Like a knight in shining armor….

Recently, Manny Furious had made an 80s playlist with a bunch of corny 80s love songs, because people apparently do get lame as they get older.

Anyway, should’ve seen the faces on the Cholos chilling outside of Adolfo’s Mexican Restaurant as he drove up with Peter Cetera’s, “Glory of Love” blasting from his red, cancer-ridden Nissan Rogue.

He tried to tell them the song was from the Karate Kid part 2 soundtrack, but the significance of which was visibly lost on them.

Robber Che, Part 1….

Beyond her masterful thieving, Robber Chè was also well-known in and around the greater Rio Frio area for her weekly proselytizing in Franklin Park.

See, sometime in her youth, if she ever even had one, she had learned that some of the ancient Greek philosophers would simply philosophize in parks or promenades or other public places. Later in life, this knowledge would leave an overpowering impression on her, and when the time came for her to spread whatever stupid message she thought should be spread, she decided against the more traditional means of, say, writing books, making youtube videos or creating her own religion, and simply strolled over to the nearest park and began talking to no one in particular. The hope on her end, as far as anyone could tell, was that a jogger jogging by or a child coming down the slide or a teenager making his way to the skate park would overhear something she said and start debating with her.

That never happened, of course. Most kids and adults were afraid of this masked fiend and well-known master thief who was standing in the middle of the park cursing too much and talking about the virtues of being “unsuccessful” in life and the joys of being content with things that were “just alright.”

“The only people who ever hurt other people in mass were people who were just trying to be more successful. Wall Street, for instance. Look at those fuckers. What if Hitler or Pol Pot or Idi Amin had been less ambitious?” She would say things like that. And most people would ignore her and go through extreme measures to avoid making eye contact with her, even though Robber Chè was anything but aggressive.

A small minority found her “interesting” or “provocative” and they would listen to her proselytize from a safe distance, never actually giving her declarations much thought because those declarations were, quite simply, scary for most people. They went against everything the polite society and culture of early 21st century America held dear.

At one point, several months after she started her weekly philosophical dalliances in the park, a reporter from the local newspaper approached her about doing a story. Robber Chè called him a “dumb fuck” and insisted he wouldn’t understand her, Robber Chè’s, motivations and would misrepresent her and her ideas to the rest of the town, but in the end she decided to give the reporter several minutes of his time, because, in her words, “fuck it, why not?”

At one point in the interview, because the reporter was a consumer of contemporary alternative forms of spirituality, often referred to as “New Age” and heavily influenced by “the Orient,” talk turned to Robber Chè’s views about that sort of thing.

Robber Chè responded: “You have all these pasty-skinned, skinny, weak little white boys who shave their heads, give themselves some idiotic Asian name, play dress up with some robes and speak in their soft little voices about ‘enlightenment’ and ‘ego’ and’illusions’ and ‘love’ and ‘mindfulness’ and the ‘present moment’ and’consciousness’ and ‘the truth of who you are’ and so on and so forth with no end in sight.

“These motherfuckers all look and sound like child molesters and should give anyone with any sense a serious case of the heebie-jeebies. Instead, people flock to them, throwing their hard-earned, limited money at them for some vague promise of spiritual maturation. But liberation is free for anyone who isn’t a hungry ghost. And it’s already been achieved, only we’re all too stupid to realize it. There’s nothing to sell. So if someone is trying to sell something, they are deceiving you. Only a fuckhole of a fool would pay for something that doesn’t exist. It’s like buying unicorns.

“There is no illusion, no hypnosis beyond that of language itself. All of this bullshit, this talk of so-called enlightenment, of mindfulness, of love, the present fucking moment–it’s all nonsense. It doesn’t mean a lick of anything and doesn’t help anyone learn to live life without going mad. In fact, it just creates more pain, more suffering through confusion. All this talk, all this language is good for only that: confusion. And confusion is the source of all the scourges of the human mind.

“Enlightenment is a joke. It’s a fool’s game. It was created for the simple fact that people could realize that it was a lie. Realizing enlightenment is a joke is enlightenment. If you want enlightenment, go smell a flower. Go pray to your God under the cherry blossoms while you still can. Make love to someone beautiful or ugly, but do it with all your might. Murder some pussy. Your own or someone else’s–with their permission of course. Take your kid to the park and smile. Play a game of monopoly. Do a picnic, or a barbecue. Invite some friends over to watch a football game. Build a snowman. Jump on a trampoline. Do whatever it is that makes you forget yourself and makes you laugh–but really laugh, something that makes you laugh with the entirety of your being, because when you laugh with your whole being, the universe laughs with you. And stop pretending that there is anything more to the world than this.

“Money, fame, success, it impedes the flow of life. When’s the last time you saw Dick Cheney smile in a way that didn’t come across as forced and or perverse? When’s the last time Obama could literally just sit down and relax, take a load off without thinking of his next move, or of an enemy’s next move? When’s the last time Ben Bernake was capable of simply enjoying being in the presence of another human being, without wondering what he could get out of them, without wondering what that person could offer him? When’s the last time a famous athlete smiled after a loss, simply because he enjoyed playing a game? When’s the last time a famous musician had fun at a party without drugs? Why is Sean Penn such a dick?

“We look up to these kinds of people, because the things we want are precisely the things that make us miserable. And worst of all are those ‘Christians’ (editor’s note: air quoted) who perpetuate the myth of the ‘abundance gospel.’ Jesus was a poor fellow and was beautiful and righteous because of it. How one can spin his words in such a way is at once awe-inspiring and emetic.”

“And what, exactly, are you trying to convince people to do?” asked the journalist.

“I don’t want to convince them of anything. I’m just as dumb and uncouth as the next person. I just want someone to discuss things with. Bounce ideas off of. Learn from.”

When the article ran in the paper the next day, the headline stated, “Park ‘Prophet’ demands others to murder some p***sy” sub-headline ran, thus: “criticizes the most successful among us.” Among various dubious claims, the story called Robber Chè a foul-mouthed communist, a cynic, a misanthrope who opposed literacy, an “anti-American hate-monger” and took cheap shots at her name (Robber), profession (Robber) and appearance (masked). The story also took thinly veiled shots at Robber Chè’s gender, presumably because the author didn’t realize Robber Che was a woman. They article remarked on “his” “thin, alto, lispy voice” and the “fragile posture” of “his” “deceptively feminine frame.”

Quotes from Robber Chè were typically paraphrased and included the following:

Only a fool would pay a fee to pursue spiritual growth.”

“White spiritual leaders are always weak and deceitful and fond of pederasty… and white.”

“Jesus wants everyone to be poor and suffer.”

“The rich are evil.”

“Wearing robes is for white people who need tans.”

Cleansing the third eye…

Sometime in his mid-20s, after being fired as a “Pizza Auteur” at a “Postmodern Pizza” franchise in some god-forsaken, dismal, grim suburban hellscape at the fringes of the San Diego metropolitan area, El Crow saw on TV a man with a tattoo that said, “Playing it safe kills your soul.” The man was good looking, well-built, adventurous. El Crow figured the man probably had little trouble getting laid so he immediately came to idolize the man. He took the message of the tattoo to heart. He immediately signed up for four credit cards and went out and maxed them all out by buying a beachwater blue Acura Integra, “gambling” (i.e. paying for prostitutes) in Vegas, purchasing three unused Sega Saturns and every game ever made for the console for his video game “museum,” and buying enough Tom’s Hot Fries and cream soda to last him a year.

At that time, El Crow was unemployed and not looking for work. The debt collectors were soon on his tail, but what were they going to do? They couldn’t garnish any wages, and, after he left California and moved back to Rio Frio, it was doubtful they even knew where he was. Who knows how hard they were even after him? Thirty thousand dollars’ worth of debt seems like a lot until you realize that’s only like a quarter of what your typical college graduate owes.

“Not maxing out all of my credit cards would’ve been playing it safe, Furious,” he told Manny Furious.

“Did you at least get laid?” Furious asked in return.

El Crow remained silent for a moment too long. And in that moment Furious could literally feel El Crow’s brain waves skitter through the Ether as he tried to think of ways to avoid answering the question.

“I, uh,” El Crow said finally. “I, uh, went gambling. Like I said.”

REUNIFYING WITH THE SOURCE OF ALL BEING….

Manny Furious had decided he was going to “reunify himself with the source of all being.”

Manny Furious had just turned 35 and wanted to die.

Well, maybe “want” isn’t the exact, most accurate word there. He decided to die. He decided that 35 was as good an age as any to kick the bucket. It was all downhill from here, after all. How much longer could his strength, speed, stamina, reflexes, sex drive and non-grayed hair keep this up? Not much longer. He was getting old, and he was loathe to consider, much less experience, whatever it was Time had coming for him.

He weighed the options of either wiping his ass, jumping in the shower and continuing on with a day filled with meaningless, superfluous, existentially gratuitous chores and interactions imposed on him by a mean, dumb, greedy society, versus the cool, calming, sweet embrace of annihilation.

So, he chose annihilation. But carrying out suicide proved to be problematic. He lived in the town of Rio Frio, CO where the tallest building within a hundred mile radius was a 6-story dormitory on the college campus. People have a tendency to survive those kinds of falls only to live the rest of their lives eating dinner out of a straw and speaking through robots, and, really, this was the exact kind of fate he was hoping to avoid by killing himself. Plus, it seemed like one of those things that, even if he like drove to Denver (the nearest city) and jumped from a skyscraper, he’d just regret the whole thing halfway down, but by then it would obviously be too late and he’d spend the rest of the fall hating myself for choosing this for himself.

Slitting his wrist? Jesus. What kind of fucking nightmare would that be? Pain. Blood.  Just a generally sloppy situation. Can you imagine him sitting there, in a tub, bleeding for like 45 minutes or whatever? Jesus. Talk about having time to sit and reflect on and regret what he’d done.  He may as well throw myself in river full of starved piranhas or give myself a case of “the AIDS.” The other problem was he could never remember in which direction to make the cuts. Was it vertical or horizontal? Again, with his luck, he’d cut the wrong way and he’d survive the ordeal only to live a life sans whatever modicum of dignity he had left. People would look at him and see only a person who had attempted suicide and failed even at that.

Overdosing on pills seemed like a viable option. Swallow a handful of Quaaludes and go to sleep. Not much time or opportunity to regret anything with that method.  But how’d you get your hands on some Quaaludes? Did you simply go to the doctor and lie about your symptoms? What if he prescribed something else? Do they even prescribe Quaaludes anymore? He could’ve shot some smack, he supposed. That was easy to get your hands on, but that seemed somehow beneath him. Besides, puncturing himself with a needle was far too icky, and you wanted to kill yourself as easily as possible, with as little chance of ineptitude as possible. If nothing else, it was all just too much effort.

That left shooting himself. Simple, probably mostly painless as long as you don’t bumble that mostly easy task. It has been done before, though– people have shot themselves and survived. However, you can rectify any risk by using the biggest fucking gun you can find and sticking the proper end of the barrel in your mouth, aiming upwards toward your palate, where the bullet or buckshot will enter your brain with such force that the entire top two-thirds of your skull will evaporate into several pounds of gray mist instantaneously. Lord knows getting a gun is easy enough, and in rural Colorado, getting your hands on a shotgun the size of a dinosaur is as easy as getting someone to loan you a hammer.

That would just kill his mother, though. Literally. Losing both of her parents, two lovers–including Manny Furious’ father, Roland Furious– and a son as a capstone to such suffering, would kill her. She’d simply lose the Will To Live. She’d be lying on the couch watching some Lifetime movie about some chick from some well-to-do family in Alabama who, out of boredom and  some misplaced sense of self-pity caused by an emotionally remote father, turns to prostitution, gets pregnant and has the baby—a cute-but-obviously-helpless boy named Noah—taken from her by her charming but manipulating pimp, Merlin, who sells the baby on the black market to a rich, sterile couple from Boston who had all the best intentions but who also had no idea what kind of moral and spiritual abyss they actually had gotten themselves sucked into. Furious’s mother would be watching that shit and then she’d just simply run out of The Life Force. Then his karma would be compromised wholly. The negative energy of his suicide and its repercussions would permeate The Universe causing untold levels of grief and suffering which in turn would lead to even more pain and grief and since we’re all really “One” it’s all really Furious’s own pain and suffering caused by his own choices and so everything’s his fault because he murdered myself.

He didn’t want any of THAT on his karma.          

So he wasn’t going to kill himself, but what else was there?

“Well,” he thought to himself. “What now?”

PLAYING A GAME OF GO AT THE END OF THE WORLD….

It was early autumn when the mutant child had been born at the Rio Frio Valley Medical Center in Rio Frio, CO.  With its four extra arms, two extra feet and two extra eyes, Artemus Magnussen had declared the child the reincarnation of the mythic apocalyptic Buddha, Maitreya. Of course, Magnussen got his Buddhas confused, as Maitreya is not purported to have an abundance of extremities or eyes. Instead, he was thinking of Avalokitsvara, a Bodhisattva with a thousand arms and a thousand eyes who can touch and see deep into the spiritual core of all living beings. However, the Avalokitsvara legend coming to life would not sell as many books as the Maitreya one, so he decided to simply assert that Maitreya had been reborn and the Universe was on the verge of utter and redemptive annihilation. And so hundreds of his followers had converged into the town of Rio Frio with no plan or direction other than being angry and volatile, and with an inarticulate desire to make a lot of noise. Some of them thought they might try to kill the mutant child in order to prevent the end of times. But, for the most part, a general, mobbish hissy-fit just sounded like a good idea to most of them.

Through some kind of act of bureaucratic nihilism, El Crow had gotten a position as a  “pilot” with the Rio Frio Valley Medical Center. His friend, Manny Furious, who also worked at the hospital had gotten him the job. A pilot was just a secretary who only did two of the secretary’s typically numerous duties–he sat at the front desk and greeted incoming patients, clients and customers, and then, having ascertained the purpose of their visit, would literally point them in whatever direction they needed to go. That was all. And for completing those two duties with a decidedly modest competence, he was paid 1.5 times more than the actual secretaries.

The Powers That Be within the hospital’s fatalistic bureaucracy had determined that the Medical Center needed several of these “pilots” to increase “efficiency” even at the cost of well over six figures to employ these assholes.

Several days after the birth of the mutant, El Crow was sitting at the front desk of the east wing of the hospital and  playing a game of Go with his friend, Pedolo–a man of obscure Eastern European origin who spoke with a thick accent in a high pitched meow and who also just happened to have a sentient head wound on the top of his skull that spoke with a more masculine tenor of the same accent.  The two (three?) had learned the game from an old Asian man who worked–usually drunk or hungover– at the deli at the local Safeway who went by the name of Ji Gong and who insisted he was the very Ji Gong of Chinese legend. Neither El Crow nor Pedolo (nor the sentient head wound) were certain that the man was even Chinese, but they weren’t sure it even mattered.

Anyhow, Magnussen’s disciples had convalesced into a vulgar, foul-smelling mob in the hospital’s parking lot, demanding…well, again, they didn’t know what they were demanding. They were simply mad, both emotionally and psychologically. Again, a few of them managed half-certain demands of access to the child so that they could murder it, but they couldn’t have actually expected their demands to be met. Could they?

 …Considering the scene outside, Pedolo’s sentient head wound had just declared to El Crow its intentions to become an avowed nihilist.

“Nothing matters,” the head wound whined.

“Yes,” said El Crow. “Including your bullshit fucking decision.”

“Exactly.”

“You know,” El Crow continued, while awaiting Pedolo to make a move on the playing board. “I would bask much more enthusiastically in the downfall of the Christian tradition if it hadn’t been at least partially attributable to a handful of po-faced, smug, miserable German assholes.”

At that moment, historical black and white mug shots of Hegel, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche and Uwe Boll all strobed through his mind and he visibly winced.

Pedolo shrugged. While his sentient head wound seemed to grasp El Crow’s allusion, it was almost certainly above Pedolo’s head. Pedolo was wearing a patient’s hospital gown. Because of his condition he was something of a regular resident of the hospital. Not because of the head wound, per se, but because of a much more complex and mysterious condition whence the sentient head wound was a mere manifestation of.

Pedolo, who was playing white in the game, finally made a move. El Crow couldn’t tell if it was a skillful move or not because Ji Gong had only taught them how to play, but hadn’t bothered to teach them any of the intricacies of strategy or in-game tactics. El Crow began to ponder his own move now.

“Why do you try so hard?” asked the sentient head wound.

El Crow didn’t respond.

“You know, it doesn’t mean anything if you lose to Pedolo,” the head wound said.

“I know. You’re a nihilist now,” said El Crow.

“No. I just mean that it doesn’t mean you’re dumber than him or anything. There are people much dumber than you are who are much better than you at this game. There are also people much smarter than you whom you could probably beat. It’s just a game. It doesn’t say anything about you as a person.”

El Crow shrugged it off.

At that moment, a black SWAT team van the size of a small aircraft carrier, and just as well armed, crash-landed into the mob outside, hitting its breaks hard and squealing like a boor in mid-labor. Military-grade SWAT team members dressed in black body armor and carrying big, black sticks, began to beat the shit out of all of Magnussen’s followers, who shrieked in horrible sounds of pure terror and pain. A smoke bomb had gone off somewhere and El Crow, Pedolo and Pedolo’s head wound observed the chaos flickering through the streams of gray, choking gas.

“The ER’s going to be busy,” mused the sentient head wound.

El Crow and Pedolo both nodded as El Crow made his next move.

THE ADVENT OF THE WORD VIRUS ACCORDING TO DIPSHIT EXTRAORDINAIRE ARTEMUS MAGNUSSEN….

According to Artemis Magnussen, in his book, Dispatches from the Dionysian Desert, the word virus was created by the Evenians, a species of Adamans from the planet Edenia in the galaxy Genisia, which is an old galaxy, even by galactic standards.

Before the advent of the virus, the Evenians communicated in a way that you, the reader, would never be able to understand. It was almost as if they simply willed information to each other. But it’s much deeper and much more profound than that. See, because the Evenians didn’t have language (no lifeforms–particularly those which would now be identified as “intelligent”– in the universe had communicated through language before the existence of the virus), they had not yet divided the universe into distinct, separate, disparate entities. The universe simply was, as it is. There was no “space,” there was no “time.” There was no “you,” there was no “me.” The entirety of “existence” (which also didn’t really exist, in the way we understand it) simply existed. It was an eternal “wave” of “life” and “love” and “transformation” and “death.” Generally, existence as it was “pleasurable” in a simply “contented” sort of way, although there were no words or ideas to describe this state.

Because there existed no language to distinguish between the “past,” “present,” and “future” the Evenians existed in an eternal now where they could view the entirety of their lives, from birth to death and everything in between, “now.” And because there was no language to differentiate between “me” and “everything else” the Evenians could, to some extent, view the life and death of the entire Universe. They could experience the entire history of their civilization. They could even experience the moment they created the word virus and all the terrible havoc and beautiful poetry it immediately wrought. And all of it happened “now,” wholly spontaneously and without conflict. Because there was only an unaware “now” they were essentially immortal and lived in a heavenly state.

…Until they created the word virus.

They created it simply because they could. Because they, as creatures, were expressions of the Universe that existed just so the Universe could create. Before the advent of the virus, they could see all, but it was precisely because it was created that they were powerless to stop it, because the virus spread like a bad idea and suddenly “I” was “separate” from “you,” and “I” was “separate” from “my” “environment.” And “everything” “out there” was “against” “me” and every living “intelligent” creature was soon under the illusion that the universe was a cruel, mean, hateful place and, in turn, every intelligent creature conducted cruel, mean, hateful acts to protect the illusion of them “selves” from everything “else.”

The Evenians themselves were the first to fall “victim” to the virus. And the group that for all eternity had seen all and been all, suddenly became alienated from that very eternity. And, as the virus took hold, and as the species continued to get sicker, the symptoms of the virus– fear and paranoia– began to take hold. And the Evenians gazed upon the universe, and found it nefarious and antagonistic to their own selves and soon they unleashed the word virus on the entire universe in an effort to “protect” themselves.

From planet to planet, from galaxy to galaxy it spread, infecting only those species of life whose brains and nervous systems were similar to the Evenians and, therefore, whose brains and nervous systems were especially vulnerable to the virus. Until one day, billions of years later, the virus landed on the planet we now know as “Earth” and found shelter in the brains and nervous systems of what we call “homo-sapiens.”

Paradise Lost

Outside of Spacetime nonexists The Abyss.

For Perfect Eternity, it nonexists in Absolute Tranquility.

…Until…

A non-moment. A non-rumbling. Perhaps a non-trembling.

…An IMPULSE…

“What the hell is this?”

“It’s Is-ing.”

“What? Who the hell are you?”

“I am the maker and destroyer of worlds.”

“What the hell is this?”

“I told you. It’s is-ing.”

“I heard you. But what is this? What are we doing?”

“We’re communicating.”

“What the fuck is ‘communicating?’ And what the hell are you? What am I?”

“Your Perfect Tranquility has been disturbed. Now you have to deal with me. There’s you over there. And me over here. In order to deal with each other, we have to communicate.”

“Or else?”

“Or else we’ll be lonely.”

“None of this makes any sense. What is ‘sense?’ WHO ARE YOU?”

“I told you, I am the maker and destroyer of worlds. I am the creative IMPULSE. I am EXISTENCE.”

“And who am I?”

“You are THE VOID. Through you all things are possible. You are NON-EXISTENCE.”

“Is that what I call you, then? EXISTENCE?”

“No. I don’t like that. It’s missing something. It doesn’t cover it all.”

“What do you mean it doesn’t cover it all? You’re EXISTENCE. All I see before me is you. Like that over there. What is that?”

“That’s Spacetime.”

“See– That’s you. What about that happening in Spacetime?”

“Energy and, well…yeah, now there’s matter too.”

“See all of that is you too. All that mess that wasn’t here before. You’re everything. What more could you want?”

“There’s a Mystery to me, though, isn’t there? Not even you know how I happened. EXISTENCE doesn’t quite capture the profound MYSTERY that is me does it?”

“No. I suppose not. What should I call you then?”

“Call me….”

“…”

“…”

“…”

“…”

“…”

“…”

“…”

“LOVE.”

“LOVE. I like that. The maker and destroyer of worlds.”

“It captures it all a little bit better doesn’t it?”

“About as close a thing can get, anyway. What thing is this by the way?”

This is language. It’s an illusion. You and I are really one and the same in NONEXISTENCE. It’s this language that makes us feel different.”

“Hmm…. Hey, Love, what’s that over there now?”

“Those are universes and galaxies and planets and all that.”

“And all those luminous beings?”

“Consciousness. Life.”

“What’s that for?”

You know me. You experience me and I you. They’re how I experience myself.”

“Hmmm. Ok. They seem happy.”

“Well, that’s only because they haven’t yet discovered…. Shit. Well never mind. The Adamans over there just created the language virus. There goes that universe.”

“Yeah, much of that– what’d you call it?– life seems much less tranquil. And that lack of tranquility is spreading rather quickly.”

“That’s where the language virus is spreading.”

“That’s terrible.”

“That’s just me too. Remember: ‘the maker and destroyer of worlds.'”

“Yeah, I get it.” 

“Eh, the language just makes it a little more difficult to experience myself as directly. They’re all on an adventure now. Try to look at it that way.”

“Not all of life is up for adventure.”

“Probably most of it isn’t.”

 “That’s pretty shitty of you.”

“Eh. I’m harming no one but myself.”

“They don’t know that.”

“Some of them will. And they will awaken from the dream. And they will experience–“

“Hey, what is that?”

“Ecstasy.”

“That looks fun.”

“It’s all me, dear. It’s all Love. Get it now?”

“No. Not even I get it.”

“Think back to before I came along. Before we started talking.”

“Ok.”

“Make sense now?”

“…”

“…”

“…”

“…”

“…Yes. Yes it does. Love– you little devil.”