Saturday, May 30, 2009

the short story on facialbook

This is going to come in segments. Cos that's how I did it. Cos like, in facebook you need to wait and let people calculate the time of what is happening. It all starts out with an seemingly innocent (but enthusiastic) post about seeing movies:

Irfan Baig is planning a huge movie-o-thon on 6609 (all the movies i never got to see): star trek, terminator, a horror film i can't remember, another horror film i can't remember. maybe even up. watch some little shit that apparently made tarantino name his reservoir players after colors (imagine -- how tough is that?). (they're censoring me, but watch in the comments)

(following is all in the comments section)
Irfan Baig at 4:43am May 30
anyway, after that i may even watch up. maybe catch slumdog millionaire. i remember when i was in india once in 1994 or something, and seeing how there was, like, mtv playing out of huts. i'm sure that movie is totally true. anyway, danny boyle's 'sunshine' was a lot of fun, especially in the commentary where he said sci-fi is about a ship and a ... crew and a signal. firefly, much?

all of this will happen in the stupid theaters in times square, because that is the best place possibly to watch all these stupid movies at once. plus there's a very authentic indonesian restaurant i want to have dinner at in the area.

then i would be done with this stupid summer.
Irfan Baig at 4:54am May 30
i think i am going to go buy a gun.
Irfan Baig at 4:59am May 30
damn. walmart is always so close when you're cruisin' with random people in a car. (from iPhone)
Irfan Baig at 5:39am May 30
got my gun, which is a pretty nice piece, for cheap. when i walked out, the random car with random people is not available. i order a limo service. as i wait the half hour, i fondle my new piece, and can't wait to go home and load it with bullets. 4P is sure going to get a face load as soon as she tells me I'm being too noisy tonight. (from some crappy wap shit. iPhone died out when i threw it trying to call random cars to take me back).
Irfan Baig at 6:13am May 30
finally got home. showed the doorman a slip of my gun and he just sat back down in his seat. looked petrified.
Irfan Baig at 7:13am May 30
shooting everything. everything in my apartment. it's all going to hell. die, motherfuckers.
Irfan Baig at 8:06am May 30
there is so much blood all over the place. and livers. and brains. like ... mush of peepulls ...
Irfan Baig at 8:08am May 30
am i human? how can i incur such wrath upon my fellow man? to point a weapon at it, and shoot it, sending a missile force to dislodge critical components of its being? then it just pirouettes, and lies dead. i kick it, to check and make sure, but nope, it is dead. more people in from the building advance, and i reload ammo.
Irfan Baig at 8:34am May 30
omg, i just shot 4P. in the face. she came down knocking, and i opened the door, and she was going to scream at me, so i just shot her.

the problem is, the bitch did not die! "god this is some serious zombie stuff i'm into right here" i said aloud, to myself.

"i'm sorry, what?" said the zombie lady from 4P....

i shot her again, dislodging some of the cartilage from her nosejob, but that didn't affect anything. "why won't you die?" i screamed at her.

"this is exactly what i have been meaning to ask you all this damn time! you, you ... "

"say it," i say, raising an eyebrow and putting my gun at her forehead.

"what the hell is this?" she tries, grabbing at my weapon. "this, this cheap, cheap little thing?"

"it's 11.95. made by nyko," i inform her, product placing. "best thing to shoot zombies with. can't wait till Dead Space Extraction. i hear you can turn the gun sideways in that game to fire an alternate weapon."

"you, you ... I WANTED TO SLEEP! i just wanted to bloody sleep."
Irfan Baig at 9:19am May 30
look back at her, blankly. "why don't you move to Alaska?"

the ooze of rage passes out from her face, replaced by the bird droppings of confusion. "what?"

"if you really want to sleep so badly, why don't you go to Alaska? i mean, i think people there probably snooze pretty well, no?"...

there was anger, in her face. diamonds of anger, and little rubies of despair, from the eyes. there were even one or two of those tiny sapphires representing the alaskan teenager metropolite wannabe, screaming out: "why are you stereotyping us?"

this is when she breaks down and falls to her knees. i roll my eyes, with a cry of 'lord help me', and i obviously put my gun at her forehead, as though this is an execution style shooting. she's crying. "i don't know why i'm paying all this rent," she wails, "just pull the trigger, you sadist bastard." she sobs a little more. "just pull the trigger. you enjoy this, don't you?"
Irfan Baig at 9:26am May 30
"what? your pathetic perfomance, or your stupid sob story?" i laugh, rolling my eyes again. "maybe your posture." i throw my pistol onto my springy bed, where it bounces cutely at least twice, and walk back into my room.

she boo-hoo-hoos and wails at my doorstep as i search for what i am looking for. she stops when she notices by my footstep that... i've found it.

i approach the moaning crone. from 4P. i throw a pair of industrial strength earbuds at her bowled knees, and say, "there you go, now piss off."
Irfan Baig at 9:28am May 30
(the end). (from Facebook. on the COMputer) ;)

Real Human Mating Techniques

Based on response to my earlier piece, 'Dating', I have been moved to produce a piece that caricaturizes my own work. This piece is written without capitalization in that lazy fashion of the internet, because it is, after all, only a caricature. Of a Greater Piece.

the train of her yelling had carried from the butler at the awning of the posh restaurant, right to his table, whereupon she quickly folded her cellphone into her bag.

sitting down and smiling sweetly, she was surprised to find that this well dressed man in a true brown sport jacket, pleasantly low-key marigold tie and clearly deep blue silk shirt had pulled a large orange laundry bag onto his lap. right before her very eyes, he dug deep into this bag of his, and, began rummaging there.

shortly, the sommelier arrived, asking if they would like to have any drinks. the man (her date) told the sommelier to come back in about 20 minutes, causing a tiny confusion about who was boss, with the sommelier. who was short.

then he pulled a foam elephant toy from the bag, and, exclaiming gleefully, threw it in her general direction. he then watched her, studying for a reaction.

the woman looked around for a moment, at the other patrons who were normally dining at this place, and then said, "this is your 'big plan'? this is how you woo me?"

the man frowned a little, then stuck his hand in the laundry bag and pulled out a small blue plastic alligator, one similar in scale to those army men that children play with. he flicked this at her, as well. it landed between her carefully selected cleavage. she looked down at her maroon and skin breasts and just shook her head.

this kind of process continued, and increasingly, the man's face would frown more, and he would do this thing of taking out flimsy toys and volleying them to her, with increasing frequency. she -- well, her mind would burst to deviate unto the folded up cellphone in her bag. she only wished her sexist boss who she had been talking to before this encounter would call up!

finally he pulled out a water pistol, and shot her in the face. when she shrieked, the sommelier, who had come over (it had been 20 minutes, and he had promised he would order drinks), tried to take the gun away from him.

this was when he even picked the sommelier himself up, in his arms, and flung it with such force at her, that she was decapitated while trying to reach into her bag for her cellphone.

(No I'm not a psycho. This is fiction. And a caricature, to boot. Please read the sidebar on the left).

Friday, May 29, 2009

her dressing

roses from the maw, that night,
liquid as the candlewax my eye
lashes had settled in.

she came, my blue angel,
once again as once she had,
yet wouldn't let me hold her.

why this chase? i asked. i know you from before.
seen your face before, seen you when you were
in your blue dress. you were always in that dress,
and i've known you, always, from before before.

she said this wasn't her blue dress,
and i agreed i wasn't totally blind from flame.
blame effects on time, i reasoned, plus how much i ...

she began pirouetting away at this,
to my heartened discontent.
i turned back to the candle pot,
eyes twicthing in suspense.

but just before i went and stuck
my eye back in fire again,
she re-appeared in her regalia
not crimson, or cobalt, but blue.

my candle was blown off, then.
this is my blue dress, she curtsied,
letting me suffocate myself in it.
creature that i am, animal i am.

as usual, the differential equations
became harder at this point -
the more i indulged in, the more reticent
she turned out. more i shared myself.


when i asked what was the hassle,
she said i'd put her blue dress on a pedestal.
at once i knew my error, and how elastic
could really bend.

so i whooshed her without permission,
from that place i'd bled for years,
place i'd tomato sauced to death
'n bolognaised with my own flesh.

whooshed to her closet, and shut the door tight.
we are not allowed lights now, i told her.
then held her, and steadying carefully,
asked her to choose in this terrifying darkness --

and I promise my love, any dress you wear, i would know.

Sunday, May 24, 2009


There were a lot of details, in her life. She was worried that Mona may tell Eric what she had said. There were bills, to pay, at home in her drawers. To top that off, she had to do this -- put on her best clothes, her best 'non-existant' make-up, find out where the damn restaurant actually was located ... so many things.

"So when do we kiss?" he asked her, as she sat down.

She studied him carefully. "Not yet," she said.

He seemed to understand this, and began to study the menu. "There seems to be a lot of food over here," he remarked.

He did not look unusual, except for what he was doing. There was a head, a torso, two arms and two legs. Collectively, there were about 20 fingers and toes. He was wearing sandals (to a date?), so she could see all of them.

"You don't ever do this, do you?" she said, beginning to smile.

"I just landed my plane after a 50 hour flight," he said. "Was flying from Boston to Romania. I had set the weather conditions to 'realistic', which provided a tough challenge."

"Uh-huh." She smiled. There was nothing on the menu. This was not even a restaurant.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Thinking Very Hard

I am actually really thinking,
and thinking as hard as I can.

I remember when you took us to our first pizza.

I was happy then, and you made everything so special.
You added garnishings, and some ... details.
I was happy then, by your side.

I remember when you took us to see 3-d movies.

Stunts With The Soul

"Dude yoo can't fuck with that guy. He does stunts with his fucking *soul*," said a Kris Kristofferson lookalike.

"He'll end up like Evel," worried his nerd buddy. "Washed out and toothless in a Home for people without teefs."

The performer climbed the tower. On the way, everybody loved him, passing flowers and chocolates as he progressed. "Wot," would say a girl, "they only gave you Roses? Check out this custom-made confection I ordered from France, just for you."

Then he was finally up there. How had all of this become a monster truck event? Where did it go wrong? He sat on the chair, and a crane slowly lowered a laptop onto the desk.

As the computer, booting, calculated RAM, his life flashed before his eyes. Then the network came online, thanks to citywide wifi.

The crowd roared.

Friday, May 22, 2009

The Bad Dream

amongst the cobalt and fuzz petals
just a butterfly i swatted,
troubled by some kind of allergy,
my eyes puffed in tears.

yet there was a sepiatone shot,
a gaussian blur recorded.
dream was going bad and it
wanted me to know.

"what the hell, you've killed
the only one you love?"
remembering her poised lips,
i deny.

i don't kill such beautiful things.

the butterfly, my logic
in the dream helps out:
"your fundamentally careless

"i never killed anything,"
i repeat as i explore, now,
so desolate a hazy pasture.
"She is still alive, still alive, still ..."

for the next sixty minutes
tossing and turning on the bed,
wool blanket cast aside.
cold again, knees freezing --

till i see the 'death' and bad dream.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Monocle

Morescombe had simply burst out laughing when the candidate walked in. Then, realizing from the man's quizzical stare, he quickly sucked his breath in and stood up to greet him. "Uh. Here for the interview? Mr. Charles Dayton?"

The man shuffled slowly into his office. He was supporting himself on a sturdy cocabolo wood cane, and looked earnestly at Morescombe from an ornate gold-rimmed monocle as he approached. "Yes sir, I certainly am," he said, puffing heavily as he finally reached the desk. He was wearing a light brown cashmere sport jacket, and a rather long, broad maroon tie.

"Lyle Morescombe, CTO" said Morescombe, putting forth his hand, and then immediately regretted this. Dayton was struggling in front of him, trying to shift his walking stick into his left hand as quickly as he could. "No, no," said Morescombe, quickly taking the man's left hand with both of his and shaking it comfortably. "Please, don't worry about it. Please, Mr. Dayton, have a seat."

"Thank you," said Dayton, and sat down slowly. Morescombe, already in his seat by now, studied the man with interest. He looked nervous, and a little embarrassed -- because of the handshaking mishap, no doubt. Morescombe smiled warmly at him, and then lied, "I was reading your resume just as you walked in. Very impressive. Very impressive indeed."

This seemed to calm the man down a little. "Thank you, thank you," said Dayton shyly, spreading a demure smile that went inward, almost disappearing away into his significant orange beard.

Now that everything seemed to be at ease (and his utter insensitivity hopefully shoved away, deep into the annals of the past), Morescombe proceeded through the normal process of the interview. He raised his eyebrows as he glanced at Dayton's resume. "Says here you helped to write the initial operating systems for the first internetwork routers. That's quite amazing."

"Yes," said Dayton, still looking down, "well, they were quite small at the time, you see." He let out a shy stifle of a laugh, and then added, "Well, actually, I, uh ... actually I also helped out with the protocol itself."

"The Internet Protocol?"

Dayton nodded, still smiling his self-eating smile, but now began to turn his cane a little nervously in his hand. He was shaking a little in his brown coat. Morescombe studied him carefully. He had seen people like this through his long career in the IT industry. The true developers -- the people who did the real work. Most of them ended up like this, because of some incident or other -- broken, disheveled. They did not deserve this, this terrible outcome for all their hard work. He decided he was going to probe Charles Dayton -- try to bring out what really happened. "Charles," he said now, his voice stern, "I don't think you are telling me everything. Let me know, and I promise you everything will be fine."

Dayton began wheezing in his chair, turning the cocabolo stick even more furiously. He stammered. "Mr. Mores-scombe -- s-sir -- I - I don't know what --"

"Don't lie to me Charles!" shouted Morescombe suddenly, making the man nearly leap from his chair. "I want to know. I want to know what happened to you." He peered at the squirming man -- this was not an easy thing to do, bringing it all out, but in the end, it would be for the best.

"A-alright, alright," screamed Dayton, streaming tears down his cheeks and soaking his beard. "It was me! I wrote it all! The routers, the Internet Protocol ..." He sank his face into his hands. "My goodness me -- I even wrote TCP." He sat there, weeping into his hands. "Those bastards -- Cerf, and, and, that Kahn. They took it from me, okay?" Now he stopped crying and raised his head, sniffling a little over his beard, and stared at Morescombe from his clouded monocle. "They told me that if I did not let them have it all, they would woo my sweet Elouise away from me. So I gave it to them -- what could I do? Someone like me?" His voice had become broken, tattered, and now he bit into his lip. "So they took it all from me, and then -- then, they still wooed my Elouise away from me anyway." He collapsed now, whimpering into his hands. The cocabolo cane had fallen from his hands and was lying, dead on the floor.

Morescombe, who had been sitting with eyes wide open as this breakdown occurred in front of him, rushed over to Dayton's side and gently picked the crumpled man up. He pulled a tissue from the desk and dabbed his cheeks, and he also wiped the monocle clear. Finally, when Dayton was able to sit up again, Morescombe returned to his seat.


They spoke for a long time -- longer than any interview Morescombe had ever conducted. They spoke of old, fond things, like how it was those days, long ago, at Berkeley. They spoke about all the people Dayton had met and known -- both friends and enemies. And they discussed the more sombre topics -- what was the world was really coming to, in terms of IT? Who really was in control? These kinds of things. But finally, it was time to call it a day, and Morescombe knew that the little hand on the clock was almost reaching Five.

"Dayton," he said, looking deep into the man's face, "I want you to work for us." He looked affirmatively into Dayton's face, smiling.

It was at this that Dayton was genuinely shocked. And by 'shocked', I mean he was so surprised that he suffered a nervous twitch and accidentally triggered the switch he had been holding in his left pocket all this time, sending a small wireless signal to his trick monocle, which flew right off his face via a spring mechanism. His eyes opened wide, and now truly startled, he grabbed his fake beard in both hands, so that it would not fall off onto his lap. "I'm sorry, y-you're what? You're actually g-giving me the job?" His voice had changed completely -- he sounded much more ... youthful, now.

Morescombe just kept smiling assuringly into his face. "Surprised, eh?" he said, raising his eyebrows. "I knew you would be. By God, man -- you're so surprised, your monocle just popped right off your face!"

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Caveman and the State of the Art Fishing Rod

He was very good with his spear, which he had fashioned carefully from a fallen tree -- a groaning fall he had heard personally one gloomy night long ago, when there had been flashing lights and a terrible battle atop the clouds. It had groaned very heavily, the tree, as they listened, huddled in their cave, and had then loudly thumped upon the dampening earth. And it had been he who first walked bravely out, after all the defeated cloud warriors stopped pissing over the land, and searched through the leaves and twigs for it.

When he finally found it, he had grown still. It was in a clearing, surrounded by smoky grass and the crispy ash skeletons of flowers. The sight of it, of this great fall, had seeded into his mind even as the clouds whitened above and parted to reveal their blue mother. He slowly approached -- not in fear, but as one may approach a tiny star if it were to fall to the earth -- beguiled and working his eyes over the whole trunk. The seared end had only crumbled away when he finally touched it, but as he ran his right hand over the deep grooves and nets of wrinkles, his open mouth had slowly turned into a glorious smile. This was when his wife ran into the clearing.

He never had noticed one bit, of course, how she looked from him to this tree he was beaming proudly upon. Never noticed the jealous sideways twitch of the mouth. "They are all asking what it is," she said from behind him, hand perched over pelvis. The oldest among them had decreed as they huddled last night that it may have been one of the giant warriors above, felled in war.

"It is a new tree for us," he replied, and then turning only slightly, said, "Run and tell my brother to bring me my tools." That was all, and he turned back to his new tree, his mind ripening with thoughts about which *ways* to cut, which directions, what lengths and widths. Many of these thoughts were running into him -- the prayers of the tree -- it was having a deep conversation with him about the best ways to use it, how it wanted to be used. At that time, of course, he never noticed how his wife had turned and stomped away angrily.


Now, yes, he was very good with that same spear he had carved all those years ago. Those days he'd used it to hunt, to find enough food for the whole family, and those days there surely had been a lot of food for everyone, from his spear. After they all left him, however, mumbling something he did not understand about him going too far, unreachable, he had pondered for a long time what use the spear could be for, now. It was like this, sitting by himself at the fire in deep thought, that he had remembered about fish. Until then, it was only the children, who had a lot of time to waste on their hands, that tried to catch fish from the sea. They would run into the cave proudly on days they had been lucky, displaying a small little thing to everyone, and their mothers would praise them. It was not a bad thing for a child -- he had done it himself when he was tiny -- it helped to make you a better hunter. Men could also fish, of course, but it would never feed everyone. It was a very difficult process -- you had to stand for a very long time, and, if you were quick and lucky enough, you may be able to grab one long enough so it did not slip away. This was what he had been remembering, when he suddenly wondered, at that lonely fire, if it may be possible to hunt fish with his spear. The next day, he began to try it, and then again the next. Now, then, he was an expert fisherman, and deadly with his spear, the same spear from the wonderful tree so many years ago. He could catch far more fish than he would by simply standing there with his hands, and while it was no wild boar, it would be enough for just him. And he could paint, too.

This was still relatively new to him, but fascinating, relaxing. He had taught himself how to make his paints, from some funny looking earths found a little higher in the nearby mountain. Being an examiner of all things, one day, while on his treks, he had carried some of the earths back with him to his cave, to peruse. He tried a few things with them, like adding water, or some juices from some plants. Perhaps he could harden the materials somehow, he had thought, and fashion an instrument stronger than the stone tied to the end of his spear. Something that would not turn blunt so often. He had tried this several nights -- perhaps even years -- with the strange earths and various other things he found from all over. He would try all night, mixing and moulding, churning, till he would nod off to sleep. He would wake with his body covered in several colors, different shapes each time, but never a material strong enough. It was then, on such a night, nodding off now, starting awake again, and then continuing his work, that the futility of it wore upon him. A feeling he had never before felt crept into his mind, sneaking in like a mother rat and its young ones. He began to remember the family that had left him, remember his wife. How she had looked. His children, grown fine men and women the last time he had seen them. He remembered fights and arguments, and he recalled his great unkindness to them. He had never meant any of it, of course -- he had only said all those things because he'd thought that was the most effective way to shut them up and leave him to his devices. Well, it had been very effective indeed. The unknown, indescribable feeling crept even deeper that night, from his mind and into his chest, growing itself. He cried, in pain, not knowing what was happening to him. But soon, realizing he was behaving like a small child, he became very, very angry, and he picked up the lump of mud he had been working with in his hands, and flung it with terrific rage at the cave wall.

It had seemed as though the fire suddenly bloomed in the cave, and his tears stopped. He stared at what was on the wall. There were people in there now, from his mud. The same wonder he had felt before -- when he had come across that great tree in the clearing -- began to fill up inside his head, squeezing the dark, unknown feeling down, then filling up his heart and completely destroying it. He pulled his transfixed legs, and slowly approached the cave wall -- not in fear, but as one may approach a tiny star if it were to fall to the earth -- and ran his fingers around the people, around the shapes. As he did this, they began to tell him their stories, and he listened, and began crying again -- but this time in joy -- to everything they had to say. They were the same stories -- the stories of his past, the people of his past. These were the light specks of children that had been at their cave, who ran here and there, bringing little silver fishes to their mothers. Here were the old people, sitting as close as they could to the red fire and reminding each other of the giants in the sky. This one -- she was just as his wife had been, standing in the blue breeze in her flapping deep green clothes and staring right back at him!

The next day, forgetting completely about fishing, he had run to the hill for more of the strange muds. Gathering as much as he could, he took them back to his cave, and had then tried hard to remember exactly how he had mixed them the previous night. After only a few attempts, he felt he had got it right, and he scooped some of his new -- paint -- into his fist. Then he turned around at threw it as hard as he could at the cave wall.


He laughed, now, at his silliness that first time. It had been so disappointing, that his throw did not result in any new people, or stories, this time. The splatters of mud did not speak to him as the ones from the previous night had. He'd sat, crestfallen at the fire. But he had not given up, and slowly, he had learned. He knew now, of course, that you could carefully sculpt the stories, but when he had first realized this, it had taken a long time to master. He'd had to focus for a long time on the old painting, tracing the shapes gently with his fingers, then go to his new piece and recreate the motions. It took a long time, of course, and he tried and failed again and again, but it had never become dull, or frustrating. In fact, for a number of those initial days, he had completely forgotten about eating. Only when he was finally pleased with his first real likeness, did the pangs of hunger set in. Thus it was, then, that as he sat at the cave, biting hungrily into some fish, that both the paintings, old and new, spoke to him, sending him more of their prayers. He began to wonder what may happen, if instead of copying the old painting, he tried to make something new. He thought very hard, as he ate, about it -- about what he could paint -- and then he had realized. He knew about hunting. He could paint a picture of one of his old hunts, and ... and ... he could even try to make a bison!


And he had. His cave was now full of all sorts of things. Bison. Fish. People, dancing. He thought about this happily, now, as he walked up the mountain for more paints. His catch in the morning had been plentiful -- he could spend at least three days with his paints without worrying for food. He looked up into the marvelous blue sky and burst into song, scaring birds away and making all the animals look at him in wonder. Then, he tripped, and fell on his face. A natural hunter, he immediately rose, and turned to see what was happening. Then he froze. It was a ... stick. But not a stick like any he had seen. He had never seen silver trees. Slowly, he picked himself up, and as he dusted himself off, began to realize where he was. It was a huge clearing, with smoky grass and the crispy ash skeletons of flowers. He looked around him, but there was no fallen tree as there had been that night long ago, when the cloud warriors had been battling with flashes and huge drums, the defeated ones pissing all over the earth in fear. There was only this stick -- this strangest silver stick. He stared at the stick for a long time, walking around it, to see from all directions. He held firmly to his excellent fishing spear, but eventually realized this was not an animal. He squatted then, still peering at the thing. There was a shiny, very thin vine flowing from it's nose, and at the end of that vine, some kind of strange curved tooth from some animal he had never seen. Even the tooth was shiny. Finally, after staring for a long time, he got up, and slowly approached -- not as one may approach a tiny star if it were to fall to the earth -- but in fear. Then he quickly snatched it from the ground. The stick did not fight back, although the thin vine did try to attack him with its tooth for a short while. He was able to subdue it however. He thought for a moment, still staring at it. The stick frightened him to death, because he did not know what it was, or where it had come from -- he had been by this place many times for strange earths, but he had never seen the tree it could have come from growing anywhere nearby. Being, however, an examiner of all things, he tucked the stick under his arm, and walked on up the mountain, for more paints.

When he returned, he was not sure what to do. Half his mind begged to paint a new picture he had thought of, of a fearsome shark he had once speared. He had never really speared a shark, of course, but after a few paintings he had realized that it was fine to paint even dreams. If somebody ever came over to visit, he could take their shoulders in his hand and show them this great shark he had once caught, simply with his trusty fishing spear. They would think he must be a great man, then, they surely would. But the other half of his mind wanted to study the new stick.

Finally, he sat, with a plate of smoked fish, and studied the thing. There was something about it that he didn't like, he could tell. He was starting to realize that this stick had not simply fallen off a tree -- a man had carved this -- but how crazy had this man been? He reached over and picked it up. It was quite long, and thin, except at the bottom, which had a strange, soft kind of bark. There was a round plate with holes near that bark, with a small branch growing out of it. It made absolutely no sense. He tried to unfasten the plate, but was unsuccessful. Well, anyway, who would want to eat from a plate with holes, he thought to himself, rolling his eyes. And what is the point of the little branch? He smelled it, a little, and then tasted it. It was something like the smell and taste of stones, but much more sour, he found, making a face. Finally, he bent it a little, and it was very bendable. "Hah," he laughed to himself, and pulled his sturdy fishing spear into his other hand. "Well, you are certainly not a very good fishing spear," he told the strange stick. He cast the thing aside.

But he stared at it for a little longer. At this point he wanted to simply know why it was that he did not seem to like it very much. Why did it incur this ... sense of disgust in him? Then he found the ridge in the soft bark. It was coming off, but not, clearly, out of any careful design or sculpting. Suspiciously, he began to study the length of the rod, and there he found several places where the finish was grooved into, torn into, from misuse. He even saw, then, that the color of the stick, in some parts, was peeling off. Below the tiny flakes of silver was the sickly yellow color of the actual stick itself, its true nature. And then of course, there was the plate with bloody holes in it. Laughing, he finally stood up and kicked the damn thing aside. "Shiny as you may be," he mocked it, "whoever it was that made you has taken no care in it, and no care of you. Why should I, then, worry with you? I am a man who takes great care in making. I create, you understand, spending time and effort, and great care? I make all of the things I use for making all of even more things I make for my use. Witness," he said, gesturing to his excellent spear, "how smooth she is? How carefully honed and kept sharp." He turned, and gestured again, this time to his wall. "Witness -- I even make all my own paints. I walk up, every afternoon after fishing with my spear, to the plain on the mountain to gather the colored earths. These paints here -- " he said, gesturing again, " -- my paints -- will never come off those walls. Not in a thousand years!" Still laughing, he turned around to his wall, took some paints into his hand, and walked over to do his piece about how he had bravely speared the fearsome shark.


He never took the strange stick fishing with him. But we must excuse him for, after all, he was only a caveman who happened upon a state of the art fishing rod.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

(Being a Quarterly kind of thing from the Arbitrary Prisoner)

When Anthony cuts the circle
around your head,
then, plucking it out like a coconut,
offers you a taste of your own brain:

You must only lick it.

This will frustrate him.
He will ask you why you would not want a taste.
You go ahead and simply lick.
Then, say: "You trying to make me Eat my words, Anthony?"

He will crumble, like the proverbial cake.
Then you can go inside -- inside your own brain --
filling in all of the missing blessed parts.

Enter the Dragon

My god, I really feel like an indian pickle.
They call them 'achars'. They named the pickle
after their very one love of their lives.

In a jar. Priya. Priya pickles.

Enter the Dragon.
"I can fight any of you if you want, but,
of course you are putting it away for later."

I am reading a book, by Amy Tan. It is about the Chinese.

The Good English Actor

I will never be as funny as
Terry Pratchett, or Douglas Adams.
But I will try.

I am having sex with somebody,
then placed into a conversation with
these authors.

There are hydraulics and pneumatics,
leaping becomes possible.
So content am I I contend with me.

Friday, May 8, 2009


She was rosy, and blushing as she did
an evocation of everything any man
holds dear.

"My words travel at too fast a pace,"
he confessed, adding how it was necessary
therefore, to control the flow.

This is Ridiculous, she laughed internally.
Even if your words go that fast,
they never actually kill anyone.

It is only if you use your *hand* that you will kill anyone."

"And we don't really want to kill anyone, do we?"

No, we have already found the best sushi in (midtown) Manhattan.

"Shall I put on the video about the Jeffersons?" she said, releasing one button on her blouse.

I receded into my personal cave. "Yes, please."

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Love, the Finale

A challenge was issued to compose a piece about Love. This is one of my entries. This is the love tag for all (my) entries.
When Frida came home, she didn't go to him at the couch, as she always would. She went up the stairs, and he heard her pull the ladder across the floor. She was ruining the boards, but that was no big deal. He had glue guns and shellac to fix that. Then the pulling stopped, and he heard her open the latch, to the attic.

This made him switch the play station off, and run up to see what was happening. He found the ladder, and he saw the hole in the ceiling. "Frida?" he called.

Her footsteps were up there, walking about, distinctly hers. There was a certain timbre from the wood that her movements so wonderfully captured, and these conveyed very successful, very specific, signatures. Signatures he had become old with, and grown to love. "Frida, what is happening?" he yelled, and climbed up the ladder.

It was dark, in there. The dolls from Frida's past, all his old video game cartridges. The books. Oh my god, the books. "Frida," he said, finding her in a corner. She had wrapped herself in a blanket and was looking sternly at him.

"Don't come any closer!" she rasped.

This had not happened for a long, long time. He thought back, trying to recollect. "What ... what have I done this time?"

She started to cry. He came to her, but she fought him off, jabbing away at him with her heels.

"I haven't cheated," he said. "I have never cheated." But she kept kicking him away. Sharply.

Finally he mustered his manliness, and, overcoming all her attempts, stood in front of her. She looked back at him like some frightened child. "Stay away!" she tried.

"No. You tell me what is wrong," he insisted, standing firm.

This is when she broke down. "You don't want to touch me," she cried. "I have ... I have the Virus."

The planet, Earth, crashed into Venus. But, to her horror, his first response to this was not even to flinch, but to immediately rush into her. Grab her. Collect her, into his arms. "What are you doing?" she shrieked.

He stroked her diseased hair, smiling. "It's okay. It's going to be okay. I have your Virus now too. We are together again. You are with me again."

We all have the same virus.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Firing Up On All Cylinders

A challenge was issued to compose a piece about Love. This is one of my entries. This is the love tag for all (my) entries.

It was not from merely the door of the hotel room that they had been thrown into the throes of passion. No. In fact, they had caused so much of a ruckus on that damn plane above it that the pilot himself authorized the opening of a cabin hatch for dispersal.

Strapped together, sharing a single parachute, the crew positioned the couple near the hatch. Everyone was told to leave the area, except the co-pilot, whose duty it would be to man the operation.

"Saw you lookin' at her, trying to get your little airtime," leered Baz at the co-captain.

"Oh wasn't he, Baz?" exclaimed Deb. "I sawr him as I got up, tryin' to look up me skirt, pretendin' to check the bloody landin' gear."

The co-captain merely, diligently, stepped aside, and entered the hatch code. He held onto the safety grip as the door flung open.

"Whoo hooooo hooooooooooooooooo ...." was the last heard from them, as far as the entire airplane was concerned. A motorized device drew the flung door back in as promptly as possible, and there was a sharp shock felt throughout the plane as the lock settled into place.

It was, naturally, only chaos left in there in that plane. A man decided this was the best time to divorce his cheating wife, and actually notify her of his intentions. A gay man came out, in the middle of Christmas, in front of the whole in-flight family. And people think nobody noticed, but there was even, in the back seats, a middle aged Jewish mother, and a similarly aged Muslim mother, who had coalesced initially in order to condemn the sinners that had erupted, but now had found a profound common love of crossword and sudoku. There was no doubt in their minds that emails would be shared, and that, eventually, (sure, given a very long, drawn out process) the two would end up lesbians in Amsterdam.


But for them, they were together, and that was what was important! Strapped carelessly together by a terrified crew like two He-Man toys in the hands of a toddler's makeshift plastic bag parachute. But they were close. So close. Tied to each other so, so close.

"This is the best bloody coupon we ever cut out!" yelled Baz as they hurtled through the lower atmosphere at immense speed. "You alright?"

"I'm terrified," said Deb, wrapping her legs around him. "I never fought it could be done, luv!" Deb began smooching him all over. He responded, and they began kissing each other like fucking hail.


Eventually, they accurately and opportunely hurtled through the windows into the most expensive suite at a resort in Biscayne, Florida. The original occupants of the bed, a hardworking couple on honeymoon from Bayonne, New Jersey, would never be heard from again, because the sheer force of Baz and Deb's luvly impact had pulverized said couple into the queen mattress springs.

Several moments passed.

Baz got up, sniffing. "Luv?"

"Oi! Down 'ere!"

Baz let out his gleeful laugh. "Right right." Then he looked into her eyes. The sun leaked in from the smashed windows, catching an inflection in her eye, and, oh-ho-ho-ho.

"You bloody bastard," she said playfully as he unstrapped her from the parachute, patiently, hard as he was against her. "You rotten' dirty old bloody wanker ..."

"Mmm," moaned Baz as Deb began licking his face. "Best bloody coupon we ever cut, luv."

Orgasms aplenty in that suite.

Love, As Enounced By an Emotionally Transient Man Whose Movements are Admittedly Robotic and Whose Conclusions Lacking the Kind of Cosmic Foresight N

A challenge was issued to compose a piece about Love. This is one of the entries. This is the love tag for all (my) entries.

Love, As Enounced By an Emotionally Transient Man Whose Movements are Admittedly Robotic and Whose Conclusions Lacking the Kind of Cosmic Foresight Normally Attributed to People with Beards This Long

We were harvested from their experiment

of evacuating a middle-sized town
(they cut off all electricity
gas, water -- all such utility).
Then released us cocaine addicts
into their middle-sized compound.

Just to see what we may do, but ...
we were made for one another, me and you.

Sunlight at a gas station, bleeding from an eye,
now God was well in this shit too.
Running His little tests, as you had then confessed,
wiping at my 'bruise' from your stiletto shoe.
Is this clean gauze, from the Exxon store? I asked.

Naw, found it near that canal, you cooed.
So I thrust my fist up your cunt, squeezed your ovaries till you went blue.

Soon after that, I'd turned feverish from some swinish flu.
You shot all the other cocaine zombies by yourself, those days as they approached.
Simultaneously, incredibly, nursing me back to health --

-- hence do I leer, past tense of pigs fly.

It was only fortunate for me, that helicopters arrived
just as I realized you'd been using me as food.


They say we are the naturally selected,
from a slew of cocaine infected.
Having succeeded, we're to be injected
into a brand new group.

Oxytocin is the word around the labs.
heard it while they were checking me up.
Scientists are typically silent,
but when they blab, oh their elaborations.

I'm told everyone else there Believes in Love like it's a God.
Absolutely everyone, except, soon of course ... us.
Will we be turned, by their shear numbers, their overwhelming compassion?
Or will we be shark-like automatons, moving constantly, eating --
-- that prescient couple who knows or cares nothing of sheep-speak?

My nine remaining fingers,
as well a missing portion of one of my calves
tingle at this possible future.
Whether in horror at memory of you or under some pavlovian arousal,
it is still too unclear.

passionate affection for another person. a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection, as for a parent, child, or friend.

A challenge was issued to compose a piece about Love. This is one of the entries. This is the love tag for all (my) entries.

pointless, a scream!

so read us all euclid in the cave, please,
that we may together dream.

origins unfolded thus
oceans swum till some waterfall
oh, if sunlight didn't,

who scattered the brain?

given all the things we know,
if the sunlight hadn't shown such show,
who scattered the brain?

The Time Travelling Spectre

When I was a young man of 17, I used to enjoy very much simply walking about town on my time off. It was not that there was that much to see or do anywhere out there. After a few months, the environment essentially became like a set of gears, shifting here and there, changing -- generally. At least, during those days, I still believed the people made a difference. That no, they were not also just part of the mechanical scenery. Coming to think of it now, this was probably one of my motivational factors -- to observe their variations in the scenery as I walked. After all, I was one of the people myself, too.

In any case, I liked travel in general, and it was expressed mainly (due to budgetary and logistical factors) by walking around town. I would walk long distances, I remember, from one end of the limits to the other. East to West, North to South. Diagonally. A lot of things were happening in my life, those days, and walking on my time off basically provided me with the coordination -- mentally and physically -- to deal efficiently with these matters that seemed to bubble into cognizance.

Let me make it clear, lest you are envisioning some kind of loon, that this was not the case. I was very popular in college despite my younger age compared to peers -- a lot of the guys were my buddies, and I knew a good number of the girls enjoyed my company. I was even made President of the Student Body for a couple of terms. During that same period, I also started writing more seriously, and through this endeavor won $800 from the Chief Minister of that state for a class essay of mine, which I only submitted because the professor literally begged me to. In those days, $800 was a lot of money, and although the fleeting vision of the professor jumping in joy for her student at the ceremony was very heart-warming, my achievement also brought me tangible joy and self-affirmation -- finally, I was able to purchase a math co-processor for my 486SX -- something I had desired for so long.

It was as this upright young man, then, that I one day happened at a bus stop. I would sometimes do this -- 'teleport myself' (as I imagined it at the time) from a place that was boring me to a place I felt may seem new -- take buses. It was not really cheating, it was just because I wanted to be somewhere else faster than bi-pedal locomotion may allow, especially given human muscular architecture. Buses are also usually quite cheap, affordable by students. This bus stop had an orange and cream awning, which was unusual for the time, but known to me as a matter of the town's trying to 'spruce itself up'. Apparently the gentleness of the orange and cream mixture could produce good feelings inside citizens, and I suppose I leaned towards agreeing, having had an orange ice lolly with a cream filling, once. I had no reason, before reaching that bus stop, to disagree with the theory.

You will notice I said 'before' reaching that bus stop. I highlight this because this is where I met a most bizarre old man. He had been talking to some girls, seemingly of my age, and when I arrived, made a sort of random gesture at me, before continuing his speech to them. It was only as I leaned against the wall on the other side that I noticed the girls were in fact huddled in a corner. Their faces were mixtures of ambivalence, discomfort, and outright fear. The man kept leaning into their corner, arms waving about as he gave his speech, leaning closer and closer unto them.

This was unfair. Being at the time quite a sturdy youth, and full of self-confidence, I approached this man, and taking his shoulder, pulled him back from the girls, as one may do in setting an automatic gear shaft into reverse. But my hand was thrown off by his sudden, rabid shiver, and he turned at me, his eyes blood red and glaring.

A bus arrived, but a quick glance informed me that it was not my bus. Fortunately, at least, it was the bus for the girls, and they quickly filed into it. I kept staring into those bloodshot eyes, even as I heard the bus pull away. This man seemed dangerous, and it would be unwise to leave sight of him, at this point. He did not seem to have any weapons, but I knew all too well from old BMX stunts how fragile the human body can be, and, valuing my health, was not taking any chances with this fellow. I had never seen such ruby red eyes in my life. It was hard to differentiate where his irides even began. He was also staring back at me. Finally, it was he who broke the ice, in spectacularly unsurprising fashion.

"What you looking at?" he demanded.

I was, honestly, broken from my trance of studying his oculars. "Huh? Oh. No, nothing." Not turning, I walked backwards to get to the other side of the bus stop, but he advanced. Of course, I was not going to let this guy corner me, so I just stopped in the middle. Then, making a decision, I sat on the bench.

This seemed to elicit some glee from the madman. He giggled, and sat down next to me. I pulled my head down, and started rubbing it with my hand -- the body signal, to communicators, of somebody completely disinterested. This was one of my first revelations that such body signals do not work with the completely insane. The fact still chips away at me now, in the state that even I am, can you imagine? I don't mind the crazy people who talk at nothing, you know? They're just there, and they feel like talking, expressing maybe. Who cares? Who are they hurting? But to do it when your brain is receiving commonly decodable signals via sense organs. It is assault. "Where you going?" he asked.

I shrugged. "I go wherever I please," I added, for reasons unknown.

"Ah, you see," he said, and he tried to take my hand. I snatched it away, and looked angrily into his face. Those eyes did not waver, I tell you. "You see, it is not where you are going that is important. What matters is where you have come from." When I had first looked into his eyes, the question had automatically raised itself: how much had this guy had to drink? Was it drugs? What kind? What could do this? Tears were one of the many options, but I had invalidated that possibility early in the deductive process. Yet now, a single tear squeezed out from this man's left eye. Both of them had become glassy, trembling in what sunlight seeped past the orange and cream awning.

It is natural and healthy for a human being to empathize. Obeying this maxim, I began to feel sorry for the fellow. Perhaps I had been too harsh, too ready to judge. "I see. Where are you from, sir?" I asked, trying to modulate my tone and pitch on levels equating compassion.

This relaxed the crazy man a little, and he leaned back with both hands on the bench. "Ah, me. I come from Singapore."

I smiled. "Yeah, I've been over there. I saw the lion fountains, and there was a cable-car trip to an island. They put mirrors far in the jungle so it looks like people from World War II are shooting you, on one of the rides."

"Oh I don't know anything about shooting. I told Ram Gupta, my childhood friend in my hometown Ponnani, that I don't know who had shot them. But it was not me, certainly."

My smile trembled. "Ponnani. That doesn't sound very ... Singaporean." Singapore, a country competing in size with most cities of other countries, surely cannot have a 'hometown'. I mean, I guess one could say "Alexandra Road is my hood, yo," but it's not a 'hometown'. The hometown is Singapore.

"No man," laughed my new friend, waving a hand in the air at me. "That's in Kerala."

"Ah. I see. Of course" All empathy had just drained from my being. I took a breath, figuring, at least he seems a little less malevolent now.

Then, suddenly, he lunged, grabbing me by the collar. "There is no 'of course'," he rasped, the booze from his breath pouring into my nostrils. "There is only one course." In his deep red eyes, it seemed I could just about make the balls swimming around, crazily unaware of each other. "You have to know where you came from!"

"Wh -- Where do you come from?" I asked desperately, as he choked me with his bunched fist.

"You ever heard of Jesup town, down in Georgia? You go there, near the Savannah-Brunswick Waycross, and you go find this tattoo parlor." For a moment, his crazy eyes, seemed to actually focus. "You find that tattoo parlor, and then you go down to the basement. It's all changed now, since they made that place up, but you go to that basement, and you'll see where I came from." He choked me some more. "You hear?"

"Where are you from?" was all I could sputter.

"Have you heard of the pyramids? Egypt?"

Even then, as he was choking me to death, I found fallacy in the logic. "Which -- gasp -- which one? There are many ... "

"No damn you, the pyramid!" he screamed, saliva landing on my face.

But finally, mathematics won over. I had been carefully saving my breaths since he began choking me, letting only small spurts out as necessary to placate him. Now, I had enough, and I could feel the energy pulse through me. I am not a man given to violence for the sake of violence. But this time, I was at the very threshold of causing more than necessary. I reared my leg stealthily, staring into the mad man's eyes to distract him.

I only released enough of a kick to set him fallen half-way down the bus stop, and even then I worried, as he lay there sobbing, face down, whether I had really hurt him. But then a bus came, and it was my bus. As it drew near, I looked, between the bus and this crazy man, whose puddle of sorrow was pooling beneath his face. The bus door opened, squeakily, as they did in those days before pneumatics, and I was still looking at him. Should I stay, help him out? Finally, I simply turned and walked up into the bus. We pulled away, and I only strolled through the middle, holding on to the railing above. There was no reason to sit on the side, looking back into that ... that oblivion.


After that day, as that cocksure young man, I had only had to shake my head a couple of times under a blue moon, and the spectre would be gone. I was still confident, at that age. It was easily resisted, and such facility made me believe that there had been no lasting effect. In fact, it was not even until just this morning, upon waking up crumpled and debilitated on a bus stop bench, then noticing the orange and cream awning, that the realization hit me. That man ... the crazy man in the bus stop, with the deep crying red eyes ... he was me. Is me. Like pulling at a fraying thread, believe me, I so want to know that this is not true, that it cannot possibly be true. Yet in these tired old eyes, the situation looks very grim. Understanding this extent, I have moved on, past the incredulity of such a thing possible, to strategizing my best possible approach to the vector. I'm not going to end up like that guy. I mean, what did he even give me? Some two-bit pragma about capacity to originate from multiple locations, with a corollary regarding the importance of retaining data on those points of origin? It's like ... living for the past.

I have contemplated telling my younger self that he could be anyone (instead of simply being from 'any place'). This will tie in nicely with his current (and my past) appreciation of the variability and unique range of the human experience. "You can be anybody," I could tell him. Naturally he would challenge me, asking me who the hell I am. And I would state the obvious. "I am Alexander the Great of Macedonia. Sans unknown diseased death, of course." He would laugh in my face, and I state that "I am the culmination of all Faith and modes of life." He would point at me, laughing with those young girls, for calling myself God of everything. I would tell him how I've drunk hemlock, simply to illustrate my stern rigour, and simultaneously how trivial this coexistence with this so called world really seems to me. He would become grumpy then, and tell me I am no great philosopher. This would be the corkscrew -- the fly up the straw. The twist in the lemonade, the firecrackers in the pants. The Greatest Revelation. I would, finally, tell him, explaining in painful detail until it gets through that damn upright, cocksure, self-confident, self-assured pigheaded fuck of a mind I know so well, that I am him! And there would be no buses for him until I achieve success.

But no. That still reeks of such ... malice and self-hatred. These are not things I shall teach ... myself. That boy, he used to crave variation. Crave mutation and mutability -- of self and peer (but only peers who understand the same things he does). He woke up weeping in the middle of nights, because any dream he brought into mind (lucid dreaming, you see), would eventuate in such pitiful outcome. 'Be all you can be' may seem exciting for people without imaginations, but for those who do possess this gift, you so many times only end up in areas derived from the common mechanisms around. What is there? Drive to multiply. Fear (primarily of death). Love, which seems oh so mysterious to everybody, but to him, quite a rational thing (which is probably also why I can never have it). Me -- my version of the crazy red eyed demon from the future -- will teach younger me how to let go, from time to time. That his imaginations are actually real. That that one girl actually stills sleeps with him at night. That planes sure had looked like they'd crashed into the Twin Towers, but it was an optical effect by David Copperfield, and the public will only be told after our sun explodes. That the only reason he does not course photo luminescent blood like he would prefer, is merely the massive, massive amount of things that suggest otherwise. And that all of these things are also a part of his imagination.

Ghost Story V

This is part 5 of a Ghost Story. Part 1 is here, and Part 2 here. Part 3 is about lesbians. Part 4 is here. Part 6.

"Ok Nadine, I want to tell you something now, about myself, but I'm afraid to. It could ... it could change how you see me entirely."

Nadine's eyes swiveled from her busy desk and out from the computer screen, blue and enlarging. "But I can already see you, Peter," she said.

"I don't mean the camera," said Peter, putting his hand over his face, miserably. "You would never have seen something like this just through the Chat." He was sat on the office chair in a reclined position, leaning as far back as possible, and supported by the server rack. The Wisconsin Paranormal Society didn't believe in cute posters saying "I Want To Believe" or "Xenu is Coming", but even if they had, their reticulan walls were hidden behind clusters of microphones, video cams and such electronics. And books. Stacks of books, from the ground up.

In the computer screen, Nadine had unfurled like a woken cat. Her blue eyes were now almost as large as the entire screen. "Tell me," she said, soothingly.

Peter straightened up and peered at her. "Really? Can I trust you? What we've built here?" On the screen, Nadine nodded, affirming to Peter that this was real, and actually happening. Sometimes he needed to be nudged like that. Peter lowered his head, and thought for a while. "I have," he said then, raising his hand slowly to the side of his head, and then strangely -- like a snake -- wrapping it around, so that his fingers ended up directly on top, "a bald patch, Nadine. Here." He spread the fingers around the top, to indicate the location and extent of this patch, then shot his eyes directly into the monitor, into her oases of blue.

For a long time, Nadine simply stared back at Peter from the computer screen. He stared right back, too frightened to flinch. Then, Nadine broke into a small giggle, but it was very short, quickly replaced with a warm smile. "I know about your bald patch, silly," she said.

Peter got off his chair, pointing a finger into the monitor. "No way. How could you know?"

"You can see it whenever you lower your head a little to look at the keyboard," said Nadine, still smiling, but at this point, also laughing a little at him.

Peter fell back into his chair, a couple of fingers in his mouth. Was this true? Then a small sly smile broke around those fingers. "So you're not going to leave me?"

"Of course not bab--" A phone rang, interrupting her. "What is that?" asked Nadine. The phone kept ringing, and it was extremely loud.

Peter tried to check all the programs on his computer, but he couldn't find anything resembling a ringing telephone. It was only then that he looked around the room. "I think -- I think there is actually a real telephone somewhere in here," he said to Nadine. Her eyes grew even larger.

"Who uses real phones anymore?" she said, and when the next ring rang, put her hands to her ears. "Uggh. Pick it up, it's horrible!"

But Peter was already searching frantically, pushing boxes aside. He rummaged, scattering books, and upturning microphone stands.

"Aaaargh!" screamed Nadine from the digital surround speakers. "Make it stop!"

"I'm trying, Nadine," yelled Peter, his head wedged behind the kitchenette. There was no telephone back there.

"Try to look under the frozen mice boxes, it could be under those," said Nadine, who was now trying to peer into the room from the computer screen.

Peter sighed heavily. Then, pretending to be searching, he scampered under the computer table and disconnected the Internet cable. Nadine's screams immediately vanished, only to be replaced by a different sharp pain in his ears. It was the telephone, still ringing. "Idiot," muttered Peter, as he pulled the infernal thing from behind the computer tower, disconnecting all kinds of other cables and plugs in the process. "That damn idiot! Hiding the damn telephone behind the damn computer!"

Sat on the floor now, he watched the phone ring one more time, then pulled the receiver to his ear.

At first there was nothing but his own breathing. Then a man said timidly -- perhaps even frightenedly, "Uh. Is this ... is this Egon? Egon Spengler?"

Peter was still panting from his runabout, and looked, puzzled, at the receiver. Then he remembered. "Oh, that. That. No, his name is actually Ehud. I don't know wh--" A panicked voice squawked from the other end. "Yes, this is the Wisconsin Paranormal Society. Sir, calm down," replied Peter. But the man on the other end only squawked louder. Peter rolled his eyes, and listened. "Well, why didn't you call the police, instead?" he said, after some time. "They know how to deal with missing ki --"

At that point, Ehud walked into the room, and after experiencing an initial state of shock as to the demolition of the Society, glared at Peter, who was now laying on the floor, apparently chatting to someone on the -- the telephone! "Give me that," yelled Ehud, running across the room. Midway, he tripped on a rudimentary Faraday Box, and landed sliding till his face bumped into Peter's left kidney. He snatched the phone, and screamed into it. "Hello!"