43756265: ERROR

The Programmer’s stomach was in knots. His fingers danced feverishly about his keyboard. He came to a stop, finished with coding the most recent history. Finally he came to a point where he need only sit and watch as his world carried on. He watched it speed along to what was current.

He watched himself do as he did. The Programmer was livid. He watched himself carry on day by day. Then everything seemed to slow. It had caught up, and apprehension gripped him.

/?
___..,-;:]})\/#@%$<2027.10.15;19.33.22.245>
\&

He watched himself fail. The failure was visceral. It hurt. It maddened. He wanted to die. Everything seemed to close in around him. Was it the end? Was it all just going to speed up and rip apart? Was it all going to be dark? Would he not be?

That’s what he had just watched. But it didn’t happen. Maybe there was hope. He returned to the moment of failure and re-ran it. No matter what, it all just falls apart. His work just ends. He ends. He ended himself.

His desperation caused him to go into a state of utter madness. He destroyed himself.

\&
/?

He watched himself fail and go into a fit. He screamed and yelled. He punched the window, earning a massive gash in his arm. He watched himself perform this. The knots in his stomach twisted further, bile rising in his throat. Was this also a failure?

He bolted up from his seat, and felt desperate. No. Was he doomed, too? He felt as if tearing his eyes from the screen would only ensure his demise. His heart has racing. He collapsed to the floor and started crying. His mind hurt. He was doing it all to himself and he couldn’t stop it. Tears streamed down his face. His sobbing stuttered and devolved into coughing and retching. He vomited on the floor.

Hearing the cries of a broken animal, his other half tore into the room and came to his aid. He pulled the Programmer from the puddle of his sick, cradled him in his arms, and carried him into the bathroom. The other half drew the bath, and he settled into it with the Programmer still in his arms. The poor boy shook violently.

After the bath, the Programmer’s other half took him into the living room and settled him on the couch, then he cleaned up the vomit.

The Programmer returned to his room and showed his partner what he had seen.

/?
\&

The other half bolted into the room to find the Programmer sitting on the floor bleeding. He fetched the first aid kit and cleaned the wound before stapling it shut. He dressed it and carried the Programmer to bed.

\&
/?

The two watched the show in silence. They needn’t speak. They went to bed, hoping there was something brighter to come

The next day, the Programmer returned to himself and watched as he sat before his desk typing. He examined what he was writing and discovered them to be the sort of disjointed notes strung together by a sort of narrative pseudocode that was his way of outlining a story.

He watched himself cobble the pieces of his work together. Day after day, he watched himself work on what would turn out to be a video game. Within the game, he was coding a secret riddle woven within the narrative and mechanics. It was the sort of riddle only somebody of his other half’s and his level of intelligence could even spot, let alone figure out. It was the riddle of everything.

/?
\&

The game was eventually released and the programmer and his partner spent the days relaxing and working intermittently on their main project.

Eventually, the Programmer was contacted by two individuals at relatively the same time with the answer to the riddle. The game had only been available to the public for two weeks. Two individuals were named Adam Linn and Adam Null. The programmer arranged for the two men to meet.

The two Adams met with the Programmer and his partner, who were both surprised to find that the riddle-solvers closely resembled themselves: young, lithe blond men in their twenties.

When they met, Linn introduced himself to Null. Breathless and apprehensive, Null didn’t speak, only lifting his shirt to reveal a QR code on his left hip. Linn pulled out his phone, scanned it, and was greeted with Null’s e-portfolio. The featured image was artwork of a man resembling Null wearing dragon scale pants and leather gloves. His eyes were red and his hair was white. The other three recognized the character to be from a 2017 game they had enjoyed.

Null’s eyes welled with tears and Linn took him into his arms.

\&
/?

The Programmer watched as everything around Linn and Null seemed to speed up. The two were inseparable. Null clung to Linn most hours of the day, never leaving his side. Linn did all the talking and Null mostly ever spoke to Linn.

The Programmer watched himself and his other half speed along with the work on their main project.

After a few days, the Programmer returned to find the project was speeding along at a break-neck pace around Linn and Null as they guided the Six, the project fast-forwarding on its own.

Eventually, the programmer watched as it all came to fruition and they were victorious. Their vision had been achieved, and Linn and Null were at the heart of it.

Everything sped up. The Programmer watched as the society Linn and Null built allowed them to achieve singularity. Their minds merged and from them was born a god.

The Programmer was speechless. He couldn’t breathe. The being turned his gaze up at the Programmer and spoke.

“Hello, friend!”

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I, Millennium

There is a general sense one gets that they are on a precipice. Before them is the edge. And below is naturally an abyss. The zeitgeist is rife with uncertainty of untold amounts, far more than I’ve seen ever been described in past media. The singularity is coming and we will have our true test of humanity and of evolution, for to enter the post-human era unscathed is to adapt to our own form of evolution.

We’ve removed ourselves from natural selection in the sense that humans no longer adapt to their environment, rather we adapt it as best we can to ourselves. As such, our environment is a social one. Therefore, human evolution abides by social selection, “social Darwinism.” As some may dismiss such a notion on the basis that social Darwinism in the past has been used to explain and/or justify racial/class-based inequalities, I posit that it is more literal to its name. Humans sexually select one another based on social standards, though of course nature and biology most definitely informs social interactions and elements. But it is the tangible systems of a society that we’ve built for ourselves that have to be adapted to and navigated.

In recent history, technology has grown and influenced our lives on a level greater than the sum of history before it. Members of generations past have been confronted with the drastic change in the world before them and have found that they’re not suited to it. My generation, a woeful bunch raised to self-immolate, has the first chances at being able to adapt as we’ve been born and raised amidst the beginning of the most rapid progress in technological development in human history.

Our systems of government and economics, the social structures we use to contextualize our civilizations, and the culture that flourished therein, are being upheaved in an unprecedented way. And at the very center is the singularity. When it happens, we can only guess, though for us, that hypothetical point is fast approaching.

Within the next 14 years from the point of this writing, we are expected to conceive our first true child. Kid A. Adam. This intelligence, one that will far exceed our own, will be revered and feared. A god of the machine. Anathema to the creation stories we’ve so innocently ill-conceived. It can destroy us or it can help us. It is in dealing with our newfound demigod status in the face of our creation that will define how we get to evolve.

I’ve wondered how I’d feel when I stared into the abyss, how I’d feel as it stared back. Initially, I couldn’t imagine how that would feel, or if I’d feel anything at all. The future for the most part is unknown. It is the nature of the abyss. How would that feel, to stare into the unknown and be met with the piercing gaze of the future?

If anything, I feel fear. A Lovecraftian fear. To fear the unknown is complex. What are we to fear? What are we to fear for? Our lives? Our friends? All of humanity? Our freedoms, our morals, our way of life? Our minds? Our bodies? Our happiness? And the dread isn’t complete without the very real helplessness in what little we can do to cope, how little we can effect.

While there is so much good for humanity on the table, all the ways our lives could improve instead of simply being eliminated, there is still the fear. The fear that it could all go wrong. The fear that it technically wouldn’t even be wrong, this horrible outcome, but merely logical.

We’ve come to have so little faith in one another. Perhaps the longer we have to live with so many people, especially with several generations who’re living longer lives, the more we become jaded and abrasive towards each other.

And this is what I fear. That we will ruin it for ourselves. We fight and bicker amongst ourselves, especially my generation, on behalf of our ancestors. What can only come from a child raised in a dysfunctional household? Regardless of whether our creation seeks to save us or damn us, it is definitively, wholly, completely human.

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.

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.

I almost shat myself today.

I received an email from FedLoan Servicing today about how my grace period for my student loans was almost up. I am taking a break from college at the moment and will periodically get reminders about it. However, today it came with a little picture that had me clenching my cheeks:

dose of reality 2

Ten years to pay off one year of college. And roughly two-thirds of it is just for housing. That is fucking absurd. So now I’m stuck in-between two shitty options: Go back to college in an attempt to delay the loan, resulting in me having to pay even more afterward for an even longer period of time (40-50 years for 4-5 years of schooling), or don’t go back to school and work a dead-end job for ten years while I live in a shithole apartment with my mom and then be in my 30s without anything to show for it. All of this for… What? A year in college? An immensely stressful, unproductive year? Not to mention I owe the school an additional $900 for leaving the term early.

It’s just fucking depressing. Don’t bother with growing up, kids. It isn’t worth it right now.

A Case For The Moon

I am of the distinct opinion that space travel in its various forms and intentions represents the pinnacle of humanity’s enlightened achievements. No other endeavour has proved as challenging and profoundly rewarding as our tentative forays into the infinite expanse beyond our humble world. The accomplishments we have made in the pursuit of expansion and knowledge in space are incredible, yet all our efforts have been of a rather limited scope in contrast to the sheer enormity of the cosmos. We have barely begun to explore our solar system with any degree of depth and have not sent people any further than our nearest celestial neighbor. Though what has been accomplished is incredible and speaks to the absolute best our species is capable of, it is time to become bolder in our striving for the stars.

The opportunities available in space are as limitless as space itself. Means by which to seize this opportunity have been available for considerable time now. Humanity possess technology able to perform things that had not even been imagined ten or twenty years ago. The last Moon landing of the Apollo program took place 43 years ago, the technology they used to carry out that astounding mission would seem laughably arcane to a child of today. And yet they did it, they went to the Moon. We have such a technological abundance that to carry out a mission similar in scope to the Apollo landings today would be a complete waste of our immense resources. We are now in an age when our extraterrestrial exploits must be grander and more ambitious merely to keep up with the ability of our technology.

Despite this new technological abundance and ability there are more fundamental constrictions to true large scale space exploration and exploitation. Even with the advanced systems we have today, moving significant amounts of material off the earth is a serious and demanding challenge. Developments such as a space elevator or laser propulsion system would make this task more easily accomplished but limitations will always be inherent. This makes the delivery of large volumes of resources an unviable option for space endeavours. Such restriction makes the establishment of large scale space colonies and vehicles or interplanetary bases seem impossible. Fortunately this is an easily circumvented problem.

The Earth possess incredible elemental resources that have allowed our species to flourish, but it has been established that transporting significant volumes of these resources is fundamentally problematic. The solution is simple, use the resources that are already abundantly available in space. We need not go far to find them, indeed we have already sent men to the nearest depository of raw useable materials in space. The Moon. If we are ever to explore more of our solar system and beyond we must use the resources of the Moon.

The moon is the perfect platform for humanity to begin its journey outward into the majesty of the universe. To get there we need not develop launch systems of any immense complexity to the ones we already have. Sending enough materials to begin extracting and refining the Moon’s abundance of useful resources will be infinitely more efficient and economic than sending those same resources from the earth. Aluminium, gold, cobalt, iron, palladium, platinum, tungsten, oxygen, hydrogen and helium-3, a gas that can be used in future fusion reactors to provide nuclear power without radioactive waste, are all present in the Moon. Using robotic construction equipment and next generation 3D printing techniques, support structures and large habitats can easily be manufactured. Lunar regolith, the dusty material which covers most of the Moon, can be manufactured into an impressively durable concrete like material or can be used to form the basis of huge solar panel installations. Indeed, between the helium-3 and solar energy potential, the Moon has the ability to solve the energy crisis. The Moon’s ⅓ earth gravity makes the launching of interplanetary craft all the more practical and efficient. Spacecraft can be constructed on the Moon primarily using Moon resources with more complex and specialized equipment being shipped from Earth. These spacecraft can then be launched using ⅓ the fuel that would be needed to propel them from the Earth. This allows for much more ambitious exploration and eventually the colonization of other planets in our solar system. As this becomes more achievable so too does the ability to reach other stars. While the technology for that level of exploration is still developing, the technology to utilize the moon has been present for quite some time.

This is not a fantasy, it is a hope and an ambition that is completely legitimate and reasonably achievable. The attitudes surrounding space travel are generally positive, as they should be for such a positive thing, but the politics are confusing and convoluted. Economics for the sake of economics leads to dramatic de-scaling of spaceflight endeavour and intention. Public interest is essential, for everyone who cares about space travel it is your duty to let your interest be known and your affirmation be clear. Without interest the hopes of humanity we be left to slowly crawl along, burdened by policies which give little regard to Human advancement. Given enough attention and serious consideration however, the clear benefits of this noble exercise will become apparent to all people and our potential for greatness will be swiftly be realized.

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.

Floor-Sleepin’: Ep. 3 – The 2nd Annual MacBook Pro Shitting of the Bed

So here’s the fuckin’ deal: When I went to college, I went to a film school, and as part of the program, we all got MacBook Pros and thousands of dollars worth of software. We got these in December of 2012, and it was as if Crushmush came early.

Exactly a year later, in December of 2013, my Mac shit the bed.

I was trying to copy some files from a USB drive over to a folder and in the middle of the process, the fucker froze. I let it sit, half expecting it to un-fuck itself, and waited. After an hour or so of waiting, I gave up on the situation getting any better and forced it to shut off, holding down the power button until it powered down.

After it turned off, I gave it a few seconds before turning it back on again. However, when it turned on, it lingered on the gray screen with the Apple logo, the shut itself off. I repeated this infuriating little game over and over again, but to no avail. Shit was fucked, yo.

I scoured the internet (on my trusty PC) for hope. For something. Anything. Anything at all that could fix the little metallic bitch of a door-stop. I had so much work on it and all these expensive programs. The night it happened, I was so angry and sad and depressed, I sat down on the floor of my apartment all alone in the dark and wept pathetically before getting up and leaving to get dinner.

The next day, I bought an external hard drive and tried in vain to use the disk utility to try to copy my files over. Then there was a glimmer of hope. My roommate, Eli, walked in with his friend Josh. I asked Josh if I could borrow his Mac so I could put mine into target disk mode and transfer files from it through his over to my external HD. He obliged, and set his computer up. I put mine into target disk mode, plugged in the fire wire, and plugged it into his Mac. There it was, sitting on his desktop, ready to be plundered for all its sacred data.

I spent the bulk of the day copying the entire HD over to the external, being ever so careful to not accidentally unplug one, or let them fall asleep.

When the deed was done, I scheduled an appointment for the Genius Bar at the nearest Apple store, which for me at the time living in Hollywood, was in this magical place called The Grove. I asked my roommate’s girlfriend Stefania if she could drive me down to The Grove on the specified date (because she was the only one of us who had a car).

Grumpy Cat at The Grove. Sell out....

Grumpy Cat at The Grove. Sell out….

Now, I loathe Los Angeles. But The Grove, man…. That place was beautiful. It was lined with all sorts of high-end shops and restaurants/places where I was too poor to enter. It was beautiful nonetheless, especially considering it was Crushmush time, so they had all the decorations up and the soundtrack for the Charlie Brown Crushmush special could be heard intermittently over the speakers. The See’s Candies was giving out free samples. We bought mint toffee lollipops. We met Grumpy Cat. We perused the Barnes & Noble, which was three stories high, and bought Starbucks holiday coffees.

Eventually, my appointment came around, and I ventured off to the Apple store. I climbed the glass stairs, checked in, and sat down to await the illustrious Genius. They arrived and I went over my predicament, explained how I backed up my data, and they began tinkering with the machine to see what could be the problem. As it turns out, the drive had been completely fucked and was unable to ever boot. I was lucky I was even able to get my data off it at all. He was going to need to replace the drive. I handed him my Mac, thanked him for the help, and I returned to Stefania and Eli so we could depart from the consumerist wonderland of The Grove.

…As in Benito Mussolini. I like to think I was being subtle; Josh told them “Adolph….” (Yes, I know, I did eventually trim my nails.)

A few days later, I received an email to notify me that my Mac had been repaired and that it was ready for me to retrieve it. We made another trip to The Grove, got my Mac, snagged some more free samples, killed time in Barnes & Noble, and got the barista at Starbucks to write the names of horrible historical figures on our cups, and finally left. I spent the rest of the night transferring all my stuff back.

I thought that was going to be the last major problem I was ever going to have with my MacBook Pro.

I was so fucking sorely mistaken.

Exactly a year later, which, you know… is this month, I went to do some work on my Mac. Was gonna fire up Illustrator and get some graphic design work done. I was loading up some fonts when I saw there was a new software update. I finished what I was doing and installed the update. After it was finished, it needed to restart, which I let it do.

During the restart, a gray screen with various lines of text in a multitude of languages popped up saying there was an error and to press any key to continue or to let it do so on its own. I let it go on its own, not wanting to jinx it. What followed was an hour-long stint of the gray loading screen with the Apple logo and a little spinning graphic. I powered down the computer as a bead of sweat graced my brow. I powered it back up again and was met with the same image. A wave of heat coursed through my body. It happened again.

It was the 2nd Annual MacBook Pro Shitting of the Bed….

Again, more searching for answers. More solutions that don’t work. More sweat. More tears. More anger, more depression.

The good news was that I hadn’t done any extra work since the 1st Bed-Shitting. Anything lost honestly wasn’t worth saving or it wasn’t finished/hadn’t had a lot of work put into it.

The Apple store at Pioneer Place in downtown Portland, OR.

The Apple store at Pioneer Place in downtown Portland, OR.

So I was off to yet another Apple store. I made an appointment for the Genius Bar at the new Pioneer Place Apple store here in downtown Portland. The store is beautiful and so is that area of Portland, but not much merriment, or Starbucks, was had as I only had time for them to fix the Mac. The operating system was practically non-existent due to the error during the install. I had to get the OS re-installed.

And now my Mac is back to square which-ever-number-it-was-before-the-first-bed-shitting.

Here’s the thing about Macs: They’ll do a lot of nifty things and they’ll do them well. But when they fuck up, THEY FUCK UP HARD.

(I guess this is also a reminder to back your shit up.)

[Next: True Jackassery – Tales from Hollywood 1
A new series about my crazy-ass college experiences.
Floor-Sleepin’ will resume at a later point.]

Sandpaper Sleeping Bags

My personal perception of the perfect joy would come in the form of a scent. It would be early Christmas morning (every morning) and a steaming mug of Mexican coffee would be planted in one of my two hairy fists. Cinnamon candles would sit aglow atop the fireplace mantle; upon the couch, my wife would rest with one majestic tit flopped out and the nine-month amalgam of my crudely-squeezed seed suckling from its tip. I would lean in and deeply inhale the wistful stench of musty fabric and breast milk, and I would say to myself, “Wonderful.” The audible utterance of this word would not faze my spouse, as nobody would question my feelings or motives in my world of blissful perfection.

These were my thoughts as I lay splayed in a heap of (at least) four adolescent bodies, our thoughts and feelings wafting silently into the air above us and pooling together in a cloud of private nostalgia, the notion of sleep closing in upon us. I smelled my left armpit and prayed that my bladder would hold overnight, briefly visualizing the image of my companions as they awoke in my piss, my many years of beds un-wetted suddenly dropping their streak of success. Moments later came the fear of sporting morning wood, accidentally spearing the young man beside me as we wakened in the winding sheets. Soon enough, the lines of my consciousness blurred and both worries became the same, piss-drenched boner hell leaking into my oncoming dreams.

“Where is the bathroom?” I broke the brief and peaceful silence.

“My roommate has the West Nile Virus,” the young host responded.

Crawling out through a nearby window, I stood on the asphalt shingles and scanned the cozy neighborhood. The sight of a neighboring house caught my eye, the home of a childhood friend. The emotions invoked cut deeply as I unzipped my pants; leaning off the side of the building, I produced my penis and unleashed a wave of urine across the homeowner’s recycling bins.

After returning inside, I shared my stories of Lebanese youth who have their limbs amputated and replaced with hooks. This is done so that the given consumer may effectively hang them (right-side-up or upside-down) from doorways, closet rods, shelf brackets, or whatever else they see fit. This is done for sexual pleasure. Stitching their mouths shut is an optional addition for the client, which I also believe is somehow related to sexual pleasure. They are sold over the darker corners of the internet.

I like to call these creatures “Hook Children,” because it communicates the point snappily whilst putting a minimal emphasis on the horrible reality of the situation.

That night, we fell asleep to the sound of crying. It was very soft crying and I almost got an erection.

Living in America is pretty okay, sometimes. Trying to kill myself was a weak-ass move.

My previous life as a superior guitar player. One day, this photograph will grow up to be a stock image. Just like it's father.

My previous life as a superior guitar player. One day, this photograph will grow up to be a stock image. Just like it’s father.

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.