Zoo Hijinx: Hope for the Next Generation

I was standing at the small Ben & Jerry’s stand in the zoo that I work at. It was a hot day and the sun forced me to squint angrily at every zoo patron as they walked past the point where the road curves around my post and I’m forced to make involuntary eye contact with the parents and grandparents of all those little tykes trying to reel them into my sales area. Parents who probably secretly loathe me and my ice cream stand for what they’ll have to endure from their children, whether they deny them their crack or they ultimately accede to their demands and suffer the consequences. I don’t blame them.

One kid in particular stood out to me when he made a very poignant declaration about my career goals and Ben & Jerry’s mission statement. As this small child made his approach hand-in-hand with his father, they began a dialogue with each other:
“Daddy, what is that?”
“That’s a Ben ‘n’ Jerry’s.”
“What’s it doing here?”
“They’re selling ice cream to people.”

At this point, I look over past the massive sun glare in front of me and see the child walking with his family. The child calls out, “You’re just trying to take our money!” When his face comes into view, I see that he has on it a look of complete astonishment and disgust. In the moment I had to reply, all I could do was give him a sly smile and nod my head in confirmation. Nice work, kid, you’ve dismantled this company’s specious attempts to appear charitable and revealed us for what we truly are.

I’m Calling You Out Ricky Gervais

I’m sick of hearing about your sentimental giraffe-loving bullshit. Get off your goddamn vegetarian high-horse because I can’t stand how fucking high and mighty you think you are for not killing a giraffe (or other animals) for food or sport. Like you’re fucking Jesus Christ because you don’t hunt and you think that it’s wrong.

Look, maybe you’re right. Maybe it is wrong to murder animals. It is in my opinion probably not a big deal, because I don’t think most animals have the capacity for societal remorse like we as humans do. I do also think that we should at least try not to let species go extinct for the sake of diversity and balance of the food chain, and maybe we will all eventually come to realize that it’s cold-blooded and wrong to hunt any living thing.

We don’t, though, so get the fuck over yourself.

P.S. On a lighter note, don’t knock it ’till you try it. You can get a smaller rifle (like a .22) and find somebody with a farm. They’ll most likely have a problem with rodents like gophers eating their produce and might just invite you to come out and shoot them. Trust me, these small animals won’t really understand or care when you gun down their families.

[UPDATE (4/24/15 1:15 AM) – Editor’s Addition: “The only fucking reason he gives a shit about goddamn giraffes is because they have long necks!”
-a quote from Monsieur Van Lobster]

[UPDATE (4/24/15 10:21 PM) – Editor’s Addition: So a little before 3:36 AM, Gervais shunted out a tweet that seemed a little, I dunno, directed at our smarmy asses. I shared it with my cohorts and we chortled amongst ourselves. Then he deleted it. The tweet read as follows: “People eat things. I get it. Some killing can be kind. I get that too [sic]. The thing I don’t get with TROPHY hunting is the inane morbid glee.” I was able to salvage that from the link description I shared. Want proof? I got it. Check these screencaps, yo:

he read it, i swear he read it

Ricky’s just jealous because he hasn’t experienced the thrill of the hunt under the Blood Moon, nor has he been graced by the blessings of the Great Ones.]

Chapter 2

White wash windows will give you the view you’ve been wanting to see. Turn your life into blank white canvas paper. Then you can draw the perfect world, a pristine paradise to turn your exalted gaze upon in wonderment. Magnificent beauty, leaving you so blissfully ignorant that the waking world is drowned out completely by a chorus of chirping birds, accompanied by an angelic harp arrangement with deep, soft cellos. Time has become irrelevant. Space is just an abstraction to be occupied in, and nothing more, so take a load off, and leave it off for a while.

Water streams from above, fading colors downward. I begin to get dizzy.

I corkscrew my eyes open, then wrench the sleepiness from them with tight fists, wiping out the fine dusting. Slowly, I lower my hands to a steady gleam of piercing purple-ish-white light beaming in from the front window. I sit for a moment, taking it all in. Reflecting on my dream; on the possible implications provided, but moreso the intensity of it. The surreal realism with its vibrant colors and mesmerizing narrative. In my current state, the bright light makes me feel nostalgic. It’s reminiscent of the early morning sun which had shone through lazy afternoons.

Courier shakes me violently, springing me to my feet, and I rustle away any leftover sleepiness. “Don’t get drawn in,” he says to me, calmly. I nod reassuringly as I don my jacket and fumble out a tube to inhale through deeply before returning it. Now that my senses are returning, I can faintly make out the shape of the Gork, who seems to be gesturing its appendages toward the light in incredible enthusiasm and with a strong hint of panic. I look only for a second before it starts to unnerve me. I need to relax now, to get through the long waiting period that accompanies these missions, as it is important to remain absolutely undeterred by any amount of anomalies that might raise too many questions.

You see, it’s the unnatural–the extraordinary–that demands rationality in the form of logically sound reasoning to explain an expansively deprecating reality in a way that one can bring their mind to terms with, as your brain won’t have room on its stove to cook up enough probability for such a tall order of unaccountable events. Given the event that one has taken on too many allowances to their definitions of the real world, one of two things will happen: 1. They’ll go insane, like a homeless person who spends every available penny on the most mind-boggling, brain-hazing drug they can get their hands on, wandering about until an open ear presents itself to have inane nonsense rambled into it with such a fiery passion that they might drag one down into the hellish pits of incoherence right along with them, or 2. Worse yet, their brain simply fries completely, leaving them not brain dead, but still sane enough to go on as if nothings wrong. But nothing will make sense anymore. They’ll find themselves watching the most low-brow family sit-com with the least inspired writing on television, and they don’t like it but they don’t care, either. They keep watching it anyways, their mouth drooping, legs shaking, and their metabolism will pull the plug on the whole operation, making it a race to see which organ fails first and their last saving moment of mortality when the throes of death finally arrive is choked down by liver failure; or a massive stroke. So you see now why it is so imperative to remain calm.

I lightly lift myself down into the kitchen, surveying the area quickly with purposefully not intense amounts of concentration. Though the entire area seems off, I can’t seem to put my finger on it. Dry5 is condensing her knees into hamburger buns over a pot on the floor, so I quickly turn away. Sliding into a chair, I lay out my cards on the table. Pulling and laying them out one by one, I notice that Jacks are Jills, and Queens are sheep dogs making an unruly face, not at me but past me, as if there is something threatening there. I look back, but I can’t tell what it’s so worked up about. No good. Why am I playing cards in the first place? I’ve got a job to do. There’s no time for this.

Speaking of hands: when I stood, both of mine plummeted thousands of feet below me, like a 3D model gone wrong. I use them to open the big red door into the engine room (which isn’t normally big or red, more like small and green) Dry5 somehow made her way past me to the center of the room, unless she never left, which is possible at this point. Courier takes long, brisk steps in behind me, making stride with his feet and his instructions, spoken in monotone loops to help consistently direct our focus. As we’re descending stairs on a clinking metal grated scaffolding to the engine below, Harrier breaks into the door behind us. She swoops onto the railing and slides past both of us, gaining great speeds at what looks to be terminal velocity, her backside becomes a streaming tail, much like a comet, but streaming spaghetti instead of fire. Meatballs and spaghetti sauce spring up from the force, sticking it all to the ceiling. Parmesan skids off the rail as she slides. I resist the urge to watch in awe, and instead shamble ahead.

Dry5 is hitting the engine with a wrench as if to awaken it with a violent Fonzian touch. Courier attempts to karate chops the inside of her elbow in order to disarm her and save the engine, but she counters and ripostes with her wrench, spinning it like a basketball into his stomach. I can tell that this isn’t normal behavior, although I’m beginning to slip myself, almost attempting to evaluate them like an apathetic psychiatrist who hasn’t thought about what to have for supper in 17 years. I slap myself. In doing so, I hit not my chin, but something else where my chin used to be. What is there now is not worth thinking about, so I slam my arm into an open crevice of the engine and pull any wire within reach, yanking out static all over the inside and my forearm. In a moment, electricity flows into my veins, pumping throughout my body until reaching my brain. And I’m in.

The space is entirely white, and for what I can tell, just infinite empty, white space. I see that Harrier is already deep within. She seems to be discussing something with Al, but from this distance I can not tell what. I can only assume it is nonsensical, because I don’t want to get my hopes up for the chance of normalcy. Turning around, I launch into a full sprint, escaping rapidly in the other direction. I can only hope that they will remember to do the same, or that Courier and Dyr5 could climb out of their eyelids and help the situation.

My strides start to tear holes in the air, ripping back folds of white like cheap saran wrap, crumpling it tightly behind me so that if I turn around or stop, I’ll be suffocated in an instant. Step after step, I begin to feel my mind break free, my pupils drifting up and back, then dilating the entire eyeball completely black. I can’t feel my extremities, and barely the rest of my body except for this tingling sensation, much like when the cold makes one’s body go numb. Fire ants cover me inside and out with relentless biting. My chest begins to feel heavier with every breath, pulling me back as I struggle to breath in the draining air supply. I open my mouth suddenly and widely, more than I believed humanly possible, my face stretching more than twice its original size.

I tear through, ripping out of the white space and with a thud I land smack back into reality. Standing up, dusting myself off, I see Courier, Al, Harrier, and Dry5 strewn about the room in disarray, except for Courier who approaches me to shake my hand. I take it receptively, and bow my head modestly in acceptance of his gratitude. The other three remain seated or splayed, groaning and mumbling and trying to relax.

I say, “let’s get something to eat.” and with that, me and Courier make our way back to the main control room.

 

Jack-o-Lantern Spaceship Enterprise

On board, most of the lighting melts into the natural orange of the interior hull. If you want to see out, then you’d peer through its jagged teeth, its triangle nose, or through one of its two eyes, preferably the left one which is cut less perfectly round and in such a way that might remind one that there’s comfort in the idea of an imperfect world.

I’m playing cards in the kitchen. As my hands fly dexterously across the table in a rousing game of solitaire, unfurling stress and clearing my mind, thoughts about my childhood flitter across my mind. I remember being taken to the skies back on the home world in my earliest memories. I had learned to fly at the young age of 7, which would turn out to be an important skill and become the pivotal starting point in a life of perceived importance from those who directly influenced my political escapades. As it turns out, the ability to fly was an important skill to be exploited in countless military ventures. I’m not complaining; I got the chance to meet a lot of interesting characters.

Across from me sits the Gork, who had just become the newest addition to the crew. It has the typical features of any other Gorker, but its eyebrows are a bit more bushy, its appendages more stale, and a stagnant mouth. It seems to be watching me with extreme intensity, accounting my every movement.

I can’t be bothered by it right now. My mind is preoccupied with the status of our current mission. The assignment is simple enough. A routine exploration and categorization of an extraneous anomaly, discovered weeks ago by an observation probe. It was ordered by the HENECI organization, which isn’t common but trustworthy enough, although the class is superficial and the location timers have been skewing for several weeks. Previously, our Enterprise was scheduled by HENECI to dock on an empty plate planet and await further instructions. We were supposed to find a communicator, two coins and a rubber soul. After spending a week there searching the place and waiting around, finding no trace of these items, they beamed down a small transport ship, paid us in full and left without saying a word. It was unpaid work, and with other business on the horizon, we hadn’t bothered to inquire in full.

There is a hiss of steam from behind me as Dry5 strolls in from the engine room. After stepping past the Gork, she steals a glance-or more of a glower-at it that left a dry taste in both of our mouths, she then turns and casually nods at me. I return the gesture as I promptly finish my game, swoop the cards into my hand and enclose them into my jacket. I walk to the stove and put the kettle on. Should we be more personable with the Gork? I wonder. After all, it’s not easy to read the trustworthiness of an unstudied and unobserved species without proper communication. Not until they prove themselves with their actions. After the fact of their betrayal, it will be too late to live without regretments. From another pocket of another side of my jacket, I pull out a short tube and inhale through its mouthpiece for a moment before returning it.

I turn to the Gork to realize that he’s motioning at me and attempting to speak to me, but my ears don’t pick up the frequency of its speech. I also realize that its presence might have to do with the current task we’ve been assigned. I take notice of its expressions and movements before passively disregarding it, as the Gork’s body language is indiscernible to me.

I leave the two in the kitchen and loft myself through an opening in the ceiling, leading into the main control room. Courier’s standing at the far end of the room with his hips slanted, adjacent to one of the sharp teeth pointing out of the mouth-shaped opening. His demeanor seemed thoughtful, so I inquired, “What are you thinking about, Courier?” He shifted his hips in response, slanting them to the opposite side and looking over at me through his peripherals. On a desk, I notice the mission documents and I begin to rifle through them as I tap my feet in rhythm. Papers strewn in hand, I walk over to Courier to press with him about the details.

“How likely is the deadline?” I ask.

“Untimely. I am betting on a quarter extra, ” he replies.

“Do you suppose they’ll be ready to punish our lack of punctuality? They’re not very timely themselves.”

“I will not wager on that.”

Looking through the papers, searching for the source of distress which unfailingly affects Courier in every mission briefing, I eventually inquire, “…What are you worried about, here?”

Courier addresses me more directly, the light from the desk lamp illuminates his face, “This might be a setup.”

My brow furrows, “Are you sure?” I redress the papers again, scattering them in vain.

“It is a possibility. I am sure of it.”

Turning away, I retire my jacket and myself onto a chair. Releasing my breath, I prepare for work with a lengthy nap.

Barrel Roll

I want to step down into forward momentum, careening myself backwards as if trying to grab onto my ankles. I’ll swing over and over this way, revolving at ever-faster speeds; spinning with more revolutions exponentially every second. I focused my vision and thought that I caught a glimpse of my foot, but it was immediately lost in the blur of motion. My shoes have fallen off. My entire being is starting to slide out of its own structural constitution; wide arcs of color, light, gravity, energy, and anything else that composed what I knew to be my physical form is expanding outward faster than I can try to grab it all and put my pieces back together. Somehow, I see this happening, although I can not describe the imagery currently appearing in my mind. I am sure that my eyes no longer work or possibly no longer even are, or at least do not closely resemble what they used to be. The concept of close resemblance is beginning to lose its meaning.

I have found a new sensation: something in-between hearing and smelling. Like how dog’s noses can detect smells well enough to follow it in the same way you might trace the sound of music to your neighbor’s house across the street, or discern something the same way a bat can imagine a sonar array by listening to their own clicks.

The cosmic glue that holds all things has weathered and peeled. It’s slipped off and flown away, never to be seen again, blown into the nether. It’s gone out there, some where I’m sure I will not return. I’m not sure that it is still in the same plane as me, or the same world, or… the same universe?

I’ve imagined me up a nice replacement body, and I’ve got a cup of coffee to pretend to drink. I suppose there’s nothing left but to be (or not be) and see what happens.

Good Energy

The other day, I was walking down a street near my house. My friends and I were planning to go out for Good Food Wednesday. A timeless tradition of picking a new, probably recommended or otherwise obviously strange restaurant and eating there. I was already restless and uneasy being back in Portland, so mostly just looking forward to good food.

As I was walking, I noticed a homeless man on a bicycle stop and begin to fan himself a little with a crumpled newspaper, just a short ways in front of me. When I came close, he addresses me flatteringly, “I’m sorry, I just-… I just wanted to tell you that I like your energy. You’ve got a good energy going.”

I looked at him for a second. “Thank you,” and I kept walking.

What I think is that one of two things happened here: he noticed something subtle about my character that brought up hopeful memories of his past, or his drug-addled mind saw something that I couldn’t. I wish that I had stopped to implore further on the notion of my energy. What made him think of my energy as good? What is this energy he speaks of? As though it were a vibrant color scheme, or a certain chord. I guess I’ll just have to take it as it is: I’ve been told that I’m flowing with good vibes.

P.S.
We never got any good food because our beneficiary of the night threw a pizza in a car to save the lives of everyone within.

The Broiling Fires of Hell

I used to work as a cashier in a Burger King. It was an easy job. All I really had to do was take people’s orders and look busy for the rest of the time. Occasionally I would work Drive-Thru, which was pretty fun because I got to talk to people over a radio headset and stick my head out the window and suck in a quick breath of fresh air, because orders had to go out at a break-neck pace. There was also the constant danger of slipping on the greasy floors and maiming myself, or worse, falling into the deep fryers.

One day, an old friend of mine showed up from who-even-knows where he’d been living. He was only around for a short time, so the only chance we had to catch up was on my 30 minute break. He drops by, picks me up, and we drive around and talk about the old days; the shenanigans we pulled. At some point, we stop in the woods to smoke some weed. Well, to smoke a lot of weed. More than I should have to be in the right mind going back into work.

So I arrive back at work to resume my shift as a cashier, except my manager approaches me with a new job. “I want you to work the broiler,” she tell me. I replied enthusiastically, “sure thing!” I had no idea what she was talking about. She proceeded to walk me back to the broiler, and I find myself deep in the dark, dank bowels of Burger King, staring at the steel heart of the restaurant. A large, sturdy machine which has accumulated only a slight rust over many years. There is a slot on the top of the back-side. From it, you can see inside the heart, and the fiery hell-storm inside paints the walls red. My boss looks as though she’s burning alive at an uncomfortable rate as she tells me how to put patties on the tray, slide the tray into the broiler, and let it cook for a time. Afterwards, a small plastic tray should be placed in a side compartment where cooked patties fire out. She then walks away, leaving me alone to fend for myself in Hell.

Well, I tried cooking about 3 or 4 trays of patties, but I kept forgetting to set a tray in the side-slot. So they keep coming out, I keep feeling the flames licking my eyes, and I’m trying to pick them up with a spatula and tongs, but they keep falling apart and I can’t get them out. I think I heard yelling in the background. I don’t understand what’s happening or why, or how anyone could leave me to die in such a place.

I never worked the broiler again.

Prisoners of War

There are people who wake up most mornings, in a daze. They make breakfast, go to work; they come home, and they’re still in a daze. Like a creeping fog under they’re eyelids that seeps out of their noses from the pores of their minds.  They get distracted throughout the evening, and eventually they drift off to sleep. They don’t dream, or anyway, they don’t remember their dreams. A short intermission separates one day from the next. A black screen before the next reel is put into place.

I walk out my front door, and I see the front doors of my neighbors. I see houses lined down the streets. Inside them, through what I can only perceive through my imagination, I feel fearful. Like the depths of space or the farthest ocean floors swathed in black from lack of light, I feel the fear of the unknown.

These people are locked up in these places! Trapped! Surrounded by familiarities that grow stranger as time goes on. They are growing tired from their restlessness. They look out the windows of their individual chasms of solitude only for the slightest notion of a phenomenon. For any form of inspiration.

Surely these people need saving, but they have grown accustomed to their cage. They have convinced themselves that they are better off trapped inside. So to try and force them out will only upset them. They might lash out or thrash about and be even more wary of leaving again.

You must lead them out by making them want to. You must show them a life that is so much more worth living. You must not simply better yourself, but you must be open to other people and accept their efforts no matter what. Only then will they begin to learn how to trust each other and look farther outward as well as inward. Then they will learn how to be free, and how to free others who lock themselves up as well. Then we will feel alive.

To All Social Justice Warriors and Those Who Fight for Mediocrity

Praise be unto thee who endures thy fellow man. Praise further unto thee who graciously accepts praise and distills the nectar of good tidings into the glasses of thine company.
Be not afraid! Fear not, those who would disagree, for theirs must be the most important argument.
Fear not, the tidings of man. Much like thine own body acts for thy survival, a society must act for its betterment.
So lo, I say! You needn’t fear any being, for they only want what’s best!
Fear, instead, that they do not know the knowledge thy possesses, which is helpful for all, or that you have not taught them well enough.
So cast aside your fears which would set you idly by while you all wait to whither and die! You must teach! For without the blessing of knowledge, us human beings will be doomed to the slow trudge of evolution with which guides those other Earthly creatures we view as stupid and unrefined.

If you tell me that I am privileged, then I’m not going to care. Articulate your arguments and talk to me like a human being if you really want to get my attention.