affair remains a valuable alternative mythology and day to day memory builder for me, such as it is. Greg II and I haven't spoken since just before the holidays. But one thing is for sure, running this small house formerly known as the Dollhouse rather anonymously ain't the end of the line for me, or if it is, it is expressly against my will, especially if it is alongside these new neighbors who simply ain't a part of the GT plan, but you know me, I usually defer to the host of natural configurations to do most of the work, until that driven part of me steps in to straighten out the kinks and assume in kind what's been given to or is in the process of being taken away from me, whatever the spark is called.
The same's been said about this house on many an occasion, but there's noise and clutter, chaos and anger next door. We've also got rain drainage and perhaps a rodent problem in common. I'd like to solve both problems in one swoop. To get serious about rebuilding this neighborhood so that it can be ready to inherit its present beckoning. The Gabriel and Sue merger of 109 and 111 Eighteenth St. is magical in concept and practicality. I'd have the room that I need to live another ten years without clutter or squalor except that of the street itself, or should we really begin to cash in on ourselves, we could sell out and get into that promised mansion in the sky, mountain or seashore, urban or primal, heaven or hell, wherever the American pursuit leads.
Having long realized the repeated pleas I kept making to the same proven players to tighten up their respectful games so to stretch the sails of success still possibly available to this wretched ship of business on the one hand, while amply compromised by the sharp tendon-seeking harpoon of irksome friendship on the other, were becoming nothing more than the tools of my own self-torture, brief sightings of my own anecdotal white whale, I had arrived at the place where I knew I must finally best my faux Epicurean foes or finally sink into the straits of oblivion, that deep oscillating blue gray brine, that contemporary patch of something that nothingness claims as its home base from which nothingness is accorded a rightful position as a literary device only because nothingness itself probably will be soon facing its own purloined Waterloo burdened by an unspecified difficulty factor of zero minus one where not even floating point negativity can pull you through when faced alone with the white sheet of one's own periscopic blind. Like I insisted to Tom Howell a few years earlier as we both sat in opposing chairs in the Dollhouse living room not long after tacking my own 95 theses to the front door back when he was renting our sofa bed a couple of years ago, "Life is a submarine." What I never did quite understand was what Tom that early smokey morning had to gain by emphatically resisting my characterization, telling me I just could not make up words and phrases that made no sense. We battled over it, but I stopped cold when after I counterpunched, "And life is a bowl of cherries makes sense?"
Most recently a young catcher on the New York Mets named Mackey Hatcher suddenly could not return the ball to the pitcher without doublepumping his arm. His throws to the bases, say to second on a steal attempt was not affected, but over a several year period this phenomenon continued to plague Hatcher’s game. Sometimes it goes away as quickly and mysteriously as it appeared. Hatcher eventually lost his starting job to another catcher, and unfortunately I don’t know what happened to his career since Hundley replaced him.
Yes, it does, he said. It was famous, he said. "And we all live in a yellow submarine makes sense?" Knowing this was a lyric from the Beatles that summed Tom up neatly in what some might call "spiritual" terms better than anything I could ever muster, I was not surprised when he answered, "Of course." It was then everything crystalized and I fathomed that this master of snark was just arguing for the sake of telling me I was no writer, and to just get over it." And yes, these were the créme de la créme of punks and hippies and addicts and phreaks who wobbled around my words and works to find their way into my 95 theses. I would probably post those here, but that document appears to be lost or at least carefully preserved in some cardboard box stacked like a sailor's bunk in the basement keel losing zeal with each half-life of a uranium smile.
"I too am resolved to take better care of myself, starting RIGHT now," I continued to type heart and soul, fingers and toes, mind and matters of high and low estate out to my fellow genius friend and foe, Little Stevie. "Hence all these doctor's appointments to see the neurologist. Hosting the Steve Taylor Straight Past Sunday Show at the Dollhouse DOES NOT improve my chances for achieving this goal. Sorry my take on world events differs so much from your own; the harsh dovetones of this flying email of fuck thee my friend are not easy for me, because you are quite dear and karma-seutical to me, but present fact is stronger than distant fiction, and distant fiction is what we seemingly feast upon to help ourselves get through another speeding mist of snit and snotty mindswirl. So please, do me this favor, leave me alone. Let ME play it by ear, hearing nothing and all things simultaneously in damned well my own due time to prove whether or not I can survive your toying serpentlike silences. Bracken will soon be gone, as well may Shipman in the beckoning future of Dollhouse fates. Needless to say, there are plots and counterplots already in the works. Meanwhile I will light a candle to wedge into my sass for all eternity for each of my adversarial friends, each who believe in their deepest of competitive souls that they possess something of vigorously vital interest to me. That's just not so. I cannot sustain the conflicting desires of conflicted minds without losing my own endowments to the howling winds of inconstancy. I might even boast that I have history on my side in these abrupt appraisals, my friend. You play it by ear, so now hear this: STAY AWAY STEVE TAYLOR BECAUSE GT IS SICK AND STEVE TIRED! Is that enough SAST for you? Maybe these are my fevers making themselves known in words today. Test them as I know you shall, but beware, not a line on this page is as bogus as the hopping genius you bar none but spare all."
And that ended another email that would be forgiven or ignored, whichever would come upon a midnight clear ever so lastingly.
And so here again in another life, I was experiencing this very strange onset of a similar type of failure. Why I suddenly could not look at Steve and call his name was baffling. I had known him for a couple of years, and Tim a decade, Tom even longer, but the phenomenon never failed to appear during this period of mixing their names. Some deeply disturbing psychological mist-feeding bots have been picking and probing the hardwired Gabriel much the same way search engine robots work the Internet, upsetting my throughput.
A quick sidebar to newcomers. Steve and I work this ruthless game of acronymics which simultaneously insults and delights us as we plug in words to match or extend our given initials. Another variation on this passionate and rich wordplay is the psychology-based or habit-driven puns we derive from a combination of two people's names who share a discernable time-revealed psychological or sociological habit. For instance, to pull a STIM (a combination Steve and Tim habit) might be spilling a beer in a no no situation, or since Gabriel is not so free from this ghastly flaw himself, we might call that "pulling a GAST!" There is the STOO (Steve, Tim, and Sue), say anything do nothing approach to sliding past a particularly debilitating lethargy. Or in Sue and Tim's case, the SIM, responding to a question with a self-evident answer while missing the point of the question entirely. A GOO (Gabriel & Sue) work til we drop modis operandi fat ass config. If Tim were ever to develope this habit around the Dollhouse we might redub this event a GOOTS. A STAG (Steve & Gabriel) qualifies as fast as lightening, smartest in the room, analysis a million ways to Mars approach to daily murmuring. A JENSET (completely in love with themselves, immenselyand publically proud of their own physical prowess, beauty, and sense of fashion). We can extend this into a STACK (Steve, Tim, and Jack), a tendancy to usurp, and add Gabriel with his barroom boorishness to that mix, and you've got simply a GASTACK, or a SETSTACK might indicate a fast-talking never say die 'tude. A JOO (Jack & Sue) can be summed up as the cult of the secret fucksters. And on and on. Of course we can all say "we pulled a PETER..." once or twice in our lives.
This game originally evolved to its brutally hybrid level one afternoon down in the basement as I was chatting with Steve and Sue. Tim was elsewhere, but I had fallen into a strange habit of late in saying Tim when I meant Steve, saying Tom when I meant Tim. It was wild, creepy, a megahaunting thing, and explainable perhaps only with an example taken from baseball history.
Occasionally, and it's happened enough times in history to not beg disbelief, including to this writer in his own youthful baseball days, that a player suddenly can't throw the ball in the particular fundamental routine he had long ago mastered. Most recently a young catcher on the New York Mets named Mackey Hatcher suddenly could not return the ball to the pitcher without doublepumping his arm. His throws to the bases, say to second on a steal attempt was not affected, but over a several year period this phenomenon continued to plague Hatcher's game. Sometimes it goes away as quickly and mysteriously as it appeared. Hatcher eventually lost his starting job to another catcher, and unfortunately I don't know what happened to his career since Hundley replaced him.
To have rocked out with fringe establishment junkies for a over decade with little to show for it but several thousand fotographs hardly interesting in themselves stuffed into boxes of unfinished business to prove that it indeed did happen, a neurosis that is killing me, and a final ending to a dream that never happened, I can thank the participants in my long fall from self-grace to the miserable lech I’ve become for their best intentions, but I am certainly glad for the freedom to carry on more quietly without having to maim myself for a friendship that is as suburban in some respects and as dead end in others as any tract housing of the mind I’ve ever heard condemned in some ranting pop anthology cursing the hackneyed norms of the strait and narrow.
However, I developed a similar affliction when trying out for second base on a new team after our family moved to a new town in a different county where nobody knew my name or past stardom. I threw the ball fifteen, no exaggeration, feet over the first basemen's head every damned time I fielded a ground ball. It was preposterous, daunting, downright wicked and demonic to this hopeful infield candidate. I knew at fourteen that I had somehow, for some mystical reason beyond my grasp, succumbed to this strange affliction I had read about somewhere as I voraciously consumed all sports data I could plow my eyes through. But I really wanted to win that second base job. I did not want to get stuck in the outfield, which is where I ended up, so this was no pretend thing. I was a star athlete the previous year, and would do okay this summer, but during this spring tryout this mysterious baseball fluster swooped in and blew any opportunity for infielder status I had in front of these strangers in the new town. Needless to say, none of these kids or the adult coach were hip to this odd baseball phenomenon, and I knew there was no need to explain it. A second baseman was worthless if he couldn't thud the first baseman on a groundball, even if it wasn't his own fault.
And so here again in another life, I was experiencing this very strange onset of a similar type of failure. Why I suddenly could not look at Steve and call his name was baffling. I had known him for a couple of years, and Tim a decade, Tom even longer, but the phenomenon never failed to appear during this period of mixing their names. Some deeply disturbing psychological mist-feeding bots have been picking and probing the hardwired Gabriel much the same way search engine robots work the Internet, upsetting my throughput. This game of ours was destined to be willed into existence. For on this particular afternoon as I was looking right at Steve and Sue and referring to in a quite obvious way to Tim, I stumbled over S-T, stuh, catching myself, switched gears, finished with I-M, and STIM was born because at that very instant Gabriel and Steve both realized the genius of the tongue slip, and Sue followed in a little slower, but we all shared a great meglomaniacal guffaw since the reference I now forget could have just as easily been describing Steve. Well, we spent the next few hours racing up and down the possibilities like a rabid dog trapped in a narrow dog run. Once again, genius had won out over routine expectations.
So where were we?
Addendum Of The First Kind
... because of the several requests for the next installment of the Dollhouse Fevers, I finally buckled down to publish this much today. I do not compose these things over days or weeks, but try to get as much down in one or at most two sittings before I am so cramped up by the sheer horror of what has happened, what was said, what was left out, and what I am now feeling as a result of what most readers of this already know as the dismissal of one, maybe two of my longest running if not deepest cryptically-maintained friendships I've boasted in DC, or anywhere else for that matter. Combine these with the alienation of Jack Johnson in an affair which Tim was also slightly involved but of little relevance to the underlying issues of my Jackpast, this past year of 1996 has really cleaned house. For that I am honestly grateful. The DHF narrator's sentiments are real, rather unrefined, and by nature self-centered, but as close to the oil in my veins as they get to reality hype for me. To have rocked out with fringe establishment junkies for a over decade with little to show for it but several thousand fotographs hardly interesting in themselves stuffed into boxes of unfinished business to prove that it indeed did happen, a neurosis that is killing me, and a final ending to a dream that never happened, I can thank the participants in my long fall from self-grace to the miserable lech I've become for their best intentions, but I am certainly glad for the freedom to carry on more quietly without having to maim myself for a friendship that is as suburban in some respects and as dead end in others as any tract housing of the mind I've ever heard condemned in some ranting pop anthology cursing the hackneyed norms of the strait and narrow. True, we are all more than and simultaneously less than any song, any label, any criticism spewed against us in whatever forms vengence and circumspection take, but in the end, it's all about respect. We will all pay this price in some coin or another. I do intend on finishing this raw version of what happened to me last New Year's. This Day 4 installment will probably be published in three segments. This ends the first. Day 5 and Day 6 will be rather short. Extremely short.
But I, like a pit bull gripping an only child's leg, will not let go of the memory that separates a responsible idealogue from the reeling irresponsibility of those who have been given a mouth but have never learned to use it in a way that benefits others as much as they think it benefits themselves in having no ties to its effects.
The Epilogue may spill rather long as I attempt to resolve all the loose threads and restitching of this cloth several months after the original sequence of events. Even as I look at the clock on the wall a few feet away from my Macintosh, knowing I have spent all of this and last Saturday mornings composing this insult to people I still love like a parapalegic loves his wheelchair, my neck is all crinkled and noisy, popping stiffly, as my back is twisting in agony of sharp pain, and I realize with a grashing of teeth that grace is as often found in forgetting as in remembering. But I, like a pit bull gripping an only child's leg, will not let go of the memory that separates a responsible idealogue from the reeling irresponsibility of those who have been given a mouth but have never learned to use it in a way that benefits others as much as they think it benefits themselves in having no ties to its effects. The only way out of the abyss is to invent the perfect game. A game where one answers a question with a question. A game where that question is constructed in the form of a surrealistic entendre which must somehow logically and I emphasize, logically (yeah, what a gas...), commit the next question also constructed in the same surrealistic form to match and then succeed it, the forerunner. This game has been invented. It is the 21st century.
Now for the flipside. Spillage? Duh. Not allowed. Smoking of any sort inside the automobile. Buy a vowel, Timothy! Not allowed. Insubordination? Rule One of this experiment, Gabriel's game, Gabriel's plume. No subterfuge allowed. Swift and unrestrained punishment would be meted out to transgressors who dared steal my harp. Ursurping authority? Well, that's just a restatement of the previous thou shalt not and pretty much sums up the control mechanisms by which we each must survive this night, so by my own calculations, I had mapped out a simple common sense strategy of fun and freedom, not one of sterility and oppression, and logistics were pushed to zero tolerance. Of course I, Gabriel would master the tunes. No usurping of powers allowed. While the idea that I would push the envelope of decency off the cliffs of Dover with shank hopes of creating a frisky sex scene may startle critics with an ax to grind, but one can't diminish the axiom that in a closed environment of money grubbers, he who sweats the gold controls the rules, and thus rules the controls AND the grub, and since Sue was footing a $500 tab, I didn't see where anybody else had much of a visceral say, particularly since Jennifer and I had already discussed the parameters of consent, and she certainly had not shed a glimmer of submissiveness now simmering beneath her cloak of many surprises away from the stronghold of Gabriel's intentions, so the point was quickly becoming a moot point, still a thorn in my side, but manageable, and you can bet I was aware of it at every flicker of the candle's dimming light.
Although I was equally certain that Steve would have lost most of his enthusiasm for Jennifer as a possible conquest after knowing Tim had taken her down, he certainly could have prevented Tim from ever making it back into the goodies on my watch because of the added complexity of the situation. Steve as usual was playing it by ear, according to Tim, even after I had written him out of the script.
Not a nickel would be expected of our guests, just a simple civility generated from Sue's terminology. Of this I felt obliged to share with Tim before I would allow his accompaniment. Of course he was eager to comply in word. What was there to disagree with? Although he was aiming to roll his 'rettes in the car, we told him no way Tim, you either pre-roll, or buy a pack of Marlboros or whatever. One word on the freedom of speech WITH consequences clause. Since we were winging this event of course the situation might arise where we would find ourselves free of pre-destiny and ready for a suggestion. Suggestions would be accepted, but the final prerogative, of course again fell to Sue and Gabriel. Odd to admit that I knew that I would have to labor over these general protocols with this fine group of friends of mine but to quote Dylan Dylan Dylan once again, to live outside the law, one must be honest. We would be ready to pump. And honesty, while always appearing in bombastic drag along stinking beer-soaked fringes of a sardonic circle constructed of frayed synapses, free radicals, hard candy, ghosts in the machine, fairy tales and trapezoids-in-training, she winks, and rarely hangs around long enough to make a speech, but usually ducks out in favor of her hyphenated twin sister, defensive-rationale.
We had made the peace. Tim was in. Jennifer too. Even though I had uninvited Steve already, Tim was still hoping to bring him back into the fold. In my own mind, wrong as it can be, albeit rarely, 2 to 5% of the time as a carefully constructed set of campaign statistics might show, Tim is such a sucker for friendship and comaraderie, especially after ending this long dry spell in the sack, I felt he simply wanted to share his enthusiam by parading his quarry before as many friends as he could muster, not realizing that any of them could intercept his own intentions and make them their own. Although I was equally certain that Steve would have lost most of his enthusiasm for Jennifer as a possible conquest after knowing Tim had taken her down, he certainly could have prevented Tim from ever making it back into the goodies on my watch because of the added complexity of the situation. Steve as usual was playing it by ear, according to Tim, even after I had written him out of the script. This was December 31st, the final day of 1996. Jennifer had arrived on the 28th. Yet on Friday the 27th, the day BEFORE Jennifer's bounding leap into the fevers, after still having heard not a peep on the Della front four days overdue, I wrote the following to Steve:
From: Gabriel Thy
Subject: One Flu Out (WHEN IN ROAM...)
Date: Fri, 27 Dec 1996 12:50:56 +01
Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org, BLUMSTEIN_ROBERT.at.P-CRC@hq.navsea.navy.mil, email@example.com
Read your incredulous note in the wee hours this morning after a full day of Bracken's breath yesterday, finishing up his Debord photoscanning. Ninety-nine pictures of Frenchy fried brains in all...today we work on converting his text to Mac format, and probably some PageMaker work will do us until after the New Year.
I will be busy with work, guests, and doctor's appointments until after the new year so I guess I'll see you down the road in 1997. Had enough of this say anything, do nothing camp for one year, if not a lifetime. In other words, try these on for size SAST. Stay Away Steve Taylor. Sick And Steve Tired. And between the two of us, you won't be missing anything you haven't already mastered.
Sometimes friendship is only a foul investment in the trickle down nonsense of time's ruthless monopoly. Sometimes it is GOD.
Our limosine plans are now quite iffy. Skip Bafalis, the owner, was rushed to the hospital Christmas Eve, spent the whole next day having tests run to no conclusive end. He was released sometime yesterday. Still no solid lead on a driver, but Sue has a maybe up her sleeve. Since you cannot resist playing coy with details on your end, I think we should simply disengage. In Dollhouse vernacular, I am pulling a Blumstein of 1985 by disinviting you for that holiday drive in the jingle jungle jangle which may not even happen anywaze, and ALL activities sandwiching the wild duck. You deal with the consequences on your end. I'll deal with them on this end. Hey, that's the way we've been playing the game all this time anyway, right? Very little teamwork, a whole lotta garbage mouth, promises, vows, big plans, narcissistic meanderings, hip to hop to hap flap we go, to ground zero where nothing ever happens but an effort to cheat the chatter of reality. Can't play that man. That seems to be your game, and I just can't deal with it for the next few weeks, hey even months. As for you seeing Jennifer, if she wants, she can meet you elsewhere, but I am commandeering control of the Dollhouse at this point in time, and as SAST, you simply can't seem to commit to anything but the moment, and then the moment's gone...
You want me to toss the ball around with you in the coming months before Howrey hits the diamond in the rough? Well, I will honor that commitment even as you struggle with pecking order on your side of the moral equation. Meanwhile I am still GT. Yesterday I invited Bracken to join us at the cage. Len's quite the sportsman himself, although I am led to believe his game of choice is hoops. But now you hint that you may not even break spring training wind as you may spin off to web wonderland in the taunting twists of fate we both can appreciate for its razzle and its dazzle, but only one of us will be worn to a frazzle chasing the dreams of the other. And I think we know who that person is. Good luck, and get well, Steve, of winter aches and gains, and this enfilading brain seizure gripping your soul, a hellava ride, but one always threatening to spin outa control...
Sometimes friendship is only a foul investment in the trickle down nonsense of time's ruthless monopoly. Sometimes it is GOD.
I drugged up last night with a handful of decongestion pills and a swallowful of green death as I too felt the oncoming freight train of disease approacheth. This morning I am groggy but clear minded on the issues. Read this note twice, read it five times if you must, but read it clearly. Gabriel is marking SAST up for insubordination, NOT FOR SPILLING BEER TWICE, NOT FOR ALL THE FAIR ARGUMENTS YOU PLACE UPON MY NECK, HEY, NOT FOR ANYTHING YOU HAVE OVERTLY ACHIEVED, BUT, BUT, BUT, FOR WHAT YOU HAVE COVERTLY IGNORED IN THIS SHORT AFTERMATH OF THE PLANNING STAGES OF THIS, THAT, AND THE OTHER THING...
Sorry we won't have the opportunity to meet Della, but then, DID WE EVER?
The din of silence from the Stevester is just one more reason why computers are not what they used to be in a world gone mad over speed and sad over performance...
We signed up for ISDN access yesterday. Tuesday, May 13 is installation date. Videoconferencing should be more reliable then, but will I ever have an equitable use for it? How's the apartment hunt going? Tim breezed by this past Sunday with the news that he'd been paging you all morning to no avail, snagging his 45s, and part of some movie with Sue in the same breath. Sue reported the afternoon when you called and I was sleeping, that you repeatedly coaxed her to inform me I should page you, any time, any time, any time. Well, I finally did. I sent you two pages, well links, on a new introductory iMote page, mostly a cheap trick dazzler, but I was inspired to ante up by a recent visit to Ben Voos' site:
I haven't been flooding you with messages lately because I know how beaver you've been, so why waste bandwidth, as they say in the lower snot caverns where the toys of summer bring fall rains...
Peter and I swapped notes yesterday at a pace reminiscent of some of our own E-mail as instant messages tours des force (is that proper, or should the "ess" follow the word force?). I finally felt like I broke a little ground if not a lotta wind with Pete. Nothing more specific than recaptured focus, but it felt good.
Lemme know what's been keeping you when you get that infernal chance, right? Has there been a Sullivan in your life lately?
"But have you never played with a clockwork doll?" the man insisted, the voice muffled through the door. "A doll which does everything perfectly, because of the machinery inside. Walks, sings, jumps rope. Real little boys and girls, you know, cry, act sullen, won't behave."
Thomas Pynchon, V
They shall wait, and be puzzled, and baffled and blinded; not with wine, shall be drunk, and shall reel without liquor; for Yahweh will pour on them a spirit of stupor, close their prophet's eyes, and will blindfold their gazers. Their visions shall be like words sealed in a book, passed to one who reads not, asking, "Read this book, pray." And he answers, "I cannot, because it is closed." Or gives it to another who knows not a letter, and says, "Read this, I pray." But he also answers, "I know not a letter!"
My battlegray-blue eyes popped open rather late by GT standards this Monday morning, mulling the plans we had set into place. Night had passed a gallstone of heavy sleep solids past my REM gourd but now an unbias light announced New Year's Eve minus one, and I had no one to blame for my tired blood enemy but myself. The big red digital clock on the dresser stared back at me from across the room, forcing me to acknowledge that it was after seven, and I wasn't getting any closer to the age of dissent. Rich chunky familiar odors were already wafting along the quiltsong architectural canvas of the Dollhouse, mixed with a few ambient splashy smells bouncing hard off walls and ceiling fans with a force of prank-incited wedgies up my nostrils. I needed no introduction to these smells. Tim was busy with kp duty, and I was willing to bet he was dishing up his best laid culinary delights for his newfound friend. Of course, it had never occurred to him the whole of his nearly nine month stay at the Dollhouse to offer to fix breakfast for Sue or Gabriel, even after all the hints in China, probably a habit he learned at home. But there was no animosity there. Meals had gotten off to a bad start in the very beginning of TimTime, and the fact that he now took care to feed himself, while we rarely offered him a freebie meal servicing anymore was quite enough explanation to suit me as to why he never came through with the Shipwreck Breakfast Special. Well, there WAS that one time early on, wasn't there? I don't recall, but I'd wager a mouthful of words to a number that Tim does.
With much to resolve on this lovely morning I awoke fondly reminiscing on my second round of light-hearted debate aimed at debunking Jennifer's intellectual guardian, Franz Boas, the morning before. Actually I had no idea when I first dropped his name that Boas was still such a powerhouse figure on the anthropological front, but then after a bit more consideration, I realized Darwin is no less fingered today than in his own heyday. Nor Jesus, Newton, Freud, Friedan, or Malcolm X in their own fields of opportunity.
Jennifer was visibly astonished, appearing to be caught completely off guard in discovering that I was even FAMILIAR with the name Boas. I was more surprised to find that she knew very little about D’Souza and his book, but her excuses of studies, focus and time constraints were obviously valid.
Boas, she restated, was considered the father of modern anthropology, unmistakably incumbant to today's intellectual climate and her own doctoral specialty, Indonesian studies. During her middle November visit here, however, while hovered over the kitchen sink finishing up some menial task, I had without warning or prior witness pricked Jennifer's bitch goddess surface tension out of its lethargy into action by launching into a rejection of Boasism in light of some current affairs news item I now forget. But by converting some news bit into a springboard for slamming the state of American social policy, to repudiate thirty-five years of cultural slide I primed the pump. In a civilization nearing civil war and ruins, as a result of heavy doses of the illogical demeaning liberal poison of two or three generations, examples are not at a loss in exposing themselves: criminals with more rights than their victims, private sector niche quotas, generational anger in the streets fueled by misplaced jealousies, awkward depravity-driven school busing, the recent folly of ebonics, right-wing and left-wing excesses unchecked by a cowering middle class afraid of losing their own livelihoods in a nation exporting jobs as fast as immigrants pile in seeking jobs, the conflict of third world markets trying to compete in the First World absent the same work ethics, and so on. There's no relief in that numbers and statistical racket which is used to prove everything from the number of people buried in Grant's Tomb to the number of folks who would themselves be called African American if the docket should be completely rearranged to include Lucy, supposedly the first man in the mix. The planet is teetering toward chaos where 1984 is the number that replaces common civility with the lemming march toward self-expression and tribal supremacy. This is our contemporary inheritance: a "no love lost between us and them cold hard fact" while simultaneously embracing the official jargon of "humanitarian love" given the full range of freedom to trod down, first in gaining rights, and later in losing them to unbridled but easily predicted selfishness, the very premise of freedom as implied in the original concept the founding fathers identified with the qualifier of the "pursuit of happiness", a far cry from the "guarantee of happiness" our liberals would vacuously impose upon so many with so many different agendas to pursue today.
Having only recently finished Dinesh D'Souza's controversial book on American race relations, The End of Racism, I was fresh to the subject of cultural relativism, a phenomenon D'Souza attributed directly to Boas and his first generation of prized disciples, which included such household names as Margaret Meade and Kenneth Clark. Without trying to recreate the whole argument "for" or "against" Boas, it can be easily accepted that the father of modern anthropology espoused biological evolution while denying cultural evolution, stating that culture is a matter of socialization processes. He therefore dismissed any notions of cultural superiority and inferiority that could be ranked according to a linear scale of savage, barbarian, and civilized. Strange that cultural relativists lust after the rewards of a civilized culture while refusing to adapt to the very methods that allowed the civilizing culture to prosper in the first place. But again, I must admit that this is no place to argue these subtleties. Even the previous statement leaves volumes unstated, and much to be distorted by the opposition. Emphasizing that the Jennifer and Gabriel debates barely skimmed the surface either, the list of liberal fallouts is too long and specific to labor beyond its purpose here, but suffice it to say D'Souza, a first generation immigrant to this country, born in India in 1961, moving to this country in 1978, wrote in defense of a more conservative capitalistic approach to race and economic problems in this country and worldwide. Liberals and black activists have seethed at his conclusions. I watched in absolute astonishment as Phil Donahue tried his damnedest while repeatedly failing to unstitch this boyish-looking defender of individual inertia and productivity as being the criteria for resolving the well-documented inpenetratable contradictions and fallout of liberal ideology. I was persuaded by his arguments, welcomed them as a solid framework for change so many politicians on the grift continue to mouth to loud applause while stumping for office while remaining clueless, or more precisely, spineless to help initiate their implementation once collecting a paycheck, and I was ready to address them with someone whose topical fiber could no doubt withstand my own diligence on this issue. Jennifer was visibly astonished, appearing to be caught completely off guard in discovering that I was even FAMILIAR with the name Boas. I was more surprised to find that she knew very little about D'Souza and his book, but her excuses of studies, focus and time constraints were obviously valid.
Yet we plunged gravy-eyed and pepsident into the cultural relativism debate with heavyweight brows to match our virtual polysynthetic fighting trunks for five to ten minutes the first time out. Volume and speed controls were both jacked to the heated debate levels we embraced like hunt dogs to water fowl.
I wanted a refutation, or a concession to my aims but I would not accept half-hearted half-baked kneejerk responses, nor be expected to give them. I wanted to be overwhelmed by precision or else win by acclaim. Naturally, neither was achieved. Severed from yet another dialetic in my passion to please my guest, I had no choice but to let go of the debate. Washington my hands of it. At least I was standing over the sink.
Our arguments in November were only somewhat longer and more satisfying than the two minute drill yesterday. New insights failed to be fleshed out in dialetic garb as we soon were reduced to absurdity with the "why argue for sheer argument's sake" buttering of our intellectual bread. This was happy time. Act accordingly. Loving argument in order to change opinions was less a qualifier than a character flaw in this holiday environment. Besides, any point made would remain moot, because as Jennifer noted, "How could I argue Boas perceptibly when I had not read Boas?"
It was easy enough to concede the truth of her query, only to also square with a great laugh that while I had not read Boas, she had not read D'Souza, and I was holding my own confidences quite well quoting from my own short-term memory his criticisms of Boas and the proof he offered that Meade, and indeed many of that first school of Boasians giddy with newfound liberal presumptions, had fabricated much of their own work tailored to promote the Boasian theory, and were quite unscientific in methodology on the whole. To the contrary, great portions of the work turned in were profoundly bogus concoctions meant to hide evidence not acceptable to the relativist theory. Still on my soapbox I told her that D'Souza in my reading is no far right assailant against individual liberty nor some chalkboard framer of double standards, but he suggests with very compelling examples spred over 500 encouraging pages that we have "gone from civil rights to uncivil libertiesthe liberty to abuse freedom and then claim entitlement." But nothing was to be settled in the Dollhouse kitchen concerning Boas OR cultural relativism at this point in our lives. This was an "agree to disagree" nod to the very relativism I sought to escape successfully without the penalty of losing friends. Not that I expected to convert Ms. Hoke-Connolly from her officially sanctioned perch upon the intellectual twig of the 20th century. I simply dared to expose myself to her competence, her higher education. I wanted a refutation, or a concession to my aims but I would not accept half-hearted half-baked kneejerk responses, nor be expected to give them. I wanted to be overwhelmed by precision or else win by acclaim. Naturally, neither was achieved. Severed from yet another dialetic in my passion to please my guest, I had no choice but to let go of the debate. Washington my hands of it. At least I was standing over the sink.
Len Bracken, revolutionary pretender to the classless society, when first spelled the excitement that spirited me after reading the book a few weeks back, responded to my description of D'Souza's conservatism with typical priapic wit, "Well of course, he's a Brahman..."
We both have mean streaks running through us and soon enough, enough would be enough, and the grapevine would be severed, and any humility left between us would seem across those lines nothing but poisonous mustard gas, and yellow the color of victory. Acceptance. That is the toughest leg of a prophet’s work. That was the lesson of Jonah. Ninevah on that stoned historical afternoon was left alone minutes after God condemned it.
As contrite as it sounds and seemingly out of place in this context, I am forced to declare my friend, Bracken, as he likes to be called, a revolutionary pretender because he is really no more of a de facto revolutionary than I am in my own role as a cowardly voice of the oscillating status quo. No skilled revolutionary am I, for as fate has declared, I bonded far too personally with Jack London's anti-hero, Martin Eden (who traveled the full soiling spectrum of social qualification only to finally acknowledge the futility of it all, opting for sea surf suicide at the top of his game), to ever find solace in social integration OR its disruption. Bracken is as punctuated by the very same urgencies of artistic pretention and economic validation as any other festering comrade of the "Whole Sick Crew" (a Thomas Pynchon tag) in his search for that narcoticlike niche of fame all the while stirring up a ripe fever issuing grandiose slogans for the negation of all art, all work, all class connotation.
Len Bracken, unfortunately, is a fragmented shadowkissed soul like the rest of us, a man of thrust, means, friendship, lightning in his eyes, a man of almighty unbridled pretentions, exploding with potential, a ladies man, handsome at six-two, six three, a man of principle just enough to deny it, trying to have it both ways: an echo of primitive expansions wallowing among darling sophisticates of choice, beautiful codes of the daring flesh embracing the ugly roads of nature's whimsy, the chaotic of unrestrained revolution in the streets while gulping well-ordered, polite after-dinner apertifs to cap an evening of safe adventure, and in this regard, will only mimic the contradictory delusions in exactly the same mete and measure as every other segment of society he would condemn in bold strokes, and no stone is left unturned in his dark views of modern society.
We pimped ourselves often with the chilling fact that we rarely disagreed on anything, even the language which we would use to describe a person, place, or thing, as we humored each other playing zippety doo da word games that would keep us both rolling around on the carpets, or bed, or wherever else we found ourselves on a pace and jocularity unmatched by anyone among my own fascinating if frequently irritating stable of friends, save the rather recent inclusion of Steve “Wonderboy” Taylor, whose talents for speed-dialing the brain cellular are of a certainty written on some mighty powerful but lean compiling code. As Steve puts it, “Well, not to play word games…wait…wait a minute…THAT’S what WE do!!!!”
Len Bracken is a post-modern classicist loner trapped in a multi-tiered mirage of the Debordian Society of the Spectacle he props up with giddiness kicking against his rear-view mirror, a man of infighting talents suffocating in the belly of the whale, seeking eternal life without paying the price. That price is acceptance of himself, his true unvarnished self, not the scattering mountebank he can only pretend to emulate, and of his freedoms, the true life-affirming meat and potato freedoms (he's a vegan) that he exercises daily and takes for granted, while still clamoring for more, more, more in the name of the faceless workers who may or may not agree to shake his hand if ever presented with the opportunity. Sue putting it to me this way one evening in trying to deflect yet another of my typically spontaneous anti-Bracken rants, rolled her eyes and with a heaving sigh summed up Bracken in a word, s-i-m-p-l-e. My first impression was to disagree with her, since I knew Bracken to be a learned fellow, lingusitically keen, well-groomed and well-mannered, full of vim and vigor on topics dear to his heart, faithful as an old flannel shirt, and addicted to the idea of originality, but as I quickly scanned the chattering scale of Len Bracken masquerades and adventure tales which never quite seemed to reconcile the vast array and contradictions of human nature with his own melodramatic maxims I was faced with the singular realization that for all the Bracken's breath he might breathe into the revolutionary corridors of history yet unwritten, my writer friend was indeed quite simple, a run of the mill romantic iconoclast who couldn't quite echo all the strings of his harpsichord at any given ideology swap meet as it had become crystal clear that analytical simplicity and self-deception were indeed the anchoring marks of his personality. Handicapped by an allegience to a dead philosopher's pet ideas, Len was a confused, disgruntled barefoot soldier in the icy war of nerves modernity serves up on a platter of fleeting glances, an infallibly-driven soldier of fortune much like myself despite our glaring differences, mindtrapped in a prism of privileged information unsure of ourselves because no one will harken to our ideas, or follow us singing slaphappy marching songs into battle, nor even slow down to clean up their own part in the rise and fall parabolic messes and minefields which slingshot the world's great masses into herded routines all balled up in measuring devices and bottom line alienations of a civilization gone mental over message units. One million souls saved on today's program! Three point two billion dollar deficit this quarter alone! Eighty thousand computers sold from this warehouse economy weekly! Over three hundred million viewers wordwide watched the game that showed that commercial that won the war that Jack built! This is indeed the spectacle, but it's not going to disappear anytime soon. One day I imagined I would have to engage the whole of the Debord/Bracken situationist philosophy point by point, and be thankful Len had brought it to me on a platter, but for now I would have to content myself with acceptance of Bracken until one of us finally crossed the lines of no return. We both have mean streaks running through us and soon enough, enough would be enough, and the grapevine would be severed, and any humility left between us would seem across those lines nothing but poisonous mustard gas, and yellow the color of victory. Acceptance. That is the toughest leg of a prophet's work. That was the lesson of Jonah. Ninevah on that stoned historical afternoon was left alone minutes after God condemned it.
But I was glad these arguments on cultural relativity were locking into place with regard to Jennifer. Surely she already knew upon which patch of promise I stood on matters of truth and consequence, their relationship to our own call of the wild, and so she knew no bootleg would ever pass for the real McCoy in MY forest. Through thick and thin our essences had remained the same. Of all people who knew me, other than my wife, she knew this without obstruction. She had claimed with sass and self-assurance the same turf for herself all through these years gorging on innocense as best she understood it. We pimped ourselves often with the chilling fact that we rarely disagreed on anything, even the language which we would use to describe a person, place, or thing, as we humored each other playing zippety doo da word games that would keep us both rolling around on the carpets, or bed, or wherever else we found ourselves on a pace and jocularity unmatched by anyone among my own fascinating if frequently irritating stable of friends, save the rather recent inclusion of Steve "Wonderboy" Taylor, whose talents for speed-dialing the brain cellular are of a certainty written on some mighty powerful but lean compiling code. As Steve puts it, "Well, not to play word games...wait...wait a minute...THAT'S what WE do!!!!"
But I had to admit now surface cracks were beginning to render this perfect text I had often imagined was possessed of almost magical qualities. Instead, a more humble shield of low-grade translucent cliché defrocking each of us with quivering elements was transpiring, and the potential loss of of a long-static relationship was pressing upon us. Jennifer's outbursts against me in an abrupt change of gears for her while straddling Sue that first night were nearly unprecedented, or so I wanted to tell myself, to fool myself into overlooking the barely apparent, just as I would overlook the visibly obvious problems Tim, Steve, Len, Tom, and Jack would cause me as I tried to sort out the good from the worthless in a decade of ruin. Something was indeed happening beneath the surface of what kept us mouthing the gospel of this cheek to cheek checkmate while actually proving the contrary with the actions Jennifer was choosing to embrace while dodging so many others as she conspired to bestow her own prerogatives on the fate of this friendship, but I wasn't certain. Today would tell a clearer story I had no other choice but to hope.
Downstairs I greeted the two dolls with a greasy good morning. Quickening to a fault, the saliva glands packed against my teeth and urged on by the whirling aromatic were no doubt pitching its own oily film to my hungering lips. Tim in the morning was sheer poetry...
Whistling while he worked, Tim was shrewdly doping vittles off the special menu he reserved for cozy overnighters. Of this of course I could only speculate. There had been no others, no other femme fatales he could call his own, no others to awaken with the thick promising bulge of uncut cucumber pressing against the warm soggy spot of vegematica, no others to fix a token morning meal guaranteed to wake even the dead nostrils of five or even six easy pieces of nickel sons and daughters. There had been no others. There was Styx a few months back, who'd gambled a few nights here on a mattress we'd picked up for her after I rescued the tragic scab-afflicted waif from the bus station, a topophobic orphan running from Texas, normality, and herself, but she apparently found the whole Dollhouse affair quite stifling, and scooted over to Tom's on the sly after we introduced them one night at Madam's Organ. Ruthless speculation indeed, but surely Timothy had finally scored some of that heavenly manna on this, his second night in the sack with the sweetheart from Cornell. Tim had remarked months before that the dungeon would not feel like home until he had bedded someone there, insuring there was no mistaking we had the makings of a homegrown myth between the Dollhouse walls and the fallguy sheets: wars and rumors of wars, sex and rumors of sex. Roll your own Tim was finally getting his chance to call the Dollhouse dungeon his home. Surely this was the kick behind his whistle.
I made haste to leave the happy couple alone, returning upstairs after getting myself something to drink, returning to the Macintosh, home of the brave and the cowards too. Lovely to the scheme, I always had E-mail to read and to write. Sue was stirring, readying herself for the daily grind of Alcalde & Fay. Tim and Jennifer would eat their cheery breakfast before he would push off to his own timeclock. Sue would engage her morning constitutionals of shower, java negro and snatches of Good Morning America, while I would nurse a sodapop until I slapped something together for breakfast later soon after the worker bees had left the hive. Everyone seemed to be happy. Energy, syzygy snapping together. Life was pumping through my veins, synapses firing squadrons of ideas through my brain. My earlier lethargy was ink and was vanishing...
Originally posted to a small group of friends on Sat Apr 05 08:54:00 1997
Hey Bobthought you'd enjoy this from Landry, a Louisiana native, but more recently has been living, working, and playing here in DC. She's now spent a year in San Francisco...
Tim finished off your chili last night. I scarfed up a good two-thirds a few days earlier. Was pain gassed for days in gut wars...FINE chili. FINE! BABY FINE! But can't return there too soon Blum. Plum foolish to do so. Doctors orders. No, I didn't go to see one. I can just IMAGINE one giving me that guff if I swashbuckled into her tomorrow. My health is bad enough. Lower gut seems worse at times. Bad habits. Bad breaks. It's day to day. Sometimes I can string a few 24s together when I can stare myself into a set primp and just come right out and say, hey, man I feel belly riiiiight! Man oh man. But last Saturday's romp in the backyard with newcomer friends of Tim's was a bellycracker!!! Beer and more beer. I was curled & aching in the morning. Sharp bladed pains in the lower intestines. Sucked down some 'bismol and within a few hours I was into recovery, but those were the sharpest belly pains of the decade I think for me.
Problems and literary carnage. I really liked these two, Chris and Elizabeth. He's black, thin, only slightly effete, quiet but not a mute, a courier, a writer. She was an outspoken, but reserved collegiate chunk of work, friendly, engaging, uh, uh, that's all remember, oh yeah, and white. They were both readers, but completely computer illiterate. But I was quite pleased they had come over. Yes, you saw them. Now I remember.
But as quite normal with that GT combination of beerweed I worked up a roar after being pulled into the basement over the intercom by invitation from Tim. It was this Gabriel who stepped in & speed-skimmed the blowoff right away from Tim. I started proving it as soon as I squatted down on the stairs to introductions all around.
I was that immediate poet. Ginsberg was in the air, and the tale of the first time Gabriel met Sue danced from my lips. Interruptions were frequent but the tale was to be told that day. It was a glorious afternoon. But five hours later as could probably be predicted I offended Chris so the story goes...through the retelling of snatches by Tim and Sue as I say I'm only picking it up in bit and peaches...
Black memory. Total irretrievable erasure of the last 2 and a half hours. Full amnesia. I told Sue I should stay under house arrest. Even the backyard is dangerous for someone with a mouth like mine. Beer in, a deconstruction of the anger out. Although I was of course immediately attracted to Elizabeth, there was no sexual tension or tittywhomping that afternoon. Now THAT's an odd detail. But no one I talk to is exactly sure what happened to cause my current grief. Is it imaginary, or is it memorex?
Those who knowChris mostlyaren't talking, according to Tim, who claims he's wasn't there for the most part, and is unsure but seems to let a little more of the cat out of the bag with each blip of conversation we found ourselves in since the weekend, but nothing is really certain as far as I am concerned. I sent Tim off with a copy of what I wrote yesterday meant for Chris & his girlfriend in reaction to the storms in my head now that I think I offended him. I didn't know what else to do. I don't even know why I'm getting so obsessed by this whole affair anywaze. I have offended millions, why struggle to patch what seems to be a very random and insignificant afternoon?
Why do I make messes of so much in some mad-eyed attempt to bring order from chaos while at the same time stomping through the ordered halls of polite society with the parabolic fevers of a wounded elephant?
Well folks, it's official. Styx has left the building. After spending four of five nights away from the Dollhouse in her search for fun & frenzy around the U Street corridor, spending nearly every dime of the $200 plus she bussed in with, Styx wandered up on Wednesday afternoon an hour past her declared work time of noon. I told her she was fired, having been very clear that if I was going to make work for her in order to help her make Dollhouse rent I wanted her to take it as serious as any outside job: honesty, dedication, and consistency the foundation of that relationship. And since she now had no visible means of support, I thought she should leave for those greener pastures she had taken up in recent days.
Tom Howell and his pals had as much adopted her, and I wanted her to go, so I worked up the stones to insist she leave. She was too quiet, acted like a prisoner, an ugly step-child, a peril to herself and to us, too antsy to get out of the house night after night. Obviously she was not comfortable here. And the feeling was mutual. Tim had wearied of her ghostlike emphemera, hardly a word spoken, and then only a whisper we invariably had to ask she repeat. We thrive on explicit boltwrenching chat around here. She thrived on escape. She just wasn't working out. All my speeches intended to enlighten and provoke exchange mattered nothing to her. She just wanted to flutter beyond like gutter garbage in the wind in some unspecific marking of time.
Despite yesterday’s hangover slump after crucifying an entire bottle of vodka the day before to ease the anxiety of having to turn my back on somebody, even somebody I probably loathed, I was notably relieved that she was gone. No deep & disturbing psychodrama, merely thirteen hours of photograph labels had passed between us. Other than $125 dropped on a twin mattress for her, which I am sure we can parlay into a proper use once we can afford to remodel the basement, I feel she owes us nothing, and I nothing to her. A closed chapter in all our lives.
When I awoke Tuesday morning and Tim said she had not come in again that night I figured she would stroll in late, and asked Sue to take the Metro leaving me the car to move her across town. And so I did. I fed her some Ethiopian along the way, and that was that. No anger, no final speeches. Just the shared feeling that this was the most natural thing to do considering the anxiety we both endured while she was here. Although she said she was prepared to complete her day's work that afternoon, she admitted she was happy to try her luck on the street.
She had spent last night at Ted's. An odd but warm fellow, a heavy-set bearded lost & found street saxophonist, Ted kept a place over on the notorious in one of the Paul Lutauf Belmont Street buildingsa barren dump as you can imagine, having lived over on that same stretch of Belmont-In-Squalor yourself a decade of woeful memories ago, eh Jennifer, but certainly more the Styx style than the ordered clichés of the mid-life middle class Dollhouse manor. We made no vows to keep in touch, for as I said, very little was directly exchanged, particularly on the topics of the immediate past and the oh so immediate future, and what little was said I drew out with a direct questioning, the sole standard form of communication we seemed fated to share until she would leave I presumed.
Despite yesterday's hangover slump after crucifying an entire bottle of vodka the day before to ease the anxiety of having to turn my back on somebody, even somebody I probably loathed, I was notably relieved that she was gone. No deep & disturbing psychodrama, merely thirteen hours of photograph labels had passed between us. Other than $125 dropped on a twin mattress for her, which I am sure we can parlay into a proper use once we can afford to remodel the basement, I feel she owes us nothing, and I nothing to her. A closed chapter in all our lives.
Strange how I once thought she & Tim might hit it off, when instead it was Howellnyms & his Braeniac crowd who took immediate advantage of this wandering waif.
She was quite efficient in those thirteen hours at the Mac. I used a microrecorder early in the mornings before she was stirring to identify the appropriate people, place, and dates of each photo. She then transcribed them, printed to label sheets, and then applied to pictures each label at an astonishing rate. I was quite pleased with her work, but I knew she wanted to maraud the cityscape instead despite her acquiescent nods when I plied her with questions concerning her comfort & intentions amongst the Dollhouse regulars. I might have let Rob Williams down, but it no longer mattered. He'd passed her along to me. I passed her along to Tom and Russell Braenno doubt to their prudent chagrinbut at least she wanted to be over there with Russell's Myhouse crew, closer to the urban street action than she was with us. I heard somebody say Patrick Tracy, our looming Irish writer, won a Madam's Organ backroom blowjob out of it, her idea, his treat. Enough said.
"Ignorance and virtue suck on the same straw. Souls grow on bones, but die beneath bankers' hours.""