Sunday, May 1, 2011


No one heard her for a long, long time. Long enough, in fact, for her to learn that no one heard her at all.

Sarah started to assign characteristics to this hypothetical non-hearing non-person. She, she was a "she", was quite young, had brown braids, dressed smartly, and didn't quite like being left alone for long, long periods of time. So she made herself some company. Some little girls, not too terribly different from her. They all had brief, cruel, nonsensical lives cut off abruptly by realistic-looking Satanists, who's numbers were dwindling, adding to the cruel randomness of the act.

Sarah decided to break the silence and speak:

"Hello, little girl. Why are you crying?"

"I'm crying because I was just murdered and now I'm here and I have no idea what's going on or what I'm supposed to do."

"Well, that's a very good reason to cry."

"Thank you, that makes me feel so much better."

"I'm glad, everyone deserves to be made to feel better."

"Come to think of it, people deserve a lot of things."

"Like what?"

"Well, people who don't listen to other people deserve to never be listened to, that's for sure."

"Good thing I listened when I did."

"I'll say, or you never would have met me."

"I made millions of girls, just like you, to keep me company, but they were all murdered just when I got to know them."

"That's very sad."

"It makes me want to cry."

"I would, but I know no one would hear me."

"That doesn't seem like a very good reason not to cry."

"Who are you hugging?", asked a sea otter.

"Where did you come from?", asked Sarah.

"The ocean. I was washed up on the shore a long time ago."

"What's the ocean?"

"Well, the ocean is a powerful and mysterious thing that sea-otters have no control over that gets to decide which sea-otters get washed up on the beach to die and which get to die underwater."

"That reminds me of someone I was talking to just now."

"We found an island once where non-themed waiters and Bed Bugs lived in peace, and decided to amass on the shore and bark until someone answered why we can't live in peace with the ocean."

"Did it work?"

"No, it was a miserable racket. One day, everyone on the island mysteriously died almost instantaneously and we just went back into the water."

"What's water?"

"Water is what the ocean is made of. When you have a small amount of it you can use it for drinking, cooking, washing, or playing, but when you have a lot of it, it becomes the ocean."

"What's playing?"

"Playing is what you do when you forget about dying. Children love to play, because most of them don't know about dying yet. Of course, some of them are told all about dying from the day they're born."

"I was murdered when I was playing once."

"Then you don't need me to tell you about all that."

Suddenly wanting to know all there was about sea-otters, Sarah asked, "Can you just live in a small block of water, so the ocean can't kill you?"

"No, no, sea otters can only live free when they're in large amounts of water. But some try."

"So you're going to die."

"It's true. For a while we thought maybe we could get one sea-otter to die for all of us, all at once, but he just ended up getting washed up on the shore. Someone walked by him and sic'ed his dogs on him and just generally had no respect for what he was trying to do."

"What are dogs?"

"Dogs are why things like death happens. If something cruel or nonsensical happens, chances are dogs are involved."

"Oh, I thought it was the ocean."

"Well, the ocean doesn't want us to die, but if we lived forever we'd probably just start ignoring the ocean, and not realize how mysterious and powerful it is."

"What would be so bad about that?"

"Well, the ocean reminds us that the most important thing we can do while we're alive is think about dying."

"What about playing? I want to do that."

"When you get older you'll realize that thinking about death is a way of playing."

Sarah realized she had just walked a long way from where she woke up and was lost.

"How do I know I can believe anything you're saying?"

"What's 'believe'?", asked the sea-otter.

"I don't know. I have no idea what I'm saying, but I think you understand what I mean."

"I guess I'll just have to believe you."

"A sea-otter that can die senselessly from dogs and oceans at any moment doesn't have much of a choice, does he?"

"I guess not."

The sea-otter waddled toward the ocean while Sarah stood way, way back on the shore. She had had enough of water. Her conversation with the otter had upset her terribly and she spent the rest of the day walking up and down the beach, looking for the little girl, who had disappeared mid-conversation.

At some point, long after, debris started blowing on the backs of solar winds through the formless rows of modules. Some slowly ricocheting off their icicle arms, others becoming irretrievably trapped in cold lace, and some flying directly into the perpetual combustion of each vulnerable, personal sun. The debris lay strewn on the snowflakes like jet-pack-commuted burger wrappers on top of Old Everest. Eventually, the raw, non-categorized information embedded within each fleck of dust starting rotting on the vines and wafting like frozen pizza into the cold, sea air. Previously non-existent, non-patented intellectual properties began growing out of the rot in wildly unrelated formations over and over again, spontaneously materializing in the most inappropriate corners of life's infancy.

In time, the bed bugs sold us all for rum.


My Dear, Dear Friends,

My, has it been so long since my buoyant words bobbled and wove 'cross your rapidly dimming eyes? Ignore my mildly antagonistic cheer, brothers, I am sure that there is much dreadfully important money counting to be attended to! But I tease, you old corks! I have long ceased trying to understand what it is about plain gold and common silver that makes grown men (if not ancient, you grey veils!) press their frozen noses to the display glass of wealth like so many Jet-Pack storefronts! But yours is yours, and mine is mine, I suppose (as long as 'mine' isn't up for sale, that is!).

I suppose you're wondering what your romantic fool of a baby brother is writing on (and on!) about these days, no doubt. No doubt stodgy, old William has muttered something to similar effect even just now, while bookish Edward reads this aloud at the Redwood-stump supper table! How I wish I could be there among you, if not only to defend myself! Ruffians.

Well, you'll be glad to know the water pox finally relented this spring. The country home I am in has beautiful arched windows, rib-cage grounded-buttresses and an abundance of healing, humor-equalizing sunlight and sea-air. It's a wonder doctors haven't found a way to turn a profit off it! Though I am positively bobbled you eight haven't found a way first!

Unfortunately, I must curtail this spirited blather (Patience, William!) towards a subject more or less odious to me, but which will, I'm certain, have you lot enthralled: finances. Good medical care, even for something as common and base as early-onset childhood water pox, is by no means free as air or light, and what with the added expense of my growing amount of time spent in an entirely, altogether different wing of the hospital, I am amassing a considerable amount of debt. I am receiving some specialized care. Seems I have contracted some demons, through a means fairly base given my spiritual responsibilities. As you all-too-well know, I am prone to tell stories, and some of this all may have never happened! For all I know I could be a bundle of conscious organic light trapped in a floating space module, or under 24 hour Care-Themed Surveillance somewhere, for God knows why! But I ramble on, don't I?

I am wondering if it not possible at least to pay me for some of my past non-patented intellectual property, being as that our relationship, in my eyes at least, has changed drastically since the release of "Otters of Stratagem". I do hope you agree.

I realize the whole mess of you would rather spend your time reading numbers but I have included a recent addition to my ongoing proposal for the hypothetical video game "Bed Bug Mountain."

Following Mr. _____'s conversation with the Bed Bugs at the foot of the mountain, said Bed Bugs proceed to march single-file down into the valley, collecting satellite debris liberated from orbit by solar winds along the way. A few have recently been inspired by a local gorilla of industry, and in kind, begin re-purposing the debris for an end presumably oppressive.

As the age of man fades, the Bed Bugs hustle to pack up all the alternative-energy billboards, View-Tainment Information and Welcome Centers, trash cans filled with various repurposed knick-knacks; and generally leave the planet in better shape than they found it, without the protestations of developers, fathers hoisting their hundreds of unsolicited hungry mouths onto any planet that will listen, industrialists, pornographers, or people of ambition.

The Earth purrs and shifts it’s weight from one side to the other. In time, the Bed Bugs gingerly place officious looking Redwood-stump signs featuring vaguely, almost condescendingly, Native-American typeset at the entrance to the oceans, the valleys, and the mountains. The suburbs are roped off and preserved as historical sites, by way of cautionary tale. The dead wood mansions of Big Sur are consumed by an expertly-maintained, intentional brush fire. Certain sites are re-named and dedicated to the tireless and inspired efforts of note-worthy, unintentional naturalist Bed Bugs. The Earth’s civil rights are liberated from the mouth-breathing demands of excitable experience consumers in performance fabric. Fields of sage grow uninhibited, far from the grasping, healing hands of the Energy-Industrial Complex. Trees grow monstrous until their nightmares of being alchemized into eco-sleeves or having Sea Otters crucified on them are long forgotten. Nature can hear itself think without the riotous ambiance of millions of horned-up, nitrate and ginseng-addled suitors.

There is no trace of human cancer left hiking in the heaving breast of the Earth. The Hiking Cancer is finally free to live fully submerged in it’s purely thought-based alternate reality, where its' best intentions don’t have disastrously oblivious, far-reaching consequences for approximate free agents. It walks around blathering about its personal universe, slamming into itself constantly in the long, dark night, deeming all collisions miraculous. The Bed Bugs rechristen their rightful home the S.S. National Park and life rejoices anew, no longer having to tell itself that its unfortunate run-in with humanity had any purpose.