17 August 2018

About a week ago I was at a large American retail chain buying epsom salt and lighter fluid. It was the middle of the week and so hardly anyone was there. I walked alone through empty aisles, taking my godforsaken time because I didn’t want to be anywhere at all just then, and seeing as though I already was somewhere, I figured I would just stay there for a little while. And it was then I saw the kind of person you tend to see every now and then, which is a person dressed in all black. You can always tell when it’s deliberate that someone is wearing all black, and I say this with some degree of authority I guess because I am one of those people. I won’t get into what it means or can mean, because it’s all the same really, even when it doesn’t mean anything at all. Point is: There is an unmistakable “yeah dude” look you get from your fellow people when you see them out there in the wild world. If nothing else, you’ve both got that: your clothes are one solid color, which isn’t even really a color at all because it represents the absence of color. There are things both interesting and boring that go along with that, but at the very least there is a sort of spiritual common ground. Or whatever!

Anyway, on this particular night this particular person was a woman in her mid-forties. She looked a little depressed. It was clear that the black she had on was a choice, and probably one that she made a long time ago. She had on a sort of uniform is what I’m saying, and despite her sadness she looked comfortable in it. Maybe, just then, it was the only thing that made her feel comfortable at all.

In a quiet voice I said a harmless thing that I sometimes say to my black-clad friends when I’m alone and lonely. I said:

“Hey. I’ll see you at the meeting next week.”

Because we had already exchanged the “yeah dude” glance, she immediately understood my stupid joke.

“Ah yes, the black.” And then she squinted at my chest. She read my T-shirt:

“Dude. KMFDM. Nice shirt.”

I said, “Yeah dude.” And we both kept on walking! We felt less alone!!

And if a brawl had broken out a few minutes later. . . ? Well, let’s just say I know whose side I woulda been on!!!

Lettermen

Greasers

16 August 2018

Trout did another thing which some people might have considered eccentric: he called mirrors leaks. It amused him to pretend that mirrors were holes between two universes.

If he saw a child near a mirror, he might wag his finger at a child warningly, and say with great solemnity, “Don’t get too near that leak. You wouldn’t want to wind up in the other universe, would you?”

Sometimes somebody would say in his presence, “Excuse me, I have to take a leak.” This was a way of saying that the speaker intended to drain liquid wastes from his body through a valve in his lower abdomen.

And Trout would reply waggishly, “Where I come from, that means you’re about to steal a mirror.”

I had come to the Arts Festival incognito. I was there to watch a confrontation between two human beings I had created: Dwayne Hoover and Kilgore Trout. I was not eager to be recognized. The waitress lit the hurricane lamp on my table. I pinched out the flame with my fingers. I had bought a pair of sunglasses at a Holiday Inn outside of Ashtabula, Ohio, where I spent the night before. I wore them in the darkness now. They looked like this:


The lenses were silvered, were mirrors to anyone looking my way. Anyone wanting to know what my eyes were like was confronted with his or her own twin reflections. Where other people in the cocktail lounge had eyes, I had two holes into another universe. I had leaks.

•  •  •

There was a book of matches on my table, next to my Pall Mall cigarettes.

Here is the message on the book of matches, which I read an hour and a half later, while Dwayne was beating the daylights out of Francine Pefko:

“It’s easy to make $100 a week in your spare time by showing comfortable, latest style Mason shoes to your friends. EVERYBODY goes for Mason shoes with their many special comfort features! We’ll send FREE moneymaking kit so you can run your business from home. We’ll even tell you how you can earn shoes FREE OF COST as a bonus for taking profitable orders!”

And so on.

•  •  •

“This is a very bad book you’re writing,” I said to myself behind my leaks.

“I know,” I said.

“You’re afraid you’ll kill yourself the way your mother did,” I said.

“I know,” I said.

•  •  •

There in the cocktail lounge, peering out through my leaks at a world of my own invention, I mouthed this word: schizophrenia.

The sound and appearance of the word had fascinated me for many years. It sounded and looked to me like a human being sneezing in a blizzard of soapflakes.

I did not and do not know for certain that I have that disease. This much I knew and know: I was making myself hideously uncomfortable by not narrowing my attention to details of life which were immediately important, and by refusing to believe what my neighbors believed.

vonnegut always had a big huge theme he explored in his books. there’s the war book, the money book, the doomsday book, et cetera. i always liked ‘breakfast of champions’ because it’s his insanity book. it’s his book about being or going insane

15 August 2018

An hour after I have woken up from the dream I can still see in my mind’s eye—whatever that may be; the third or ajna eye?—the garden hose which my wife in her blue jeans is dragging across the cement driveway. Little details, no plot. I wish I owned the mansion next to our house. I do? In real life, I wouldn’t own a mansion on a bet. These are rich people; I detest them. Who am I? How many people am I? Where am I? This plastic little apartment in southern California is not my home, but now I am awake, I guess, and here I live, with my TV (hello, Dick Clark), and my stereo (hello, Olivia Newton-John) and my books (hello nine million stuffy titles). In comparison to my life in the inter-connected dreams, this life is lonely and phony and worthless; unfit for an intelligent and educated person. Where are the roses? Where is the lake? Where is the slim, smiling, attractive woman coiling and tugging the green garden hose? The person that I am now, compared with the person in the dream, has been baffled and defeated and only supposes he enjoys a full life. In the dreams, I see what a full life really consists of, and it is not what I really have.

15 August 2018

i had a dream today where i opened a freezer and found frozen birds inside. i took them out and roused them and they came back to life. some of them flew away. there were others who had no feet, and were screaming up at me in pain, and i had to put them out of their misery. in the dream i was crying because i didn’t want to do it, but i knew it was the only way they would stop hurting. it was awful. i basically woke up screaming.

14 August 2018

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