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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Conduit



Author's note: Some of the beings in this story communicate via high level symbols, mathematical jokes, and other esoteric forms. All anthropomorphisms are entirely mine, and should not be construed as accurate.

I went in. DMT is really hard to talk about. How can you explain the unexplainable? The experience is entirely other-dimensional and often non-verbal. A lot of times, it's telepathy. There's no time, no physicality. Everything we know as humans is grounded in our own reality. So we're forced to explain things as best we can, using terms that are for the most part inapplicable. If we should even be discussing them at all. But what the heck. I'll give it a shot.

I took the third hit, the breakthrough hit, and the room began to transform. Color intensified as if someone had cranked the gain on a television set. The edges of everything became more sharply defined. The world suddenly became more detailed. And dirty-looking. But that's pretty common on psychedelics.

Then everything resolved to polygons. This is what made begin to take simulation theory seriously. Later events only solidified these initial impressions.

My own pet theory in regard to that is that we're not necessarily in a digital simulation. I suspect the universe might be a sort of organic internet, and DMT hacks our own analog computers, our brains, removing the blinders that keep us from seeing the whole of reality.

Digital and analog are just concepts that constrain our thinking, as is the concept of simulations themselves. All I know is that there's more to reality than we can perceive, or even conceive.

So, after the images intensified, things began to change. The ceiling and walls took on the qualities of jewels and precious metals. The utilitarian berber carpet started to look more like an intricate Persian rug. A magic carpet, even.

The trip might have ended there. Beautiful, compelling. But ultimately superficial. By then, I was immobilized with wonder. Luckily, I had a plan. My beautiful and loving girlfriend was there as my babysitter. When she saw me drop the pipe, she administered the last hit to me herself. A pretty big one at that.
I closed my eyes and saw the chrysanthemum. 

God, it's beautiful. It's a mandala of geometric shapes in every possible color. Sort of like the world's biggest kaleidoscope, but far more complex. I could stare at it for hours. But it represents the membrane you must pass through. I had become a creature of pure thought. I took as much of it in as I could and plunged forward.

I heard the crinkling. It sounds like the world as we know it being discarded as a frustrated writer would throw away a bad draft. Then I experienced something akin to light speed, and I was in the cathedral. It makes the chrysanthemum look like a finger-painted portrait by comparison. Breathtaking. Not that you breathe on the other side.

We call it the cathedral, but it's also bizarre. It's sort of a bazaar as well. Like a trans-dimensional Grand Central Station. Sort of a domed structure, impossibly huge, and made of, well, stained glass is the closest thing I can use to describe it, but more than mere glass.

Something entered me.

Not physically, of course. I had no body. But in the same sense that I had passed through a doorway, I had become one myself. I wasn't alarmed. Just another aspect of the experience. In all of my journeys, I have never experienced the least amount of malevolence. Not that it never happens, of course.

When I felt this entity enter me, I heard it say, “I'm going in.”
The sensation was brief, and not somewhat disturbing. I got the distinct impression that I was being used as a gateway or a portal in the same sense that DMT acted as one for me.

No big deal. I'm used to a certain amount of curiosity when I arrive. I've felt things enter me, and worse. Sometimes they make...changes. Very casually, much as you or I would adjust a painting or a vase of flowers. In fact, I credit these others with helping me to quit smoking.

So I paid this no more attention than a giant waterslide would its riders. There was too much going on at one time, anyway. Which is a funny concept. Time, I mean. When you're there, you're acutely aware that time as a concept is meaningless. Time dissolves into the ever-present now.

At the same, uh, time (see how hard it is to discard that concept?), the clock in your head ticks on as always. You're in the most wondrous place in the universe, and you keep thinking, “How much time do I have left? Four more minutes? Five?”

It's a very incongruous thought process. I try not to sully that place with emotions, particularly negative ones, but I can't break my connection with time entirely. Can you even imagine a place without time or dimensions? I suspect you can't.

In a bigger sense, all the time is there, and more than our three or four dimensions, as well. As I've said, it's hard to explain. I get the impression that that's what the DMT elves do there, among other things. They manipulate time. Or, rather, they manipulate objects within time, often leading to what we consider coincidences.

I think they do this out of some sense of purpose we can't discern. At the same time, they appear to love what they do. When I encounter their work back on Earth, I can't help but grin at the thought of some magical inter-dimensional elf placing some item in my path so as to create an amusing situation.

It's a long way to go for a joke, which is why I suspect there is more to it than there appears to be upon cursory examination. I do wish I understood their purposes. For whatever reason, questions of that nature are discouraged, there.
“You are,” they often say. “Be, do.”

Which should be enough for most people. For travelers such as myself, it's a little suspicious and unnerving. I mean, hear I am in the presence of these other-worldly beings with access to more knowledge than we can hope to comprehend, and they discourage asking questions. It's sort of an affront to them that you would spend your visit interrogating them instead of just being there and experiencing it. So I'm patient. I'm pretty sure I'll have all the answers eventually.

The dimensionality is also hard to grasp. There are directions, forward, up, etc. but there is no real fixed point of reference. We all seem to gather on the same plane, often vaguely humanoid, upright in the same direction, out of convenience. Etiquette, even.

I've been there enough to know it's really more akin to cyberspace. I just don't seem to have the same amount of control they do. There's no doubt to me that they could assume any angle or elevation they chose to. More than that, I'm also pretty sure that they can chose whatever appearance they want. Everything you encounter is sentient.

So after that thing that passed through me or whatever happened, I saw my buddies. The brothers, I call them. Each of my eight visits, save for one, included an encounter with them. They're artists, really. You might even call them hipsters.

Unlike the elves, they don't see to have a strong sense of purpose. That's probably a faulty perception on my part. But they behave a bit like traveling entertainers. I'd say minstrels, but they don't sing. Cosmic jugglers is the most apt description I can come up with. In appearance, they remind me of characters from a Rene Magritte painting.

The show me the most amazing things, as casually as you or I would point out something mundane. Even so, I get the sense that they realize they are blowing my mind. And they constantly try and one-up each other.

One would say (think), “Watch this,” and toss the arc of a rainbow from palm to palm.

“Watch this,” the other would say, and our little solar system would orbit his head.

“Watch this,” and in his palm, a thunderstorm.

The ultimate moment for me was when one of them crumpled up three-dimension reality like a piece of paper and tossed it over his shoulder. Even his companion seemed impressed with that move.

I started to hear the rushing sound that indicated I would be leaving soon. My two performance art buddies tipped their hats to me as a farewell.

As always, I hated to go. Not that I had a choice. I didn't feel sad, as such. I carry that sense of wonder with me always. I also know that I'll be back. Via DMT, but I'm also convinced that it's the afterlife as promised by various religions. And it's better than we can imagine.

What made me write this, though, is what happened at the last few moments before I returned home.

I felt the entity whose presence I had detected earlier, this time moving in the opposite direction. Their voices faded out as I left, but I heard them talking to each other.

“What was it like?”
“Only three dimensions. Linear time. Fixed reference points. Physicality.”
“That's crazy.”
“It was...”









Saturday, November 8, 2014

Closure

Just to let you know
I still love you
But
I love someone more
Because she
Loves me

Friday, September 5, 2014

She Speaks To Me On The Wind

She speaks to me on the wind
If I listen closely
That red-headed, freckle-faced girl I once knew
Timeless
Ageless
It's the only way I can hear her, now
Lover
Fighter
Mother
Little girl
Teacher
Of life's harshest lessons

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Future Past

Howard was going mad, he was sure of it. Of late, each time he sought the solace of sleep, he awoke terrorized, drenched in sweat, trembling. These were no ordinary nightmares, he felt. Quite often, he was unable to allow himself to return to slumber, the visions frightened him so.

His wife offered little consolation.

“Try some warm milk, dear,” she would opine. He spared her the grisly details, lest she too become affected.

Subsequently, he occupied two hells, a waking one, and a dreaming one. The conscious one, in which he was perpetually tired and cross, was still infinitely preferable to what lay beyond the wall of sleep.

En route to work each day, he found himself intensely annoyed by the presence of a multitude of filthy foreigners, and began to imagine a connection. Perhaps it was voodoo being practiced upon him. He had no proof, but this seemed most likely. Arcane black magic conducted by the never-ending stream of newcomers to his once proud neighborhood.

After weeks of distress, he sought out the opinion of a psychiatrist. In secret, of course. Psychiatry struck him as the white equivalent of voodoo, at some base level of thought. But it was here that he began to unburden himself. It was here that the madness touched his soul in full.

He saw a future world occupied by gigantic sentient beetles, humanity no longer extant. A desert mad man enacting dark rituals. A breech in the fabric of time and space that resulted in a flood of indescribable creatures issuing forth to creak a havok heretofore unthinkable.

But most of all he saw...It. Chanting men in robes, undoubtedly foreigners, summoning a great beast from beyond the dimensions we can perceive. An entity so foul and alien, it was entirely without motivation as we understood it. To look upon it, to feel its thoughts radiating outward, a rapid blast of unknowable symbols, was to lose your humanity. The creature didn't feel hate toward us, or even contempt. It simply destroyed without emotion, as though its very nature was death.

And it had a name. Cthulu.

This is what frightened Howard the most, lending it the air of truth. Never a creative man, he felt it impossible that such in-depth realism could be the creation of his own tired mind. He might ascribe it to the very powers of Hell themselves, except this alternate reality seemed to dwarf Christian Hell in terms of horror. In fact, it made the very idea seem comforting.

He longed to die and vanquish his suffering. To end it all before his visions of the future began to come true, as he surely knew they would.

Putting these things into words for the doctor did, in some small way, comfort him. They made his somewhat abstract thoughts concrete, thus painting them with the brush of reality. He realized that he was, to his relief, not going mad, as such. In fact, he felt he was to be commended for dealing with the enormity of the situation as well as he had. Lesser men would have crumbled, collapsed, begging for the safety of the asylum.

The uncomprehending doctor of the mind prescribed him an opiate sedative.

“No dreams with this stuff, no sir. You'll sleep the sleep of the dead.”

If only he could trust death to be without dreams.

Howard walked home, deaf to his wife's inquiries, and sat at his desk, putting pencil to paper for the first time in response to his situation, and began to write.

Somewhere in a future time, members of the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society posted endless pictures of Cthulu to Facebook, transmitting them to the past.


Friday, May 30, 2014

Using Musical Themes In Your Writing

Long before I got serious, um, serious-ish, about writing, I was a musician. And before I was a musician, I was a music fan. Consequently, I find my writing infused with musical themes, on various levels.

I have always been struck by Stephen's King's work ethic. Write ten pages a day, he points out, and you'll have a novel every two months or so. I don't work like that. But he has also stated that he loves to blast music while he writes, often metal or classic rock. The Talisman, for example, has an extended sequence during which he listened to Creedence Clearwater Revival's “Run Through The Jungle” as he wrote, and it seems to have had a noticeable influence. The text doesn't give it away, but when you learn about that and read it, wow. He sort of transcribed music into prose.

I also don't do that. I tend to write in silence. But at the same time, my books are usually not too removed from the world of music. I've done that in several different ways, now that I think about it.

Least often, I just write about music. In Pageburner, Paige attends a Bad Brains concert in New Orleans. This afforded me an opportunity to talk about one of the best concerts I have ever attended, while at the same time, driving both the plot and character development.

But music is also a part of Paige's life. She listens to The Cure at home alone, wallowing in self-pity. Her friend Bryce sends her MP3s of his nerd raps. When she goes clubbing, it's retro night, where she gets down to Lords of Acid and other bands that invoke feelings of nostalgia in her. I think these details add an air of realism. Consider how many novels you've read in which no one ever listens to music at all.

On a slightly more sneaky level, I interjected bits of old school rap lyrics into the text itself. It's seriously understated, but if you have a depth of knowledge about that genre, you'll encounter little phrases throughout the book that might make you smile. It's sort of a secret club. I'm not sure if any such fans have read that one, but still. It's nice to know they're there, just in case.

At other times, I have used a song as the basis for an entire novel. Radar Love is sort of an expanded telling of 'Life in the Fast Lane' by The Eagles. I'm not even sure how that happened, but I use snatches of verse to introduce chapters, and there's an amazing correlation there, however unintentional. This is sort of the main theme, but there are also leitmotifs that support the overall arrangement. One of my favorite parts involves Don Henley himself, actually. I'm pretty proud of the way that one worked out. I really need to get a copy to him so he can sue me or whatever.

Hurricane Regina can be said to be my Bjork novel. The character herself is named for The Sugarcubes' song 'Regina', and there is the additional use of a Sugarcubes song in the course of the romance that develops as the story progresses. Rapture is a location in the book which comes directly from that lyric. A record store in Iceland, in fact, sets the stage for a pivotal scene, which was originally the ending. It turned out to be the mid-point of the story, and I'm glad I pushed on. And if you're really paying attention, Bjork herself makes a tiny cameo appearance.

One of my later, unfinished-as-of-yet experiments is a retro piece set in the 80s thrash metal era. Chapter one is purely Mercyful Fate's 'Don't Break The Oath', and I think I listened to that album twenty times in between writing that single chapter alone. The music helps to define the character of the female protagonist, and also serves as a friction point between her and her ostensible love interest.

Perfect Me has a few nods to comedic genius Rappy McRapperson (the character President Gorlax), and my own former metal band, Gortician, which has evolved into a planet and a race of people. The sequel, Cure for Sanity, takes a slightly more serious approach in a sub-plot, which involves some lyrics invoking nasty Lovecraftian beasts from beyond.

I guess this is an extension of 'Write what you know', or perhaps, 'Write what you love'. I think music can be an effective shorthand in conveying certain feelings, and finding a common ground between author and reader. There is a danger, I suppose, in placing too much burden on such devices, and having the meaning lost on readers who don't know what you're referring to. But I strive to find a balance that doesn't make the story dependent on them, but instead uses them as enhancements.

Do you have a favorite piece of music that invokes feelings within you? Explore it in your work. Properly employed, they can add a rich layer of meaning to your writing. At worst, you might get a cease and desist letter from The Eagles. Win/win, I say.





Saturday, March 8, 2014

Crypto Everywhere

I am reminded daily that most people have no idea of what cryptocurrency is, or why it matters. By now, you may have heard of Bitcoin, the leading crypto. But even that is questionable, and chances are you don't know what it is, if you have heard about it at all.

I didn't write this to explain crypto to you. But in a nutshell, it's a new form of currency, electronic in nature, and anonymous. It is basically credits that you can purchase with paper money, and spend online, or later convert back to paper money. But it can also be 'mined', or earned for performing tasks. It also works well for tipping and micro-transactions. 

It can increase or decrease in value based on things like availability and demand, which can be quite nice. There's a lot to like about cryptocurrency. But whether you like it or not, it's here to stay, and will only gain more prominence. 

Why?

Well, it's incredibly bloody useful. Beyond that, it's about to become the de facto for things like 'Coke Reward Points' and frequent flyer miles. But it's really about branding.

When Coke realizes it can create CokeCoin out of thin air, for an investment of a few million, it is going to do it. Everyone will, at some point in the future, have their own currency. Corporations, universities. Yes, even people. Each currency will have a value assigned to it that is derived at least in part based on reputation. A dollar from Joe might be more valuable than a dollar from Bob.

Don't worry. All of this stuff will be handled invisibly, for the most part. If I want to buy from you, but you only accept Flappycoin, and I only have Dogecoins, we'll just go through an exchange without either of us having to do anything.  

My point is that the prevalence of cryptocurrencies is only going to increase. I can easily imagine it exploding in a way most people can't imagine right now, as is often the case with new technologies. Get ready. Or not. Meh. 

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Has the Online Conspiracy Scene Been Co-Opted?

Of course it has. Anyone familiar with, say, Mockingbird, knows that this is just as logical as the feds co-opting the media. And that's common knowledge, for those who think. See, for example, the CIA's office at CNN, or Anderson Cooper's admitted CIA ties.

This has been sort of a hobby of mine since before the Internet. I used to study every book on the JFK assassination that I could get my hand on. And early Internet conspiracy research was a vast, fascinating wonderland. There was a lot of wide-eyed alien and UFO-related crap, but there were also fabulously fascinating things about things like Silent Weapons for Quiet Wars, AIDS, etc. You had to be discerning when reading these things, and have the ability to separate the wheat from the chaff.

Looking at the Internet now, it's pretty obvious that, while there is an even larger community now, the entire scene is pretty heavily controlled from within. Ain't that some shit?

Want some examples?

85% of the entire online conspiracy scene is Alex Jones. He runs Prison Planet.com and Infowars.com, with millions of hits each month. Alex Jones is a bit of a Chicken Little, using his pulpit for fear-mongering, and often urging people to violent revolution. A bit like the FBI-backed racist Hal Turner. Furthermore, Alex Jones has admitted that half of his family are CIA connected. Curiously, Alex Jones avoids any discussion of Zionism in regard to world affairs. Odd, that, when it's a big part of normal N.W.O. discussions.

Rense.com is another long-time conspiracy site. It's a real mixed bag, with lots of UFO stuff mixed in with virulently racist articles, making it easy for many to dismiss any valid stories they might happen to publish.

Michael Rivero's WhatReallyHappened.com is a pretty good link aggregator. It mainly assembles news stories from around the world, both mainstream and underground. It does often veer into vaguely anti-Semitic rhetoric at times. But there's another curious quirk at work here. Michael Rivero insists that a 767 hit the Pentagon on 9/11, despite zero evidence, and a ton of evidence indicating the opposite.

Then there are the message board sites. Abovetopsecret.com and Godlikeproductions.com seem to be the biggest around. Having studied them in depth recently, I noticed a few odd things about them as well.

Above Top Secret recently hosted an "Ask Me Anything" with Lt. Col. Michael Aquino. As many long-time researchers know, Satanist/Setian Aquino was tied to the Presidio and McMartin-Buckey child sex scandal. Curiously, this subject is never raised in the AMA... Just wow. The majority of the posters seem to be doing damage control for the government.

Something else that was very telling was the reaction on ATS and GLP when the congressional stenographer made a remark about Freemasonry and Godlessness. While you would think conspiracy sites would be all over this, instead, she was mainly mocked as a Christian, and Freemasonry was defended. This even extends to Alex Jones' site, which called her diatribe "bizarre". Really, Alex? This is the bread and butter of conspiracy theory.

I think that collectively, these sites are both a pressure valve, providing entertainment for the conspiracy set, and a great place to introduce disinformation. And the huge amount of scare-mongering that never seems to actually come true tends to taint all information on the sites, valid or not. It's also a great way to collect info on every anti-government activist in the U.S.

Conspiracy theory used to be an exercise in intellectualism. Since the scene has grown, the overall quality of the research has declined. Even conspiracy theory is a conspiracy, and I think that's awesome.




Thursday, August 29, 2013

Nerdapalooza Quest 2013 - Album Review

I am not giving you the backstory on nerdcore here. B-Type is a rapper and producer from the UK who wants to perform at this big nerdcore show in Orlando, FL, so he's released this "pay what you want" compilation album to help pay for it. A noble gesture, and one he hopes you'll return. 
http://b-type.bandcamp.com/

There are thirty tracks, many of them quite good. I'm just going to mention some of them.

The first, appropriately enough, is by B-Type himself, "Party Robot". And, oh, yeah, B is a British MC. I sort of forgot about that somehow. I don't really dig British MCs. I never even listened to The Streets. I like that sort of thing best in small doses, like on The Shamen's albums. But, to his credit, what he does is pretty listenable, and also nicely nerdy. The track itself is classic nerdcore, instrumentally, and sets the tone for the rest of the compilation.

Next up is The Great Divide, by Dual Core. I love the instrumental, which is a slow dubsteppy track. Intense The MCing is sort of frantic but cool. The whole thing is utterly dominated by the instrumental, though, and that's not too bad, in this case. Cause I love the instrumental. I'm not "down" with the latest "lingo", but I think this officially makes DJ Roborob a "beast".

"Digital Nightmares" by Equivox is pretty amazing. I guess this qualifies as chiptunes? It's an instrumental that would be a great soundtrack for an R-Type style shooter, preferably on the Amiga. But to call it mere videogame soundtrack music is to do it a huge disservice. It's actually more like a video game itself, if that makes any sense. The music actually does a great job of making you actually see the game in question. While the graphics are supplied by you, the actions of the game are well described by the music. There is simulated laser fire and explosions. Not sounds effects, but the music implies such things. So it's overall subtle and compelling. They're really packing a lot into a three-minute instrumental, conceptually. Bravo. 


Breakbeat Heartbeat 's "Breath" is a slower, non-techno instrumental. It's vaguely Asian in feel. A bit repetitive  but it did make for nice background music as I wrote the previous review. Excellent video game music, though.
"Palette" by Skin Walker comes pretty hard. Very Octomed/Tracker in feel, it's bouncy and varied. The bridge is wild. I really like this track. It's hardcore. I could dance to this, but people might get hurt.
SK8BIT - "Thats What You Get" (Paramore Remix). Couldn't do it. Not a fan of Paramore, and I couldn't listen to enough of it to say anything about the instrumetal aspect of it, and I never heard the original, so I can't comment on the remix aspect. Great if you like upbeat, female vocals in your techno. Just not my thing.
Superpowerless - "My Dinosaur". Ha! I've got this bastard now. Oliver is one of these scene cats that just makes everyone sick. Everything he touches is golden. He's made some insanely good tracks, is immensely popular, by most accounts good-looking, a phenominal artist and humorist with an ever-growing following. And I think he dated fanatical? We all love him so much we hate him. Yes, I can speak for everyone, here. That's why I am ELATED to say I don't like this track very much. Fuck. That's what I was going to write. But I'm listening to it again because I need to write this review. And it's grown on me. It'd be perfect on college radio. Hell, it would make a good intro to cartoon on PBS. Bah, you bastard, Oliver. You have a weak point, somewhere. I'll find it. A perfect example of someone who would have been snapped up by a label back in the days when there were record labels.





On the other hand, I wanted to like Ham-Star's "Moral Turpitude" more than I did. Of course, it's a sort of niggling complaint I have with it, anyway. I don't mind the somewhat tinny backing track. This is kind of like a white kid "Nature of the Threat", in feel and conceptually, to a lesser degree. The flow is cool, the lyrics are an example of Ham-Star's command of the lsnguage. I like what he's saying, furthermore. I just don't think the track got as extrene as it could have. He even makes note of this in one of the last verses. Since it's all about moral outrageous of the past, it feels a bit like preaching to the converted. I'd like to have had it tackle controversial issues of today, as well, for maximum impact. I would almost compare this to Consolidated, except it's not whiny and annoying. 


8bit Duane - "Party In Space" (feat. Shammers and B​-​Type) is great. It's just a fun party track, and the backing instrumental is sort of subdued. A lot of clever lyrics.

And that's just a few of the whopping 30 tracks included. This is a great compilation, especially if you're not a nerdcore snob and also like non-hip-hop nerd music. I gotta hand it to B-Type for helping to keep the nerd music scene alive. 

I should also mention that Torrentz, a crew in part also from the UK, are trying to get to NPLZA, and have a compilation effort of their own, toward the same end. My man Milk Plus.
http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/get-torrentz-to-nerdapalooza

Best of luck to all involved. Nerdapalooza looks to be massive this year. http://nerdapalooza.org/ 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

"World War Z" (the book!) Review

Just wow. This book is really amazing.

The author is way beyond intelligent. I can't imagine a more interesting zombie novel. It's written as a series of interviews in a post zombie holocaust scenario, international in scope. The amount of research that's gone into it is readily apparent. It takes you from China, to South Africa, Japan, the International Space Station, and beyond, slowly building a global view of the events, and their aftermath.

In fact, this novel sort of makes me want to see it happen. Yes, millions of people die, maybe more. But it's sort of like Reagan (whom I'm not particularly a fan of) said. The world will unite against a common enemy.

Each little piece of the book taken alone is fascinating. But the big picture it paints is even more inspiring. Along the way, there is plenty of geopolitical commentary. It actually paints xenophobia in a positive light, with Israel and Cuba, for example, behaving in surprising ways.

The standard zombie fare is in there, as well, with lots of grisly and action-packed moments full of tension. It's also full of heroes, and two enemies: the zombies, and ourselves. A top-notch book, from start to finish. Read it!

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0770437400/ref=cm_cr_thx_view

Monday, July 15, 2013

My Final Poem

I hate the moon, now
Despise it
For it reminds me of failure
And my lost love
Wretched lunar sphere
Full or crescent
Waxing or waning
It is the shape
Of a broken heart...

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Short Story - All The Time In The World

Abraham Kochinsky had had enough. Life just wasn't working for him anymore. The dream was dying, or perhaps had already died.

He'd spent the first half of his fifty-odd years aimless, for the most part. Following his bliss, as they say. But bliss, he had found, was fleeting. The things that had once made him happy no longer did. In fact, they depressed the everliving fuck out of him. 

Working was working. He was never lucky enough to find solace in laboring to earn a living. The world defined men largely by their work, and the subsequent earnings it brought. Women, although a joy much of the time, led to further disappointments. You only needed to break a heart once, and have your own broken, before you could lose your taste for romance. Which is what led him to his current ennui.

Along the way, he picked up writing. It was writing, ultimately, that ruined his life.

He endured the first ten years like a soldier. He had been taught that being an author was largely a story of rejection, and had steeled himself for it. Eventually, he was inured to the rejections from editors and agents, most of them stock replies. He survived by telling himself that he was good, but the market wasn't ready for his style of storytelling. Cliche piled upon cliche. He had the wall of letters from publishers telling him, in so many words, that he wasn't quite good enough to be published. 

For a long while, even that was a badge of honor. Eventually, his optimistic philosophy lost its effectiveness at staving away depression.

Then the self-publishing revolution took hold. Suddenly, he was in an admirable position. He had skills, and a huge back catalog of unpublished work, free and clear. He set about getting his books online. True, he made many mistakes, initially. But he was convinced of the quality of his work. It was all just a matter of time and effort, he told himself.

Another few years of this, and his hope had again faded. He had a few fans, and some reviews that one could be proud of. But commercial success continued to elude him. There was never enough time to do all that he needed to do, trying to juggle work and writing. It was overwhelming.

He felt foolish. Again. A writer writing about a writer writing was hackneyed. Done to death. No one really wanted to read it. Especially other writers, who had once commiserated with him, drinking from the same cup of sorrows.

He braced himself with a few shots of rotgut, and fingered his three-eighty, waiting for his courage and resolve to kick in. Finally, he walked to the station house down the street, smiling with genuine kindness at neighbors and passers-by.

Moving as though in a dream, he shot the cop working as desk clerk right in the nose, opening up a fist-sized hole that exploded like a water balloon. With a cheery expression on his face, he took out the first officer to respond with a double-tap to the heart and throat.

Then he was engulfed in blackness, shot from behind. Textbook suicide by cop.

When he awoke, much to his dismay, he was in a prison hospital. His greatest hopes had been realized, in part. He was famous. But he had wanted to die. 

At least he could fully devote himself to the craft, though. Now he had all the time in the world.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Penultimate Hustle: L.A. - Chapter Seven


7 – Growth

Back at the office, Janique leapt into Chris's arms and kissed him with fervor. She reeked of sex and happiness.

Someone had a good day,” he said. “What did you do?”

Bought a print shop.”

What a coincidence. I bought you a computer store,” he said, smiling.

She hugged him tighter. “Really?”

Yep. I had to offer him ten percent over market value, but it's between the lawyers, now.”

Wow. It's all coming together.” She sighed. “Wait'll I tell the girls.”

But they had already discovered Natalia's completed bedroom set, and were engaged in a giggling pillow fight. Laughter emanated from their room as they began a second, happier childhood.

Chris squeezed her hand. “Mommy,” he said.

Oh, daddy. Which reminds me. I want to talk to you about something. But let's review this footage, first.”

He threaded the projector, and they cuddled on their new couch, watching each reel in turn.

So what do you think?” she asked him when they had finished.

Well, it's hot, I admit. Mostly because of you and the girls. But it's a different sort of hot, in part. I like it, ultimately.”

She beamed at his approval. “I only regret that it's so short. I know we were talking about hour-long tapes.”

Yeah, but we have four different angles to work with. With a little judicious editing, we can get forty-five minutes out of it.”

Do you really think so?” Both of them hated camera trickery, like reusing shots or flipping them horizontally to double their length.

I can already see it in my head. To make up the difference, we'll use previews, and we can film a disclaimer-type intro.”

That sounds like fun. Can we do do that now?”

Of course, angel.”

They set up a camera, framed the shot, and then removed their shirts. Then they ad-libbed on the spot.

Hi, this is Chris.”

And I'm Janique.”

We have a lot of wild sex.”

Crazy, rough, acrobatic sex.”

But we're also in love.”

Madly in love.”

And we're trained professionals.”

Everything we do is consensual.”

Even when it looks like it's not.”

So if you're going to try and do what we do.”

Do it with someone you love.”

And if you can't...”

Please wear a stupid condom.”

Don't hurt anyone.”

Unless they ask you to.”

Most of all.”

Have fun!”

Chris grabbed Janique and kissed her with heartfelt passion, then shut off the camera.

That was sweet,” Janique said. “But it's only a minute long.”

We'll pad it with legal stuff. Proof of age statement, custodian of records. I have a feeling it will be mandatory in a few years, anyway.”

Cover your ass.”

Movie title,” Chris replied, and she laughed. “We don't want another Tokio situation.”

That's for sure. We should check on Payback's progress.”

I'm sure he'll let us know if something happens.”

They got dressed with some reluctance, and went to talk to Janice.

Hey, kids,” she said. “You two look happy.”

Really happy,” Janique said. “I'm afraid we spent eight-hundred thousand dollars, though.”

Naughty, naughty. Good investments?”

The best. They're both solvent, and ideal locations to run girls out of.”

Let me guess. The print shop?”

Yes!”

That is shrewd, Janique. Beverly Hills runs on the backs of beautiful young girls.”

I know, right?”

On a related note, I ran the ad. You should soon have more clients than you can, uh-”

Shake your dick at?” Janique said.

Well said."

"You're the best, Janice.”

Thank you, ma'am. I know. I also took got the numbers of the three biggest porn distributors in the world, as you asked. The best offers sixty-thousand per finished hour. All three are waiting on footage.”

Do you mean to tell me that we made, what, almost a quarter million dollars just goofing around this week?” Chris asked.

Subject to their approval, yes. Although I feel compelled to point out that you spent three times that much on investments. Money well spent, in my opinion. But don't lose sight of the bottom line.”

Movie title!” Janique said. Janice nearly blushed. “But I think we can do better.”

Oh?”

I want to work with Payback on the terms. I also want points.”

Very astute. I'll draft something and pass it along to him. I think we can make that work.”

The money is obviously going to be a lot to deal with. Can you recommend an accountant and financial planner?”

I wouldn't do this for anyone else, Janique, but I can give you a referral to my own. They've been in business for over a hundred years, and have never steered me wrong.”

Are you really that old?” Janique asked with a smirk.

Janice, I could kiss you,” Chris said.

No, sir, you cannot. But I'm glad to help. When you incorporate, I should like stock options.”

You are just full of good advice,” Janique said.

Anybody here?” said a voice in the hall. Dana and Brad had arrived with the computer delivery.

When Chris entered the corridor, Dana dropped the box of cables he was holding.

Hey! That's the guy who threatened to pistol-whip me!

What?” Brad said.

Oh, Dana. Chris was just playing around. Weren't you, Chris?”

Oh, sure,” he said.

Chris would never hurt anyone.”

He tried to smile, but the thought of the people he'd killed, and the arms and kneecaps he'd broken made it more of a pained and unconvincing grimace. The moment was saved by the girls, who swarmed the two computer salesman.

Hey, Brad and Dana,” said a chorus of voices.

Girls, I need to talk to Brad. Show Dana your new room,” Janique said pointedly.

Ooh, come see,” Lateesha said, taking him by the hand.

Brad, we're buying the store. Would you like to work for us?”

You mean, at the store?”

No, silly. I mean here. You're too talented to be a mere shopkeeper. Sure, you can oversee operations, there. But I'm talking about being our technical consultant. And also developing hardware and software.”

Dana walked back out as they were talking, looking flushed and disheveled.

Janique, I'd be a fool to say no.”

Especially once you learned that the position pays a quarter-million a year to start...”

Fuck Brad, what about Dana?” Dana said.

Not to mention a generous R & D budget...”

Fuck Brad, what about Dana?” he repeated.

Dana, go unload the truck, please,” Brad said, annoyed.

When he was out of earshot and into the elevator, Brad said, “Look, my brother's sort of a screw-up. I can't just abandon him. I'm afraid I can't accept if it means he'll lose his job at the store. And without me, he'll never make it, there.”

Well, what can he do, besides run a cash register and be a goofball?”

That's the thing. Being a goofball is all he's really good at. He's a comedy writer, and he does a little stand-up and improv.”

I may be able to use him, then. We'd still have to audition him.”

Please keep him off camera. No one wants to see that.”

Janique laughed. “Not like that. I mean, he'd have to write a test script for me.”

Pornos have scripts?”

I don't want to do bog-standard porn. I want funny, exciting art pieces. At least occasionally.”

Well, dependent on how he does, I guess, I accept.”

Janique kissed him on the cheek, and he looked nervously to Chris, who, rather than being angry, betrayed a hint of a smile.

Wonderful,” she said. “Welcome aboard.”

I'm going to help him unload,” Brad said.

Great. I'll talk to him about it today. Or, Chris will, rather. They need to be friends for it to work.”

Brad joined Dana downstairs, and Janique said, “Well, can you work with another writer?”

Yeah, I think I'd like that. Comedy is not my strong suit.”

And not pistol-whip him?”

Chris smiled. “I'll do my best.”

You always do. Reason four-hundred and fifty-six of why I love you so much.”

Penultimate Hustle: L.A. - Chapter Six


6 – Perfection

Janique held the door open and the girls walked in, forming a vee ahead of her. Already, she loved her entourage. They were a sexy little female gang. The shop was quiet and empty, and the proprietor's eyes bulged at the sight of them. But he played it cool, as though this sort of thing happened every day.

Hi,” she said. “I need five thousand cards on your priciest stock. Black, with gold embossed lettering, in this distribution.”

He accepted the list with the text she wanted, and she found herself amused at the sight as his eyes grew wider still.

Wow,” he said. “Ordinarily, I'd caution you about ordering so many at once, but you seem, uh, very confident. Let me see what it'll cost.”

He forced himself to focus on his adding machine for a moment, and eventually said, “Eight-hundred and fifty-six dollars. My name's Romeo Montague, by the way.”

Romeo Montague? Seriously?”

Yeah. Montague's my family name, and I guess my parents thought it would be funny. I'm not much of a Casanova though, to mix metaphors."

Janique laughed. “How long would it take?”

This number? Oh, three days.”

We can make it an even thousand. Two days.” She had no pressing need to get them that quickly, but she was enjoying the power play.

I'd have to work overtime, but I think I can do that. I work alone,” he added.

An idea formed in her head, but she resisted the urge to announce it too soon.

Well, I can give you cash, or-”

How'd you like to fuck the shit out of us, instead?” Mia said, shamelessly.

Romeo's facade crumbled, and his face went pale, and then bright red.

Gee, I don't know. I need the money, and Julie'd kill me.”

Your wife's name is Julie? Close enough, I guess,” Janique said. “Do you have any kids?”

He nodded. “Yep. Pride and Joy.”

That's their names?”

Right.”

Very cool. So what do you say?”

I'm torn. It's a very, uh, tempting offer. I mean, I love my wife...”

But she doesn't get down like the porno bitches, right?”

Right,” he admitted.

Well, we do get down like the porno bitches. And we're very discreet. Does she ever come here?”

No, she hates the shop. She wants me to spend more time with her and the girls. But the sales just aren't there to hire anyone, and I don't trust anyone to run the place, anyway.”

I might be able to offer a solution. And I can promise you the best sex you've ever had. Right now.”

He caved, and moved to lock the door. “We Romeos do have high libidos...”

Wait. You don't mess with nasty street whores, do you? Escorts, maybe?” Janique asked.

Me? No way. I could never cheat on my wife.”

Well, this isn't cheating. It's business. Girls, set up the cameras.” she commanded, and they scrambled to set up tripods near the back of the room.

Cameras?” Romeo gulped in apprehension. He was afraid he was getting himself into a blackmail situation.

Company policy. Otherwise, it's prostitution. And I need you to sign a release form.”

I don't know about all this,” he admitted.

Does Julie watch porn?”

"Never."

Some women are like that. It's an insecurity or something. But at least you know she'll never see it. Anyway, do we have a deal?” She proffered the release form.

Romeo sighed, defeated by his desires. “Yes.” He scrawled his name on the form.

I'll need a copy of your driver's license, too.”

Driver's license?” He looked up, and Janique had her tits out. “No problem.”

Ready, girls?” she called out.

Yes, mommy,” Gia said. “We're rolling.”

'Come on, Romeo. Let's see if you can live up to your name.” She led him by the hand to the center of the three cameras the girls had arranged, and pulled her own handheld from her bag.

Strip,” she told the four of them. He hesitated, and Janique grew annoyed. “For fuck's sake. This is not the time and place for modesty. We don't care about what kind of shape you're in.”

The girls disrobed, and then help him finish taking off his clothes.

Ever fuck a black girl?” Lateesha whispered in his ear.

Romeo shook his head no.

The girls tried not to look disappointed at his somewhat undersized dick, which had grown hard, despite the stress and pressure of the situation. Mia and Gia knelt in front of him, taking turns swallowing his cock and licking his balls. When Lateesha tried to spread and lick his ass, he panicked.

What are you doing?”

Relax,” Janique said, getting some nice shots of the action. This was good, she thought. It had pathos.

He did, and Lateesha tried again. But the moment she touched him with her tongue, he pulled out of Gia's mouth and squirted on the carpet.

Bad Romeo!” Janique scolded. “I ought to make you lick it up.” Something about him brought out her dominant side, one that she ordinarily reserved for females. “On your hands and knees, worm.”

Powerless, he did as she told him. Janique slipped out of her clothes single-handedly, laid down in front of him, and spread her legs, continuing to film. “Now eat my pussy,” she said. He was more than happy to oblige.

Mia and Gia got on their backs and slid under him, and Lateesha licked his ass and balls from behind. Apparently, that was her thing. They all began to get into it again, when he came a second time. The twins devoured it, and then complained.

Mommy, he came again,” Mia said, disappointed.

This was going nowhere fast.

Spank his fucking ass, girls,” she told them, changing her approach.

Janique rose and stood in front of him, looking down at him both figuratively and literally. The girls paddled him with delight, and she was unsurprised to see that he had already regained his erection.

Romeo, you're going to stick your dick in each of my girls before we go. Do you understand me?”

Yes, ma'am,” he said meekly.

The three lined lined up on their hands and knees, and Janique moved him behind Lateesha, who was on the left this time. She guided his cock into her and urged him on. “Fuck her hard,” she said, and he did his best to follow orders. After a minute or so, Janique made him pull out and she cleaned the delicious taste off of him.

Next,” she said, and moved him to Mia, repeating the process. When he had finally reached Gia, Romeo couldn't take any more. Three strokes later, and he came all over her 'Perfection' tattoo. Lateesha and Mia lapped it up for the cameras, and then snowballed each other, before spitting it all into Gia's mouth.

For shame, Romeo,” Janique said. “I was going to let you fuck me, next.”

I don't think I could handle it,” he admitted, and laid back, panting and exhausted.

Professionals to the end, the girls switched off the cameras and pulled towels from their bags. They dried the sweat from his body, and the twins laid on either side of him and cuddled as he caught his breath. To Romeo, that was the best part. He nearly cried at their gentleness and consideration.

I want to buy the shop,” Janique announced unexpectedly.

He raised his head to look at her. The girls moved to get dressed and pack up the gear.
I'm listening,” he said. At that point, he would have given it to her.

I propose a lump sum buy-out arrangement, and I'll retain you as a consultant. You can train some of my people, and draw a salary. Not to mention,” she said, “you can have sex with one of them every week.”

Romeo was stunned, but he knew a good deal when he heard one. It was too enticing to pass up.

Deal,” he said without thinking.

Great. Now you can spend more time at home, and get away when you need to.”

This is like a dream come true. How could I say no?”

Please,” she said. “It's what I do. This place is about to become Beverly Hills' best kept secret. Girls, tell Mr. Romeo goodbye.”

Each delivered him an open-mouthed kiss, and walked out without a word.

We'll be in touch,” Janique called out over her shoulder.

At the curb, they found the cabbie waiting for them.

San Fernando?” he asked with a grin.