JUST WAIT UNTIL I GET MY HANDS ON YOU

THE OTHER DAY this guy tried to kill me. Or anyway, he expressed an eager willingness to kill me.

Jen and I work out at the Y in Biltmore Park, a planned urban development (PUD) in South Asheville featuring upscale condominiums and bookstores and coffee shops- several acres of curtainwall and corrugated steel and textured concrete. In spite of the contemporary styling, there’s something nostalgic about Biltmore Park. Something Mayberry. Maybe it’s the Town Square©- a charming grassy quad with benches and saplings- or the fact that all the streets have names that sound like Celestial Seasonings herbal teas: Dayflower Drive, Bearberry Lane, Heathbrook Circle. Two-story photo advertisements on the facades of Barnes & Noble and Orvis provide a template of expectations for the place: affluent mature people, primarily but not exclusively white, in overpriced sports gear, enjoying outdoor fun with their (visiting from New England) grandkids. A little black girl blows bubbles with a bubble wand. A young stylish possibly Hispanic couple sips lattes, hand in hand. Biltmore Park screams old neighborhood simpler times clean lines modern convenience measured inclusivity.

But the ill-planned private roads in Biltmore Park are a puzzle. For example, the street out of the subdivision ends at a three-way intersection with a stoplight, but a few hundred yards before that is a casual four-way without signs or lights. People leaving from the back of the CVS on the left or the McDonald’s on the right- both of which front the main highway- have to merge into the heavy traffic to and from the subdivision, often causing brakes to screech, tempers to flare.

As we head towards the highway we see a pair of bewildered octogenarians in an SUV trying to exit the McDonald’s lot, sheepishly edging into the queue streaming out of Biltmore Park, and Jen pauses for a moment to let them go first.

A man in a red pickup roars up behind us and starts leaning on his horn. I flip him off. I glare at him through the back windshield and clearly enunciate FUCK YOU, too. Having just worked out, I feel a sort of temporary manly recklessness. He gets pissed off, guns his engine, pulls up next to us. We’ve started moving again but the pickup keeps pace, erratically swerving dangerously close, the driver’s face an angry blur of twisted mouth and dark mustache- is he wearing a snowflake toboggan?- as he yells at me through the window glass, his eyes black slots, shaking a fist. It’s odd, him yelling at me but not being able to hear him, just witnessing his mute expression of rage.

We’re in the left turn lane and the light’s green, but the line of cars in front of us slows for the turn. The man in the pickup slams on his brakes and jumps OUT of the cab, leaving his truck in the middle of the road. He starts running towards us, reaching out his hand to jerk the open passenger door, yank me out of my seat, beat me to a rosy pulp on the median, so I (pick one):

1.) Jump out of the car and kick his ass.

2.) Secure the door, and shout for Jen to gun it through the light.

It’s the second one.

Because I was afraid he might pull out a gun and shoot me in the head. It happens. Just a week before this, a man shot another man to death near the Pennsylvania state line. The unidentified driver of a dark Ford XLT pickup chased 28 year-old Timothy Davison down the interstate at high speeds finally nudging his SUV off the shoulder and shooting him in the head before driving off. Davison had called 911 repeatedly during the chase but had received no assistance.

A couple of days later a man was dragged from his car and beaten half to death by bikers on Manhattan’s West Side Highway. He’d accidentally nudged one of the motorcycles with his bumper.

It’s tempting to conclude that everything has finally, hopelessly, gone to shit.

IT’S THE END OF THE WORLD AS WE IMAGINE WE KNOW IT

Now I know what you’re thinking. “Maybe you shouldn’t give people the finger if you don’t want them to kill you.” Fine. Fair enough. But I can remember a time, a greener time, when you could casually insult people and they wouldn’t try to kill you. In fact, I can’t count the number of times I’ve flipped somebody off, or they flipped me off, and I yelled Asshole! and they yelled Fuck You! as they went roaring past- and we both lived to tell the tale.

Those were the days.

Now it seems people are more willing than ever to kill each other over trivial bullshit. The more insignificant the better. In recent years, murders have been committed over five to ten bucks, disputed parking spaces, chewing gum, X-boxes, hair-extensions, chopsticks, and- arguably most tragic- tickets to an Avril Lavigne concert.

But why? Is it Honey Boo-boo? First-person shooters? Beatboxing?

Are these end times?

Maybe the question should be why do we perpetually imagine there’s some sort of old order we’re deviating from?

 

As you contemplate The Golden Age by Lucas Cranach, the Elder, 1530, try to imagine the theme from All in the Family playing in the background. Better yet, open the link in another window, minimize it, and then contemplate the painting as the song plays.

As you contemplate The Golden Age by Lucas Cranach, the Elder, 1530, try to imagine the theme from All in the Family playing in the background. Better yet, open the link in another window, minimize it, and then contemplate the painting as the song plays.

 

FALSE EDENS, or LISTENING TO THE ELDERLY COMPLAIN ABOUT LINE-JUMPERS AT THE FISH-COUNTER IN HARRIS TEETER

There was once an era of manners and civility, found mainly in English novels and BBC miniseries. There was refinement: duets on the pianoforte and poetic recitations and portraiture. There were courtly dances, powdered wigs, carriage rides, string quartets, and petticoats- layer upon smothering layer of petticoats. Indolent bony-faced Anglo men in white V-neck sweaters played badminton as if wading through treacle, their blonde forelocks fop-curling down into sheep’s eyes. There were topiary gardens laid out in a variety of international styles where marble cupids with shriveled wieners poured cool spring water from vases into lily ponds teeming with oversize piebald goldfish. And croquet in the gardens in the afternoons and in the evenings . . . whist. Endless hours of whist.

But not anymore. You only want to order some sockeye, but that tattooed girl at the counter keeps helping other people first.

She’s doing it on purpose.

She’ll get hers.

ALL THE RAGES

In the late eighties, newscasters from KTLA Channel 5 in Los Angeles coined the term road rage to characterize a series of deadly freeway shootings. Since then there have been a litany of other rages added to the lexicon: air rage, bike rage, desk rage, computer rage, office rage, work rage, rejection rage, abandonment rage, etc.

Some psychologists now suggest that road rage is a verifiable syndrome, an impulse control disorder akin to Intermittent Explosive Disorder (IED), which has nothing to do with incontinence, but which is typified by unpremeditated, disproportionately violent overreactions to minor provocations.

“More specifically, the adrenal medulla produces a hormonal cascade that results in the secretion of catecholamines,” Wikipedia says, with an air of self-satisfaction, going on to explain that: “Rage occurs when oxytocin, vasopressin, and corticotrophin-releasing hormones are rapidly released from the hypothalamus. This results in the pituitary gland producing and releasing large amounts of the adrenocorticotropic hormone, which causes the adrenal cortex to release corticosteroids.”

A (fleeting) HISTORY OF VIOLENCE

I had my first fight in 6th grade with an Armenian kid named Gary Kuchunian. We’d been close friends until suddenly we weren’t. I can’t remember what we were arguing about, but for some reason we started “calling each other out.” Calling somebody out was suburban Pennsylvania pink kid slang for challenging somebody to a fight. In fact, what I mainly remember about fighting in middle school was kids calling each other out. Not many fights, but lots of kids balling their fists up and calling other kids out. Sometimes it actually came down to it- a time would be set, and there would be a punch up behind the shop building or under the bleachers- but it was rare.

Gary Kuchunian and I had been calling each other out by gym lockers and lunch lines for a couple of weeks, but it had begun to taper off. It was obvious nothing was going to happen. Then one day walking home from school I ran into him on the street and it started up again.

“Come on, hit me.”

“No, you hit me.”

My adrenal cortex released corticosteroids. My arm flew out. My fist met his cheek with a sickly smack, and in the subsequent slow motion jiggling recoil he flushed red and howled, tears welling up in astonished eyes. He ran away.

And I felt like the universe’s one true asshole. Which was surprising, because I’d entertained revenge fantasies about pounding the crap out of Gary Kuchunian for two weeks: punching him and knocking him down, straddling his ribs on the grass and beating his face to a pulp. Triumphantly restoring equilibrium to the world in a spray of blood. It felt good, fantasizing about it.

But the reality wasn’t anything like that. I had expected to feel relieved. I had expected to experience what psychologists refer to as the theory of catharsis. But I couldn’t rid myself of the image of Gary’s face as he ran away: a blubbering mass of hurt. I felt sorry for him. Then he told this larger, older friend what had happened, and then that guy started calling me out.

I found a new way to walk home.

REVENGE IS SACCHARINE

It turns out that my experience was not unique.

In a recent article by Eric Jaffe in Observer (the journal of The Association of Psychological Science) called The Complicated Psychology of Revenge, Jaffe asserts that there is no basis for the belief in the theory of catharsis. He cites a pair of studies, one from The Ohio State University and one from The University of Virginia, which demonstrated that test subjects allowed to take revenge felt higher levels of aggression than test subjects prevented from taking revenge. Those who had the opportunity to take revenge themselves ruminated longer on the inciting incident and their subsequent response than those who could not. “Those who don’t have a chance to take revenge are forced, in a sense, to move on and focus on something different. And they feel happier.”

I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that if the guy in the red truck had managed to pull me out of the car and kill me, he would have felt terrible about it. Also, that people would talk about what a great writer I might have been. Anyway, a telling finding from The University of Virginia study: people are bad at predicting how they will feel about things in the future. We think revenge will provide satisfaction, but afterwards we remain angry. From a psychological standpoint, revenge serves no purpose. It’s a “hormonal cascade,” a rush of chemicals flooding the brain, beyond our control.

GOING ALL DOSTOYEVSKY ON HIS ASS

Remember Kai, the Hatchet-wielding Hitchhiker? About a year ago, thousands posted a viral video of Kai in an interview shot just moments after he’d smashed a man over the head with a hatchet. According to Kai- laid-back, likeable twenty-something drifter wearing a bandana full of mossy dreads – while he was hitchhiking a man who gave him a ride had started making bizarre statements. He said “I realize that I’m Jesus Christ and that I can do anything I want,” just before running his car up onto the curb and hitting a pedestrian. Kai got out of the car to try to help the victim, who was pinned by the bumper. The driver jumped out and attacked an AT&T worker who happened to be there on the roadside. Kai pulled a hatchet out of his backpack and struck the man three times on the head. In the video Kai goes: “Smash! Smash! SuumMASH!” mimicking with his arm the swinging motion of the hatchet. The video met with widespread approval. Kai was a hero. Smash! Smash! SuumMASH! became an internet meme.

Here’s a smattering of adoration from the YouTube comments section:

Hatchet-wielding hitchhiker to the rescue!

Coolest homeless guy ever…

Kai rules!

If you were in trouble you’d want a guy like Kai around. Somebody who saw shit going down and took action, selflessly and decisively. His dizzy, engaging personality reminded us of every stoner friend we ever had. He was the Jeff Spicoli of retribution. The video got four and a half million views, and people you would never expect to condone smashing somebody over the head with a hatchet were singing his praises.

People are fine with vigilante justice so long as it appears just.

When it came out that the man he had suummashed was mentally ill, Kai seemed slightly less heroic. And six months later when he was charged with murder in the unrelated hatchet slaying of a seventy-five year old man, he started looking less Spicoli and more . . . Raskolnikov.

Not so many people posted the video of that.

GUN IT

Traffic starts up again and Jen pulls away from the road rage guy, leaving him dwindling in the dusk. He runs back to his pickup, jumps in, kicks it into gear and speeds past us- still cursing and gesticulating- careens across two lanes of traffic and squeals out onto the highway, disappearing from view. Adrenaline pumping, we discuss self-defense classes, pepper spray, Tasers. Jen mentions the tripod in the back seat. Tempered steel. Possibly an effective cudgel. I imagine myself yanking it out and smashing it down on the guy’s head. “Smash! Smash! SuumMASH!” Killing the guy with a tripod.

I’d be an internet hero.

Then when the cops ask me why I did it say “I don’t know.” Haunted by the bastard in my dreams for the rest of my life, dead eyes staring at me, full of reproach.

Riding back home with this jumble of ideas, not knowing what if anything it means. We drive down Long Shoals and up Hendersonville Highway, past strip malls tarted up with fake second stories, gabled and ornamented, past the condo communities, names like country estates from bodice-rippers – Weirbridge Village and Crowfields and The Ramble- ill-drawn fantasies of a better life, a time of innocence just out of reach. The cultural narrative that the right wing of the Republican Party is so fond of, before manners went out the window.

Like in Norman Rockwell.

 

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As you contemplate The Problem We All Live With by Norman Rockwell, try to imagine the theme from All in the Family playing in the background. Better yet, open the link in another window, minimize it, and then contemplate the painting while the song plays.

END TANGENT

The idea of Eden is a manifestation of unconscious memories of the womb. I might have stolen that from Jung. The womb is a walled garden, and when we are born we are cast out into the world. Every generation yearns for a return to the garden in the time before the snake came. The Golden Days idea is similar to the Eden idea: there was a time when everything was better than it is now. All around us we see the corruption, the ugliness, and we sense on some primitive level that it wasn’t always like this. And it wasn’t. For some time we floated, all of our needs satisfied, in an amniotic sac, while the regular rhythm of a beating heart lulled us to exquisite sleep, to beautiful dreams of perfect bliss.

Jen and I witness a couple other displays of semi-murderous intent on the way home: one woman cuts another off and they shout at each other, flip each other the bird; an elderly couple merges too slowly, horns blare. Drivers, harried and hassled, shake their fists and shout from behind the glass. They turn into the parking lots of specialty markets where they purchase rare delicacies fit for nobility, clotted cream and crumpets, lamb chops imported from ancient farms in Sussex. They pull through Tudor-style gatehouses into the lots of cheaply-made imaginary English villages, park and go inside and watch Downton Abbey, crank it up loud so they can’t hear the angry automotive roar of civilization through the pink placental Husqvarna sheathing that embraces them, a people suspended between what they aspire to be and what they are, between nostalgia for imaginary lives and the inexplicable brutality of their darker selves.

 

 

 

 

About Lawrence Benner

Lawrence Benner is a writer and independent filmmaker. His writing has appeared in The Scrivener’s Review, Pet Taint Weekly, The Anarchist’s Scrapbook, Quibbler’s Journal, The Solemn Pages, Postholes, and Bilious Monthly. His films have appeared on the World Wide Web. He says he loves nothing more than generating content, because when he is not generating content he is consuming things and worrying about the future.
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2 Responses to JUST WAIT UNTIL I GET MY HANDS ON YOU

  1. JG says:

    Cool story bro. In all seriousness, in my experience it comes down to game theory. It’s why criminals kill so much more often than in the past. Gotta go for that short term gain thru non cooperation and maximize the immediate results.

    Also, fistfights can be lethal so lethal force can be considered. http://www.nbcnews.com/id/40604515/ns/us_news-crime_and_courts/t/cops-man-dies-after-punch-burger-king-worker/#.UxnsHYXpzls

    Bunch of incidents on the internet like that. Every case is different however so TMMV. Bottom line, if there’s a %.5 percent chance of death from a fistfight (%2 of being disabled) that’s enough for me.

  2. Thanks for acknowledging the coolness of my story (there are too many people fighting for too few spots, popular entertainment celebrates brutality and cheating, everybody has a window into the wealth and power of others, while they struggle to make payments, and you have to take what you want, or be left with nothing but the scraps, we know that the banks are thieves, that the lenders are corrupt, that the World Bank owns the money, politics have seldom been more divisive, public debate has seldom been nastier, humility and manners are seen as signs of weakness, people feel disrespected, underserved, and angry, justified in meting out whatever vengeance they see fit, and yet there have always been people who would gladly blow your head off for looking at them cross-eyed, we love the idea of the big heist, where the premise is a big swindle, or counterfeiters get away with it, the studios always tack on a moral ending, but we know that somebody wrote a book, and they made a movie out of his life, and he now has high end security contracts, English novels or Norman Rockwell paintings, we are animals, what we are and what we wish we were, we’ve wished for it so long it seems like there must have been some point when we had it, but there never was, if the idea of catharsis is false then so too is my idea that violent fantasy is therapeutic and I have to ask what the hell is going on, what does it all mean, unfortunately, I know nothing, I can only talk about things, I don’t know, is it this that, the other thing, that night I had a dream, this idea of affluence that everybody feels is his or her God-given right, the goal of life has been reframed as winning, there is only winning, people don’t do things to experience them, it’s a competition, and eventually it wears people down, and the prevailing wisdom is pray for your enemies, pray that God or Gumby, or the dragon from The Neverending Story, will remove the merciless obsession from you, that your thoughts of revenge would be taken from you, and you might know peace, the difference between the fantasies we have of ourselves in the past up against the brutishness of our actual natures, it’s a safe haven for the prosperous and nostalgic, everybody’s in such a goddamned hurry, look at Emily Post, or this idea from in heavy metal videos, nice wealthy society people are having a dinner and the metal guys bust in with their loud guitars and basically bring the posh people down, or the idea of the rugged individualist, the real man, to give the impression of permanence I imagined myself in bloodstained wifebeater a ’la Bruce Willis in Die Hard mowing down enemies, vague ones, angry ones with moustaches, or international- you know- Arab looking guys with Jihadi mania in their eyes, or . . . who can you caricature these days, Kazakhstanis, so if revenge doesn’t make you feel good, how can we say that violent revenge fantasies are any better, before the wall came down, East Germany was full of opportunistic informers, one in every six or seven people was an agent of the Stasi, and you never shared divergent political views with anyone you hadn’t known forever, she spent over a year in jail, then one day, many years later, she was in a café in reunified Berlin and she saw the man who had betrayed her to the Stasi sitting at a nearby table, drinking a Milchkaffee and reading the paper, I FORGOT WHAT I WAS TALKING ABOUT, need to dominate, to attack, to kill, was left with this idea of that while we aspire to live in, extra points for double-dealing, because it’s no longer considered unsportsmanlike to cheat, Gary Kuchunian came to my window and he tapped on the glass, I slid open the pane and he said “Congratulations, Larry. Your essay, although rambling at points, has solved the problem of violence, who had the brief bout of fame and then killed this other guy, bringing it to a point of like- what the hell was that, a collective moment of vilifying the hero, or making heroic the villain, the duality, these are end times, Americans are champions of just retribution, in the car I felt justified, there is nothing more dangerous than people who are certain they are right, the fact that there are reality shows like the homophobic duck call show and the little redneck pageant girl show and their viewership is so high, points out the duality of the hero/villain thing, the more we seethe and hassle through the modern world, the more our savagery bleeds through, the more we seem to require escapist fantasies to serve as a counterweight, make you old-timey cocktails with egg whites in them, while outside the door people kick the crap out of each other over tweets. Renaissance fairs, Dragoncon, etc., there are a million ways to live in the past, be a Steampunk for fuck’s sake, live in Jules Verne’s asshole, designers from Disney were brought in to build the spa, it’s like a grotto, it was end times when Leopold and Loeb killed little Bobby Franks, and when Capone’s boys gunned down the North Side Irish, and when Bruno Hauptman vengeance cannot be a part of society, or we need someone from outside society to exact vengeance for us, and we need them just as quickly to vacate back to the outskirts as soon as the work has been done, wrongs must be righted, the cultural narrative of rising up in bloody vengeance against oppression, from King George, and he was an unlikely hero, we like those kinds of guys, here was a drifter who had been thrown out of his house, or anyway had strained relations with his parents, selflessly defending the weak, like a cowboy, a man who lives in the wilderness, along the fringes of society, with only a horse, the outlaw as the protector of the American heart, the lesson is simple,as my septuagenarian stepfather asks “Why is everybody in such a goddamned hurry?” and remorseful, the most common answer murderers give for why they did it, I don’t know, the point is that revenge does not provide satisfaction, vicarious conflict resolution, and the fantasy could satisfy the desire to act, hence violent video games, rap lyrics, slasher films, and torture-porn comics actually helped satisfy the primal need to act, FIGHTCLUB GIVES ME A BONER, “everybody knows that the game is fixed,” if you’re playing a game you know is rigged, why not cheat, everywhere there are people stuffing their pockets on the down low and why not you, how long does it take, to see these people, getting away with it, so we all know the system is a lie, a big cheat, but you go through the motions, work your jobs, and try to get ahead, but there’s all these people jumping in line front of you, and it’s unfair, and how long does it take before you’re tired of being disrespected, ill-used, underserved, underpaid, and it’s like a medieval hunting lodge, with deer heads and antlers, and WHAT ABOUT FORGIVENESS, slices and dices, smashes that guy in the face with a coffee-pot, beat each other bloody in the back alley, destroys the pretty guy’s face, aerates twenty guys with a submachine gun, what is it about us, there’s a scene in Bowling for Columbine where Michael Moore is interviewing the father of one of the kids killed in the school massacre, and they’re speculating on why it is that America is so much more violent than other countries, why are we so different, Moore asks “What is it?” and the father shrugs, “That’s the question, isn’t it? ‘What is it?’ Why are we like this? I don’t know,” a meeting of Eros and Thanatos, what Jung called the desire for union with the dark mother, to be absorbed and united with the infinite feminine, and after Jen got through wiping my brains off her jacket, she’d eventually get another boyfriend, and what about those monkeys everybody keeps posting on Facebook, as the line between reality and fantasy shrinks, shooting and cleaving and bludgeoning, heroic figure bathed in blood and gore, A THOUSAND DEATHS, frustrated manhood, a fight in the snow, getting knocked unconscious in the alley buying crack, I told a guy with a gun to shoot me in the head, we sort of yearn for refinement, but are willing to kick the shit out of people, the things I think about it, well it resonates with me, surrounded by all these indicators of wish-fulfillment, of nostalgia for simpler happier times, while we are still beasts, animals, but we want Disneyland, we are nostalgic for a time when things seemed simpler than they are now, where people would let you be and all that, where it wasn’t so mean out there, people feel harried, abused, and crushed down, and they aren’t going to take any shit anymore, the guy next to you is trying to take advantage of you, but you can’t let him, there was the thing about not being here to make friends, like in reality game shows, certainly some of the idea has racist sources- used to be whitey held the upper hand and everybody tried to act as much like Andy Griffith as possible, that was your nice society, a white society, and yet for every Columbine and Newtown we have to admit that there is a problem, the savagery seems amped up, is American society like the frog in the pan of hot water, if you toss the frog in a hot pot of water he’ll jump out, but if you put the frog in the pot and increase the temperature gradually the frog will sit in the pot until he boils to death, if we go on accepting new outrages and moving on, and the water just keeps getting hotter and hotter, and now we’re well past boiling and not even aware of it, it’s not some new sort of phenomenon, but just the surprise we register as a culture when our raw animal urges are laid bare, as a young man I had my share of revenge fantasies, I imagined keeping people down under my boot, saying clever things, and we have to admit that we have finally achieved a secular society, when morality is a quaint concept, ethics an anomaly, we kill off our heroes, violence is frowned upon, and impressions about the juncture of rage and nostalgia, not only do we seem to be growing more violent, but this violence seems to have increased at the same rate as the growth of The Nostalgia Industry©, which is the term I just coined to refer to this raft if themed park sort of places, wishful thinking, like that faux hunting lodge complete with trophy deer heads, and the Olde Worlde oil and vinegar tasting places, and specialty markets where they sell lemon curd and in any one of a dozen would-be posh bars in this town, men wearing waxed handlebar moustaches and pinstriped shirts will, we expect our killers to come back sheep, in an eighties television commercial for The Old West by Time Life Books- a collection of coffee table books stuffed with photos and anecdotes of cowboys and gunslingers with “the look and feel of hand-tooled leather”- the old codger narrator mentions an outlaw who “Once shot a man for snoring too loud,” back in the eighteen-fifties, CONSIDER THE FEMINIZED ALLIGATORS OF FLORIDA, it is well known that the ground water is filled with estrogen-mimicking compounds, the end result of which is a measurable decline in the length of alligator penises, which means some guy went out and measured alligator dicks for a few years, you have to admire the industry of others, early a.m. in the everglades and the sun is already burning hot and it’s barely up, it’s going to be a scorcher, I have the engine turned off of the metal flatboat and we are quietly making our way into a lagoon, my partner, Ed, is in the thicket by the water’s edge in hip waders, “Got one,” I rush over to the spot, and help him wrestle the gator, he’s a little less than five feet, Ed holds him steady while I measure his penis, mark down the length in a little book I keep in my top pocket, and then release him again, we spend the next few hours catching alligators and measuring their penises, at the end of the day I tally the results and there can no longer be any denying it, alligator penises have been on the decline since the early nineties, and I now have conclusive evidence, could it be that estrogen-mimicking toxins in the groundwater are a cause of the rage in society for no reason I can think of I just like talking about alligator penises, then later, in bed I had a dream and Gary Kuchunian came to my window, like Catherine Linton, scratching at the glass, and he said “Why did you do it Larry? Because chemicals that mimic estrogen have found their way into the water supply,” on my windowsill in mute rage, then we fight those guys from The Indispensables, or whatever the hell it’s called, and there’s Dolph Lundgren there, and Steven Segal, and Sylvester Stallone, and Bruce Willis, and we’re all trying to kill the people who are trying to kill us, who are crazy evil people, and so we lay down a barrage of machine gun fire, cutting the shit out of them, on airstrips and on downtown freeways, just blowing them to shit, and in the end, Gary turns to me, and smiles, “Congratulations, Larry, you solved violence,” he says, and we play some D and D, I am a chaotic elf, and when the postmen went postal, and when the arsenic turned up in the Tylenol, and when the anthrax turned up in the mail, and when Eric and Dylan went into the library in trench coats and bandoliers, TEC-9s blazing, and every pogrom, every ethnic cleansing, every genocide, we’ve been living in end times ever since Cain first hefted a rock, populations have multiplied in recent decades, advertising has everybody convinced that they deserve the best, even if they have to push everybody else out of the way to get it, I imagine what I’d do to them, to all of them, kill them, eat them, consume them, eat their souls, before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves, Confucius says, CHAVS,“We’re mad as hell and we’re not going to take it anymore!” society at large is mad as hell, but not so much at the government as at each other, at our echoed selves, and we stand in the mirror, like Deniro in Taxi Driver, staring down our own reflections,) bro.

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