In my industry I meet a lot of preposterously rich people, and accordingly a lot of trophy wives, and let me tell you, the kinds of trophy wives rich people from certain jobs and certain countries choose is amazing and mind bogglingly cliche.
"Nicholas Meyer killing Spock at the end of Wrath Of Khan works, because the characters, and the movie itself, treat it as real. Contrast that with the cowardly handling of Kirk’s “death” in Star Trek Into Darkness, with J.J. Abrams and crew milking the moment for fake emotion while desperately foreshadowing that everything’s going to be okay. For Abrams and his writers, death is little more than a screenwriter’s tool to evoke emotion, and that cavalier attitude toward one of the universal human experiences makes everything about his film feel hollow.”
I’ve been thinking about grief a lot lately, but this also reminded me that Into Darkness was really shitty and exploitative and Wrath Of Khan is one of the finest science fiction movies ever made. YEAH THAT’S RIGHT I PROCESS ALL MY FEELINGS THROUGH ART YOU WANNA FIGHT ABOUT IT
I scramble backwards on the dry, harsh surface of the desert. The ram’s skull seems to descend on me as if from on high. The sky itself seems to be making a slow, keening wail. From the pocket of his rob, the skull faced man brings out a human hand trailing bloody gobbets from the wrist. Blood is dried in the lines and calluses.
"The new smartphones," the skull says. "Biological. Imprinted in the dna, tiny smartphones, calling for evolution."
Trying to stand, I fall backwards on the alkaloid pan of the ground. I’m trying to say something, but it’s been days since my last sip of water. Years. Whatever overtook California, what cataclysm, the impossible event, seems to surround us now. The skull comes closer, waving the hand in my face.
"We’re thinking about upgrades," the skull says, cheerfully rasping. The wind begins to blow huge clouds of dust around us, stinging my eyes. Particles of the past that have been blown apart fill the air. "Soon everything left living will be a smartphone, calling each other. Interconnected. You will hear the voices of your loved ones and friends and enemies as one. Everyone will be the ghost in the machine. The god in the machine."
I close my eyes. The skull keeps talking, a business proposal lasting the rest of the human race. Around us, the sky and land choke with screaming dust.
I reach the way station, exhausted. The events that destroyed California are behind me, barely. Lone survivor. It all came closing in. Economic collapse was only the beginning. Some catastrophes defy description. Some events are too destructive to be framed in words and sound. Last man standing. Clouds of dust taller than skyscrapers obscure the road, the past. My skin is cracked and my lips bleed. Standing at the gate of the desiccated way station is a man in a black robe, his face obscured by the ram’s skull he wears. Stretching around us is this new desert, having just arrived. The land used to be green. Thoughts used to move fast, not trapped in molasses. The horns are gnarled and black. The skull twitches, and swivels towards me. The air is hot, purgatorial.
"Hi," the skull says. "Have I told you about my app?"
New kitchen looks nice. Repainting next week. Cleaning out the old closets. Upstairs roommate found her lost cat. The guy moving out can’t come into the house without a friend. The landlord is trying to jack up everyone’s rent, but we’re fighting him. Downstairs roommate’s idiot girlfriend keeps promising to clean her share, then tries to give everyone orders. I bought Dragon Age in order to distract myself. One of my roommates is barely at the house, still trauma-banging that one girl. The other one stays in the house all day in her room with the door closed. I’m one of the few people in the house who goes to work. The brothers of the dead girl came and blessed the house and offered to pay her rent for a couple months. Upstairs seems cleaner and nicer. Downstairs, where we live, is coming along.
Sometimes I get the sense of time moving. When we’re all sitting in the kitchen, eating in silence, or shooting the shit, I can feel the tangibility of time, and how it moves. It’s hard to explain. Sometimes it takes hours to smoke one cigarette.
I can’t wait for baseball season to be over so people in bars will stop bothering me about it and business people will stop bothering me about it and company affiliates will stop asking me “from new york? you a yankees fan?” and I have to respond “I wouldn’t know who the yankees were if it wasn’t for Seinfeld, you fucks”.
This is playing over the end credits of my finale episode. Then it’s just Polaroids of me and my friends having wacky drunk times. Then, finally, at my funeral, someone goes “dude was always playing the weirdest fucking music.”
Fayid:And tell your men to make sure that the car arrives at our hotel at exactly 9:15.
Me:Listen, you can treat my staff like shit. They're a bunch of white kids who went to nice schools and have fancy administrator jobs at 26 and will eventually have fancy executive jobs and only worry about nice white person things.
Me:Don't talk to my service staff like they're fucking slaves.
Me:They work forty times harder than the rest of us doing thankless busywork for overpaid Dubai rich kid pieces of shit like you who haven't done a damn thing in their lives.
Me:They go home to tiny towns in the east bay and have to count every dollar they have and cherish every break they ever have.
Me:When your driver arrives, you treat him like he has hopes and dreams and you better tip him better than you've ever tipped anyone in your life.
Fayid:I wish to speak to your supervisor.
Me:Motherfucker, I am the supervisor.
Me:That's why we're having this talk.
Me:Because if I hear you talked to one of them like they're a serf in the kingdom, I'll tell them to leave you stranded by the Fruitvale BART wearing the wrong colors.
There’s a story here you’re only seeing half of. A story of two men going two different kinds of insane.
And the end of the world.
WE NEED A CHECK UP FROM THE NECK UP
One of them believes that he’s under a reality attack from an unreal fictionalized version of himself from another dimension that may or may not be watched as an interdimensional reality show slash comedy thriller and the other one may or may not be the human embodiment of entropy and even the destruction to restart the human race’s psychological and societal stagnation so we begin anew.
Out of boredom I went through my followers list and besides people I either know in person or have known online forever, it’s mostly poets, sex workers in various fields (a gigantic demographic of mine, thanks Kelsey), fitspo types (couldn’t fucking tell you why), surly art students, hot canadians, hip-hop heads, anarcho radfems (they probably just want to fuck me to prove a point), movie bloggers, and a strange amount of “I can’t tell if they’re goth or just have really sad blogs with a lot of black and white art” types. Diversification! That’s the key to business.
Tangentially related, I can’t think of a single sports bar in SF that is actually a good bar, even when there are no games. Ace’s and Zeke’s and all the ones in the mission and hell even Abbey’s Tavern (which is a fight bar) kind of fucking suck. Like, Zeitgeist levels of suck. All I want in a bar is strong drinks, a bartender who is a charming scumbag, and a jukebox full of great music, and the atmosphere that maybe somebody will get stabbed or sell you cocaine or talk to you about their favorite Lauren Bacall movie. Sports bars are just bro bars with bigger TVs.
Wait so you're glad your fuck-up at work has ruined your career
I wouldn’t say “ruined my career” so much as “made it so they will stop handing me increasing amounts of paperwork and people to oversee and ludicrous overfunded projects that will go nowhere and telling me in a stern paternal voice to make it happen”.
Got taken off the big project and informed by my boss that my work has been very lackluster lately. Not just with the recent murder house, but in fact the past month or so (mostly dealing with tech bros by completely disregarding them), but, I’ve been removed from said project. And the past couple of days I’ve shown up for work obviously sleep deprived and obviously drunk-ish. So. Looks like the upwards climb has finally been halted by reality.
All I feel is relief, too. Is that fucked up? Now I’m like “shit, all I have to do is run my department and live off my base pay (which isn’t huge but it’s totally survivable with my situation)”. Fuck it. I spent all my money on booze and suits and books and on my friends. That’s all I fucking needed to do.
I’m gonna have some gin and maybe write a response poem for Nick or something about Aurora because WHO KNOWS THE NIGHT IS YOUNG MOTHER FUCKING FUCKERS AM I RIGHT LET’S GET REAL UP IN DIS BISH.
Thanyakrip (our driver who used to be a Thai police chief) was driving me to the off-site and he stopped the car next to the building, leaned back, and told me that grief is the one thing you can’t carry with you, but you should carry memory instead, and told me a long story about how he…
Like, just out of the blue? Stops the car, leans back, says some pithy thing about life, and lets you go on your way? Can we get drinks with this guy or what?
Only Thanyakrip Forgives.
I mean, I had told him what happened earlier, it wasn’t like he’s fucking telepathic.
Thanyakrip (our driver who used to be a Thai police chief) was driving me to the off-site and he stopped the car next to the building, leaned back, and told me that grief is the one thing you can’t carry with you, but you should carry memory instead, and told me a long story about how he “inherited” so much grief from his family because of their history, why he became such a violent man, and why he now fears for his family, not just their safety as a whole, but what will become of them and how they’ll live their lives, and how maybe, in fact, letting things go is the only way to strive towards completeness.
We trade pictures of paramours Like two Edwardian dandies Making admiring noises to each other Him in his impeccable suit And I in my nerd-chic and cool shoes Joking that we should get married Get a house in Queens Get two Italian greyhounds Well, half-joking
I tell him about The…
House in Queens!
(man, this is real good, BECAUSE IT’S PARTLY ABOUT ME AND I AM AGGRESSIVELY NARCISSISTIC and also because it’s real good)
It’s been seven days from the incident, wherein our upstairs roommate was murdered by her boyfriend before he shot himself.
Of course, it’s been terrible — there’s been trouble with the landlord (who keeps either trying to evict us, raise the rent to market price, or renovate the entire house around us), there’s been constant media parasites hovering around the neighborhood, police detectives, and you know, the whole post-traumatic air of the whole place. It feels like a month has gone by. We’ve gotten really close with the upstairs neighbors. I haven’t been sleeping well; I keep waking up just before five, when it happened. HR offered to get me some therapy. We’ve all been drinking and smoking a ton. The kitchen got scrubbed top to bottom. One of the guys is moving out. There’s a little memorial on the front gate. We’ve talked about getting new pets, or totally renovating the house ourselves, or something to distract us, to keep time moving. I spent a shit ton of money buying new stuff for the house, including a card table for our kitchen. The downstairs roommates seem indifferent, especially said downstairs roommate’s idiot girlfriend. The people on our block who know have been very supporting. The lack of sleep is getting to me a little, so I’m blowing through tons of adderall now. Sometimes all of the people on my level of the house just end up sitting in the kitchen, in silence, smoking. Roll sad song, slow motion close ups, ending montage.
Upstairs Gay Roomie:You straight people are so weird.
Upstairs Gay Roomie:Sex is so...complicated.
Me:Being straight is like playing chess on top of a mountain that may or may not be a volcano but if it is a volcano it blows you in the sky and you grab a helicopter out of the sky and it takes you to an island of candy.
Wait a minute are you telling me Gramatik, one of the greatest alt-funk hip-hop beat djs ever (also Dan Harmon rapped over a Gramatik song once and it was amazing), made a Beatles remix, and it doesn’t suck? AMAZING!