Officer LaDoux

flaubert

Having a police badge had given me the privilege to call up people I didn’t know. All I had had to do was tell them, either when I reached them by voice or by leaving a message tucked away on their telephone answering system which may or may not have notified them instantaneously of my calling them, that I had had a wish to speak. Whether I had placed a telephone call to the proprietor of a saloon or an atavistic candy store filled with bonbons, or to a suspected chimney burglar, it made no difference at all to me. Over the years I rose in rank, retired, and spent afternoons working as a landscape laborer, raking the lawns of neighbors as a hired hand. My pension was never spent, never exhausted, and when the catarrh hit me I was as much surprised as anyone. The denouement was quick. In just weeks I was chewing on food as though it were ashes and gravel. Several rifles with painted white stocks fired their bullets high at an angle to commemorate me. At the outskirts of the funeral service was a man I had once warned decades prior and a woman together, standing arm and arm, who had telephoned the station and been connected to me in a panic once, with thin but empty smiles on their faces now.

Melodramatic Stroboscopic Picture Show In Words: A Love Affair

bloody plate

She had always been unhappy. And it couldn’t be helped. He loved her. And it couldn’t be helped. She fought with him that he didn’t really love her. And it couldn’t be helped. He fought back with her that he really did. And it couldn’t be helped. For ages she told him that they needed to take a break. And it couldn’t be helped. And for ages he resisted her saying that they needed take a break. And it couldn’t be helped. To try to spice things up between them, she brought an old sex book she had owned to his bed. And it couldn’t be helped. He tried to ignore the oily stains that had been on the book’s cover. And it couldn’t be helped.

She told him all her problems she had with life the next day on the phone for half an hour. It couldn’t be helped. Unable to speak a single word himself, he listened to her problems and felt exasperated listening. It couldn’t be helped. The next day after that, she did it again, filling him with her problems. It couldn’t be helped. He felt beside himself, listening again. It couldn’t be helped. She felt that they were finally at a new beginning, that she was opening up to him again. It couldn’t be helped. He told her that they needed to take a break. It couldn’t be helped. She broke down and sobbed. It couldn’t be helped. He listened to her sobbing for an hour on the phone. It couldn’t be helped.

The next day, he sought to recant their taking a break. It couldn’t be helped. She denied his request that they not take a break. It couldn’t be helped. She skipped his birthday when it came. It couldn’t be helped. He felt pain. It couldn’t be helped. She sent him text messages indicating that she was inclined to let the whole thing go. It couldn’t be helped. He panicked and missed her terribly. It couldn’t be helped. She sent him a picture of her wearing his locket. It couldn’t be helped. He felt love seeing her wearing the locket, the same one which he wore, too. It couldn’t be helped. She messaged him a picture of her engagement ring, now carefully placed in a little house of sticks and bark and stone he had once built for it for her. It couldn’t be helped.

He felt love for her, holding onto hope from that sweet picture. It couldn’t be helped. She sent him more texts telling him she couldn’t talk. It couldn’t be helped. He felt despair. It couldn’t be helped. She sent him text messages that she felt relieved and had discovered a new, happy social life. It couldn’t be helped. He felt deeper and deeper loneliness, missing her. It couldn’t be helped. She sent him messages that said she would let him him know when she could talk to him. It couldn’t be helped. He respected her request for space. It couldn’t be helped. She sent him more messages telling him to let it be. It couldn’t be helped. He sent her messages that told her he loved and missed her. It couldn’t be helped.

She sent him messages indicating that she had no intention of returning to their relationship the way it was. It couldn’t be helped. He felt some hope, that indeed they could change the way their relationship had been. It couldn’t be helped. She sent him texts that she wanted their relationship to be over. It couldn’t be helped. He sent her messages that indicated he was lonely and missed her. It couldn’t be helped. She sent him texts that said she was worried about him but would not help him. It couldn’t be helped. He arranged with her to pick up his belongings at her house. It couldn’t be helped. She agreed and told him she did not want to see him and to be gone with his belongings by the afternoon. It couldn’t be helped.

He was stunned to find every stitch and scrap, from his tube of face moisturizer that had been in his drawer in the bathroom, to his running shoes in the closet, had been already neatly bagged and boxed in the little, dark room he had worked in down her basement when he got there. It couldn’t be helped. She weeks before had removed from her sight any sign and any remnant ever associated with him from her house. It couldn’t be helped. After packing all his belongings into his car, he bought and lay dozens of roses for her in her house—in hallways, in the kitchen, on the staircase, upon her bed, and wrote her short love notes telling her he would do anything to be with her again, and drove away. It couldn’t be helped.

After therapy and work, she came home and changed out of her work clothes to go out with her date for dinner. It couldn’t be helped. After he had left, he had turned back to see her in person and to beg her to speak with him. It couldn’t be helped. Having left the front and the back doors of her house flung open, she shouted down the staircase from her bedroom that she would be right there. It couldn’t be helped. He’d rapped on the back glass door, just open enough, and called out to her. It couldn’t be helped. She came downstairs and when she saw him, she screamed and screamed and screamed. It couldn’t be helped. He followed her outside where she was screaming and screaming to her car. It couldn’t be helped.

She screamed and screamed for him to leave her alone. It couldn’t be helped. He begged her on his knees, “Please! Please! Please!” It couldn’t be helped. Her date appeared behind him in the driveway and claimed the police were on their way. It couldn’t be helped. While he believed this was not true, he also didn’t care if it had been. It couldn’t be helped. She ran to her date’s car waiting for her on the street. It couldn’t be helped. Afterwards, he struggled and fought for her for weeks. It couldn’t be helped. She held her ground against him. It couldn’t be helped. He sneaked into his friend’s house nearby who had plenty of guns and put a bullet through his beautiful head. It couldn’t be helped.

The Jewel Stairs’ Grievance: B-Side

disrobed

She mourned the recent death of her fiancé by going out on dates. That is how she grieved. For there was no use hanging around and moping. There was no use feeling sorry for him or for herself. She deserved a life of joy and joyfulness. After all, wasn’t that what the tattoo on her backside read in Latin, just above her buttocks in permanent  blue: “Inveniens Gaudium”? And the truth was, he hadn’t been the showboat anyway of her life. Judgmental and cruel at times, he could walk the rice paper path like a monk and never leave a trace. But, the truth was really in his essence: boy-like, full of wonder, like an Elephant’s Child’s mind full of “insatiable curiosity.” If one were to pass out gold stars for good human behavior with strangers, many a new star-lit constellations would fill the painted skies.

Almost everybody who met him had left him blinking their eyes in open human wonder and delight. In supermarkets, barber shops, railway stations. That was how he was, touched with a lightness of being and gaiety that was like the cheerful song of birds. These ways of his would not stop her for a moment, however. She’d dine, and undress, and pull through a continuous orgasm of amazing sex without him. No use sitting on the shelf like unused bed sheets and turning gray and brittle there for nothing like that innocent lost girl folding linen warns against in that poem by Brecht, who instead was destined to live her own life to the fullest, and be a woman completely manifest. No sense in hanging onto the past. It was just as Jesus had said, “Let the dead bury the dead.”

And besides, where had he been for her? What had he done for her lately?  Fuck  Eddie Murphy! He’d done nothing. He hadn’t been there. When she was down and in need, where was he for her then? True, he had once repaired and painted white her crumbling garage; he had once patched her roof; he had once changed the basement pump; he had for a spell from time to time minded her children when she had slipped into the coma of her depressions. True, he had battled off her irrational and abusive ex (chronic guilty reminder of her past life mired in poor choices, sickness, mistakes & misdirection). True, he had protected her from her mother’s mania (who’d beaten her to tears as no child a mother ever should). True, he had amused her boys endlessly every night at supper (when at the table she had been a maternal ghost). So what!

He had been such a bastard. Her past was her past. He was always judging her by that. That was who she had been then. She had changed, she had changed, she had changed. And where the fuck was he? Last winter, he had abandoned her, abandoned her when she had really, really needed him. He had abandoned her! She had been all alone. He’d just come on the weekends and fuck her and leave, leaving her alone again. She didn’t need a man like that. He hadn’t been her partner like that. That’s not a partner.

She would find a man who loved her the way she deserved. Where had this dead fiancé whose diamond ring (which she had bought with her own hard-earned money) that she wore for nothing for the four years they were engaged for nothing who would never have married her anyway been? She was an ageless goddess. She, without him, was an amazing, powerful woman who had now become fully herself. She was an amazing, phenomenal woman. She’d enjoy her life for what it was—“Life as itself now,” and sleep with and date and fuck and love again whosoever she pleased. Whether he’d been dead two months, two years, or a day, what difference did it make?

Janos Kirkpatrick

benches

I can’t even stand anymore. My knees, my legs have been hobbled. Who did that, I ask? Was it the limb from the oak that fell in my sleep last night? Was it the fence that caught the thistle growing up through its wire mesh? Was it the truck’s plow waiting to push away the blowing winter, soon to come? The coffee beans I had ground and ground by hand are all wasted, too. Used, but now wasted. That is how things go, I suppose. The sodden discard seems to outweigh the use. The driftwood in the lake so much heavier than the forest from which it all came. When my own breath became short, I had to also look around. There was no lack of air, nor occlusion of space, no crushing infinity closing in on me. What was it, I had asked myself once. What is it, I must ask myself again. The well I had depended on to bring me water still worked. The roof I had counted on still kept me free from rain. The garden I trusted would bear me food, still did. I had only to swallow, once or twice, and accept that a kiss upon a man far greater than I had been, had betrayed me, exposed me as being rather soft, and rather gentle. It was especially hard because this had occurred just as my good arm had been reaching out again, and the blow came from a fallen angel, and she struck without grace and without mercy.

Arik Mendoza

carrots

Had I had an eye on my nostalgic marble, I would have parlayed my objections to the other fellow. But I forgot the shimmering tiger’s eye tucked safely in my left, front pocket. Oh, it had been there a year, eight, decades before. It had watched Juan go tumbling off over the bump on my second-hand bicycle flying with his hands spread out about to crash over the low wall into the garden below. It had cooked his hot spicy, Harlem beans for years without him, it appears. And where had the north star of Tunisia gotten us? The lost Arab Spring. The army of tanks stopped by a single man in Beijing. The stem of a white daisy stuck in the long thin barrel of a gun by a peaceful young woman. The glass marbles of the past, these have all rolled away, been swept away by a blind, invisible hand. The coarse, spent, gritty thing called democracy in America was rooted out of the world the way pigs’ snouts dig through the easy dirt looking for a dead man’s finger, a dead man’s hand, and the lost golden ring upon it ingested, too, anything at all there to mounch and mounch and mounch, to eat, to consume, to use up as though the good earth were only their own. Since Bobby died in ’68 it had been gone.

Cassandra Smernoff

turkeys

I’d had been on the whole right pleased to see the whole shebang gone down like an old steamship sunk in the Mississippi. Why, with all the screaming and all the hollering and all the old sexpots of Egypt doing what they all had been doing, it was the devil’s due. If old Ben Franklin, he’d had had his way like he wanted it, it wouldn’t be any useless eagle taking up more than a hundred acres of good fertile land to be the bird of the country, but the other one. And that ingenious Jefferson himself who wanted the folks to talk in Greek, though it’d be hard to believe he’d have wanted that for his roughly three hundred and fifty or something slaves he kept downstairs working in the kitchen, while he wined the folks visiting upstairs quoting Cervantes. Anyhow, more than two hundred and forty years later with all that nonsense of the two or three royal families of America turning the Lazy Susan by themselves now, without any help besides a few hundred millions of dollars on either side pushing in first the one, and then pushing in the other, trading off being in charge of the supper table, now four years this king, now four years that queen, and so on again, the system couldn’t have been made any smoother than butter left out in the summer sun an hour in July. And now all those November folks lined up like stiff ants crossing the river to die for themselves like it all mattered to them. But it wasn’t any different either when Diomedes eventually lost his sword and shield, and all excellence was cast away like a dead body in the river nobody, neither party, could then claim as their own anymore.

Brushing Teeth With Crest or Colgate

flag-machineIn a similar vein, telling people about your own plans to vote can encourage others to do the same.

There’s a science to getting people to vote

If enough money is put behind an advertising campaign to buy Crest toothpaste, there will be a tendency for people to buy Crest toothpaste over other brands of toothpaste. If enough money is put behind an advertising campaign to buy Colgate toothpaste, there will be a tendency for people to buy Colgate toothpaste over other brands of toothpaste. If there are huge advertising campaigns with spending budgets in the 100’s of millions of dollars to buy either Crest or Colgate toothpaste, it does not mean, in the end, that the slim margin of people who buy one or the other brand are buying a better brand of toothpaste.

What is means is that people who buy toothpaste have bought into the trope of advertising campaigns as being truthful: that such campaigns represent truthful states of reality which are represented by the products they offer.

From some of the well-known advertising classics, that would mean such things as:

—Mountain Dew will make you white river rafting with twenty-something year olds

—Cars will hook you up with long-legged, voiceless and sexy women; or turn you into one

—Norelco electric razors are so fun that shaving will feel as though you are sledding on cartoon snow with Snoopy

—Using drugs to give men erections will make couples feel a) monogamous; b) in love while walking around the pastoral circumference of Lake Geneva; heterosexual

Within the matter of purchasing toothpaste, there is the underlying presumption that “brushing your teeth is good for you.” Within this assumption, there is the counter-implication that “not brushing your teeth is bad for you.” So, one underlying advertising assumption is to advertise products that are to be perceived by people as “self-caring” vs. the bane of “self-neglect.”

Drinking sweet fizzy soda, driving a hot car, having a baby-smooth cheek, and a stiff cock for men—all of these are cast as desirable, human norms. All of these go into the shopping cart of both “having” and “living the good life.”

Imagine buying a product sold to you that did absolutely nothing at all, however. You brush your teeth with a paste that is just a clear gel. This gel, whether it is sold by Crest or Colgate, makes for either manufacturer of toothpaste huge profits, millions upon millions of dollars. In fact, all the millions of dollars in advertising put into steering the public that “brushing their teeth is good for them,” is easily and only worth it because this plowback returns to the manufacturers, the stakeholders in the corporation, and that corporation’s shareholders, as a steady if not predictable path of increasing margins of profit over time. So, a public concern, i.e., to have healthy teeth and gums, which is valid, is exploited in this scenario of bogus toothpaste sales solely for the good of private, corporate gain.

If the American Republic actually worked as a democracy, if there actually were anything approximating a democracy, many candidates for president would be available for the voting public, not just Crest and Colgate on the shelf. The other candidates that are? Knock off generic, or small market niche, or cave-dwellers brands, scarcely important.

In the upcoming election, one brand of gel might well be made up of confetti, minced cassette tapes, and arsenic. The other brand might well be made up of pulverized iron, minced brassieres, and gunpowder. Neither is good for you. Should either win, that person representing that party, the stakeholders in that party, and the sycophantic shareholders in that party’s system will all win. They will all profit big time. One, or the other.

While the belief that “brushing you teeth” is one that rings of truth, “voting is a civic duty” is a misleading falsehood. It is, like brushing your teeth drummed into people since early childhood, hard to get over, hard to get past, hard to overcome, hard to disbelieve.

Don’t vote. Don’t vote anymore than you would buy a tube of toothpaste whose use was not just pointless, but bad for you, and bad for everyone you know, and everyone you don’t know. Don’t buy Crest or Colgate, especially this time you think about shopping for toothpaste.

Americans, just say, “No.”

Pia Coybonne

grocery-list

The small things that I had remembered had been the the small things that I had  forgotten. Somewhere in the blandishments of my day to day living, the moanings and the excitements, I must have gone straight into the marketplace to pause. People must have have milling about, looking for something new, something fresh. A baby bear fed the stump end of a broken carrot? A double-terminated crystal, clear and colorless, with one of the tips smacked off? A black typewriter ribbon unspooled to line the inside of a talking doll’s universe? All sorts of events, both minor and major ones, had had some effect on my corn husk broom, the dead cats swept off the dirty midnight streets of Tunis, the speeding trains that slowed up just enough to make perfect time on the dot when arriving in Zurich, like a ballerina en pointe. All that I had overlooked, and all that had overlooked me, it was all mentioned in the waters whose rings had disappeared when the pebble I had tossed again and again sank, where the flashing coy fish swam down away to the murk and corners. Were there to have been a difference in the body politic, the grease anointing a king, or a mottled purple gown for another, surely I had raised my head to watch the geese flying overhead, flying south, or flying north, confused by the weather over which way to travel en masse upon the coming of evening during the approaching winter.

Daniel Silvacek Thurgood

chaise-lounge-blown-away

The idea of making false statement had never been new to me. I had, long ago in the past, made false statements aplenty. I had lied to counsel about the serfs I had beaten, I had lied to my children about their mother’s indelicacies, I had lied to the pontiff about my faith. Such were the customs, and such were the times. Such time and such customs had relied upon those lying to lie as an expected matter of due and common course. If teleology had demanded it, I could do no better, and indeed, did not. Later on, in the face of justices, judges, juries, in the common court of daily posts, such ways of being, such presentations of self in everyday life were deemed anathema if not wholly illegal. Subjects were placed in psychological prisons, pensions were revoked, and all but the deafest sycophants became deserters. In this fallen time, in which most of us living north of the Earth’s equator presently live, there is an impetus—however—to eke away somewhere, somewhere else, where one can exist and rejoice in being less than half of nothing. To that end, I had tied both of my laces, fastening tightly beneath their crisscrossing the two tongues of my leather boots and headed alone thither.

Joy Riders, Unite!

For the most part, we should plan for life on Mars the same way we might plan for life after a nuclear apocalypse. That is, we can expect to live in underground burrows, like rabbits or prairie dogs.

http://www.arkansasonline.com/news/2016/oct/09/who-wants-a-one-way-ticket-to-mars-2016/

There must be gold, oil, diamonds, copper, and lithium to even think of something so incredibly dumb. Something must be driving the itch to go there. Something must be messing with the balls of the big boys hoping to get enough lucre up to go. And, except for totally fouling the nest of this place Earth [once] called home, it is no surprise that some wonky South African punk, a generation removed from the Apartheid oscilloscope, is hungry for it.

Sort of like moving out of one shitted up chicken coop into maybe another one? For instance, just imagine anybody going family camping around the ruins of Chernobyl. No takers. But if you’ve got minerals and a way to make money (and, hell, all the externalities blowing upon the vacuous emptiness of space, who cares?!), guess we’ve got a wagon train and folks lookin’ for a new 40 acres and a mule.

Just leave all the tar, and chemicals, and waste, and unsolved nuclear pollution, and post-industrial indestructible indissolvable human debris behind for a new little place to…befoul? No, that c’aint be it! And it ain’t some kind of wanderlust. As for the science angle? Nope. It’s just death, like here. So why, Santa Claus, why? Well, li’l Wendy, iz just anotha opportunity to be lookin’ fer them free raw materials before th’other fella gits ’em first, yee-haw! Ride’m, girl! Ride’m, cowboy! Into the solar system!