Sunday, November 16, 2008


I walked away from the fire as quickly as I could, my head a dimly swirling mixture of anger, embarrasment and grief. I felt like i knew no one else in the world, knew nothing of myself and I didn't know where to go. I had my ID back, but no keys, and no money. For a few brief bright moments I thought there might be some cash in the jacket. There wasn't. I tried to think of friends I could go see, but no names or faces came swimming up. It slowly became clear to me that not only could I not remember what happened during my episode, but that my life before that seemed vague and tenuous. I knew my name, where I lived. I thought I must surely know people, have friends, ex-girlfriends. It felt like I did, but I could recall no names, no faces. I felt very, very bad for myself.
So much so that I didn't think to open the envelope until after an overlong bout of self-pity and near-tears. The faintest spark of expectation in my chest, I bent the tabs holding the broad brown folder shut, and when i tipped the opened envelope towards my eye, I saw the friendly corner of a fifty dollar bill. The dollar was taped to a piece of neatly typed paper, which was itself taped to a smaller envelope. The paper was high-quality, making an almost musical noise as I took it in hand and read the words on it: Go get some food and a cup of coffee before opening the second envelope. Yours in Discordia, Harold.
As I read the name Harold I felt my whole being convulse slightly, and feelings stirred low in my gut like a plume of river bottom mud lifted by the dredge's blade. The name seemed to ring in my mind, increasing its share of my consciousness exponentially. But no face sprang up before my inner eye, no memory of familiar movement and sound, just a deep, deep disturbance that I could not put a name to, or a reason behind.
Presently, my stomach grew tired of all these headgames, and grumbled loudly and long, as if to say, "Forget woozy feelings and take the man's advice! We've got money - Feed Me Now!". I almost swooned from a sudden onset of utter hunger. Head up like an herbivore ready to dare the open plain, I scanned the streets around me for predators or food. Nothing hunting me that I could see. Suitable foilage? I craned my neck to the left and there it was - a shabby chinese joint. But its half-lit neon dragon beckoned to me warmly, a benign and noble creature returned from Nirvana to guide the lesser beings of this plane on to the true path of steaming dumpling duck sauce fried rice paradise.
For a period of time, I remember only a stream of impressions. tinkling door chimes, sailing slowly past open pans of a buffet's bounty, sliding into the booth with the split in the seat's skin, spilling soft stuffing that tickled my back as I sat. After that no visible or audible memory, just taste and delight.
I came to myself just as i burned my tongue drinking too-hot tea. The monster that had woken in my stomach was sleeping now. My chopstick hand ached and vague memories of many, many plates still circled in my head as I opened the smaller envelope. I breathed deeply and read:
Well, you're in it now, aren't you? I imagine you have your papers with you. Can you read them yet? Do you remember? Lori knew how to read them. I wonder if she taught you. If she did, I wonder if you'd remember. Do you, Thomas? Are you still Joshua Thomas, or is the Other already ascendent? When you ask yourself about yourself, think on this: A scientist prepares an experiment and observes it from beginning to end, seeking for success and excluding the rest of the world from his focus. But an artist prepares an experiment and releases it into the world, knowing that the world itself will tell him if his experiment is a success. Both seek a representation of truth, both cultivate the leap of intuition. Knowing this, think on yourself, and the silence that surrounds you. Which was it that made you, a scientist or an artist? Which are you yourself? When you remember, come to see me. For I have been in the wilderness, and I have prepared a place for you. You have no idea of your own value.
Yours in Discordia,

I sat back, the tiny tea cup falling out of my hand onto the scratched platic table. It wobbled twice, sharing its tea with the table below before settling. And then, like a gunshot inside my head, I remembered: A bare room, lit by a naked bulb hanging from the pocked ceiling. A woman is standing before a man who sits in a chair. His arms and legs are bound by ropes that cross behind the chair's back. Neither one of them is moving, nor is anything else in the room. The woman is immediately familiar to him, but he can recall no name for her. The man has a scraggly growth of beard, and sits with his head slightly cocked. An expression that is almost a smile hovers on his mouth, but leaves his wide open eyes untouched. With a lurch I realize that it's me in the chair. When did this happen? While I was gone? But if it did, how am I seeing it from the outside, and why do I look nothing like how I see myeslf in the mirror?. I suddenly realize that I can not feel my body, and with this realization my perspective shifts wildly around the room, showing me the same scene from countless angles sequentially, and then superimposed simultaneously. My soul shrinks from this onslaught of perception, but I am not afraid, and I imagine myself in a particular corner of the room. I don't know how I know to do this, but as I do, most of the views that had assaulted my mind dim out and I am left seeing in way that is not quite like normal sight, but which I can at least understand. The figures in the room suddenly begin to move and as they do I know two things with a deep certainty. I know that it is not me that is animating my body, but something else, something vast, something that has crammed the tiniest part of itself into my body and mind. It is the thing that had taken me, that always takes me when I go away. This scene must have been during my fugue. I knew this, and with the same certainty I knew the name of the woman who stood furious, before my tied-up dopplegaenger. This was Lori.

Sunday, November 9, 2008


Lori smacked him across the face. "What's the matter with you?" she screamed at him. "You worthless pile of horse-crap; it's no wonder you're alone.  Whoever's hunting you down doesn't even need a reason.  You stupid grin is reason enough."

Josh looked at her and smiled larger.  His cheek flushed red with pain, but the smile was true.  His eyes winked with excitement.

"You ought not do that." His voice was almost a giggle.  The ropes at his wrist began to creak quietly.

"I ought not to do that." Lori voice was filled with open derision.  "I ought to cut that smile from your face."

Josh giggled franticly, and Lori stepped back.  Josh shook his head violently to control his voice, "My daddy says violence begets violence."

Lori's anger faded, and her face filled with insecurity. "What are you talking about? Your daddy died when you was young." Her anger saw an opening, "Have you been lying to me?" Her voiced raised in ferocity, "I'm going to beat the ever-living shit from your horse-shit head."

She delivered a full-force, bare-knuckle punch into Josh's left eye.  His giggling was cut short as the chair tottered, but stayed upright.  Lori's full height and weight were incredible.  She was as imposing as most man, but driven by a punishing self-loathing that caused her to deliver physical and emotion pain to anyone who showed her favor.

Josh's laughter began again.  And Lori noticed something different in Josh.  No doubt, the dumb sniveling boy had broken.  She turned and took great, heavy breaths.  Harold had tied Josh down and told Lori to watch him.  Like so many others, Harold had broken Josh.

Lori hated Harold.  Harold knew what she would do to Josh.  And Josh had loved her.  Ever since he was first brought here, Josh was polite and reverent.  Her anger increased.

Lori stared at her knuckles.  They were split and beginning to bleed.  She cursed.  Rage filled her.  The room swayed and her strength swelled.  Her fists tightened, and she felt the power rise in her shoulders.  She prepared herself to beat Josh.

As the blood pounded in her ears, Lori never heard the chair crack.  She turned to tower over Josh, her head full of fury.  The chair was empty.  Josh stood off to the side.

Lori glanced at Josh, anger ever rising.  Like an animal, she lunged at him.  Smiling, he caught her head by the hair, and flung her to the floor.  She growled and spun onto her back.

Josh was ready for this, and simply stomped on her bare throat. Lori's growls ceased, and her body made no move.

Josh dropped his smile.  If Josh was truly broken, Harold would need to clean up his own mess.


I scan through the pages looking for any sign of a sequence.  There's different colored inks, some pencil; no staples or page numbers.  A few pages have words written down the side. Crap, this is probably all useless.  Useless to me, anyway.

Here's a page with a recipe.  No, probably just a grocery list.  Another page is all numbers. God, how I hate these fits!

I close my eyes and let the frustration run out.  The hum of the tram car soothes me. Simple, electric, true.

I open my eyes; none of the other passengers are watching me.  I stack and fold the papers neatly, and place them in my jacket pocket.  In my pocket, I find a bizarre butane cigarette lighter.  It's quite large.  Ah, I see. It's a cigar lighter; there are three punches folded against side.  Fancy.  If I smoked, this would be nice.

I glance at my watch. 5:35. How long was I out? "Hey, do you know the date?" I ask the driver.

"The 18th." What? Last I knew, it was the 24th? Crap, what month is it? Could almost an entire month have passed me by?

My stop is coming up; I ring the bell.

When I step out, the sun has disappeared behind buildings, and I begin walking to my building. The wind blows cool against my jacket.  Of course, if it's already November, I'm lucky it's not snowing.

I turn the corner at my street, and the heat hits me.  I hadn't even noticed the smell why walking.  But now, it surrounds me.  My entire building is in flames.  What is going on?  Policemen stand by as firemen struggle to battle the blaze. I stare at the blaze, mesmerized.

A man walks towards me. "You, Thomas?"

I avert my eyes from the flames, but they cannot adjust to the dark. I cannot see his face. "What?"

"Are you Joshua Thomas?"

"Who's asking?" Considering what's happened to me, I should be running.

"Mr. Thomas, I was asked to give this envelope to you. You certainly look like the picture." He holds out an envelope, with my ID taped to the outside.  I feel my back pocket for my wallet. Gone.

I take the envelope. The man abruptly walks past me, back towards the tram line.

A small explosion bursts out of my building, and the whole structure begins crumbling down.  Firemen scramble; I hear quite a bit of yelling.  My eyes are again blinded by the flames.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


First there is pain, and then light. The light is pressure, is also pain barely blunted by closed eyelids. I know that when I open my eyes there will be more pain. I also know that when I open my eyes I will have absolutely no idea where I am.
I am right. As my abused body comes slowly to tingling awareness, I scan my new surroudndings. My focus is off, the room is a dense fog. But the fog recedes and objects announce themselves from the murk: a table, a lamp, a wide-cushioned chair. laying across the chair and onto the threadbare rug is the splayed out form of a woman . Her skirt is hiked high onto her thigh – did that happen when she slipped from the chair? Her form and her face are completely unfamiliar to me. I know I have never met this woman,
I stand, and papers fall from my lap. I bend over to pick them up, and I don’t recognize them either. They are covered in dense writing, printed haphazardly. As I pick up the papers I know, with no doubt in my mind, that I am already not safe being in this room, and I need to leave immediately.
The woman is breathing slowly, shallowly. I still do not recogniz her face. I don’t know if she’s safe here or not. I know I can’t carry her. I don’t even know what’s happened to her, or what’s happened to me. It’s time to leave. She stays.
The papers go under my shirt. There is dried blood on my shirt, my hands, and my head.. My jacket is on the back of a tired wooden chair that gives me a splinter when I take the jacket. It almost covers the blood. My hat on my head, I sweep into the unkown streets. It’s dark, and it feels very late. After five blocks I find a familiar tram line. I step into the humming car, the doors swishing neatly behind me. A flash of the card, a seat near a window and away from the few other riders. I don’t want to look at them. They don’t know what it’s like to have it take you away, to come over you like that. To have the bugs busy in your skin warning you that it’s coming it’s coming it’s coming. Nothing to do but wait, and let it happen. But this time something happened that hasn’t happened before. It may not even involve the woman, she may be a side effect. But something happened, and the fact that I have no memory at all leaves me suspicious.
Thinking these thoughts, I bring the papers out of my shirt. They are warm in my hands from my body heat. One last glance around the car to see if I can spot the one of Them that is surely watching. I have a few ideas, but with no further data the only thing I can do is read my papers, and try to figure out just what happened.

Sunday, November 2, 2008


I can feel it coming on again. Bugs under the skin, type of thing. God, I hate it.
Just when my mind is steady, yee-arh!

Breathe....alright, you can do this. God, I hate it.

They're watching, but that's okay. That's their job. If they didn't watch, there'd be nobody there.

Alright, stretch your neck. Rotate the shoulders. Shake out your hands. Alright, inhale. Hold it.

Blow it out.

Listen to the blood pound through your ears. Whew.

Okay, let it come. God, I hate it. There is it. I feel it.

It's taking me.

I hate it.

Here we go...


Here's the fonts that we can use.  Not the best selection, but it covers the bases.




Lucida Grande