Saturday, November 11, 2017

assholes don't have friends, only hemorrhoids

(2017 note: I wrote this over the course of 2002 in a hidden text file I kept on a Zip disk. In 2004 I went back and addended it with the intent of including it in my book If You Don't Give Me Heaven. Decided against doing that for various reasons. Then for over a decade I sat on it, until about half an hour ago. Wasn't proud of who I was. But it's not who I am anymore. This is the true story of the worst thing I ever did.)

Preface: Sometime about now, or a little before.

I really thought long and hard about putting this out here for people to see, because it was specifically written with the intent that no one but me would read it. But in the end I decided that full disclosure is the way to go. The parts of that old Noel that are still in me today cannot be purged as long as I keep pretending they're not there. So full disclosure is the way to go. I would call it therapeutic. Shining light into the dungeons of my self-conscious. It’s the same reasoning behind when I posted pictures of my hemorrhoids to my journal a while back – the things I am afraid to show are the things that rule my life. In fact, the hemorrhoid allusion is apt in more ways than one, so I think I’m going to retroactively title this

ASSHOLES DON’T HAVE FRIENDS, ONLY HEMORRHOIDS
The Secret 2002 File Of Noel R. Rogers

beginning sometime in January 2002:

- I don't have anyone I can trust. Not friends, not family, not even myself. I don't know where to go, so I'm writing it here. I've become trapped. I'm 24 years old and in a complete dead-end. Somewhere along the way it seems I lost myself, and I fear what I am going to have to do to escape. I am more and more certain that wherever I go next, A will not be able to come with me. Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck. How did it get to this point? I watched you sleeping, but I did not come to bed myself. When did I start to hate you? Oh god, I don't even like to say it out loud (or type it, whatever) but I can no longer deny the facts. Was it always hate? But as I watched you sleeping, I realized that I do still love you too. God forgive me. Ha. I don't even believe in God. (But I still capitalize the noun?) She's a sweet girl, and if she's nowhere what I made her to be in my head I should not hate her for it. I know this. So why do I? No point in holding it against myself -- use the emotion for what it is, a motivator to action. Make plans. I need to sacrifice the queen or else I will be checkmated for sure. I must harden my heart.

- It seems like it's the money, but really it's not. Things have always been bad, even before Model UN, and that was two years ago. Really they've been bad from the very beginning. They were bad BEFORE the beginning. Got covered up by sex and novelty. For a while. But here's the problem -- I can't just up and leave. I do not know how to say "I'm sorry dear but you bore me, nothing personal" and leave it at that. I am weak. It's the same weakness why I can't just go out and get a job. I do not know what is wrong with me. But whatever it is, I can not fix it while I am here. The counseling at Hopkins hasn't done shit. The pills keep making me crazier. I have nowhere to turn to. So if I can't leave, I have to make her leave. It's been working to that point anyway -- more and more the big fights wind up with her threatening to leave. Then she cries and I apologize and it gets buried under for another day. This can't go on. But she won't leave me until something else comes along. Look how long she stayed on with A (okay, this using people's initials thing is getting confusing. but who else is ever going to read this, Noel? or, um, N. ha.) She was still with him, in her mind at least, scant weeks before we were together. I suppose it is only a matter of time before she meets someone through work or something, and then it will be very easy to drive her in that direction -- she is too easy to manipulate. Just say "Don't do that," and then turn your back. It's only a matter of time, but I don't know how much more time I have left. I am stuck here.

- The problem is that I can’t trust any of them. Not a single one. They have all demonstrated that. So that means I have to keep my game face on at all times. Force myself not to think about this. But if I don’t think about it I can never solve it, and if I don’t write it down somewhere I’ll forget it. I forget everything. I wish I really forgot everything. Why am I trying to justify this? And to who?

- The important thing is that there’s no coming back. Should the two of us move home we will still be geographically close. And we’re connected by her cousin marrying my friend, it’d only be natural that we vaguely travel in the same spheres. No. Zero tolerance. She has to be completely eradicated from my life.

- Above I also wrote “I, who fear irreversible changes most, am going to have to draw a line that can not be crossed. I, who want nothing more than to be loved, am going to have to be hated.” But I removed it because it sounded really pretentious. But of course so what? If you can’t even be honest with yourself who can you be honest with? Stop editing yourself.

- If you think about it we really boil down to a Ren and Stimpy relationship. I am the Ren, of course – “You eediot! You swine!” and she is the Stimpy. A big dumb cat. How awful! I really enjoy being mean to her, and she really enjoys having someone be mean to her. Neither of us can admit this of course, not to ourselves, not to each other, not to anyone. So we both really hate each other but are still together, united by the hope that the other one leaves or something better comes along. God how did I get stuck in this?

- Sat on the schoolside hill and watched the sun rise over my house this morning. I wonder if I will miss it when it's gone. I can't think that now though. There'll be time to miss it when it's gone if I need to. The thing I realized after Model UN, the thing I should have realized from the start with the A & A story, is that it is inevitable that one day she will leave me. If not now, eventually. She will be bored, wanting to go out and do more while I am a recluse. She will meet someone charming with intensity in his eyes and he will push all her buttons, and she'll convince herself that she's justified. It'll start behind my back, because she'll think she can handle the double life, all the while trying to ease her way out of a relationship with me. Perhaps she'll push my buttons so I'll respond by becoming enraged and violent. The response is enough for someone so easily frightened, and all of a sudden she is the victim all over again, poor sweet A who keeps getting mistreated by the bad ol' world. I've heard the song too many times not to imagine how this variation will go. And the worst of it is, it could be any time. It could be tomorrow. It could be ten years from now. It could be happening already, for all I know. But she won't leave me until the circumstances line up, and it's impossible to predict when that'll be, if ever. That's the worst possibility, maybe, that it might never happen. Imagine that I'm 40 and when I wake up she's still there. Imagine her holding my hand on my deathbed... later she would write some awful poem about it, my only epitaph in this sad world.  No, the sooner it happens the better. It needs to happen soon. Better now than after we're married (which SHE wants) and have kids (which SHE wants) which is exactly the type of drama I am trying to avoid.

- We both lie all the time. Did we always? I know I did.

- It’s going to be important to get the parents against you. Ultimately she’s their puppet. The brother will be a good vector for that... he loves creating drama. How do I exploit this?

- How the hell did I get trapped here? I should have just returned home when Philadelphia panned out. No. That would have been impossible. I keep telling myself that this being the most likeliest of universes, everything is happening the way it is supposed to. I am trapped here because I am trapped in myself, and I carry that trap with me wherever I go. My external world is a reflection of my internal. The people I attract, the people I am surrounded with, tend to be the kinds that reinforce the trap. I NEED OUT. I will not be able to fix my internal world while I am in this external world. I will have to go home. Alone. Start over. Jesus (or: "J.") says become as a child to enter the kingdom of heaven. I hate turning around most of all, but to escape the labyrinth I am in I will have to.

- Serendipity! Sat in car with S for hours outside her campus, talking. Told her A and I are going to have to break up in the near future. Told her nothing more than that. She talked a lot. Always does. Told me her ex-boyfriend is coming back into the picture. I bit my lip to hide my excitement. Right there in the car it came to me, the entire story, or at least the broad strokes. How could it be so perfect?

PROS TO B:
- Black hair, blue eyes. exactly how A likes em best.
- I played against the guy a while back in Doom 2 last year. The kind of guy that camps out by the exit with a rocket launcher. Insecurity leads to viciousness. Problem with women, goes back to his mother. I can relate. He has something to prove, and if he could one-up me he would in a heartbeat.
- What else do I need?

CONS:
- Technically I guess if he reappears it will be as S's boyfriend again. This isn't as much of a con as it seems, since the two already broke up once and it shouldn't be tough to see it happen again. Help it along as need be. And as far as the Other-People's-Property problem, I don't really see that as an obstacle either. Consider how easily A justified her relationship with A behind A's back (again with the confusing initials!) and completely minimizes what a shitty and underhanded thing she did to someone she called her friend. Rewrote it where she was the victim. Another one with something to prove, and if she could one-up S she would in a heartbeat.
- He is only tangentially in my circle. If he comes back I will have to rectify that.

The more I think about it the more perfect it is. But this is all still up in the air -- S is flighty and crazy, and I should not be counting chickens that are based on her word that they'll hatch.

- Also in the car with S I composed this nanopoem:

for as long as that tree stood
he knew their love would be eternal and true.
so he chopped it down.

I explain the backstory behind it to everyone but I tell no one the true significance.

- Remember the hovering spectre of that borrowed copy of Pygmalion throughout this entire story of A in my life. Sometimes the symbolism is too obvious.

- "If thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out." But he never said anything about having to pluck out your heart.

- I reiterate: TRUST NO ONE. Not even my sister (another A!). The kids are too young, and the rest ARE ALL SNAKES. Not Alara (oops, a name! alarm bells! WHY AM I SO SELF-AWARE?) per se, but the rest yeah. All of them.

- Waiting, waiting, waiting. Nothing is happening. We keep fighting or being right on the edge of fighting. Money problems, personality clashes. In general I think we’re just tired of each other. Something’s got to give.

- And of course this is all complicated by the fact that I do love her. At least as much as I love anybody. I don’t know that I’m really capable of loving anyone though. Or of being loved. “But Noel, SHE loves you!” No she doesn’t. She decided she loved me because I convinced her she loved me. Remember distinctly the pain of being rejected as “just a friend.” Only when things really got bad and it reached the point where we would soon have to stop being friends all together did she decide she loved me. Another version of the pigeon traps I set up at Price Chopper -- cut off all other routes and the pigeon goes right for where you lead them believing it to be their own choice. In card tricks it’s called a “force.” She doesn’t really love you. The truth is, no one does. No one ever did. I am completely alone. I don’t know what I’m saying here. Ramble ramble ramble this has shifted directions like ten times already. The point is that we reached the point where we had become incompatible as humans, and rather than part ways then we became more deeply entrenched. Dumb! Zhuangzi says “Those who come together for no reason will part for same.” I don’t know why I’m even still writing in this thing.

- Guess it’s time to come back to this again. The reason? B is back for sure now. When he resurfaced, picking S up from T's house last night I looked him in the eye and I knew immediately that I could bend him to my will. When did I become so scheming? Have I always been? Never had the nerve to admit it, in denial like these last three months? Can't get distracted with the navel-gazing; I am what I am. I lost my mind on valium and alcohol last night and made some ugly scenes. Me and S have bizarre tension between us, cannot tell it if it is sexual or just combative. And I almost confessed the entire plan to T, standing out on his front walk -- must remember I cannot trust him. He's Foghorn Leghorn: "Now boy, I say..."

- Now that things are getting more and more serious I am taking more precautions for hiding this. No one rolls around my computer but there's no point taking chances. Plus I took off all the dates. If anybody else is reading this, know it could have been written months ago, or it could have been written this morning. (Why do I always think someone else will read it?) I could just delete this, I suppose, but it serves a valuable purpose. I have to spend most of my time around most of these people that I kind of hate a lot (not all of them, but way too high a percentage) and play them against each other like the Man With No Name (cue Morricone riff) while pretending to be an oblivious force of nature. Really, it'd make a good movie if most of the people involved weren't so tedious. But I swear I won't ever write the Great American Breakup Confessional novel. No scribbled sheet of pseudonyms. Either that, or these are the notes for that novel. I'll let Future Noel decide. (but Future Noel, please don’t do it unless you can make it not suck.) In the meantime, I can come here late at night (or is that early in the morning) and keep my own counsel.

- I am sitting on Alara’s computer typing this. I love Zip drives. Been studying B’s LiveJournal. Keep waiting for some spark of personality to show. Still waiting. When did I get so mean? I have nothing good to say about anyone. They all bore me so much. Her most of all, but around us have been put all these other boring people with their sad little boring broken lives. Is this all I can get? I can’t believe that (but I do believe that) but I am getting more and more boring myself. I know I wasn’t always. They are KILLING MY SOUL. How did I get so mean? They’re not doing anything to me -- it's me killing my own soul using these tedious little people as a hammer to slowly chisel at myself until I really am as worthless as they are. Why did I get so mean? As worthless as I think I am.

- Have begun the process of driving a wedge between B and S. Took B under my wing, brought him into circle of friends at friend status rather than SO-of-friend status. Doing all of this behind S's back, he lies to her about what he is doing. Cannot trust a man that lies so easily, exactly what I need. And I have started badmouthing S behind her back to him and the others. Make him think he could do better. I feel bad, because I guess S is my friend (remember when she called you from mental hospital and wanted to see you get better, she really does care about you) but then really I am doing her a favor whether she knows it or not. I can't imagine that any of them suspect a thing. If they could, maybe they wouldn't need to be culled from my life in the first place.
- Remember that you covet most what you see frequently. If you want something other than what you have already, something else familiar in your life is an obvious jumping point. And K is a Stupid American Fat Fuck. That leaves you, my love, when B's eye wanders. I wonder if you will catch it on your own, or if I will need to push that too?

- Dug up my copy of The Art Of War and began re-reading it. (Which one, Noel, you have four! Ugh... so many books. Too much stuff!) “All warfare is based on deception.” When I read this in ninth grade I was fascinated. Now it’s like an instruction manual.

- Remember the case of J, the guy in high school who was obsessed with A. Maybe. I never heard his story, and her story was that she was a sweet innocent who was being stalked by this scary guy in leather jacket. Seemed nice enough to me, though. Remember A needs to be a victim. Make her one. She will never be able to look you in the eye again, hatred and self-pity masking her own complicity. It would be best if you could get her to cheat on you -- that's a very big line to cross, and once she crosses it she will have to hate you to justify the crossing. I play Fluxx now with B, S, A and K. Study who they are through their playing styles. Fluxx IS a metaphor for life. Of course, so is everything. Even this.

- Reading over this, the thing I find most disturbing is the self-referential jokes and etc that I am sprinkling through this. Can't I ever stop performing and just be honest? No one will read this. Why bother? Who am I performing for? All my life, the Greek Chorus always hovering out of view. Jesus, maybe I AM crazy. Fuck.

- It was around this time last year. Sitting hung-over in the server room at the Broom Factory. S hovering over me. “I’m going to have to become a monster,” I said. “Yeah?” She said defensively. “Then why don’t you just move back home with your mother and just abandon me and A?” Or words to that effect. It’s scary how prophetic the whole exchange was. I have a sneaking suspicion that when this is all said and done me and S will probably never speak again either. She has always said that she severs many of the ties in her life constantly (another poor tortured soul doing its sad self-destructive dance – can’t pretend you’re in it alone, N.) and besides which she’s no dummy. She is already being distant from me, perhaps she suspects that I am trying to undermine her relationship with B? Probably not. The one advantage I have down here is that none of these people have any idea who the real me is. How could they? It makes this twisted little con-game easier to pull off.

- One thing I have been completely in denial about is how the kids will take this. Eric and Sarah treat her like an aunt, and for them this will just be another family member lost to them in a long succession of such. If I pursued a less bridge-burning path I suppose she might not have to be permanently lost to them. But then again it really is best this way -- if you pursued a less bridge-burning path she could stay in your life FOREVER. Shudder. This is the best way. But then why I am in denial? Why do I keep trying to second-guess? Remember what happened to Hamlet, kiddo. Act.

- I see the way the two of them look at each other. I wonder if they know? I think K knows. She wouldn’t say anything to me if she did. T is completely oblivious, as is S. But maybe I am reading too much into things... must be careful to not only see what you want to see.

- Am making arrangements through mom to get A an engagement ring for irony's sake. Bugs Bunny with the pen, laughing "Ain't I a stinker?"

- "It seems like we don't know each other anymore." Ha. The problem isn't that I don't know you, it's that I know you too well. If I hadn't known it beforehand, I certainly knew it after Model UN. You are a mirror of whatever reflects you, and so you will be drawn always to bright lights. But at the same time you hate them because they are the bright light and you just a mirror of it, like the moon envies the sun. You love being the victim, exaggerating all the little scraps of drama that come your way to magnify your self-importance. I wonder what you will become when I can no longer observe.

- A's brother J is here. God, I hate him. Always have. Is it wrong to hate? Especially such an annoying little twerp? Maybe. At a party in NY state (hosted by yet another A, or Aa) she told M that she was going to break up with me. He mentioned it to me the next day in Central Park. Still had to spend the night with her and her idiot brother. ("I'm an in-tellec-tual!") We did 4th of July with B & S. I still see the looks she and B give each other. I don't think even they know it yet. S oblivious as always.

- More Fluxx analysis: many times I go easy on B in Fluxx, not lunging for the kill when I could or giving him good cards when it comes time. I do this because he is my friend and I do not want to be vicious to my friend. He does not extend the same courtesy to me. Rather, as with the Doom 2 last year, he revels in the cheap kill, and more specifically he revels in cheaply killing me. You want my crown, little king? If everything goes right, it’ll be yours soon enough. May it bring you better fortune than it brought me.

- Yesterday A was kind enough to leave her journal out where I could read it. (Note to self: take more precautions in keeping this file hidden.) She DOES have a thing for B, and there are also a bunch of co-worker crushes on top of it. She's near fed up with me. About time. Drove up to Philadelphia to consider the next course of action. Spent time with my brother. When I came back I played like I wanted to make some sort of reconciliation. Part of me does. That’s the part of me I’m trying my damnedest to kill. Remember to keep reading her journal -- it is a goldmine of intelligence, so to speak. Now we are trying our best to pretend we are loving couple, over-affectionate and caring. Facade. Company picnic next week, it'll be time to pull off the next set of masks. Play the role I’ve been cast in to the fullest.

- Company picnic a complete fiasco, or a success, depending on POV. I am ashamed of how easily I slipped into the role of the jealous abusive controlling possessive boyfriend. I do not like that I have that in me at all. Like I said though I must use it as a tool now and worry about refining it out of me later. (But Noel, it MUST be refined out.) Me and A on shakiest terms ever. If we're still speaking to each other a month from now it will be a miracle.

- sings: “I don’t think I can feel any longer, I only know that the void’s getting sronger -- the only time that it’s reeeeeeeal is when you cry......” Keeping an angsty personal journal file on the sly, writing angsty song lyrics in it. I am everything that I hate. How did that happen? I am everything I hate. Is that the problem? Maybe it has nothing to do with her at all. Consider the possibility that all your paranoid conjectures and armchair psychologizing are just projections. Everything you hate about her IS something you hate about yourself. (I am everything I hate.) Why am I so indecisive and second-guessing all the time? It doesn’t matter what the truth is. For whatever reason she has to go. Even if she didn’t have to go, I am too far gone now to turn back. Point of no return. Push forward, it’s the only way now. But why do I have to be I everything I hate to get there?

- Should I feel guilty? Probably. I have been awful to this poor girl, and really all she ever wanted was someone to take her so she wouldn’t have to live with her dragon lady mother anymore. God. They said the ends justify the means and I always argued that they don’t. Nothing ever ends – so the means are ends to themselves and cannot self-justify. How did I find myself in the position of having to become everything I hate, everything all the Noel-haters have always believed I already was, to justify escape from an untenable position? I should feel guilty. I DO feel guilty. I have a nasty feeling in my gut that I will have this guilt for a long time. Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck. But what’s an adventure without scars?

- In the meantime B is planning on breaking up with S reeeal soon (already announced it to us then backed off once), so the timetable is pretty dead-on. That bastard actually had the nerve to say "I would break up with her easier if I had someone else to go to." Fear of being alone. I can relate. But I will need to be alone for a very long time after this. Put A and B together, fly free. Camelot love triangle meets the briar patch gambit. There'll be time for regrets and so on later.

- So B finally did break up with S, and I have learned (second-hand) that S is paranoid about me. Thinks I am out to get her. Where could she get that idea from? Must be sharper than expected. Warns A that I am psycho, suggests moving out behind my back. That would only enrage me more, stupid advice. Not so sharp after all maybe.

- In her journal she is very upset that B is on a camping trip. Wants desperately to confess her feelings. I guess in some ways what hurts the most is that she never did fall for me like that. Like I said a few months ago, she never loved me. I convinced her she did. And now that I am seeing what it is like when she actually does fall for someone, it makes me see what an immense difference it is. I feel a little jealous -- maybe had she ever actually fallen for me I would have been a lot more forgiving and a lot less hateful. In the meantime, use the jealousy and the anger and the hurt. Sharpen yourself into a blade. Remember Jesus yanking out his heart and then saying “Now I believe in the axe.” Remember you have to chop the tree down. Pop, I cannot tell a lie...

- Leaving for NY today with kids. B called up, back from camping trip, wants to hang out. Innocently gave him A's number, mentioned that she wanted to hang out too. Don't mention the part about how she's been writing in her journal that she can't wait for him to get back, that she is dying to tell him how she feels. It will take care of itself.

- If this is all going according to plan, why does it constantly feel like there's a corkscrew being driven into my chest? Some times when I read through her journal I feel this pit open up somewhere in my stomach. If this is how I want it, why am I crying while I write this? This isn't how I want it. This is how it has to play out. Don't be fooled by pretending to take control of it, Noel. You are adrift in a river and damn near drowning as you pray the current carries you to safer waters. Zhuangzi said we're not out of the water yet so it's best to leave your boat unmanned. But if my boat is unmanned, why can't I sleep?

- I really want to smoke. When Marc (oops, M) was here I bummed some cigarettes off of him. Now I am here in Beacon where Mom is smoking and Dad is smoking and I really want to do the same. It would probably be a bad idea though.

- The song says there must be 50 ways to leave your lover. Make that 51. More later.

- So I came back from this weekend and her and B were very suspiciously chummy. Pretended obliviousness, read her journal for clues. Not many. She already suspects I am reading it. I keep using her journal as a way to bring the drama to a head. She wrote that she doesn't think we can work out anymore. So I said "Do you think we can work out anymore?" She said no, we broke up. Very confusing. Somewhat upsetting. More if I felt anything, but it is all playacting, phoned-in emotion and pre-scripted roles. So that's it, four years (and a month and 4 days) over with. For better or for worse. She is over at the Stupid American Fat Fuck household right now, or at least that’s where she claimed she was going. I am typing this and pretending it is a story that I am making up, not something that really just happened.

- But it is really happening.

- Must not dismiss the possibility that I am being played as I play. Trust what no one says. As for A I do not believe she is smart enough to be plotting anything per se, but it already quite clear that she lies through her teeth. I guess I always knew that. B on the other hand is smart enough to plot something, and while I doubt he is smart enough for any such plot to be a true threat, I must be vigilant. On the other hand, A's journal being left out in the first place was what precipitated this last leg of the drama. It is also possible (though exceptionally unlikely) that the journal itself is a plant, that A is trying to manipulate me out of her life as surely as I’m doing the same in reverse. It all adds up to the same thing, so don’t get to distracted by paranoia though. Just go with the flow.

- "Playacting, phoned-in emotion and pre-scripted roles." You son of a bitch, admit it. YOUR HEART IS BROKEN. Okay? This is the pain of having your external world crumble mirrored in your internal world. Let it crumble. In time I will reconstruct the rubble into a different Noel, and a new external existence will begin to reflect that. Right now though it feels like I died. It sucks being a method actor.

- Started smoking. The whole time I was away this weekend I desperately wanted to smoke, and I promised myself I wouldn’t start if everything went okay. Or rather, I guess, if everything went according to plan, since the whole point of going away and conveniently suggesting that the two of them hang out was to accelerate and catalyze our own dissolution. But I guess part of me hoped that the two of them would have more respect or loyalty than to play me like that, since really I have been very good to both of them in a lot of ways and I am supposed to be his friend and someone she has claimed to love for four years. Part of me hopes, always. That way there’s always a part of me that gets to be disappointed. As a concession to that part I began smoking.

- Her and B chummier and chummier. More clues in journal still. Got S back on my side when I told her about A and B, which A had neglected to mention in their 10-hr heart-to-heart last week. Funny about that. Started making plans to move back home. It will be weird having her live down the road like a mile from me, must take steps to make myself completely unapproachable. Draw the line that none will cross.

- B gave me some cloves. How nice of him. They are pretty novel. I wonder what guilty secret is eating at his conscience that he would be so nice to me as to give me something. Especially because he keeps giving me more. Just play dumb and angry and unbalanced a little more. It’s not too hard -- I AM dumb and angry and unbalanced. I keep trying to remind myself that this drama or some variation on it was inevitable -- if not now, then later. I have almost brought the drama to a head.

- Again, there is a distinct possibility that I am not the only person yanking on puppet strings. S is CONVINCED that this is all a plot by B to get back at her, breaking up with her and pursuing one of her two close female friends (and, perhaps not coincidentally, the one that isn’t grossly obese) immediately afterwards. She sees him as some Moriarty figure, intentionally worming his way into our group of friends independently of just being an SO and taking advantage of the strained relationship A and I are having to make a kill. And hell, for all I know it’s true. The guy looks like a complete chump to me, and it certainly seems like I’ve got him doing exactly what I want. It’s probably just S’s paranoia, and not completely ill-founded -- take him out and put me in as the Moriarty figure and it’s a hell of a lot closer to the truth. Except I’m not doing it to get revenge on anybody. If anything I am freeing everyone. Hahahahaha so much for ditching the messianic complex, buddy boy.

- Revenge too, though. I hate all these people. Want them to suffer. Petty. Small. Was I always?

- On the day we “broke up” A bought me a bag of Butter Peanut Bytes (the snack of the millennium) as some sort of, I don’t know, friendly gesture or consolation prize or guilt for sneaking around behind my back or something. Snort. I didn’t touch them, knowing there’d be the perfect use for them at some point. So when B was leaving the house tonight (“We’re just friends” -- are they lying to just me or are they lying to themselves too? Through the window they were all snuggly but the moment I jingled my keys they sat up straight and nonchalant. I hate being treated like I’m stupid.) I tossed the bag to him as he was approaching the door. “Here,” I said, “have some Butter Peanut Bytes. They’re the snack of the millennium.” He thanked me and walked out. I turned to A. “That was symbolic, wasn’t it?” I said. But I don’t think she understood me.

- I hate being treated like I’m stupid. None of these people have any clue who I really am. That’s why I had to free myself from them. Because none of these people have any clue who I really am, I hate them all. That’s why I am freeing myself in such a hateful hateful way.

- And apparently I'm a "loose cannon." I can definitely live with that.

- So S says that one of the things A said in my absence was that she was more intelligent than me. If that wasn't such a stupid thing to say it might even hurt. (I hate being treated like I’m stupid.) I don't totally believe that she'd be dumb enough to claim that. But. There's always a but. In some ways it seems that what I'd done was created a Frankenstein monster. I used the girl as a mirror of myself, which she was only too willing to be since she is already a mirror by nature anyhow. Somewhere along the way I started taking my strengths and skills from myself and placing them in her. I am weakened as a result and she honestly believes that she's more intelligent than me. (Unless S lies... do not discount as possibility.) It reminds me of the Sandman story where Morpheus has transferred too much of his power into his ruby, and it is only when Dr. Dee (aka "B") destroys it that the power returns back to him. Please don't throw me in the briar patch.

- I could have just as easily palmed her off on that clown and moved back home without all the additional drama. But this way I am guaranteed that she will never ever ever seek me out again forever. Or at least a really long time. And really, that’s all I wanted ever since the day I realized we were going to have to part. Living only a mile down the road from me, if we were still on friendly terms than she’d be a lot less hesitant to cut me out of her life entirely. Especially because her cousin is married to one of my closest friends. So, like a Shakespearean drama this play has to end with a lot of blood spilled and it’s going to wind up being bad blood. As a result I am yelling all the time, it seems. I hate being this person. Die when the drama dies. I need to become stronger, move back to the light.

- “Oh, we’re just friends.” Okay, then, I feel so reassured.

- Stupid stupid stupid! Got so angry at her that I almost blabbed the entire thing. “You wouldn’t even BE with B if I hadn’t dot dot dot” and that would have been the end. Bad enough I came clean about the journal reading, but I decided that it made me look more like an obsessed psycho that way. Remember, scare her a little bit and her family’ll do the rest. But DON’T blow it by explaining the magic trick, and worse before the trick is even finished. And what gets me mad? I find a SECOND, hidden journal in her notepad. It details a much more sordid night between her and B in my absence, though it cuts off before too much info gets leaked. She swears up and down that after they confessed their feelings for each other while drunk and started giving massages it ended there. No, seriously. That’s where it ended. Hahahahahaha. Oh Jesus I’ve had to play stupid for so long that these dumb fucks actually think I AM stupid. So next tactic, confront B. Maybe I’ll even spill the real deal to him, though it would probably be a bad idea. But he’s a smart enough guy, and just because I’ve thought of him as an untrustworthy snake since the day I met him on my porch last year (and crazy that was only a bit more than a year ago) doesn’t mean he really is. So, confront B. On the phone, which is easier. I start with “So first, I find out that A secretly has feelings for you.” Before I can continue with the talk of purloined journals and subterfuge he immediately starts with “That’s the first I’ve heard about it” like I’m an idiot. So scratch the idea of coming clean to him, the little fucking weasel. Remember how we hate most in others what we hate most in ourselves. That being said, he’s a little bitch. I’ll probably wind up keying his car at some point. I always said I would if he crossed me.

- They are trying to drive me crazy. Or if they’re not trying, they’re succeeding. I lose rationality more and more, flipping out and screaming. And at the same time I see it from a detached perspective, the whole time I am reduced to irrationality there is also another Noel perching, watching, pulling strings. He has been pulling my strings all my life. I don’t know why he’s trying to destroy me. Why am I doing this in such an awful and dramatic way? THESE ARE REAL PEOPLE AND I’M TREATING THEM LIKE GAME PIECES. Oh god but I’ve gone too far now...

- Before they left for NY (amid lots of drama, me holding a piece of broken glass and screaming “Kill me!”) B mentioned giving T nude pictures of his ex-girlfriend S for T’s birthday. (This means S has nude pictures, which she has always denied up and down. As information goes it’s probably a non-starter, though.) So I go “Well, gee, I have nude pictures of MY ex-girlfriend too! (taken on the shitty b&w quickcam in the days of the shitty b&w quickcam, but they are also of her in her 19-year-old prime which sad to say she is already starting to pass -- meow!) Maybe I can give T the same present!” and looked right at her. She gave me THAT LOOK (how can I even describe it? that defiant spark.) and said “Go right ahead.” Well hell I was just joking but now I probably will. If I get around to it. I mean T doesn’t really deserve a birthday present because he’s really been a shitty friend to me ever since that fat whore Tammy (oops, a name) came into the picture. She doesn’t like me. She also looks like Jabba the Hutt in a sun-dress. I think I can live with it.

- Oh, and: sings “I’m a bad, bad boy...” I asked her if I could borrow the PSYC stereo that looks like a Power Ranger Helmet for the week in NY. There’s no stereo I can use at home and etc. She thinks the Power Ranger Helmet is hers because it replaced her old crappy stereo from 1996 or whatever. I think differently. But I asked her “permission” to “borrow” it anyway. She agreed before she left. I think she would have agreed to anything at that point just to shut me up so she could get away from my evil mindfucking psycho bitch melodrama. (If the shoe fits...) But now I have the Power Ranger Helmet. I have no intention of bringing it back with me when I return to Maryland, either... “After all, why bring it all the way back down so you will have to truck it back up yourself?” Very sensible. It also means that if she wants to reclaim the stereo she’ll have to come to my house to get it. The odds of this are of course minimal, so chances are the PSYC stereo is mine for good. Which is of course how I wanted it from the day I bought it. Funny about that. Naughty naughty naughty.

- Instead of typing up more lyrics, just one word: Gentlemen. Damn if I don’t have a whole new appreciation for it. Tee hee. It’s all so real, isn’t it?

- Along the way I keep justifying what I’m doing as I spiral further and further away from anything that could possibly be called “right.” Just remember to pull up before you hit the ground. This is supposed to be for the best. Why can’t I sleep then?

- I guess I don't need this anymore. I'm in NY for the next week, and by the time I return I may never see her again. I suppose that makes me sad. Maybe someday I'll let myself feel that. In the meantime I still have a few loose ends to tie up... I have a reputation to uphold, after all. Put A’s topless pictures in a subfolder on the website for them. "Vengeance." It's funny because it isn't true. I guess I should be worried about taking acts of retribution against such petty and small-minded people, but I have absolute confidence that I can deal with whatever counter-punch comes my way. I will keep this file around because I can't ever let myself forget about these black parts of my soul that I allowed to take front center stage for the last two months. Must be constantly vigilant.

- When she left she hugged me. When she called to tell me she got there she sounded nasty. Like she hated me. On one hand, ouch. On the other, score.

- Oh, and on the ride from Baltimore to Beacon I also talked to B (assonance!) on the phone and asked him to have coffee with me or something. His backing out of it “Uh, I don’t think that’d be a good idea” speaks volumes to me on the current state of mind of the people on the other side of the chessboard. Pieces are aligning against me. No “are” about it, pieces HAVE BEEN aligning against me. No matter. I’m the one on the other side of the chessboard sliding the pieces around. When I was a kid and the school said I talked to myself (which I do) my dad said “It’s the only way he can get a decent conversation.” There’s a clear parallel between that and this bizarre self-chess-solitaire chicken game I’m playing against myself. Am I winning or losing? It depends on which me you ask. Also a clear parallel between that chess-with-people episode of the Prisoner. But also do not forget that these are real people you are using for your own drama.

- So there was a minute in there during my time in NY when I thought “Oh hell, it’s over now. The two cipher-people wound up together, I’m free, it’ll all be good. I don’t have to go the limit on this one.” I was going to talk to her one last time, thank her for letting me go relatively painlessly. Maybe even come clean about my machinations. Then she started pulling stupid shit and showed a complete lack of care or respect or understanding towards me, and I knew I was going to have to go the distance. “It was at that point that I knew I was damned.” – Max Payne

- A few years back before the move I had a conversation with a close friend (goddamn it no more random initials!), a mutual friend of A and I from back home and he told me that as far as he could see there were definitely times that it looked like A was deliberately egging me on, knowing I would act out and she could be the poor little victim who battered me down to finally apologizing. I never really thought of it that way before. I really don’t think she’s consciously aware of it either, though of course I could be wrong. But her mother always pegged her as ditzy and manipulative, and she’s certainly ditzy. The ditziness could of course just be a good mask hiding the more subterranean elements that I am only now seeing emerge fully. Lord knows that she seems to be purposely doing the things that would be most likely to make me flip out: not returning my calls, avoiding dealing with me even just so far as what needs to be done to dissolve our little two-person enterprise, and of course on top of it all moving out of the house without telling me and going god knows where –- though of course what really pisses me off is having to pretend that I don’t know exactly what’s going on, that I don’t know exactly where she is. On top of it when I called B to ask him where she was he said he didn’t know either. Hahahahaha. Did you try looking right next to you? Jesus how fucking stupid do they think I am? If she’s really as scared of me as she says she is, why would she go out of her way to provoke me? She wants a show, she wants to be the victim, she wants to get terrified so she can blame me for her shortcomings. She wants a show. I’ll oblige.

- The funny thing is how we both of us get to walk away with this as another variation on the stories we keep playing out. She gets to be Poor Little A for the umpteenth time, the sweet girl who keeps getting victimized by the big bad world. I get to be Too Much Noel, scapegoated and betrayed yet again. Where does the truth lie?

- Plus of course the irony that A did to S what she did to her last long-term close female friend, got together with the friend’s ex behind the friend’s back while pretending to still be friends to her face. The same stories keep playing themselves out over and over in different variations. Is there anything new anywhere? I wonder how A will portray this back-stabbing of a friend so that somehow she comes out the innocent victim. I’m sure all of her circle of people will hear the story a million times, though, whatever it is.

- Saw her for the last time. In the basement. "I loved you once," I said. I already began to doubt I ever did. And, they're officially together now. Or at least officially sleeping with each other. I don't want to talk about that. I saw it coming, and if I didn't single-handedly put the two of them together I certainly expedited matters. I doubt either one will ever guess. But it still feels like I died. I went to dinner with my sister and family and then drove to Beacon. Hot Buttered Soul the whole way. Here now. More later.

- It’s later! Where to begin? “So, you’re sleeping together, right?” The look on her face was priceless, as was the awful feeling in my stomach. “I’ll take that as a yes.” I used it to justify backing out of my half of our shared debts. Ain’t I a stinker? To the bitter end I am still a rampaging beast. Which must be how she wants me to be, since she is doing everything that would egg me on rather than anything at all that would pacify me. I think it was only then that I realized how sick of me she was, as sick as I was of her. I wonder if she’s doing this on purpose too. More paranoia! What with having her constantly lie to my face, or not even have the nerve to lie directly TO my face, but lie over a phone or something -- pause. Breathe. Past tense. Not present sense. You will never see her again. The point is moot -- she hates me. But still called me sweetie. How strange. She came by to pick up the remaining stuff left behind during the clandestine move (what a chickenshit thing to do.) Speaking of chickenshit, B was originally going to be coming with her until it turned out that I was at the house. Sent her to face me alone. Scared little baby. Hahahahahahaha. Pause. Breathe. Past tense. You’ll REALLY never see him again. Is it this easy to scare other people? Is everyone else just as scared as I am? Tangent. She didn’t come alone, of course, she brought Foghorn Leghorn with her. “Now boy, now boy, I say... Southern Gentlemen ALWAYS take the lady’s side. Especially such a fine lady as this...” But not really that fine. Strangely she didn’t attract me at all. I asked her about blowing me because I knew it would make her uncomfortable and I LIVE for that (or lived. past tense.) but I felt nothing for her at all. Revulsion. Not quite. Can’t think of the word. I did the Godfather II bit on the way out and had Chinese food with the Carpes. Or Cs. Sarah wanted to know why I was crying. So did I. I mean, this is what I wanted, right? Everything’s gone according to plan. Why am I crying as I write this?

- Telling comment when I said above that I lived for making her uncomfortable. What kind of life is that? I life I just got out of. The drama has officially moved from “being brought to a head” to “at the head” to “popped.” Pop!

- And when I told her I wasn’t going to pay my share of the debts, she actually said to me “I was hoping you’d take the high road.” I had to pause for a second. “I moved out behind your back and began a clandestine relationship with someone who is not only a mutual friend, but is also the extremely recent ex of ANOTHER mutual friend. Oh, and we’re together behind her back, too. But, um, I was hoping you’d take the high road.” What could I possibly say to that?

- I wonder if I’ll ever see her again. It’s fucked up. I mean, the whole point was to draw a line in the sand that she could not conceivably cross again, but now that it’s all said and done and I might never ever see this person that I spent four years plus of my life with, it’s pretty fucked up. It’s like when my grandparents died, but technically she lives like a mile from here.

- But on the other hand I already feel free.

- No I don’t. I feel dead.

- Dead but free.

- And of course it turns out that all my (real) friends couldn’t stand her in the first place. Or not couldn’t stand, because that’s a much more passionate emotion than she is really capable of generating, but certainly they had distaste for her. I told a couple of them about the nude pictures because it only seemed fair. A (or perhaps Aa) called her a Seinfeld girlfriend. D made a joke about this is what always happens when you take a mortal and raise them up to Mount Olympus. (shades of Pygmalion!)

- They say you can’t go home again, yet here I am.

- Keyed the car. Technically knifed it. Had to be careful – am crossing lines between potentially illegal behavior (vengeance folder) and ACTUALLY illegal behavior. But the point has to be made. The most dangerous place in the world is between me and the points I am trying to make. I don’t think that’s probably a constructive attitude, but fuck it. Plenty of time to grow out of it now that I can start growing again.

- Looks like some waves got made... I got a notarized certified letter from A herself, asking me to remove pictures of her from my website. So much for permission. I took them down. No reason to fuck around more than necessary, and they served their purpose. It also said “In addition I wish no further contact with you.” No shit bitch, that was the whole point!

- It was no fun in the end. What game is? The fun ones I shy away from so I wind up victor in my own vicious way instead. This was like the Pigeon Traps at Price Chopper, except in the end I LOST a whole bunch of quarters (She took my change collection... small price!) instead of gaining them. Manipulation is never any fun, always a guilty pleasure. It was so easy to make her cross lines she swore up and down she would NEVER ever cross. Like that. "I get my kicks where I can," Charlie Brown chuckles as Patty furiously chases after him.

- Got a LiveJournal. I have a vague plan on how to use it for my next stage of development, but I can’t think about it much. So I don’t know that I’ll need this anymore. Maybe I should delete it. But I don’t dare talk about any of this in the LiveJournal (imagine, leaving your journal of innermost thoughts out where anyone could read them! but then again it’s still possible that it was a plant. paranoia, kiddo. none of that anymore.) If there’s one lesson I learned from all of this ugliness, it’s that it’s better not to interfere. As I reread this I realize that I sound terribly arrogant all throughout it. In truth I was in the process of transforming into some ugly thing, arrogant and completely set in his ways. I couldn’t grow anymore. I needed to escape. The arrogance was really an act. Really I’ve been terrified this whole time, and in typical Noel fashion I attempted to conquer what I was afraid of by taking control of it. “Yeah, you dumped me, but I MADE YOU DO IT.” Come to think of it, they’re right -- I AM crazy. I don’t know what else to say. I think it’s finally over. Ugh. Now time to pick up the pieces again. I’ll probably switch over to the LiveJournal entirely now. I can use it as a propaganda tool during this time that I know for certain they’re watching me. In time they’ll forget about me, of course. I guess that’s what hurts the most.

- I will write about being arrested later.

- Each time I think I’m out, they pull me back in... so anyway I got arrested. Twice. Who knew they had that in them? Handcuffed in an elevator, Mom fighting back tears beside me. The next day I went to court was September 11th, a year later. The more things change... Then today I went in to get arrested again. How obliging of me. I suppose I should be worried, but I feel nothing. I have complete faith that I will make it through. Besides which I have definitely won the police over to my side – in the beginning they were treating me like a potential serial killer, but I wisely decided to act completely sincere (or behave completely sincere, since act implies insincerity) and by the end of the first arrest they were in my corner. “Here’s what you’ll have to do to make this go away, Noel.” Reminds me of the time mom got investigated for child abuse. The system barely knows what to do with me, but I do have a way of making myself likable to the people within that system. Always my saving grace. I seriously doubt there’ll be any actual jail time or anything (and the lawyer agrees) but hell maybe jail would be the thing I need to click me into place. (story idea: someone goes to jail under similar circumstances, emerges as Keyser Soze-type criminal mastermind) None of this is what I envisioned when I foresaw that I would have to pay the piper for this scheme, but I will pay whatever I have to be it money or time and in my head I will dance around like a little elf because really I am finally free. I think that's finally started to sink in.

- And the fucked up part is that her written statement is full of all sorts of made-up things. I wonder if she knows she’s fabricating nonsense or if she’s really so terrified that she’s seeing me everywhere. Am getting phone bill records to disprove some of it.

- Plus there’s the silver lining that B pressing charges over the car-keying is the FINAL bullet they can possibly shoot at me. After this I’m done. They can’t hurt/disappoint/betray me any more. Whereas I could still destroy either one of them if I ever so chose. I always walk away with the high cards. (When will I stop thinking it’s a game?)

- And of course what is jail but years of boredom and uncomfortable circumstances surrounded by people you can’t trust and no intellectual stimulation? Fuck, I just LEFT that! Besides which, if I really do go to jail and survive I’ll just come out hardened and kill her. And her entire family. Hahahaha just kidding. God help me if the police ever see this file. And I’ll kill all her cats too. Just kidding.

- The toughest thing is I can’t tell anybody. “Oh yeah, I engineered the whole thing. Sorry I did it in such a miserable and melodramatic way, but I gotta be me.” Can’t trust friends -– one of them even snitched to the cops! Man, what a pussy that fat piece of shit is, and then not even to have the nerve to tell me he did it. He should have known I wasn’t a real threat, I only spent a third of my life for the last two years at his house. But of course that’s neither here nor there. When the object is to remove people you can’t trust from your life, you can’t be surprised when one of them finds some way to betray you that you hadn’t even thought of. Can’t cover all the angles. But in the meantime I still can’t confess the truth of this to anyone. Certainly not my family –- “Yeah Mom I’m costing you thousands of dollars and may yet go to jail. Mm hmm, I did it that way purposely.”

- On the other hand Mom thinks I got done like April Glaspie did Saddam Hussein, telling him the United States had no objection to him invading Kuwait, and then when he did they clapped down on him. After all, I did have permission. The keying was stupid. So fun though. Remember the time you keyed your own car in front of him? “skreee -- I don’t care!” It was all leading towards that inevitable conclusion. Still stupid. Makes it harder to fight the other case. Stupid. But fun. Carve that on my tombstone.

- Presumably no more shoes will drop, so I guess I can call that chapter of my life closed. I have no reason to be updating this file anymore. 2002 has definitely been a fucked up year so far. Here's to the future. Now to sit in the corner and not think about swordfish. Nothing ever changes.

- But first, Future Noel, a final thought:

When I was in junior high school there was this kid Kevin (or K, I guess, but fuck it he killed himself a few years back so I guess I can use his name... plus who else is going to read this so why does it matter, you’re starting to ramble again. back onto the topic) there was this kid Kevin who used to torment me. One day in Central Detention he sat down next to me and pinched my neck really really hard for well over a minute. This was only about five feet from the principal and the assistant principal, but neither one of them seemed to notice that this was happening. As usual, I had to deal with a crazy frightening painful experience completely alone. I didn’t flinch -- never give the fucks the satisfaction -- but it hurt A LOT. It left a welt for over a week, but that’s not the point either. The point is, when my detention was done Kevin still had more time to do. So I got up, walked to the office, this being after school and all. I looked up Kevin’s phone number and address and memorized them. Back to the cafeteria where detention was held, and I sat down next to Kevin and quietly recited his personal information. Smiled, stood up and left. Very cinematic, but also passive-aggressive posturing. Really I wanted to deck the motherfucker. But it freaked little Kevin out, who was really just a fucked up little bully who must have been tormented by all sorts of inner demons seeing as how he killed himself and all. He got spooked by crazy Noel knowing his address, and he went to the principal and assistant principal who were still sitting in the spot they’d been in when he’d physically assaulted me before. He told them what I’d done, conveniently forgetting what he’d done to arouse my ire. It got a call to my parents about Noel the Menace from that cunt Dr. Cockerline, the principal. I was shocked -- I was the one with the welt on my neck, remember, and more importantly really I’m harmless. There was a lesson there that perhaps I just refused to learn.

Rather than tell the story of the breakup and arrest, tell that one instead.

Love,
Past Noel
Friday the Thirteenth, September 2002

DO NOT OPEN UNTIL THE WORLD ENDS

(ADDENDUM 9-9-4: I opened this file last almost two years ago. Forced myself to forget about it. Bits of it came out in other things. Then earlier this week I found it while sorting through my random junk folders. How crazy is that? I kind of regret leaving out all the dates now, as it makes it harder to connect to the chronological past. So it goes. Here's the salient "Where-Are-They-Know?" info, in relevant order:

- I beat the case. Did a bit of community service at the library and CYO basketball games. Read a lot of Raymond Chandler at the basketball games. Turned to a life of drugs and magic. I believe in God now. The last two years of my life have been the most creative and productive ever. Recently I just finished Season One of the It's The Crew project and have broad plans for the next season and the rest of the site. Other than that I'm still working on building a better Noel radio to tune in to my One True Self. (I, I, I...) Re-reading this entire document I am amazed at how much I was an arrogant little prick back then. I guess I still am. And I still manipulate people too much. But, as they say, I’m workin’ on it.

- S reappeared in my life for a while and when it became apparent what her plans were I contrived to drive her away permanently too. All she wanted was to keep me on her keychain, a token from her past life. Someone to keep the old wounds open with. Sad girl. In the meantime she kept opening up MY old wounds and reminding me of MY past life, and so she had to go. Time to bust out the machinations again. That’s another story for another time (read: never.) But it was very painful to do, so painful I tried to kill myself at the very end rather than go through with it. (On top of it of course I was in the midst of going off of a Paxil prescription and was completely crazy during the pivotal final week... but of course that is neither here nor there.) In some ways it was the killing off of the last remnants of the 2002 drama. But it also led directly or otherwise to S jumping the gun on my line-in-the-sand script and drawing her own line prematurely. "Not like this!" the child artist cries, tears streaming, knowing that yet another of his creations won't get completed. Oh well. It happened almost exactly how I wanted it to happen. (But to quote Past Noel: Then why can’t I sleep?) Made tentative attempts at re-contacting her over a year later, last November. I felt guilty, I wanted to apologize and come clean. Maybe I wanted forgiveness. Okay, I DID want forgiveness. No go. She hung up on me. Alas. So I emailed her the easier part of what I wanted to say to her, and got no reply. Expected none. I genuinely liked her, but I knew from the time I first met her that the day would come that afterwards we never ever ever spoke again. Life is change and expectations are the root of suffering. It kind of sucks though.

- I don't know much about A. Don’t particularly care to. Sometime near the end of 2002 or early 2003 my mom ignored my advice and got a bogus account on some fake TheName.Com knockoff website to keep an eye on A, and (I quote) “to show her up.” My mom is a crazy crazy woman. Apple don’t fall far and all. Meanwhile, I had a sneaking suspicion this would be a bad idea (one of the two reasons I had advised against it, the other being I always disagree with my mom on principle), especially since she was doing absolutely nothing to cover her tracks IP-wise. But I didn’t really think much about the whole thing until the letter from the lawyer came advising me that I (I, mind you) was in violation of the protection order by being on this website. Each time I think I’m out... Of course, I highly doubt that it would have stood up in court had it ever gone that far, but still I was a bit (or a lot) pissed. Mostly I was pissed that one last time I get blamed for something I didn’t do. Then I remembered that none of these people exist anymore and got over it pretty quick. (Then why bring it up? Noel, Noel, Noel...) But anyway, fast forward to this summer, and I am getting dragged by a friend to his chiropractor who is also A’s chiropractor (worst, right down the street -- small town or what?) because (in the friend's words) "He's heard so much about you, he wants to see you in person to judge for himself." Word is that A (or at least her idiot no-mind family) is still terrified of me to this day, which I found very serendipitous because I was midway through writing the script for Destroy And Remix right there in the waiting room and it was great to get a real life reminder that some people really think I am that villainous character. Synchronicity and a run-on sentence! If it seems I want to talk more about It's The Crew than I do about A, take that for what it is. I have no intention that the two of us shall ever cross paths again. Knock on wood.

- Everyone else died tragically defending our Nation's freedoms on foreign soil. It was real sad.)

(2017 note: As of today (11-11!) I still have no contact with any of these characters, which is basically what I wanted so yay I guess. It's The Crew, which I was so proud of in the addendum, I abandoned only a few years later. I think that I can say with pride and/or confidence that I am not the arrogant little shit that wrote this strangely compelling tale of madness, betrayal and evil schemes fifteen years ago. I am still arrogant, obviously, but I am no longer a little shit; or, I like to think, a big one either. This is for you, Past Noel, I wouldn't be here today if it weren't for you.)

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

One Shyeah To Rule Them All

If you were an adolescent in the early 90s you probably went through the experience of hearing every unfunny douche in your school go around saying “exsqueeze me?” all the time and even though Wayne’s World was okay you still wanted to track down Mike Myers and slap the shit out of him for the legion of double-plus annoying idiots he inspired to imitate him.

That’s kind of how I feel about Tolkien and the genre of pseudo medieval faux European fantasy tropes he unwittingly spawned

Friday, November 11, 2016

Fuck Veterans

I've seen a lot of talk the last few days that the election results on Tuesday represent a defeat of the attitude of pervasive and suffocating political correctness. And you know what? Good. As someone who is willfully politically incorrect, as someone who tips over sacred cows like someone's paying me to do it, as someone who believes firmly that the more unpopular one's opinion is the more responsibility one has to voice it and voice it loudly, I'm glad that I can finally take the gloves off and stop worrying that my microaggressions might trigger someone in their safe space.

So today I'd like address one of the most pernicious and oft-repeated politically correct lies of our times, the mindless and irrational hero worship-slash-deification of those who serve in the armed forces. Today is Veteran's Day, and if you spend more than 30 seconds on social media today you will see everyone parroting the same pablum: "Thank you for your service!" "If it wasn't for our brave veterans we wouldn't be free!" "Today we honor the veterans who have fought for our country's freedom and peace" and so forth and so on. Normally I address this topic from a slightly different angle: that one's personal freedom is not actually contingent on military action, least of all in the United States where there has never been a credible (external) threat to our way of life. And I'd mention how the only force on this planet capable of denying U.S. citizens their freedom is the U.S. government, and as the armed forces are the hired thugs of said government their only possible relationship to our freedom can be neutral at best and adversarial at worst.

Today I'm taking a different, and simpler, tack: fuck veterans.

You know what? Fuck veterans. The work they did is worthless to everyone else and we're supposed to lick their shoes in gratitude. I'm sorry they put their lives on the line and some of them suffered terrible injuries or even died but all of that would be equally applicable to Hollywood stunt performers, and at least we get some cool movies out of their sacrifice. Veterans? Not so much. What makes them so goddamned special? They had a job to do -- for which they were paid, and out of our tax dollars no less -- and it is a job they volunteered for. (I am, of course, aware that there are still veterans alive today who were drafted, but I would consider "not working hard enough to dodge the draft" to be a form of volunteering for the sake of this argument.) So why do they get put on some pedestal? Because of their *ahem* "service?" That's a laugh. The same awful bag-of-shit people who undertip at the restaurant and curse out cashiers every week because they don't understand what a rebate is or how it works, these same bag-of-shit people would cross six lanes of traffic to ram their tongue up a soldier's anus and garble slurred words of thanks for the imaginary service they have provided. The treatment of actual service workers in this country is absolutely shameful -- even though the economy is now almost entirely propped up by service industries -- but these uniformed frauds can't get thanked enough for... for what? Because I see the gears turning in your head, and I smell the small tufts of smoke coming out of your ears, and I know you're all like B-B-B-BUT FREEDOM! And all that tells me is that you haven't been paying attention all the years I've tried to explain how the concept of freedom works, so I'm hardly about to try that again. I'm done with having a rational discussion where we logically examine the assumptions your beliefs are built on and discard them as they prove fallacious. It's too much work, and I don't have patience for you idiots and your programmed values anymore. Rather: Fuck veterans.

And yes. Yes. I get it. The soldiers don't realize that the service they are providing is entirely fraudulent and imaginary. They honestly believe that they are doing the right thing, they honestly believe they are providing some real and not made-up and absolutely crucial service to the American people. Fine. Turns out that "honest belief" and "actual fact" are NOT THE SAME THING! There was this lady in Texas that honestly believed that God ordered her to bash in her sons' heads with a large rock. And so she did. Does the fact that she "honestly believed" she was doing the right thing  mitigate the fact that she was not? Folks, there's not a lot of intentional evil in the world. Almost EVERYONE honestly believes that they're doing the right thing at any given moment, or at least the less wrong thing. I'm not concerned with intentionality or inner narrative. I am concerned with the facts. And the fact is that the only "service" soldiers provide is to war profiteers and the military-industrial complex. So I'm sorry that so many people who honestly believe that they are doing necessary and good work for the people suffer so badly and see such horrors because of their misconceptions. But should it earn them special consideration and idolization? Pity tinged with condescension would be more in line here. It's tragic how many of these dumb deluded kids waste their lives behind some made up shit because you idiots keep parroting the same tired old lines about freedom and honor and whatnot -- and parroting is the perfect term to use here because you fuckers only show the verbal comprehension a parrot might demonstrate, which is to say none -- making every last one of you idiots complicit in their tragedy.

So fuck veterans, fuck you for your unquestioning adoration of them and their imaginary service, and fuck my life because I'm stuck here on this planet with you goddamned robots. And have a happy Veterans Day.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Fiction and the fantastic

Fiction should be fantastical. The entire reason fiction exists is because it can contain and express human-created concepts that have no real-world analogue. If you are writing fiction and you are constraining yourself within the set of things that are real and actual and possible, you are wasting your time and your audience's time as well. You want a story about the horrors of war, or the tragedy of drug addiction, or the quiet malaise of 1950s suburbs? They're out there already. That ground is well-covered by actual people and the actual experiences of their actual lives.

But robots and vampires and aliens and time travelers and superheroes and zombies and talking gorillas? None of that is real, or at least not yet.

Monday, July 11, 2016

The Valentine-O-Gram Lesson

In my high school, every Valentine's Day, every single class got disrupted throughout the day by the constant delivery of Valentine-O-Grams. I found this of interest because I was in the principal's office constantly for "disrupting class" but apparently it was okay to disrupt class for stupid Valentine-O-Grams that I never got from anyone anyway. And I came to realize that they didn't discipline me for disrupting class, in the sense that I was preventing the other students from receiving their education -- they didn't give a shit if class got disrupted as long as it was part of their design -- but for disrupting class when they hadn't planned for class disruption. Even though the end result was the same whether class got disrupted by me or by Valentine-O-Gram delivery, my individual disruption was sign that they lacked control and had to be shut down before anyone else realized it. I never got a Valentine-O-Gram but I did get a valuable look behind the curtains at the invisible machinery that makes society work. And maybe that was even a fair trade.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

A Conspiracy Of Silence (2004? 2005?)

 When I was a child my parents told me about this man named Santa Claus. Santa Claus, if you have never heard a similar tale, is allegedly this ageless guy who lives at the North Pole. Every Christmas he travels around the world in his magic sleigh pulled by reindeer, and somehow defies the passage of time by visiting the household of every child to deliver gifts. (Or at least the household of every nice child—naughty children got nothing, as my parents repeatedly warned me every time I acted “out of line.”)

Despite the ridiculous nature of the story, even to the pre-school version of me, I decided to believe it, to take their word for it—after all, why would my parents lie? Didn’t they have my best interests at heart? Didn’t they themselves repeatedly tell me that lying was “wrong,” was one of the Deadly Sins that would make Santa Claus skip my chimney come Christmas? Then, when I reached a certain age and confronted them about it, I found out that (as many of you have already discovered) the whole thing was a lie. The toys I opened on Christmas morn weren’t made by elves at the North Pole, they were made by poorly-paid laborers and purchased at local department stores. That day marked the beginning of my descent into paranoia.

Nobody really thinks about the whole Santa Claus phenomenon much. As a child, when you find out the truth you must still allow your younger siblings or cousins to find out on their own or risk getting in trouble—when the authorities lie, telling the truth is a crime. Then they grow up and tell their own kids about the fat man in the red suit without really thinking about why they’re doing it or what the implications are. Perhaps some clever students of sociology explain it as that culture’s particular rite of passage, initiation into the inner perimeter of adult society.

I like to look at it as a conspiracy. Ever since my Santa Claus illusions were shattered I have been very mistrustful of whatever “authority” figures tell me the truth is, knowing that they could be lying to me FOR ABSOLUTELY NO GOOD REASON. Conspiracies can exist without any of the members involved even being conscious that they are part of any conspiracy. The sad fact about conspiracies is that they do not need to be driven by some Power Elite sitting in a room somewhere puffing on cigars and planning which democratically-elected official to assassinate next, which Manchurian Candidate Lone Gunman to activate, which buildings to fly planes into. Conspiracies can just happen, arise out of social forces no one really understands. This is the lesson of the Santa Claus conspiracy.

But there are of course more lessons to be drawn from this. Those who scoff at conspiracy theories often pull out the line “How could you manage a conspiracy that large? It’s simply impossible!” Yet no conspiracy to kill Kennedy or conceal alien contact or get Bush elected has ever been postulated to be as large as the Santa Claus conspiracy actually IS: almost every adult and many children over the age of eight in North America alone. How does a conspiracy so large manage to operate? How can there still be small children to this day who are deceived, who believe in Santa Claus? The answer is simple: control of information. Any information a child runs into that denies the existence of Santa Claus is dismissed by the authorities he or she goes to to verify it. Famously, the Saturday Evening Post once told a small girl the bald-faced lie: “Yes, Virginia…” Older children who discover the truth either become co-conspirators or keep their mouth shut, out of fear of retribution for leaking the truth.

And of course, maybe the real conspiracy is that there IS a Santa Claus after all. Looking up in the sky once as a child I thought I saw his sled as it was pulled by the reindeer. The problem with paranoia is that it allows no verified truth to stand. Rather like the scientific method which can never completely prove a theory, merely disprove it, paranoia is a tool for deconstructing old realities but very poor for building new realities to replace them. Who can you believe?

Saturday, October 31, 2015

"But it's ILLEGAL!"

If there's any laws you don't follow -- laws you think are stupid, laws that it is convenient or advantageous or fun for you to break -- if you are someone who assumes the right to pick and choose laws like the legal code is a buffet table, then you are a hypocrite should you get uptight over other people choosing which laws they will follow. Say, if you are someone that gets mad over illegal immigration or illegal drug use or people driving faster than the speed limit or whatever other outlawed bugaboo crawled up your butt that day, but you yourself have decided that you are allowed to ignore certain laws to your own benefit, than you are, I say again, a hypocrite. You ever notice that when someone commits murder, the outrage isn't because murder is illegal but because murder is wrong? When someone molests children, the ire is not because the law against child molestation has been flouted? The only time people get uptight about things specifically because they are illegal is when the illegal things are quite debatably not wrong in any universal or moral sense. So. Either you respect the rule of law in its entirety or you don't. Period. What makes you so special that you and you alone are granted permission to break laws as you see fit?

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Resolving the Fermi Paradox

Possibility #1: Some sort of Galactus/Unicron type being that consumes entire planets.

Possibility #2: Physical space is an incubator for higher minds, who upon reaching a certain level leave this realm and thus are not sending out broadcasts of alien I Love Lucy for us to detect. 

Possibility #3: Perhaps amidst all the UFO hoaxes and sloppy ancient astronaut theories there is an actual account of an actual visitation.

Possibility #4: While there may be other intelligent life in the universe, there is no particularly strong reason to assume we are not the first and oldest of them.

Possibility #5: Every time an intelligent race gets sophisticated enough, they choke on their own pollution and/or bomb themselves into extinction over subtle ideological differences.

Possibility #6: We are living in a vast computer simulation and, for whatever reason, the simulation only spawned one race of intelligent "life" and it's right here.

Possibility #7: There is intelligent life but they are for some reason (intentionally or not) concealing their presence from us.

Possibility #8: The life that has evolved elsewhere takes such radically different forms and utilizes such wildly different technology that we could be looking right at them and do not even realize it. 

Possibility #9: God made Adam and Eve, not Xadam and Ee'hv.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Am I Statler or am I Waldorf in this exchange?

Attila: You hear that Ronda Rousey wants to play Captain Marvel?

Me: Man, you cast ONE pro wrestler in your cinematic universe, pretty soon they all want in.

Attila: She's not a wrestler. She's MMA.

Me: Exactly! That means it requires NO acting skills!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Nothing Means Everything, Everything Means Nothing

You're born for no reason. You live for no reason. You die for no reason. The world goes on without you, for no reason, because the world exists at all for no reason. No reason, no purpose, no meaning, to any of it. Some will tell you that it means whatever you want it to mean; this is a long and roundabout way of saying that it means nothing. Because you mean nothing. What it means to you, what you choose to have it mean to you, means nothing. Nothing means anything, and everything means nothing.