Monday, January 4, 2010

Last Call, Last Stand Part 1

Chapter 1 - Worm's Eye View

The year is 2009, and nobody knows what the fuck is going on.

The biggest problem is that we have too much information to be well informed. TV, radio, cable news and a million Internet sites are all screaming The One Truth at maximum volume, and if you don't like the Truth you see all you have to do is be selective about your media intake. We still cling to the tattered remains of the myth that anyone with drive and determination can change the world, but most of us can barely change the channel.

My girlfriend left me at 1 am last night, right after a session of exquisite make up sex. I had turned on the TV to some CNN anchor droning about massive flooding in the Midwest-God help me, I needed the noise to concentrate-and she came back from the bathroom where she had been sponging my DNA off her neck. "This isn't normal," she said. Her eye was still puffy; our previous discussion had been heated. My reflexive guilt twinge was long since burned out.

I said "No one's normal."

"You can't buy me off with a couple of orgasms anymore. I'm fucking done." Her voice-that small wounded girl with daddy issues voice that had drawn me to her like bloody chum for a shark-was surprisingly unwavering and resolute. She had probably been practicing her little speech in the bathroom for some time. "You fucking hit me. You fucking hit me." The last was incredulous, almost as if it hadn't happened before. "Nobody has to put up with that."

"Can you cut the cliches?" I replied, clicking channels. I didn't look at her, less because of guilt and more because over the past year I had simply grown to hate her. "The victim card is all played out with you, doll. Go, if you need to go. But spare me the ultimatum speech; you know how it always ends."

I could hear the shame in her voice now through the cracks in her defenses, as her carefully choreagraphed response was cut off by me skipping a couple stages ahead in the argument. "I'm not coming back this time. I met a guy at work-he says he's going to take care of me. He says I deserve better. He calls me Princess." Smug here. But attacking the moral outrage\jealousy nerve of the Modern American Male (Americanus Eunuchio) was a lost cause. My masculinity wasn't pricked; it wasn't even prickled.

I paused in the act of stealing a cigarette from her pack, and looked up at her. Her graceful aquiline jaw was set in stone. She was serious. I weighed my options carefully, then took a couple more so I wouldn't have to go to the store until morning. "You can call a stripper princess, but that don't make her royalty," I said, more resigned than angry.

Try as I might, I wasn't able to avoid the rest of the tedious, unremarkable argument. It was 2:30 before she actually packed up her shit and left. By then I had smoked all of my pilfered cigarettes and was pawing around in the ashtray for a reasonable butt. I found a roach instead, and lit it with a sigh of satisfaction.

By now I had filtered through all 436 channels and was back to the news. There was rioting in Chicago again-with all that flooding, food prices had skyrocketed. One news channel was blaming the problem on a slow aid response by the government (Damn you laws of physics!) and the other was blaming it on greedy corporations raising prices the moment the supply dried up (Damn you laws of economics!"). I thought about turning on the computer to dig into the story a little more, see if aliens, Bigfoot or the Trilateral comission was getting the blame from the fringes, but I remembered the bitch had taken her laptop. That was probably when I realized it was final.

The realization didn't touch me as much as it should have. The roach did though, and I was flying by the time they showed any footage from the riots. I watched two different mobs-one black, one Hispanic, and neither concerned with shattering the stereotype-break into empty grocery stores, one by prying open the door with a crowbar and the other by throwing a cinder block through the window. Their faces were rapt, breathless with fury as they pawed through the empty shelves. Most didn't even bother with protest signs. They were in it for revenge against their Oppressors, who had kept them in bondage for so long. They were a storm of righteous fury, brave socially disadvantaged rebels struggling against the tyranny of 16.50 for a loaf of bread and 8.75 for a bottle of clean water, in a city where every road in was cut off by torrential flooding.

They spent at least an hour raping a woman who was calling the police. The camera never left her for about forty minutes of it; it was their highest rated segment in months. Years later I would see her in a celebrity topless boxing tournament.

The revelation that human beings are violent, ruthless animals with just enough brains to wage war effectively was nothing new to me. The gang rape footage was, however, and I watched it, and the replay, until my buzz slowly died down to a dull roar.

At 4:30 am, I went to get a pack of cigarettes, and Chicago burned.

1 comment:

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