Dispensing with any sort of quackery I’d simply shouted, “Get out of here. This is my home. I am an Englishman and this is England!”
After all the noise had settled and Betty had ceased whimpering I winked at Jones. He was still holding the ceremonial dagger and chalk.
“You see my man…you have to tell these things off properly…don’t treat them like bloody royalty. We are higher than the angels…do you not recall…”
The towering bundle of nerves simply extend a thin white finger.
There it was. A perfect azure sphere sitting atop a cold carpet that itself sat atop a yet colder floor.
I promptly hauled it up. Jones leapt back.
“Ah! Careful Roderick…are you mad…”
I laughed. “Perfectly so my friend. Glad for it too seeing as to the effects sanity has upon you.”
“The house was shaking Rod…shaking and humming…” Betty muttered. “You should maybe be more…”
“Ooo uhhh were it now..shaking like the perfect pair of autumn shrivelled leaves I see stand before me?” I laughed.
In all honesty I’d lost all mirth. I’d just received word from France that my bastard daughter hadn’t survived the tuberculosis. Yet, in its place, in the place of levity a certain ecstatic freedom took hold. This made me quiet jolly but with a sort of thrilling chill rather than happiness.
Everything felt liquid, fluid, cool and malleable.
It is an odd thing to see yourself in the daughter of a whore. She’d called me Papa. Six years old…moving onto the seventh…I did not have the courage to take her with me…to avoid that harsh little apartment in Tours.
It is odd to see yourself in the daughter of a whore. To see your self-same hazel fire and jetty locks to see a twist of the lips so familiar….so peculiar.
“Are you afraid of eternity?” I bellowed tossing the sphere onto an armchair.
My two tenants stood dumbstruck as I unfastened my trousers.
I urinated on the pretty thing. My offal running in gold rivulets off its perfect geometry and staining the mahogany fabric of its throne.
“It is a holy thing Hamilton…have you no shame…”
“I don’t care if its God’s own eye!” I laughed again dancing a jig.
“He’s mad…” Betty murmured.
“Oh,” I said. “No, no darling I am perfectly beautifully sane. You see I did nothing wrong not one thing wrong. Was it I who bargained with the colonials? Was it I that shot Ferdinand? What was I to do with my loneliness in France….what was I to do with that shrieking image…that homage to the great god pain. Did I invent the trench or fashion the bullet that rained upon it?
And neither did I fashion angels, or hells, or Gods, or magick, or its implements. Why should I give fealty to that which is not my own! There is nothing holy Jones. Not a thing upon the Earth, nor below, nor above!”
Jones simply shook his head sadly wiping away the urine with a kerchief. He moved past a weeping Betty to secret the thing…perhaps make obeisance to it.
I didn’t care one wan iotalated damn.
“Eh ! Pantruchar ! C’est y qu’ tu s’rais malade
Ou que l’ cafard te rendrait tout transi ?
Ce soir, t’as pas l’ cœur à la rigolade”
Lobo was heading over. I’d long ago grown weary of his perpetually critical outlook. There was only one cunt in this camp that had the divine sanction to be cynic sovereign.
“You are taking these with us?”
“Is this your first encounter with NATO?”
“What do we do every day Pinky?”
Lobo laughed. The one endearing quality about him was his near encyclopedic knowledge of cartoons.
“You do know that this will slow us down?”
“Us Carolina boys might be barefoot and bucktooth but we ain’t stoopid .”
“We don’t have a choice, and yes I’m well aware that a high-tech toy chest is gonna kill speed faster than when Aunt Bertha hopped onboard the carpool.”
“They will break…or be broken…”
“Yea..well I ain’t too attached.”
Lobo appeared to be lost in thought.
“We are only taking them fifty miles in.” I intruded into his reverie confident that I’d guessed where his mind was going.
“So you’re saying that if they’re damaged…”
It was true that I’d relished the chance to get a couple of good licks in even if it meant getting twisted into a pretzel. But now that the opportunity presented itself I wasn’t happy. If he succeeded in sabotaging the equipment we’d have to go back. I wanted to go back but I didn’t…I’d gone too far on this weird ride.
“Bad idea, bub.” I said placing myself in his path. At 6’ 2” I’m not exactly short but I found myself staring at his nipples.
Lobo laughed. “I am doing you a favor.”
“I appreciate that…but you are also doing yourself a disservice.”
“You think Uncle Sam likes having his toys broken?”
He laughed again. “So you are saying they will come to Brazil…to Cuiaba…find me…”
“They’re already here.”
Lobo glanced around.
I shook my head. “Don’t you think that a lot of the tourists cityside seemed a little too fit. That their size and haircuts didn’t exactly fit the profile of bored dentist?”
Again Lobo laughed. “Yeah…I guess you have a point…but I have a suggestion…American soldiers should stay in America…”
He was holding an apple in his right hand. An apple that instantly exploded and oozed out in between his clenched fingers.
Guess he knew I was angling for a fight. I was glad that I had backup. Not because I minded having my ass kicked. The thought of bruises on his face gave me a near sexual thrill… even if it cost me a fracture. No I was glad because the shit storm of paperwork and bitching that would have come as a result of sabotage would have cost more careers than my fingers could count.
He walked off leaving me in the small clearing between our tents.
Briefly, for a few blessed moment I was alone with my thoughts. I gave myself permission to assess how I was feeling about all this. Unfortunately my introspection didn’t go past base instincts.
I was tired. I was horny. The native girls who I’d at first had difficulty seeing as sexual creatures despite their near constant nudity began to look more and more appealing. They weren’t ugly just very primitive and removed from my world. The longer I stayed here though the further away seemed that world and I began to experience an erotic dimension in the busy rhythms of the village women. I liked watching them tend to their homes, to their families, I liked their soft dark eyes and the feminine tone of their musculature.
I chuckled internally at the fantasy of going native. Yes, I Alan Baird would become ‘Karakiki’ and along with my comely village bride raise a clan of strong clever lads that stood head and shoulders over their more compact brethren. I would learn the rhythms of the wood and forget the poison of asphalt and plastic.
Despite this amusing distraction I couldn’t in good conscience go around getting my dick wet. Horny wasn’t a problem I could solve. But I could and should take a nap.
The hammocks were in a tent thirty or so paces from the high-tech igloo.
O yeah! This felt fantastic. There was air conditioning and a fan to soothe my nerves and lull me to sleep with the gentle sway of the unorthodox bed.
7.5 Should be ready by tomorrow evening EST. Cheers and thanks for stopping by.
A brief discussion on the difficulties of managing interest and work in a variety of outputs. Here I’ll discuss single discipline focus vs the more ‘renaissance man’ approach and ask questions like should you schedule poetry?
It was cold in the spook tent. I was in a cryogenic womb made from space age canvas, fiberglass, and fans.
It was dark save for the glow of monitors and the Christmas light array of blinking LEDs.
There in cramped quarters we traced the paths of several drones. It was a microcosm of full spectrum dominance. Sea, air, and land were at our fingertips. Yes, I said land.
I sat below the image of a grinning witch. The toy at my disposal was the HAG – I . High Agility Ground Intelligence or the Hag Eye.
These were devices as experimental as PLATO itself. I’d played with early iterations in a highly controlled environment. This was the wet test, Thornton wanted deployment data, and so here we were putting her through her paces.
Despite being glad for the feel of cool air I soon grew to hate it. The jungle outside was bad but this cramped, sterile, ice box was built for the comfort of machines, not men.
“Cut me a sample.” Cooks voice crackled in my headset.
The robotic spider never ceased to amaze me. My horizontal trajectory became vertical. Some of the multijointed legs flashed briefly in my field of vision. Then I behold the uppermost branches of the Kapok tree.
Ascending to the impressive height of a hundred and seventy some feet I paused before a patch of leaves. Briefly striking a hotkey combination engaged an automatic process. The reason for this tent was manifold. We were transmitting data back to a neural net in Langley. HAG – I was not only being tested but trained.
I watched in fascination as the little abomination adjusted itself and a slight mechanical whirring informed me that its tiny mechanical arms were coming online. A clamp and some sharp calipers emerged. The little circle of dots that appeared on my monitor informed me that calculations were under way.
Then slowly methodically the clamp extend and closed around a branch bearing the lance shaped leaves, and several pepper/nut like seed pods. It then proceeded to cut with the calipers just above initial grip. The branch came loose and Laura adjusted herself. I’d decided to call this particular HAG machine Laura after my exes mother.
A-Seq; Complete, the green font at the bottom of my screen informed me, I was pilot again. Slowly I made my way back down the trunk of the tree. Branch in hand mind you. Laura was primarily a surveillance device. There was no storage container. The only reason she’d been equipped with arms, and other tools, was in case there was a need for quick conversion for bomb diffusion.
We weren’t about to insect scuttle our way back across two and a half miles of jungle though. A few feet from the base of the Kapok sat a gaping mouth. The mouth was open and a little metal ramp led to the depths of the beasts bowels. Laura scuttled her way inside.
I switched to night vision. There was a darkened pad in the corner. I placed the branch on the pad. It opened and swallowed the sample. I pressed another hot key combination and watched as Laura took her place in the pen next to her sisters.
Though I couldn’t see it I knew that the gaping mouth monster closed its jaws and wheeled its way to the most open patch of canopy it could find. Schmidt’s aerial machine descended and attached itself to the calipers atop the mobile garage.
Our toys were homeward bound.
Unfortunately another short abomination. I work the AM shifts and have been waking up at eight/nine PM the past couple of days. Really hoping to resolve this bullshit soon. Probably going to post more than twice this week to make up for my constant cock ups. Cheers and thanks for reading.
I never got those Cubans. I felt better as predicted. There was also a fresh distraction to take my mind off physical woes.
It was the oddest thing. Watching the natives avoid Hoyt.
Apparently there wasn’t a medicine strong enough to purge whatever demon he had.
He never stopped smiling that same unpleasant Sphinx lip smile. His demand and tolerance for tobacco was disturbing. I swore he went through a pack and a half a day. None of our protests meant anything and not even Lobo was able to stop him from using some unknown connection supplying him with a crate of Pall Malls.
‘Wherever particular cacodemons congregate.’ I mused.
His accent was now 100% British but unlike any variation I’d heard before. I don’t know why he’d decided to pull a Madonna. But it was certainly creepy. And made creepier by the fact that he seemed to be trying to mask it.
Otherworldly influence certainly seemed the correct position. Given our line of work it wasn’t unlikely. But, given our line of work skepticism was in order. Martial grade psychedelic research for the express purpose of fashioning a new religion to nudge the herd from the cliff edge required scientific precision.
He did suffer a psychotic break at the lodge. Who knows what sorts of novel neural connections our various disciplines and chemical regimens produced. Who knows what sort of subliminals Thornton was implementing.
I chuckled briefly as I was transported back in time to my introductory philosophy course. I’d just reconsidered the brain in the vat hypothesis. What if our experience is merely a fantasy and we are all just brains in vats fed memories and experiences by some alien? I think this was a variation on something Descartes had theorized in a similar vein involving a demon.
What if we weren’t in the jungle at all but strapped to gurneys at some black site? Or catatonically entranced by some new electromagnetic gizmo at the lodge.
Well…I guess I didn’t feel entirely better. I’d downed a bottle of honey jack to allay the monotony of preparing for the first leg of the journey. The hangover certainly felt real.
The old man that the kid had gotten the planty tasting thing from shook his head as I passed to fetch a coffee from the mess tent.
It was going to be a long trek east towards some half guessed location. It had to be made on foot. Cook wasn’t about to toss away his opportunity to document jungle depths on Uncle Sam’s prodigious war dime. Furthermore there were preestablished, roads, circles, and ruins that had to be ugh…I think the word they used was activated…Thornton was definitely taking vision inducement seriously. The honeyjack was warranted.
What if I didn’t want to converse with my holy guardian angel? Angels are boring. The most boring concept of all an angel, a demon, really it is…it’s just a clerk with fancy keys. They can’t do anything outside of a certain determination…unlesss…anyway…
I felt water hit my face.
“AH!” … “Hey! Watch it fella…”
The elder was grinning. His fingers half-submerged in some other earthen bowl full of god knows what. Part of that whatness was now drops rolling down my cheek. Had he flicked it at me?
“What the hell are ya doin you goof…” I said trying to hide my annoyance. But I didn’t have to try for long. My hangover was gone.
I cocked back my head. The old man laughed, teetered, and mumbled.
“Uh…thank you.” I said.
He just stared at me. I remembered that Portuguese was probably a better choice. Though I wasn’t sure he spoke it either.
The wizened head nodded in acknowledgement. His hand waved me on.
The healthy sized Professor was spreading a nice thick schmear on his breakfast bagel.
“Uh, who’s the geezer with all the potions?” I inquired.
“Not sure.” Cook said stirring his coffee.
“Well, he’s the Shaman right?”
Cook shook his head.
“Old man, weird, healing potions, talks about spirits…not a shaman?”
“Well, I suppose he probably is a shaman but he is not their shaman.”
“They say that he’d emerged from the jungle in the middle of broad daylight. Nobody had seen him coming. He was alone and seemed harmless so they let him stay. They were glad they did.”
“How long ago was this?”
“About a month.”
“Doesn’t speak a word of Bakairi…or any related dialect…but seems to understand some Portuguese…weirdest damned thing….”
“Yes, that’s the language here…these are the Bakairi.”
“You really ought to stop drinking Mr. Baird.”
“Not to be a bigot but…all these tribes look pretty similar to me.”
Cook laughed. “Really?”
“I thought CIA was supposed to be observant.”
It was my turn to laugh… “I’m not CIA…and…hah…he..CIA is not observant.”
“That is hard to believe.”
“Donut dippers love to mythologize.”
“Well, the cultures around here also love to mythologize and though there is a common thread, the clothing, ritual, and customs vary greatly from tribe to tribe.”
“All I see are feathers, bowl cuts, and body paint.”
“Sure, but you wouldn’t call yourself Moldovan.”
“Think about it, Europe, the United States, Canada, Australia, even some parts of Central Asia all share the business suit. Generally eye and hair color stay within the same range. Social organization also has a very similar culture. Drop one of the Bakairi man in any of the aforementioned places and he wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.”
“Yeah, I get that, but I mean this is more like the difference between a Welshman and a Scott…if that…hell this is more like…”
“I don’t blame you for neglecting one of my favorite disciplines. But really you did not note the thatched dress and the masks?”
“On occasion but again…doc…that ain’t my field.”
“Well, you’d better start taking an interest. We’re going to need many pairs of sharp eyes out there.”
“I’m not against it. You’re just going to have to help me put on the old anthropologist goggles.”
“Well, let’s start with something interesting then.”
“Have you noticed how no one talks to Senhor Hoyt, how they disperse at his presence?”
“Have you seen how all the Shamans the stranger included draw shapes in the ground in front of Senhor Hoyt?”
“So you have not seen Senhor Hoyt invariably step around them?”
“Well, it would be rude to trample some recent graffiti.”
“Hmm.. I don’t know…but I do know what the Bakairi here call him…”
“And that means…”
“It is hard to translate exactly…but…it means roughly…conceptually…demigod…”
I laughed so hard I shot coffee from my nose.
Well, I didn’t quite make my marathon as epic as I’d intended. But to be fair to my poor bones I did intend for five hours and completed four. In the update post I said I’d be awake till 3 AM. That would be seven hours. Woulda been badass but too much content reaching to make for a good read. Gonna catch some ZZZ’s, as concerns this story, see ya’ll Tuesday.
I’m going to try to write a section or two of the Sketch of Sam Monroe in the next five hours. It is 9:32 PM here in the dirty south that means I’m going to be up till three cause I did promise. Reason I haven’t started earlier is Creatine Monohydrate. I’m currently trying to gain a little mass before peak season at my day job starts and also cause fun. Those of you aware of whey, creatine, and what happens when you use them along with exercise as intended know that I have had a shitty day (7 egg/beef tacos didn’t help). LOL. Sorry for that but its the truth. If I fail I’ll post tomorrow and I also plan to write again on Tuesday.
I think what makes the most sense as minimal production deadlines for an ongoing series that requires research is to split it up into three/four day intervals. The Tuesday/Thursday model I was using is good for physical stuff like cardio days but produces sparse ass results.
Allright time to make some mint tea and get writing.