The eyes inside focus in on three to four chores at a time. I walk into a room and immediately bombard my time as if I not only wanted to kill it, but blow it to smithereens. What truly needs to be finished before the snow falls? In 1800, December moonlight was bright enough reason for father and son to shingle a roof. In 2001 the same moon shines, and so much activity is meaningless because it is unnecessary. No father son team tackling the weather, keeping mom safe for hasty puddings. Plenty of fathers and sons still, but all of them up late, alone somewhere, picking their asses. I wake up to notice the difference between midnight roofing work to keep the snow’s weight from caving in the rafters and killing the family, and the cold, moonlit night when I admit to myself that I am afraid of the dark. I live my life in a trance. I don’t know it until I wake up. And then what do I do? I take out the garbage while thinking about the dirty dishes, the load of laundry, the dust balls, the whining dog.
The brain mellows itself enough to see the tree, but never the leaves. The day it sees the infinite maddening colors of leaves and not the tree, man will have aspired to his first awakening. Finally he will have forgotten that he has a brain.
There are a few crazies out there seeing the leaves today. But you and me? We’ll be content to suck in our guts while standing before the full-length mirror. Okay boys, now let’s curse out the fat jelly below the chin. The hairy stomach, the man-breasts, the flab arms, the heavy neck, the hunchback, the chicken legs. Hate our physiques. Despise and deplore its mental store above. And nobody sit down to eat another cookie before cleaning up that mess in the garage!
After 1930 “neurosis” was the catch word for the American intellectual dwerb. Nowadays it’s neuroschizophrenia. My only life accomplishment which I hope to make manifest in my children is the murder and meticulous clean-up of neuro-schizophrenia.
I am crazy because I want to paint with acrylics and teach my children the art of being alive? Yes. That is fine with me because I will live longer, which means that more cakes will get baked. I will kill time often enough to see the leaves. And why not always remain crazy if they already expect it of me? Unless I am not crazy enough. Then I better watch out, or they will certainly carve me up to fit neatly in some obscure corner of their neuro-schizophrenic scheme. Become a car mechanic or business lawyer, aspire to chefdom, manager, the pitiful CEO, force-fed an artificial, insatiable desire to know more than him or her, be smarter, quicker, wittier, funnier, and get money to afford three shampoos in the tub, and a fifty thousand dollar car that rusts.
Oh no. Not me. I’ll get crazier if I have to. Keep ty-typing away. Tip-tip-tipitit-ding! I’ll walk up to my seventy-year old typewriter, ready to begin my unending string of letters to you, to them, to silent comrades dead or unborn, and I’ll bang-bang at the keys to keep me from banging bullets into you, into them, into nonexistent comrades unborn or dead. I guess perfect sanity was the bright autumn day when this typewriter was handed over to me. Hand-delivered out of a train at the station during a short period in my life when I fell in love with being crazy. A few pennies, a borrowed home, a man! A crazy one, that’s for sure. But a man! Hot-diggedy dog! A man! Poor. Comfortable. Uncomfortable. Crazy. As sane as a bird. Wild and ordinary, with holes in my shoes and a starving heart.
It was all me. I wanted to be crazy. I consciously became callous, cruel, and loopy just to temporarily live the life of an artist. What’s new? Here I am again.
My daughter is in the process of writing a diary for the young girl whose parents died in the World Trade Center attack. She is a born writer who will one day make a difference in her world. I have to wait until the year 2100. Only then will I get the respect of the post-consumers. Isn’t it true, though, that if I was never born there would be no 2100? Does that sound crazy? No? How about this?
Letter to the couple who came for dinner last Saturday
Dear Shannon and Bill,
I want to take this time out in my busy day to write down my thoughts to you both. What I am thinking and what my voice utters are so diametrically opposed to one another, that it’s quite a wonder sometimes how I can get my thoughts to agree with the mouth to say “feed me.”
More than anything I am sorry that I did not mention what mattered to me most last Saturday during our little dinner get-together. Oh I’ve been plagued all week with guilt and self-disgust for not divulging my true personality. At the time I think I was more concerned that you liked me. I did not want to give the impression that I was a social retard, even though I most certainly am. No. What I really wanted to do was pee in your wine glasses. I knew immediately upon your arrival that the night was going to be angst and despair. That we would die or go to sleep. I realized how much I hated myself for not being true to everyone I meet.
Well Shannon, you’re a secretary and Bill is a car salesman. I am a hack writer temporarily unemployed as a line cook, and my wife is your boss at the office. Not one of us is proud to be human.
Civilized? Yes, painfully so. Civilized to the power of googol and speeding faster toward the last straw of civilization. Peeing in your cup was the final hope. At least from this house. Maybe my letter will re-civilize me. Do you think? No, it will only increase the strength of my cowardice. Bill will never see me again. But my wife must co-work beside you, Shannon, everyday to talk about television shows, popular movies, your promiscuous teenage daughters, Bill’s new raise at the job… If I send this letter, she might never speak to me again. But I can’t worry about that. To stand through another torture like last Saturday night would finish me off for good. Absolutely necessary that I nip this in the bud right away.
Did you like the dinner? I cooked for five hours. I prayed that everything went well so we would open up like children do. That’s what the wine was for. But we never open up quite like flowers, do we? More like four green garbage dumpsters and each one of us a child carefully dropping his dog’s bagged shit inside. What was it we talked about for the first five minutes while uncorking our tiny nightmares? The ride over. The damn construction and the detour you had to take. Bill actually seemed to be put out. He didn’t want to come. But he’s supposed to love his wife. And me mine. It isn’t enough that you girls are together five days a week. Bill made you go to his friend’s house last month. He brought along a twelve pack of beer, and had one helluva time. The boys got drunk. The girls talked about curtains, until the husband’s monosyllabic conversation switched to sex. Then even the table got excited and shook for a few seconds. But that was it. Everybody went back inside themselves. Bill wiggled the keys, and before long you were back home tucking the kids in bed while Bill puked up his pizza and beer in the downstairs toilet.
Oh I know Bill hates me. My dinner made him suspect. American men don’t whip up a hollandaise out of nowhere. Before I took your coats I should have mentioned where I thought the night was heading, that I’ve been through this before, that I could only allow two successful destinations for the evening—a hide-and-seek game after dinner, or hopeful talk about revolution, personal and/or nation-wide.
But I was guilty. Caught in the game that we’re all presently losing. I cooked all day. I didn’t draw, paint, or play. I would not dream. I had to impress you. “We have so much good food to eat,” I probably told myself. “I must cook and artfully arrange their dinner. Then they will like me and believe I am alive.”
Wrong! No more. Next time it’s hide-and-seek. Or we can all sit down at the table and draw a picture for our kids. Crayons! Could you imagine? Oh no you can’t. Yours was the last dinner party that this house will ever see. I won’t allow another tragic story about a new bathroom to my table again! Ceramic tile or hardwood? It won’t matter if I have to take a pee. Marie will pull me aside and whisper, ‘Did you pee in the wine again?’ And I’ll give her a playful, guilty look. She will lovingly slap me on the shoulder, and we’ll tell the other couple to run outside now and play, while we do the dishes for the absolute last time!
It has to be this way or more letters. I am not ready to go down such a polite, frustrated and lonesome path. I actually fell asleep last Saturday night forgetting to kiss my wife. I don’t mean kiss her, and then turn out the light either. You know what I mean. God, the heat we can create, but instead give up these nights to fashion and society! Shannon, you remember Bill, the first time, the second time… The time he pressed his body against you and the thrill of your heart, the excitement, the dreaming and hoping was a pleasure/pain that held your fragile belly in a vice. Those were the moments of true security. Not money, not job, not dinner. Hungry for sex, for love, for care of another human being. That’s the hunger for life taking on a new form. We lust for life as children. We live again when our bodies take shape. We call that youth as we grow older and invite another couple over for dinner. Then we think to ourselves what’s gone is gone forever and hell is another Saturday night getting ready to step into our shiny car for a drive over to the home of a couple we will never have the strength to know again how we knew them in the golden days of youth.
Now look at us. Saturday night at the Throop’s! God awful. We could promise that next time we shall meet in the woods out back of your house. There at the path leading in, in the dark… Me with two bottles in a bag and Bill pointing the way to the big rocks where we shall build our fire, pass the wine, and talk and laugh again like we did when we were still near wild and fearful of each other’s sex.
Yes! Next time we can concentrate on getting to know each other again. No hardwood floors. No curtains at K-Mart. The night shall be a romp through the forest of our youthful dreams. I’ll kick your ass Bill if you go near my wife. Shannon looks great! Her cheeks flushed yesterday when she talked to her friends about you. Go for her and I’ll work on mine. We will catch the girls in the dark, stop where we haven’t been in years, build a small fire, and talk about our hopes and dreams. Is it cold? Do you even notice? Hold her hand. I’ll hold hers in mine. I will give her my coat, and I’ll give up these Saturday nights for the rest of my life to live each one in fantastic hope like I did when I was a boy. Like you did before this rotten, hopeless dinner, and the thousand before that… They must end. Most certainly they will happen over and over again in an agonizing sameness, unless we summon the necessary courage to destroy them.
You are both invited next week to search alongside my wife and I for our true hearts. Otherwise, stay out of my life until my wife knows me again how I wanted to be known before the first fainting kiss.
Look! A letter! It must feel so good to get mail that doesn’t beg for your money. It must feel like Christmas receiving correspondence addressed to “No-man’s-land, USA.”
I don’t know why I write. No particular reason. My next book will contain many letters; maybe I just want to add your name to the bunch. Years ago I used to write to Tony when life was pretend and Tony was The Pretender. Now I haven’t the desire to get in touch with that fakealot. You, however, are human, and two eyes that will look upon my pile of crap, even if only in brief moments of personal desperation.
The truth being told, I need another human being to fondle my thoughts. Marie hears so much dirt in a day that it’s a wonder she can give me a second look without following it with a violent kick in the crotch. I need to write letters. I’m tired of writing to nobody. I am sick of a world that refuses to write to save itself from spiritual slaughter. We need more letters! Why bother opening the mailbox? Who’s getting a present? It’s junk mail or anthrax, and just the appropriate amount of bills to keep you and your neighbor enslaved for a lifetime. There is not enough open speculation about the expected stability of people’s brains. Look what I see. The whole lot of us walk around like Goofy with his pants down. Our viewers already expect from us the most outrageous acts of stupidity. But to expose our ugly genitals while being so stupid? Pornographic. Demented. Just too much perversion for this poor man to bare.
Speaking of bears… Are there any lumbering by your window in the north country? Is one trying to read over your shoulder right now? Do you think he would agree with my bit about Goofy, if he was dumb enough to read?
Look Pat, they hand out literacy by the millions, but never expect any of us to use it properly. They demand articulation, but really all they want is to hear us say the word, “articulation,” so every one in the room can know each other’s limits, and talk incessantly about the kind of every day drama a squirrel would pee on, if he could sit still for five minutes and take into his tiny squirrel skull such a relentless banter of meaninglessness. Pick your words recklessly mi amigo, and put them into letters. No one is interesting enough for a conversation. I say make a man read what’s on your mind, even if all you ever think about is shit. We all admit that in person we don’t listen to a word the other person says. Don’t bother to say anything. Write it down! Then he is forced to read. Write it all down, even the bowel movements of your everyday life. Wait for the biographers or the staff psychiatrists to write out explanations for you.
This week I plan to write to a couple credit card companies. I want to offer them a rate they can’t refuse. It’s time for the poor man to fight these birds. With power? No! Letters. More letters. Open, angry demanding letters. No pussyfooting, “please can we meet on common ground?” letters. What have we done in the past about our insurmountable debt? We pay the bill. It comes, and we pay it. Now some other naked Goofy searching for his trousers is sending anthrax poison through the mail. I think that he just wants to punish his creditors. Too bad, he thinks, that the mailman, and every other average Joe in Nincompoopville is left wide open to death. Every one is vulnerable because death is inevitable. Who is innocent? It wouldn’t matter because death is never fair. The man sending death-by-mailman might be death itself. But who would believe that unless the President said it was true? Believe in God, in Jesus, but don’t believe in death. Absolutely absurd to think it could come dressed up in man’s clothes. Most of us are certain it will never come at all. Death never hits us until it does. I say there would be no fear if death was obvious and expected. If it was real, like a man, and all at once sat down at every table in America.
Meanwhile, we have all been smeared with the kind of evil the President decries. What are we to do as Americans if, after thorough investigation, these deadly letters are being sent by reindeer from the Seattle Zoo? Or from children who broke into a laboratory a couple months ago, and stole a box with some “neat shit” in it? Or what if it’s a man named Ahmad Pakistan who has been living in Iowa for six years just waiting for his chance to kill people? What difference does it make to God? All humanity over twelve years of age is already plagued with the virus that mistrusts living and ignores death. Even the poor reindeer in the zoo. Like the rest of us, he expects his special dinner on Sunday too. Only death will prevent him from getting it. But who really understands this? It’s getting worse each passing day. All the Goofys want their new, special thing. A Volkswagen Bug, ice skates, salvation… Has anyone considered the nineteen lives lost, the nineteen “evil” lives, in the September 11th drama? You can bet that God has. Who thinks about the 20 million Russian lives lost during WWI? Only some professor trying to make a point. But out of that human tragedy we got better TV. Video biographies of Lenin, Trotsky, and a mad Joseph Stalin, whose deeds made even Hitler think, “Wow, can’t beat that!” What interesting viewing! Today this new world media touts it’s recent 3000 dead statistic as if it just counted jelly beans in a jar, and I’m supposed to be shocked because Tom Brokav got a sheet of death dust in the mail? I say good riddance to the sleeping animals. My dear friend, it’s time to wake up and live, even if for just a very short time. But be careful! Humans everywhere prey on other humans, and if that was an unfair beginning, it’s a justified end. What does it matter that we, as biological phenomena, could live strong, healthy, vibrant lives for two centuries or more? We’re lucky to get in as many years as we do dressed as presidents and pedophiles. Still, it’s a weak life that embraces its father’s legacy of “follow the rules sons and daughters. No matter what the horrors of humanity show you… Always follow the rules!”
Last week I watched a show on TV entitled “Hitler’s Women.” The commercials in between were all about choosing the right financial advisor, or buying the best SUV, and I thought that any Jewish man alive today with a link to the Holocaust possessed divine right to explode a bomb in the building where that film was being broadcast. Was his grandfather humiliated, robbed, beaten, deprived of food and water, and then set on fire so that the owner of the television station, and all the people connected to it, could make a vile living feeding on the murder of eleven million human beings? The people at home, including myself would get their just desserts too. Why not? How could such once unimaginable horror be born again into our imaginations as “before bedtime entertainment?” It’s a fucking shock to the system just to think about that insanity for five minutes.
But we no longer invite ourselves into our true thoughts. Therefore rarely are we shocked, even for five minutes. I don’t think a shock could shock us, not ten thousand volts, or even our own heads cut off and thrown rolling across the street. Does it matter? Shocked or not shocked, three thousand murdered, or a show about bunnies, and yet the commercials still come. The economy grows or slows, the money either comes or goes, children lose their fingers and toes. The commercials still air on time and always on purpose.
Happy Day! So how is the job treating you? Remind me never to get political again. The sad truth is, however, that life and living itself must get politcal if its going to boil down to crying out against the boiling of human beings. Extremist. Dangerous. I’m on the wrong side and at both extremes of the political spectrum. Either way my color is dark and unhappy. I cannot trust a single soul.
My dear Pat, you called last night to tell me once again about your financial predicament. Don’t do that anymore. You are poor, broke, down without a dime, but this does not prevent you from having a pot belly and cable TV. Anyway I don’t care. Not until you join the ranks. Not until you are ready to cast blame. My father called up a few hours ago to ask me for Christmas suggestions. He’s going shopping at the Mall tomorrow. This has got to stop. I am a grown man. On the other side of the world America is bombing children. Bodies are being ripped open, bombs are falling, blood is spurting out of holes shot through human bone and skin, and running into sewage drains. Bombs are raining on the desert and in the street. Everyone on that side of the planet is screaming. What could I possibly want? What do I dare need?
Jesus Christ, is there a sensitive man I can talk to?
My old friend, you are the bottom dreaming of the top. But your top is my bottom, and I don’t know a single soul alive who thinks like me. Now I think I can tell my Dad what I want for Christmas.
I would like some teeth of a murdered Afghan child. I want to wrap them in a handkerchief to lay beneath your granddaughter’s pillow. I want the tooth fairy to hover lightly above the murdered Afghan child who lies inside your grandchild in bed, sleeping and dreaming on her pillow.
And Dad, wouldn’t it be swell if all of America had to run outside tonight screaming in the pouring rain? Wouldn’t it be great to know that by tomorrow the world would have collapsed and all the wrong was gone for good? That too. I want that too.
I don’t know if Border’s has that, or JC Penny, or Kinney shoes. You might have to go to Awareness.com, but by the time you get online the whole world might be dead. And really, who would know or care as long as we preserved in our brains the hopeful thought of shopping today?
This letter has become another one of my anger bombs. Please make this stop. Teach me soon Pat, before I go nuts, the art about not giving a good god damn.
Letter to The Credit Store, Inc.
You don’t know me because I haven’t a face. This morning I want to put one on so whoever you are will know me, and we might become great friends spending lavishly together for the rest of our lives.
Twelve years ago I got a credit card while attending college. Five hundred dollars credit was quite a sum to the boy who had not a penny in his pocket. Nor a job. Nor any intention of ever getting a job. I took it eagerly, (show me any nineteen-year-old without means who would not), and spent every dollar allowed on gas money, cigarettes, chips, soda, and beer all the way to New Orleans and back.
I am sure that then I had every intention of paying my debt. However, a year later, after graduation, I was cooking my meals on a wood stove and trying to stay alive without money. So you can see I was unable to pay the monthly balance. Interest added up by the hour while I ignored every single bill that came to my table. Any heat in winter depended upon my own two hands, so I decided not to make money-making a priority because my infant daughter needed wood on the fire and constant giving moments of loving attention. I am proud to say that for quite some time I was able to chop, stack, and burn my fuel without earning a dime.
Years passed. I lived from check to check, or from week to week without a check. I moved my home over twenty times, and was even homeless a couple Aprils in a row. My initial credit card company finally gave up on me. They sold my account, writing me off as a bad debt. Tax savings for them, and a new human poker chip for an upstart garage company to gamble with.
Fortunately I was in the right frame of mind to not give them the chance to make a profit by me, at least not without my consent. I too wanted a piece of the action. But the new company never sent a penny my way. Only more letters demanding money.
Year after year I was sold to many different companies, probably for some ridiculously low sum, and each company not losing a penny on my bad debt because the IRS was, and is, a WASP mafia-like organization of government worshiping, half people with no self-respect. Then last year I was caught off guard. I answered the phone.
It was your company calling.
You wanted the sum I spent in New Orleans, plus nearly double the principle in interest. I wanted to please my wife. Like the fool I am and shall always be, I agreed to your terms, forgetting that I had every right to hang up the telephone. Guilty about money spent twelve years ago, I was getting older, more set in my ways, and leaning further toward the open arms of the middle classes. I wanted to mow my lawn, eat my meat, drag my bones about the house like a two-week old battery-powered toy, and pay all outstanding debts, eventually. At the time I never thought about who I was paying. Who had begging rights to my money? Was it you? But you were not my initial lenders. You were the parasitic worm of man, the lowest of the low, exceptional human cheater, better than the best thief at tying up and ripping off members of your own species. I realized this the moment I hung up the phone. I was caught. Cornered by middle class conscience, self duress persuaded my player to surrender his piece in the Capitalistic Extortion Guilt Game.
Oh well. The fool and someone else’s money.
I paid the debt with a little extra to spare.
Now I want my extra back.
My last bill says I have a credit balance of $12.02. You can choose not to pay in full. However, there is a minimum charge of $.59 and an annual interest rate of 20.07%. If I am not in receipt of at least the minimum payment by December 21, 2001, there will be a delinquency charge of $35.00 added to your account. If you do not want to be written off as a delinquent by a delinquent, I would suggest sending the money right on time.
I am doing business as “Ron Throop’s Credit Emporium” and your company is my first customer. After reviewing your economic history I regret to inform you that your credit limit is set at $12.02. So no card will be issued.
You will receive a bill each month for as long as you are in debt to me. Your account number is 12345-6789.
Any questions? Call me. You already have every number ever associated with my name.
P.S. This is how I calculate your average daily balance. First I figure a portion of the 55,000 years of pent-up, masochistic silliness, and divide that by the cost of a discount camera, and five pound can of cheap coffee bought on credit at a thrift store. Then I take the beginning balance of a very cheap Christ, Zoroaster, Mohammed, Buddha, five hundred and twenty-two Hindu deities, add an endless slew of new, meaningless purchases, multiply that ending balance by the zero lifetime spent calculating credit and debit, inhale a deep breath of that infinite emptiness, and blow it into a big green plastic bag. I quickly tie up the ends of the bag, walk out into my backyard with a spade and my new big balloon, dig a deep hole, drop the big balloon in, cover the hole, and firmly pack the very cheap dirt down over it. Then I lay the spade on the grass beside my toes, pull my jeans down around my ankles, and piss a hot stream of urine all over your money grave. This gives me the “average daily balance,” and a very powerful sense of lifetime security.
P.P.S. I think I shall charge you an annual fee of $45.00 beginning January 1, 2002.
P.P.P.S. This communication is from a debt collector.
Pleasure doing business with you, you usurious scum of the earth.
Letter to Mr. Ahmed Kuschbash, an Old Afghan Man Watching His Grandbabies Explode
You don’t know me but I am a citizen of the United States. Your country is being bombed by my country and I don’t care. I’m too worried about getting a job. Anyway, what special prize would I get for wondering about the safety of your family? So you see, I can’t worry. The President said not to worry. He said America is fighting a crusade against evil. To tell the truth I also find my solace in the green flashes and thick, hot smoke choking your insignificant nation. It’s interesting and, I confess, even a bit soothing to my spirit. My television won’t show your son’s intestines hanging out of his barely breathing body. I think that’s because our journalists would chew on a hot sandwich with curly fries rather than tell the truth.
I don’t care because I can’t, not because I would, even if I could. I am an American scum, a coward, a hideabout. This winter I’ll most certainly pay taxes on time to have my road paved next year and your grandchildren blown apart tomorrow. I am not alone. All of my American brethren are sissies and cowards too. As long as the money comes, and the video, and the new car—we will hand money over to the war machine, the evil crusaders, the sick fundamentalist white, black, and blue preachers who run the country now. Thanksgiving is in two weeks and I think we’d eat you dirty people if the President told us too, and ordered his generals to wrap you up in plastic mesh bags like headless Tom Turkeys.
Mr. Kuschbash, I understand that you just turned seventy-nine years old. Congratulations on your long life. Hopefully upon reading this, you still have warm blood in circulation. Or has one of our bombs already speckled your cave walls red? Do you like dying for no cause? Were you retired? No, you could not possibly understand what that word means. You’re still milking one goat and you’ll milk her every morning until a United States soldier fires a bullet through your head for speaking in tongues. You should see how the little old men and women of America sympathize with your present plight! As long as the retirement check comes in the mail, the typical senior citizen does not care a new set of teeth if a troop of soldiers just forced you to swallow your own big toe. Would you care about them if you had shuffleboard, golf, a proud array of cheap pretty things to look at, and lavender-scented sheets to lie down upon? Yes you would. But you’re an ancient religion that Americans cannot for the life of them understand, even though they’ve been given the power of free thought. Americans are spoiled dogs. Loyal pets to the machine. Dedicated in equal proportion to the amount of hamburger chunks tossed to them.
I must admit that I am no better. Yes, I am young and against everything, but I also have my own babies, and do not intend to raise a finger to help you old man. I fear that something bad might befall my family. I fear my government, but not in the same way that you fear it. In this country, a soldier cannot pull a man out of his home and shoot him dead in the street. Not here in America! No, the sneaky rats of our government would have the flag wavers do it to him first. My own neighbors, the mob of men and women who need Afghan children to die so their hearts can glow warm with brotherhood. No, if I show the slightest mark of dissent, their gentle ways, their hearts overflowing with glorious thoughts of brotherhood, will break into my house, rape my wife, call my oldest daughter a sand-nigger loving toad, and surely stone me to death. I see what bombing your country does to them. It fills them with glee. They’re hopping up and down, joyfully waiting for shuffleboard. Every single one of these monsters will remain silent until our government says that the war is over. Translated into the Afghan tongue that means literally “get a good look at your friend’s head today, Mr. Kuschbash, for tomorrow it’s faceless history.”
It is the mob mentality of my neighbors, the living dead, waiting for their chance at shuffleboard and medicated living; they are the guilty ones. God says so. Any real poet says so. Yet both are forced into quiet for fear of their lives. Yes Mr. Kuschbash, it’s true. America would blow it’s own God out of the sky if it stood in the way of their right to shuffleboard. My street’s representative to God has an American flag waving from his porch roof and satellite dish attached to his steeple. He must also appreciate very much the green flashes ripping across a night sky!
I understand that you had nothing to do with crashing jet liners into very tall buildings. But I promise you that I am the only one here who understands that much. The other 279 million plus human idiots know that you had no part, yet the President says you have to die else the price of gasoline and airline tickets will rise by twelve percent. That’s good enough reason for everyone here to want proof that you’re dead.
Dear Mr. Kuschbash, are you still reading? Or did you crawl out of your cave to milk the goat, pump some water, or do whatever poor, luckless chore you must do to survive? I understand. But my President publicly swears that you’re a violent madman. He vows to kill you and everyone. I know and you know that privately, he’s sexually, religiously, and ferociously frustrated. He and everyone else in the world knows that your only utensil is a scratched, aluminum spoon. And no doubt old man, you have the power to pop out our eyeballs and fling them with that spoon.
Finished? Yes of course you are old man! Might as well enjoy what night you have left, do whatever it is you funny-looking ragamuffins do for enjoyment, play a game with a long stick, smile your toothless hopes and dreams for one more night, because tomorrow you’re dead waste!
Anyway, what I want to know is this… What would you do if the American war machine accidentally left behind a B-52 bomber outside your cave? Inside the cockpit you’ll find a little instructional manual written in your language. It contains information needed to fly it, and mechanically unlatch the big hatch in the hull so you can drop pretty yellow bombs and matching colored food parcels on the harmless village of your choice. What would you do with such a gift? Would you follow through with its original, satanic intentions? Not likely. I think instead, you’d set up housekeeping in the plane, divide the food out evenly among your family and friends, and let the goat nibble on the shiny yellow bombs. I would wait for your reply to tell me if my assumption is right, but your head and body will be separate by morning. Oh well.
Here’s a fact about those shiny yellow bombs. Did you know that our stupid, barely literate military pilots name each one before dropping it on your children? Here in America we watch the TV news every night, every single lonely night, just night after night after night, and many more nights to come until the final night comes, about the same time at night when you walk outside to milk your goat. There’s a video of a pilot smiling as he writes “from NYC fire department” across one. They personalize the bombs. It’s funny business to Americans. All of us put a smile on before killing you from thirty thousand feet up in the Afghan sky. Face to face, each one of these baby killers would shit himself in your sandbox if forced to explain his cowardly behavior to you face to face. I know the anger boiling inside your soul. I know that you will want revenge if you survive an attack. I know that if you were a few decades younger, you would become tomorrow’s terrorist, and offer your life up to the nearest demagogue with a semi-feasible plan. An eye for an eye, correct? I would do the same. Who in God’s whole creation would not?
These news videos fill me with dread. But I will forget about you Mr. Kuschbash just minutes after I turn off the television. I promised my daughter creme bruleé for dessert tonight. A moment ago I watched my wife get out of bed, and had not the least bit of difficulty getting aroused by her beauty. The moment she stepped into the shower, three or four more American bombs erased the village on the other side of that mountain. Your village is next Ahmed. I am sorry that no one will be left to buy a bag of your goat’s milk. But as far as I can tell, I am the only one who is sorry in America.
But to be completely honest… If I had only goat’s milk to bake in my custard, and my government began bombing you so that cow’s milk would come back to my kitchen, and the TV news anchor man said, “Don’t worry! We’ll never show you a dead Afghan. Just pretty green flashes and objects exploding on the ground which we’re told were trucks carrying fuel to Afghan tanks. Either that or water jugs being pulled by Afghan mules…” If I could get these conditions to insure a sweet and silky custard, I too would not care a beating heart about you Mr. Kuschbash. That’s the truth. And absolutely universal outside of Afghanistan!
I should be strangled with heaven’s shame for not changing my diet to spare the life of another human being. Ha! ha! But heaven’s dropping death on your side of the world, so it looks like I really don’t have to care a pill for you!
I just got into bed and snuggled up in my sheets to watch my beautiful baby dream. She’s nine months old and fully enjoying her free and happy existence. My wife just stepped into a hot shower and one American bomb just blew your neighbor’s cave up into dust and blood. You heard the screams. Did you think that terrorists lived there? You thought that Omar and his two shy daughters weaved blankets all day to sell at market. Not anymore. America said it will kill anyone with the name Omar. Then it said it will kill anyone who weaves blankets. It’s not a crusade against the evil ones. No. It’s a massacre of the different. It is the hot winds of destruction sent by the foul breath of human nature. The pretending innocents sit down to eat a bowl of custard. They won’t partake in the slaughter of humanity, directly. They just eat dessert and complain a little bit while the Kuschbash population is erased from existence.
The sun is rising in the East where America digs for you a hot smoking tomb Mr. Kuschbash.
I am sorry for you old man. But in this age of distrust and paranoia, I promise to forever remain more sorry for myself.
Ron Throop. An American coward.
Letter of Application to the United States Election Committee From the Rama Party:
Dear sirs and maybe one madam (who wants to be a sir),
Hi, my name is Ron Throop and I am running for the office of President in the year 2004. I am curious to know what preparations I must take in order to get my party on the ticket. Is there a total number of signatures I will need? How many? Any specific clauses (besides the obvious ones) which keep all honest and sincere people from trying to become President? When can I start campaigning? Please send a reply as soon as possible.
I will be fully endorsed by the Ramas. Enclosed please find my party’s official description and mission statement.
Thank you for your time.
Ronald J. Throop
The Rama Party
Under cover of night, Rama brought Lakshmana and Sita with him to his mountain retreat. He wasn’t ready to be king. Scandal would erupt in his father’s palace if Rama accepted power too hastily. He believed that time in exile would help cleanse his spirit and strengthen his resolve. Time and sacrifice he thought would cement the trust of the people.
Rama lived a peaceful existence on the mountain, loved by his perfect bride Sita, and loved and counseled by Lakshmana, his loyal half brother. His days were simple and wonderful until the morning the many-headed, lunatic monster, Ravana, stole Sita from Rama. Then the epic story of the quest for Sita begins. Flying monkeys, wise vultures, voluptuous evil deities dancing a test by temptation, secret worlds within our world, battles being fought, lost and won with bravery and meaningful death—always without smart bombs, machine guns, biological weapons, and land mines to act as a kind of appetizer to the threat of total annihilation which neither Rama nor Ravana could pull out of their immortal stockpile…Those were the days of man. As ancient as India and probably older.
We suggest to anyone who is thinking about joining the party to read The Ramayana to learn more about our hopes and fears, and our wiser solution to the present-day American crisis. We believe that success will come, but only after a total majority reads our story. For time is the maker of all miracles, and time is one thing the Rama Party has in abundance. We desire that each individual American nurture his natural right to dream all day from under a tree in an ancient forest. We believe that American freedom should consist of lying down most of the day dressed in loose, colorful clothing. All ideals, all morals are born out of that perfect hour while reading aloud the tales of Rama and Sita to our loved ones. The whole forest is alive with joy. The wild monkeys leap and laugh high up in the canopy. All days from now on are to be this sleepy and innocent.
In 2004, or 2008, if conditions are ripe (and if Rama is old enough), we will put our representative up for Presidential election.
Rama is dead but Ron Throop is not. In order for him to accept the highest office in government, he must be elected by a 99% majority. At present Ron is our only member. The party doubts very much that America, in its current loathsome condition, could spit forth another man or woman to share with Ron his romantic ideas for the presidency. Although he alone can save the country from disaster, no one has yet been willing to follow his path of thought to find out how. (If you or someone you know is a Lakshmana, please write to our candidate as soon as possible. He needs a sane and strong running mate to help with the hunting and seemingly endless wood chopping).
Rama left his kingdom. If elected President of the United States, Ron Throop promises also to leave. He will go into hiding immediately. He has already made his plans for an arduous climb up an unknown wooded mountain. All decisions of state will be made from a small, modest hut he will build singlehandedly. Aside from signing or vetoing only those bills delivered to him via a trusted messenger, he will do very little in the ways of governing. No sound will be made to the public, nor to the hired representatives of the public who make noise and more noise, with unjust intentions to pollute the public always. Because our candidate refuses to pollute the public, he will have no intercourse with the other two branches of government.
No domestic policy. No foreign policy.
In fact, no man or country is invited to dinner, unless he or it agrees to hike up the mountain alone to meet the President.
We of the Rama Party believe like Thoreau that the state which governs least, governs best. Our new president will not employ a secret service to lock up his retreat in constant surveillance. Once every day he will meet with his cabinet for a walk and talk about the state of the nation. Each member will have a cabin too, and a family there to love and interact with after advising the President. The cabinet will live in cabins, the only appropriate abode for members of all governing bodies.
Throughout his term policy cannot waver, even in the likely event that a rogue nation vows cannibalistic jihad until every last American has been eaten. Ron will keep good to his promise to do nothing.
Assassination attempts are inevitable. The party knows that the killer must be smarter than both the President and his messenger to ever get near enough to murder. Still, any successful assassination would be honored by the party. We hope the killer would choose to remain on the mountain to finish his victim’s term.
Meanwhile the President shall not be concerned over such trifling matters as self preservation. There’s a country to love and look after. How will the common man refrain from paranoia if his own President does not feel safe? Ron will accept the job after receiving 99% of the vote. No need to justify spending the people’s money protecting his skin from the radical wing of the 1%. The job pays too well to care. We strongly believe that a president should expect to die for his country. No one should protect him if he cannot protect himself. Therefore, only warriors need apply. If the President-elect is not prepared to defend the country all by his lonesome, then too bad for the entire country. Rama was an expert bowman. Ron will know how to shoulder his bazooka like a pro.
The job pays well, but our candidate expects no monetary salary. He will live on donations of food and fuel for the length of his term.
Remember, no domestic and foreign policy. All governing consists in the guise of whatever paper reaches his office for signature. No Brownie troops to meet with on Thursday morning. No Chinese Premier to happily shake hands with today and tomorrow threaten with nuclear tough talk.
Ron knows that it’s the world’s children who have their faces blown off in a war. Therefore he will forever be aggressively against it. A Secretary of War will be chosen to keep in touch with the death-wielding generals in times of hostility and unrepairable conflict. In the unlikely chance that war is declared, our President, holding tightly to his bazooka, must be the first to charge the enemy. If a draft becomes necessary, it will call for all propertied, married men, over the age of forty-five, who bought a new car at least once in their lives. Our party knows what is needful to perpetuate god’s animals on earth, and it’s not the miracle of money making money. The money hoarders never make good soldiers. So they get sent down to the front lines first. Ron believes in saving America’s youth for procreation. He knows that all wars yesterday and today are provoked by the rich and powerful. Ron says that the old rich men are too fat and comfortable to ever make a worthwhile country anyway. So each one shall stand behind his President and wait for the call to charge.
Four years of doing absolutely nothing! Letting the country go. The Executive Branch of the United States Government acting like the part time babysitter it should be, and putting on no new masks! The money we could save! The example the President would set! Nothing ever before like it. Not even George Washington. “A New Precedent by Your President!”—That could be our motto. Or we might prefer the following one: “Cloud-hidden Whereabouts Unknown”. Give us a party for our platform and we promise never to show our candidate in the public eye.
In 2004 or 2008, it’s Ron Throop and the Ramas.
If he gets one other vote it might be enough to set America on a winning path.