Wednesday, July 23, 2008

A terrific little Book

Letterhead: Vaguely Labial
[Stockton Tunnel, Next Realm]

My one and only Collision/Stolichnaya/Sayonara/Zholtok,

I received your manuscript, Bloodied Fangs Shattered by Mine Iron Fist: A Esse Zholtok joint, and suddenly my hand is covered in sperm, or something concomitant (I cringe to think what), and since then I have put up for sale almost Everything: space maps, pentimento, virgins. On account of these changes, the three of us wrote some poems, which we enclose, and also the business card of a good dentist. You have the most beautiful fonts, and use them to lick my eyes, which I blink furiously, as I have never been very Visual. Publication, naturally, is out of the question. But just in case, how much money do you have? I loved you and only you in that movie. I want you to write your next book without clothes on. What is the longest answer you can think of? I still collect things like Economic Underdevelopment, Exploited Masses, and Extraordinary New Conditions. Don’t have your flows when you come to the Realm next, or I’ll compel you to a second spectacle of my inspirational sestinas.

Your Agent


“Drill Me, The Drain is Full of Hair”
“The Difference Between My Whole Tongue & You”
“Did You Remember to Flush?”

Sunday, July 6, 2008

I'll get you, I mean it

We might could (r)amble back up into The Future for a smidge, check in on ol' Collision. Seems the 'bag's been busy, underneath our radar, Going Thru Changes.

Tanned, rustic and uneasy under new firmament, the big fella bestrides the narrow Bay Area streets like an awkward, oft'-unhappy clod. But he's trying, in his limited way--hittin' those bricks, pressing some flesh, and continuing this late attempt to revise himself by swapping the surround. (Early returns suggest he's slumped into a rut anew, a sort of Slough of Despond retailored for the aggressively faithless. Hey, you try keeping your chin up with a belief structure characterized in the main by acceptance of limitation and scepticism re: transcendance.)

Anyways, he's a little down the moment, but yeahsure he'll befine. This is neither the hour for surrender nor an excuse for dilly-dallying!

He blew the core of his savings on a (fairly) shiny El Camino, which he can neither insure nor fuel. Nor, frightfully, can he aver its utility in tracking down that noted blogger.


The TT hunch on their haunches, gazing into a cauldron:

He jerks his head over to each side, sharply, to feel the pops before shoving chin to chest and heaving his shoulders downward. Working his jaw a bit, his lips purse to deposit a large amoeba of chew spit to the side of his boots.

This man stands to the side of a McMansion's door, an hour before dawn. It's chilly--there's dew everywhere--but he stands still, now, in a hooded sweatshirt over a woolen flannel, both with sleeves cut off. (Under those, where we can't see, is an old Iron Maiden shirt, arm-holes deeply cut.) His loins are girded with black fatigues, rolled above scarred jump boots. Part grunt, part sigh as he thrusts his hands into the hoody's marsupial pocket, pats...something, and squares himself before the door.

Splinters heave and groan as he strains each muscle and thew to make it through on the third kick.

Three kicks through a rich bitch's oak door makes a lot of noise, which is why a house apparently asleep a moment ago now disgorges three Irish Wolfhounds and two quick-stepping dudes in black suits. All five of them have studded collars of a strangely pale leather. The bipeds cradle, as they rush, sleek, stylish submachine guns, nicely complementing their sunglasses. The dogs brandish massive teeth and their sturdy frames, seemingly hewn from from something equally horse and bear.

Zholtok guesses wrong and goes first for the dogs, slide-stepping diagonally forward, dropping low and meeting the lead dog shoulder-to-shoulder. Anybody's guess whether the big man's plans might've worked, because the suits choose this moment to open fire, killing the two massive hounds nearest Zholtok. The suits are pretty good--short, controlled bursts--but they're too close together, as they discover when Zholtok takes them both down by hefting the nearest dog-corpse before him and rushing them both.

Right boot stomps hard on one man's throat as his left hand snatches a clip knife from his back pocket, then opens the blade; Zholtok sinks to a knee and shoves the blade into the second suit's eye, all in two or three barely-broken motions, and totally without looking.

Grates "Nice shoes, faggots." (Which isn't fair--they're vintage Air Force Ones, in excellent condition. Also the men's sexual habits really aren't relevant.) He hurtles up the stairs, the knife dripping viscously in his paw.

"What the fuck is this about?"

"Esse Zholtol, vampire hunter. Moderately popular series after the turn of the century. Pulp novels with strangely philosophical underpinnings...according to the back of the book, anyway."

"Hunh. Looks like Collision learns how to plot, and how to finish off a project!"

His deadly cargo joggles in its pouch, and doom surges toward the non-woman waiting regally upstairs.

"Well, most of the plots are pretty basic, and pretty recognizable, if you know Collision's tastes in fiction. He pretends that recycling that stuff is like 'sampling' and gave all these interviews about plagiarism as literary technique and all that shit, but I like genre fiction, and it's hard to see the guy as anything other than cynical, campy, patronizing, and full of shit."

"Strong words!"

"I'm a strong woman. I'll say this--his premise is pretty good. World's pretty recognizable, but there's a breed of vampires. This guy, Arturs Sandis "S.A." Zholtok doesn't know about any of this until one night he gets too drunk and under a BART bridge, he's attacked. Now, vampires are tough critters--generally, an average 'sucker should be able to overpower between five and ten humans. So it's odd that S.A. fends one off, no worse for wear despite having been taken in his cups.

The world reels around him, and he finds himself in a cave, near a pool of bubbling...something. Something that glows (greenish and eldritch, duh) and hums (lowly, like the rapid beating of a house-sized heart). Still he's got a weakly-twitching vamp by the neck. Gravity and the laws of visual perspective are both hella odd in that cavern.

The pool starts talking. It explains that its task, since the 'lutionary appearance of humankind, has been to usher souls from failed bodies into some sort of Next Realm, about which vanishingly little is said, but it's presented as a good thing, all in all. Pool goes on: vampires, with the thing where they feed on bloodsouls, prevent souls from attaining this transit. Over time, this has gotten to be a Big Deal, as the flow has slowed, and the pool is starving."

"This sounds vaguely familiar."

"Yeah, guy's a hack. So the pool tells SA that he can get powered-up and Go Forth to Kill Vampires, freeing their stolen bloodsoul-food to attain that Next Realm. Zholtok digs the program, learns the necessary ritual, and is On His Way.

The kinda cool part is the contrast between Zholtok and the vamps. Vamps tend to be stereotypical rich Euro-trash types--"

"Elites as parasites?"

"Totes. An' ol' SA, he's this huge shitkicker white-trash loser prick. Who essentially preys on vamps in the proportion in which they prey on humans."

"So he's a match for five or ten of them?"

"Yup. So the vamps are cheesed off, cuz not only is this guy kicking the shit out of them, but he's just tacky."

"Sounds awful."

"Well, the guy watched a lot of tv."

never get off the boat

While talking about small numbers of hard men on large boats, it is important not to be taken as talking about that wide world; I do not establish some correspondence, I reject Plato's manuvers--the making large of the small, the whole putting-things-in-caves bit. I don't want any thinking about 'oh, things happen on this boat like they do in the world'. No. Things in the world. Happen. Like they do on the boat.

People like to have sex. If you bring together a bunch of people together, in the absence of people they'd perhaps rather ordinarily be sexing up, sex is still going to be happening. But not on the Carpet-Bag! And not because of any authorial squeamishness, either...believe me, I got pig-friggin' reams of slash about Sayonara and Trelawney, and I'm looking for a likely-enough slot in the structure to feature same; it's just that aboard ship, the circumspect and shy aspects of their personalities wax. About the closest they come is a Wide berth around the bathrooms and the sack time, in order to offer masturbation with both maximum discretion and plausible deniability. On both sides.


You get, right, that there's no running water aboard the Spouter-Inn? Such bathing as happens involves the clean ashes of a dung fire, but in the main it's just two unyoung men well-adapted to the grime regime and its requirements. Contributes to a not-unpleasing bandity sort of a look, and an absolute rebuke to those childhood photos featuring sweater-vests.


Problem with history, or anyways "history", is how most folks still buy this notion progress. Most history is sort of a cod history, a bluffer's guide, and like all ideologies, history's just a handle bolted onto the world so's life can be made intelligible enough to bear. There's this paradox--you look at each individual things as it passes through time, and sure looks like that thing gets worse. 9 things outta 10, 'nyway.

So how overall are people thinking things (in gen'ral, as a (w)hole) is getting better?

The particular thing at hand what degraded over time is this tune Collision's humming (pretty well) as he assembles for his agent the manuscript for Bloodied Fangs Shattered by Mine Iron Fist: A Esse Zholtok joint. The tune used to be a delightful shanty once sung by Billy Trelawney--now the only words Collision "knows" are the chorus, which he renders as:
"I like my testicles
hey hey hey
I like my testicles" (& so on...)


An Original POEM
by that noted blogger...

To my pupil, Otis,

I take leave of my life.
My footsteps carry me
like clouds upon wind,
drifting in the pale light of the dawning day...
I go in search of adventure.

A poet who don't know it.


Four (4) books published under pseudonyms, determined to have been written by members of the Thorn Triad by that noted blogger:
Be the Girl All Guys Want
Understanding Men
Pick up Hot Women Nightly



The escape artist is anti-christian; maybe supra-xian. Xns posit enduring this world and recieving (maybe) a greater reward in a different world, later. Transcendance with time. Escape artists posit transcending right now--poof! No more chains! Here I am--here. It's me. (Not a soul, not an angel.) And I'm existing my ass off in this world of yours with its locks and its chains, but totally on my own mother-jumping terms.

You want to understand the trick?


Chains and locks can be escaped. That's the trick.

(The real trick is from their side: the claim that the locks, fences, clubs, chains and whatever are what has the power in this world.)


Dressing For Adventure:
Now, then, always &c

Men of a certain cast form relationships of various kinds with mere objects, you'd be surprised. Chris Collision spends a great deal of pleasant time wearing Ben Davis work pants--despite disliking their look*--in large measure because:
With zero effort You Can put the following things in the pockets without really bulging or sagging or looking like a jack-ass:

Front Left:

Cellular Telephone

Steel Ring for Pantleg (to keep unsnagg'd from Bike Chain)

Front Right:


.mp3 Player; earbud headphones

Marks-A-Lot marker

Benchmade knife

Back Left:


Can of Chewing Tobacco

Keys (multifarious)

Back Right:


And scattered around, according to whim, maybe a bike's front light, a pair of riding gloves, some cash, etc.

Nor is it uncommon for Collision to mount carrying pouches upon his leather belt, with a multitool, maybe a flashlight. And naturally he'd disdain leaving the house without his large bike bag--known to the ancient Enthusiasts of the Inscrutable as a Bag of Tricks.

Beat Sayonara girds his loins with a similar amount, though modulo the better part of a century's difference in the nature of the tools. No multitool nor clip knife for Charles, but a fixed-blade knife at his belt and a buck-knife in his pocket. Ansible key. The proverbial ass pocket of whiskey, married with a flask of straight gin. Couple stubs of pencil, sheafs of paper.

It would occur to neither man to carry any condom.

Don't infer that the obvious organizational challenge in/of change has much to do with why these men tend to strap on their trousers and keep them on, baby. Their own home oppositional subcultures positively value dirtiness, and a certain degree of simplicity: while both men retain vast quantities of information frozen into various media, otherwise their respective belongings'd fit comfortably in a hatchback.

*The cut is okay, baggy but stiff enough to avoid shapelessness; the fabric pills horribly after each laundering, unlike the similar Dickies brand, but the big problem is the line of the front pockets, which sports a curve Collision finds simultaneously fruity and vaguely labial.

**Another of Collision's staunchest brand loyalties. Stronger even than Adidas or Sega. Like unto Nintendo or Coca-Cola (Diet).

***Stolichnaya favors leather(n) pants, so pockets aren't really his thing. His Adventure Gear leans toward cunning little boxes stashed in the folds of his poety, piratic(al) shirts and bulky leather(n) belts with integrated pockets. The boxes thing he picked up in Japan, reining in ronin, freelancing for sundry constabularies; the belt thing is why he's known in certain circles as the Father of the Fanny Pack.

He also has little pockets in his hat and in some of his gaily-patterned scarves. Scarfs? Scarves.


between Charles Stolichnaya and Rose [sic] Selavy

"Yrs is a bachelor's position."

"Come again?"

"You have any kids?"


"See? Invest in the future, only then roll back unto me with your valentines to risk & uncertainty. You claim to fight the o'erweeningly powerful? You yrselves have a lot of power...which you (would) oppose to ours, which seeks only to protect everybody. Including the absolutely powerless, those you neither know nor care about. Those you'd abandon to their own."

"Protect? Or control?"

"One needs must control those who know not what they do."

"Prett' much ever'body, by yr lahts..."

(Stolichnaya has a sharpish drawl--a tall corn twang, vowels curving and cutting like a scimitar--on occasion. Tired, or dead drunk, sometimes for effect.)

"I would take away yr car keys. I would lock you in the rumpus room to keep you from driving drunk. I will repress the irresponsible for the favor of the vulnerable..."


Stolichnaya uses an ancient incantation, taught him by O-Brien some years back--
"what makes a bullet fly in a straight line?
why are people so unkind?"

His mind thus opened to the living information of the universe, he's immedately buffeted by a couple inconsequential recent facts:
Isn't it a little early for the pipe?
Did you learn your lesson?

But he's on his way to What He Wants to Know.


Back in the Day, Charles Stolichnaya came up as a jack-ass. He never did get down with the safety--his allegiance lay with the ordinary until well after his death. (Bike riders are always on the bleeding edge of Dressing for Adventure.) His enthusiasm for the velocipede drew him, with a kind of lugubrious inexorability, into the Enthusiasts of the Inscrutable and their Big Doings. Never mind exactly how, cowboy.

Probably Collision won't get to traipse a similar path. Poor fucker.


A Scene: Collision attempts to Help Billy Trelawney Fix their Gainly Airship.

"Geet the fuuck away from my lug-nuts with those pliers, Sayonara."


[from an interview with Chris Collision in 2022, months before he shot himself]

"Here's the deal, sparklehorse--vampires are real. And these books are barely ficdtion. I gussy 'em up a little, foreground the pussy and the punching, but Esse is me, the vampires are that noted blogger."


"Nevermind. Lemme explain a different way. I carried this around in my wallet for 13 years."

SF Chronicle, 3jun2008, B2.

"One case that intrigued authorities involved a prostitution ring that specialized in underage girls and allegedly catered to influential civic leaders.

Garnier was one of the officers assigned to do surveillance of the brothel on the edge of the Mission District."

(Garnier was shot, off-duty, but an AMT .380-caliber semi-automatic pistol, once in the temple, once in the right side.)

"These underagers? Permanently underage, if you get my drift. They preyed on those 'civic leaders' to secure their own power and wealth. Garnier shot two of the vamps the night of the famous raid, and was killed for it by an Internal Affairs officer, herself a vampire. And everybody knows it!"

"How come you're not targeted for exposing this?"

"Who says I haven't been? Like I said, tho', Esse's me...and we're a couple robust hombres."