who do you want to be?
where do you want to be?
AS HIS ILLUSIONS COLLAPSED, ISHMAEL SLOWLY, GUILTILY, DISGUSTINGLY, FELL PREY TO AN AMOROUS OBSESSION.
It was early summer, and already quite hot. For the past week, rumours had been spreading of plague in the Confederate camp. Meditating in the shade of a cannon, Ishmael suddenly realised: there was no plaque, at least in the way that others understood it. Rather, the rumours were the actual plague, a virus of doubt dropped into the camp by Zionist propaganda, to demoralise the enemy. There was no plague, but for the rumours which described it! But if you succumbed to the suspicion, to the fear of infection, then you were already done for. This was his great discovery.
<<You know how much I respect you, your piousness>> his captain said, they were smoking the hookah pipe. <<But, honestly, this is too much to take. You would have me believe this is just a figment of our imagination. I have seen the bodies with my own eyes; you could see them too, if the field hospital wasn't under quarantine. The plague is real, and it is baffling our doctors. I suspect germ warfare.>>
<<True! it's germ warfare!>> Ishmael said, eyes ablaze. <<They have dropped the germs of doubt into our world, and the world itself has changed to reproduce that reality. This is a virus of the real, and the hologram is being reprogrammed. I say only this: don't believe thine own eyes! It is an illusion.>>
Beyond this sequence of antique machines - once mobile, now immobile, their souls rusted, mere specimens of a technological pride that was so keen to display them to the reverence of visitors - sank the nadir, the antiphallus, the one true Underground --- the Bunker, guarded on the left by a scale model of the Statue of Liberty Bartholdi designed for another world, and on the right by a statue of Pascal. The Bunker's grim mouth was flanked by the nightmare of a deranged entomologist - chelae, mandibles, antannae, proglottides, and wings - a cemetary of mechanical corpses which looked as if they might all start working again at any moment - magnetos, monophase transformers, turbines, convertors, steam engines, dynamos. In the rear, in the tussle of broken earth raised by the Bunker mouth, rested Assyrian idols and Chaldean, Carthaginian, great Baals whose bellies, long ago, glowed red-hot, and Nuremberg Maidens whose hearts still bristled with broken nails: these were once airplane engines. They formed a horrible garland of simulcra that rose in adoration of the Bunker --- as if the progeny of Reason and the Enlightenment had been condemned to stand guard over the ultimate symbol of Tyranny and Horror. It was here, in the heart of bombed Amsterdam (but they were warned, they ignored the warning!) -- it was here, in the thick of things, that Pavel the Ukrainian met his ruin in chaotic animal moans and supersonic hyperbreaks.
IT WAS A WILD, BLACK KIND of night, and the weirdness of it showed up as Pavel pushed through the crowd at the entrance of the Bunker, and into the hell which lay beneath. The moon was up as far as the church steeples; large vapoury clouds raced across the sky between us and her, and a strong, gusty wind, laden with big raindrops snarled angrily round corners and sighed in the parapets like strange voices talking about things not of human interest, probably Martian or from the UnderWorlds of Iceland. The atmosphere was moody, to say the least.
Into the entrance, Euros were exchanged for flourescent stamps, the crowd pushed on, and Pavel found himself being carried downward. Presently, upon that slope, Pavel spied a huddle of squatting people, and a rather strange looking individual in a shellsuit and parachute lecturing them on the ethics of gravity and the inherent properties of falling bodies. Pavel moved on -- or rather, was pushed by the stream of clubbers behind. On and on pulsed the mass of bodies, of all genders and persuasions, or all the possible perversions. Suddenly giddy with the darkness and the smell of someone's cologne or a passing Ethopian joint, Pavel found himself tripping on a piece of broken stair. He rolled over and over recklessly sheer into the arms of the gaping crowd below, dropping into a perfect mound of writhing forms and waving legs and arms. When he was done stumbling and spinning the mass disentangled itself and he was able to raise his head from the shoulder of someone on whom he had fallen, lifting him, or her -- which was it? -- into a dancing posture. All around, people were writhing like wheat-stalks in a hurricane, and the breakbeats sounded like irregular machine gun bursts, and the air was full with the roar of industrial implements and horns and the frenzied cries of a thousand birds.
JUMP TO: SECTION CASSIUS CROON (c)opyright Crunch Millennia 1996-2003.
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A Photo Diary of Every Day of My Life
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