Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Beginning of The End


By Special Guest Contributor, Mr. Neal  Tarshis


On July 1st 1916 something happened that changed the way that wars were fought. Over 60,000 British troops at 7:30 that morning , carrying 70 pound packs, boiled out of their sodden rat and lice infested trenches and entered the desolate barbed wire territory of "No Man's Land". It was the infamous "Battle of the Somme...". The Germans were shocked to see the British advancing standing up and marching in hundreds across formations. The Germans soon overcame their shock and let loose with thousands of Maxim heavy machine guns. The slaughter was horrific. In one unit of 3,000 men only 50 were still on their feet as the charge collapsed! Thus the "romantic" era of cavalry and the bayonet charge was over and the wonders of technological warfare became the norm.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Here's What You Get for Threatening Me with Biblical Scripture!

So I got the NAD News Wire Channel on YOUTUBE up and running, and before I could even really get rolling, I get "JESUS-STOMPED" by some bored loser...who actually spent the time to post a message "disapproving" of  me using "disgusting profanity" ( I said the word FUCK). And anyone who knows me, knows I love nothing more than a well placed curse word. That said, in combination with my religious views -- had to reply to this jackass.
mattbyron2010 (2 days ago)

To "JESUSSAVES1977" --- Don't spout that shit here, my man...at least not to me. I am a man of science.
I appreciate the reply, but frankly, "profane" words in the English language are some of the best fitting for particular situations. Profanity can be beautiful...and is certainly not a sin. If there is a god who will judge me for swearing I would not want to be on his team anyways. God?! You want to involve the alleged "almighty, all-knowing creator of the universe and heavens" in some one saying the word FUCK on a personal youtube channel? If he exists, I'm sure he wouldn't appreciate one of his "children" wasting their time on such insignificant issues. You might have just gotten yourself in the dog house with the big guy!
Anyways, you certainly don't belong here but thanks for visiting. Have a pleasant existence..
-Dr. Matt Byron

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Wake Up, America....

News Wire Editor, Guest Contributor, & Ronin

 I see a country that is no longer split. No longer "bi-partisan." A country that has no solutions...only complaints. A country that will so passionately preach those complaints that they will go to the reaches of saying things like "the problem with this economy is that we have gotten away from being a catholic nation. If you want to fix the economy, listen to our forefathers who created this land as a catholic nation, and return it to that state."
I see the 50+ responses to that sort of a post, and the extreme belief in it. I look at the other posts that these people submit. I see the glenn beck clips. I see less of them, but i also see almost as many people that subscribe to articles with the title "Right-wing extremism may be on rise, report says."
Report says...REPORT FUCKING SAYS??? Who has the right to report, and why are there so many extremists that follow them?

The person that posted the article about us needing religion to fix our economy happens to be a very dear friend of mine. He posts Glenn Beck's "news cast" on a daily basis. Sometimes an hourly basis...and unfortunately, I can't say any different for the other side.

He is the same person that continuously posts messages (and gets very heated responses) about the hate crimes and "terrorism" that has been caused by religious extremists from the middle east...and I would like to pose a question to every american soul that has a BRAIN OF THEIR OWN.

Where did those extremists that blew your shit up start coming up with those ideas? Was it the hatred of your own personal feeling of superiority? Was it the hatred of what America is becoming? Did it start from one person who was capable of getting up on a podium and preaching to a group of 100 people that what they believe is right? Was it that person's ability to speak the way that I am right now?

Well let me pose one more question...from an editor to the president of the national affairs desk......what happens when those other 100 people that post their affirmation of what the "leader" believes, continue to expose themselves to the same media that he does? What happens when those same uneducated people, who are just looking for something powerful to latch onto decide to do something about it? What happens when they decide that because they don't know anything whatsoever, and don't care about that fact, that they will start subscribing to the same media that their "leader" does. And what are the consequences that this world will suffer when they decide to act on it the same way that the extremists in the middle east that they preach about did?

Are we any different than a middle eastern between the ages of 17-34 if we go and blow up one of their buildings? Why? Because we are american?

The second most disturbing thing about this problem is that those middle eastern males between the ages of 17-34 know what they are talking about. The most disturbing thing about this subject, is that clearly...american males that preach this way don't. They are simply fed powerful propaganda and "news reports" from people like john stewart and glenn beck. Not to say that john stewart and glenn beck aren't right about some of the things that they say. But it becomes a problem when you have a nation of morons who gather their information from the biggest extremist in the country. It becomes and even bigger problem when they start preaching the same bullshit that they hear. It becomes a catastrophy when those people build a big enough netword of people that don't know what else to latch onto because they are too lazy to think for themselves. And it becomes the end of the world when they begin to act on it.

So in honor of The Woody Creek chapter 11, I am reaching out to anyone that is in the age group of americans that will be the future of our world, AND are capable of thinking AND acting for themselves.

I am asking for those people who have their specific talents, and are passionate enough about using their brain for a greater good. Not passionate about using their amazing talents for negativity. I am asking for the support of people like you, to realize that YOU CAN THINK FOR YOURSELF. You can be thankful for what you have. You can find the positive in a negative situation. I am simply asking that you do that.

With all of the negatives that our society exposes us to, our minds are trained to pick a side. Once you've picked your side, whether you have any clue about what you are talking about or not...unfortunately your side is made up.

But what if there was a side in the middle. A side that tries to find the good in life, and cultivate it. Rather than exposing as many people as you can with your talents to the negatives in our society, why not be an innovator? Why not get the public to realize the positives. And what happens when a nation of extreme negativists turn into a nation of people that want to feel happy again?

I need people like you Matt. I need people like me, and people like brian lapins, and people like llonatan axle, and people like Tal Ben-Shahar, and Martin Seligman. I have submitted these same ideas to Dr. Seligman (president of the American Psychology Association and National Positive Psychology Association). And I WILL get a response. And I will not only get a response, I am ready to make a difference in this world. Because it needs people that are willing to start a website called the "national affairs desk." And it needs people that are willing to find the positive in a society filled with greed, finger pointing, and ultimately...............finish that sentance yourself.

I will be a poster boy. I have created the connections to be a poster boy. I will get up on stage and I will tell the public that they are MISGUIDED!

But I need minds like yours.

So thankyou for reading my soap-box message board post. If you would be so kind as to post it on your web-site, it would be much appreciated. But this society will end if all we have are two groups of people, or three groups of people, or four groups, or a world of people that are only capable of finding things that are wrong with the world, and never anything that is right, or a solution to their problems. We will crumble as a planet, not just as a nation, if all we are capable of focusing on are the things that are already destroying us. We have focused on that long enough. It is time for a new era. A new era of positive thought. An era of thought that will move us FORWARD, instead of dwelling on why we are moving backwards.

I have an attorney, an investment banker, a college professor with a PHD in positive psychology, a close friend who literally aced his LSAT, a brother with an MBA and 4 other BA's in business, accounting, statistics, and valuation. I have a strangle hold on the insurance industry, and am now licensed in every state in the country to sell not only what our people NEED as far as insurance goes, but also what they NEED as far as investment, and life insurance go. I have the capability now to show the people our age, who have no idea what to think, but are never the less subject to having their thoughts controlled...ways to counter act the fact that our generation will not have social security. I am licensed in every state of the US to sell insurance, banking products, and securities of every kind, and I have the contacts to start a revolution of people that WANT to be educated. The only reason they aren't is because the generation before us did such a good job with their generation that they didn't take the time to teach us how to do the same thing.
So I guess this is my form of an extremist post. I am extreme in the way of saying fuck you to all the close minded morons, who make opinions that are SO strong, based on nothing but the words of a glenn beck.
Please feel free to pass this message on to anybody who has an open mind, and has been misguided to this point in their lives. Because we are at a point where either the people like you and I will educate our world...or the uneducated will destroy it.

By National Affairs Desk Syndicate Senior Editor,

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


A short story from one of our favorites, Joseph Lane.

Have you ever seen anything like it?” Jim asked, adjusting his hat.

No, never.” Said Tom, handing Jim $1.76 in change, then placing his milk and bread in a plastic bag.

What do you think it is? Where did it come from?” Jim grabbed the bag, and impulsively inspected its contents.

I dunno, but it wasn't here at 11, when I was closing up last night.” Tom fiddled with the 'Give a penny, keep a penny jar', then gazed out the store window like Tom.

So nobody saw or heard anything last night?” Said Jim, now standing at the window.

Nope, which is odd considering how busy this street is, and with all the apartment buildings there are around here.” Tom walked out from behind the store counter, and joined Jim at the store window.

I know it sounds crazy, and I don't believe and that sorta shit, but it doesn't look earthly.”

Jim and Tom stood and watched the burgeoning collection of firemen, police officers, press, and the generally curious that had been gathering since earlier that morning.

“I bet it's a bunch of students from the art college in the city, all an elaborate hoax. Kids these days, you know.” Said Tom, holding the store door open for Jim.

“Maybe. I will be sure to keep an eye on the news. Thanks Tom.”

“See ya Jim.”

Elizabeth Kelly was putting on her face, staring into a small compact makeup kit.

“We are on in 5 Liz.” Said Kevin, her producer and cameraman.

“I wish we had more to say. Am I talking to the geologist, or the police chief first?” Elizabeth fiddled with her hair.

“We are going with a geologist first. 3 minutes.” Kevin picked up his camera, pressed a few buttons. “2 minutes.”

“Michael Fredericks, right? The geologist.”

“Yes. 45 seconds.”

Michael Fredericks approached Elizabeth. They shuck hands.

“25 seconds.”

Michael adjusted his tie. “Do I look at you, or into the camera?”

“The camera”

“In 5,4,3,2,1...” Kevin points to Elizabeth.

“Good afternoon. We are here on St. George Street, in picturesque town of Mapleton Ontario. Where sometime last night a mysterious Orb appeared. With me today is Michael Fredericks, associate professor of geology at Eastern University. Mr Fredericks, what are we looking at?”

“It's an Orb, and from my measurements it seems to be geometrically perfect.”

“Have you seen anything like it in the natural world?” Asked Elizabeth, cursing Micheal Fredericks, thinking to herself 'oh great a professorial type, that has the personality of a log.'

“No. I am also very confused as to what it is made of. From the little time I have had to study it. I am not sure what materials make it up.”

“An elaborate hoax?”

“I can't imagine that it is anything else.”

“Thank you Mr Fredericks.” Didn't that go well, she thought.

“You are welcome.”

Michael Fredericks shuck Elizabeth than Kevin's hands and joined a crowd of people standing near the Orb.

“Is the police chief ready Kev? Are still going live?”

Kevin, now talking on a cell phone, held a finger up to Elizabeth, as if to tell her to wait a minute. The look in his eyes was one of amazement and fear. He mumbled a few 'ahas' and 'okays', maybe a 'yep'. Whatever was being said on the other end of the line, was obviously far more important than anything Kevin might add in rebuttal.

Elizabeth was both impatient and curious. She would shoot looks Kevin's way, only to be met with a nod or a finger. What the hell was going on? This was her first chance at any real face time on the nightly news. What was the delay?

Kevin stuffed his cell into his pocket. Walked towards Elizabeth.

“What's up? Are we interviewing the police chief or what?” Elizabeth's hands were in the air. She hated not being in control.

“This story is changing, it's bigger than we thought.” Kevin said, a far off look in his eyes.

“What do you mean? Fill me in Kev. What the hell is going on?”

“I just got off the phone with Toronto. The have told me that there have been similar reports of Orbs popping up all over the globe. There have been at least 35 discoveries in Canada alone. Discoveries in Europe, Asia, and Australia as well. There might be thousands of these things. We have been told to sit tight, and wait further instruction.” Kevin's phone rang again, he walked a few metres away from the gathering crowd, and answered it.

“Get our ass to a TV.” The voice on the other end of the phone said.

“Why, what is going on?” Kevin responded, the colour draining from his cheeks.

“One of the Orbs, just outside Brisbane Australia has been vibrating and changing colours for the last half hour or so. Go! Something significant is happening. Oh and we want you guys to get a safe distance from the Orb in Mapleton.”

Elizabeth got as close as she could to Kevin. Trying her hardest to listen to the voice on the other coming from Kevin's phone...

“How far is a safe distance? What if this one starts to vibrate and change colours? I want to catch it all on film. I am not going to miss it.” Kevin shrugged. Elizabeth's eyes grew.

“Find a place with a good view of the Orb, but I want you guys inside. And for God's sake be careful. Keep your cell phone on, we will be in constant communication.”

“OK, will do. Good bye.” Kevin stuffed his phone back in his pocket. “We have to tell all these people that they should get a safe distance from the Orb. Where is that police chief?”

“What's up Kev? Is the Orb dangerous? Let's tell the story. Let's get the camera running.” Elizabeth was excited, she had the feeling she was now sitting on the story of the century.

“There are thousands of these things Liz. There is one in Brisbane that is vibrating and changing colour. We need to get folks safely away from this thing, until we have a better idea what the hell is happening.” Kevin, ever the fatalist, had a feeling that something horrible was about to happen. He had that feeling when he first saw the Orb, early this morning. It wasn't because he and his new girlfriend were supposed to head off to Cuba tomorrow. He just didn't want this gig in the first place, he was a day away from vacation, and he didn't feel like spending the day in some hick town in western Ontario. He had a bad feeling in the pit of his stomach as soon as he first caught sight of the orb. Something was not right, and he knew it.

Police chief Fred Campbell and his team of 10 officers had spent most of the day trying to keep teenagers from crawling all over the orb. He had no idea what it was, frankly he didn't care. He would much rather be home in front of his brand new 50 inch HD TV watching NASCAR. This was an unexpected, and unwanted event, that he couldn't wait to for it to be all over with. He was 64 years old. About 6 months away from a much deserved retirement. This was nothing be a pain in his ass.

Constable Gnew, the new kid, ran up to the chief red faced and excited. “Phone call chief. It is Ottawa, they say it is important.”

Michael Gnew, 24, fresh faced, straight out of cop college, passed a cellphone to the chief. “Thanks

Mikey. Keep an eye on that group of boppers over there will you?”

“Sure thing chief.” Mike walked over towards a fence where 5 or 6 teenagers were hanging out. Seeing him approach, they tossed their cigarettes and quickly dispersed.

“Chief Campbell. Aha, yes, who is this? OK, yes. Really, yes I am listening.” The knit in Chief Campbell's brow grew more and more pronounced, the longer he listened to voice on the other end of the phone.

After a few minutes, his jaw dropped. He pressed the red button on the phone, then stuck two fingers in his mouth and whistled. “Everyone clear the area! Everyone go home!” He whistled louder, almost drowning out the squawks of his walkie-talkie, and the voices of his perplexed officers.

“What's going on chief?”

“Just clear the area.”

“What we tell the crowd?”

“Tell them this area is unsafe.”

“Is it the Orb chief? Should they be afraid of the Orb?”

“For shit's sake, YES! Clear the area!”

Slowly the area around Tom's Convenience Store, and eventually a 5 block radius around the Orb site was cleared of civilians. The only folks visible, anywhere near the orb, were first responders, and folks in Hazmat suits. About once every half hour a press, military, or government helicopter would circle well above the orb.

“Fucking copters, you and I should be up in one of them, telling this story.” Said Elizabeth plunked on a hotel bed watching NewsWorld.

“You should be watching our network.” Said Kevin, leaning against a dresser, drinking a Heineken he had grabbed from the bar fridge.

“Screw that, this is a National, hell Global emergency, I only trust the National broadcaster when things go all to hell. And besides, my network just pulled me from the story of the century, so fuck em.” With that Elizabeth fell back on the bed, kicking her shows off as see landed.

“It's for our own safety Liz. No one knows what those things are...”

Just then there was a bright flash, then only static from the feed in Brisbane. Within a second or two Peter Landsbridge was seen fiddling with his ear piece. “Ahem, we're sorry, it seems that we are having technical difficulties with our feed from Brisbane. We will return there live once things are ironed out. For those just tuning in, we have been covering, the still developing story, of thousands and thousands of orbs that have appeared as if out of nowhere worldwide over the last 12 to 24 hours...” Landsbridge held his finger to his ear once again. His eyebrows rose, confusion, then what looked like despair

crossed his face.

“... we are getting unconfirmed reports of massive power outages in Western Australia. We have been unable to reach any of our correspondents in Brisbane. The ABC in Sydney seems to have gone dark. Stay tuned, we will bring you further information as it comes in.”

Elizabeth sat up, Kevin but his beer down on the dresser. From their window on the 5 floor of the Mapleton Best Western, they could see the very top of the Orb. It sat grey, it was not vibrating or glowing, yet. Suddenly Kevin's phone rang, then even before he could answer it Elizabeth's rang. On the other end of Kevin's phone was his girlfriend.

“Hey babe. I am safe... I am at a hotel, a Best Western about 5 blocks away... I don't know when I'll be home... I know, I know, our flight leaves tomorrow around 2. Head office promised me that I will be home in time for me to make our flight... I love you too... stop worrying, I will be there soon... I gotta go babe, Landsbridge is about to tell us what is going on...a ha, yep. Love you too. Good bye.”

Elizabeth had a very similar conversation with her mother, minus the talk of air travel of course. She too cut her mom off early to see what Peter Landsbridge had to report.

“Ladies and gentlemen, it is with a heavy heart, and mind you this story is still developing, and much is still unconfirmed, that I have to report that communication, whether it be by landline, cell phone or via the Internet, has ceased with Australia. Sydney has gone quiet, there is no news from Brisbane, Melbourne or even cities as far away, as Adelaide or Perth. Our producers were able, just a few minutes ago, to talk briefly with New Zealand's Foreign Minister, who released this statement: “At 2:26 am local time, a flash of light was seen throughout the skies of Oceania. Moments later, we lost all communication with our dear friends and neighbours in Australia. We have scrambled jets, and have called on the navy to send ships carrying food, water, and medical supplies. We ask that the global community say a quick prayer for Australia. And we make a promise to go above and beyond to help our dear friends recover from whatever this event it is that is happening in Australia.”

Landsbridge began to look ever worried. “There are now reports of vibrating and glowing Orbs throughout Asia. China and Japan have called for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council. The American President, we are told, is meeting with the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The Canadian Prime Minister, has yet to call for a national state of emergency, but he has asked that citizens stay well away from any of the Orbs, and that each Canadian municipality be ready to enact emergency measures at a moment's notice.”

Kevin's phone rang. It was Toronto: “We want you and Elizabeth to get in the van and drive to the airport. We are pulling you out of Mapleton, we are bringing you in. The corporate jet is waiting on runaway 3. Flash your press badges, the folks at the airport are expecting you.”

Kevin looked up at Elizabeth, who was transfixed by the TV. “We gotta go. There is a plane waiting for us. They want us out of here.”

“What about the story? We are here already, we can tell as good as anyone else.” Said Elizabeth, stubborn to the end.

“We gotta go. Those are our orders.”

The first Google Satellite images of Australia were being broadcast. Australia was flattened. A huge plume of smoke could be seen from space.

“Holy shit” Said Elizabeth.

Kevin grabbed Elizabeth's arm, pulled her off the bed. “We have got to go. I am not letting you, or I die in Mapleton.”

The drive to the airport was bumper to bumper. Panicked civilians, with little idea what to do, had piled into their cars and headed to wherever they thought might be safest. The airport, it would seem, was as good a destination as any. Elizabeth and Kevin listened to the radio as they drove.

NATO and the American Military were trying various methods to destroy Orbs. Conventional methods and weaponry had yet to work. The President up to this point refused to consider the nuclear option. There was however, an on going operation, just outside Seattle Washington, where the US Military was attempting to dig up an Orb, load it onto a rocket, where it would be blasted into space where it could blow up, or flash, or do whatever it does above the Earth's atmosphere. “The worry,” said the radio newscaster “is time.”

Now at the airport, Elizabeth and Kevin weaved through the frenzied crowd of stranded passengers, and folks trying to fly as far away from the Mapleton area as possible. Kevin lead them towards a customer service kiosk. Once there, Kevin flashed his press badge and said that he had been told that everything was set up, that there was a plane waiting for himself and Elizabeth on runway 3. The customer service representative punched a few words into his computer, looked over Kevin and Elizabeth a couple of times, then said: “Of course, please follow me.”

The representative lead them through customs, without being metal detected, no passports were shown, then hurriedly down long airport corridors. Just as they were about to enter gate 64, which would lead them onto the waiting plane, the lights dimmed and they heard load gasps throughout the airport.

“What now?” Asked Elizabeth, clinging hard to Kevin's arm. “I don't know? But I think it is best that we get on the plane, and get out of here.”

Elizabeth took a few steps backwards, she wanted to know what was happening.

“Liz, please, there is nothing we can do, no matter what's happening. Let's get on this plane, and home to our loved one's, while we still can.” Kevin lurched forward and grabbed Elizabeth's left arm. She tore it from his grasp and ran back into the airport. Kevin ran after her.

They didn't have to run far because high above the seats in the waiting area of Gate 64, there was a TV. Peter Landsbridge, even more ashen, and shocked as before, reported that the world had lost China, most of South East Asia. Japan, Mongolia, India and the extreme East of Russia. Most of the Eastern world was no longer responding to communication attempts.

Elizabeth and Kevin stood silently staring at the TV for a few minutes. Shocked, almost unable to move, Kevin finally grabbed Elizabeth's hand and said “Let's get home to our families. Please, Elizabeth, let's get on that plane.” Elizabeth silently capitulated.

Elizabeth and Kevin were not alone on the plane. There were about 15 other people, fortunate enough to have connections within the corporation, that had secured seats. The Vice President's son was on board, so too were another team of producer and reporter. The rest of the passengers were mostly family of executives, or advertising salespeople.

“Lady's and gentlemen, my name is Charlie McNichol, I will be your captain. We are scheduled to depart from runway 6 at 4:15 pm, or in about a half an hour. In the meantime, the lovely and capable Michelle will be on hand to cater to your food or drink needs. The flight itself, will take approximately an hour and 20 minutes. We are anticipating higher than average traffic at Pearson International, I will better inform you once I have a better idea what's happening in Toronto. So sit tight, we will be in the air soon.”

“Sexist bastard.” Elizabeth muttered.

Kevin shrugged, wondered where this lovely and capable Michelle was hiding. He needed a drink to straighten himself out.

Elizabeth dug in her travel bag and pulled out her iPad. Thank God for 3G technology, she thought. She instinctively checked her emails, then a quick peek in on her social networks. Same old shit, bills and an email from her mom in her email box. Twitter and Facebook were littered with fears that the end was near. Surprisingly considering the reported devastation in Australia, and Asia. The Web seemed to be so far unaffected.
Elizabeth typed in the url for CNN. Things have gone all to hell, shit like this is right up CNN's alley, she thought. The headline, written in big bold black letters was: IS THIS THE END? Elizabeth couldn't help but chuckle, Jim Morrison's lyrics : “This is the end. My only friend, the end” were bouncing in her head. Oh how she loved the Doors as a teenager.

Kevin looked over Elizabeth's shoulder. “Are we all dead yet?” He asked, a week attempt at humour, he knew, but at this point, that's all he could come up with.

“Ha, I don't think so, unless flying in a corporate jet is some new sort of heaven, purgatory, or limbo.”

“Are you religious Liz?” Asked Kevin, noticing that Michelle, the stewardess, was approaching with a drink cart.

“Nah, I am borderline atheist. Not full-blown, figured I might wanna recant on my death bed, you know, just in case I am wrong.” Elizabeth looked up and smiled at Michelle.

“Would you folks like something to drink quickly before we take off?” Michelle asked, and yes, she was beautiful.

“I'll have a glass of dry white wine.” Said Elizabeth, lowering the try in front of her.

“And you sir?”

“A gin and tonic, with a lemon, no ice.” It was obvious that Kevin had said that many, many times before.

Michelle poured Elizabeth and Kevin's drinks. “Any good news?”, she asked Elizabeth as she passed her, her wine.

“Thanks. Not really. Orbs are glowing and vibrating all over Europe now. The whole continent is in a state of emergency and panic. Whatever is going on, it seems to be headed steadily west. Scientists are trying to calculate exactly when each Orb flashes, and the extent and distance of destruction each Orb causes. I'd hate to come off as a fatalist, or a Debbie Downer, but I think we are all fucked. You'll get us good and drunk though, won't you?”

Michelle, a little taken aback by Elizabeth's rant, passed the g & t to Kevin, and said “Sure thing honey, we might as well go out happy.”

“Thanks Michelle, I hope to see you on multiple occasions throughout the flight.” said Kevin, as flirty as possible.

Michelle smiled,then pushed her cart away.

The jet's engines began to idle faster, as the captain began to taxi towards the runway.

“Ladies and gentlemen, if you would please direct your attention to your stewardess Michelle, she will give you a run through on the safety and emergency features of this aircraft. We will be a taking off soon, and should be arriving in Toronto in about an hour and 20 minutes. Sit tight, and enjoy the rest of the flight.”

Elizabeth instinctively put away her iPad, she had been chastised by more than a few stewards and stewardesses about the use of electronic devices during take off. Kevin however, always tried to buck that rule, he purposely plugged some headphones into his iPhone, and stared out the window. Surely the rules are much more lax on a corporate bird, he thought. He was right, Michelle paid no attention to him. She had the apocalypse on her mind.

Minutes later the jet was in full flight, headed slightly south east towards Canada's largest city. Both Elizabeth and Kevin had 3 drinks during the flight, but little was said. They seemed to have come up with a non-verbal argument not to follow the news while they were in the sky. Surely the world wouldn't come to the end while they puddle jumped the Great Lakes.

Kevin recognized the ever-growing expanse that is Toronto Ontario Canada, as the captain made his descent. Home sweet home, he mumbled to himself. Then he wondered if he was ever going to get to Cuba with his girlfriend.

“Have you got anyone picking you up at the airport?' Kevin asked Liz. Holding his empty glass up, hoping that Michelle would notice and pour him one last drink.

“Yes. I emailed my mom before we took off. She promised to take me back to her place and feed me a proper mail. I called it a Last Supper, but I don't think she thought it was funny. Have you got a ride. My mom lives way out in Markham, but I am sure she'd be willing to drop you off somewhere.” Elizabeth declined Michelle's offer to top up her wine.

“Thanks for the offer... thanks Michelle... but I have to get back to head office, who knows, they might

need me out in the field. I will use the company card and get a taxi to zoom me into town.” Kevin sipped his g & t, and watched Toronto get bigger, and bigger as they approached the airport.

The captain pointed the jet straight and true, smoothly landing at Pearson International Airport. He taxied slowly to an empty gate, turned the off the engines, and met the passengers as they left the plane. Both he and Michelle did the forced-friendly good byes. Both wondered if they'd ever have to perform the routine again. Captain McNichol, had already been told that all commercial flights were grounded, not just in North America, but Worldwide. He might have landed his last jet.

Elizabeth and Kevin departed at the arrivals lounge. They hugged, told each other to stay in touch, then went their separate ways. Elizabeth was met by a teary-eyed mother, who threw her arms around her arrms around her daughter. She had a look of deep dread, a look that Elizabeth had never seen on her mother's face before. Kevin made his way out a set of carousel doors, where a line up of taxis where there for his choosing.

“It's gonna be alright mom. We will figure this out. A few space rocks, or whatever the hell those things are, are not going to destroy humanity.” Huzzah to false hope. Elizabeth hated seeing her mom worry, she'd come up with anything in order to stop her mother from fretting.

“You stink of wine.” Those were the first words her mother said to her. Which made Elizabeth roll her eyes, something perfected since she was 9-years-old. “Oh I am glad you are home. Have you been following the news? Dear Lord, I am not sure what to make of any of it. I am scared Lizzy.”

“Let's just get home mom. Any news from dad?” Elizabeth's parents have been divorced since she was 8. He is a senior environmental engineer, working for a big oil company in Saskatchewan. He remarried, and was the father of two young men in their early 20's.

“Your father, and both brother's called the house earlier this afternoon. They each said that they had tried to call your cell, but there was no answer. I told them that you were flying home, and that you'd touch base after supper. Oh and Jimmy called. He said he was worried, that you haven't answered any of his calls or emails.”

Jimmy and Elizabeth have been on again and off again since they first met at university. She cares for him dearly, but she has been over him for a long time. They hook up for drinks and a shag every now and then, but she has become increasingly tired of the whole blessed thing. Elizabeth figures that if she ignores him, maybe they can be off again permanently. Hell maybe the Orbs will take care of it for her. Fatalism isn't so bad after all.

“Didn't you bring any bags?” Elizabeth's mom asked, as she approached her tiny red Yaris.

“Nah, we were told to get to the airport as quickly as possible, Kevin and I both left everything, except our carry-ons at the hotel. I guess we could get the hotel to ship it to us later.”

“If there is a later.” Her mom said, slowly pulling out of her parking spot.

“That's the spirit mom. I am going to turn on the radio, let's find out how near the end is.”

“I'd rather listen to my Brahms's cd. I am not sure I can take any more talk of the end of the world.”

“Fair enough. I will check things out on my iPad.”

“Please do.”

The 407, usually bumper to bumper at 6:30pm, was eerily quiet. The chaos that was the roads only 2 or 3 hours ago, had ebbed. It was as if Ontarians had found their safe place. Like they were hunkering down for a storm.

Elizabeth had no Internet service. She couldn't log on. “Shit, the Internet is down. The shit is really hitting the fan. Let me borrow your cell, I think I left mine in Mapleton, I wanna see if there is any cell service.” Her mom passed the cell. She looked at the display screen, noticed that there were no bars, a message raid that the cell was searching for a signal. Elizabeth shut the phone off and passed it back to her mom. “Cell service is down as well. Mommy, I must know what is going on. Let me turn on the radio, please.”

“OK darling, but only for a few minutes, I am worried enough as it is.”

Elizabeth pressed a button on her mother's car stereo, switched it from Brahms to CBC Radio One.

“... confirmed reports that the Internet is down worldwide, cellular service is down from Newfoundland to nearly Saskatchewan. The Canadian government has declared a country-wide state of emergency, and has asked citizens to listen to local authorities, suggesting also, that if there are bunkers in your area, to get in them.

As of about an hour ago, the world lost contact with Europe. It is expected that Orbs in North and South America will start glow, vibrate, then pulse soon...

... we are getting unconfirmed reports, and with the state of Canada's communication infrastructure, limited now to just landline telephones and radio, most of the new information we might report will be unconfirmed, but we are getting phone calls from Newfoundland, and the rest of the Maritimes that Orbs are beginning to glow and vibrate. Scientists estimate that the Orbs are in this state for about an hour before they pulse. Martimers please, try and find a safe place. Our thoughts and prayers are with you...”

Saimus McGinnley, the radio announcer, a Newfoundlander made good, choked up. One heard him clear his throat, sniff.

“... I am sorry, this story has just hit home for me 'sniff'. Be safe Canada. May God help us all.”

“Shut it off Liz, I can't listen to any more.”

Elizabeth's mother pulled the car to the side of the road. Pulled a packet of Kleenex from the dash, wiped her eyes, then blew her nose. Even the ever-stoic Elizabeth was tearing up. She reached over and brushed a tear from her mother's cheek.

“Let's just get home mom.”

Elizabeth's mother, took a deep breath and pulled back onto the highway, headed home.

Downtown Toronto was deserted. Kevin could count on two hands how many other vehicles he and the cabby had seen since entering the downtown core. It was if he was in an action movie, Kevin expected to see Godzilla and King Kong doing battle around the CN tower.

He and the cabby hadn't said much. Both spent most of the trip listening, semi-stunned, to the news that was coming from the radio. Kevin had forgotten why he needed to go downtown. Why was he compelled, after landing at the airport to go back to the office? Would anybody even be there? The cabby's mind was on his wife and two little girls sitting at home in their tiny apartment in the west end. This fare had lost all purpose. He was tempted to pull over, kick Kevin out, and rush home to his family. Neither man had any interest spending, what might be their last moments, with each other.

“...Canadian and American researchers say that the pulse or beam given off by the Orbs is akin to heavy electromagnetic energy. This intense energy, vaporizes everything in its path. It is as if, researchers postulate, Earth is being clear cut, or slash and burned. There must be intelligence behind the process, but as of yet, there haven't seemed to be any attempts at communication...”

Saimus McGinnley was also questioning why he wasn't home with his wife and 13 month old son. Was it his destiny to be humanity's last scream for help? How soon would it be until his voice was no longer being broadcast to the cosmos? When would the radio-waves be scrambled?

The cabby pulled up to the curb, right in front of a large office building. Kevin, who had planned to pay the cabby with his corporate credit card, realized that not only was the cabby's debit machine mostly likely down, but what was the point of saving 40 bucks now anyway? He reached into his wallet and gave the cabby every last bill that was in it, close to $200.

If this were any normal day, then a fare like that would have made the cabby's day, but there was nothing normal about today. The cabby refused, saying; “No thank you. God bless you, good bye.”

Money still in Kevin's hand, he watched the cabby speed off. He suddenly felt like he was the only person in Toronto. He shouted, impulsively “HELLO!” the echo of his voice off Toronto's skyscrapers were all he got in response. He looked up at the large office building that housed his head office. It stood grey, and lifeless. Should I go in? Why am I here? What next?

Kevin entered the building. Nobody was at the front desk. He went around the desk, looked for a radio. There was not one there. He picked up a phone. There was a dial tone. He dialled his home phone number. Maybe there was time for his girlfriend to come pick him up. He hated the thought of facing the apocalypse alone. 1 ring, 2 rings, 3 rings... come on, pick up, pick up... 4 rings, 5 rings... where the hell is she?... 6 rings, 7 rings, 8 rings... fuck!... Kevin slammed down the receiver. What now?

Kevin remembered hearing the radio announcer mention that perhaps the best place to be, is underground. He made his way to the elevators. He pressed the down button. All three elevators had to come up from sub basement level 4. The middle elevator opened first. He went in, pressed the button for sub basement level 4, had a near panic attack as the door closed.

Less than a minute later, although in his state of near panic, it felt like an hour, the elevator opened to sub level 4. He quickly hopped out. “HELLO!” More echos, no response. He walked aimlessly around the sub basement, which was really just an underground parking lot, filled with news vans, and other corporate vehicles. “HELLO!” Still no answer. Kevin did not want to be alone, he slid down a large

cement pillar, and sat defeated, clutching his knees on the cold, hard floor.

Saimus McGinnley didn't see the flash, he was broadcasting from the bowels of the CBC building. He knew that there was another event, because the lights flickered, and his microphone, and his earphones went dead. “Good bye.” He said, and through a miracle of technology, a million or so Canadians, who were still hanging on his every word, knew that the wave of destruction had begun on the Eastern end of North America.

The large fluorescent lights that lit sub level 4 flashed then went dark. Seconds later, the emergency generator kicked in and dimly lighting the figure of Kevin, who was still sat clutching his knees. Well that's pretty much it, it shouldn't be long now, he thought.

Elizabeth and her mother sat in the basement, finishing up a macaroni casserole, when they heard Saimus say 'good bye'. They had lit a bunch of candles and oil lamps before they had sat down to eat supper, so when they power went off they were not left completely in the dark.

“I love you Lizzy” Said Elizabeth's mom, wrapping her arms around her daughter.

“I love you too mom. Here have a drink.” Elizabeth poured her mother a glass of white wine.

“How can you think about drink right now?” Her mom retorted.

“Thinking about anything else isn't much worth it now is it?” She took a long swig from the glass of wine which was meant for her mother. “Can we not fight right now? My drinking problem, real or imagined, isn't really all that important right now mom.”

“You are right, I am sorry.” Elizabeth's mother took the wine glass from her hand and took a sip. “This really is a nice Chardonnay.” Clinking glasses with Elizabeth.

Kevin's mind slipped to thoughts of Elizabeth. They had only worked together for a few weeks, but he had grown to quite like her. Thoughts of an improper working relationship had crossed his mind on more than a couple occasions the last few days. The fact that he was more curious as to what she was doing, as the end of time approached, and not what his girlfriend was up to, were proof of his strong feelings for her.

Elizabeth thought of Kevin, wondered how he made out, wondered why had chosen to go to head office, rather than home to be with his girlfriend. Was the planned trip to Cuba a last ditch effort to save a failing relationship? Did she secretly want their relationship to fail? Elizabeth's mother's thoughts were on her ex-husband, she missed him now, more than ever. FLASH!

“I love you Elizabeth” Yelled Kevin. FLASH!

Saimus thought of his wife and little boy. FLASH!

Tom sat, shotgun in hand, staring from the window of his store, at the glowing and vibrating Orb which was only a 100 meters away. FLASH!

Jim was making love to his wife. He was determined to go out shagging. FLASH!

The last human voice electronically transmitted from Earth was Joseph Michael's, a forty year old amateur ham radio enthusiast from Port Hope Alaska. His last word before the flash was “Why?”

 **   **   **   **   **   ** 
Don't forget to stop by Joseph Lane's National Affairs Desk site for more of his writings and several other contributing authors!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

An Old Friday Release: "These God-Damned Awful Things"

A Friday Release Special Report from the Job

“These God-Damned Awful Things”

Part I

Can I ride out the stress, the madness, the all-in-all “antsy-ness” of eleven hour shifts at the consulting firm where I am employed? Well my friends, yes, I can. How, may you ask, is such a feat manageable under these circumstances…the itching, writhing, restless, even chaffing-YES, CHAFFING monotony of 10+ hrs in a 2 ½ ft. work desk shaped like a cheese wedge-actually forcing your legs uncomfortably close together. I have personally met a cow named #14369, who lived at slaughter farm that has a better, bigger spot to spend the day in. And he sure won’t be there for years, either.
The answer to my problem-and doubtless uncountable other co-workers’ new mal-ergonomic malady is a readily available and consistent supply of Xanax-actually a chemical compound called alprazolam hydrochloride, which is a middleweight anti-anxiety medication. Just ¼ of one of these strange looking stick shaped tablets will medically alleviate all symptoms of anxiety & tension. One-half tablet will do the same with the exception of the increased dosage providing a calming “buzz” of sorts quite similar to Valium (or to the clinically inclined, hydra-5-diazapam hydrochloride). Venture into the 1.5(3/4 tablet) mg. dosage and you will be noticeably intoxicated. Slurred speech is common and stumbling while walking is a guarantee. Severe drowsiness may accompany such a dose. Usually too much for a beginner.
For the seasoned pro, I recommend a full “bar”- a clinical two mg. dispension of the drug--lasting 20-24 hours. You will, be it to a positive or negative end, experience several hours of memory loss.
Time flies by, the brain turns to jelly, and by now (since many folks convince themselves too take even more in this state), you will be falling over or babbling like the village drunk.
In most cases, this dose can knock your average drug consumer out into a miniature, yet harmless, drug-induced “coma”. If you DO retain the tenacity to stay conscious you’ll just end up good old-fashioned wasted. Not to mention that use of more than 1mg. of Xanax can increase the effect of alcohol as much as up to 5x. That means now that drinking two beers equals drinking ten! My brain begins to trail off in a ridiculous direction that only a large dosage of Xanax could induce.
These were my final thoughts, literally. Don’t ask I was already half asleep...
“Nancy Rod Billywho, a ’68 ‘vett engine, a fully fueled 2002 USAF Stealth Bomber super-sonic jet, and a healthy cheetah and my brain…all on the starting line waiting for the big crack of the go-gun. Nancy Rod is a new addition to the race line-up. She is actually a Blood Diamond rebel thief. She tries to counteract the harm done by the diamond cartels by planning and executing robberies of inter-continental shipments and deliveries. She is used to running; having to be quick on her toes for the sake of her own life. A human spark plug--she will make for a great competitor. More on Ms. Billy-who to come. And though it moves like a shaking bowl of Jell-O- my brain still leads the heat into the second lap of the race..."
Xanax may also cause you to momentarily lose focus on the particular task at hand and start describing bizarre racing competitions between things that just don’t fit and don’t belong on a starting line together…right.
I’m just going to rest my eyes for a second…

These God-damned Awful Things
Part II

Ah-ha, and good morning…I think--or perhaps early afternoon. I could be more certain, but some son of a bitch stole my desk clock which was propped up against my flat-screen monitor only about 3 inches from my sleeping head. Amazing! Which one of my brass-balled co-workers could have pulled such a “streets of shanghai” maneuver without waking me? Nevertheless, before we attempt to get to the bottom of this, I would like to take a moment to thank my long-time coworker and soon to be ex-close friend,  Dave Ettenbury, for taking blame for this gibberish-- that is if it should ever be discovered by management or the police. And there will be no denying it-you lanky, clumsy, playboy! Because Dave my friend—I wrote the original on your stationary.
Apparently, while I was putting the finishing touches on “Part 1” on Friday at my work station after-hours, I went unconscious—and if it made sense to point a finger, I’d point it at one of these god-damned awful things-these “hell sticks”--the Xanax; the current bane and simultaneous point of my office existence.
What type of monster would find me passed out slumped over my desk-unresponsive- on a Friday night and just use that opportunity to steal a $3.99 wall clock and ruin the beginning of my weekend? What was the thought process there? “Hey, there’s Matt Byr…uh--no wait--Dave Ettenbury slumped over and not responding…should we try to wake him, call the paramedics, or steal the cheapest thing on his desk and just leave him?” Although the unknown amount of time--be it hours or days ( could it be Sunday?!) has left me so baffled that I can’t even stand, I do retain the energy to pull up the IP Phone (which, in my position here at the company is illegal- but I broke in to the hard-drives boot-up service menu and re-enabled the phones functionality for personal, covert use.) and order up a sizeable meal from Market Square. Good old Market Square Restaurant--the “anything you want for a price” style diner that makes about two dozen daily deliveries to my office during the work week. But would the demand for hasty delivery be granted on a weekend? Certainly, for a price, given their seemingly “sliding scale” delivery fee-it may just be cheaper to take a cab and pick it up myself. If I ever do gain back the strength to stand up on my own, given the 2 ½ bars of Xanax still in my blood--I’ll be needing grilled cheese with bacon-(well done) and tomato, with fries, chicken noodle soup, a beverage, and I suppose an order of cheese sticks-just to toss around…and at once.
Moreover, if the restaurant tries to fuck me on my “high-quantity” ketchup demand--we may just end up with a missing short order cook or delivery boy who “was previously very dependable but has now somehow gone missing”. And I want bread for this soup--and they know this, but may just leave me to suck down my chicken noodle in shame with no rolls, no butter, and a spoon with a funny shape (only in the north suburbs of Chicago would a restaurant waste money on sending a formal, plastic “soup spoon” with every bowl full). But the inner-workings of an overpriced diner’s purchasing decisions are of little interest to me.
What I was originally trying to strategize, before I passed out, was how these goddamned awful things can benefit my workplace as a whole… as an extended, over anxious family--as a community. My need to share my discovery/ secret weapon is almost more than I can bear! They must know-they must all know what they’ve been missing-and I’ll be the motherfucker doing the enlightening.
So here’s the nut of my original plan: To crush, divide, and if possible evenly distribute 120 bars (about 3 months worth of prescriptions) of Xanax into, say, 10-12 of the “unopened “ Hinckley & Schmit 5 gallon water cooler jugs…now “safely” stored in the warehouse.
This way, we can administer small dosages of the drug to any and all thirsty individuals just looking for some cold water. Floor wide sales and dials would go through the sheet metal roof! No one would ever leave their desk. And forget all the loud blow-ups and arguments amongst the managers….they will henceforth become quiet, 2-way discussions. The only problem, technically at least, with this plan is that we must also consider a conceivably NEGATIVE situation. For instance; Dean K. and Larry Ling come out of Dean’s office…thirsty after putting the fear of God into an employee for downloading & printing pornography here at headquarters. They make a bee-line for the water cooler. Unfortunately for them and everyone else, the 10 crushed up bars in that jug have settled to the bottom-now unevenly distributing about four full bars each into their little blue Dixie cups of “water”…I’ll stop there. Use your imagination to finish out the day for our two now heavily drugged corporate directors. I must work out the kinks.
By the way, how the shit do I get home from this place on the weekend? Fuck it-a good meal and ¾ of a bar should put me right into the “figuring things out” frame of mind. Or maybe not. I guess we’ll have to wait to see if I ever execute master plan #13. I’ll keep you posted. Until I find a way home or till the next Friday Release, take care.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Days When 911 Blocked My Number

An Older One from the Unfinished Book:

"On the state of Love & Trust"
“The folks at 911 no longer honor my emergencies.”
By M. Byron

Since about the age of three, I’ve experienced traumatic and reoccurring nightmares. And as far back as I can remember, one of the most frequently reoccurring happenings is being asleep and waking up-within a dream, still really asleep- and then being convinced I'm awake(within the dream, mind you). I momentarily relax only to have the nightmare be suddenly at the foot of my bed…standing next to me-behind me-or floating over me. Until recently, there was no cure except calling 911-because if you’re still actually in a dream & call 911 claiming you’re freaked out and just found a huge pile of dead bodies in you basement or something of the sort—-ten cop cars, an ambulance, state police, and a channel 7 news team don’t come roaring up your driveway to aid you—which, believe me--they definitely do if the dream is actually over.
So after several incidents I received a letter from the township of Deerfield:

June 20, 1995
Re: misuse of village resources
To: Mr. Matt Byron/et. All residing
Although we respect the difficulty of appropriately dealing with mental illness within the confines of any home, we at the Village Hall-under approval of the Town Mayor and Board of public safety-in cooperation with the local Emergency Dispatch/911 Call Center, have temporarily banned incoming calls from your address at:
2620 Wildwood Ln.
Deerfield, Ill
to the emergency call center.
Regrettably, we feel that 100% of your calls to our 911 Center have been frivolous and with no merit, which is of course, an inexcusable misuse/abuse of our townships’ limited resources in terms of emergency response.
Please keep us posted of any advances with your illness; we would be happy to be able to safely restore your service.
Any questions or comments can be directed to:
H. Bhosley, rm. 204
Deerfield Village Hall/Police Department.

We apologize for any inconvenience,
and wish you a swift recovery.
Nancy Martino
Village Secretary

You could imagine how well that helped me sleep. So I started calling family, then friends. Few could handle the deep weirdness of my needs. Most stopped picking up. And still, twelve years after that horrid letter from a board of village demons, several therapists, medications, and true improvement, sometimes the nightmares get so bad I still need to call someone just to be certain I'm really awake…and no craziness Is about to go down.
I’m, for the most part, still pretty much asleep when I make these calls--as to compound the general may-lay of waking a friend up in the wee hours of the morning to discuss some new gore-ish imaginary nonsense I’ve just dreamed up: this time I awoke panting after 3 hours of Brazilian Hasish induced sleep. My imagination-or conscience-had taken me for a ride.
Luckily, a while back, I replaced the button on my bedroom phone-the one with the little blue police badge icon--the one set to dial the authorities at a single touch, with my friend Diego’s cell phone number. So I reached over and delivered a serious one-fingered jab to the new “911” button.
“Hello?” My friend D whispered as he, from a sound slumber, managed to answer my call.
Sounding frantic and terrified, “I’m so sorry man-I had the worst fucking dream…am I…am I up…HELLO!!....OH SHIT-D?!!..Hello?”
"D" had fallen back asleep momentarily.
I scream: “OH FUCK-I AM SO FUCKED!!” and that apparently woke my buddy on the other end of the phone up. He tries to settle me down.
“Oh yes, sir, uh buddy…you are awake-you’re ok…just relax, sir!”
Extremely relieved at my friends' alertness I breathe-still struggling to get the words out.
“Oh my god, D, it was fucking awful!” My friend let out an exhausted yawn.
“Was it that one with the fire again”?
“No,” I return, “It was a new one…there was this…this crazy train with…OH MY GOD! Are you sure I'm not still sleeping??”
Diego was naturally getting frustrated (I always insist I’m still asleep-but regardless-now poor D is up). Quite unfortunate for him. I'm not even kidding, any asshole may just assume “ well this guy's just a weirdo-what kind of person could get so twisted up over his own dreams?” But the last time I had woke up from a really bad one was only 2 weeks ago.
As usual, per such an incident, I wake up in bed...you know, freaking the fuck out, sweating, eyes wildly darting around my pitch black room-and after a minute or so I calm down.
“Whew” I think and feel, “At least I woke up from that one”.
I am grossly sweaty…sick. “I need water,” I think to myself in a haze. Damn-it! My water bottle was empty.
So I venture down the stairs for a cold glass of water, and to my horror-in my living room, there was a huge executive style black board room table, seating every serial killer and maniac I had ever heard of….and they were clearly outraged by my intrusion.
“Jeffrey Dahmer looked up at me with blood-shot eyes and said in hallow tone, “ LET’S KILL HIM THE WAY THEY KILLED ME”.(For those of you who don't know how Dahmer died you're probably better off).
Edward fish, who had before him a formal southern place setting-including a silver tea set-was ravenously dining on what appeared to be an amputated human arm. He dabbed the blood and grizzle from his white beard and adjusted the crucifix around his neck; “Now relax Jeffrey,” he said “...haste makes waste.” as he pulls out a hammer and begins to smash apart his own pointer finger on the table next to his dish. Blood was going everywhere.

I turn to run and slam straight into Charles Manson who slaps me-fucking hard-grabs me by the collar and screams, “ LOOK WHAT YOU’VE

DONE!!” and point outside to my back-porch, where Lori Dan (the freak school-ground killer from the 80’s) was summarily executing grade schoolers at point blank range with a .45 Chrome Plated Beretta…
Whew-so I’ll just stop there. But D knows this shit happens-and in light of it-I need firm god damned reassurance of my own consciousness!

“Listen up” D pleads, “ …just go down stairs, grab a pair of pruning shears, and lob off one of your thumbs. If it’s still gone in the morning you’ll know this call was real…besides that I just don’t know what to tell ya.” He continues, “ If this were a dream would I start bringing up how much time I’ve spent with all this shit…how much money you owe me and haven’t paid back a dime, except a jalapeño burger from Melrose Diner…and you still show up at my office demanding bottles of pills and cases of Nag Champa?” D seemed suddenly concerned with hurting my feeling. He said, jokingly: “but don’t worry sexy, you'll always be my special buddy….very special….” It was at this very point after comment that I considered I was still in some new nightmare.
“Alright,” I sharply interject, “I have no fucking idea what you just meant by that last part…but whatever”
“Oh, just relax for shits sake,” D shot back, “ I can say all kinds of crazy shit to you when you’re like this-and you never remember hardly any of it!”
“Oh really?”
“Oh yea man-I could tell you some awful shit like I’m into bestiality BIG TIME and even if I act sincere you’ll have no idea the conversation ever took place” he exclaimed.
“That’s fucking kinda crazy, bro..” I said, “ We’ll have to test this theory now.”
“Are you cool now? You gonna try to get some more shut eye, sir?” he asked.
“Ya, ya-thanks, buddy-I might not remember all the details, but I know in these situations you’re always a hero to me-thanks sir.”
“No worries-just get some sleep-you probably have 5 hours of commuting and a 10-hr. workday…or something like that, right?”
“Yea, for sure D-good night, man-I’ll give you a call tomorrow after work.”
“Sleep well, sir.” And he hung up.
Thank the powers that be for good friends.

I woke up for work several hours later. Before I left, I faxed this message to Diego’s home office:

“I would have called, but didn’t want to wake you twice in a 24-hr. period. Thanks for yr. services last night. The whole incident is hazy but a couple of things you said stuck out….just remember this you sick bastard: whatever happens-you stay away from my dog, animal fucker. My sweet Labrador, Bailey-- is one of the few “pure” friends I have left. Have a good one.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Friday Release: Letter to the Management

The Friday Release 9/18/09 - An Oldie but a Goody...

Sincerest of apologies for the 2 week delay on a new Friday Release, but my keyboard was giving me problems, so I had to "put it down"--like the rest of my malfunctioning electronics that have gone before the keyboard. Whether they are fixable or permanently damaged matters not...not to me at least; a kink in the hose is a kink in the hose.

My system, once the appliance or piece of equipment becomes troublesome, is to wish it well and hurl it Earth-bound from my 4th floor fire escape...and with an appreciative salute, looking down below at all the smashed bits and pieces, I give silent but sincere thanks for all the good times we once had together. Then I run back indoors before anyone can identify the "maniac" who almost regularly whips microwaves, stereo systems, remote controls, dvd players ( they are my favorite ones to put an end to) and various computer equipment from someplace high up on the side of the building. Onward...

It's Monday around 7 AM , 8/31 in this tiring year of 2009, and I can already feel the summer slipping out of the city. Just me and a few other half-asleep early morning commuters humming down Lawrence Ave. on the 81 bus, and I'm just trying to rationalize the madness that has ensued this last few weeks.
It was the last week of August, to boot, which has always been a king-hell loser of a month, and also the hands-down unluckiest page on the 12 month calendar.
My old band even wrote one of our most "popular" songs: "Unlucky August". I would surely be one of the first to sign a petition calling for the exile of August from the calendar year, and, for safety's sake, close all successful businesses during the time period that used to be August, close all schools, individually quarantine those involved in happy relationships as to avoid their impending blow-up argument or total demise-- due to the month, the cruel bastard August.
But the curse of August (and truly, no offense to those born in August), is too large a nut to crack here and now. I'll just say, that IF there were a particular time of year to avoid-- it would be August. Especially when you're like me... going through an eviction, scrambling to get enough cash together, looking to find a new apartment to let you in, while trying to get packed and moved while neither me or my girlfriend have any common days off work together--making scheduling an easy moving date im-fucking-possible.
For my relatively young age, 29, I've had a vast array of living arrangements--studio apartments, 1-4 bedroom apartments, and 2 condos. I've stayed with friends, lived alone, lived with 6 roommates. Lived in a skyscraper in downtown Chicago, lived in old swamp land in Florida. I've stayed in shacks and mansions of all types. I've lived on a farm. I've spent alot of time on the road traveling with bands as well, which, after awhile, the in and out of towns for weeks on end starts to feel like something similar to moving.

Anyways, Ashley and I think we found an apartment...luckily the judge in courtroom 106 downtown gave us a couple of weeks to scram...so, I figure I'll depart with writing a letter to my landlord--just to get some things out in the open since I'm leaving anyways.

To: Mary Burlsberg
bldg. mgr/landlord

I've never been the best tenant for landlords; as I am loud, constantly overpopulating my apartment with boisterous, chemically impaired guests, loudly sexually active, and, saving the best for last, typically broke and unable to always pay rent promptly.
But sweet Jesus--when I moved into your building, being a defunct 1930's era historically- certified Capone brothel, my first act after moving in was to trap one mouse in my bathroom, and cold-bloodily murder another with a dictionary.(I was calling myself a murderer for weeks, in shame). In addition, I also had to find a way to stop myself and my food supply from being decimated by the live-in battalion of both Red American and Asian cockroaches, so I thought for sure I'd get a little flexibility from the management.

Secondly, I surely didn't know about the buildings' geriatric mafia-like organization; 80+ year old citizens who lurk in the dark places of the building ready to ask personal questions or eyeball fuck my girlfriend at any time. For a moment, I was looking into group rates, with a discount of course, on castration procedures for the lot of them; but at their age not only don't they use "it", but it was simply out of my range of financial options.
You collect their rent (or do you?)...So you obviously know Fred. Fred (possibly the "GodFather"to the organization) actually demanded monthly extortion money out of me for "laundry room protection", claiming the he'd "hate to see anything go missing or happen to my clothes while they were in his "territory". To this I paid little attention until I went to get my clothes out of the dryer, and several of my left socks were gone. I noticed the laundry gangster starring at me so I went over and asked if he'd seen anyone near the dryer I was using.
"Sorry fella" he said, "never failed to surprise me just how much stuff disappears doing laundry..whats missing? Some socks?"
I wasn't buying his bullshit.
He continued, "Next thing you know a shirt or nice pair of slacks will up and grow legs on ya."
Although this was both humorous and worrisome--I decided to take action. For days I stalked those who I knew or believed to be involved. But as you can imagine, waiting to witness, in-person, a group of octogenarians committing a crime or planning a heist was truly like watching paint dry. So I decided to cut to the chase and go straight to the laundry terrorist himself--close to 90 years old with a voice box, rickety cane, and that uninviting odor of a nursing home. Which, in hindsight made me realize people don't smell like nursing homes--nursing homes stink like the people.
"So whats the racket?" I asked Fred.
The old bastard acted like he had no idea what I was talking about. Shit, I thought, is he trying to be clever or is this poor old fucker suffering from dementia?
A couple of days later ALL my damn socks vanished from my load of laundry. So, I grudgingly agreed to the steep $7/week protection payments he had originally offered-which really I suppose at $1 a day is a great deal to keep my undergarments safe. Fuck it, I thought. And since then, no other items have gone missing. Only in Chicago, in an old ex-Capone operated building, could an elderly mob organization have the balls to extort for "laundry room protection" , but better to be safe than sorry in the windy city.
Oh and yeah, I don't like being asked if "I've been drinking". Firstly, because I work 15 hour days, and thats why I'm usually red-eyed and exhausted. But mainly because I don't drink. Never-the-less, you'd ask me on a semi-regular basis. No, god damn it, I have not been drinking... and even if I had told you what I had been doing, at your age you'd never understand anyways.
"No, ma'am, no booze," I'd cackle, "but I did just twist up a 'B' to bring back all the benzos I ate earlier, and in about 15 minutes I'll be rolling ( ROLLING BALLS! I think to myself)-and I'm no threat to you." Which I'd say calmly as I extend my arms for a hug.
Having to break it all down would've killed my damn roll so I decided to fuck the wordy explanation for your sake, not out of shame or embarrassment.

Then there was the burglary. Ahh... and a frosty rage creeps over me at the mere mention. Let's see. Anyone who lives in this building knows there are no less than 4 members of the said gorilla faction of old folks lounging the day away in the lobby at any given time between 7am and 6 pm. My apartment was broken into and robbed between 1 & 3pm-- so I would love to know, how exactly did none of the seniors I interrogated see a damn thing when they are, in fact, perched all day long in a semi circle around the only publicly accessible door to the entire building?
A hum- fucking-dinger, huh? The perpetrator had to get into the building, break into my place, and go in and out of the building at least two more times-even with a partner, to carry all the shit out. Even if it was a tenant of the building, wouldn't they have been spotted or asked where they were going with all their stuff? Maybe there was a studio apartment protection tax I was not aware of. Either way, all our things are gone.
Shit, at this point do we even need to get into the bed-bug incident(s)?! To which, in honesty you were helpful and sympathetic, but never the less a nightmare of a situation when they did happen. But since the bedbugs have been effectively driven from the land of apt. 204-- I guess I I'll drop it...nearly... teeny, horribly itchy, red bites mysteriously appearing all over me and my girlfriend, and blood marks on the sheets!! OK ...I'm done now for real.
I suppose I'll just wrap it up by saying: we quite possibly never should've crossed paths-or maybe it was twisted fate. And out of all the bullshit-- late rent, 5 day notices, and the never-ending cloud of pot smoke seeping out from under my door-I'm glad I had you for a landlord. You've been more than accommodating and above all, helped me keep my home in your building for the better part of 6 years. And, for that, you have my thanks...and I wont soon forget my years on Virginia Ave.
Sincerely-your worst tenant,
Matt Byron
National Affairs Desk, Chicago