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Monthly Archives: September 2017

The Porn Identity

CARL: Hey, don’t I know you from somewhere?

SAMANTHA: No.

CARL: Are you sure? We haven’t met? You look so familiar.

SAMANTHA: Sorry.

CARL: You’ve never seen me before?

SAMANTHA: Nope.

CARL: That’s so weird–have you, like… Wait, have you ever been on TV?

SAMANTHA: On TV?

CARL: Yeah.

SAMANTHA: Can’t say that I have.

CARL: Really? Wait, but what about…

SAMANTHA: What?

CARL: Oh my God.

SAMANTHA: I’m… late for class–

CARL: Holy shit, it’s you!

SAMANTHA: I don’t know what you’re talking about.

CARL: You’re her, you’re… Hannah Havelock!

SAMANTHA: Never heard of her.

CARL: Hey, it may have taken me a while to recognize you with all your clothes on, but I never forget a face, especially, like… damn!

SAMANTHA: What do you want?

CARL: Fuck, I was right. Hey–

SAMANTHA: I don’t do that kind of stuff anymore. OK? My name is Samantha and I… I just want to go to college and… Please don’t tell anyone?

CARL: You’re a porn star.

SAMANTHA: Yes! OK, yes, I was a fucking porn star, can you keep your voice down?

CARL: Maybe…

SAMANTHA: I have a boyfriend.

CARL: Does he know about you? God damn! Did you really think just because you changed your hair-color, no one would recognize Hannah fucking Havelock?

SAMANTHA: Do not use that name!

CARL: Would you rather I called you Samantha? When I’m talking about your career in porn?

SAMANTHA: I’d rather you not talk about my career in porn at all.

CARL: Do you really have a boyfriend? Does he go here? Hey–one email blast, and I can tell everyone at this school who you really are. Is it so much to ask?

SAMANTHA: Is it so much to ask what?

CARL: You’re a porn star. You’ve fucked uglier guys than me. I know, ‘cause I’ve seen it. Is it ‘cause you expect me to pay you?

SAMANTHA: It’s because you’re a dick.

CARL: Never fucked one of those before?

SAMANTHA: What do you think porn is? What kind of stuff do you think we do there? You think the guys just get to go around doing whatever or whoever they want? Well, not anymore. Not the way we were doing it. When I worked in porn, I made sure that I met every single guy I ever worked with beforehand. That they respected me. I fucked them because I liked them, not because they goddamn blackmailed me. And I let them film it because it was my job. But it’s not anymore.

CARL: You don’t just stop being a star. Not without going nova.

SAMANTHA: You’re despicable.

CARL: You’re adorable. And I’m gonna tell your boyfriend if you don’t fuck me.

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“Hey, Jude”

Kyle Niedermeyer went off to college when I got to seventh grade and by the time I was a junior, he came back as a teacher.

No one else could believe it. I mean, thsoe of us who had older siblings passed on the legend that was the Elk—to have one of their number in a position of authority? It was too much.

Except, of course, for me. Not only was I the only one not to gasp that first day when he revealed himself, I’d already brought along a nice shiny apple to give to him.

“Sucking up to the new teacher?” he asked me with a smile, careful to make sure everyone else was out of earshot.

“Do you remember me at all?” We’d only met once, which was enough for me, but his eyes narrowed. “Kassandra,” I helped him along. “My sister was in love with you?”

“Oh, shit,” he said, “Llywelyn?”

I don’t think of myself as much different through time. Physically, I suppose, with my hips and my breasts filling out, though very little in the face. It’s hard to really change when you know ahead of time pretty much exactly who you’ll be changing into, or so I still thought at the time.

“It’s great to have you back,” I said and he was gracious about the plattitude. “Does that mean you’ll be getting back together with Miss Kelly?”

There are only a handful of times when I’ve destroyed someone’s world with a revelation. I keep thinking I’ll cherish or even enjoy it, but the awkwardness makes that hard.

“I beg your pardon?” he asks.

“Don’t worry,” I tell him. “No one else knows. I’m kinda psychic?”

If I cared, I could prove that to him further, but there’s something more pressing. “Look, I know you’ve seen her wearing a ring, but she doesn’t love that guy. She still has feelings for you. And you still have feelings for her, which is why you came back. So you should… you know…” I looked down at my gift to him. “Give her an apple?”

He raised one eyebrow, then the other. As he reached for the apple, I bolted for the door.

There, I told my Psychicism. I did what you asked. What more do you want from me? What more could I possibly do? But there is always more to be done, isn’t there? Maybe I should just accept that.


Realitivity

“Reality” is a big word. I wouldn’t care to use it lightly. The feelings that we have are real. Our dreams are real, and our fears. Our suspicions are real, and our fantasies. I don’t know that I can say that everything is real. But I will say that anything can be.

This is why we in the multiple-worlds business like the word “actual”. An English-speaker might look at that word and think “That just means the same thing as ‘real’.” But when my American parents first got to Brussels, they got a map with supposedly English-language instructions that claimed to be an “actual map!”

“What?” said my father, “as opposed to an imaginary map?” It was some time before they put it together that the French word “actuel” (As well as the less frequent Dutch “actueel”) means something more like “current” or “up-to-date”.

Because of the connection between this word and the idea of relatively recent events, French and francophile ontologists, narratologists and (presumably) theoretical physicists have adopted the term to refer to events which “actually” happen in the continuity and diegesis the speaker occupies, as opposed to some subjunctive secondary or tertiary creation.

Where this gets messy is when we talk about worlds that are already “imaginary”: things that happen within the world of a story have to be things that “actually” happen there, too, else how could we distinguish between those events and others that are (only) imagined by the characters?

But again, just because something doesn’t actually happen in the actual world, that doesn’t make the event (or its impact on the human psyche) any less real.


The Foundations of Decadence, part 2

MICHELLE: Are you sure you’re okay?

JEFFREY: I am good.

MICHELLE: Can I get you some water or anything?

JEFFREY: I make it a habit to chase every drink with a glass of water. Keeps the hangovers to a minimum.

MICHELLE: Really?

JEFFREY: Hm. Dehydration. That’s the cause of most hangovers.

MICHELLE: I did not know that.

JEFFREY: Thank you.

MICHELLE: Are we gonna talk about it?

JEFFREY: You first.

MICHELLE: I think I’m in love with you.

JEFFREY: You’re right, I should’ve gone first. Look, Michelle–

MICHELLE: Look, no, I’m… I know that this is… I know that I’m the one who’s being naive here–

JEFFREY: You’re being idealistic. Romantic. That’s not the same thing.

MICHELLE: Kiss me?

JEFFREY: I’m sorry, I don’t know why I did that.

MICHELLE: I asked you to–

JEFFREY: I know, but I didn’t–

MICHELLE: Shhh. Do you like me?

JEFFREY: I do. But not in the way that you mean.

MICHELLE: Could’ve fooled me.

JEFFREY: Michelle, what are you doing?

MICHELLE: What does it feel like I’m doing?

JEFFREY: Please stop.

MICHELLE: Why?

JEFFREY: I just told you. Because I don’t want you that way.

MICHELLE: Feels like your body disagrees.

JEFFREY: My body isn’t in control. Or shouldn’t be—

MICHELLE: Then why don’t you stop me?

JEFFREY: I don’t know. Michelle, I’m drunk.

MICHELLE: You’re not that drunk.

JEFFREY: That shouldn’t matter. Why are you doing this?

MICHELLE: Because I want you to be my first.

JEFFREY: Why?

MICHELLE: Does there have to be a reason?

JEFFREY: I don’t love you.

MICHELLE: I know. But I trust you.

JEFFREY: Darryl loves you.

MICHELLE: Is that what this is about?

JEFFREY: Partly. You don’t love him. You don’t want him. I think you two would be perfect for each other, but then, it’s not up to me, is it?

MICHELLE: Don’t you want to have sex?

JEFFREY: No. Not right now.

MICHELLE: I think you do.

JEFFREY: Opinions are a dime a dozen.

MICHELLE: Are you seriously going to fight me on this?

JEFFREY: The way things are right now… I don’t know why, but I don’t seem to have much choice in the matter.

MICHELLE: Good.

JEFFREY: Normally, considering your virgin status, there are… certain steps I would take to try to make it more comfortable for you. But under the circumstances, the fact that I’m performing this service under duress…

MICHELLE: Just shut up and fuck me.


“Heart-Shaped Glasses (When the Heart Guides the Hand)”

There are a number of hard-core revelations that people have once they get to college. Or so I have witnessed from my eagle-eyed view. Some of these revelations are carnal. The lack of “adult” supervision opens up a whole world of possibilities, not just sexually, but alcoholically, marihuanically, and even at the cafeteria. You would be amazed at the amount of pizza an 18-year-old boy can consume without actually exploding.

Then there are the academic revelations. You soon discover that everything you have ever been taught is wrong—or, at the very least, skewed—whcih can be very uncomfortable. It can leave you unmoored: if those weren’t the causes of the Civil War, what else have they been lying to you about? What other lies have they forced you to write in term papers and short answers on tests?

“Are you okay?” Declan asks her.

“I’m fine,” Raven lies. “I just don’t know if I like it here.”

It wasn’t the classes. “I really like that Astronomy Lab. I mean, like, I wish there was an actual lab with, like, telescopes, but I mean, I don’t know.”

“Not too much math?”

“I don’t mind the math, actually?”

“You wanna take more math?”

“I wanna take more music.”

They were both taking music theory. Together. It was fun.

“Theory isn’t enough, though.”

They were doing a musical in the drama department…

“I don’t wanna do that kind of music. Something is just… off. I don’t know.”

“How long have you been with that guy, Declan?” Her name was Natalie—Nattie for short—and she was dressed like a lesbian.

“Since sophomore year. In high school.”

“Is he the only guy you’ve uh…”

“No.”

“But you’ve been dating him this whole time?”

She shrugs. “Pretty much.”

“Do you love him?”

“Look, if you’re hitting on me, just please just come out and say it.”

Nattie looks shocked. “I wasn’t… I mean…”

“I know I come off as damaged and vulnerable, but Declan is a great guy. I’m trying. I’m happier with him than I… It’s not his fault that I’m fucked up. It’s thanks to him I’m not more fucked up right now, so just, please.”

“OK.”

She threw Declan up against the wall outside his dorm room, pinned him, hovered over him, breathing him in. “I don’t think I like college much,” she confessed.

“I think you do.”

“I like the classes. But why do we have to hang out with all these douchebags?”

“We don’t,” her boyfriend of three years promises her.

“You promise?” He does.

But that was never gonna last, was it?


Ode to the Dragon-Gods of Time

The following is a translation of one of the oldest Icathi poems, possibly itself transcribed from Antediluvian Skytongue. It is offered (for now) without commentary.

I call upon the Dragon-Gods to take me to the future,
to guide my path across the shards of time into the Undiscovered Country,
to earn my hope and feed my dreams and make my wealth increase,
to show me to a better place while they make my body older.

Acarius, Icaria, I put my faith in you.
Great Dragon-God, Great Dragon-Goddess, show your love anew.

Acarius, help me reach my goals
as you once broke your way through Time.
Icaria, give your blessing,
grant me a miracle like your birth.

Before you, Goddess, all He knew was a moment of time,
(a blink of an eye, a blind-man’s waking dream)
In the Void, in the deep black nothingness of nowhere,
You appeared as a reflection in Your lover’s eyes
And He burst forth to find You,
dragging the shards of Time, His prison, in His wake,
and You were seized,
to hurtle into the dark unknown forever.

Now come and find me.
Help me find you.
Bring me the miracle of Your sight.
Bring me the miracle of love and happiness
to light my way into the Undiscovered Country.


“Basket Case”

Mickey hadn’t had the kinds of responsibilities Jasper had when high school ended. It wasn’t just that he hadn’t had enough sex, statistically, to accidentally knock a girl up (not that statistics really has anything to do with it), it was mainly that his parents were too understanding.

He lived above their garage. He had been living above their garage since he graduated high school. In fact, above his parents’ garage was where Mickey’s bedroom had always been, so really, when it came down to it, it was almost as though Micket was still in high school. Except without the homework.

He did have a job. He worked as a fry-cook. It was minimum wage and, unlike my brother, he didn’t get raises or promotions based on his performance. Add to that the fact that he got fired a couple of times, had to work somewhere else as a fry-cook—also, one place he worked got closed down for health-code violations. He wasn’t considered the most stable person.

He didn’t talk to many people, either. Really, there were only so many people he could talk to at his job, and most of them were assholes in his opinion, as he was in theirs.

His only real ambition was in videogames. He joined a lot of online forums, got off on heckling n00bs, busted some high scores. Mostly first-person shooters. Strategy games were for dweebs, he figured. RPGs were for pussies. Put a gun in his hand, and he’d—

Tommy had joined the army. Or no, was it the army? Maybe it was the navy. He knew it wasn’t the marines, Tommy was too jelly-limbed back in high school for that. And the airforce? He just wasn’t smart enough. Gotta be army, right?

Did that mean he had a real gun? Where had he been deployed? Where did he go to?

What was he doing with his life?

Mickey hadn’t really thought about the drums much since high school. That had been more Kyle’s thing. He’d been friends with Kyle for… gosh… And where was Kyle now? He’d gone off to college, too. Didn’t know where. Hadn’t talked to him much. Hadn’t talked to him… any, really.

Weird. He hadn’t even thought about them in so long.

He hadn’t even thought…