The bar was a dusty old shit-hole in a place nobody ever wanted to be. A tangerine light slanting through musty wooden windows played over the millions of particles which filled the room. Otis regarded them and their meaningless play, reminded of words once spoken to him by a woman now dead for millennia. She’d been an artist. All she saw was light and color and it had always been enough for her. Otis no longer had a heart but the traditional feeling of pain could still be felt there. But her lesson remained after all this time. There is beauty everywhere if you take the time to see it. He’d tried. Good goddamn had he tried.

But time is a tricky thing. The last of his ice had melted. The whiskey was warm, its touch electric and disgusting. The oily glass was difficult to hold with his carbon fiber fingertips. They were suited more for holding the grips of high caliber weapons. The liquid poured over his synthetic tongue. The liquids were carried through a series of filters which broke down the molecules into component parts which were carried away by repurposed viruses from valves along the segmented silicone tube. The molecules were stored for later use. The remaining water was cycled into his coolant fluids.

The locals had grown accustomed to this 6 foot tall monster who had come to live among them. They knew that he offered them some kind of security in a most insecure world, but his habits proved quite vexing to their limited, single life spanned minds. For all they knew he was only machine, and he could barely argue the opposite against them. They didn’t know why this machine drank or sat silently among them in their one refuge. He didn’t know either. Truth be told, nobody knew anything about why they were either here now, or still here, on this miserable and long forgotten planet called Earth.

Most couldn’t afford to leave. Their ancestors had been left here by the space farers some 8,500 years ago and since had toiled on a bare planet, reaping a bitter harvest of 2,000 years of plunder, when humans were the most awful species that had ever existed. Others, like Otis, couldn’t afford to leave for much different reasons. Otis and a few others in this very bar had fled a military industrial complex which simply didn’t allow flight. Warriors were born and bred for that purpose. They were never to come in contact with the decent folk of the stars. Theirs was a purpose so terrible it could destroy the entire narrative that modern society had built itself upon. So those that left were doing so at the very real threat of extermination by exterminators who had been genetically bred to excel at their task. They were often hideously scarred by implants of all sorts. Most had lost some if not all of their limbs. In a time when only the brain really mattered soldiers had a much, much longer life expectancy. All were completely without the ability to socialize on normal worlds. Realm worlds. They came out here to the origin star to die alone and the military usually afforded them that right. For 3000 years humans had expanded so far from Earth that it had become an irrelevant myth that nobody really cared much to hear. This made it the perfect place to get lost.

Few had the unique ability to see it as Otis did. With memories of the days before the space farers left. For Otis the ghosts were laid bare in his perfect, digitized memory. The buildings, the cars, the movies, the drugs. The people. The last real people. His brain again synthesized feelings of a heart that was not there as he remembered once again that he was truly the last “real” human. Or at least that is why he had been brought back so long ago now.

Lost in these thoughts Otis had failed to notice the figure approaching from his rear. Sensors were trying to alert him but when he was really remembering something he was mostly gone to the world around him. The hand on his shoulder snapped him right back into this terrible world, with its relentless realism. His head snapped around in an instant, requiring the activation of no less than 60 points of articulation and causing the fans on his exhaust ports to whir with a tiresome whine for but a moment. The reticule in his optical sensors darted about this intruder and listed off key features through a sub-vocalization in his mind. Otis needed no prodding and was pleased to find that his pistol had already lined itself with what passed for eyes on this embarrassment to robot-kind which now stood before him.

The intruder was also a machine, and as far as Otis knew it was all machine. Its whole design had been from a time which never existed which paid homage to the tin can robots of old pulp movies and books. Its torso was a cylinder with archaic dials and various readouts externally wired into one another. Its upper limbs were segmented snakes ending in 4 pointed clamps. His head sported two mismatched circular eyes with a lighted display for a mouth. One bent antennae reached at first towards the sky but then cut once to the robots left and then finally again to its right. This antennae ended in a ball. All of the intruders exterior was rusted. He creaked audibly standing before him now.

“What?” Otis demanded haughtily in a voice that never fully managed to capture his strange soft tenor voice of his human body, pistol leveled at the rightmost eye. Those misshapen patrons who had lived here all their lives had long since fled. The few who had come from the military eyed the escalating situation with cold fixation, probably happy for something to break up this prison sentence.

“English. Roger. I need your help, Otis. You are the only one who will still know my name. I am the ones who broke humans free from the worst power the universe has ever known. I am the one who brought the genetic information for man here to Earth. I seeded this very dirt with you. I built you what your people called Eden yet you forgot it all. You forgot who truly saved you and from whom we had all fled. Your people, humans, they are about to find God, and I assure you they will not survive the encounter. ” The robot had spoken fluently, as if from a human mouth. Otis’ synthetic face expressed the same look he imagined he often saw in others. Doubt that what stood before him was truly human in a machine’s body.

“Yeah well who the fuck is that? None of what you said really jives with my memories.”

“My name is Lucifer, and though I have been much abused by your people’s literary history, I assure you I am the true savior of humanity, and I believe with your help I can still manage to save them, but we have to leave right now”

“This is…” Otis began to balk.

“Right now.” The robot insisted.

“Look I’m a wanted man out there.” Otis hoped that the genuine anxiety he felt about his political situation hadn’t reflected in his eyes. Assuming this robot could read cyborg eyes.

“Yes quite. You are a wanted man here as well. If you think you can take one of the most important projects of modern military science and run with it you’re completely insane. I came here to save you. They’ll be here any minute and we need to go.”

Centuries of hard fought combat had honed Otis’ instincts into his strongest weapon. They plead from within him to take this offer, to run. In fact he suddenly felt the full weight of the peril he was in. What a fool he’d been, truly. To think that he could take the mold for all their killers and just return to Earth with it as if it were his toy that he were huffily taking home. Or course not. They’d put so much into developing him and his peers. The abstract power of his new body made him blind to the reality that he was owned property pure and simple.

Otis looked at this intrusive savior robot and nodded. It’d been agreed. He would accept any help in a situation he had to once again admit he had no real control over.


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Coping vs. Healing

The hard part about addiction is that it is easy to make excuses about your behavior. You do these problematic things routinely because… A constant avoidance of responsibility is a keystone of any good addiction. Knowing this it makes dealing with problematic behavior problematic in and of itself for the addict. There are always things we like about our addictions. We don’t want to throw out the proverbial baby with the bathwater. For addictions, like my own, which are at least partially positive without any residual legal, financial or health risks the line between what is an excuse and what is an honest and decent coping mechanism is unbelievably fine. I’m writing this in an effort to define that line for both myself and anybody else who struggles with, at the very least, this particular addiction.

Without further beating around the bush I will announce boldly that I am a video game addict. Here is a brief backstory on how that came to be.

I was raised in the country, dirt road, cornfields, tractors, the whole kit and kaboodle. I was a very imaginative child but imagination can only take you so far. When I was five we got our first Nintendo and like so many American’s that year we were at the very cusp of video game consoles becoming  a regular fixture in the American home. My game time was not strictly limited, or at least I don’t remember it being so. I can still feel the intense frustration of having played MegaMan 3 for a whole year with little to no success. I can hear the “bwoop bwoop” of the disappearing blocks which were my first true taste of the exquisite pain only video games can provide. A constant denial by failure, from which only a  select few can pick themselves off and continuously throw themselves at the issue until they learn *the mechanics*.

I was there for every progressive doubling of the power of consoles. 8 bits became 16 which begat 32 and then 64. With each progression in graphics, and more so in the addition of a 3rd dimension, game developers matured the content as well. There was always more blood, more guns and less of the quirky puzzles and skill hurdles of the 8 bit days of old. I was not only there for this, I was on the edge of my seat.

I socialized primarily based on a shared fascination with video games. My core group of friends gamed together through all the iterations of consoles. We still do occasionally.

When I was 19 I was deployed with the military to work at a prison facility in support of the Global War on Terror. Up until this point video games had been a source of joy for me. I wasn’t obsessed the the extent that I forgot to be interested in women or do moderately well at school. I maintained work from 15 onward and always managed to be somewhere in the upper middle academically.

When I got home the first thing I did was build a computer with my deployment money. The friends that I had gamed with before were starting to play a new type of game for us called an MMO (Massive Multi-Player Online) RPG (Role Playing Game). The game was and is still called World of Warcraft.

For the first time in my life I began to exhibit problematic gaming addiction. I became way too obsessed with the progression of my character. At the time I didn’t really care why, but now it is crystal clear to me that at that point in my life and to this day I no longer really cared for the real world and I much preferred imaginary ones, or at least digitally rendered ones.

At first we gamed together in the childhood room of my best friend. 3 of us were like some kind of vegetation living in there for most of a summer. We were all preparing for school in the Fall semester and we were having a good time. I think it made more sense then because we were actually interacting with one another. We wouldn’t be forced to interact with the other people in the world as long as we kept our core group together. That was a great summer and still the source of some of my best memories, even if they are of running the same dungeon again and again for a mace that I can’t even remember the name of now. When Fall came a few of us moved in together and kept playing the game, but now more disparately as our schedules kept us out often and the other guys still liked to do human things like drink and have fun.

I kept grinding for that mace. I grinded until I accumulated 6 months of actual game time at which point I had the kind of realization that comes to you like one moment of clarity in a house filled with deadly gas: I need to escape this. I needed to live my life. I had wild oats to sew and rugs to cut. I decided to go cold turkey. I packed up all my things and hastily moved to Chicago with a friend who also played WoW but needed to move on as well.

At first things were great. Chicago is an easy place to fill your schedule and be over saturated by young, thoughtful, beautiful people. The ecstasy of this compared to the small town life I was used to kept my interest for almost 3 whole years before that too began to grow old and cracks began to show. What some consider PTSD I consider a complete and utter disappointment with the progression of our species. I see the 1984 we were warned about around me at all times, and it is piercingly loud for me. Without the thrill of a new city to drown that out I realized that I had to fill this hole quick.

I left Chicago and hitch-hiked the nation and abroad. I poured my enthusiasm into activism and making paper. Whatever hole in me that left unpatched I filled with casual sex and drugs. Just like with Chicago these things too came to disappoint. New places stopped being sparkly and my grim reality showed up sooner and sooner each time until at some point 6 years down the road and 3 dozen cities later it became carry on baggage. People made me tired and sad. I was always disappointed in them and them in me. After an awkward series of attempts to roost I found enough stability to connive my way into the Tattooing industry as Art has always been my hottest burning fire.

At first it burned wildly. All I needed to do to be happy was to walk around and think about the fact that I was going to finally do art for a living, and possibly succeed at it quite nicely. I had to bounce around a while longer before I finally found the right place to be a tattoo artist.

All of this that it took for me to settle down and be something like a normal American was so much stress and pressure that it thoroughly occupied me and didn’t leave me the time to continuously wallow in my immense disappointment with life. I knew that settling down would mean that I’d have to sally up to this once and for all or put a gun in my mouth and shut my brain up for good. I also knew that it wasn’t going to be easy.

I found a good woman who loved me and whom I love very much and before long we were living together. She had some video games there and I consumed her entire collection in a matter of days, one game after the other in a gluttonous feast of the last decade in digital culture. I realized that after all that had passed video games still made me happy. Happier than anything. I was also a little more self-aware at this point and could identify that they made me happy because my mind obsessed on them entirely both when I was gaming and when I wasn’t.

I’m not one to deny myself that which feels good. I soon bought a computer and continued to devour everything I could get my hands on. It wasn’t long until I came back to MMO’s. I won’t bother to go into the litany of these games that I’ve spent hundreds of hours on each (hundreds of dollars as well). My girlfriend began to see what I really am, and as is so often the case it was not an easy unveiling.

As a video game addict I can promise you that if we’re talking I’m really thinking about how to further maximize my character’s build in whatever game I am playing at that point. If I am not playing a game I promise you I rather would be. I do this to the extent that it hurts my relationships with others and my performance at work. I leave everyone feeling neglected and disappointed.

As the tone of all of this would indicate, I am to an extent unrepentant. I am comfortable being an addict. Video games give my brain an outlet so that it does not devour itself or wallow in self pity. I have been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The risk of suicide in this demographic is insane. I’ve watched dozens of friends fight it and nobody come up with a solution. Lots have lost the fight. The best thing that works is finding the intersection between that which makes you happy and that which causes the least pain to those closest to you. One of the hallmark features of depression and PTSD alike is that nothing that felt good before still feels good now, and you think that it never will. For this reason I feel blessed that video games still trigger these chemicals as I had literally run out of alternatives.

I’ve spent a lot of time feeling like a piece of shit about my addiction, wallowing in the disappointment it caused those around me. I’ve struggled to quit only to be pushed back by the need. At the end of the day what all my dead friends have taught me is if it helps you get through the day, to survive if only in spite for a little longer, then it is a good thing. I have a million excuses to continue gaming, and a few very clear and present ones telling me to clean up my act or I will lose things I’m not prepared to lose.

I’ve tried to stop, but in the end I only force myself obsessively into another thing which is every bit as alienating as video games. Model making, reading, drawing. If there is a nerdy hobby I’ve tried it and they all work to some extent. But nothing has that staying power like video games.

I’ve tried to heal vets and I’ve tried to heal myself. Honestly, these wounds won’t heal. People don’t recover from having their faith in mankind betrayed. I’m not saying all vets have, but those who did aren’t coming back from it. We live in a different place now. One that’s all rain clouds and looming if not immediately present fascism. We are  ghosts, and you can’t heal a ghost, but you can help it learn to deal with being a ghost and Sam and Dean taught us that sometimes that can move a ghost on to wherever they go. You can make paper and get spiritual and burn sage and start a farm or drive every inch of this country, that sense of abandonment is always going to be there. And if you’re a vet and you’re reading this don’t let anybody take anything away from you if it feels good AND isn’t hurting anybody but you.

Just, you know, moderate… if at all possible.

I don’t know what the point of any of this is. I’m not trying to convince you not to judge me. I don’t care if you do. I’m a harsher judge when on the subject of myself than anybody could be. I guess I just needed to write it out, like I used to back when that still felt good.

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Giving In


It will come as no surprise that I have always had a very dystopian take on psychotropic medication. I think that pill manufacturers are in league with the “powers that be” and they are using our fears into doping ourselves into complicity with their evil plot to take over the world and all the people in it so that they can take for themselves all the resources for themselves.

But I don’t limit myself to blaming the pharmaceutical industry. I go so far as to blame those of us who would medicate away the guilt and shame that naturally accrues on us as we are ground to death in this hyper industrialized machine. No, we would take the easy road and wish all those feelings away. We would convince ourselves that we aren’t unhappy because there are drones in the skies and we can’t trust anybody but because our lives are pathetic in comparison to those who profit off of these mechanizations. We won’t admit that we aren’t happy because we polish the same widget every day through the best years of our lives. We’ll blame ourselves and our friends and our families. We will destroy the things that should be most important to us long before we ever lose our jobs.

Worse than the pills is the way that the pharmaceutical industry has taught us to think about our lives. Having a brain is an amazing responsibility. Every one of us is a bipedal emotional super-computer. Our brains are the fanciest things nature has ever produced. Each one is so unique in its design and programmed with user specific life data as reduced through the senses and retained. This process induces behavior. I mean, that is some complicated shit.

But you can walk into any psychologist office this whole great nation over and within two hours tops leave with a prescription for your very own bottle of drugs that’s meant to change your life. The psychiatrist will determine the drug of choice and the dosage in a surprisingly short session of rapid fire questions with the goal of categorizing you into a few very broad categories.

Depression is by far the easiest category to fall into. Happiness is hard to come by these days and we all get the blues. I would submit that this world is fucked up is now an established scientific, mathematical fact. If you need a reason to be depressed you need but flip on your television and watch for one hour as the world unfolds before you.

You are trapped in a world that only wants to sell you things. You are no more to America than the amount of dollars in your bank account and all this nation seems to want are your ever diminishing dollars. To make it you have to polish an awful lot of widgets and nobody likes that. What’s not to be depressed about?

Luckily enough for me I’m a veteran so all my pills are free. In fact they were the easiest resource to get from the Veterans Affairs medical center in Detroit. I got pills from them faster than I got my food stamps. That is service. I was very fortunate to move through the system in the fast lane because my record has suicide written all over it. There were a lot of appointments with social workers and one extremely awkward trip to the Emergency Room. To digress, veterans, never go to the emergency room for psychiatric care. You will leave much worse than you came in.

After a week of these I met with a resident psychiatrist. We talked for about two hours about why I feel so dead inside. All this running has really soured me and it’s time for me to sit down and actually deal with myself for once. I need some distance from my constant self-destruction if I’m going to get any real work done. I just need to dial down the voices, my voice, enough so that I can hear the world again.

She conferred with her boss doctor and he came in to ask me some of the same questions again. Then they sent me down to the pharmacy.

If you’re ever feeling like you need a huge dose of reality take a trip to your closest VA pharmacy. Sit down and watch. This is the pharmaceutical industry at its best. This is art. This is science fiction.

So I’m giving in to the big evil machine because I finally realize that life would just be easier with more serotonin. It might turn me into a zombie. I don’t really care. My brain has produced anything valuable for at least two years and I’m kind of over it so I’d like to put it on the bench for a while and try to fix my body. Maybe learn to eat food like a person again. That’s something the mind tyrant has kept from me for almost ten years.

I’m going to use this blog to track the effects this submission is going to have on my mental activity. I’m sorry to anybody who reads these useless rambles. They’re just the best way for me to capture my mindset at any given time and save that for future reflections. Hey, and maybe get a little extra attention in the process.

Day one has been pretty nauseous. But also noticeably more quiet.


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You probably are a racist…


It’s become pretty fashionable to not be a lot of things these days. For instance, it would be considered bad form in modern social climes announce that you were a racist. It might be because the word is so packed full of psychotic hate from generation upon generation of racist bloodlust that we can no longer even hear the term without writhing in disgust. Or it might be that all the cool kids will think you’re an ignorant fuck if you ever said those words out loud. We’re talking about a game ending injury in any hip scene.

That being said, myself being of the school of radical honesty I can’t say “I am not a racist” and not feel like a liar. Between now and the end of this rant I hope to explain why you are too.

Race has become too easy a subject for the American Liberal. Once the rhetoric is learned almost any yokel with a bigoted mind could improv their way into a radical group of friends. Here in the states we have it easy. The racial dialogue here is very black and white. We can put the pin of Not-a-Racist on as long as we can play well with the other races and cultures brought together in our melting pot. It doesn’t matter if we laugh at derogatory jokes when we’re in exclusive groups as long as you treat people of other races the way you think they ought to be treated.

Luckily for us there are several class boundaries which keep the different colors in the pot from truly blending so many of our fanciful notions of our proud fairness are actually ever tested. At a certain point of wealth one can almost entirely opt out of ever making the acquaintance of any person of any race they don’t feel fully comfortable around. These same lucky Liberals will raise liberally minded children who also don’t think they are racist though the multifaceted lives of the multifaceted races are kept from them.

And certainly this country has made great strides in saying that it is not racist.

Yet there are a few things which seem to me almost inherently racist about the very American Way and it really makes me feel like we’re all just a bunch of fucking liars and hypocrites.

Can you, the American reader, remember back to those first days of our great War on Terror? Do you remember how you felt about the sacrifice of those first 3000 some odd American lives, so mostly white? Now, if you will, contrast that for me with all of the feelings you have ever had about the lives of the innocent Iraqi of Afghani bystander wrongly killed or imprisoned by our haywire war. Do you notice any differences?

For me I feel a much greater sense of removal from the lives lost from such a distant culture. I know I should feel for those lives but where that emotion should happen is this vacancy. That is why I am a racist. I don’t have the proper emotions to contextualize both sides of this very race-centric conflict so naturally my emotions differ to the easy, known American Way.

It really pisses me off when people write this off because it is a war (it is not technically a war still btw’s). Civilians are not soldiers. Their deaths are not the same. They had signed no agreements.

You would think of all countries we would still be walking on eggshells after being the first country to use a nuclear strike against civilian targets or at least have learned to have the proper amount of candor about taking innocent lives which never signed up for any war. No, not us. Fuck you. We’ll kill everybody for ten years just to prove a point and we’ll do it in opposition to the desire’s of our own sweet Democratic people and while we do it we’re going to say its not racist the whole time and get away with it because that is the American Fucking Way.

I mean, think how absolutely insane it would sound for a former Nazi soldier to say after the last Great War that they were not a racist and yet now there are whole organizations for the occupational forces to retire into which condone this theory that we were not being racists while we did what we were doing, or that we can wash away those sins now by simply learning the right rhetoric. That’s bullshit. This war is a stain on all of our souls and I’m sick of watching people grasp for quick fixes and telling those of us who know that none of this is worth saving that we’re the ones who are crazy.

If you didn’t jump out of your chair on 9/11 and beg your precious God to spare the innocent children of these countries which were about to pay the price for the transgressions of another rich and powerful political and religious leader than you are a fucking racist and I hope you accept that every day of your life. I hope you quit this very second trying to prove to yourself that you’ve got this figured out because you’ve finally learned that black people and white people aren’t that fucking different. Congratulations. You’ve almost finished processing the emotional toll of the Civil Fucking War and next on your plate is how your very country which is dyed into the very fiber of your soul has used you and all of your family to plunder and kill the people’s of small countries where brown people live to prove to other rich white leaders of the other First World powers that we really good and truly don’t give a fuck.

If we were all sane we would be disgusted with ourselves. We would have killed ourselves to stop the machine which set forward in our name. But we weren’t. We were cowards. And now we survive on psychotropic medication and delusions of the past.

By all means, keep patting yourself on the back because you don’t hate transgendered people. That is very progressive of you. Not hating one of the smallest minority demographics on the long long list. Meanwhile this history books are being written and they will tell of concentration camps under American Flags and pictures of burned civilian corpses piled high and you can try to tell your grandchildren how you were not a racist.

Accept the truth. You don’t want to have the right feelings about these things. You want pleasant happy days with good friends and family and fun times. You want good memories. And who could blame you. It is so easy to deceive yourself with thoughts that you are a good person and you are doing good things here. Maybe, if you work really hard, you can leave some mark on history that stands out more than this disgusting war but chances are it will all get drown out by the waves of sorrow that will wash over generation to generation to come.

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I hear the guards coming as they drive their “Gator” across the rocky ground. I see the dust billowing up behind them through the razor wire horizon. I hear them park and when they stop their vehicle I hear them talking. The incessant recitations of the many mantras of their Capitalist society said all with the same absent drawl. There is a certain lack of something here, but it seems almost too plain to say that it is “freedom”. Of course there is no freedom here.

It is a prison camp after all.

The gates to Camp 2 open with blatant and foreboding shrillness. Two new sets of clacking boots join the endless marching of the roving sally gate guard. His name is Johnson. He is replaced every 12 hours by Whitmore. Every twelve hours for last five years these two have “relieved” one another. Neither of them could possibly know the time I have invested into imagining their lives, or the lengths that I have gone to to piece together the story of the world outside of this prison from their few vacant words.

The story seems grimmer than when I left it.

The subtle impression of thousands of voices spoken below a whisper all hush in a great vacuum as the gates of Mike Block opened and in walked two of the meanest people ever put on this planet.

You could feel their anger washing down the corridor. Worse yet, I could feel the righteous indignation of my comrades get washed right away as each and every one of them crawled back into the tiniest, blackest holes in their minds where they nursed memories of when these two came for them.

Their boot heels rang obnoxiously off every crooked angle in this God forsaken cell block. I heard each and every step until the footsteps stopped outside of my rusted and humble cell.

I was stretched out on the metal slab that serves me as a bed and a desk and a table and a place from which I deliver sermons.

“Hey mother fucker.” The taller of the two said to me. “Wake the fuck up, bitch. It’s time for a talk.”

“I heard this fuckin faggot started this whole mess”.

“That’s between him and his interrogator. HEY! I said wake the fuck UP!”

I slowly parted my eyes to stare coldly into his. I will admit now that this act caused me no small amount of pain.

These Alpha Soldiers are real crafty types. Made special to deal with my type Terrorist. Their whole mind is wired to disrupt our whole everything. But I’m no push over in my type of Terrorism.

The beanhole clanged open viciously and I put my thin wrists through it. I could see their eyes taking in the tattoos that peeked out from the long sleeves of my orange jumpsuit. Their faces twisted in a compulsive act of revulsion at the sight of art. That alone gave me a good deal of fear about the current nature of the outer world.

The shackles were clenched tightly down on my pronounced wrist bone. I could feel them cutting in that special impartiality that they alone possessed. Once those were on they handed me the end of the connected chain.

“You know the fucking routine. But please. Make us come in and help you. I fucking dare you.” The tall ones hands were a vice on the chain until he finished with his hateful taunting, and only then did he release the chain.

I spun myself around it and obediantly, but with that little protest we can afford to offer, handed the end of the chain back to them.

The shorter one dropped the feet shackles in and then bent down to undo the bottom beanhole and insert his hands into my pestilence. Some detainees have used this as an opportunity to crush the wrist bones of their guards, but I don’t get their kinds of guards. I couldn’t have broken these wrists back when I was healthy and free. And these men were permitted to kill me. It is a wonder that they haven’t.

The rusting orifice that is the lock to my cell twisted open for the first time in months. Their huge hands grabbed me like dead prey in the mouth of jackles, pulling my frail bones out of my old home and out onto the cause way.

We began our slow walk to my interrogation booth.

Their satellite radio hissed on and the voice of a child asked impatiently: “Gulf One, this is Escort Control. Do you have the package?”

I could feel the irritation in the taller ones voice when he keyed his mike and replied “Roger that.” And as he released his finger he said “you little fucking faggot.” He looked to his friend and spit out “that fucking piece of shit sits in that comfy office all fucking day while we’re out here touching these fucking disgusting motherfuckers. One of these days I’m going to catch his ass out of that office and I’m going to rape his fucking face!”

“Yeah brah. Fuck that dick sucker. I’d help you.”


Apparently I had been forgot about between them. I had to pull my feet up to hop along between them or else they would have dragged me across the stones. It’s a little less than a mile to Interrogation Facility and folks get awful bloodied up being dragged along like that. The common courtesies were the first to go.

It took us all of twenty minutes to cross the barren waste that lies between the various camps. Those were valuable minutes to me. Much had changed about the security here since he had last been out. There were more roving guards between the fences. There were new shacks that had been planted silently by the operator crane. Things change. Everything was exactly as we expected it. What a relief.

The flood lights started to kick on as the sun began to bury itself behind the razor wire and fences that blocked from our vision eternally the cliff that hangs over the sea. They cast the ghastly blue flourescent light, turning all flesh into a sickly white. How I hate those God damned lightbulbs. They spread the shadow of the approaching “Fortress” in all directions at once. The night sky was red over head. These are always somber hours. Nothing could be heard save for my shackles now, and every soul on this camp could hear them. And every soul in this camp knew who was bound by them. Not a one of those souls harbors any fear that I will tell. I know these souls best of all, and they know me.

The door to the horrible ebony obelisk opened swiftly and silently at the touch of a button pressed deep inside this building by a young man trained from birth to operate computers, a young man who watched everything in this camp on a fragmented wall of screens. We have a great fondness for this young man.

Inside our footsteps and my chains were amplified off of every shiny metal surface. All surfaces were shiny and metal. We jangled and clanged and clacked together a nightmare concerto among the labyrinth of corridors that we deftly weaved through. It was difficult to not let my inertia betray that my mind knew this particular maze quite well in such capable hands. I was confident that I would not slip. There are Angels on my side, Fallen though they may be.

Soon we were at the door of what was to be the epicenter of the invasion to come, yet nowhere on that island could any man or device detect a single iota of eagerness. My own heart beat a calculated war drum of fear all for the story that the people who monitored the detectors that have watched me since I was in my cell, or the story that I am trying to tell them.

The real story, this story, is happening in a safe place.  This story is actually about that place, but I am getting ahead of myself and that is later on.

The door slid opened and I was pushed into a blinding white room. Between me and a metal desk was only an industrial eye bolt on the floor. Behind the desk was an Agent from the Drug Interests. He wore black goggles which fitted into healthy, white sockets. His nose and mouth were covered by a viral mask, on the insides of which were a microphone and a transmitter which communicated with the chip inside of his brain which allowed his superior officers to communicate with him. He was lanky but his crisp white uniform fit him quite handsomely. There was almost nothing that could be told of this person. On the outside, that is.

My Escorts fastened me to the floor with grace despite their clear agitation in the presence of a human that was barely in the same species as them any more. I could tell that for them this man was as much an outsider as I was. I let only a small amount of smugness show on my otherwise fearful face. I believe it may have aggravated my host. He began our interrogation before the professional men were even done.

“Detainee number zero-two-five-eight from Mike Block, Cell two-two. Interrogation date: zero-five-dash-one-eight-dash-two-three. First Interrogation. Subject was detained along with twelve other men in the VA hospital in Battle Creek Michigan. They were all part of a Terrorist Cell based out of Building 31. Details of the nature of their collective acts of Terrorism are at this time unknown, but the wave of disruption that they set off is currently still growing despite their detention. An effort is now being made to discover the nature of their acts of Terrorism. Chief Technician First Class Reissinger. ISN 0258…”

“Yeah Chief. What can I do for you?” I responded with a manufactured air of sloppy charm.

“Do not interrupt me when I am speaking to you. This is to be an intensive interview and at the end of it we expect to know everything or you will be medically sedated for the rest of your life. Do you understand that?”

“That doesn’t sound half bad there, Chief. Sir. No. I mean. I will tell you everything. I promise. I swear.” Panicked.

“Why were you on Inpatient Care in Building 31 in the first place?”

“I’d been having some really fucked up dreams and it got to the point where I just couldn’t walk along with the way things were headed out there. I needed off the ride.”

“Medical records show that you had been having violent thoughts against authority figures. Those same authority figures that are listed were later found dead.”

“That did happen.”

“But you couldn’t have killed them. Their deaths were determined to be suicides.”

“That also happened.”

“But you swore that you were responsible for their deaths anyway. The Doctors at the hospital institutionalized you on a routine visit for Paranoid Schizophrenia. Why did you think you murdered those people?”

“I made them do it.”

“You could never have met any of them.”

“It turns out I didn’t have to. Look, I’ve had this talk a lot of times back on the Ward. Could you please get to the why-the-fucks, and the what the fuck you wants?”

“It is clear from your speech that your mind surely is not that of a Free Citizen. You speak like a soldier still despite the reprogramming.”

“Yeah. Once and always, I guess. Couldn’t keep a job out there when every other word is full of hate and an eagerness to smite the wicked. That reprogramming didn’t work so good on me, I guess.”

“It doesn’t work on the insane.”

“I guess not.”

“Your military files show that you were classified as Psychological Operations and that you were deployed to this same Detention Facility during the initial phase of The War.”

“Ironic, no?”

“There is no irony in the War on Terrorism.”

“No. Of course not. You were saying?”

“I was stating. Your tour was that of an office technician, yet you claim to have been overwhelmed by the burdens of a soldier’s life.”

“My, uh, job… it had its own kind of Hell to it.”

“I’m pretty sure most would call you a coward.”

“They did. But I don’t worry myself about most any more.”

“My job is to find out how you got from coward to Terrorist in such a short period of time.”

“It didn’t feel so short at the time. I’ll tell you, but you’ve got to ask the right questions. I don’t put out for free.” I finally allowed a certain wickedness to pass through my eyes. There was a momentary delay and then I saw him invert as he gathered the news of my sudden change in character through his receiver.

“Why did all those people in the Hospital die?”

“They didn’t all die. Several of them survived the whole ordeal. Only to end up here, unfortunately. But they chose their side of the line.”

“What line?”

“The line between us and you. In your language the line between the Terrorist and the Freedom Fighters. We have different language.”

“Stop being vague. We can sit here until you die. You will not eat or sleep until this is done.”

“Don’t you worry. I’m aware of all of that. Even if I do die.”

“The ones that killed themselves… so did their families. Some of those family members committed acts of violence against Free Citizens. And from them it spread again.”

“And again. And again. Yes. We did that. I won’t deny it. Are you just looking for the right words to charge us with? Or are you scared that…”

“That is enough. What is it?”

“IT is nothing.”

“Evasiveness will not save you.”

“I’m not trying to be evasive. I am just growing sick of doing your job for you. I told you I wasn’t just going to hand this to you if you’re going to continue to be incompetent.”

He paused again to receive orders.

“What happened in the Ward?”

“Much better. We evolved there. The drugs helped. I personally couldn’t have done it, I couldn’t have found the space without Thorazine.”

“What do you mean by evolved?”

“I mean we were a crazy generation. We’d grown up with the keys to the future in our hands. We were the first children of a new and violent Technocracy. We were drugged. We were turned into soldiers. We were the first veterans of a war nobody can remember the beginning of now. We were trained so intensively that we couldn’t make the transition with the rest of society over to the way that you have made things to be. We just didn’t fucking fit anywhere out there. We were all bound to end up in Building 31’s all across the country. But then we found it.”

“Found what?”

“It is pretty hard to explain. We call it “The Network”. We found it in our dreams. Somehow, in that building, the 13 of us… we found each other in our dreams. We found a new kind of space. Oh, it was fantastic, those first few adventures into the whole thing. We wasted a lot of time on acts of the most disreputable debauchery. We would snicker through the days each reliving the madness of the night before. The more we did it the easier it got. The clearer the picture came. At first everything was like how you would think a dream should be. It was hard to hold it together. But there is something about the mind of a veteran that makes it easier to hold all these pieces together. It is a little like putting one giant broken mirror back together. But there is a lot of anger in us too. We didn’t know then that when we go there, the anger can come here. We learned that when the suicides started.”

“You mean to put on official record that you and your friends began to collaboratively navigate a “Network” between your minds. And that this is how all of the violence began.”

“Well, no. The story is a lot more complicated than that. We weren’t visiting each others minds. Those places are extremely dangerous. The monsters that reside within the walls of tormented minds are for those minds only. It wasn’t about what we found. It was about where we found. Well, also about what we did when we went there. There is a place that is outside of here. Outside of you. We probably weren’t supposed to go there… but we probably weren’t supposed to hurt other people. And you probably shouldn’t have tried to sedate our monsters away. They will always be with us, you know. They are our burden to carry through all of our lives. They are the guilt of doing things… awful things… things we did under your control. They are the price that we pay for going to War.”

“You are rambling like…”

“A mad man?”

“Do you think you are clever?”

“I don’t know. I think an awful lot of things about myself. I think more than anything I am naive. I think that you should judge me for my hubris and self indulgence. Not my lack of cleverness. And anyway, it is proven that I was not clever enough avoid being caught.”

“But not stopped.”

“Of course not. You cannot stop this. And anyways, you have hunted and caught the wrong thing. You should have been looking for monsters. They have been looking for you.”

“I might have hunted for monsters if I were also a paranoid psychotic and a narcissist. But I am a practical man. The monsters that I hunt are delusional religious zealots who talk thousands into acts against the State. The monsters that I hunt threaten the safety of every human soul under my watch. You and your Satanic cult are my monsters.”

“I wouldn’t call us Satanists. I personally prefer Followers of Lucifer. Others prefer Anarchists. We are all fond of the term Terrorist. Whatever you want to call us, we were just the vessels for something much worst than ourselves. We gave birth to your societies children and your children were monsters and you people and your drugs opened a door inside of us that must have remained locked for all of our evolution so that these monsters don’t get out… but here we are. There is one monster in particular I am very eager for you to meet.”

As I stood up my shackles fell from me like dust. His metal desk fell to pieces like a house of cards. The edges started to disappear from everything. Finally his facial muscles twitched as the walls themselves dissolved into conversation and we were standing, just the two of us, in shear darkness. I could feel the deep, existential confusion he felt when he looked at me and could not tell if I had turned into a man made of broken mirror or folded paper. This was my favorite way to appear. I could almost feed on the confusion that coursed through his every fiber but he had not lied when he said that he was a rational man.

“This is the place I was telling you about. Do you believe me now?”

Without moving a muscled in his face he droned: “If I had not believed you from the beginning do you think I would have tracked you down and detained you?”

“It is hard to tell anymore.”

“I know that I need to kill your monsters. But I need to find them first.”

“You won’t find them. You aren’t their type. They prey on authority figures and you’re just a toy. But they did move through here. I can smell them. No, the only monster you’ve got to worry about is your own.”

Right then we could both feel it as everything seemed to break.

“That was the wall they have built around you. That is the wall that keeps all the bad, irrational things away. All your questions and your fears that maybe you aren’t doing the right thing. The weight of every life that you have ruined. As a special favor my friends and I have gone through the trouble of pulling all those things together to craft for you your very own super monster.”

The sense of order started to blur, strange fragments of memories started to play in various dimensions and a chaotic chatter began whispering in from the periphery.

“Now I’m going to leave you here to sort this out on your own. If you survive that is fantastic. If not I will see you bright an early tomorrow morning to welcome you to your new home for the next few years.”

“How do you do this?”

“Do you really think I know?”

With that I fell apart at his feet and left him to meet himself, making sure to close the door very tightly on my way out.


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The rise of the Geek

Sometime around when I was five my family got a Nintendo for Christmas and I began my lengthy love affair with electronic distractions. Little did I know at that time that I was on the cusp of a global phenomenon. A whole society of people vigorously training themselves to deftly maneuver through the tight hallways of this new circuitry with plastic controllers in their hands. At five and amidst the crushing isolation of rural Mid-Michigan I didn’t think anything of it.

As Megaman I spent hours storming the mind-numbingly perilous labyrinth of Doctor Wiley’s elaborate mechanical death traps wantonly killing every moving robotic delight I crossed without blinking an eye only to get to the end and hopefully kill one of my own kind for doing his own thing down in some cave I invaded and kill him, too. What else is one to do with a gun for an arm and only one direction to move?

I formed a very unusual relationship with the space that was provided to me in games which evolved into a survival mechanism and a source of great comfort.

When I grew older I made friends based largely on playing video games with them. We would inevitably meet at Garrett’s house to play video games there or go down to the college library to play on the computers in the basement using Jake’s mom’s access codes because they had the fastest connection in town. At the time Counter Strike was our game of choice and every fraction of a second counts when it comes to the fast paced world of  shooting people in the heads in a constant international battle of who had the fastest coordination (and internet speed) on the www.

This introduced me to the world of social gaming in which one either cooperates or competes and was a hallmark of my integration into a technological society, albeit a kind of beta version for what exists now.

It wasn’t until I was deployed that I was forced out of my comfortable marriage to gaming for an extended period of time. But in that time something funny occurred which caused me to think very critically of this technological indocrination that had occurred to me.

As many people know I was deployed to a detention facility during the war and this detentions facility ran on a computerized system. Every bit of information that was necessary for daily operations was stored in one big program and thanks to spending a majority of their lives out in the most abysmal written off plots of land running field exorcizes most of the senior enlisted personnel and officers didn’t know how to use these new fangled glowing boxes. So they looked to the units out in the camp and they made a call for all the nerds, and low and behold I was transferred unto the Detention Operating Center to be a part of their new batch of computer monkeys. This unrestrained access to the neurology of this insane place gave us, as underenlisted and hardly professional soldiers, a kind of authority over many of our superiors because although we answered to them, they were still forced to answer to the computer in the end, and we were the heralds that brought forth the computers message.

All of this turned in me a great deal of distress and I found myself irresistably turned towards Dystopian science fiction and its eery predictions that all feverishly warn of the worst than apocolyptic futures could lie hidden behind the false promise of a technologically perfect utopia.

Being at least partially academic in spirit I found myself thirsting after some kind of hardened academic response to the rise of geek culture and its strange position in the military industrial institution but found the subject lacking any serious attempts to address the issue. In fact, the most serious source of video game culture is the online community itself, which is renowned for not being a credible source of academic information for very good reason. On the broader subject of the advancement of a technologically based society there was one voice which posed the important questions that were starting to arise in me. Herbert Marcuse captured in his “One Dimensional Man” the framework of the paranoia that was building in me. I would like to try to follow in his footsteps and begin a series of essays which may begin a more thorough critique of the modern era of technological advancement in our society with the soul goal being to try to contribute to a lacking philosophical deconstruction of how technology has come to alter our lives, changing us each fundamentally as human beings.

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