The Council of Edmond – Meeting Minutes

TIME & LOCATION: The meeting took place on October 25, 2017 in an undisclosed location in Monmouth County, New Jersey.

PRESENT: Edmonds (host & facilitator), Ley, Gulian, Fred, Brian, Giovanni, Earl (note-taker), Gabriel, Geoff, Alex, Gendry (alias), Brendan, and Samantha (“uninvited”)

0) The meeting began with Edmonds reading the following excerpt/handout:

‘You will hear today all that you need in order to understand the purposes of the Enemy. There is naught that you can do, other than to resist, with hope or without it. But you do not stand alone. You will learn that your trouble is but part of the trouble of all the western world. The Ring! What shall we do with the Ring? That is the doom that we must deem.

‘That is the purpose for which you are called hither. Called, I say, though I have not called you to me, strangers from distant lands. You have come and are here met, in this very nick of time, by chance as it may seem. Yet it is not so. Believe rather that it is so ordered that we, who sit here, and none others, must now find counsel for the peril of the world.

‘Now, therefore, things shall be openly spoken that have been hidden from all but a few until this day.’

Part A – Worldly, Historical, and Future Problems

1) Sub-topic 1 – Oligarchy (introduced by Giovanni). The powerful were believed to be a major problem by all, but questions of what power is and where they got it (are hierarchies ontologically real) were discussed. Critical commentary from several members, and a salient question was if oligarchy is responsible primarily for the world’s ills, or if something systemic and infrastructural is more to blame.  The idea summarized that oligarchs themselves are still in the prison: “Property and money are the prison, the oligarchs merely the current prison guards.”

2) Sub-topic 2 – Racism (introduced by Earl). Racism is a major problem, yet after discussion it was believed to be a symptomatic resultant of other oppressions that has only become foundational to the racists’ identities as culturally learned. Also the concept of white privilege was downplayed in favor of a new understanding of “colored disprivilege”. Further, a unique struggle not normally elaborated in acceptable discourse was discussed, namely that many whites (WASPs) have deep community (and previously resource) deficits that explain the roots of their aggressive individual and national policies throughout history. Further discussion was tabled to allow for the next sub-topic which grew from the racism discussion.

3) Sub-topic 3 – Imperialism (introduced by Gabe). Lenin’s work on imperialism was averred to, and the notion of capitalism as a disease that will inevitably keep spreading, if allowed, was generally agreed to. Along these lines, it was posited that imperialism is not just the “macro” taking over of resources on other continents, or planets (an eventuality?), but also should include the control of biological life at the cellular (genetic modification) and even down to the quantum control of sub-atomic particles (accelerators and quantum computing). Imperialism comes from an internal weakness on the part of the oppressor, so despite its widespread devastation, it is still symptomatic in its origins.

4) Sub-topic 4 – Suburban clusterfuck (introduced by Edmonds). Credit was given to James Howard Kunstler as a general introducer of the suburban perils (physical and psychological) as well as the coiner of the term, though none were sure if that was truly the case. Dependence on electrical grids, food and resource supply chains, automation (tabled), depression, sameness versus difference grew out of this discussion. Also, cities as death-traps for a variety of similar reasons of fragility, but also violating and perverting to an extreme degree Dunbar’s number. There were a plenitude of apocalyptic scenarios put forth which one member pointed out was ironic to be coming from such a mundane thing as suburbia.

5) Sub-topic 5 – Civilization(S) (introduced by Gendry). The discussion of urban and suburban woes naturally went to civilization-as-a-whole (initially), where problems of sedentism were expounded upon. But there were some ardent defenses of sedentism, with references to scholarly work that said not all sedentary people in early history and pre-history needed to create ecologically destructive agricultural practices. It was pointed out that it was in fact nomadic people that often became the conquerors, but this idea was then problematized by the fact that most nomadic people were not “imperialistic” like this and that imperialism stemmed from intrinsic weaknesses in relation to a given land, especially were that land already occupied and “distorted” by sedentism. There was agreement that the effects of civilization to create climate change, by way of soil erosion and poor/ignorant land management, including domestication of animals and crops for mono-cropping, were huge factors in causing desertification and atmospheric carbon increases.

6) Sub-topic 6 – Propaganda (introduced by Alex). It was agreed that the powerful have always utilized multiple methods to coerce people, often resorting to misinformation instead of overt violence (for example through exaggeration or outright lying). Western representative democracy was forwarded as a prime, ongoing example of propaganda: representative democracy is when oligarchs take up acting. Propaganda was found to be a deep cultural force that goes beyond just social class, governmental, and economic oppression, but it can be found in parallel in all sorts of everyday relationships where manipulation is consciously or unconsciously utilized. The question to see if it’s pre-civilized went in to a discussion of other animals such as birds, namely peacocks, to know if the bright feathers males flaunted were representative of their virility or a sapping of their energy for the sake of a veneer; the oily sheen on a dog’s coat or even on a leafy plant were mentioned, too. Contemporary propaganda was agreed to be holistically inefficient, mentally enervating, and a parasitical draw on available resources that could be used elsewhere, except when it was itself highly artistic and its own end regardless of the distorted representation for another end.

7) Sub-topic 7 – Identity-Politics (introduced by Gabe). There was no consensus on whether or not identity politics was itself a problem or representative of many problems existing and a means to counter them. A conciliatory approach offered by one of the members on how to approach identity politics was that it depended on what the unifying identity was, and if it was a pre-existing alienated group defined by the oppressor, or an identity created by a loose group of marginalized (and not-so-marginalized) people to vent, gain attention, and/or seize power. The reconcilement centered on the idea that even if the problems for which the identity-based group was created were not solved, and even if new problems were created by the social group rising from their challenges, there often resulted positive internal community growth that filled the vacuum, and the issue(s) themselves could be viewed at the least as a vehicle to unite people in to community which they were all lacking. The discussion then became more genealogical in how identity politics ever arose, and then was tabled.

7a) 15 minute break followed by a 5 minute quiet reflection on the topics covered so far, and then a singular generation of a list of problems not yet covered so far.

8) Sub-topic 8 – Legality (introduced by Brendan). Brendan started off saying that law trials are not about justice, they are a sport between highly paid professionals who compete at the onlookers expense. This served as a beginning to the discussion which went quite deeper in to evaluations of what legality really is. It was put forth that more often than not that even were laws able to not contradict and negate other laws (for which biased and unbalanced lawyers and judges were paid to sort out), that the human channeling of energy in to legal systems over the millennia, regardless of the cohesion and coherence of the justice system, has been synonymous with greater and greater purging from the individual person an innate sense of vigilance and justice. Laws are the blindspot of justice, and now with an entire legal class, the laws have divorced everyday sense of ethics, which is in effect how the human disease can unleash itself on the Earth without any self-checks or thoughts to do so. Environmental stewardship was such an example of innate human consciousness that it needed to linguistic codification, and yet it has now taken centuries of destruction of the environment on the part of humans to finally render it in to law, and it is still ineffectual because it is contradicted by the rights of governments and individuals (corporations namely) to rape the land. Justice is a terribly long walk of the pen, with countless victims written over along the way; or is it?

9) Sub-topic 9 – Industrialization/Technology/Globalization (introduced by Brian). Though the topic of industrialization seems to have been overlapped with already in the sub-topics of imperialism and civilization, the discussion was qualified for additional insights that Brian, and then others following him, surfaced. Firstly, because many non-primitivist socialist-utopian affinities were present in group members, it was important that a discussion around the role of technology be had, presuming that the technology was in the hands of, for example, a gift-economy or worker-run city whereby it wasn’t used for individual profit, but for social progress. Industrialism for human use at the hands of worker-councils should be a good thing, if it could be done ecologically. However this very question became a central problem, and the open question remained on whether or not all technology or just certain technology is bad for the planet. The deep attachments to technology were admitted to on the part of all, however whether or not this was a bad thing or merely part of evolution was discussed. Some reductio ad absurdum examples entered the discussion but will not be listed in these notes. Suburbia was brought up again in this discussion but with attention to the many roads that industrialism required to connect the parts for the conquering of evermore of the land to convert it in to industrial use (if this was the type of industrialism that even a humane socialist economy would seek for). It remained an open question if industry could ever reach a utopian point where it was not destructive to any living things as was aspired to (presumably) in the Soviet Union.

10) Sub-topic 10 – Money (introduced by Fred). A discussion of mediation in general that first focused on money, but expanded to particularly the quantification and reification of consumer goods and services so that they might be translated in to monetary quantities, and the chafing down of all things to fit in to the cash nexus or other human categories of thought, and physicalitys that conformed with artifices. The social losses incurred when money was given legitimacy were discussed, and how other/older forms of kinship and resource sharing were weeded out; a huge quantity of money middle-men that emerged to bureaucratically manipulate it giving way eventually to huge “money making” institutions; money is the clothes that imperialists are dressed in. Also, intrinsic problems of money will always exist, it was argued even were there benevolent money-managers (such as automated robots, tabled for later).

11) Sub-topic 11 – Science (introduced by Geoff). The science sub-topic discussion continued right where industrialism and money left off, but quickly mixed in philosophical ideas revolving around what reification really is and if it’s the method of science to do so (dissecting and then analyzing). What is science really and if is used as a term so broadly is it really multiple things conflated together? Is it just mere empirical observation? How does science choose its objects and what mereological assumptions does it make? Representationalism (and misrepresentation) are cultural and shifting far more than they are objective, and yet this is the way of science that constantly disproves itself, meaning it is a long history of being wrong, outside of the aspect of science that is the humble recording of observations and drawing minute conclusions. Thomas Kuhn was indicated though his name couldn’t be remembered at the time. Specific examples of science’s direct impact were brought up. Science enabled nuclear power (or was it the human imagination, and science shouldn’t be given deistic agency?), and now in peace time there are black-holes created routinely with great hubris, and great danger. Will modified organisms really be helpful in evolving the planet forward, or are they a murder of life with life’s own corpse? Discussion went further, into the imperialism of knowledge, the unceasing human quest to know things, that has been conflated with evolution of the species; it has led to a great weakening of the human because of the time investment into obsessing about knowledge piles to the loss of in-body time that humans need. The poor posture overweight cubiclite was referenced.

12) Sub-topic 12 – Science/Fiction (introduced as “Artificial Intelligence” by Giovanni). Edmonds chose to title it Science/Fiction for writing purposes and to include a broader discussion beyond artificial intelligence. Immediately too the question was injected of if artificial intelligence can even attain artificial consciousness, for machines are not self-healing and evolving organically and are uncontained by programming, yet computers seem to have this fundamental restraint. If artificial intelligence is created (presumably organically and not electronically), or even if machines advanced enough to be almost autonomous and controlled by the oligarchy entirely, they would be deadly to all humans that didn’t serve some purpose. Ley had lots of background in science fiction and had written an unpublished essay titled “Fictional Today, Experimental Tomorrow: The Real Dangers Of Science Fiction” where he argued that the human imagination was very important to defend us against most crises, which are preventable if we take their precursors in our imagination (this in parallel to using intuition to sense the future). However, Ley said imaginations can conjure futures that are radically different yet could then be realized by a determined people that imprison the present for their own twisting purposes. Science fiction does just this, as it provides enough of a blueprint (it seizes the imagination) that we then force (engineer) the present in to. Engineers are not neutral actors in all of this but actively decide which of a myriad of directions reality will go in. Comedian Bill Burr’s routine on Steve Jobs was mentioned as exemplary of this arbitrarity.

Further, and perhaps most dangerously, science fiction goes to normalize dystopian situations and neutralize our critical ethics faculties to something that would otherwise be quite shocking. The “saw this in a movie” effect is widespread and has allowed great leaps in perversion and destruction on the part of governments and corporations. The abnormal is so quickly made normal and digestible through movies (again, propaganda)

13) Sub-topic 13 – Health (introduced by Gulian). Gulian confessed he had been thinking about this topic all along because of the variety of food options we all were partaking in, some very healthy and some very poor food choices “winter storage foods built for sieges”. Lack of sunlight exposure and the work of Stephanie Seneff were asked to be included in these notes, too, which he mentioned briefly but self-tabled. He took a show of hands to point out who of us were fading during this second half of the meeting, and who was still going strong. He did this from a standing position, standing being something only he and Edmonds did during the meeting that he pointed out. He went on to say how adversely affected modern human health is by all the previous sub-topics we had previously listed, and a vicious feedback loop ties them all together. And it was agreed that if our own health was not managed in preventative ways not dependent on the parasitical medical-industrial complex, we could not hope to fight these other issues. But questions of how to do this, and what makes a person feel healthy and whole beyond merely eating healthy and exercising bodily and spiritually were discussed. Samantha, a dweller in the location of the meeting who is a practicing nutritionist, happened to overhear the discussion and offered some practical tips for all of us including intermittent fasting, using a salt-water infused water drink called “sole”, and sleeping at the same time every night. The need to express our creative energy was brought up as a health initiative, particularly sexual contact and release, and also very important skin contact such as cuddling.

14) Sub-topic 14 – Sexism (introduced by Samantha) – This meeting, as Samantha pointed out and others admitted noticing earlier, didn’t formerly include one women, or one openly LGBTQQ person (as far as she knew). How could the world’s problems hope to be alleviated and turned without the voices of the other? There was discussion of how to go about including others who they didn’t happen to be acquainted with, and how to not make it merely in to a tokenizing inclusion, as would be the case with several of the member’s wives. Also the assumption that all those who identify somewhere in the LGBTQQ spectrum, or too as straight women, feel oppressed, and would have any interest in taking on the task of evaluating the world’s problems and then saving the world. Rights to be nude entered the discussion, and one member, followed by two others, stripped for effect and to re-normalize the surroundings.

15) Sub-topic 15 – The Over-looked “ism” (introduced by Edmonds). Edmonds confided that this he was hoping to end with, in what he saw as an overarching problem not yet clearly defined or considered. There were a few headings under which the idea might be introduced, and he chose it under it’s negative terming as an ism, namely ageism. He felt that the fight against ageism opened itself to a proactive fight rather than a reactive and defensive fight, as has been and would be the case when fighting most of the other causes of global death and oppression (because they were fighting to defend something that enabled a different version of rot to dwindle within. Fighting for the youth to continue is what life inevitably had always done, and not through destruction but creation and cultivation. It was a fight far beyond mere cultural contrivance, but in line and with momentum coming deep from instincts and the whole trajectory of life on Earth. The Earth had chosen billions of years ago to have reproduction as the part of how life continues, and humans had now severely interrupted this. Ageism against the youth was discussed and agreed to as a major issue to cap off the problem listing phase. Another member pointed out that the humanizing of the event as an ism against humans might fail to include what was really the fight for life on the planet, whether animal, plant, fungi, or other. The sixth mass extinction if allowed to continue would eventually preclude fights against any other of the problems, and yet solve many of the human-made ills on the Earth, but for few species left to benefit from.

Part B – World Saving, History Redeeming, and Future Freeing

It was agreed upon that this portion of the meeting would be extremely brief and focus upon devising solutions for one of the single problems listed. To the surprise of all, one member put forth a motion, and then another seconded it. Including this process was quite spontaneous, and to Edmonds’s delight it was in favor of the problem just elucidated. “For the children!” said Alex with a fist raised, and then all raised their fists and said it again. Alex then shared powerfully that we ought to not focus on the Enemy, referring to the LOTR reading where “the Enemy” was underlined, but on the friends. Giovanni then ventured that restoration permaculture is the best way to be “pro-life” wherever anyone of any status and means happened to find themselves. He shared a specific idea he had been contemplating on how to make the “Water Is Life” movement more proactive using permaculture. Essentially his idea was that instead of just defending by use of laws and pleading, westerners or indigenous peoples should actively make new sources of water and “green the desert” through swales and pond creations to inspire people to create once again what had been lost. All the members agreed to go and research permaculture, and Fred, also a permaculturalist, shared that he would work to revive the “Permaculture Campaign” that he had launched earlier that year and had let fall to the wayside. The meeting was closed with the idea that they would meet again in the future after having chewed on and researched what was discussed (and reviewing this document), coming up with any proactive campaigns that might be suitable. A last comment and commitment was by Gendry who had shared that he was already looking at intentional communities to visit on, and that another best thing to do for the future generations was to provide them with the option to be part of a tribe. Several others thought it was a good idea and told him to forward information to their emails and that an intentional community exploration sub-committee should exist alongside the permaculture researching.

So concludes the minutes on the Council of Edmond, October 25, 2017, 100 years after the Russian Revolution, and 1001 years before the Council of Elrond, in the Third Age of this world.


Cersei as Mother—Oberyn Martell’s Lost Poetry: A Game of Thrones Extension

This poem displays some of the incredible foresight Prince Oberyn must have had, as how eerily true so much of this rings. I thought it was an appropriate time to post it given the state of things in King’s Landing…

An ode to the most odious, mother

I wish I had two lives
one to kill myself and unravel your world
and one to keep alive
watching your ruination, mother
on things coldest the white walker king pales
compared to you the white stalker queen
the northern paralysis is antidote
to your boiling septic poison
the white walkers count you in their ranks
you are bodily allied to their cause
your brain not a factor to anything
your split ends are also your prophecy
the giant minion can murder all but you
because death already runs your blood blue
you give birth to new mortals just as would a plague
the lust others hold for you is misplaced and vague
the hand that feeds is the hand that bleeds
parental is not a parent, in case it’s not readily apparent
already with six I give you the seventh bowl
I have forever tattooed my name inside of your soul
this deep scar will prove to be the shallowest on you
once I have inflicted all my tortures back to you, mother

psychotherapy to civilotherapy [Unfinished Draft of Short Story]

Another unfinshed tale that I don’t think I will make time to finish, in this life anyways…

They threw back their chairs, grabbed for their neighbors hands, and began their group chant:

“Whatever else I am, whatever has been added to my identity or taken away from it by the many oppressive forces in my environment, I am an animal. Civilization has not been meeting my basic animal needs, but I am stronger than the weight of many centuries of chains…”

One woman was reciting the chant with her eyes closed and fists clenched; another was looking at the floor and was just mouthing the words without any sound escaping; a man in a jacket sat outside the circle with his legs spread out, his right arm behind the chair giving him a suspended balance. There were others, none of them at their best, but all of them on a track they had never had the opportunity to be on previously. The extended mantra was putting them in their safe zones, their “homes not disguised as cages” as the group facilitator liked to call them.

“…I know I am damaged, but I have within me a power greater than any yet devised in civilization, and that is the power to heal from deep wounds. I am here to give support to my fellow human animals who are rightfully feeling pain and anger at the situation which makes them feel less than they truly are. Solidarity!”

Most returned to their chairs but a few chose to lay on the floor. The man in the jacket stood up and looked to the facilitator, who gave him a knowing look and gestured for him to address the group.

“Hey, uh. I can’t stay long tonight, but, uh, being here is kind of trippy, I’m going through a lot, but, uh, this helps,” he smiled. “Uh, I want to be here more…” he stammered, “I can’t come for a while I think, I don’t think you guys are crazy though, I don’t want you to think that, that I think that you are crazy and that’s why I’m not coming back, for now. Thanks for listening, sorry to sound so stupid.”
“Nothing you said is stupid”, the facilitator looked up at him with a genuine. “It’s import…”

“Absolutely not stupid” another woman broke in. “Words are stupid! Not yours’ of course… really just meaning that we deserve to have better ways of expressing ourselves than the narrow range of inherited language. Feelings vibrate far deeper than any basso profondo.”

The man in the jacket met her smile and knew what she said was meant in kindness though he could only make out the gist of it. He gave an awkward wave to signal he was heading out but she rose to give him a hug.

“Be well out there,” she said as she squeezed him. “and know that we’ll have you in our thoughts, and we hope to see you again when you can make it over. We know it’s tough.” Their embraced ended, and he gave another wave to the group, this time a little more confidently, and he turned and creaked his way across the old floor to the stairwell.

The facilitator, a man with longish hair and a lengthy, untamed beard, cleared his throat and began to talk. “We do have some community news but I was thinking we’d save that for after processing instead. But before we begin with our processing, and we do have a couple of new people that I wanted to let start so please everyone don’t let me forget like I have in the past.” He smiled. “I thought instead of news we should let Martello share something he put together for us.” He gestured to a man who climbed up from a floor spot, similar in many ways to the man in the jacket, including in gait as he walked to behind an empty chair, perhaps as a makeshift podium. He fumbled for something in his pocket and drew out a folded piece of paper.
“Hi everyone,” the man said. “My name is Martello” he looked at the new faces, “for those of you who don’t know me. Um, I thought of this the other night, and it’s not really complete… I was even thinking, it’s kind of different, but um maybe we could complete it together. But let me read it so it makes sense, and if it’s not total garbage and you want to help out, I think it could be a good thing.” He looked down at the paper he was holding, and started to read:

“Civilization is now trending,
mankind has gone viral,
the future is now tending
to a great downward spiral”…

“…and then I’ve got another two lines I thought of earlier, but they don’t fit exactly, definitely not in rhythm anyways…”

“Lack of a refuge does not erase the refugee
Paralyzed in place does not blind what dreams see”

Twelve and Five—Oberyn Martell’s Lost Poetry: A Game of Thrones Extension

As the de facto posthumous editor of Prince Oberyn’s written word, here is another untitled piece that I have warranted as relevant enough to publish for the readers’ intrigue. I have chosen the title “Twelve and Five” for referencing sake. The origins and reasons for Oberyn’s motivations on this work are unknown, save perhaps the small bit of evidence of some ink spilled on the right side of the parchment, and the bottom five lines were written in a larger more exaggerated form than the others.

words without power of tongue are not said
words thought but not spoken turn inward, as dread
all that lives should bleed love or bleed red
absent these two states a body sinks, already dead

if not ready to bed one is not a true friend
in the throes of another does awakening spend
before breaking an enemy is one’s own bend
death to life is only superficially a confusing blend

in this world outlooks tend towards a dull bleak
out of this world more vibrant planes we seek
but either here or there, outlooks are for the weak
for it is in-looking strength that builds its own peak

combined with the lives of wee onlookers beaten so low
what happens on Westeros makes for good show
the sorrows of a knife conspiracy against a lead crow
left bleeding enough to melt the beneath him snow
does make greater emotional impact than one they know

love poem fragments—Oberyn Martell’s Lost Poetry: A Game of Thrones Extension

Though a man of the free spirited and polyamorous Dornish culture, Oberyn’s sensitivities to other cultural practices often shines through in his work. Such is the case with this broken-transcript piece with a theme of enduring love, of which 12 lines are legible and printable here. It is unknown whether or not it was written to a specific partner Oberyn fancied. 

together we’ve had trying times
ripening with no small sorrow
but we’ve put down roots deep
that will grow a bright tomorrow

love carries our spirits to a wordly plot
of leaf filled trees that cast shadows not
that allow in the sun but not the maddening hot
nor will the new growth be allowed to rot

within you lies the kindle of my fire
an unceasing love that will not retire
and welled within me roams a desire
that only through you will it ever aspire

Clubbed by Shamballa—Oberyn Martell’s Lost Poetry: A Game of Thrones Extension

A bundle of parchments came to me in the month’s after Lord Tyrion’s mysterious vanishing from imprisonment in King’s Landing. Based on my deft skill to decipher various styles of script, I am forced to conclude they can only be from the Dornish hand of his vanquished champion—the late Oberyn Martell. The individual poems range in atmosphere from being quite festive to quite dark and disturbed. I’ve decided to release them slowly, and to begin I thought I should choose one that Oberyn seemed quite euphoric about, considering the content and the rapidity at which he scribbled it down; to add some flavor to your read, I’ve provided the inspiring song below. The moths whisper to me that Oberyn was quite the glow stick on strings raver…

Clubbed by Shamballa

Sounds background that moans drown out
This past night tuned me in
With all my emotions displayed about
I know not with which to here begin

I felt break over me such a wave
A rush so complete, so full
Last night in this torturous sex cave
Leave me whores! for at last I am lustful

Never could I imagine, or anywhere foresee
In this dank capital city I so loathe
To meet here this one truly unique beauty
Sublime vibrations I want now to betroth

As the DJ introduced this gem so rare
I immediately looked up and met his eyes
He gave a message in his paralyzing stare
“Soon you’ll behold dragons tearing skies”

I took at full value his knowing glance
And prepared myself for a journey as none other
I began to bodily worship by way of wushu dance
And all my enemies swarmed about as brothers

The melody developed complexities further along
My consciousness drifted to all of Essos swaying
Dothraki taking down dragons alone by power of song
A single red priestess parting oceans, arms splaying

The gods dare not interfere to slay us
As we mortals grab at this evolving new life
Born amidst the universe in a spiraling chaos
Trance is proving to be the eternal midwife

Gods leave existence as deeper freedom emerges
Sacred ancient orbits of circulating blood and stars
Are at the mercy of our intense unbound animal urges
Prisoners freed as iron melts to make puddles of the bars

No battle can I any longer fear to lose
For this song cultivates axiomatic warriors inside
Though now different battles shall I choose
Of a higher order justice, and not mere pride

Shamballa destroys Westeros at every level
Along with all of its foul play
One does not just listen and revel
Shamballa raises the sun a new day

The Freshest Cut Deli [Unfinished Draft of Short Story]

**Don’t think I’ll ever be back in a zone to finish this, wrote it about a year ago, so here it is unfinished in case you have any use for it…

Chad was beginning to regret his decision not to take a few swigs of the vodka before ridding himself of it. He had passed on the so called liquid courage—a term that aggravated him—because he knew he would come to regret the decision if it caused him to slip up. The alcohol was now to be permanently entombed in a throw-away water bottle, unless some thirsty dumpster diver at the train station had a go at it. “Besides”, he’d tell himself on this and similar occasions, “after you take a few shots it’s not really you then who earns their admiration, and in the end that will tear you up.”
He loved and hated his sense of justice. It was very chivalric, and it was very him—something he needed especially in this city where people were throwing you under the bus just as you would realize they had saved you from the last one; very emotionally destabilizing to an empath like him. Right now, however, he particularly hated his sense of justice. His justice left him all alone, standing in a windowless hallway, with a single chair that he wasn’t sure whether or not he should sit in. He remained standing. He yearned to be outside, with the late spring air a thing not to be missed. As the moments passed by, he could quantitatively feel the nervousness gaining momentum. It was swimming in his veins, reversing the current, feeding too much blood to the wrong areas and neglecting the ones that truly needed it. The anxiety had already stole his tongue, as evidenced by his sloppy response to the unexpected phone call on his way to the studio. “Why couldn’t they just hear how inept I was and have canceled the interview?” he asked himself.
The paralysis was now creeping into his heart—he just wanted to run away, back to his small town where he felt like a hero, where his courage was grounded and nurtured. Here in the center of a metropolis he had so much doubt—he tried to reassure himself it was just the lifeless architecture that made him feel that way, that it was the people who embraced this place that were in the wrong. When he accepted the interview he knew he had a unique opportunity to share his societal views with an audience he could not otherwise ever tap into. He opened the door from where had entered to peak outside. It was getting darker; the sun was now probably set behind the horizon and not just the adjacent skyscraper. He pulled his phone from his pocket and tapped “Jen”. She picked up almost immediately.
“Hey sorry”, she said, “I was actually texting and hit accept without meaning too. I was gonna pick up anyways, ha, obviously, but… I’m being silly! How are you? Are you almost on, is everything okay?”
“Hey, yea, I’m okay,” Chad replied.
“You’re not okay, I can tell… did they cancel? I’m so sorry if they did. You know what I’m gonna shut up and stop guessing!” She had a lot riding on the interview too. It was her business, too, after all. But she was really happy with Chad taking things to the next step and wanted to be that ideal girlfriend without letting her business partner side rival that. She had consciously decided earlier that today she was giving him everything he needed so he could be in the best place for the evening trip into the city, and she didn’t want to ruin that now when it might matter the most.
“Kirklef’s not hosting the show tonight,” he said. She was silent, perhaps stunned, he didn’t know, but it wasn’t reassuring. He thought she might have a reasonable response, but she was probably just as taken aback as he was. He continued: “Some other guy, I don’t even remember the name, is going to take over for the night… so it’s like all my practicing and listening to previous shows is probably worthless. What a fucking douchey curveball.”
“Why did Kirklef not come in? Has he ever not hosted his own show before?” she asked.
“I don’t know, and that’s not the point,” Chad said angrily. “Maybe it’s his night to beat his girlfriend.” He made a face of turmoil, and quickly inserted an apology: “Sorry, sorry, I’m sorry.” There was an awkward pause, Chad battling with himself to unload his anger without sacrificing his girlfriend and business partner. “If I Kirklef on the street before I leave this stinking pile of shit of a city, I’ll be sure to kick him in the throat.”
“Calm down, honey,” Jen scolded him. “Did you get to their studio yet?”
“Yea, I’m in some hallway with my head poked out the door…” he began.
“You should make sure no one can hear you then before you get all angry like that!” she scolded him.
Chad closed the door and sat down in the lone chair provided. At length he replied, “this hallway provokes disturbed thoughts… it’s not comforting at all, I wonder if that’s intentional to give Kirklef the upper hand. He doesn’t seem…”
“Yea I was going to say, the one show I heard with you he didn’t sound like an asshole like Bill O’Reilly. Well, things…”
Chad suddenly had renewed vigor. A new thought had occurred to him that he wanted to share. “Maybe Kirklef stayed home because I am the most controversial and daunting guest ever and he didn’t feel like he was up to it?”
“Maybe that’s it, Jesus,” she quipped sarcastically. She softened her tone. “Listen honey, you are great, and I am glad that I am with you and you are with me, and that we do something with our lives that is more meaningful than the stupid jobs most people value in that city. You are there to explain what we do and why we think it’s important, and let’s stop worrying about the decisions of all these people and what their thoughts are about trying to maybe derail us or something… hopefully they get our message, but if not it’s no harm done, we tried, and we can get back to what we know and do. And I’m sure there’ll be lessons to learn, either way.”
“You’re right,” Chad replied. “I wish I could just feel better in this moment. I mean you helped but I still just feel that underlying awfulness that I think will make me out of sync with whoever-the-hell is running the radio show tonight.
Jen was silent. “Hey I think you will be on soon,” she said, “the other show just ended and now there are commercials. Of course they said that the Kirklef Introspection will be coming up next… they’ve really got to update that,” she laughed. “It’s this overly quaint old time radio broadcasting style.”
A door down the hallway, opposite the end of the hallway where Chad had entered half an hour before, was pushed open and a man with a clipboard appeared. “Hey, are you Chad?” the man asked.
Chad nodded and spoke in to his phone: “Alright honey I think you’re right I’ll be on soon, so bye for now,” Chad hung up with Jen. “Yeah,” he replied to the man.
“Okay, your wife’s right, you’ll be on soon,” he said as Chad approached him. Chad gave the guy a look and decided not to correct him that it wasn’t his wife, yet. “You can come in here until we give you a cue. Anthony will wave you around to your mic. The glass door has to remain closed until you get in there so there won’t be interference, and since its locked from the inside and you will be the only one in with that mic you will have to do that.”
“Oh-kay,” Chad said in a not entirely polite tone, something rare for him when talking to new acquaintances. He was wondering why things seemed unnecessarily complicated and distracting, all while taking in the new sights of the series of small connected rooms. The glass cubicle separations did not seem that out of place, and fit in well enough with Chad’s preconceptions, but the arcane equipment and vinyl record stacks all seemed antiquated in this digital age and made him smile to himself. The microphone was especially vintage looking—it was the type with a large black bulbous head that reminded him of when his uncle would watch Howard Stern at odd hours. Then he thought of how every little sniffle or “um” he uttered would be captured and amplified for the masses to hear and remember, and remind him of for the rest of his life.
A man was now standing up on the other side of the glass window hurriedly waving Chad into an adjacent booth. It was presumably the new host—he had headphones on and looked the type—and he had a look that didn’t entirely sit well with Chad. Not sure how any of this would turn out, Chad nodded and walked towards the glass door. He opened it and stepped through, walking towards the chair set against a table that had a microphone and headphones laying on it. Chad began to sit but the host, now in front of him, was pointing behind him towards the door he entered. He remembered now that he needed to lock the door from the inside, so he got up quickly to do that. The door had an extra latch that fortunately Chad had experience with in the past, though he noted how odd it was to him to be in a place like this. Now going back to sit down and get situated, Chad was aware of how loud the silence was. The unnatural sonic environment, where no sound was allowed to freely exist without being policed, was heavy in the atmosphere. Chad had a new appreciation—or disdain—for the idea of having a room hermetically sealed.
There was no sound coming out of the headphones, and Chad was almost going to signal to someone that there was a problem in the connectivity when suddenly the voice of the host came on, with Kirklef’s corny intro-theme music playing in the background.
“Welcome to the Kirklef Show; I’m Jordan Keys filling in for Dan Kirklef tonight”, said the voice. Chad looked up and could see the moving lips of the man on the opposite side of the glass, and he could hear his voice through the headphones, so his brain after a slow start and a bit of struggle, was able to calibrate that this was the man talking right now. His voice timbre and speed of word output fit his looks, a bit higher pitched than average for a man, and his gelled black hair and clean shaven face made Chad think of one term: prick. Matching his hair was his unnecessary suit—they were only on radio after all—and this paired with his tone and demeanor made Chad feel like this guy had a law school background and a fairly narrow social horizon. Chad was very quick to judge, but he rarely needed to rescind his opinions.
“… which is why we are going to get right in to our first interview,” the voice continued. “We have with us tonight a mister Chad Wellington. A rather unremarkable name but what he is doing with his time is anything but unremarkable. Chad runs a butcher shop, but there’s a catch. He encourages his customers to do the slaughtering themselves. Yes, he runs a business that encourages people to get so intimate with their food that they take the lives of the animals they will later consume.”

[Fragments for the radio interview]

“What do you think of the assertion that your business is training…er… encouragement for people to take the next step and pursue murder?”

“Listen, I don’t know why you are so on attack mode, I mean maybe it’s because you are the first time hosting this show”

“I’ve hosted it before, but go on.”

“This is in the gray area of our laws of animal rights in terms of technical legality. But it’s much moreso in the red zone of our cultural norms and some might call it taboo.”

“Is there an age minimum?”

“Do you think that some college kids go there just to kill the animals and then throw them out”

“Is it out of cowardice to take the animal’s lives on your own that you encourage others to?

“so its not even really a deli then, is it? Does this relate to Halal?”

Somebody cut the power to the building and all of the sudden there was complete darkness. Chad could no longer see anything at all, and the sound proof room assured he couldn’t hear anything either.. Had he blacked out? Was he dead now? He couldn’t see the faint light of anyone’s cell phone—was this the end?

waiting to happen

Publishing NoteL

“Come here you” Sandra said smiling at her 20 month old son, Aiden. “You going to jump some more for me?” Aiden had just learned to jump and had this adorable way of trotting joyously with miniature leaps sporadically choreographed in. He was running back and forth through their front yard, which was highlighted by dappled sunlight sneaking by the leaves of the large oak tree in their front yard. It was a very pleasant early fall day, and there were older neighborhood kids playing kickball that added an idyllic sound-scape to serve as background to Aiden’s delightful outbursts of pure joy.

“What a talented boy you are!” Sandra exclaimed as Aiden completed another lap of his wacky legged race. She gave him a hug and then patted him as he continued his trek through the front yard. Her phone rang and she looked and saw it was her sister calling. She decided not to pick up but to text her if it would be okay if they talked later. She was following Aiden towards the sidewalk tapping at her phone, as a squirrel up above was running haphazardly through the adjacent tree. She overheard one of the kids playing kickball say, “Car!” and saw them all huddle to the opposite side of the street. Sandra returned to her text, and so she didn’t see the squirrel fall out of the tree nor the startled girl shriek and jump into the road. She looked up when the girl shrieked and realized a car was bearing down on her. Fortunately for the young girl the driver saw her just in time and swerved to avoid her, but he turned with such force that his car hopped over the opposite curb, the curb where little Aiden was now squatting down admiring an acorn.

Aiden was buried in a closed casket three days later.

Sandra’s shrieks of pure horror that afternoon, as she witnessed the most devastating event any human should have to endure, woke people from their coma. Aiden was one of four kids under the age of 15 to be killed because of a car in the USA that day, an average day in the country known for it’s highways and love of cars and motor-sports.

Hopefully these words, based on many true stories, was sickening enough for you to reconsider the importance of commuting by car to work, of holding a job that requires you to drive, for most of our driving does take place on our way to and from work, and thus most of our preventable accidents. Can we really blame or explain these deaths with some higher power that we have no control over? Or should we blame and explain these deaths on the cars that are powerful enough to take several human lives just from one simple mistake by the driver, or a mistake in the engineering of the car.

We have the power to create the change before these crisis; we can save these people, it is very much in our hands. We need to stop with our violent machines, or else we are choosing to face the deaths of our loved ones as “accidents waiting to happen”…


LI sat on this probable scenario short fiction piece—unsure if I should publish it—but following the intentional use of a car as a weapon in Las Vegas I decided I should release it. I wanted to emphatically assert that, intentional or not, cars are weapons that we all are guilty to some degree or another of letting drive up the preventable, tragic, deaths that are numbered at over 3,000 per day.

Rule of Thumb in King Joffrey’s Court: A Game of Thrones Extension

In King Joffrey's Court

Cersei entered the hall with her usual escorts, and a groan escaped from her son’s mouth, as he sat atop his sword seat.

“Mother, must you interrupt justice?” he said with mock sternness. She said nothing and continued to approach him, indifferently stepping around a fresh puddle of blood and other indistinguishable bits. She was wielding a polite smile, in full view of the king now, and her guards fell back. She began to ascend the stairs while utilizing both hands to pinch her skirt so that it would not drag underneath her.

“What is it mother?” the king moaned. “I only have two more cases.”

“Cases? Are you a detective now too?” she smiled, showing genuine interest in her son’s growth as a king.

“Well mother, I have a hunch for figuring out the inner workings of my subjects, so yes I am quite an exceptional detective as I don’t need many clues, if any, not to mention that I can do all this while also judging.” He looked at his hand stretched low, pleased with himself. “But my talents are too many to list, and I would get quite winded telling you of all of them. Besides, it’s frustrating—my talents are too often wasted in the service of justice for the realm, and not often enough used for my own benefit. To that end, I have just two more cases, mother, and then I will go take care of my own interests, not have you dawdles beside me.

“Well it’s of those two cases, actually the next one really, your Grace, that I have come to discuss with you” she said courteously, in a lowered tone.

He adjusted himself to a lower tone: “I can’t be seen taking advice from you… make it fast please before the people start to notice.”

“I understand,” she said. “Your next accused is Walton Wissel of House Melcolm, and I think we’d be better to not upset any potential allies from the Vale.”

Joffrey was just going to speak when a side door clanged open and four guards, two in front and two behind, entered with a haggardly looking man. The man looked as if he weren’t aware that his surroundings had changed from the days of a solitary prison cell. Joffrey smiled.

“Ah, Ser Wissel, so nice of you to join us,” Joffrey got up from his seat. “Guards, you can leave his side, we are all friends here.” The guards stepped away and found wall spaces that were empty.

There was a nervous tension in the room that only Joffrey and Ser Wissel didn’t notice. Someone cleared their throat and Cersei looked up and swallowed, chasing away some inner thought.

Joffrey cleared his throat, “Ser Wissel, I have often been appreciative of your creative mind. As it is you are the only knight I have ever heard tale told of who has never owned armor. Your words are a real talent to you, something I can really relate to as an artist of the letter myself. You are a real muse to me, really,” he said with questionable sincerity. He let that last phrase linger in the silence.

“On previous occasions, when others had advised me to treat you with the full weight of the law,” he shot a stare at his mother, who was now standing very awkwardly. He continued, “When others wanted you brought to justice, I looked the other way, and took your perverted thoughts as necessities to generate your artistic proclivities that I find so akin to my own.”

Joffrey’s smile faded, and his demeanor became stern and thoughtful. He began pacing back and forth across the small platform, his hand pinching his chin as in deep reflection. Ser Wissel looked up at him, anguish now in his face.

“Sadly, Ser Wissel, this time your thoughts have led you astray, and I must assume my post as supreme protector of the realm, both it’s body and mind. I can’t have you disrupting the counting traditions in the kingdom. Peasants are confused enough, and what would The Seven think if they were no longer seven out of ten, but seven out of four?” Joffrey laughed aloud at his own comical mathematical analysis. “I have considered this too in my infinitely subtle mind, and in consulting with my own godliness,” he paused so the hall could consider his deity claim. “No god would stand for being counted as double digits.” Joffrey leapt from the upper to the lower platform of the approach to the throne.

“Just imagine!” Joffrey laughed, getting into his element. He mimed a hidden form: “Here is one god”. He stepped laterally, “here is the second god.” His mother stepped forward to say something to him, but he gestured her a look that made her step quickly back. She held her arms and took to biting her thumbnail and looking down and away. Joffrey moved another spot over.

“Here is the third god,” he outlined. Then he stepped over again, “and then here, here Ser Wissel, is your tenth god.”

“I won’t…” Ser Wissel began to say, but Joffrey continued without acknowledging him.

“Here is your eleventh god, Ser Wissel, and your twelfth god, and your thirteenth god!” his voice growing louder as he spoke.

“Thirteen gods! Just imagine the confusion of my people, Ser Wissel. Many of them are, well, not up to our caliber I’ll say. A base ten number system is challenging enough, moving to a base four system would cause great confusion among my people, it might cause a shut down to the economy. Thumbs should not be counted as fingers!? We have four limbs and four digits on the ends of them all, so four-ness carries the day. Do I have your argument right, Ser?”

“Your Grace, it was just an intellectual musing,” Ser Wissel pleaded “I didn’t mean for it to become anything more than…”

“Just,” Joffrey emphasized, “jussttt an intellectual musing? Well my people’s confusion isn’t the worst of it. What would god’s ten through thirteen think of your,musing?”

“I won’t do it any more, your Grace,” Ser Wissel said in the most apologetic tone he could muster. He was still kneeling but he began to approach Joffrey, grovelling in his own fashion.

“No, you won’t” Joffrey said, in lower tones, disappointed actually. “Maybe, you will,” the beginnings of an idea were evidently growing in Joffrey’s mind. “Since you have an obvious disdain for thumbs, lowering their rank in the hierarchy of digits, I’m assuming you won’t miss them.”

“No, Your Grace!” Wissel pleaded. “I’m only suggesting that thumbs be understood actually as part of a greater order.”

“Are you correcting me Ser?” Joffrey asked. “No, you are quite upset, I can understand why, my being someone who is also often frustrated by the stupidity that leads to misunderstandings of my great ideas.” He looked over to his mother.

“Your Grace,” Wissel ventured. “I am guilty as charged, and I had not considered my claims to the depths that your great mind has taken them. I never intended any offense to you or The Seven.”

“I understand Ser Wissel, I understand,” Joffrey said in a strong and reasoned voice. “All the same, a punishment must fit the crime.” Wissel was crying. Joffrey motioned to Ser Ilyn. “You may keep your fingers, for your counting, but your thumbs are mine.”

Ser Ilyn took out a peculiar device that he regarded as a wonder as he brought it to fix on Ser Wissel’s thumb. Ser Wissel screamed out in pain, but the guards holding him didn’t show any signs of emotion. “I want his big toes as well,” Joffrey said, “I wouldn’t want to rob him of the symmetry.” Wissel now had to be propped up as his old body was giving out.

“Ser Wissel” Geoffrey said walking down onto the hall’s floor, but Wissel could not respond in between his furious sobbing. “Ser Wissel” Geoffrey said louder, standing a short distance away.

He gestured at Wissel’s groin, “Do you consider that to be a thumb, or just a mere finger?” Joffrey now began broadly smiling, he walked right up to the whimpering Wissel, “Finger? Is that finger, I heard you say? Good choice! You can keep that digit for your counting, though I’m sure it is, should we say, quint unessential, ha!” he laughed to himself. “Yes, I believe his counting days have long been over by the looks of it,” he said to the guards with a smile, and he regarded the old man with kind pity.

He walked back towards his throne. “Dog, take him away.”

[minor edits on 2016-03-30]

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