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New Model Soldier

(viewed 1773 times)
The street preacher lifted his voice to the heavens, but it wouldn't reach. The best he could do was the edge of the sidewalk on the other side of the road.

"Look at this!" he shouted. "The abandoned package -- the symbolic weapon of the New Model Warrior." He pointed at the backpack against the wall of the nearest building.

"We've come a long way from braining your brother with a rock because God likes him better, haven't we?

"The first excuse ever for the first murder: My brother's sacrifice was more acceptable in the eyes of The Lord. God blessed him instead of me. Jealousy of God's blessing and God's favorable attention!

"God Himself inspired the first murder. Is it any wonder that every war since has been holy? Every side thinks God is on their side -- and they're right!

"And look at the progression of weapons. I kill you with a rock and my hands. I kill you with a sharpened blade at arm's length. I kill you with a pistol so far away I can't see your face. I kill you with a missile, on the other side of the planet.

"And then landmines and booby traps and -- and now this: I leave death here, innocently, on the sidewalk. Let God Himself determine, through His mighty wisdom, who He wants to be walking by. He no longer has to choose just soldiers. He may choose anyone! And, in His infinite wisdom and mercy, may He choose only the guilty, our enemies!

"I create death and leave it like a dog drops a turd on the sidewalk. I kill no one! I have no way of determining who will live and who will die! It is all God's will!

"The New Model Soldier is the lightning! He is a tornado! He is the weather! He is an Act of God!"

The preacher lowered his head and spoke the next words quietly.

"And we all know it is God's will that those He has blessed die under a bloody stone in the hands of the less favored brother."

He hit the call button on his disposable pre-paid convenience-store cell phone. But the backpack failed to detonate.

Somewhere else, however, another bomb blew up. Like they always do.


Posted by Laszlo Q. V. St-J. Xalieri

21st Sep 2008, 00:09   | tags:comments (3)

Excerpt from the Diary of a Homeless Man

(viewed 6920 times)
A woman walked past me today, laughing. I laughed too. She didn't seem to see me sitting there on the sidewalk, and I don't know what was so funny. But it felt good to communicate.

Posted by sswiwa

17th Sep 2008, 21:58   comments (5)

Pay It Forward

(viewed 1812 times)
One of the more useful rules of living with schizophrenia is that though you may hear the voices, you don't have to do what they tell you.

I find this works for real voices, too. If some bum walks up to me on the street and follows me around whispering "kill your mother" in my ear, I can probably gut-punch him and walk away. It helps with my defense in court if the bum was actually saying "kill your mother", or was actually a bum and not a banker, or was actually present at all. Ignoring is probably best. Just in case.

Unincarcerated schizophrenics are Olympic-class performers at ignoring annoying things, because, hey, it could just be a hallucination, right? Never be the first to react. Is the building really on fire? Wait until you see someone else running. Maybe even two or three people. And don't count the ones with scales or wings. They often don't have your best interests at heart.

So anyway, Frank the Fish is taller than me, which I hear is odd for a fish, and he's not telling me to kill anybody. He just wants me to give him some money. So that's where another rule comes into play.

No one who asks me for money, no matter how desperate they seem to be, gets more than fifty cents. Because, really, if they're down to asking me for money, they've passed up a million better choices.

That's a rule I will break if the circumstances are bad enough. I mean, a certain few people have been plenty generous with me, completely unexpectedly. I can't afford not to pay it back. Pay it forward, as they say.

So I keep a thousand dollar bill folded up and tucked under the skin in my neck, right where my gills used to be before they closed up when I was a baby. My grandfather gave it to me for my second birthday. I can still feel it when I prod around there with my fingers.

I can probably get at it with this boxcutter I carry.


Posted by Laszlo Q. V. St-J. Xalieri

11th Sep 2008, 12:16   | tags:comments (5)

The Ego

(viewed 1543 times)

What you don?t see isn?t there. What you can?t see doesn?t exist. You
invented the world. You are its creator. It was made deep within you
and you project it out, so that it surrounds you and blankets you and
cushions you and torments you.

What you can?t comprehend isn?t there. The thoughts you don?t think
are yet to be conceived. The words you haven?t read aren?t written
yet. And they erase themselves once you?ve turned the page. You are
their author. You are the only author. Everything comes from within.

There?s nobody but you. You are on your own. The bodies that surround
you, the things they say?it?s all you. You, you, you. There is only
one perception ? yours.

Do you see how important you are? If you were to cease then everything
would stop. And this is true ? and it?s true for us all, because we?re
all you.

I suppose this should be followed up by "THE SUPEREGO", for the sake
of balance.

Posted by Helen

31st Aug 2008, 18:07   comments (7)

Truth Holds a Mirror to Reality

(viewed 1642 times)
They say mirrors don't lie, but you know they do. They have something to say about everything but the person looking in the mirror.

They reflect a surrounding, a context, that the viewer carries off in his or her head, but that context stays put. You see yourself framed, but when you walk away there is no frame. The lighting stays, the backdrop stays, the silly expression you always wear when you look in the mirror stays, the head tilt stays, the make-up pout stays -- you carry away the image, but not the reality.

The mirror cuts off all the parts of you that do not fit. The mirror edits for time and space and content. The mirror never bothers to try to show you the parts of yourself you'd rather not have exposed to scrutiny.

What you see in the mirror has everything to do with what you wish you could see and how you fail to be that ideal. The truth is, when we look in a mirror, we are everything that doesn't fit in the view.

They say mirrors don't lie, but the truth is they get everything absolutely backwards.


Posted by Laszlo Q. V. St-J. Xalieri

31st Aug 2008, 17:08   | tags:comments (4)

The Rats Around Here

(viewed 1558 times)
The rats around here are amazingly bad-ass. The gnaw through bricks and are the size of basketballs.

Like sharks, they have those little sensors in their noses to detect electrical fields, which they use, not to avoid, but to seek out power conduits in the walls, so as to disable most motion detectors and burglar alarms. Their bites also convey a nasty electrical shock from current stored in special capacitor-like glands, charged up by gnawing through power lines.

Popular rat poisons, like arsenic and strychnine, are simply a complete waste of time, largely due to the expense of buying and shipping in the quantities necessary to keep them from thinking you're giving them a free party drug. In fact, they convert small amounts of strychnine and brucine into PCP in their livers. Methamphetamine and crack cocaine they manufacture the old fashioned way, by taking over preconstructed labs in abandoned buildings.

Classified as "aesthetically challenged", they are known to steal Hummel figurines and prints of paintings by Thomas Kincade to decorate their nests. They are also fond of cork paneling and mirrored tiles--especially the "antique-look" kind with the mottled silvering. And God forbid you stand between one and a painting of a unicorn, or, even worse, that depiction of the angel hovering over a pair of lost children on an old wooden bridge.

Politically, they're known to vote for liberals in national elections and conservatives at the local level. This is strictly to keep up environmental funding and to keep their property taxes low, although their elected representatives have been known to vote for a mandatory two-year period of national service, either military or civil.

In neighborhoods they have already dominated, they extort protection from local business, but keep up popular opinion by offering elderly women escorts home after dark and give "pony rides" to small children on their birthdays.

They invest the proceeds of their protection money in the oil and energy markets and were heavy speculators in the oil market recently, which means they have just lost an enormous amount of money and are therefore in an ugly mood. Avoid them at all costs.


Posted by Laszlo Q. V. St-J. Xalieri

23rd Aug 2008, 20:11   | tags:comments (4)

No Place for the Camera to Stand

(viewed 1330 times)
Have you ever been to one of those super-hip clubs where everything looks like a bunch of tiny sets for movies or television or theater, just a bunch of disconnected, mismatched seating groups separated by bare hardwood or unpainted concrete or unapologetically vintage linoleum, all separated from each other with little walls-on-wheels, draped with ten yards of dyed burlap or fifty pounds of threadbare velvet, with something cheap and modern and rectangular nailed into the middle of it? Where each little cluster looks like a hundred square feet sawed out of the corner of some art student's dorm?

If you're not the sort of person who gets into super-hip clubs, this is what you're missing.

I am the sort of person who gets into these clubs. I practically live in them. Nothing can keep me out. I walk through the walls.

I see them as little sets no matter how hard I try not to. I wonder where I'm supposed to stand or sit or whatever so that, if I were a camera, I could crop down to something that would look like a seamless section of something larger. Something coherent. Something that belonged somewhere as part of a larger whole.

I'd walk around making the dippy rectangle out of my thumbs and forefingers, the mystical and holy sign of The Tube, and look at each little set from every possible angle. "Are you ... somebody?" people ask me. A lot. I don't say a word, but I nod. Then shake my head. Then nod again. Every time I'm asked I switch my answer, alternating.

At some point I must have figured that maybe the drinks were a critical part of the illusion. So I tried them all. As a cost-saving measure I even tried the ones that weren't mine.

You'd be surprised how easy that is to get away with. Just lock eyes with the owner of the drink you'd like to try. Keep a serious expression. Just reach over slowly and take the damned glass. Take a sip. Put a puzzled expression on your face and walk away without saying a word. This always works. But the drinks didn't help.

Some of the clubs put out little packets on little mirrors, when the atmosphere is right. I know for a fact once that the little packets were a saccharine-based sweetener, but people still snorted it all up and laughed way too loud. But not even Sweet-N-Low helped.

It occurs to me that maybe I'm missing the point. The point is to not get comfortable, to not find a place that fits, to not settle down. The point is to keep writhing and twitching and stay uncomfortable and then get fed up and leave. And then do it again tomorrow.

There is no belonging, no completeness, no resting. There just isn't.

All in all, I have to say I approve. But I'm the Goddess of Ennui.


Posted by Laszlo Q. V. St-J. Xalieri

21st Aug 2008, 04:38   | tags:comments (4)

The Secret of Serenity

(viewed 1476 times)
The ant farm outside the window is so peaceful tonight. It's such a perfect scale model of a world. Muted murmurs, subtracted smells, bounded by the glass in front of me and the reflection of the brick wall.

Everything is so tiny. The details don't so much blur as fade to insignificance in light of the stronger details you can make out. It's how the stars hide when the sun comes out.

Two people bounce in the front seats of that Mercedes down there. She's idealized, according to the typical pig-man; she is headless, composed of nothing but cleavage packaged in a black spaghetti-strap tank-top. Next to her is a man no kidding three times as wide as she is. He also has no head. His form is incomprehensible until you realize he is a massive white cotton-wrapped torso bounded on both sides by gesturing brown forearms.

The missing details: are they arguing? Laughing? Their relative shapes are no doubt familiar to themselves, insignificant to the scope of their potent interactions. From here, though: cleavage, relative hugeness, in a Mercedes.

Of course it is peaceful. I can't hear any coarse, raucous laughter, angry shouting, or tense discussions about differing views of the future. They are headless ants in a shiny matchbox in a larger glass-and-brick terrarium.

To them, if they look up, I am an ant in a glass and brick box, inert and unmoving, further encapsulated in a bone-box the size of a tiny bead, forehead flattened and shiny against the glass window, looking out through the double-paned windows of my eyes and spectacles.

To them, I too am peaceful and placid. There's no way they can hear from where they sit the roaring laughter and jeering, the screams and howling, the hundred voices bickering and delivering ultimatums, the gentler muttering of incessant counting and sums and nonsensical statistics, the marching band playing tunes from the creche, the buzzing roar of bees the size of bears--all encapsulated in the miniature bone box the size of a tiny bead, so peaceful, so placid, and so serene.


Posted by Laszlo Q. V. St-J. Xalieri

20th Aug 2008, 05:39   | tags:comments (8)