Wednesday, July 13, 2011


In final, sun-filled days of the “Done-In-The-Sun Summer Genocide Concert Series” on planet Earth, in which the Bed Bugs financed a mass migration of those counted among the living to blood-retrieval executive sweat-shops in what was recently Hell proper, the Earth basked and spun silently, save for the austere purr of the occasional Jet-Pack. After a while, the mountains sifted any themed-debris that lay between them down into the bowels of the valley and on out into space, sighing audibly all the while.

The Bed Bugs had decided to undertake a massive renovation of human consciousness, which was to take place inside thousands of weapons-grade modules mounted in deep space. The whole project was funded by the wholesale absorbing of the Earth’s economy by the Bed Bug’s daring to inject patented products and advertising that served intensely physiological human needs into a market dominated by worthless intellectual properties. After making a profoundly opaque deal with Satan to purchase Hell and the ‘Hell’s Restaurant’ franchise, which served a drug compound rapidly causing a free-market inspired gold-rush to Hell, the Bed Bugs had enough of a blood supply at their disposal to create the vital metadata reduction of DNA the human consciousness program required to operate.

The Bed Bugs had spent their whole existence observing from the fairly intimate vantage point of mattresses the way our global civilization operates, and decided that for humanity to have one class of people who toil without dignity so that the other class can explore matters of consciousness and awareness-of-the-potentiality-for-the-existence-of-wishful-thinking-inspired-alternate-realities-related issues at their leisure, would be a compassionate and culturally sensitive way to gradually transition them naturally into the next level of their evolution.

Oblivious of their recent non-consensual conception, their unlikely, but undeniably exquisite, Reality-Based, snowflake-shaped physical form; and the fact that each one of them was an absolute miracle of Bed Bug ingenuity; the people who had been created by the Bed Bugs lived simply, housed solely within the physical representations of their internal projections and the visible, cumulative manifestation of very old, totally unrelated, nomadic space debris from a previous age. Each engineered consciousness was it’s own master, and lived without need, since no one lacked anything that everyone else did not also lack. The things that did exist independently of them, that no one could tell you when or how they got there, or if they had been made or fell from the sky, or what; were treated with reverence and awe.

“Smell that?” he said alertly.

“What?” he whispered brusquely, eyes darting with able-bodied apprehension.

“Frozen Pizza close by. Smells like it’s wafting from that clearing by the river.”

His companion put his nose to the air. “Yes! I can smell it! It’s incredible.” He put a hand slowly on the Panini grill hanging from his belt.

“What are you doing?” he hissed. “That Frozen Pizza is a free agent! You cannot take him against his will anymore than you can just pluck a patent from out of the sky or put a river in the microwave! We must speak to it.”

The two approached the Frozen Pizza respectfully, so as not to surprise it.

“Hello, Pizza.” They nodded ceremoniously.

“Hello, little ones,” replied the Pizza sonorously.

“We couldn’t help but notice your delicious, naturally-occurring smell.”

“Yes,” he rolled over and said laboriously, “I like to sit in the sun when I can’t sleep.”

“Can’t sleep? What troubles you, ancient one?”

“I am haunted by terrible dreams of late. I see visions of a time when my people were consumed mercilessly, and seemingly without end. I have never known anything like it in my time here; here in this wonderful place.”

“When did you arrive here?”

“We have always been here. Here with the otters, among the fields of camera phones, with tiny, joyous bed bugs scuttling underfoot. I have spent many an afternoon sitting by the river, telling humorous stories of folly featuring the bumbling, immaterial jester Satan and his hard-headed, but impressionable, mythological friend, The Murdered Girl. Here with the gorillas under the twinkling patents, suspended in the canopy of night. I have always been here, I am as old as the camera phone’s ringtone.”

“You are the scenery,” they said in awe.

“As you are mine, little one, though certainly the youngest of our siblings,” the Pizza chuckled affectionately. “Do you have something to ask of me? Surely you are not content to just listen to me ramble on and on!”

The two stared at the ground and said quietly, “Frozen Pizza, we are hungry.”

The Frozen Pizza closed his eyes slowly and said with peaceful abandon, “And I am far too old and talk too much! Please, consume me, for I have lived long enough, and I perceive any need that exists to exist for all of us. Just make sure to share me evenly. I grow weary of these dreams, and, besides, I have drunk deeply of paradise. It is time for me to see the ocean. I can see in my old age that being cooked by you would be my life’s ultimate purpose, and your highest honor.”

The two assembled a smattering of people at the river and sang “Goin’ The Distance” deep into the night, reveling in the Frozen Pizza’s retelling of his fantastical dreams around the glow of the microwave.

“I have seen a place where human children, drunk on victory, consume me and my people under even the most marginal of celebratory circumstances. No matter our quality or ingredients, we were exclusively associated with communal, ritualistic joy. We ceased to exist for what we were and became only what we represented.”

Eventually he fell asleep to the chorus of far-off Sea-Otters and the humans thankfully consumed their precious brother, leaving no part to waste.

By the time the effects of rampant population growth due to the Bed Bugs’ steady supply of human DNA became unsubtle, the scenery had provided a storehouse of collective wisdom for the young human consciousnesses of the snowflakes, and they bureaucratically set their hands to the fashioning of a deeply flawed deck of cards to commemorate the lessons nature had bestowed on them:


The Sea Otter, typically associated with the month of October, primarily represents sacrifice, though, more often than not, futile in nature. From Sea Otter to Sea Otter there are very few exclusive traits available to distinguish one from the next, contributing to the difficulty in discerning whether or not the Sea Otter you've drawn has made a sacrifice pertinent to you specifically. If The Satan card appears in conjunction with the Sea Otter, it is more than likely that the sacrifice implied is irrelevant to your circumstances. The Sea Otter is also often associated with roadway safety, purple, inaccuracy, clarifying dialogue, luminous re-contextualization, sexual lethargy, shovel, recognition of arbitration, metaphysically dubious exercises, and unwavering indifference to mystery.


The Murdered Girl represents ideological imperialism in the face of radically unsolicited relocation. Her resilience compels her to quantify and tag newly encountered animate symbols with, previously non-existent, persono-emotional significance. She has no need for universal realities, so long as the ones of her fashioning are existentially sound. She is ruthless in her dedication to cultivating a language with which to address a rapidly-changing personal reality. The Frozen Pizza card is her only foil, otherwise she will determine the context and tone of any reading she appears in. The Murdered Girl is most commonly associated with the number one million, rings, unwarranted expectations, an excess of water, indigestion, valid dining experiences, blood density, Western Panting, breaching isolation, contortion, free Tuesdays, internalization of rejection, Mommy issues, dissonance, doubt and light.


The Animatronic Albino Gorilla card signifies perceived ascendance, paralyzing duality, and existential snacking. When in the vicinity of The Gorilla card, it can be almost as benign and youthful in it's folly as a Bed Bug card, but when in conjunction with something like the Murdered Girl, it can signify any number of unmentionables, from financial gonorrhea to regressive shame seizures. The Animatronic Albino Gorilla card indicates the presence of jazz, heart surgery, conversational forgery, barbeque, high-concept uphill walking, hypothetical mountains, roadway hallucination recovery, whittling, Mellow Sword, harmonic fakery, biscuit flour, basket-ball shoes, plasma and bile.


The Gorilla card represents reality-based economic principles and a series of anonymous creative successes predicated almost entirely on a deficit of lust. The Gorilla card can undermine the influence of nearly any card in the Deck save for The Murdered Girl or The Mattress, even when upside down. He will neutralize any indirect illumination The Animatronic Albino Gorilla may be co-opting, depending on it's position in the hand. The Gorilla represents blood retention, organic redemption, folksy punishments, non-actualized resentment, bowel disentanglement, involuntary breathing, the reasonable expectation of a non-terrifying future, language-based intercourse, resource-driven industriousness, temporary employment, early onset childhood water-sickness, racking laughter and porch-light.


The Satan Card represents principled self-loathing, addictive causality, and ham fists. He symbolizes the stupidity of allowing yourself to have been created without free will. He most closely resembles what evil looks like in the hands of the Benevolent Manager. It is not uncommon for this card to be a harbinger of nearsighted business-related impulses, dormant pity, forceps, child misplacement, chocolate croissants, cognitive transmutation, patricidal purging, satirical night terrors, irrelevant magazine subscription, sarcastic trembling, office re-purposing, multiple middle-child complexes, and thoughtfully retroactive consideration of options. The Satan Card itself is mostly harmless, but when emulated by another card in the hand, his effect can be devastating. That almost never happens, though.


The Frozen Pizza depicted in the Frozen Pizza Card is seen hanging high in the black-hole-black night sky, perpetually out of cycle with the sun, preventing it's ever being cooked thoroughly. More than anything else, The Frozen Pizza represents confusion. As long as the Frozen Pizza looms over a reading, there is no hope for clarifying dialogue. The Sea Otter is totally decommissioned by it. It casts a subverting luminescence on everything in it's vicinity, and draws people to it by emitting a faint Pizza-Themed smell just as it and the sun converge for a moment before daybreak. The Frozen Pizza is sure to manifest befuddlingly Caribbean gates, sexual dyslexia, questionably relevant foreshadowing, tremendous deductive leaps, abstraction-based pricing, camera phones, ethically morbid scenarios, lighting cigarettes for drunk teenagers with learning disabilities, literal representations of metaphorical depictions, antique software, resource-driven economies, vital bureaucratic mantling, political ambition and sustenance-based espionage.


The Cactus Encounter Card represents illuminating violence and chaffing perspective. An "encounter with The Cactus" reminds us that nature is blameless in all it does, majestic or assaultive. Sometimes both simultaneously. The Cactus goes on to remind us that we are, in fact, part of nature, and that parts of Nature-themed nature, at least, only own a few basics (if you're insistent on looking at it from that perspective), and maybe it's high-time you stop making ultimately arbitrary distinctions between Nature-themed nature and the variety of Nature that includes you. This card is to be avoided at all costs. If you're doing a reading with someone else, ask them, politely, if they could run and get you a bucket of ice tea or something because this reading stuff makes you thirsty and, while they're in the other room, put the card back at the bottom of the deck where you're sure you won't accidentally draw it again.


The Bed Bugs Card is far and away the favorite of lost, or otherwise, children, by virtue of it's colorful depiction of a merry Bed Bug picnic, replete with bouncing balloons, sand castles, barbeque grills roasting unidentified meats, and a nothing-short-of-gay maypole circled by plump, swaying Bed Bugs flying around on Jet-Paks in their spring best. The Bed Bug Card is welcome in any reading as it is a surefire indicator of new beginnings, plentiful resources, wild horse islands, language-based hallucinations, mandatory dancing, incredible views, erotic obligations, the accumulation of delightful knick-knacks, the illumination that comes with shedding knick-knacks, handless flight, community-based recreational pet-touching rentals, temperate climates, airline preferences of an exotic nature, foreign parting phrases, and knowing better.


(Sometimes referred to as:


The drawing of The Mattress Card denotes a reconfiguration of reliable context. It pertains to a physical, and more often ideological, sense of place. Bed Bugs are the most common inhabitants of the interior of The Mattress, while Mr. _____, the Animatronic Albino Gorilla, and The Gorilla are exclusively found above it. Satan and The Murdered Girl typically reside underneath it, but when paired can explore the top-side. Bed Bugs have the freedom to traverse to the top of The Mattress as well, but, for them, to journey below means certain peril. The Mattress can be sourced for many things, though it is regularly taken for granted, and thus, rendered invisible to most. The Mattress serves to highlight competing Realities, Ordinary and Non-Ordinary; non-refundable metaphysical encounters, Jet-Paks, blood-storage, theme restaurants, the year 1992, non-repeating, practically symbolic correlations; corrupted information-inspired device removal, patented Reef Co.'s Out Of Sight, Out of Mind Alternative Coping Medication, acute Oneirophobia, interactive advice submersion, orange, romantic constipation, hung juries, carpet and upholstery aesthetic congruency, video game proposals, warrior phantoms and Death-Euphorics.

THE MR. _____

The Mr. _____ Card is a card in the deck with biographical information about the illustrator, and features a Non-Eco-Ad-chastisement on the back. This instructional pamphlet advises that you dispose of the card immediately so as to not compromise the accuracy of your reading.


The Benevolent Manager Card is, historically, the most recent addition to the official deck.

Upon the evolutionary emergence of hands, thousands of years into the snowflake experiment, the first things to be stolen were the intellectual properties embedded in the images represented in this deck of cards. It was of utmost importance to certain members of the community, representing those born closest to the river, to make sure there was an ideological infrastructure in place to secure the exclusivity and imposed universality of the images’ meanings. Naturally, the infrastructure itself would need someone who most innately resembled the idea of "infrastructure" to simultaneously regulate the infrastructure's duties, while acting as an intermediary between the infrastructure and the people too busy hunting and harvesting. Eventually "infrastructure" was replaced with the folk-ism "Pant-ent", named such after the wet, anxious sound people would make when considering the prospect of their interpretations of the cards being questioned, and with the emergence of some contemporary dialect mutations, it's etymological evolution wound down at "Patent". Interpretive authority was a pretty nuanced claim, and you had to be a real fast talker.

One such fast talker had bested just about every hypothetical challenger in the mundane interactions he regarded as speed-trial elections and was soon instituted as history's first Benevolent Manager of Patents. His role was to preside over the logistical considerations necessary when you decide to make sense of the world in terms of what can be owned and owed.

The Benevolent Manager Card is surefire, Reality-Based Proof that the following will spontaneously materialize almost immediately in your Ordinary Reality:

equally distributed resources, delegated in terms of most need; an air-sealed metric for determining the inherent own-ability of objects, objectified or otherwise; a sense of accomplishment upon acquiring arbitrarily property-based consumables, the peace of mind that when starting at the bottom, you are guaranteed to get to the top, if you do it right; that you have the right to be reimbursed for your observations, that you will not go insane with grief when others who live closer to the river determine your observations were just patented Universal Ideas you had inadvertently run into while staring deep into your camera phone, the validity of intellectual knick-knacks, you deserve Old Man's love, you can be everywhere, no one will have to die to reach the hypothetical mountain-top ever again, information deserves no special treatment, and be a good tipper


I’d only been in Babylon about a week before an energy healer approached me in the parking lot asking if I had any carpentry experience.

I told her I had a limited skill-set, no college education, and a flamethrower in my van so, chances were, I could probably help her with whatever.

“Glorious, for I am moving this week and I just have this shelf I can’t get down. I only live a block away.”

On the trip to her house (We made a few detours along the way. Out of nowhere she produced an Otter-Skin shawl and instructed me to take off all my clothes right there on the last highway meridian in the clinical mid-day swelter of Walden’s Pant and put it on, but without thinking about the animal skin itself, just the act of putting it on. I would think about the day I put that animal skin on for the first time for countless, unbroken years; she then proceeded to apply heavy eye shadow and stage make-up meant to simulate the look of honest mountain dirt all over my parts not newly concealed by the Otter Skin.

“Now, before we start dismantling anything, you’re going to have to disassociate manually. We’ll have to run a few errands.”

Old Man’s Old Man had made a fortune fixing tools. He was perpetually one extraneous step removed than the rest of us of ever were from dismantling anything. He built building, and was better for it, they’d have you believe. I happen to.

We made our way through several formative episodes, few of which resembled the way I had been syndicating them internally for millions of years, mostly by virtue of the fact that, this time, everyone involved was generally reacting more to the presence of a heavily made-up Otter-clad caveman flanked by an energy healer incapable of not irreversibly flipping real-estate in other people’s subconscious, than they were at, what was, the ever expanding bulls-eye of my reanimated adolescence. We watched the 4th, 5th, and 6th grades combined-aged manifestation of me get punched in the stomach by Kristin on the first day of 4th, 5th, and 6th grades combined. I immediately hit the ground, hoping to convince everyone assembled that the force of the blow had been such that it had not been unreasonable for me to instantaneously begin sobbing. Not the “me” of the memory, but the “I” in the animal skin.

“There you are” she said, bending over my blubbering, beaten body. “You must protect yourself. See, he’s fine. He’s laughing.”

I looked over and saw me laughing cruelly.

Once I had volunteered my body completely to the service of retroactively absorbing every modicum of physical and non-physical disservice I had ever been thrown in front of, I approached myself full of grace.

“I don’t mind, I’m glad I could help” I managed thoughtfully through the blisters, ruffling his blond-turning-brown hair. I was finally learning how to really love myself selflessly.

He apparently wasn’t as conscious of the sub-text as I was and replied impishly, “You’ve made me a monster. All so you can live free. I didn’t need you to do that. This is my experience, like it or not. I wish you hadn’t interfered.”

“I’m sorry,” I said, head down. “I sacrificed your autonomy so I could dismantle this lady’s stupid shelving.”

“Well, it’s not just her shelving, is it? It’s everybody’s. You just can’t resist. I hope it’s really satisfying.”) she asked what-it-is-I-do-exactly other than listen to energy healers with defective shelves make uncannily-accurate unintentional metaphors regarding the way I perceive the energy healing profession in general for a few hours every afternoon.

“I’m writing a book,” I said.

“Oh, crystals, how wonderful! What is it about?”

“It’s a non-linear, multi-format, adventure-satire attempting to dismantle the infrastructure of ownership, as told by several quasi-fictional unreliable narrators.”

The healer presumably refrained from rolling her multiple eyes, though she had her back turned to me when she proclaimed on a conversationally unrelated note, “This place looked so much better with all my beautiful stuff in it!”

I pointed out that her observation seemed a little base given her spiritual responsibilities.

“Oh no, I don’t mean ‘stuff’ stuff!” She laughed to acknowledge the obvious potential for confusion, on my part. “I mean, my oils, my beads, my sea otter jawbones, my teas, my feathers, my vibrations, my purpose, my energy, my camera phone, my dreams, my dream journal, my nightmare voicemail, my jihad kit, my Thoreu cards, a signed copy of “Deeply Damaged: What Perpetually Discrediting My Personal Mythology Failed to Teach Me”, you know, things that are laden with so many spiritual abstractions as to render them totally immaterial. ‘Television’, for example, is stuff.”

“I don’t know. Sounds like knick-knacks,” I might as well have said to no one.

There were some crystals going absolutely ape-shit on the floor.

“Fear!” she screamed at the crystals. “Fear! Fear! Fear!”

The crystals abruptly stopped vibrating.

“That’s better. Yes, television, for example, is stuff. Unless, of course, you are watching a Shamanic instructional video or a sunset. The process by which ‘knick-knacks’ are alchemized into magical tools that can interface with alternate realities is called ‘traumatic-conception’ and…”

I was examining the unbelievably convoluted network of shelves lining the walls. I could only assume they had been installed by a fellow energy healer.

“I’m not totally sure where to begin with this,” I interjected.

“Just start anywhere. We have to address the spiritual component of the shelves first, anyway.”

She rang some bells, unwrapped and ignited a package of instant sage and accidentally set the shelves on fire. She stood back and cooed, “You have to account for alternate realities.”

“But you’re just ringing bells and burning sage in this reality,” I observed.

(The truly alternate reality was one wherein a competent craftsman with cabinetry experience dealt with this.)

“See how the shelves just disappear effortlessly?” she asked.

“Well, they’re on fire,” I said, without accounting for the alternate reality wherein we burn her house down and die.

Changing gears before any clarifying dialogue could occur, she clarified, “Well, it doesn’t really matter where we begin.” She added, “Do you realize planes are technically off-course ninety percent of the time?”

I pointed out that, sometime in the near future, navigational software will undoubtedly be able to assure that planes are technically on-course all the time, and that particular metaphor for the, or any, journey will be obsolete.

“No, it will still work. There will always be something that’s off-course.”

“So you think maybe evolution is off-course ninety percent of the time?”


“Do you think our perceptive faculties dedicated to the observation of potential realities fall into that percentage?”

“Absolutely not!”

“Well, if we are constantly manufacturing things, like planes and hypothetical future vehicles, like jet-packs or something; that are consistently ninety percent off-course, doesn’t that in some way imply that the people designing them and subsequently generating metaphors with a cultural expiration date are systemically flawed?”

“Fear!” she screamed at me.

I stopped talking.

“See, fear has a low vibration level. That’s why you stopped talking.”

“I stopped talking because you screamed at me.”

“Well, in part, but mostly due to variables you are too untrained to recognize. Please bear in mind: I have science and magic on my side of this argument.”

“Ten percent of them.”

“No, it’s possible to be one hundred percent sure of spiritual issues. Technology is wholly different.”

“Isn’t language a technology?”

“No, language is poetry, and poetry is magic.”

“What differentiates airplanes and poetry, exactly?”

“One is guided by the spirit and one is guided by man. It’s important to learn how to identify the two, for one is far more real than the other.”

“So if we started manufacturing airplanes according to spiritual specifications they would be on-course all the time.”


“Why isn’t the spirit interested in revealing itself through more pragmatic means, like accurate air traffic control?”

“Because being off-course teaches us how to be more on-course. That is the spirit’s purpose.”

“Then why use the off-course metaphor in the first place? Once you become ‘on-course’ do you stop being able to discern ways in which being ‘off-course’ is trying to show you how to be more ‘on-course’?”

She smiled and nodded with eyes closed as if to say, “Now you’re getting it. The question is the answer, because you and I are not really talking about anything, anyway.” and proceeded to sum things up.

“Well, you’re off-course until you believe what I believe, and then the, or any, metaphor becomes obsolete because at that point you realize the metaphor is the reality and vice versa.”

“If you demote this whole waking existence to a metaphor for what’s only potentially occurring internally, isn’t that dangerously close to nihilism?”

The shelves were roaring, and no one seemed to care.

The energy healer shrugged her shoulders indifferently.

“So, if people come into contact with what you believe they’ll be transformed, just by the inherently transformative component of your information, beyond the need for metaphors?” I asked.

“Yes. It turns out metaphors are far more real than the things they are meant to clarify.”

“So, it’s just a matter of exposing as many people as possible to your beliefs.”

“Yes, but, unfortunately, there’s no efficient way to do that.”

“What about television?”

“I’ve tried that, but technology is ninety percent flawed.”


“That requires an airplane, and they’re never where they’re supposed to be.”

“Have you ever had a pilot as a client?”

“Yes, but typically, they immediately cease to be pilots and become energy healers. Interestingly enough, I was originally a commercial airline pilot. I don’t even need my hands for flying anymore.”

Unfortunately, as mentioned before, one of Hell’s ‘A’ markets were airport Eating Promenades, which explained the Death-Euphoria induced terminal case of ‘off-course’ headed towards the energy healer’s house, manned by somebody exactly where they needed to be in their life. I hallucinated in awe as the cabinets were effectively removed from the walls. I didn’t have time to tally, but I wouldn’t need it. I only had an instant to reflect on the realization that I never truly appreciated the actual nature of a violent impact. Every explosion I had ever watched for View-Tainment purposes seemed fluffy and lethargic. Somewhere in my unconscious I had collected hundreds of instances where I had seen archival blockbuster footage of a bomb or an absolute evil obliterating something and thought, “That doesn’t seem so bad.” I didn’t realize then I was entertaining that thought simultaneously every time my powdered wig, harpsicord, fingers-greasy-with-white-tiger-meat brand of anemic, worthless sympathy would gurgle in my bowels and belch absentmindedly through my obscenely straightened teeth which had been corrected via more money than it would take to rebuild a village. As ashamed as anyone living in the sweet spot of human history, and ultimately complicit with more heinous crimes than Patented Life has ever witnessed, due to the literally awesome (Surf’s up!) disproportionate relationship between the world’s ills and the relative ease with which a laughable percentile of the wealth and technology abundant in the landscaped campuses of the civilization could relieve them, I managed somehow to massage the aesthetic details of what I assumed an explosion must feel like into something not dissimilar from sitting in a crowded hot tub, bobbing for shrapnel in slow motion.

Among the passengers of said airplane, on which it was never confirmed whether any major characters were on board, were two people headed somewhere so boring to do such boring things that the even most boring of conversations imaginable offered a brief respite from aforementioned boredom.

“What you reading there?” one of the passengers asked once the flight entered its terminal phase wherein small talk is guaranteed to brief and ended by forces outside the contributors control.

“This here? It’s a self-help book called ‘Humpy Tantrum’s Attempted Rituals’. I felt so alone in the world until I read this book about how ultimately we’re all profoundly alone in the world, and realized there were others out there who felt just like me. It’s more or less a humanist screed. And you?”

“Why I’m reading ‘Humpy Tantrum’s Attempted Rituals’ as well.” He then proceeded to open the emergency hatch and fall uniformly through space so as to not have wasted his revelation that he was, truly, all alone in the world.

The fire never registered as hot, the volume never registered as loud exactly, mass never seemed to be displaced too violently and the structure (hut, prison, whatever) that had been there moments before (mostly as a inevitable variable in a physical manifestation of an ideological object lesson) never resembled anything all that significantly permanent.