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Saturday, February 28, 2009
BUCK UP!
posted
11:09 PM
With Matthew Belinkie !

Tuesday, February 24, 2009
QUOTA SYSTEM
posted
9:59 PM
I guess you could make this stuff up , but why would you want to?

BEND OVER AND I'LL GIVE YOU A GOOD GAUSSIAN COPULA
posted
11:18 AM
Math: You always knew it was evil .

Friday, February 20, 2009
SATIRE
posted
10:27 PM
"The Front Fell Off", is. I should have looked for a version posted to YouTube by someone who seemed clear about that, but I was on my way out to get a haircut, so went with the first version my wife showed me.

THE FRONT FELL OFF!
posted
10:55 AM
"The environment's perfectly safe!"

Thursday, February 19, 2009
PRAWO JAZDY, DEMON SHADOW-MOTORIST OF IRELAND
posted
1:15 PM
Surpassing fine.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009
SECOND GENESIS
posted
4:54 AM
Shadow Biosphere

Sunday, February 15, 2009
AMATEUR
posted
12:00 PM
“Then send Pamela,” she said. “She understands all that. You have an army of people who understand all that. You must.”

“But that’s exactly it. Because they ‘understand all that’, they won’t find the edge. They won’t find the new. And worse, they’ll trample on it, inadvertently crush it, beneath the mediocrity inherent in professional competence. I need a virtual amateur for this. A freelancer.” And he sat back, then, and regarded her in exactly the way he’d regarded the tidy and receding ass of the Italian girl, though in this case, she knew, it had nothing at all to do with sex.

Saturday, February 14, 2009
"SINCE I LEFT YOU"
posted
1:01 PM
The Avalanches

Happy Valentines!

Friday, February 13, 2009
THE MERCENARIES OF XE
posted
9:58 PM
I always thought that that was one of Kilgore Trout's most evocative titles, myself.

Thursday, February 12, 2009
BOHEMIAN
posted
6:28 PM
“You’re a bohemian,” he said, folding the napkin and putting it on the tray, beside his plate.

“What does that mean?”

“You’ve scarcely ever had held a salaried position. You’re freelance. Have always been freelance. You’ve accumulated no real property.”

“Not entirely through want of trying,” she reminded him.

“No,” he said, but when you try, your heart’s scarcely in it. I’m a bohemian myself.”

“Hurbertus, you’re easily the richest person I’ve ever met.” This was, she suspected, perhaps not quite literally true, but anyone she’d met who might have been wealthier than Bigend had also been exceptionally dull company.

“It’s a by-product,” he said, carefully. “And one of the thing’s it’s a by-product of is my fundamental disinterest in wealth.”

And, really, she knew that she believed him, at least about that. It was true, and it did things to his capacity for risk-taking. And made him, she knew from experience, peculiarly dangerous to be around.

“My mother was a bohemian,” he said.

“Phaedra,” she remembered, somehow.

“I made her old age as comfortable as possible,” he said. “That isn’t always the case, with bohemians. Reg is quite the model of the successful bohemian, isn’t he?”

“I suppose he is.”

“He’s always working on something, Reg. Always. Always something new.” He looked at her, across the heavy silver pots. “Are you?”

And he had her, then, she knew. Looking straight into her. “No,” she said, there being nothing else really to say.

“You should be,” he said. “The secret, of course, is that it doesn’t really matter what it is. Whatever you do, because you are an artist, will bring you, however randomly, to the next thing of your own. That’s what happened the last time, isn’t it? You wrote your book.”

“But you were lying to me,” she said. “You pretended you had a magazine, and that I was writing for it.”

“I did potentially have a magazine. I had staff.”

“One person!”

“Two,” he said, “counting you.”

“I can’t work that way,” she told him. “I won’t.”

“It won’t be that way. This is entirely less…speculative.”

Wednesday, February 11, 2009
MR. FISH
posted
9:03 PM
He was the ultimate in velour robe types, and might just as well have been wearing one now, as he swept toward her through the drawing room, unknotting the trench coat’s belt as he came. He pawed its Crimean lapels open, revealing the only International Klein Blue suit she’d ever seen. He somehow managed always to give her the impression, seeing him again, that he’d grown visibly larger, though somehow without gaining any particular weight. Simply bigger. Perhaps, she thought worriedly, as if he grew somehow closer.

As he did indeed, now, breakfasting Cabineteers cringing visibly as he passed them, less in fear of his vast trailing coat and its dangerously swinging belt than out of some visceral awareness that he simply didn’t see them.

“Hollis,” he said. “You look magnificent.” She rose, to be air-kissed. Up close, he always seemed too full of blood, by several extra quarts at least. Rosy as a pig. Warmer than a normal person. Scented with some ancient European barber-splash.

“Hardly,” she said. “Look at you. Look at your suit.”

“Mr. Fish,” he said, shrugging out of the trench coat with a rattle of grenade-loops, lanyard-anchors, she didn’t know. His shirt was pale gold, the knit silk tie an almost matching shade.

“He’s very good,” she said.

“He’s dead,” said Bigend, smiling, settling himself in the armchair opposite her own.

“Dead?” She took her seat.

“I found his cutter,” he said. “In Savile Row.”

“That’s Klein blue, isn’t it?”

“Of course.”

“It looks…radioactive. In a suit.”

“It unsettles people,” he said.

“I hope you didn’t wear it for me, then.”

“Not at all.” He smiled. “I wore it because I enjoy it.”

“Coffee?”

“Black.”

She signaled to the Italian girl.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009
FOUND EMOTICONS OF THE FIRST TWO DECADES OF THE 21st CENTURY
posted
9:16 PM
We've all experienced some of these. But not not all of them. Yet. These are for quite specific emotions that haven't yet found names. Top row, third square from left, for instance, is quite frightening, though I don't think the emotion being experienced is fear. Something more visceral. Possibly terminal. Top row, fifth square from left, is simultaneous retail-lust and sticker-shock, on seeing something you really, really want, on eBay, while noting its Buy It Now price. Third row, fifth square from left, is the emotion you feel on dreaming you are Hitler (but somehow innocent, as though Hitler were an Etsy crafter who works, very tentatively, in felt). Sixth row, sixth square from right, is a very bad romantic feeling that nobody will experience until 2012. And so on.


Monday, February 09, 2009
SPECIES
posted
8:48 PM
Toweling off, applying moisturizer, she listened to BBC through an ornate bronze grate. Nothing of catastrophic import since she’d last listened, though nothing particularly positive either. Early 21st-century quotidian, death-spiral subtexts kept well down in the mix. The species of clueless motherfuckers to which she herself so fully belonged, in the end more adroit at bringing about the extinction of other species than anything else, it seemed. And now the Americans had broken capitalism, fucking with it. They’d already broken sex, according to Inchmale.

Sunday, February 08, 2009
FIFTEEN
posted
7:30 PM
“And she called him?” asked Sleight, behind the wheel of the Taurus X, from the center of a goatee he regularly trimmed with the aid of a size-adjustable guide, held between his teeth.

“She indicated she would,” Milgrim said.

“Indicated.”

They were headed inland, toward the town of Conway, through a landscape that reminded Milgrim of driving somewhere in Los Angeles that you wouldn’t really want to get to. This abundantly-laned highway, lapped by the lots of outlet malls, a Home Depot the size of a cruise ship, theme restaurants. Interstitial detritus still speaking stubbornly of maritime activity, the farming of tobacco. Fables from before the Anaheiming. Milgrim concentrated on these leftovers, finding them centering. A lot offering garden mulch. A four-store strip mall with two pawn shops. A fireworks emporium offering its own batting cage. Loans on your auto title. Serried ranks of unpainted concrete garden statuary.

“Was that a twelve step program, where you were, in Basel?” asked Sleight.

“I don’t think so,” said Milgrim, assuming Sleight was referring to how many times his blood had been changed.

More like fifteen.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009
THE GABRIEL HOUNDS
posted
10:08 PM
Milgrim, wearing the khaki trousers and Harris tweed jacket he’d bought in the Brooks Brothers in Via Vigna Nuova the week before, stood considering dog-headed angels in Gay Dolphin Gift Cove.

Their heads, rendered slightly less than three-quarter scale, appeared to have been cast from the sort of plaster once used to produce alarmingly detailed miniature busts of pirates, Mexicans, turbaned Arabs. There would almost certainly be examples of those here as well, he thought, in the most thoroughgoing trove of roadside American holiday souvenir kitsch he’d ever seen under one roof.

Their bodies, apparently humanoid under white satin and sequins, were long, Modigliani-slender, perilously upright, paws crossed piously in the manner of medieval effigies. Their wings were the wings of Christmas ornaments, though writ larger than would suit the average tree.

They were, he concluded, facing half a dozen of assorted breed, intended for purchase by those wishing to sentimentally honor a deceased pet.

Hands in trouser pockets, hoping to look casual, he swung his gaze from the dog-headed angels to the wider visual complexity of Gay Dolphin Gift Cove. He noted a great many items with Confederate-flag motifs. Mugs, magnets, ashtrays, small statuary.

He was apparently alone here, though he knew that there must be Gay Dolphin staff nearby. How old did something like this have to be, in America, to have “gay” in its name? Some small percentage of the stock, he judged, had been manufactured in Occupied Japan.

Half an hour earlier, across North Ocean Boulevard, he’d watched child-soldiers, wistfully clad in sad skateboarding outfits still showing the factory creases, haggling over Chinese-made orc-killing blades, spiked and serrated like the jaws of extinct predators. He’d wondered how many young men had had a winter afternoon in Myrtle Beach as a final treat, before shipping out for whatever theater of war. Wind, the sand of the Grand Strand, the boardwalk, the peculiarly sub-aquatic light in amusement arcades where some of the machines might be older than he was. The smell of chili-dogs. Some of Milgrim’s own angels, not the better ones, detected an ancient and deeply impacted drug-culture, down in what little was left of the carny grime of the place, interstitial and immortal. Sun-damaged skin, tattoos unreadable, eyes that peered from faces suggestive of gas-station taxidermy. Old school.

He was meeting someone here. He had no idea who, though they were supposed to be alone.

Somewhere, nearby, Oliver Sleight, the fit of whose clothes bothered Milgrim, was watching. On a website, hence on the screen of Sleight’s iPhone, was a Milgrim-cursor, generated by the funny battery they’d put in his own new phone, back in Florence. The circuitry reduced the talk time considerably, but Milgrim made, and received, very few calls.

He moved off through Gay Dolphin Gift Cove, away from the dog-headed angels in their cabinet, past articles of a more natural history. Starfish, sand dollars, sea horses, shells of all kinds and seemingly of every ocean.

BUDDY HOLLY ON THE ARTHUR MURRAY DANCE PARTY, 12/29/57
posted
6:33 PM
Peggy Sue

DUMBFOUNDED
posted
8:58 AM

The Militant Guild of Rural Tailors Research Group

Sunday, February 01, 2009
CRICKET
posted
9:46 PM
The room-phone began to ring. It was a collage, something else Inchmale dubbed steampunk. A massive, nautical-looking handset of rubber-coated bronze rested in a leather-padded cradle atop a cubical box of brass-cornered rosewood. Its ring was mechanical, and tiny, as though you were hearing an old-fashioned bicycle-bell, far off down a quiet street. She stared hard, willing it to silence.

“Intense hysteria,” she said.

It continued to ring.

Three steps and her hand was on was it.

The handset was as absurdly heavy as ever.

“Coprophagia.” Briskly, as if announcing a busy department.

“Hollis,” he said, “hello.”

She looked down at the handset, heavy as an old hammer and nearly as battered. Its thick cord, luxuriously cased in woven burgundy silk, resting against her bare forearm.

“Hollis?”

“Hello, Hubertus.”

She pictured herself driving the handset through brittle antique rosewood, crushing the aged electro-mechanical cricket within. Too late now; it had already fallen quiet.

“I saw Reg,” he said.

“I know.”

“I told him to ask you to call.”

“I didn’t,” she said.

“Good to hear your voice,” he said.

“It’s late.”

“A good night’s sleep, then,” heartily. “I’ll be by in the morning, for breakfast. We’re driving back tonight. Pamela and I.”

“Where are you?”

“Manchester.”

She saw herself taking an early cab to Paddington, the street in front of Cabinet utterly deserted. Catching the Heathrow Express. Flying somewhere. Another phone ringing, in another room. His voice.

“Manchester?”

“Norwegian black metal,” he said, flatly. She imagined Scandinavian folk-jewelry, then self-corrected: the musical genre. “Reg said I might find it interesting.”

Good for him, she thought. Inchmale’s sub-clinical level of sadism sometimes found a deserving target.

“I was planning on sleeping in,” she said, if only to be difficult. She knew now that it was going to be impossible to avoid him.

“Eleven then,” he said. “Looking forward to it.”

“Goodnight. Hubertus.”

“Goodnight.” He hung up.

She put the handset down. Careful of the hidden cricket. Not its fault.

Nor hers.

Nor even his, whatever he was.

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