The True Story of the Internet ( Parts I, II, and III )
( The term used above Eunuchs refers to members of the Heavens Gate UFO suicides in 1997, this group is mentioned and real information about them is within. The novel was published only online, and much of the information about the computer industry and its characters is real).
Son of Gomez was arrested in 1997. The Cypherpunks were caught up in the an onslaught of federal investigations into fringe groups following the Waco Branch Dravidian's incident in Texas that year. Also the Cypherpunks had made an alleged assassination attempt on Microsoft founder Bill Gates. For those interested in what went down with the Cypherpunks in more detail. Links below are the federal archives and other information that is publically available. Not everything to be sure.
The 'Info War' reference made by some Anonymous members is obviously from the Son of Gomez manifesto. If this is the first reporting to make this connection, then the agencies involved with investigating Anonymous need to get with the times.
What I have quoted here are the last paragraphs of the unfinished cyber novel 'Info War' by Son of Gomez aka C.J. Parker. Ominous words, that are likely relevant now more than over.
"It amazes me that a US citizen is subject to imprisonment for sending the same material to a foreign country that she can legally send to the email addresses of foreign nationals and foreign embassy employees within the Us. It particularly amazes me that those who manage to get elected to high office by promising to be 'tough on crime, ' and who stress the need for the citizens to be protected from savage crimes-—such as, say.. .murdering those in authority——by labeling as criminals and punishing those who do such things, would be so eager to enact so many far—reaching laws that an increasing majority of the citizens are, in fact, becoming criminals and thus have increasingly little to lose by resisting the government's declared intention to punish them. The government goes to great pains to convince the citizens that violence and killing is justified when it is directed toward The Bad Guys . Well, when you become a criminal, guess who The Bad Guys are..."
I think Gomez wants me down for the count. He's wrecked my computer, my programs, my social life and my bank account.
I finally sent off my Archive backup tape-drive to be fixed. For the last couple of months it hasn't had the decency to totally crap out on me---instead, it 'almost' works. It takes me four hours, instead of fifteen minutes, to restore my hard drive, which Gomez has been crashing on me every two or three days.
My programs, which have worked fine for the last month, have now decided, out of the blue, to give me all kinds of strange 'error messages.'
"DATA FILES CORRUPTED! REBOOT YOUR HARD DRIVE AND CHANGE YOUR ATTITUDE AND LIFE-STYLE!!!"
My social life has been even worse. Wendy threw me out again. It seems she's been screwing this married guy at work and needs the extra bed space, since his wife and kids pretty much fill up his beds.
It seems his wife "doesn't understand him." Apparently, sometime during the process of washing his clothes, cooking his dinner, and wiping the snot off the noses of the 'fruits of his manhood,' she turned into a pretty boring individual. He managed to stave off the boredom by screwing around on her for ten years or so, but now that the kids are pretty much grown and able to take care of themselves, there's no reason not to just throw her out with the trash and carry on with his life.
So 'Mr. Right' is getting the first 'white meat' he's ever had, and I'm sitting around wondering why I never got any 'Thank You' cards from my friends for all the entertainment the situation provided them until it was deemed time to inform 'yours truly' what was going on. My only consolation is the fact that she's hooked up with a guy whose 'modus operandi' is to shit on a woman and move on once he's done with her.
I needed a date for a Black/Jewish wedding last week and I couldn't find a Black Jew to go with, so I did the next best thing and phoned up some numbers listed in the Personals Ads of the Tucson Weekly.
I weeded out the ones that seemed to be too much like a grocery list. The ones looking for a "Sensitive, caring, self-sufficient, professional, educated, spiritual, romantic, communicative, emotionally stable, polite, protective, tall, blonde, independent, financially secure, doctor-lawyer-policeman-fireman-jogger-rugby player, who likes kids, dancing, opera, fine wines, movies, sunsets, long walks, holding hands, talking until dawn, cultural events, fine dining, cycling, hiking, body-building and travel to exotic places."
I'm sorry dear, but that sounds like the guy that's screwing your under-age daughter.
There was a decided shortage of ladies advertising for someone who likes to turn on the 'tube, drink beer and screw, but I narrowed it down the best I could. I phoned a few of the numbers in the ads and left a message basically saying, "Hey, I'm a pot-bellied, bald-headed old fart who needs a date for a wedding." I got a dozen calls. There's something about inviting a woman to a wedding that seems to work; it probably has something to do with catching the bouquet.
I ended up going to the wedding with a short, skinny vegetarian (in the ads they use the word 'petite'). I tried to talk her into chowing down on some roadkill from the buffet table, but she seemed adverse to putting a little meat (pun intended) on her bones. We had a good time, even though I lost track of her before the evening was over.
I'd had my hair cut by Karen (the lady getting married) a couple days before the wedding and I looked like one of the Hounds of the Baskervilles. A word of advice: never get your hair cut by a woman about to be married, they seem to lack focus.
Being of a generation where we had dances where the boys were all on one side of the dance hall, with the girls on the other side, I guess I'm a little over-sensitive about the concept of rejection, having experienced, many times, that immeasurable walk back to the boy's side of the dance hall once the girl on the other side of the great expanse had laughed in my face. So I dated a few of the ladies who returned my calls---out of empathy, if not courtesy. Most of them were ex-housewives whose husbands had thrown them out with the bath water once the kids were raised. Their ex-husbands seemed to be running around with young working girls who were pretty goddamn impressed with how sensitive, caring, romantic, self-sufficient, communicative and mature they seem to be.
After I'd dated a few of my 'ad ladies' I realized that I seemed to be a little too rough and uncivilized (and used the word 'broad' too much) for there to be any hope of reciprocal maintenance in a relationship with them. It appeared that they were looking for someone more---how shall I put it?---more sensitive, caring, communicative, romantic, self-sufficient, and more spiritual than I am. Someone more like the guy who shit on them and left them standing by the side of the road. They seemed to be nice ladies and I wish them luck in their quest, but I think I'm going to pass on the Princesses who are looking for Mr. Wonderful and stick with the barflies who may not be able to choose the proper wine to go with the fish but can damn-straight spot a snake when they're walking in the jungle.
I don't know why I'm continually surprised in this 'age of advertising' and era of 'ten second sound-bytes' that people are more interested in image than in substance. Cheat on your wife, steal from your employer, beat your children---it's ok---but please have the decency to keep up a proper public image, and use politically correct language. Wendy gave me hell one time, saying "Why do you have to call women broads? It's so embarrassing in front of my friends." I told her, "Because they'd go ape-shit if I used the word cunts." Women...go figure.
I remember seeing a movie where this man was asking a lady friend what a woman really wants in a man. She replied, "Sincerity." He thought for a moment, and said, "I can fake sincerity!"
I met a barfly a couple months after the wedding, at the Red Dog Saloon in Tucson (it's more or less a 'shooter bar' with guns instead of shot glasses---a little on the rough side), and I took her home with me. Once we got in the car she started getting a little weird, but when we got to my place it turned out that she was just getting better drugs than me. I soon realized that I had a woman on my hands who would fuck me for a pack of cigarettes, so I bought her a whole carton and took her to L.A. for a few days in the motorhome (I tell women that anyone who shows up for a date with a vehicle without a bed in it is obviously not taking the relationship seriously).
She told me she was living on the 'couch circuit,' had a kid in Minnesota, and used to have a life. I took her ocean fishing, we ate good, we fucked our brains out, and then we came back to Tucson and I dropped her off. I wasn't the answer to her problems and she wasn't the answer to mine, but we both got a break from cold, hard reality, and I got another verse for a tune I wrote called "Burnt Roses."
I was going to put my own ad in the Personals section of the Tucson Weekly. It was going to say, "Pot-bellied, bald-headed old fart wants a woman to wash his clothes, clean the house, bear and raise his children, and then just fuck off out of his life." I decided that wasn't going to cut it, and toned it down to read, "Sensitive, caring, self-sufficient and financially secure, romantic SWM, looking for a Princess to carry home to his Castle and lavish love and expensive gifts upon." Then I shook myself out of my drunken stupor, threw it in the trash, and played a few bars of an old Skeet Anglin song, called "Pissing On An Old Flame." Play that song in any bar in the country, and I guaran-goddamn-tee you that most everyone in the place will get a far-away look in their eye and start thinking of somebody.
Nevertheless, a man who has nothing to lose is a dangerous beast---and I think I just may be one. I got to thinking about my 'ex,' and about the time that I couldn't decide whether to kill myself or go bowling. Something snapped inside of me, and I decided to give Gomez a run for his money.
It's going to be head-to-head, heart-to-heart, and toe-to-toe. As Sonny King used to say, "It's not going to be very pretty, folks, and there may be a little blood running in the gutter before all is said and done, but hey...this is Rock & Roll!"
"Rock & Roll is not just music.
You're selling an attitude, too.
Take away the attitude and you're just like everyone else."
"So I took out my hatchet and chopped the Holiday Inn room to bits. The television.
The chairs. The cupboard doors. The bed.
It happens all the time."
"Those who will not dance will have to be shot."
"I go to bed all right. I wake up twisted."
"If I seem free, it's because I'm always running."
"If it wasn't for the word 'baby,' there wouldn't be no Rock & Roll."
I don't blame them. Those damn little wafers they gave everybody just kind of made them hungry without filling them up. Like Chinese food.
There are a lot of Chinese people in Canada. I had a buddy who was an undercover Mountie in Toronto, Ontario. He shot and killed a Chinese guy one night, and later in the evening we were talking about the sad event. He told me, "CJ, the problem with killing a Chinese guy is that, an hour later...you want to kill again."
I don't make it up, I just make it better.
Anyway, I've been giving Xenix/Unix lessons to the General Manager of the local 'Dominos Pizza' chain. His name is Jay, and I find him to be a kindred spirit; put him on a computer and he becomes a psychotic sociopath. I started him out on my home computer so that we could screw up and blow it out into never-never land with no harm done. Now we've moved the lessons onto the AT&T machine at his office, and his employees are terrified. They've seen the mad gleam in his eye whenever he gets close to the computer.
A couple of his office staff begged me several times not to teach him anything dangerous but it was already too late. The boy has the 'fever' and, until Gomez and the Dark Allies are defeated, there is no place of safety for databases anywhere in the world as long as Jay is out there running loose.
I told Jay about Gomez, right off the bat. He's a sharp cookie, and he would have known that there was something strange going on the moment I started teaching him about Daemons, Zombies, and Orphan Zombies. These are internal Unix processes named by various members of the Circle of Eunuchs during the development of the 'C' Programming Language, and it still amazes me that many Unix users can learn about them and use these processes daily without ever giving a second thought as to the reasoning behind their names.
Daemons are the processes which run in the background from the first moment that Xenix or Unix are booted up. They are constantly checking hardware and software, looking for the things that need to be done, passing messages back and forth, and making sure that everything is taken care of quickly and silently, without having to bother the average user about details. Their value to Gomez, however, is that they have a hand in everything being done on the computer, while remaining silent and unseen, appearing to be our own private little leprechauns until Gomez calls upon them to wreak some particular form of havoc upon our lives.
The dreaded Cron, an ugly troll-like creature who lives under the CPU (Central Processing Unit), is the Daemon that most systems analysts get to work with. He is the most dangerous of the Daemons, quite simply because he masquerades as the user's confidant and helper. They can use him to perform regularly occurring tasks, automatically, just by telling him to take care of a given task at a specific time in the future. His real purpose, in Gomez's scheme of things, is to report back to Gomez about the particular wants and needs of the users, exposing what is most important to them so that, when the time comes, Gomez knows where to strike to rip through their soft under-belly and shred the entrails of the system all over the floor.
Xenix and Unix work by using one process, the 'parent,' to spawn another process, the 'child,' which, when it grows up, can spawn its own processes and become the parent of other child processes of its own. Often the parent process sends the child away, to be ignored until the 'parent' needs it, and it becomes a 'Zombie,' roaming the Netherworld of RAM, until the parent calls it back to do its bidding. It's bad enough for the child, being ignored, but sometimes the parent process dies before the child is called back and the poor little bastard is cut permanently loose into the Netherworld, with no purpose in life except to roam endlessly throughout the system. It has now become an 'Orphan Zombie'...and it's really pissed!
When an Orphan Zombie is wreaking havoc in your RAM you have no recourse except to meet violence with violence and issue UNIX's KILL command. It is one of the few tools that the Circle of Eunuchs was able to slip into the system software that allow the user to defend his or her self from Gomez's assault on their system. Sometimes, though, you just wound the little bastard and have to reach further into your arsenal for a 'sure kill' with the Big Gun, the KILL -9 command. If that doesn't ice the bugger, then you've got a major problem on your hands.
Jay and I decided to have some fun with Jan, the System Administrator, so we put a few lines in the 'Message Of The Day' file, which all of the users see when they boot the machine each morning. It read,
An ordinary guy lying in a cold sweat in a dirtbag motel room in Crosby, North Dakota.
I'm not a stranger to fear. I've bounced bars in Northern Canada where, any night of the week, you might see forty bodies lose a quart of blood over a dollar pool game. I've been in the middle of a gang of raging Mexican bull-dikes bent on revenge and destruction in Austin, Texas. I've sat at the Canadian border with a horde of rabid customs agents swarming over my car screaming unintelligible utterances about guns and drugs.
I've felt the cold, hard fear that dries your mouth, tightens your throat and heightens your senses when you face the man with the knife, the man with the half-crazed look, who smiles and says, "Come and get it."
But I've never before felt the hot fear. The fear that terrorizes your soul, burns your mind until you can't reason, the fear that tears at your gut like a pack of bloodthirsty hyenas chased by the Hounds of Hell.
The fear you feel when you know that Gomez is coming.
Several days later Jay and I were working on the system at four in the morning, and about ready to give it up for the night, when Jay blew out the 'root' password. 'Root' is the Boss-Man/Woman of the system, the SuperUser login that allows access to everything on the system and can do anything, anywhere, anytime it pleases. You can't run the system without 'root.' And Jay had blown out the password for the 'root' login just slicker'n snot running down a baby's nose.
We knew right off that we were in deep doo-doo. We tried everything known to mankind to access the system---to no avail. It looked like we were going to have to rebuild the system with the latest backup tape and hope like hell that we didn't lose anything in the process. We finally tried booting the system with the installation disk, but we still couldn't access the files we needed. By luck, more than by design, I figured out that we could use the 'find' command to access the 'passwd' file, and Jay figured out that the 'find' command could be piped to an editor in order to change the password back to the what it originally.
It was a harrowing experience, realizing how close we had come to disaster, but it only served to inflate our sense of power and feed our metallic blood-lust. We put the system to bed for the night, and went home to dream of new and exciting ways to pump up the adrenaline and cold sweat that you feel surging through your body, mind, and soul, when you know that you're riding the Big Wave on the Edge of Disaster.
Tucson has homeless people, like any major city, but we also have a shitload of transients. The difference between them is that the transients follow the weather. They're kind of like penniless 'Snowbirds.'
The Northerners follow the sun from Canada and Minnesota, et al---retirees in motorhomes, or retirees who own Mobile Homes and Condos, and who flock down towards Tucson in the wintertime for the express purpose of giving the local economy a lift. The Tucson newspapers call them 'Snowbirds,' the local kids call them 'Raisins.'
Aside from "Spending Our Children's Inheritance," as the bumper-stickers on their motorhomes proudly proclaim, their main gift to the local community seems to be enlightening the local drivers to the fact that physical prowess does not diminish with age but, rather, actually increases---to the point where it becomes possible to make a left-hand turn from the right-hand lane, even without signaling any intention to do so.
You can always tell native Tucsonans; when they 'say grace' before dinner they always include Brake Masters in their prayers.
The Snowbirds come to Tucson not just for the weather, but also for the multitude of wonderful golf courses that are native to the area. Well, not actually native. The desert is a piss-poor place to put a golf course. Mile upon mile of arid sand, native plants and trees struggling to survive, and we pump out all of the ground water so that old people can chase a little ball around on freshly watered grass. So the hundred year-old trees in Tanque Verde Wash are going to dry up and die, and the local have to pay fifty dollars a gallon for water but...no problem. I've dusted off my golf clubs and I'm going to golf while Rome burns.
Like I was saying, the transients work the weather circuit, just like the Snowbirds do, and receive a welcome on a level comparable to a pork roast at a Muslim feast. I went to a local gun range to do a little practice shooting and asked the guy behind the counter for a couple of practice targets. He asked me what kind of targets I preferred, and I replied, "Transients." He gave me the 'Tucson native' discount.
I was driving to the Post Office the other day when a transient began crossing the street, using the crosswalk. Transients have an odd habit of dawdling in the crosswalks, walking as slowly as humanly possible, pretending not to notice the cars eagerly awaiting to continue upon their busy way. It appears to be the exercising of the last vestige of power that they have as human beings.
Transients are the faceless ones. The only notice that society seems to take of them is when they need to be rousted from the places where decent folk hang out in order to do the things that real people do. Society's rules and regulations don't apply to them, for the most part. Nothing is expected of them, as little attention as possible is given to them, and they have few opportunities to exercise any kind of power that lets the world know that they are, indeed, a unique individual to be reckoned with by the rest of society.
Except in crosswalks.
Transients are society's Burnt Roes. They used to be somebody. Somebody's son or daughter. Somebody's best friend in High School. Somebody's wife, or husband. Somebody's father or mother. Someone who had a history, a future...a life. They started out like the rest of us; a tiny bundle of somebody's joy; a Rose bud that would someday blossom and take its place in the beautiful bouquet of life. But somewhere along life's path things took a wrong turn. The soil was too sandy, there were too many weeds, or they got too much heat and not enough water...and they got burned. And they had to be tossed aside, because nobody wants a bouquet with a burnt rose in it.
In the mad dash of rush hour---important people who need to get somewhere to do important things---they enter the crosswalk. Slowly, nonchalantly---knowing that this is one of the few situations in their life where the mad hordes of busy, self-important people must pay attention to them---they become real.
I'm in a crosswalk. I desperately need to get across the street. But when I look at the signs they don't tell me to 'Walk' or 'Don't Walk.' They say 'Gomez' and 'Bubba.'
They change---first one lighting up, then the other---but I don't know what to do. I don't know why, but I am desperate to get across the street, and I can't tell when it's safe to cross.
Then, thank God, I see that when 'Bubba' is lit, it is green---I can cross! When I get to the other side, Bubba Rom Dos is waiting for me, and he begins to speak...
After Gomez and the Dark Forces left the chambers of the Council of Darkness, they sat down and devised a plan to take control of human consciousness...to gain dominion over the thought processes and reasoning power of every human on the face of the earth.
Gomez had seen the media bringing the far-flung reaches of the world and its people closer and closer together with each new technological development. Prehistoric man lived and died, for the most part, within a matter of miles from the place of his birth.
With the invention of the wheel he began to travel a little further...into new and foreign lands. In the days of sailing ships it took man the better part of his lifetime to cross the oceans, navigate the world, and return home. Then came faster ships, then airplanes and jets.
Communications technology made the world smaller, but only at the limits of its current level of development. Mail brought news over a period of years, then months, then weeks and days. Newspapers brought news of the outside world to the average citizen. Then suddenly, with the advent of the telegraph, the wireless, radio and television, the world became an extension of ourselves---and we became an extension of the world.
Now, when it happens in Paris, in Vietnam, in Russia, it happens here---in our living room---nightly. Fashion trends, opinions, world views---these are no longer our own private enclaves of individuality. What we do, and espouse, belongs to the world, and what they adopt and embrace belongs to us. All of mankind now shares, in an interactive experience, the reverberation of all that we do, individually and collectively,---spanning the oceans and continents until it has finally become a truism that, "no man is an island."
Gomez and the Dark Allies began their two-pronged attack on mankind through the Wonderful World of Television. They had seen the hypnotizing power of television, how it made us 'comfortably numb,' how it shaped our world-views, our opinions, and our reality...eventually becoming our reality.
Zappa tried to warn us.
"Watch me and I'll bleed you, 'cause you eat the shit I feed you."
Fogerty just gave in, and accepted it.
"I know it's true. Oh, so true. I saw it on TV."
Gomez worked, as always, through the rich and powerful; secret societies at Yale, Harvard, and Oxford, the Bohemia Club, the back room at the League of Nations, and later at the United Nations. But now he increasingly revealed to his human compatriots how to manipulate and use the media to control the average person's concept of reality until it conformed to what best suited the desires of the Evil One.
We now live in an age where, in between the slumber of the soap operas and the bewitchment of 'prime time,' we are fed our opinions and world-views in catch-phrases and ten second sound-bytes.
At the same time, Gomez sees to it that there is enough trouble and turmoil in the world that the World Leaders, even in democracies, can chip away at human and individual rights under the guise of dealing with various 'threats' that they, themselves, have concocted as a means of retaining power over the masses.
Even as the governments of the world strive to bring everyone and everything, however minute, under tight control and regulation, Gomez and the Dark Allies are behind the scenes, helping to guide the development of a technology that will, along with television, be the ultimate weapon in their struggle for the domination of all mankind---the Computer.
The rich and powerful have managed to lull us to sleep with the hypnotizing power of television---stealing our thoughts and our reasoning processes in our slumber, feeding us our reality via the airwaves...according to the 'official' party line.
The government and the media have placed us on neat little shelves where we are numbered and labeled according to their own wants and needs. We are allowed the illusion of freedom of thought, and individual choice, as long as we have our 'Freedom of Thought Permit 1136.51.709' and don't stray too far from the permitted paths.
In the great battles of the past the Dark Forces have always been beaten by the individuals scattered in the secret places, living unnoticed in obscurity. Living quietly and unobtrusively, forgotten about in the madness storming the land, they have kept alive the spark of Thought and Reason. They were able to go quietly about their work, making contact with the individuals who were ready to escape the madness and work towards restoring Sanity in the land.
This time there will be no escape. Every man, woman and child on the face of the earth will have a dossier documenting their life from the time of their arrival on the face of the planet. Information gleaned from the Department of Motor Vehicles, their Social Security Number, banks, credit cards, magazine subscriptions, charitable and political contributions.
When Gomez removes the masks of his human allies, revealing them as dark agents who have been rewarded with wealth and power for doing the bidding of the Evil One, the names of the misfits and wrong-thinkers will be spit out of the computers at the speed of light---to be rounded up and disposed of in the opening salvo of the new Holocaust.
Only then will the final Battle of Armageddon begin, ravaging the face of the earth and devouring humanity; bringing total control of humankind under the Dominion of the Evil One, with nobody but the Waking Dead left to carry on the human race.
I used the 'old' colors...the new colors are part of the plot against me.
I made Christmas gifts for my friends, with scissors and paper, like we used to do at the 'Home,' only with real scissors, not like those crummy plastic ones Mrs. Prudence made us use. I sent all my friends some of those cut-out dolls that you open up and there's ten or twelve of them in a row that you can string around your Christmas tree.
They didn't have heads. Mrs. Prudence always threw my cut-out dolls away if they didn't have heads and made me take extra medicine...and punished me. But now I'm not in the 'Home' anymore, and I can make them without heads, or arms, or legs, or anyway that I want.
On New Year's day I drank beer, ate sleeping pills, sharpened the chainsaw, oiled my guns and made lists. The lists just keep getting longer and longer. Mr. Chainsaw is going to be very busy this winter.
Mr. Chainsaw is becoming intensely impatient. He keeps whispering to me, in my sleep, that the nice people at FourGen are in league with Gomez and that they must be punished for their evilness. He whispers that they are working with the Dark Allies to drive me crazy---to put me back in the 'Home.'
Sometimes when I wake up in the morning Mr. Chainsaw is running---his cold, steel blade turning gently 'round and round' in its infinite orbit, his razor-sharp teeth glistening blood-red from the reflection of the morning sunrise.
"I am ready. I am waiting for you to be ready, for your madness to take its ground...and then we will strike!"
Management-Customer Human Relations seminars that they bombard you with out there. The ones where there's a lot of touching, and hugging, and they teach people to say things like, "Well, CJ, what do you think I could do about this problem that would make you feel ok about us and feel good about yourself, as well?"
"YOU CAN START BY CUTTING YOUR NUTS OFF WITH A CHAINSAW, YOU SORRY SON-OF-A-BITCH!!! AND THEN YOU CAN WALK THROUGH YOUR GODDAMN BUILDING AND SYSTEMATICALLY MURDER, MAIM, AND MUTILATE EVERYONE IN SIGHT, THE INNOCENT ALONG WITH THE GUILTY!
"THEN YOU CAN FLY TO THE ICE FLOES OF EASTERN CANADA AND WHACK SOME GODDAMN BABY SEALS OVER THE HEAD WITH A FUCKING BASEBALL BAT, FOR GOOD MEASURE! BETTER YET, USE A FUCKING PICK-AXE ON THE LITTLE BASTARDS AND SEND ME A NICE BABY SEAL COAT, DRIPPING WITH BLOOD, WITH 'FOURGEN DROVE ME CRAZY' EMBROIDERED ON THE BACK!!!
I'm sorry, Brad, but that wasn't me talking. You see, I am a Channeler for Mr. Chainsaw.
Brad, the problem is that I have sold Shelter Industries four of your software modules for around $3,000.00 and, because of all the screw-ups, I am sitting here a year later with an accounting package that doesn't work and that I can't seem to get any support for.
The problem is that the Canadian distributors you have referred me to told me all about how they were going to solve my problems and then disappeared off the face of the earth. The problem is that I lead with my chin, take people at face value, and expect them to actually do what they tell me they are going to do.
The problem is that I am sitting here waiting...and waiting...for all of this long-promised support, and I find myself with nobody but Little Peter to play with---and Little Peter thinks I'm such a fool that all he does is spit at me.
The problem, Brad, is that I think FourGen is a pretty impressive software package, on the face of it, and I would like to build Shelter's accounting and manufacturing Bill of Materials database around it and Informix, but I can't get any fucking support to make this shit work like your pretty little four-page glossies said they would work
The problem is that my sex life has gone to hell ever since I was served with the restraining order that keeps me from hanging out around the local High School in my free time.
The problem, Brad, is that Mr. Chainsaw grows stronger and stronger every day, while C J grows weaker and weaker.
I called Dr. Wm. Michael Denny at Basis, Inc., the other day. When Gomez has you on the ropes, and your only options are to kill yourself or go bowling, then it is time to turn to a member of the Magic Circle.
The Circle of Eunuchs has a standing policy of disbarrment for anyone who reveals the identity of another member, but in Mike's case the point is moot. It can't be any great secret that Gomez has you on his most-wanted list when your bar bill exceeds your yearly income and you're hijacking semi-trucks full of Wild Turkey to help deal with the pressure.
I was curled up on the floor in the fetal position, sucking on both my thumbs and dialing with my toes. Mike listened patiently, waiting for the sobbing and dry heaves to stop, and said, "What seems to be the problem, Big Guy?" Always the joker.
I told Mike that Gomez had been all over my ass, sending the Daemons and Zombies to trash my computers and my programs, that I could hear Cron and the Orphan Zombies laughing in the background, waiting for me to let down my guard so that they could move in for the kill. I told him that everything was closing in on me, that letting myself slip into the comforting arms of total madness was quickly becoming my best option, and that I had no basis to believe that even he was not in league with Gomez to bring me to a sorry end.
Life has not been easy lately in the Wonderful World of Computers. Gomez has sent his minions to screw up my hardware and my software. He froze the water pipes at Shelter, dumping water all over the computers and printers. I was up until two o'clock in the fucking morning with Martin Bebee, the Mad Scientist, pulling all the equipment apart and blasting the parts with a blow-drier. We lost the Telebit modem and the Archive tape backup drive. Ever try to back up a 300 Megabyte hard disk to floppies? It takes about a year to do it, it takes hundreds of disks, and if just one of the disks goes bad, then you can kiss off your whole backup when you try to recover your information.
On top of all of this, Shelter wants their Model Budgets done for their Standard Bill of Materials and I can't find the program that I wrote to do it. If I could only remember what combination of drugs and alcohol I was on when I wrote it then it would be a simple matter of ingesting a little 'hair of the dog,' and I could find the program in half the time it takes Little Peter to pick out Bo Derek in a crowd at a Lakers' game.
My sex life is trash, and I have to work in an office full of 'hot stuff' whose husbands are all oil-workers with arms the size of trees. One of the ladies told me that her husband doesn't use a gun when he goes out hunting because he likes to run the deer down on foot and listen to that nifty cracking sound you hear when you snap the fucker's neck with your bare hands.
Mike seems to have pulled my ass out of the fire. I was almost to the point of throwing the FourGen in the crapper, eating the $3,000.00, and getting another accounting package, but Mike told me he would talk to FourGen for me and try to work something out.
FourGen had told me that they couldn't allow a Berkeley company to support a Canadian business---territorial licensing concerns and all that---but Mike explained, firstly, that I was getting jerked around by their Canadian distributors, and secondly, that I was a genuine, certified, psychotic maniac with a fixation on chainsaws in general, and FourGen in particular.
FourGen agreed to let Shelter get their software support and product updates from Basis. It's going to cost another thousand dollars or so to get it straight, but hey...this is Rock & Roll!
There seem to be two distinct archetypes in the computer business, those who wear suits to bed and make big promises, and those who get things done. The day that Dr. Denny starts wearing a suit to bed I'll have to kill him. Until then he's a Rose in a sea of thorns.
I'm sitting around screwing-off with Bubba Rom Dos, derelict and philosopher extraordinaire We're getting shit-faced on Wild Turkey, eating sleeping pills by the handful, and trying to find someone to blame all of our problems on. And we're quoting Kid Squid, Rock & Roll's last true defender, who used to pull his head up out of the toilet bowl, take a hit off the bottle I offered him, and look at me with those blood-shot, sideways eyes, saying, "I wonder what the lousy guys are doing tonight!," before returning his attention to contemplating the eternal mysteries of the human digestive system.
Bubba was forced to haul his sorry ass out of Berkeley in the middle a dark and stormy night last week. It seems that he had pissed of Gomez's right-wing henchmen, big time; he managed to piss off the local left-wing radicals, big time; and he had even managed to piss off left-handed people in general. This, I had to hear.
Bubba told me he had realized that with all the fucking madness going on in the Middle East once again, Desert Storm et al, that it was a given that the Polyester People and the Thai-Die Brigade would once again be dusting off their fill-in-the-blanks protest signs and clashing on the streets of Berkeley.
My solution to the problem is to have both sides in any given conflict bury their casualties in a Tomb somewhere in Chicago and seal it once the conflict is over. Then, in twenty or thirty years, we have Geraldo open the Tomb on a live, worldwide, heavily advertised TV Special. After hours and hours of grunting, sweating, and chiseling---laced with flash-back docu-dramas and $50,000.00 per minute commercials---the Tomb will be opened to reveal that it is, in fact, quite empty, and that no one actually died in the war at all.
Defacto World Peace!
Bubba told me I was full of shit. He got up and went over to the kitchen sink to relieve his bladder and shouted over his shoulder, "There's only one true solution to World Peace. We have to kill all the violent people!"
"Bubba," I said, "I think that one's already been tried."
"Fuck you," he said, and continued on with his story.
Anyway, it seems that Bubba went down to 'Sif'' Francisco to join in the festivities. The right-wingers were on the left side of the street, the left-wingers were on the right side of the street and Bubba, being in the middle and realizing the mistake, had everybody change sides. He then fired the starting-gun, whereupon everyone started shouting and carrying on, releasing their pent-up rage and aggression upon the opposing faction, in a fashion remarkably resembling the very process going on overseas that they were all so damn worked up about.
Bubba, in the meantime, was standing quietly in the middle of the street holding a large white sign that was totally devoid of any message at all. Just a nice, white, entirely blank sign.
Every now and again one of the right-wingers would come over and ask him what the sign was supposed to signify, and Bubba would explain that his sign listed the names of all the countries with dictators and senseless slaughter going on that were being 'liberated' by the United States of America for 'humanitarian reasons' even though they had no oil. The right-winger would generally whack him a couple of times with a closed fist, call him a Commie faggot, and go back to his own side of the street.
Then one of the left-wingers would come over and ask Bubba about the sign. Bubba would explain that his sign listed the names of all the people in the Thai-Die Brigade who would still be here protesting if they had worked out their anal-emotional childhood conflicts with their parents. The left-wingers would smack him a couple of times with an open hand (kind of like catch-and-release fishing, "I'm a New Age kind of guy, so I'm not going to kill them, just fuck 'em up a little and let them go."), call him an Imperialist tool, and head on back to their side of the street.
It wasn't long before Bubba was a fairly pathetic sight. He kept picking himself up off of the street, blood running out of his nose and from the corners of his mouth, dripping off the end of his beard and onto his shirt. He was wearing a batik T-shirt with the American Flag on it, done in watercolors, with the words, "These Colors Don't Run" underneath the flag. What with the blood dripping onto the shirt and the sweat soaking through, from the labor of constantly being knocked down and having to get back up, the colors were, in fact, running rather profusely.
The right-wingers were glaring at him, knowing that this was an intentional parody of a symbol that they held sacred, wishing that he would give them an excuse, any excuse, to blow his sorry ass away with the AK-47's they had tucked away in the car just in case things got out of hand.
The left-wingers were looking at Bubba with a mixture of disgust and incredulity, thinking that he was trying to mock them with this patently Red Neck T-shirt done in batik, a sacred process reserved for use only by the terminally-hip flower children of the '60's.
Bubba finally grew tired of all the commotion and hostility and began wishing he was in Tel Aviv, or Bhagdad, where all he had to worry about was the occasional blasting of the air-raid sirens and the odd incoming missile fucking up the local 'House of (Ours...not Theirs) God .'
Bubba took a big, black, felt-tipped marker out of his pocket and wrote on his nice, clean, white sign:
He pointed out that, since time immemorial, left-handedness has been considered a mark of the Evil One and how everyone from Catholic nuns to the local school mistress would take their ruler and smack the living shit out of the hand of any youth who attempted to write with his or her 'devil-hand'.
Bubba stated his belief that all the hate and conflict in the Southern Hemisphere was merely the result of whole nations of natural left-handers being forced to deny their true nature and, as a result, live a lie. The resulting inner conflict, he said, leads to the buildup of a kind of schizophrenic rage that manifests itself in the constant bickering and wars going on in the Southern Hemisphere. He rambled on about how the wars in the middle-east were the result of the members of each country mistakenly assuming that members of the other countries were composed of true right-handers and, believing them to be the source of their oppression, vented their pent-up frustrations on them, not realizing that the people in the adjoining countries are indeed in the same unfortunate situation as themselves.
Bubba was now coming to the part of his monologue where he explains that the solution to this problem is to educate the people of the Southern Hemisphere to the fact that they are all repressed left-handed brothers and sisters, and that they should be working together to help one another release the true, left-handed person within.
He never got a chance to bring this exceptionally well researched train of thought to its proper conclusion.
By this time, the right-wingers and left-wingers alike had been seriously bent out of shape by his "Pedophiles For Jesus!" sign and, once an initial blow had been struck by someone who had launched a rock at his head, the whole crowd descended upon him, deeming that they had finally found the individual who must pay for the fact that they were not considered as 'handsome' as their brother, or as 'smart' as their sister. They began beating him ferociously, as a team, putting aside their petty differences over a bunch of lousy sand-niggers that nobody really gave a shit about anyway, and made Bubba pay for that little shit-hole sibling that came into their life and took mummy and daddy's love away from them.
Bubba hid out at Mike and Marian's house for a couple of days, then decided he'd best get out of the Bay Area for a while and he thought it fitting that he should bestow the blessing of his illustrious companionship on yours truly.
So, I'm sitting here in the motorhome, getting fucked-up with Bubba Rom Dos, renegade and social outcast, sage and savant...and a damn fine drinking companion.
I'm laughing like hell at his insanity and his absurdity, trying to ignore the fact that my own life is so messed up that I'm sitting here asking a total goddamn fruitcake for advice.
"Bubba, all I really want is exactly what everyone else wants...someone to blame for all the troubles I've had since the day I was born. I want someone out there, in a T-shirt with a defaced American Flag on it, holding up a 'Pedophiles For Jesus' sign, so that I can just kick the living shit out of him and wash my life clean with the blood of the lamb."
Bubba's reply was to the effect that lamb, to be properly prepared, should be marinated...then he reached for the Wild Turkey.
I laid down on the bed and explained to Bubba that after Mr. Chainsaw and I took care of the people on our list I was going to go to Tucson on a personal mission; to murder my 'ex' and her scumbag boyfriend with my bare hands. As I drifted off into Never-Never Land (what some people might more ignominiously refer to as 'passing out in a drunken stupor'), Bubba simply laughed at my rage and emotional confusion, and proceeded to explain why, according to the tenets of an exotic Sufi sect located in the mountains of Afghanistan, our beloved Creator saw fit to create humankind as man and woman, yin and yang, as opposed to creating just a single, generic human being.
"CJ, for all the conflict and misfortunes in the world today, for all the pain and suffering we have to bear as a result of these delicate, diabolical creations of His, please believe me when I say that f the Great One had created only a single, universal form of humankind, then there would be no hope for man to escape the fiendish plans that the Evil One has for us.
"If he had indeed created mankind as hermaphrodites, then each human would be a complete individual, each without need of the other. Whenever one had wants, or desires, then the logical thing to do would be to satisfy the perceived needs at whatever cost, regardless of the consequences. Having no need of another, the lives of others would hold no value for us in terms of our survival. Life would be exceedingly cheap, and relationships between humans would be based on nothing but individual desires and personal gain...much more so than even today.
"The Creator of All Things foresaw that if humans were each complete within themselves, not needing one another, that the Evil One would have no problem in getting them to individually make their 'Deal With The Devil' at the expense of all others. So He saw fit to divide humankind, leaving them as incomplete human beings who would require something from another in order to become whole.
"He did this on two levels. He created Man and Woman on the physical level, leaving each one incomplete---physically, mentally, and emotionally. In order to become complete, each must seek out the Other in order to acquire what they, themselves, are lacking. On the ethereal, spiritual level, He left humans lacking His totality of Spiritual Being, keeping back an essential part of spiritual essence, which he divided up and scattered among them all. Thus, in order for humanity to become complete on a spiritual level, they must all give to and receive from one another, or go directly to the Creator for the missing element of their spiritual psyche."
I woke up (or 'came to') after a rather short period of time. I had a racehorse that needed taking care of. Bubba was still babbling on---it's what he does best---and insisted that I sit down and come to his aid in the termination of the great wild-bird-in-a-bottle which was obviously in its death throes. He was delighted when I told him that we had another 'bird in the hand,' under the refrigerator compartment, although this 'bird' was named Jim Beam. After I dug it out he explained why I needn't feel guilty about wanting to murder my 'ex' because, as he said, it was all part of the Great Plan.
Bubba said that, while we are in the womb, we and our mothers are both complete.
Once we get our sorry asses spit out into the real world, however, we are missing a piece of ourselves. We find ourselves incomplete and seek to rectify this most disturbing and uncomfortable situation. Males count on their mothers to provide the security of the womb, where they can escape from the harshness of reality; where they can be warm, and safe. Females count on their fathers to protect and defend them in the barbarous world that awaits them after parturition. Then we 'mature' and it is time to leave the womb again; we are kicked out of home and hearth to make our own way on the face of this celestial orb.
Being incomplete, we seek out others to complete us, to help us feel more secure in this desolate foreign land we find ourselves thrown into. We seek a mate to replace our father or mother and to impart to us the wholeness we need in order to feel safe and protected.
We are, Bubba explained, deep-down inside, really pissed off that we got thrown out of the womb and home to fend for ourselves in this wasteland of individuality, and few of us can face up to the fact that we are now on our own in the proverbial cold, cruel world. So we blame our mothers for spitting us out into our own personal, undeniable actuality, and we blame our fathers for not providing for our physical needs and security from cradle to grave. And we seek out another person to take their place, or to share the blame...or both.
Man seeks woman, woman seeks man, and we expect the other to take care of us just like mummy and daddy did.
Sure. And that ocean-front property I have in Tucson comes with free maid service and a safe that holds an unlimited supply of cash---all for just $39,95, including the Amazing Ginsu knives."
To hell with my 'ex.' I could have just hired a maid to do the cleaning, a street whore for sex, and Frenched a nun once a week to meet my spiritual needs. If you spread out the responsibilities for having other people take care of your needs into more specialized areas then there's a better chance that they will be qualified to meet your requirements.
Otherwise you just waste a lot of time and effort expecting one person to be what you need them to be. This is the age of specialization; just farm the work out to people who are qualified in each particular area of your wants and needs.
You could actually try to develop a relationship where two individuals try to grow together and develop themselves with the aim of helping one another become more complete and fulfilled, but fuck that shit, there's more important things to concentrate on. You've got to keep up with the current fashions and opinions, and acquire all the trappings for your public image so that people will be able to recognize what a hot-shit, cool, contemporary individual you are. Then there's the time you need to keep up the old bowling average to an impressive level. If you don't keep up your bowling score and the old 'image,' then the fuckers out there will rip you to shreds.
This is the consumer society, goddamn it! Just use what you need and throw it in the garbage when you're done with it. Fuck relationships! Anything you can possibly desire is being made out of plastic now, and you can just chuck it when you're done, or get another one when the batteries run down.
Bubba thinks I'm regressing and missing the point of what he's trying to tell me. I think I'm just drunk, snake-bit, mean and ornery. Bubba can go fuck himself, along with my mother and father, all my fucking friends, and my 'ex' and her coaybtete-leranous (a pretentious way to say 'scumbag') boyfriend.
"Let me slip you my big, hard dick, while I explain how my heartless, fiendish wife (who is, by the way, at home right now doing my laundry and fixing my supper) doesn't 'understand' me."
If the cunt 'understood' him, she'd be knocking on my door, asking to borrow my chainsaw.
Fuck women...fuck people...fuck the world!
I've got a hangover. Bubba is just sitting there, laughing at me. Ok, so I got a little out of hand yesterday. Operating at 20,000 cycles per second as Stuart Wilde would say.
I don't know why I'm sitting here all alone and broken-hearted. I guess Wendy just didn't 'understand' me. No...really! I'm practically a goddamn Saint. Perhaps if I went down to the bar and explained to some of the women there how I'm 'different' from other guys---sensitive, caring, romantic, self-sufficient, etc.---and how my 'ex' really, honest-to-god, just didn't 'understand' me, then maybe I could get a little pussy tonight.
Hell, maybe they'd even do my laundry and wash my dishes.
Ok, already. So I'm just another male chauvinist dirtbag who expects every woman to be his Saintly mother and a whore as well. I think all the men and women in the world should line up across from one another and blast each other to pieces with Uzis and M-16's. The final score will be the Ultimate Tie; Men 0, Women 0. We can put all the 'pixies' in the middle just to make sure that there's nobody left over.
Bubba tells me that this train of thought is not going to go over too well in California. Bubba doesn't have to have FourGen up and running on Monday morning, so Bubba can just go screw himself.
I was just drunk and bent out of shape enough last night to begin to make sense of the things he was telling me about men and women, yin and yang, and our beloved, but Cruel, Creator, and now he's telling me that everything he said last night was just a cover story for the uninitiated, a nice little fairy tale he tells people in order to help them cope with the hopelessness and despair that overtakes us all from time to time.
Bubba told me that although, technically, I was not an initiate, he thought that the fact that I could match him drink for drink, all night long---and still get up in the morning and crack a beer open---showed enough resilience that he would bend his vows slightly, and give me the real low-down on the Battle of the Sexes, as well as the Battle For Souls.
Master Bubba swung his PSI-Man pendant slowly back and forth, back and forth, and fixed his unwavering gaze seemingly at a point directly behind my own eyes, inside my head, and began to speak in a monotone voice until I could see, as well as hear, everything he spoke of.
In actuality, the Great One could not bring himself to do less than perfect workmanship, to turn out an inferior product. So we humans were created as whole, complete spiritual beings, with all the attributes and potential of our Divine Creator of All That Is. But He could see the inherent problems that would come from turning a host of inexperienced god-beings loose on the planet, with the capacity to use the powers of godhood to fuck things up beyond belief.
He was pondering this dilemma, shortly after creating Heaven and Earth, while he stood on the edge of the universe, skipping stones. (His best throw skipped infinity plus 709 times)
Anyway, it seems that He happened to catch His reflection in the Great Water of the Cosmos, and conceived a solution to His dilemma. It seems that one of His Angels, Lucifer, had gotten full of himself and decided to strike out on his own. Lucifer threw all of his 'God is Good' bumper stickers in the trash, so to speak, and decided that, since he was now free-lancing, that he needed a catchy handle, kind of like the Amazing Hulk.
He decided to call himself the 'Evil One' and gathered around him a group of spiritual beings he named the 'Council of Darkness.'
The Holy One gazed at his reflection and decided that he could deal with both of His problems in one stroke. He would create humans as man and woman on the corporeal level, so that they would need one another for physical, mental and emotional completeness, but make them complete beings on the spiritual level. And he would let his Fallen Angel use the Earth as a playground for his mischievous schemes.
He knew that the Evil One, being full of himself and his imagined eminence, would not countenance a horde of physical beings running around the planet with unlimited god-potential, and would thus do his utmost to conceal from them the reality that they were, in fact, beings of a consummate spiritual essence.
The Divine One foresaw that the Evil One would trick humankind into believing that they were incomplete, spiritually imperfect beings, in order to bring them into subjection to Himself and his Merry Band of Pretenders. As long as humans felt themselves to be incomplete they would seek out completeness through the 'reflections' of their spiritual essence---in symbology and religion. And by the time they managed to see through the Veil that the Evil One would throw over their eyes they would have developed enough to take their rightful place in the spiritual realm without fear of their inexperience causing significant, irrevocable problems.
The Great One could see where it would all lead, with Gomez's pawns hawking bumper stickers proclaiming,
And on the eighth day, He created Rock & Roll. He put the Ram in the Rama-Rama-Ding-Dong.
Bop Shoo-Bop. Boppa-Boppa, Shoo-Bop.
I almost put Mike Denny on Mr. Chainsaw's list today. The bastard is just a little too good at what he does...he knows just a little too much. I suspect that he may be in league with Gomez.
I was having a problem with my Informix database, so I called their support-line. They took a look at my problem, saw what it was that I wanted to do, and then proceeded to tell me that it couldn't be done. They said I needed to do a 'work-around.' I needed to do a 'lookup' in a database form, referencing two joined columns in a separate table, in order to retrieve the data I required. Informix told me that the 'lookup' command wouldn't handle that, and gave me a complicated set of instructions involving adding another reference field, as well as strange rituals like multiplying the square root of the number of times I've had sex in the last six months by the second power of the total number of times I've scratched my balls in the last two hours. Or something to that effect.
I was about to begin redesigning my tables when I remembered what Crazy Bob used to tell me when I was running his whorehouses in Texas. "Son," he would say, "believe nothing of what you hear, half of what you see, and if your dick's hard, then put of any major decisions until after you've had your ashes hauled."
So I went out for a little trim and called Mike afterwards. The son-of-a-bitch showed me how to solve my problem with a few simple lines of code. It was a little too efficient, a little too clean. Had he sold his soul to the Evil One for this kind of knowledge? Had he formed an alliance with Gomez to lead me down the Garden Path, where the Dark Allies lay in wait?
I had my pen in hand, prepared to add Mike to Mr. Chainsaw's list, when I realized that in order to make a rational decision about this matter I would have to stop and consider the basic nature of man, as well as my own human nature.
No matter how many times a man watches Phil Donahue he is still, above all else, a member of the male species. Sure, he can do a fairly good imitation of Alan Alda---thoughtful, sensitive, gentle and caring---but the bottom line is that the male ego is what drives him. He's got to be the biggest, the smartest, the strongest. He's got to be able to lock horns with the other Bucks, and crush them, so that he can be the breeder for the herd, so that it will be his genes that are carried down to the next generation.
I spend every evening hunched over the computer, knocking my nuts off over this stuff until the wee hours of the morning---sleepless nights and strange combinations of alcohol and drugs to keep me going all night---and Mike just off-handedly delivers the answer to a question that the people who wrote the damn database can't handle.
Rationally, one might deduce that the man is extremely intelligent and that he has put in the same countless hours that I have, and more, becoming a master of his chosen profession. Rationally, one might conclude that he is either smarter than I am, or more dedicated...or both. But that's not what the male ego wants to hear. So I decided just to assume that he spends all his time in bars and on the beach, and that he got his vast array of knowledge and skill by selling his soul to the Evil One.
My intellect was rolling its eyes at me, but my currently adolescent male ego was enamored with this train of thought, so I put him on Mr. Chainsaw's list, subject to revision once I got some sleep and could look further into this matter in the light of a daybreak lying somewhat closer to reality.
Faster horses, younger women, older whiskey, more money.
I tried the Phil Donahue-Alan Alda route I really did. All I got was fucked over. The bikers get all the good chicks.
I used to have a guitar player, Sonny King, who had a twelve-inch dick. I occasionally had him open the show for me with his own band, billing them as 'Big Dick & The Bulge.' He had an attitude about women, often telling me that they were "all whores every last cocksucking, dick-licking one of them." All the women I knew (including my old lady) who would say "size doesn't matter," all the 'liberated' women I knew, all the 'feminists' they all balled him the first chance they got. And then they would say, "It wasn't that great. Size doesn't matter." Right---and I'm the fucking Pope.
Crazy Bob and I used to chase a few cold ones down at the Foxy Lady, one of the nude dance clubs I was managing for him in Austin, and discuss pussy and the meaning of life. He told me that women all thought through their pussies, just like men think through their dicks. He told me that women were all " whores waiting for the best offer, waiting for the biggest bag of gold." Sometimes he would be in one of the clubs when the hostess was offering a customer a special deal to spend some time in a back room with his favorite lady and the guy would say, "I've never paid for pussy in my life, and never will." Crazy Bob would come over, point to his wedding ring and say, "Did you buy her a house, a car, clothes, a big diamond, and give her a fistful of credit cards?"
Then he'd tell the guy, "Take your dick out, took a good, long look at it, then figure out how much it's cost you in the course of your lifetime and you'll cut that little sucker off!"
After I got tired of being a nice guy, a decent fellow and taking it in the ass time and time again I tried a new approach. I started carrying $1,000.00 in my pocket all the time, and pulling out my huge 'wad' every time I had to pay for the slightest little thing. All of a sudden I'm the most interesting guy in the whole bloody universe. Suddenly, bar maids no longer drop off my beer and leave, they stop and ask me how my day's been; sales clerks want to know my hobbies; waitresses find a way to work their days off into the conversation; women, total strangers, suddenly seem to be interested in my whole fucking life story, starting from birth.
Guys aren't much better. I went into the bank the other day to cash a third-party check and got a male teller. I'd been on a three-day drunk, I was twisted on all kinds of foreign substances, and reeking of the sex-scent of a night spent with nubile young women. But I was wearing a $600.00 suit, a gold watch, and pulled the check out of a wallet stuffed with an obscene amount of cash. The gentleman never even asked to see my driver's license.
There was a poor working slob behind me in line wearing his work clothes jeans worn at the knees from laboring week after week, trying to squeak by on a workman's wages and he'd goddamn better have nine different kinds of picture ID, as well as a letter from his Congressman, or this same teller will hit the alarm button and send his sorry ass to jail for trying to cash his own check at a bank he's had an account with for the last ten years.
I'm trying not to be too cynical, I really am, but it's getting harder every day not to be. I try to tell myself that we haven't turned into a nation of whores and zombies, basing our attitudes and opinions of others on what we read in USA Today and People Magazine, that the world-view of the average citizen isn't totally controlled by what he sees on "Hard Copy" and "LifeStyles of the Rich and Famous." But every time I tell myself that, I see something that proves me wrong.
Gomez has us by the nuts. If you don't have the sneakers being pushed in the current TV commercials, then you goddamn-straight better whack somebody over the head and get a pair. If your suit is last week's 'power color,' then you can forget about that promotion. If you're going through your change purse to come up with enough pennies to pay for those groceries, then you'd better get the hell out of the way and make room for those people with Visa's to blast on through.
Do you wonder why the suicide rate is going up? All the decent people are killing themselves.
This may be a temporary delusion, but I think I have Version 3.4.00 of FourGen up and running. Can this really be happening? Is it a trick? I keep looking over my shoulder for the shadow of Gomez.
I got the new tapes from Basis, Inc. I loaded them onto the hard drive. I did weird things to them. Nothing. I screwed around with them, I played with them. Still nothing.
Finally, I broke down and read the instructions. The shit seems to work. Work...really!
Ok, guys, where's the punch line? What's the angle? Am I honestly going to be able to look my customer in the eye and tell everyone with a straight face that it's ok for them to put their data in?
I've taken Mike Denny off of Mr. Chainsaw's list, for the time being, anyway. If this version really does work, I'm going to give him a big, sloppy kiss when I get back to Berkeley. I'll even kiss Pat, Jeff, and Vivi.
Kissing Vivi is not a decision to be taken lightly, since her husband is a Berkeley cop, licensed to carry the firearm of his choice. And a judge will believe anything a cop tells him. "Well, your honor, I saw this man with a can of spray paint down on the drag, by the University. He was writing 'Fuck the Radical Left' on the wall of the Aids Support Center. I warned him and turned him loose but later on I caught him writing 'Vitamins Cause Cancer' on the wall of a health-food store and I realized he needed to be exterminated before he wrote god-only-knows-what on the wall of the Chocolate Shop."
I'm going to call Mike and get him to have someone who knows FourGen upside down and backwards to call in on the modem and check to make sure that all the "i's" are dotted and the "t's" are crossed, and that I have a, god forbid, fully functional installation of the new version. If it isn't right this time, then I'm going to make copies of their programs and send winos out on the streets of Seattle, selling FourGen Source Code to major drug dealers for fifty bucks a module. I'll even make my own labels up,
"FourGen. The Accounting Software choice of Junkies everywhere!"
Actually, FourGen is a great software package...if you can get it to work. Mark Selene, at FourGen, was kind enough to send me the Technical Manuals to help me to sort through everything, and that gives me the ability to bop through the database system and actually figure out what makes it tick, and why.
The basic problem I had was that I got caught in FourGen's great 'RunTime' experiment, where they tried to develop a basic, unmodifiable retail package for the average small-business user.
FourGen was written for the 'heavy hitters,'---the major corporations---companiesthat could turn loose of some big bucks for the software, more money for employee training, and hire some top-notch computer cowboys to 'ride fence' and make sure that their data doesn't stray too far from the corral.
Then they decided to tap the 'little guy' market, putting out an unmodifiable runtime package that they could market through "Joe's Pawnshop and Computer Emporium."
I had wanted to deal with Basis, Inc., right from the git-go, but FourGen told me that Distribupro was the only authorized dealer for the runtime version. Distribupro is a great company for the little guy, but they were not about to send their technicians for the $10,000.00 worth of training needed to support FourGen.
So FourGen dropped their "Joe's Pawnshop and Computer Emporium" experiment and Pearl Harbor Computers and Shelter Industries got lost in the shuffle. I was stuck with trying to get 'little guy' support from a company that was raking in the big bucks dealing with the heavy hitters. Fortunately, Mike Denny was able to get across to them that they were doing business with a man who had filed a Corporate Charter with the State of Arizona which listed the Vice-President of the company as Mr. Chainsaw.
Mike believes it might have been his constant usage of the words 'psychotic sociopath' that may have finally brought them to the realization that it was to their advantage to have Basis, Inc. as a buffer between myself and them.
Of course, I myself am blameless in the whole sorry chain of events that resulted in it taking over a year's time in getting the software up and running, as well as being faultless for the grief and upheaval in my personal life. It basically all boils down to FourGen being a bunch of evil bastards in cahoots with Gomez and my 'ex' being a fiendish hell-bitch who fucked me over...Saint that I am.
There are those who would try to tell you that I caused my own problems by learning Basic programming on a stinking little wrist-watch, thinking I was a big-time computer expert because I could get a Commodore-64 to print out my files (sometimes), and then extrapolated these minor events into delusions of grandeur sufficient to convince myself that I was ready to con a major business into believing that I could handle the computerization of their company. The same lying bastards would probably tell you that I'm an emotional goddamn cripple and that it's a wonder that my 'ex' put up with me as long as she did before she was finally forced to write me off as a losing cause. But you know how they lie.
And that ocean-front property in Tucson, Arizona, yours for only $39.95, including the Amazing Ginsu knives, has been appraised by independent experts to be worth over $2,000,000.00, not including the rich deposits of naturally-occurring Cubic Zirconiums.
To tell the truth...I'm just trying to survive.
I love computers. I can bang on the keyboard until 4 a.m. every night and still go to bed amazed that people will actually pay me to do this stuff---astonished that they will give me huge sums of money just to have fun. I loved being a musician, too, but living in an busted Chevy station wagon gets old after a while. So now I'm enjoying myself and my work, and I have a bank account that I can access without being arrested for impersonating someone who thinks he has money.
But I'm human. So, instead of counting my blessings, I'll sit here bitching and whining about the sorry state of my life and loves, instead of just grabbing Gomez and the Dark Allies by the throat, ripping their heads off, and shitting down their necks.
We're all in the same boat. We're just poor, sorry bastards who were thrown down here on God's green earth to figure it all out for ourselves. Somewhere along the way we lost our hold on the golden ring...we got separated from the magic circle. But we can all remember when we lost our innocence.
For me, it was when I was nineteen years old. I used to wake up at 7 a.m., crack open a beer, wash down a hit of acid, and crank up Led Zepplin, full blast---damn the rafters, full speed ahead.
I'm a child of the '60's, lost in the Desolate Place and trying to find my way back to a Rock & Roll World.
Bop Shoo-Bop. Boppa-Boppa, Shoo-Bop.
We have invested a considerable amount of time, money, and energy into Mr. Parker's sincere effort to reveal to the world the dark undercurrents running throughout the computer industry, indeed, throughout the whole of civilized society, and do not wish to be considered in the same light as his family members and supposed friends, who are now engaged in a bitter conflict over his material possessions.
Federal agents from a nameless, faceless organization showed up at his home only minutes after his demise, confiscating all of the notes and records he had kept to document, beyond doubt, the existence of the diabolical conspiracy he had planned to soon expose in an upcoming book. The rough manuscript he was working on in this regard has disappeared, but those who were fortunate enough to glance through it describe it as a bone-chilling masterpiece of investigative work.
There has also been the mysterious disappearance of his extensive pornography library which he had always claimed, jokingly we assume, that he would donate to the "C.J. Parker Home For Deep-Fried, Battered Women" that he often maintained he would have built after his passing.
We are confident that Mr. D'Shauneaux will carry on, in an meritorious and admirable fashion, the work begun by Mr. Parker, including the running of Pearl Harbor Computers, Inc.
CJ and I were as close as two people can possibly be on this material plane, and we shared many beliefs and experiences on a more metaphysical level, as well. Our closeness, however, was probably the result of our differences, rather than from any kind of similar outlook on life..
CJ and I spent many a night in a no-holds-barred discussion on the issues of ethics and morality, as well as deliberations on spiritual and metaphysical concepts and philosophies. We held nothing back from one another in these prolonged sessions and, as a result, I believe we each knew more about the other's strengths and weaknesses than we did our own, it being a general peculiarity of mankind that it is much easier to look upon objectively upon another's life experience than it is to do so upon one's own life patterns.
On second thought, maybe a short eulogy would be in order. I was always intrigued by one of CJ's espoused philosophies, regarding the true meaning of friendship.
CJ acquainted me one evening with an experience that he had after losing a friend of his in Fort Saint John, British Columbia. It involved the death of a young man in his social circle that none of the members of the group particularly liked. Upon the youth's passing everyone attended the funeral, at which the standard "What a fine fellow he was, now that he's gone" sentiments were expressed by one and all, following which everybody went back to CJ's house and mulled about, with nothing much to say.
CJ said that he could feel a disconcerting sense of discomfiture among those gathered in the room, and he realized that it was the result of a divine spark of human life having come to an abrupt and early conclusion with nothing but an eulogy of lies and bullshit to mark its passing.
So CJ stood up, raised his glass in a toast, and said, "Here's to Pat, the sorry motherfucker who stole my 'Live At Leeds' album, by the Who, and then had the fucking audacity to look me in the eye and tell me it was his!" Well, it seems that somebody else got up and started talking about how the despicable, low-life bastard was always borrowing money from her, promising to pay her back, but never did, and, by God, what a scum-sucking piece of shit he was, now that she thought about it.
Apparently this went on for an hour or so, with everybody having a go at poor, dead Pat, and then everyone grew silent for a short while.. With all the negatives out of the way everybody was left to contemplate just why this sorry son-of-a-bitch was a member of their social group. They began to think of the good times and positive things that he had added to their lives in his own weird way, and the stories began to flow about the crazy and rotten things he did that drove them crazy, showed a lack of respect for others, were totally contradictory to any kind of consideration one would expect from their friends, yet which endeared him to them.
CJ said that he never fully understood this experience until his sister, Alia, told him one day that she had come to the realization that, "You don't have to like your friends."
It's true...your friends are your friends, regardless. Regardless of whether or not you have anything at all in common. Regardless of whether or not they drive you absolutely crazy on a regular basis. Regardless of whether or not they show the least amount of respect for your person, your beliefs, your values, or your possessions. Regardless of whether you want to put your hands around their neck and squeeze, tighter and tighter, until the spark of life has exited their sorry physical carcass and put an end to their miserable, useless existence, making the world a better place for all mankind.
Bubba Rom Dos extrapolated this concept further and came up with the theory that, "It's stupid to kill strangers...they mean nothing to you. If murder is to have any meaning at all, then you must kill your friends." Bubba is running 220 Volts through a 110V circuit.
Anyway, if I'm going to walk over a dead friend's body to subject you to my own theories and philosophies of life, then the least I can do is to put it all in a perspective that will give credit where credit is due---complete with chapter headings and with expletives undeleted, in the manner and style of a friend and confidante that I was both proud and ashamed to claim as a 'brother' on the path of life.
CJ was a fucking idiot. He had everybody's love and nobody's respect. It was largely a result of being raised in Canada, the land of the quintessential middle-class white boy. Canadians are the dictionary-definition of middle-class. The middle-class have middle-class values. The rich have middle-class values. The bums going through the dumpster, hoping to find a half-eaten cheeseburger, have middle-class values.
Canadians suffer from the curse of having a big brother, the U.S., that is free, wild and crazy, living next door, and yet having to live at the same time under the influence of the stiff-upper-lip mentality of their founding British fathers.
CJ used to describe it as the same effect you get when you eat a bunch of 'uppers' and a bunch of 'downers' at the same time. He said that, between them, you ended up average...but a very strange, weird kind of average.
CJ's curse---stupidity, if you will---was that he could see beyond the appearances and image that mankind projects but, in his everyday life, he took people at face value.
CJ used to become furious when I would laugh at him for having taken it in the ass---again, for the millionth time---and I would tell him that the reason he was angry was because he knew better. He had learned this lesson a thousand times over, yet he still gave people the benefit of the doubt.
In our late night discussions, I often expressed the opinion that if CJ wished to 'make it' in the 'real' world, that he had to develop the kind of attitude towards life that will allow you to rip the heart out of a newborn babe and never give it a second thought.
He instinctively knew that I was right, but he used to listen to the mad ramblings of Bubba Rom Dos and believe that there was still some hope for mankind, that there was still something to be gained by trying to reach out to people and attempt to enlighten them to the world beyond the veil thrown over us by the Evil One.
Sure...and I'd be happy to write the executor of his Estate a 'check' for that ocean-front property in Tucson...the one with the beach that extends all the way to San Diego.
He used to call us "My two Bubba's." He was convinced, at times that Bubba Rom Dos, a broken down old hobo, was some pure soul working for the good of mankind, and that I was a cold-hearted daemon in league with Gomez, trying to twist his mind and foil his valiant attempt to warn the world of the peril posed by Gomez and his Merry Band of Pranksters, as I would call them.
"Lighten up," I would tell him, "the world already knows, they just don't give a fat-rat's-ass. They're too busy turning a buck and working on their bowling average."
But he chose to throw his lot in with a vagrant old wino that had Santa's belly and Rudolf's nose.
In the end, he ended up in worse shape than Bubba Rom Dos. CJ exited this life a broken man, whining and bitching about the hand that life had dealt him, shattered by the reality of the madness and negativity surrounding him on every side, eventually taking his own life in a bizarre and sadistic chainsaw ritual that was so hideous and sickening that even his influential family's efforts to have it covered up as an 'accident' were totally futile.
Gomez eats the weak for breakfast...only the strong survive. The things that CJ used to reproach me for---my ability to kick cute little puppy dogs, my capacity for carrying kittens the river myself instead of 'humanely' taking them to the pound for someone else to do the dirty work, my predilection towards viewing every individual on the face of the earth as a scum-sucking pig to be used for what they are worth and then cast aide---these are the qualities that will keep the shadow of Gomez away from your doorstep.
Well, all that and a conscientiously applied plan of good dental hygiene. (Thank you, I'm feeling much better, now.)
My point is that good intentions don't matter for shit. We can take all the namby-pamby do-gooders in the world, line them up against the wall and shoot them, and the world will be a better place because of it. If you don't look out for yourself first then how do you expect to be able to look out for anyone else?
CJ was a "hell'uva guy" as our 'other' Bubba used to say. He was an artist and a craftsman---he could fix your plumbing and write you a love song in the same breath. He could work derrick on an oil rig in the dead of winter, bounce a bar full of rednecks and cowboys, and still wear silk shirts and Giorgio without thinking he was the least bit unusual.
He fell in love with a woman he met in a whorehouse and it took him ten years to figure out that she was a whore. He died loving her, and he never did understand that it was time to move on and let someone else pay for the things that her father did to his daughters.
He loved people, he helped people, and he gave them what he had to offer, often at his own expense. And he ended up in a sleazy little motel room in Davidson, Saskatchewan, whacked out on beer and Halcion, chopping himself up into grisly little pieces with a Stihl chainsaw.
Gomez eats the weak.
So CJ checked out, leaving his baggage behind, but Shelter Industries continues. The boys and girls of Shelter are looking excitedly forward to the many wonders of computerization.
If they only knew...
CJ brought Shelter into the 'Wonderful World of Computers' but he did it in Xenix, not in DOS. DOS is a nice, simple computer operating system that will work fairly well for the uninitiated without giving them a lot of grief. It's fairly primitive, but one can do a tolerably decent job of conducting their affairs in bits and bytes without having to worry about the dark side of their new hi-tech/toy-nology.
Xenix and Unix are a whole different ball game.
So Shelter Industries is forging ahead with FourGen, DataCad, and Informix, looking forward to a bright and rosy future where the computer does all the work while they sit around eating caviar, drinking champagne, and wondering why they hadn't thought of doing this years ago.
And that beach-front property in Tucson, currently being liquidated by the executor of Mr. Parker's Estate, comes, not only with the 1990 DeLorean automobile and the Amazing Ginsu knives, but also has Tom Selleck, Bo Derek, Madonna, and David Bowie available to take care of your wildest sexual fantasies---as well as a free pass for one round of miniature golf at Disney World.
CJ had Shelter bring aboard the Mad Scientist, Martin Bebee, to help continue their move toward computerization. Martin knows DOS...Martin is in for the surprise of his life.
The advantage of a Unix-based program is that it was born as a true multi-user, multi-tasking operating system. All the programs developed for Unix were written to take advantage of this fact. It opens up an exciting world of possibilities for the computer user or programmer who is really serious about kicking a little developmental-ass and cranking out some powerful programs.
The down-side is that it does not suffer fools gladly. The basic approach to Xenix and Unix is that it assumes: 1-That you have at least half-a-brain. 2-You aren't afraid to part with a substantial amount of cash for training. 3-You are willing to stay up all night, grab it by the nuts, and squeeze until it will do anything you goddamn-well want it to do.
Xenix is not for the weak of heart!
What drove the final nail into CJ's coffin was the SCSI drive that he got from Perisol Technologies, in Menlo Park. Perisol is a totally first-rate organization. They send the hard drives out already low-level formatted, with complete instructions on how to do a high-level format in DOS, Xenix/Unix, or Novell. They cover all the bases for their customers, which is why CJ dealt with them in the first place.
But CJ forgot about Gomez. He got a Future Domain SCSI controller that would only work with a system that already had Xenix installed on a non-SCSI drive, along with Future Domain's obsolete Xenix installation disk.
After knocking his nuts off for several days, he finally got Future Domain to send him their new-improved-hot-damn Xenix installation disk which, naturally, turned out to be a totally useless piece of shit. Perisol was professional enough about it to replace the drive with an ESDI drive that could be installed by a mindless zombie (which was what CJ was by this point in time)...but it was already too late. The damage had been done and CJ was cut adrift on a sea of madness---totally at the mercy of the subliminal influences of Gomez and the Dark Allies.
The rest is history.
I sincerely hope that Martin fares better than CJ did in dealing with the dark undercurrents that lurk so close to the surface of the SCO Xenix Operating System.
I hope he remembers that Gomez eats the weak.
"All the world's a stage. We have our exits and our entrances. And one man, in his time, plays many parts."
In this world of ten-second sound bytes, 'Image' is everything. CJ and I had quite a heated argument over the company motto for Pearl Harbor Computers, Inc.
CJ wanted the letterheads to read:
The third motto, the one that we both knew was our baby from the first moment it appeared in our collective cosmic consciousness, is ambiguous enough to leave enough doubt in people's minds as to it's meaning that they can take it to mean anything they by-God want it to mean.
The measure of a man's life, I believe, can be summed up in his dying words.In the classic movie "Citizen Kane," the movie ended with a mysterious reference to the opening scene, with Orson Welles uttering the mysterious word "RoseBud" with his dying breath.
My dying words will probably be some form of plagiarism of the graffiti that was written on the kitchen wall above the grill in 'Xalapeno Charlie's Restaurant' in Austin, Texas, during the height of the Watergate craze. It said, "Life is like a bowl of chili. If you don't stir it every now and then, all the scum rises to the top!"
Bubba Rom Dos will, likely as not, opt for something more along the lines on the cover of a Whole Earth Catalogue Supplement, which stated, "He who shits on the Road will meet flies upon his return."
I can only hope that CJ, a man I love dearly, found his way to Rock & Roll heaven upon his demise. I can almost see him now, entering through the Pearly Gates, a welcoming banner waving in the ethereal winds, reading: "Heaven Welcomes the King of Country Porno."
We can only surmise what went through the minds of the Canadian Mounties who entered that gruesome death-scene in a scumbag motel room in Davidson, Saskatchewan.
There was blood everywhere, splattered on the ceiling and walls, lying in pools on the floor---body parts lying on the bed, the kitchen floor, in the bathtub, and beside the toilet.
Whether fact or fiction, it will remain a part of the Legend of the man we called 'The Last Canadian Outlaw,' that the first Mountie through the door---contemplating the surreal, totally morbid aura of death that filled the room---read the words scrawled in blood, on the wall by the bed,
"Bop Shoo-Bop, Boppa-Boppa Shoo-Bop"
A dirtbag lying in an ordinary sweat in a cold motel room in Crosby, North Dakota.
No more Mr. Nice Guy. How many times do you have to learn something before it finally sinks in? Lean and mean, ugly and bad. Kick their babies and rape their dogs. I'm copping a whole new attitude.
Anybody who has ever picked themselves up out of the gutter and tried to make something of themselves can tell you what happens. The whole universe, and everyone in it, declares you Public Enemy #1.
The Netherworld opens up to reveal the Xenix rising from the ashes, Daemons and Zombies screaming for the blood of the Righteous. Gomez is released with the 'Watch of Eternal Damnation', unleashing torrents of Orphan Zombies to break your brain against the rocks on the shores of Reason.
I think I'm awake, now. There doesn't seem to be anyone around. Gomez says, "If it wasn't for the word 'baby', there wouldn't be no rock & roll.
Gomez doesn't seem to be so frightening as I wake up.
But waking up is hard to do.
Time to roll out of bed and hit the bricks. I need to jump on the computer and pump out some serious production for a change. A nice, hot shower will wash away the night sweat, both the physical and the mental. Finish up with a blast of ice-cold water to cool away the last of the night daemons, and I might even feel human again.
I don't know why Denny gave me the damn watch, maybe he thought he was doing me a favor. Or maybe he's just like any other junkie who has some unquenchable need to bring anyone close to them into the magic circle. Initiate them into the cycle of addiction, the ever tightening swirl that separates you more and more from the outside world until, eventually, those outside the circle seem to be just ghosts passing through.
Whoa! Don't go back to sleep, dude! Sit up and get up. Now is not the time to digress, but to backup.Doing a backup with SCO's Xenix software is its own little piece of hell. The book I'm currently reading, called "Xenix At Work," says that the System Administration Shell's prompts are "ambiguous." More like total horseshit.
It's easier to go into the Xenix source code to make changes to get my Archive backup tape drive to work with their 'supported' controller than it is to make sense of their instructions for file restoring. And I'm supposed to train computer novices to understand this gobbledy-gook?
"Yes, folks, just follow the instructions explained there on the screen in plain English, translated from the Japanese by Koreans raised in Bangladesh by parents who spoke only a rare dialect of Swahili, used mostly by an obscure tribe in southern Uganda."
"And if you can't follow the instructions, it's your own damn fault for that summer of love you spent in Berkeley, eating Deadhead Acid and trying to get into the hot-pants of that Porsche-driving frosh that threw you over for the dude driving the BMW, claiming to be in pre-pre-med." (which translates loosely into three classes in Music Appreciation and one class in Downhill Jogging)
Actually, backing up the hard disk to a tape drive is quite a simple procedure with Xenix. Let me explain how it's done.
First, you take the $900.00 System Administrator's class from SCO (Santa Cruz Operations). Then you log in as 'root' (the boss daddy of all users), invoke the SysAdmin shell, select "File Restore," and choose your backup medium (they just had to make my tape drive option #13, didn't they?).
After that, it's just a simple matter of selecting the files you want to restore and the directory that you wish to restore them to. But you have to make sure, if you're restoring the files to a different directory than they were backed up on, that you follow the procedure exactly. First, you don't use the name of the directory that you are restoring from (or is that to?), unless it's the first or third Friday of the month (except in leap years, and then it's the second and fourth Tuesdays). And you can't eat fish on Friday (or is that something to do with Catholicism?).
Anyway, next you take the square root of the sum of the "ASCII values" that represent the directory where you wish the files to be restored (even though it's not likely to happen), double it, and add it to the sinking feeling you're getting that the files you selected (along with two or three hundred others) are going to go to that bad place that your mother warned you about (but would never tell you where it was, so that you could find it), and Gomez is going to unleash the Ravaging Hounds of Hell into your 'root' directory just as your boss is showing the system to those guys from Cost Management that the Board of Directors sent down to find out just what the hell they are spending all that money on in the Computer Department.
Maybe now isn't a good time to do my backup. I haven't even had my morning beer yet, and I probably should take some time to think about just what it was that I put in the 'Informix' database directory last night.
Mike Denny, my friend and mentor, drinks Wild Turkey to get his mind straight, but the poor bugger has to deal with "Oracle," so you can't really hold it against him. I should have figured out what was going on long before I finally did manage to clue in to the reality of the situation. Oracle had sent a salesman around to demo their database products and he not only screwed up the demonstration, he couldn't even seem to answer the simplest questions about the products. I thought it funny at the time, but I didn't realize that it was the fear eating at his brain that was destroying any hope he had of getting out alive. It wasn't until I was trying to sell their products, and called them for support, that it all started to become crystal clear in my mind.
I called Oracle for three or four days in a row, sometimes several times a day. I kept getting recordings.
"You've reached Oracle Software, Inc. If you are calling for sales information, please press 1. If you are calling for technical support, press 2. If you wish to speak to an operator, please press 0. If you've had your finger up your ass for the last twenty minutes while waiting for an operator and you're worried because it's starting to feel good, please hang up and call our San Franciso office. Ask for Bruce."
Nobody ever got back to me. I was leaving messages telling them that I had Arab Sheiks, with big, green garbage bags full of cash, desperately trying to buy tremendous quantities of Oracle products to give to the homeless as a tax write-off. Still, nobody ever answered or called me back.
It was on the fifth day, as I was working out "Mary Had A Little Lamb" on their 800 Hotline, that I realized that there were no longer any humans at Oracle. The Orphan Zombies had nailed the bastards. The computers had finally taken over. I felt a quivering chill go down my spine as I realized that the previous day I had actually left my home phone number on their message machine. As my hand replace the receiver, I felt the need for a stiff shot of Wild Turkey.
But, what the hell. I hadn't actually sold any of their products and I didn't have to worry about support, so I popped a beer and called Informix.
I still feel bad about that crack I made to Mike. I laughingly suggested that instead of calling 1-800-ORACLE1, that he call 1-800-ZOMBIES. He turned as white as a sheet and reached for the Wild Turkey. It was twenty minutes before I could get him to talk, and I could sense from his terror-filled eyes that he could feel Gomez coming.
As he comes for us all.
I felt bad for Denny, but piss on him. He never should have given me the damn watch.
That's when this whole nightmare started. With the goddamn watch.
Jesus! It's four in the goddamn morning and I've got to get up early to call MiniScribe, Inc. about that hard drive. Just a simple question. The answer is probably obvious, but I can't quite get a handle on it.
"Could you please explain to me just how I, in turn, should explain to my customer that the $1,500 hard drive he purchased, which worked for all of an hour and a half, has been replaced by your company with a two year-old hard drive that has been rebuilt four times?"
I believe the phrase is "third time lucky," not "fourth" time. Even the old lady has enough sense to tell me, after the third attempt, to just go back to sleep and we'll try again in the morning.
Denny...you bastard, I should have shoved that watch up your lily-white ass!
I wasn't rich in the old days, and I slept under a bridge or two during my musical career, but I was the "King of Country Porno" and anytime I had an itch that needed scratching all I had to do was tune up the old guitar and make a little magic. Whiskey, money and women...all awaiting the appearance of the Muse.
Steve Hendrix could have given you a tie for Christmas, or a briefcase, but he had to give you the damn Seiko. Gomez whispered in your ear, and you give it to me. What a wonderful watch. Time, alarm, four-level stopwatch, message modes A and B, and a cute little keyboard to program your schedule into it. And the son-of-a-bitch even prints your schedule and messages out onto it's own little roll of paper.
It was a Christmas gift, from you to me, and it had all those neat little toys built in, but you didn't warn me about "the catch," did you? "The catch" was that you could do "Basic" programming with it, using the cute little keyboard, the cute little screen on the watch, and the cute little "How To Program In Basic" book.
You didn't tell me how easy it would be to get started in the wonderful world of computers, or warn me about the desolate path it would lead me willingly down.
It's just a toy, you can handle it. Just inject a few bytes and see how it feels. Whoa, look what you did there. Nice little rush, isn't it, son? Pick it up and play a little, then put it down. Now do it again, but go just a little further this time. Look what you've got that puppy doing now!
I spent the next three or four days, solid, playing with the frigg'in thing. I made messages for, and memos to myself, to mom, dad, my sister and brother---everyone I knew---and last, but not least, to people that I might meet in the future. I printed them out. I put in phone numbers, reminders, birthdays, events, non-events, schedules, every fact, every detail having anything even remotely to do with my life---and more. And I printed it all out---several times a day!
I began programming in "Basic." Mr. Math, that's me. Mr. Logic, that's me, too. Mr. Boy-I'm-Sure-Impressed-With-Myself-Momma-Would-Be-Proud-Of-Me-Now. Mr. Goddamn SmaryPants, that's me.
For men...it's like sex. You get half-decent at it, and you think you goddamn invented it. You look at those poor fools passing by on the street below and wonder what they would think if they knew you could make the variable 'i' count to a hundred, in increments of two, nonetheless, (or four, or ten, or whatever I decide---I have the power, the watch will do my bidding). But you could never explain it to them, they wouldn't understand. They don't have your knowledge.
Or Power. It's a Secret that mere mortals can't fathom
Then you see the "arrays" and you don't quite comprehend them, but you're intrigued because you sense that you have reached the esoteric level of computer programming. The level that separates real computer people from the pretenders and fakers. You know that, when you break open the arrays' hidden secrets, you will gain your first entrance to the Inner Sanctum, and there will be no turning back on the Path.
You will be initiated into the Post-Ancient rites of the Computer Age...and as your mind, your body, and your soul feel the rush of the Spirit and the Power of the MegaGods filling the very center of your being, you won't hear the distant Thunder of Laughter that fills the Void and shakes the core of your new Universe.
The laughter of the Beast that Devours. The Beast that will strike at the Root of your Being...and slash you.
The Beast that laughs because he knows that nobody told you...
Gomez is coming!
Why is it nobody ever wants to do business with anything that I know something about? Is it that way for everybody in the computer business?
"You say you've never heard of it? You have no idea what it does or how it works? Good! I'll take four of them babies, and I want them up and running by noon tomorrow." And they damn straight better keep the hogs fed and get those stains out of my shorts, or there'll be hell to pay. I can get it cheaper by mail, but I'm getting it from you for the support. Those bastards always blame everything on Gomez.
"Oh, yeah. I'm going to need some software with that, too. Better make it something you don't know anything about."
Things were a lot simpler when I ran the "Foxy Lady," a nude dance club, in Austin, Texas. When the girls got done dancing, the Senators, relaxing from a hard day on Capitol Hill, would buy them a $200 bottle of "Champagnette" (non-alcoholic sparkling grape beverage) and take them into one of the back rooms to socialize. The only problem I had to worry about was if some fool actually drank the "Champagnette." Well, that and having to listen to all the lame jokes about business being "up and down," customers "coming and going."
Anyway, I've been working with "Informix" as a database. It may be a bitch to learn, but I get to work with major businesses, and it beats the hell out of piddling around with some drunk who want to use "PeachTree" to run his aluminum can business, but who doesn't want to learn how to spell, let alone learn how to operate a computer.
Things either work smoothly or they don't. Kind of an addendum to the rule I mentioned earlier. The one that says that if you're in the gutter you might as well stay there because when you try to crawl out life will be waiting for you with a pair of steel-toed boots.
It didn't take long to find out that Informix and I were going to have a somewhat stormy relationship.
It seemed to be okay when I first registered for the SQL (Structured Query Language) class. Sure, they had just had a devastating earthquake in the Bay area (Watsonville and Santa Cruz got totally crushed, but San Francisco got all the press), but Informix's offices were in Menlo Park, and I was sure that it was on the mainland. You know---the mainland---where they have things like dirt and rocks underneath the buildings.
No Way, San Jose. It turned out that Menlo Park was part of that glob of Jell-On-A-Stick sitting out there, with water on both sides, the 'Big One' patiently waiting for me to get there before it hit, since it needed just one more mortal in order to get a good body count.
The class was a lot like the SCO Xenix class. The instructor doesn't actually talk, he just mouths the words as the script is played out on a 33-rpm record played at 78-rpm. (For you younger folk out there, this is an ancient concept having to do with an antique device called a 'turntable.' Ask your parents or your grandparents about it.)
They basically attempt to cram as much material, knowledge, and logic as inhumanely possible into your brain during a four-day session.
It's kind of like trying to get six changes of clothing, the Uzi, and nine bottles of Scotch into your carry-on bag. But, as you get ready to head to the airport, you at least have some space in your pockets to stuff in some condoms, as well as a little extra ammo for the trip. In the Informix class, when your brain fills up around the end of the third day and the soft-drive between your ears crashes, all that information just starts oozing out of your ears and runs down your neck, making your shirt all sticky and wet.
When you have dinner at the Howard Johnson's at the end of the third day, you have to steal a spoon and get some plastic doggie-bags. At $200 per day, you damn sure don't want the cleaning crew mopping up all that information you left behind on the floor.
Informix doesn't have enough consideration to provide you with an ugly, surly instructor to make your morning completely miserable. Instead, you get up at six a.m. in order to try to find some breakfast and still have time to spend the obligatory hour and a half in traffic to get to class. Then you stumble in and meet your instructor...Dennis. Dennis is smiling. Dennis is a morning person. Dennis needs someone to smack him a good one right up the side of his goddamn head and wipe that cheerful smile off his face. But when you've got eight hundred 'big ones' riding on this class you're not about to spend the next four days in jail. So you make a mental note to yourself to drop by a biker bar for a beer after class and find some speed-freak who needs to pick up an easy fifty bucks.
Informix makes the instructors wear spiffy suits and project a friendly, positive personality. A nice, business-like attitude and decorum. I saw through that right away. The people in this class were not computer novices, they were pros. Their faces carried the scars of programs that became ugly and turned on their masters. Their bodies were impaled with fragments of files that exploded like a Bouncing-Betty, blowing away not only egos, but sometimes even whole careers. Put your average candy-ass computer geek up there to tell fairy tales about the "Wonderful World of Informix" and they would tear the sorry bastard to shreds.
But Dennis was a pro, too, and seemed to genuinely wish to help everyone get the most they could out of the class. Kind of like the lion tamer who has learned that it pays to be nice to the big cats, lest they tear you to pieces.
I immediately sensed that there was something funny about the boys and girls of Informix. They were just a little too 'Middle Class America' to be totally real. Too nice, too genuinely helpful, too overbearingly sincere. I knew that, underneath it all, there had to be something weird going on.
Halfway through the second day I finally figured out what was going on. Dennis began explaining the "sample database." It seems there's this guy Sam. He runs a sporting goods store. Sam doesn't seem to have a last name. And it turns out that since this is a "simple database," that Sam doesn't deal with credit, only cold, hard cash. It started to sound like a guy I knew in Oakland who wore a beeper and rode a bicycle. You could hit the ATM at three a.m., give him a call, and he always had the goodies (he told people he ran an 'art' gallery, but I never considered 'shooting' an art). I wasn't surprised when Dennis explained that good old Sam kept track of his inventory by manufacturers 'code names.'
The clincher was exactly what I had expected. It seems that, since this is a 'simple' database, that Sam doesn't pay any taxes.
(Just what I needed. It's not enough that I've got Gomez on my ass, but I go to a simple goddamn computer class and stumble onto a drug ring. If I get to meet 'Sam,' I'll have to be careful not to refer to him as 'Mr. Gambino.' In the computer world it's dangerous to know too little. In the drug world it's dangerous to know too much.)
Informix has to keep things cheerful and upbeat at the class in order to keep the shadow of Gomez away from the door. It's kind of like a vacation retreat for computer experts...or maybe more like a cross between a rehabilitation center and Fantasy Island.
You play with a Disney World database program that's set up to run as smooth as a baby's bottom (I've got to hold my train of thought, here, and not get off on some sick, twisted tangent that will blow any hope of a book deal with a publisher that doesn't sell off of the back of a pickup truck in the sleazy part of town) and, if you screw up and blow your database out into Never-Never Land, you laugh and ask Dennis to help you rebuild it. You don't have to worry about your next key-stroke resulting in a fight with the "bag lady" over who gets to sleep on top of the grate, or explaining to the children that Santa couldn't make it this year because his mummy was really, really sick.
If you feel like it, you can enter your boss into the database, give him a hefty cut in salary, a demotion (it seems he'll be working for you, now that you've been promoted), and give the racist prick a home address in the heart of the barrio. Don't bother giving him a home phone number, the deadbeat never pays his bills and 'Ma Bell' cut him off long ago.
By the end of the second day I had Ronald Reagan and Col. Oliver North working for Sam. They turned out to be his best sales people, next to General Noriega, of course. George Bush wasn't on the payroll, but there was this unexplained check going every month to a Post Office box in Washington, D.C., to some guy known only as 'Skippy.' I had some discrepancies in the stock tables and I couldn't fix them, so I just assumed that Ronnie had been stealing from the company and I canned his sorry ass. I told him, "Ron, that ex-presidential image crap doesn't cut any cheese with me when I catch a guy with his hand in the till." I've always wanted to do that.
One thing Dennis and I did agree on, totally, was that Informix has some of best looking babes on the planet hanging around the old job-site. They didn't seem to care much for being called 'babes.' California girls tend to be that way for some strange reason.
One sweet young thing asked me why I was taking the class in the Bay Area. I told her that I'd read an article in the San Francisco Chronicle about the 'man shortage', and I was there to answer the need. She told me, "Honey, there's no shortage of your kind."
I wonder what she meant by that?
As the party broke up, on the final day of class, I sat back in the corner watching everybody prepare to leave. Happy chatter, bright eyes, three nights of sleep without Gomez haunting their dreams, and all of a sudden they were ready to go out and kick some butt in the Wonderful World of Computers.
The fools. How quickly they forget.
Why are the Commodores singing at the foot of my bed? And why are there so many of them, fifty or sixty of them?
The music is sweet and beautiful, but I can't make out what they're singing. And there seems to be some strange in the corner of the room. A couple of people, actually, maybe more.
They seem to be arguing over 'sum' and 'null.' It doesn't make any sense to me. The Commodores are singing louder now, I can almost make out what they're saying. But the people in the corner seem are arguing louder, too. "Sum---Null. Sum---Null." Everybody keeps getting louder. "Sum---Null. Sum---Null." No, that's not it, it's "Some---No. Some---No." What's the difference...what the hell is the difference?
The Commodores are getting weird and starting to mutate. I can hear what they're singing now. Oh no, please No! The beasts in the corner are starting to tear at each other.
Sweet Jesus, there's blood and gore everywhere and they keep screaming.
Stop! STOP!! NO! NO......AAHHH!!!!
Jesus, I'm sweating. What a dream. Jesus, sweet Jesus. My whole goddamn body's shaking like a leaf. The Commodores were singing "I Know I'll Never Find Another Slash You." But '/u' is the default user system for SCO Xenix, and it doesn't make any sense because Xenix doesn't run on a Commodore 64 computer. And the Great Beast who did all the slashing and bloodletting was named 'Cron.' I've got to quit thinking about it, before I go crazy. I've got to wake up.
I'm not awake yet...I've got to wake up.
More cold water...the colder the better. I look like shit. I feel like shit. I wish that silly bitch hadn't told me her story yesterday about learning the difference between some-body and no-body on her computer system. It seems her Supervisor caught her about to make a "simple little mistake that anyone could make," on her first day with authorization to actually, god forbid, change things in the company database. And just because of that "silly little asterix" being in the wrong place, instead of some-body not getting a paycheck, she almost fixed it so that no-body got one.
You can bet your sweet little ass (or hers, I've seen it) that she didn't have a nightmare about it last night. Hell, she didn't even have time to think about it since she had a big date last night and had to do some shopping after work. She thought it rather rude of her Supervisor to waste her time going over some of the more bothersome intricacies of "that stupid software."
So why am I getting the night sweats over someone else's mistake? And why was Gomez lying in the shadows of my dreams and not hers, giving me nightmares over her problem?
Maybe it has something to do with the difference between being a programmer and being a daata errntry oporator. Maybe the difference is in whether or not you care. Maybe the difference is whether or not you're living on the edge of disaster...and know it. Maybe it has to do with the fact that there are only two types of computer experts; those who know they are faking it, and those who don't know they are faking it.
The dreams can get weird, but sometimes the things I think during the day are even weirder. It's getting harder every day to forget about the strange things, the strange forces...harder to keep a firm grip on reality, on the real world.
I imagine that there is a giant clearing-house for keeping track of computer knowledge. And every time someone finally thinks that they know something for certain about anything, however minuscule, to do with computers, the unseen beings in the clearing-house immediately begin the work necessary to change it.
You go to bed knowing how to spell 'computer' and, when you wake up in the morning, it's suddenly spelled with two R's.
I keep having this recurring dream that starts out so wonderfully.
I am graduating from the "World Institute of Computer Sciences." It was founded by the major nations of the world to promote a universal approach to computer technology. It is the most advanced and prestigious organization ever to be formed by mankind.
It is graduation day and I am the last in line to receive my degree. I am last because I have graduated at the top of the class and, after the others have received their degrees, I will have bestowed upon me the title of "The World's Foremost Computer Expert." The world leaders are handing the graduation scroll to the next-to-last person, and I will soon be called to receive my honors, but before my turn comes I receive word that there is a new class on the 64-bit microprocessor that has just come out. I tell the Master of Ceremonies that I must rush off, but I will be right back.
When I get to the room where the class is being held, the sign on the door says "128-bit Microprocessor Lab." I enter and talk to the professor teaching the class, who tells me that the 64-bit microprocessor is now passé, and they have moved on to the 128-bit microprocessor class. He tells me that I cannot take the class because I have not had the 64-bit microprocessor, which is no longer offered. I plead with him to allow me an exception, since I missed the class to attend the graduation ceremony and must hurry back in order to get my degree.
He decides to make an exception in my case but, before he can begin the class, he is replaced by the professor teaching the 256-bit class. I plead with the new professor to let me take the 256-bit class. He tells me that if I had taken the 128-bit class he might allow it, but since I had not even had the 64-bit class he could not allow me to take the 512-bit microprocessor class.
"I thought you were teaching the 256-bit class," I cried out.
"While we were talking," he replied, "the 256-bit microprocessor became obsolete."
Is it my imagination, or are things getting just a little bit out of control?
I'm watching an HBO movie called "They Live." It's all about this guy who has these special glasses that allow him to see the aliens who have secretly taken over the better part of our world. While most people in the world walk around blissfully unaware of their presence, he can just put on his groovy-and-cool shades and see them for the scum-sucking, Savage Destroyers that they really are.
It kind of reminds me of myself and Gomez.
I bought an external modem from Microware Distributors in Phoenix last week, and got to meet their 'Xenix representative.' His name is Daemon. Anyone with half a brain (and there's no shortage) can figure out that there's something going on beneath the surface here. And still, nobody sees, nobody cares. They shrug it off, and mark it up to coincidence.
The average computer user never finds out about Gomez. It's a well kept industry secret, (kind of like the Commodore 64---scratch the surface of a lot of upper-level computer executives, and you're likely to find a person who started out on a Commodore, it's just that nobody will admit it).
Can you imagine the mass panic that would break out if people knew what was going on behind the scenes of the computer industry...about the strange, demonic forces lurking in the Nether world of hi-tech?
Even most computer salesmen don't know about Gomez and the Dark Allies. If they did, they'd never be able to look a customer in the eye and tell them how great their life is going to be once they enter the Wonderful World of Computers. After the product is sold, it's the job of the technicians, programmers, and systems analysts to deal with the dark forces that are unleashed every time a computer is booted.
They're the ones who wake up screaming and shaking in the middle of the night when Gomez comes to haunt their dreams (with the Dark Allies supplying the chorus of bone-chilling laughter that cuts deep into their soul, to haunt them, even when they awaken).
Big business spends hundreds of millions of dollars every year on the cover-up, fearing the public terror and resulting backlash that would come if the general public ever became aware of the full extent of the problem. A lot of the cover-up is just little things, public relations type of bullshit, kind of like the military naming a nuclear missile the "PeaceKeeper" instead of the "Angel of Death." So when the average Joe has a computer problem, it's the result of 'bugs' instead of "Daemons,' or 'hardware failure' rather than the 'Hounds of Hell.'
There have been a few attempts over the years by well-meaning individuals to enlighten the public, but the major corporations keep an eye out for that sort of thing and manage, for the most part, to keep a pretty tight lid on loose lips. The people involved in bucking the system usually end up mysteriously disappearing, or broken and destitute upon some street corner in a large metropolis, babbling incoherently to passing strangers only to be brushed aside or, at best, handed a few paltry coins and then ignored.
The closest the secret has ever come to becoming public knowledge was when Bell Labs developed the 'C' programming language, which spawned UNIX, and Xenix, and BSD, a form of UNIX which came out of the University of California at Berkeley (a minimum security prison for the politically correct). It was a major mistake to have the young, malleable minds of university kids involved in the development of a high-level computer programming language, a mistake that Bell Labs was soon to regret.
Little did Bell Labs know that, in working with UNIX, the students would stumble upon the underlying Netherworld of the computer world which had been successfully hidden for so many years from even most of the high-level technicians and programmers.
. After the students had opened a few doors better left unopened, they found themselves beset upon by Gomez and the Dark Allies. When they brought these matters to the attention of their superiors, they were met only by denial and a conspiracy of silence. The few who pressed the matter further or spoke openly about the strange forces they were encountering either disappeared without a trace or found themselves whisked away for 'treatment' at a distant psychiatric medical facility from which few returned.
As more and more students began to crack under the stress and strain of dealing with the strange, Daemonic forces of their hi-tech Netherworld, they began to meet in small groups to discuss their plight and possible solutions to their dilemma. When it became apparent that they were indeed dealing with ethereal, savage beings from a higher plane, they decided to begin meeting as a whole, to form a Magic Circle for their own protection.
Those of us today who work in the Wonderful World of Computers owe a deep debt of gratitude to the people who risked their professional careers and their sanity in order to attempt to break the conspiracy of silence that is enforced by big business with their power and their mega-bucks.
We owe an even bigger debt to those students at Bell Labs and UC Berkeley who didn't knuckle under, who organized a group to secretly develop an operating system that would leave clues for others to follow---for those who had eyes to see and ears to hear---revealing the reality of the savagery and viciousness underlying the sleek facade of the hi-tech world which is spreading swiftly across the face of the Earth.
We owe much to the group who met one night in a cold and lonely room in the basement of Bell Labs to form what later was to become known as the 'Circle of Eunuchs.''
As the students met on that fateful eve they were surprised to see in attendance a broken old derelict who was noted for wandering the streets of the hi-tech areas of the city, refusing handouts and pleading with passers-by only to allow him a few precious moments of their time to explain to them about the mysterious forces at work around them.
Unkempt, unshaven, he would babble incoherently, to all who would listen, about God, the Devil, and the Everlasting Fires of Computer Hell.
Almost everyone there that night had seen him at one time or another. Some had even worked with him at Bell Labs years ago.
He was a native-born Texan, a University of Texas graduate in political philosophy who had gotten involved with computers and moved to the Silicon Valley. He had been involved in Sufi and Gurdjieffian groups in Berkeley and, at one time, had a reputation as a rather bizarre character in computer circles. There were rumors that on his trips to places like India, Jerusalem, and Tibet, that he had participated in various extraordinary rituals of secret cults.
Shortly after going to work as a consultant for Bell Labs he was spirited away by the 'nice men in the white suits' for treatment of a 'nervous disorder,' and next appeared on the streets of Berkeley...a babbling, broken derelict.
He became a somewhat comical, but beloved, fixture in the hi-tech areas of town, and was tolerated and treated kindly, though not particularly listened to. The locals had dubbed him "Bubba Rom Dos."
As everyone settled into their seats at the meeting he took the podium and began to speak. His words had a rambling, babbling quality to them, but no one made a move to interfere with him because, after the strange experiences they had recently been through, some of what he said seemed to make a lot of sense. As he spoke the room became increasingly silent, until everyone present was listening intently and nodding in quiet agreement with each pronouncement from the throne he had assumed.
He talked of the forces that have been with us from the beginning of creation which, too esoteric for direct human understanding, had been brought to the physical plane through rituals and symbols so that mankind could work with them at a level that he or she could understand.
"In primitive times religious rituals were more individualized and scattered, as men worshipped the sun, the moon, wind and fire. Then, as man organized civilizations, the various priesthoods developed to 'intercede' on behalf of the individual to Ra, and Jaweh, and Allah.
Then came Jesus and Buddha, Lao Tzu and others, and religious beliefs and observances began to enter the realm of the common man. No longer did we need high-priests, graven images, and animal sacrifices to intercede between us and our gods. We no longer prayed to
Angels, but to Saints---mere mortals like ourselves, albeit 'special' ones. And our priests became merely the cheerleaders and bookkeepers along our spiritual path.
When religion entered the domain of the common man, then religion and religious beliefs became common, susceptible to interpretation by the average man or woman. All of a sudden, the Devil was no longer real, he was a symbol. There were no Demons, only troubles and woes.
Mankind lost its feel for the real forces at work in the world until, eventually, we all fell asleep at the spiritual wheel."
Now, Bubba explained, the Evil Forces were regrouping to once again take control of the world, and they had been working through our new, hi-tech gods, the Gods of Communication, television and computers.
"There were those who tried to warn us," he said. "Marshal McLuhan was our hi-tech 'John the Baptist,' "The Medium Is The Message" became our new Bible, but he, too, was just a "voice crying in the wilderness." Others, like the "Android Sisters," we relegated to the status of clowns and entertainers as the 'Media' lulled us to sleep and became our 'Waking Dream,' our new reality."
"Where once we sacrificed sheep, offering up the blood of the innocent to appease our gods," Bubba railed, with ever mounting conviction, "now we have become the sheep to be led to the slaughter by our 'Gods of Communication.'
"And the shadow of Gomez falls ever more frequently across our door, like a pestilence upon the land and its people."
Bubba Rom Dos, derelict and philosopher, surveyed the crowd, which had now gone totally silent, and proceeded to explain some of the things he claimed to have learned in the Far East from a group which was, according to him, actively working to counter the new 'Angels of Darkness' which had already begun launching their assault upon mankind, using our own new hi-tech environment.
"Demons," he explained, "have always worked their will through our own physical reality in order to accomplish their ends. Television has lulled our minds into a deep slumber, and now they are free to attack through the mechanisms of the physical instrument which is becoming a part of, and controlling force over, the whole of our lives---the computer."
"Our lives are tracked and controlled by numbers---our address, our phone number, our social security number, our driver's license and passport numbers. And now all these numbers are being controlled by computers---computers that can communicate all around the world, at the touch of a button. Computers that can, in an instant, separate us into categories according to our names, our race, our political beliefs, or by the names of our children. Computers that know all, and see all."
Bubba explained how the Evil One is making his bid, once again, to write his own happy ending in the Final Chapter of the war between the 'forces of good and evil.' He told of how Gomez and the Dark Allies (Daemons, Zombies, and Orphan Zombies) have been unleashed to wreak their havoc in the Final Battle, with the Hounds of Hell nipping at our heels and the dreaded Cron orchestrating this whole savage 'Dance of Armageddon.'
By now the crowd had grown deathly silent and Bubba, sensing that they were, individually and collectively, on the edge of despair, began talking about what could be done to alleviate, and perhaps even remedy, the present desperate situation.
He explained that the reason that many of the best computer hackers around were teenagers was that they are in the hot, throbbing throes of puberty, and were thus very conscious of the yin-yang aspects of computers, which basically consist of just hardware and software. The hardware, he said, is the yang, or male aspect, of computers, while the software is the yin, or female, component.
"Hardware is very ego-centered, it wants everything it's own way. In order to operate correctly, it wants everything to be very structured, in the place it wants it to be in, and meeting its own narrow criterion. When you turn the hardware on it gives itself a little diagnostic 'hitch in the crotch' to check its equipment, and says, 'let's get at it'---it's ready for some action."
"Software is more flexible and malleable. It is more willing to go with the flow and change to meet the requirements for the job at hand, rather than forcing things to be done in a certain way. Good software will do anything you want it to do---it just wants to be coaxed with the right words and syntax, so that you don't think of it as being too 'easy.'
Bubba explained that programmers are what Gurdjieff referred to as the 'third,' or 'unifying,' force in the universe, capable of bringing the yin and yang aspects of the cosmos into union with one another to produce a third, unique force.
"Programmers are the unifying force that supply the energy enabling two separate and unique components, hardware and software, to have a relationship that is capable of productivity and growth. A marriage of matter that could spawn and produce a multitude of children to go forth and do many new things in the world, for better or worse, for good or for evil."
"You are society's last hope for thwarting the Forces of Evil gearing up for the final battle, readying themselves to wreak grievous havoc upon the world, such that it has never known. It is up to you to 'raise the torch,' and let the 'light of knowledge' spread throughout the civilized world, in the thread of 'clues' scattered throughout the UNIX operating system, and throughout your programming and your instructions."
"You must band together, man and woman, young and old, into a 'Magic Circle' for your own protection from the Forces of Darkness! You must develop your own secret codes and rituals to deal with the Evil Forces which will beset you daily once you set foot on the Path of Righteousness."
At this point Bubba, who had been sucking rather liberally on a bottle of Wild Turkey during this rousing and inspiring 'spiritual soliloquy,' started to lose his train of thought and began to babble randomly about young boys' hardware and young girls' software, making statements that downright smacked of pedophilia, and it turned into quite a nasty scene before the students finally threw him out of the meeting.
But a spark had been ignited before the old geezer finally lost control of his mind, as well as some of his bodily functions, and the evening marked the initial development of the 'Post-Ancient Rites' of the Computer Age---and the beginning of an underground Secret Society later to become known by those within the 'Magic Circle' as the "Circle of Eunuchs."
It's 2 a.m., Tucson time, and here I am sitting in my mini-motorhome, in butt-fuck California, still banging away at the keyboard.
It's not bad enough that the old lady finally came to her senses and threw me out, not to mention the fact that the rest of my personal life has totally gone to shit, but now Gomez has decided that I've been getting too much sleep lately, and has set the Hounds of Hell on my ass again.
"Gomez," I sez, "the reason I'm getting all this sleep is because it's so tiring crying your eyes out for two and three hours at a time. Give me a goddamn break."
I never saw the bastard coming this time. I'd forgotten all about him. That's the way he likes it, I guess. He waits until you're not looking and gives you a quick, stiff one in the gonads---with steel-toed boots.
It was getting late, but, I thought I'd check out the FourGen Accounting database disks I had gotten from Distribupro in San Jose. Something simple and easy, real basic. Quick and clean, and then off to bed for a refreshing night of slumber.
(Right. And I have this ocean-front property outside of Tucson I can let you have dirt-cheap.)
OK, so Distribupro sent me $3,000.00 worth of the wrong software. They sent the accounting package for a 386 instead of a 286. No problem. I just call them up and they send out the correct version, right? But when I call Jeff, their technician, he tells me that FourGen told him that the package runs slower than piss on a 286 and nobody in their right mind would use it on one.
I like Jeff, but the man has obviously lost his cookies, so I call FourGen. They proceed to tell me that they indeed developed, packaged and marketed a product that they do not recommend. "Runs slower than piss on a 286."
No problem. I just told my customer---Shelter Industries---that it's goddamn time they stopped screwing around on that little 'shit-banger' 286 (that I sold them), and pop a 386 Hawk motherboard under the hood that'll make them tires smoke like a bitch in heat.
So now that they've spent $900.00 on a motherboard and another $600.00 to upgrade their SCO Xenix to the 386 version, all I have to do is to make this stuff work.
(Sure. And if you act now on that ocean-front property I have in Tucson, I'll throw in a 1990 DeLorean with steel-belted radials (they only come with snow-tires---the type with spikes).)
I tried copying the Informix 4GL-RDS (Fourth Generation Language-Runtime Development System) disks to my hard drive and all hell broke loose. I'm getting filenames with the little happy-face guy in them and things on my screen that look like a broken coil-spring from a '68 Chevy. And the rest of the screen looks like it does when I go to the kitchen for a beer and come back to find the cat has walked across my keyboard and set in motion forces akin to the outbreak of World War III.
When I try running a utility program, to see if anything else is screwed up, the Hounds of Hell start screaming through my disk like 'jalapenos through a rat's asshole.'
I spent sixteen hours cursing, pleading, and crying, until there was a serious chance that the resulting perspiration and tears would ruin the disks forever, and then I broke down and called Mike Denny. Rather than cop to the fact that I was trying to weasel him into spending light-years of his time helping me try to make chicken-salad out of chicken-shit, I invited him and his old-lady out to dinner. After we had chowed down about fifty bucks worth of seafood and steak, we headed back to their place and I casually mentioned that I had my computer in the motorhome and I'd like him to take a look at something for me.
Mike knows I only hang out with him because he's the last smoker in Berkeley, but I'd just dropped my whole wad on dinner without once making a pass at his hot-bod old lady (for all you feminists out there, yes, she does have a name, 'Marian'), so he agreed to have a look at my problem.
So after I'd spent sixteen hours of my time beating my head against the wall, and the best advice Informix's support line could come up with was, "It ought to work," Mike has to be a wise guy and figure it out in twenty minutes flat (with a five minute cigarette break). And while I'm sitting here moping over the fact that I could have taken Mike and Marian out to McDonalds---if I'd known it would take him a lousy twenty minutes worth of work---he explained that they had copied the programs to the disks with an entirely different utility than the one they had instructed me to use to copy the disks onto my hard-drive, and that the two different utilities had a serious problem with sibling rivalry.
He also explained that the First Rule of the computer business is that if you make things that just simply work as directed, then customers won't view it as particularly exotic and, as a result, won't want to pay a lot of money for it. The Second Rule of the computer business, it seems, is that there's a lot of money to be make in customer support.
("Having a little problem, are we? We offer Support Level 1, Support Level 2, and Support Level 'Send-Us-Your-First-Born-Child-And-We'll-Make-Sure-You-Don't-Look-Totally-Incompetent-In-Front-Of-Your-Customers'")
It's like WordPerfect. They make their word-processing program so complicated that you have to take a two-day class in order to learn how to type "the quick, red fox, etc.," so they can justify charging you $500.00 for the software, $200.00 for the class and, in return, you get the privilege of turning your nose up slightly in the air when you announce to the world that you 'know' WordPerfect.
Now that I've gotten the Informix runtime disks installed, I've had a chance to install the FourGen disks. Nine goddamn times, as a matter of fact. Four modules, installed every possible way known to mankind, and some that aren't. And it still doesn't work.
After a half-hour conference call between Distribupro, FourGen and myself, it seems that some of the modules I have are Version 2, others are Version 3, and, once again, sibling rivalry being what it is, they're dumping all over each other like little brats in the process of self-creating the troubled childhood they will later complain about.
No problem. Distribupro says that they'll just exchange the disks I have for the new version that they have in stock if I just drive down from Berkeley and pick them up. But after I risk life and limb on Hwy 580, the Freeway of Death, in order to get to Distribupro in San Jose, it turns out that they don't have the new version.
No problem. They'll have it shipped in 'Red' from FourGen---first thing in the morning.
It's four a.m. I'm sitting in a motel room in San Jose, pounding the keyboards, cleaning my guns, and counting my ammo. I've got two boxes of long-rifle hollow-points for my .22 Berretta; eight Destructor bullets for my .38 two-shot derringer; twenty shells for my 12-gauge Winchester Defender (00 Buckshot, 00 Magnum Buckshot, and 1-ounce slugs that I use when I want to shoot a bear in California and clean him in Arizona).
I'm going to spend tomorrow morning at the hardware store---checking out the chainsaws---while I'm waiting for the new software to get here.
The shit better work!
I can't believe it! I can't stinking, goddamn believe it!
It's midnight, it's a long-weekend, and I'm sitting here in a dirt-bag motel room in San Jose with my finger up my butt, whistling Dixie, staring at another set of disks that are good only for putting under the little single-serving microwave pizzas I picked up at the convenience store to give me sustenance during the heroic hours I knew I would be putting in to finally get this software installed.
I was worried about the tons of Info-Garbage I might have left lying around my computer system, what with all the screwing around I did to try to get the previous crap to work, so I decided to take the machine down to scratch and reinstall everything, including the Xenix software. I also decided to swap out the 4 MB of memory from my 286 and put it in the 386 in order to make things go a little faster. After I swapped out the memory I discovered that the chips were too slow so I started to swap back the faster 1Meg of memory, which was now in my 286.
Naturally, while pulling out the RAM chips, I sent one sailing over my head, behind the desk, and onto the floor. When I finally got the 1Meg back into the 386, sure enough, I had blown the chip. Like an idiot, I hadn't kept track of where I had placed the questionable chip, so I had to go out and buy a few new chips and start replacing them one at a time.
Four hours later, 'Mr. Stupidity of 1990' had the machine running again.
I spent another three hours reinstalling Xenix and adding my device drivers and such, and now I am ready to install the new, improved version of FourGen. Except that my new, improved Version 3.11.10 requires a disk (Menueze) that Version 2.11.10 didn't need. And I don't have it. And I can't get it at midnight on a long weekend.
And there's nobody to MUTILATE and to KILL because they've all gone to Vail, Colorado---to ski---over the long weekend, while you sit in this dirtbag motel room, eating crummy little pizzas and playing with Little Peter.
I'm sitting here re-oiling the guns, sharpening the teeth on my shiny new chainsaw and making lists of the hostages I can take at Distribupro until they get me ALL THE GODDAMN DISKS!!!
I won't take Jeff, the tech, because he's really busted his butt to try to take care of me. Anne Aliodi, my sales rep, is out, because she gave me a super deal on some software because of all the problems I've been having. That good-looking black lady at the reception desk is a good prospect, but I think she had on a wedding ring and her husband is probably an ex-Vietnam Commando who isn't ever really very happy unless he's cutting the nuts off of someone who has fucked with him or his wife.
I guess it'll have to be that tall, sexy, strawberry-blonde. A woman who has learned to walk the way she does probably plays a mean game of hide-the-salami. I'll take her to a nice Italian restaurant first---to get her in the mood. (I've found, from experience, that hostages seldom try to escape before the food arrives because they feel that they deserve a good meal, for all their trauma, and that after the meal they're too full and relaxed to make a serious run for it.)
I can grab that brunette that sometimes works the reception desk, too, so that Rob Lowe has a date. I hope she knows how to work a video camera.
I can stop by Basis, Inc., in Emmeryville and invite Pat and Vivi along. I'll tell them that Rob and I are doing a feature for Playboy on women in the computer industry, called "The Girls Who Love To Byte A Bit."
We can get a suite and a conference room at the Holiday Inn, hire the Grateful Dead and a caterer, and have a party-down hostage situation that will have people flying in from Europe, just to get in on it. It'll probably become a goddamn Annual Event, the "Hostage Hootenanny."
I think I'd better crack another beer and wash down a few reality-pills. That was actually starting to sound like a good idea.
This shit is driving me crazy, and I think people are starting to notice. My nephew, Noah, tells people that I'm a dyslexic, agnostic insomniac, and that I stay up all night wondering if there really is a dog. When I order a steak at Spatz there's whispering among the staff as they glance nervously in my direction, and then they remove my steak-knife and serve my steak already sliced. In Berkeley they kicked me out of my herpes support-group because they found out that I don't really have it---I was just there to meet women.
I just flew in from L.A., and boy, are my arms tired.
Shit. I think I'm losing it. I've been up so long that I can't get down. I need to get some sleep...rest my mind and try to get back to something approaching normality. I can't let Gomez get to me. I need to sleep...sleep......sleep.
But if you sleep, then Gomez will come, and you really can't handle that kind of pressure anymore. So why not just give up?
No...I've got to stay awake! The bastard's winning! He wants me out of the way so that I can't warn the others. I won't sleep, I'll just close my eyes and rest for a few minutes. I'll just close my eyes, but I won't go to sleep. I'll just rest......rest...
The Chainsaw is my friend. We sleep together. We sleep together and we dream.
We dream of going to Washington and getting ready for the FourGen Food Fair. FourGen steaks. FourGen ribs. FourGen huevos. All rendered from those wonderful people at FourGen Software, Inc., who will not live to see FiveGen.
Jesus...I almost drifted off there for a moment. I've got to face up to the fact that I'm sitting here going crazy because I've forgotten my own First Rule of the computer industry---that great Pearl of Wisdom that I've passed on to the many people I have encountered in my business dealings.
"Never be at the forefront of technology. Always stay a step back and slightly to the left."
Never buy a new product. Never buy Version X.0, wait for Version X.1, after they've exorcised the Daemons (what they laughingly call 'bug-fixing'). Let other people go ahead to block for you. Let them deal with the headaches. Let them suffer in pain and writhe in agony in order to find the problems for the makers of the software, the ones who were so eager to get it to market.
Beware of the words, 'New and Improved'---'Breathtaking New Capabilities'---New, Enhanced Version.'
I was reading in Fortune Magazine how it takes some ungodly amount of time to develop good software---something like ten thousand or so man-years of work to develop a program like Lotus 1-2-3. What they didn't mention was that the programs are released after about six or eight man-hours of development (counting lunch and coffee-breaks). It is then turned over to the Marketing Department who proceed to announce it as "A Major Breakthrough in Software Technology." Then they release it for sale after spending millions of dollars convincing the computer-addicted masses that they've got to have it and, by God, have it now.
I'm basically a pretty sick puppy, especially when I don't get my 'meds,' but next to software developers, I'm a goddamn Saint. Software developers are generally sadistic bastards who can't have sex without whips, chains, three hundred nails, and a half-gallon of SuperGlue. If they see someone smiling while using their program they have a fit.
It their software seems to work, they come out with an 'enhanced,' updated version. If it still seems to work, they go to the end-users houses late at night and murder them in their sleep.
Personally, I get my cheap thrills in other ways. "Hey kids. Here's some matches. See the fire? Pretty, pretty fire." And one of my favorites, "Here's a gun, just like on TV. Don't worry, it's not loaded. Now go play!"
I talked to Jeff Hooper today, at Distribupro. He's in no better position than I am. I've spent a hundred hours trying to get this shit to work, and he's spent a hundred hours trying to help me get it to work.
And FourGen spent six hours developing the software.
I wonder if Jeff knows how to handle a chainsaw, or a shotgun? We could split travel expenses to Washington.
Damn, I'm tired! I think I'll try to get a little sleep. I finally broke down and called Bubba Rom Dos. The night they threw him out of that meeting of the Circle of Eunuchs he and I went out and got totally shit-faced on 'Dirty Mothers.' After I woke up on the bathroom floor I dug a piece of paper out of the blood and the vomit and it had his phone number on it, with a note telling me I could call him any time, night or day if Gomez was closing in a little too hard and fast on me.
At the time, I didn't really take all of this Forces of Darkness stuff too seriously. But I kept the number. And tonight...I called.
We talked for several hours. In the end, he told me to go ahead and get some sleep, but to try to think of the things he had told me before letting myself drift off to sleep.
He said that holding on to an awareness of the reality of the forces at work in our world was half the battle in retaining one's balance...and sanity.
I don't know that I believe everything he said but---for right now---it beats the hell out of not knowing what to believe.
One more beer...and then it's bedtime for Bonzo.
In the distant past, Gomez and the Dark Forces worked their will through direct human contact,---religions and cults who worshipped the Evil One and who fought for Empires, and Souls. There were times when they gave the Forces of Good a serious run for their money. They gave strength and power to the rulers of World Empires who would, in turn, enforce the worship of the Evil One's idols by their subjects and offer them up for sacrifice to the Dark Ones.
Unfortunately, for them, they had a serious run of bad luck when the likes of Buddha, Jesus, Socrates and Confucius would get a grass-roots thing going that would lead to large pockets of mankind becoming more civilized and goody-two-shoes than the Evil One was happy with.
Gomez and the Dark Forces constantly found themselves losing ground to these upstarts---relegated, time and again, to fighting local battles around the world, stirring up wars in small countries, working behind the scenes through various secret societies and diverse cults. Sure, they got a few World Wars going, had some bad-asses like the Pharaohs, and Hitler, who got their symbols out front for all to see, and got some serious death and destruction happening at times over a major portion of the earth.
But it kept turning out that the Forces Of Light had the better hand, and each attempt to achieve the Final Armageddon faltered, then fizzled.
Then, shortly after the turn of the Twentieth Century, the Evil One called a Council of Darkness, and Gomez had his ass on the line. But as he stood in Judgment before the Council he envisioned a plan, which he immediately put before the Evil One, that not only pleased the Him immensely but also set in motion the most serious threat in the history of mankind to the Master Scheme to turn human beings into the crowning gem of Creation.
Gomez and the Dark Forces had always worked their will through the humans who ruled the earth, the men and women of power who controlled the lives of the people they had brought into subjection to them. They utilized the King, the Pharaoh, the High Priest and High Priestess---the wealthy, the powerful---but something had always gone wrong.
There was always some missing element, a key ingredient they lacked, that would make the difference between a 'leaner' and a 'ringer' in the Cosmic Horseshoe Match between the Master of the Universe and the Evil One.
As Gomez awaited his fate before the Council of Darkness, he thought about what had always seemed to go wrong with his plans; in particular, the serious beatings they had taken in the Ages of Buddha, Jesus, and the others. He realized that, although he had gotten good results by working with the rich and powerful, he always ended up "close, but no cigar."
And he thought about the grass-roots goody-two-shoes religions and philosophies that had spread like wildfire and kicked his ass around the face of the globe.
Then, in a flash, it came to him. The realization of what the missing ingredient was, and how he could use it as the potent weapon he needed to lead mankind by the nose into the final, blazing orgy of death and destruction that would bring us all to our knees in submission to the Evil One, bringing his Reign to fruition over the entire face of the earth.
Gomez realized that the Evil One had always enforced his edicts by the use of force and power, controlling humans by keeping them in bondage to the rich and the powerful. The Kings and leaders kept the rank and file in line with weapons and by controlling their physical survival and livelihood. The Priests kept them docile, resigned to their fate, by controlling their values and beliefs, their education and religious convictions.
But it was never quite enough. Gomez recognized that the Mighty One and his Forces of Light had always parried his thrusts by working through the ingredient he had put in humans that he had planned to be the tool for their eventual development into the crowning achievement of his physical creation.
The ability to think...and to reason.
Gomez could now clearly see that the Evil One's plan to rule through sheer force and power would never work without taking advantage of that magic ingredient that was responsible for the continued resistance of these mere mortals who dared to oppose Him time and time again.
Each time the masses were beaten into submission, brought into subjection to the will of the Evil One, a spark had ignited in some distant corner of the world and spread like smoldering coal under the surface of the earth until it leapt from the ground, becoming a blazing flame that destroyed the hard-fought gains of Gomez and the Dark Forces.
The God of Light had given human beings a mere taste of the lifeblood of the Gods and Spiritual Beings. A small gift that separated them from the rocks and the animals; a gift that let them see beyond life and death, and let them peer into the realm of the Gods. The realm of Thought and Reason.
With thought came the ability to look around them and contemplate reality. With reason came the capacity to develop and shape their own reality. With thought and reason, mankind had an opportunity to go beyond being mere pawns in the game of Creation and to control their own destiny.
When Gomez explained his new-found thoughts to the Council of Darkness, it was as if a lightning bolt had exploded the chambers into an orgy of ecstasy. They instinctively realized the import of this amazing new train of thought. They had come close to victory so many times, only to have the ultimate goal of their power and blood-lust dashed against the rocks and now, finally, the decisive weapon in their battle for mankind was in their grasp. They would combine their use of force and power with the insidious invasion of man's thought and reason, destroying his capacity for free thinking and rational thought process, leaving him defenseless for the onslaught of their preparation for the Final Battle.
The plan that Gomez proposed to the Council of Darkness has been proceeding at a pace that was beyond their wildest dreams, putting mankind in the greatest peril we have ever faced. And perhaps the greatest danger of all is that the average person walks around blissfully unaware of the dark and insidious undercurrents that envelops mankind on every side, in every facet of our lives.
Once again the Forces of Good have been forced underground, faced with incredulity and disbelief when they try to reveal to mankind that the Evil One is once again afoot in the land, making His plans for the Final Battle. The 'Circle of Eunuchs' find themselves working feverishly to rebuild a silent underground dedicated to enlightening those few that are willing to listen to the Whisper of Light that is being overwhelmed by the Roar of Darkness.
Striving to ignite in the world, one last time, that Spark of Thought and Reason that is the only hope for the Salvation of mankind---our last chance to avoid the Holocaust that will lead to the Final Annihilation of mankind's Destiny as the Crown Jewel of Physical Creation.
After the death of Jesus, when his Disciples and neophytes were persecuted by the rulers of the Roman Empire, the movement went underground, meeting in clandestine places, using secret signs, throwing a veil over the light of their activities, and a shroud over their words, so that their cryptic message would be seen and heard only by those who had eyes to see, and ears to hear.
When Hitler's dreaded SS roamed Europe wearing the Swastika, a dark reversal of the life-affirming Sun Sign of the Ancients, rounding up and massacring those who dared to keep the faith as God's Chosen, men of Thought and Reason went underground to help save and protect the persecuted, often sacrificing their own lives for the lives of others.
Now the Circle of Eunuchs discover themselves locked in a covert battle with Forces that have railed against mankind for Millenniums, facing the disbelief and terror of others in their efforts to enlighten mankind about the Evil Forces once again massing throughout the world in a chilling endeavor to bring us to our ultimate destruction.
While we sleep our way through our daily lives, in unawareness, the Movement is spreading through Secret Circles spanning the face of the globe, helping to prepare mankind for the Final Battle.
I had a conference call with Tony at FourGen and Jeff at Distribupro and we figured out that the latest problem was exactly what I had figured out two weeks ago---there is no problem. All the error messages I've been getting in the 'error log' file were referring to items that didn't apply to the 'Retail' version of FourGen software.
It seems that no one else installing the Retail version has bothered checking the error logs to see if there were any problems---so they never noticed any. And all the error messages I kept receiving were from things that applied to the Source-Code package, not to the Retail package.
So now all I have to do is to set up the program for Shelter Industries, send it up to them, and convince the Canadian Consulate that I should be allowed in the country in order to help Shelter fine-tune the program.
The last time I tried to cross the Canadian border the Customs and Immigration agents got a little bent out of shape over an obviously sick and twisted low-life such as myself attempting to infiltrate their nice, clean, middle-class country. It was December, half-way through a ravaging winter, and they were in the throes of the early stages of Cabin Fever.
Canadians, particularly in the prairie Provinces, tend to get a little weird about midway through their annual 'Attack Of The Killer Glaciers.' Lily-white skin, glazed expressions, their minds totally shot from months of staring at the flat, great-white expanse stretching out before them, mile after unforgiving mile.
I was born in the U.S., but grew up in Canada, in a quiet little Saskatchewan border town, and I've had troubles at the border, off and on, pretty much all my life. When I was fourteen I used to get drunk down in the States, miss my ride home, and walk the sixteen miles back home, sometimes pausing in my drunken stupor to pilfer the flags at both the American and Canadian checkpoints before continuing on my way. As I got older, dating the Customs Officer's daughters proved to be a major source of tribulation, since bringing daddy's little girl home too late could result in two-hour searches and having one's car impounded as a gentle reminder that when daddy says "ten o'clock," he means "ten o'clock, or die, you little weasel."
Then when I was nineteen I got busted in Yorkton, Sask., for half a joint of a green, leafy substance made by God, which at the time was considered to be a major scourge of youth (though seemingly not so major that it was felt necessary to list God as an accessory in the indictment). Since half a joint was considered quite a large quantity in a small town, farm-belt community, this event made major headlines and resulted in certain of the Customs people taking the view that I was the 'Mr. Big' they'd been looking for all these years, probably supplying a major portion of the country with every kind of narcotic known to mankind. The upside of this situation was that I would never again have to pay good money for a simple prostrate examination---all I had to do was cross the border.
A few years later, when I became the "King of Country Porno," I began having major difficulties with American Customs and Immigration on my trips back from the Great White North. I took a band laden with Texas misfits up to Western Canada on a major tour of universities and beer halls. When we came back through the U.S. border we were wearing T-shirts that said "The Blowing Snow Tour" on the front, and "CJ Parker In the Great White Snort" on the back. We had posters on the side of the trailer that said "The 'Trouble Boys'---We're 'Coming' For Your Daughters." As if that wasn't bad enough, the bass player and drummer had been hustling some young, Socialist coeds during the tour and we had tons of Socialist literature and hand-outs laying everywhere around the vehicles---printed, naturally, in bright, red ink.
The total effect was kind of like waving a hammer and sickle and screaming, "We're drug-addicted communists coming back to overthrow the government and destroy everything that decent, God-fearing Americans hold Sacred." And it probably didn't help that we had copies of my latest album on the dash---the name of my backup band on the album was "Probable Cause."
Anyway, on my last trip to the Land Of Blue Feet, it was obvious from the minute I hit the border crossing at North Portal that Canadian Customs had already decided I wasn't coming into their country, come hell or high water. They kept me sitting in a back room for four hours while they put the dogs on my car and sent an agent down from Regina, a hundred and fifty miles away, to work me over the coals. It gave me time to try to figure out why they had finally come to their senses and decided that I was 'persona non grata.
'There was a tall border guard who worked the Estevan crossing who had a hard-on for me ever since I answered the knock at his girlfriend's door---buck naked, of course. And there were the six North Portal agents I challenged to a piss-test (for substance, not distance), after my last strip search. Perhaps it wasn't wise to be standing up on the bar in their home town with my dick out, screaming in front of all their friends and family that I could pass a piss-test, but I seriously doubted that all of them could.
At any rate, they pulled a nasty trick on me and sent a female agent to interrogate me. I found myself sitting at a table across from an outstanding set of hooters, struggling like crazy to keep my mental faculties located at a point higher than belt-level. It's an old but reliable interrogation trick. They figure the more blood that's in your dick, the less you have left over for your brain functions.
It works every time.
In the end, it turned out they took offense to a small incident in Killeen, Texas, where I was charged with pulling a knife on five armed police officers. I thought it was a fair fight, but I guess they know my history and thought I should have waited for more police officers to arrive before making any trouble, just to make it even on both sides. I explained to Ms. Hooters that I got the charges reduced to a misdemeanor by threatening the judge's life, but that didn't seem to cut much ice with her.
I thought they would just cut me loose and send me back South, but then the search team came in screaming about how they had reason to believe that I had bombs and weapons in the car, and sent the dogs back out to check it over again, and sent the agents out to rip my car to shreds. Then they put me back in the room and proceeded to question me about my plan to bomb Jack Furrier's. I explained that the note they found in my belongings referred to a joke I tell on stage about how I got kicked out of my Animal Rights Activist Group for bombing the Jack Furrier Tire Center in Tucson.
There's no law against bad jokes, so they finally kicked my ass back to the States.
When I got to American Customs, they deemed it necessary to shake me down for an hour or so themselves. They put their dogs and agents on the car and took me into their 'little back room' and asked me innocuous questions about everything under the sun. Then the agent leaned across the table with a menacing look and said, "How long have you known John Hinkley?" I realized that they had come across another stage note I'd written, to the effect of John Hinkley getting a weekend pass to go Quail hunting, so naturally I replied, "We had dinner last week." It didn't go over real big, but eventually they turned me loose, as well.
So I decided to spend a couple of days in Crosby, North Dakota, and have Shelter's computer person, Kathy, drive down from Estevan for training. I used to joke that the best way to train her would be for us to take the computer and shack up in a sleazy motel room next to a liquor store for a few days. And now we were doing it.
Well, not exactly shacking up. She had a padlock on the zipper of her parka and made me leave the motel room door open so that she could make a clean break for it if I got out of hand. Dreams just never seem to be the same in real life.
So, a couple of days in Crosby, suffering the pangs and arrows of outrageous temperatures, and I'm in the car and headed south, right? Wrong. I took my car into the local Cenex/Farmers Union service station to have a block heater put in, and when I picked it up there was anti-freeze pouring out of my tailpipe like my engine was just one big goddamn water pump built specifically for that purpose. Instead of copping to the fact that maybe they have made a slight boo-boo somewhere along the line, they told me my car was a piece of shit and to go away and stop bothering them.
I took the car to another mechanic who took three days to find the problem---the Cenex boys had accidentally drilled a hole in my engine block---and now I'm waiting three weeks for a rebuilt engine coming by canoe from Oregon. And I have three weeks to stew over the fact that the Farmers Union Insurance Company is going to give me a stiff, hard one up the butt on this because they know that I'll have to drive two thousand miles in order to take them to court.
So I spent Christmas and New Years in a goddamn scum-bag motel room in Crosby, North Dakota, where the locals' idea of fine cuisine is getting an extra slice of cheese on your burger and the highlight of the weekend is on Saturday night when they drive by someone taking a leak by the side of the road, and they get to 'hoot' and honk their horn.
And I'm sitting here wondering why I'm so goddamn anxious to return up north that I'm phoning the Canadian Consulate every day, asking for an entrance exception on the grounds of permanent insanity.
Maybe it has something to do with that Swedish aerobics instructor in Estevan. Her eyes lit up when I told her I could help her stretch some muscles in places that are really hard to get at for most people, myself excluded.
Anyway, anyone named Gomez can't have much love for the cold country, so maybe I'd have fewer problems up there. He's been screwing with me big-time in Tucson, and I need a bloody rest.
" Coming down the mountain, one of many children
We had the same opinion, we had opinion...Holding it back hurts so bad, I was jumping out of my flesh...and I said,
You better cash in..." - Jane's Addicition