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Skeptic Tank!

******************************************************************************** ******************************************************************************** ||||||| //||\\ //||\\ | | / / \\ / / \\ | | | | \ \ | | | | \\\\\ | | | | \ \ | | \ \ // \\ / / ||||||| \\||// \\||// ******************************************************************************** ******************************************************************************** I n f o r m a t i o n, C o m m u n i c a t i o n, S u p p l y E L E C T R O Z I N E Established in 1993 by Deva Winblood Information Communication Supply 11/29/94 Vol.2: Issue 3-1 Email To: ORG_ZINE@WSC.COLORADO.EDU S T A F F : Email: ICS Positions: ============== ============ ============== Steven Peterson STU388801940 Managing Editor, Writer Russell Hutchinson STU524636420 Writer, Subscriptions David Trosty STU069540593 Writer, Poetry Editor George Sibley FAC_SIBLEY Editing, Faculty Supervisor Others TBA All addresses @WSC.COLORADO.EDU _________________________________________ /=========================================\ | "Art helps us accept the human condition; | | technology changes it." | \ - D.B. Smith / \***************************************/ +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ _____________________________________________________________________________ / \ | ICS is an Electrozine distributed by students of Western State | | College in Gunnison, Colorado. We are here to gather information about | | topics that are important to all of us as human beings. If you would like | | to send in a submission, please type it into an ASCII format and email it | | to us. We operate on the assumption that if you mail us something you | | want it to be published. We will do our best to make sure it is | | distributed and will always inform you when or if it is used. | | See the end of this issue for submission information. | \_____________________________________________________________________________/ REDISTRIBUTION: If any part of this issue is copied or used elsewhere you must give credit to the author and indicate that the information came from ICS Electrozine ORG_ZINE@WSC.COLORADO.EDU. DISCLAIMER: The views represented herein do not necessarily represent the views of the editors of ICS. Contributors to ICS assume all responsibilities for ensuring that articles/submissions are not violating copyright laws and protections. |\__________________________________________________/| | \ / | | \ T A B L E O F C O N T E N T S / | | / \ | | /________________________________________________\ | |/ \| | Included in the table of contents are some | | generic symbols to help you in making a decision | | as to whether an article or story may express | | ideas or use language that may be offensive. | | S = Sexual Content AL = Adult Language | | V = Violence O = Opinions | |____________________________________________________| |------------------------------------------------------------------| | 1) First Word -- By Steven Peterson: More thoughts on the 'Net, | | Zine production, and the evolution of the "Woodstock Nation". | | 2) The Fate of Ethnic Diversity -- A poem by David Trosty. | | 3) WorldNet Tour Guide: The Infopro Gopher -- Another review/ | | description of a gopher site. By Staff. | | 4) A Question of Balance -- A Short Story by David Trosty: | | Fragmentary sketch depicting the archetypical responses | | of literate guys and dolls in search of Love. [AL] | | 5) Unneeded Technology -- A poem by Andrew DeSplinter. | | 6) WalMart -- A Short Story by Vance Geiger: A searing journey | | into the dark orbit of American Consumer Consciousness; | | Told from an unusual perspective--NOT for the Queasy. [AL,V] | |------------------------------------------------------------------| |------------------------------------------------------------------| | 7) The Human Experience: Haiku poetry by Robert Fromme | | 8) New Prejudices: By Steven Peterson. An analysis of the | | holiday info-tech television advertising campaigns. [O] | | 9) From Dreams: Poetry by Joe West. [V,AL] | | 10) Regretted Repression: Poetry by David Trosty. | | 11) Rite of Fire, Part Three: By Russell Hutchinson. The third, | | and last, part of a techno-industrial espionage tale. [AL,V] | | 12) Last Word: by Steven Peterson. Email addresses for the staff | |------------------------------------------------------------------| ################################################################################ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ +------------------+ | First Word \ | By Steven Peterson \ +---------------------+ The other night, the ICS staff members were hanging out and shooting the breeze, wondering aloud at the amazing lack of interest in 'Net publishing on our campus. Our local recruiting efforts and submission drives have been less than successful lately, so I've devoted some time to pondering the ineffable mystery of "why aren't our local writers beating a path to our door?" Theoretically, ICS represents an opportunity which young writers of previous generations could only dream of - instant, free access to a world- wide audience - so far, only a scant handful of students have shown any interest in pursuing the theory to the point of realizing a concrete experience. As ICS attempts to surface from obscurity and take a place in the recognized curricular milieu of Western State College, I notice a set of stock reactions to the entire notion of the 'Net as an educational and communication tool. Initially, students listen to me as if I'm reporting from a fantasy-world - they are vaguely interested, but it doesn't strike them as something they can actually do. If they sustain interest past that first stage, I can usually penetrate the "technophobic" second stage and show them how accessible the medium is. Once I've opened the world of the 'Net for someone to explore, I've set them on a collision course with an intellectual, ethical, and spiritual "krisis": the fundamental premise of college as they know it is profoundly threatened by free access to the stored knowledge of academe and ultimately, the world. Western State is something of an "elite" institution - the admissions are open, but due to its location and local economy, there aren't many students from low- or lower middle-class families. High rents and four-dollar-an-hour jobs are pretty effective mechanisms for insuring a student body culled from the wealthier segments of the state's population; by and large, these kids are pretty committed to maintaining the status quo - and the idea of free access to knowledge which could be used to compete against *them* in the workplace shakes their faith in the sacred status of college credentials in our society. Obviously, if you view the degree as a life-preserver between yourself and a fast slide down the economic ladder, you're not going to be interested in exchanging your asset (knowledge) around the world with non-credentialed people. It's that old fear of a true meritocracy displacing the children of the privileged class, I guess. While 'Net usage is growing overall on our campus, the activity is mostly one-way: many are taking knowledge from the global pool, but few are willing to put something original back in. Now, I'm all for maximum exploit- ation of the resource in question, but the general pattern of use on our campus seems to violate the spirit which drives the 'Net. Call me anachronistic, but I like to think of the 'Net as an technological extension of what Abbie Hoffman defined as the "Woodstock Nation" - a sense of belonging to a trans- cultural "nation dedicated to cooperation versus competition, to the idea that people should have better means of exchange than property or money, that there should be some other basis for human interactions". The 'Net, as it exists, offers that other basis for interaction; however, instead of embracing the implicit change, my fellow students are rushing to find ways to transform the "free" and nebulous cyberspace they confront into a merchandised property for one-way consumption. Invariably, the students who have chosen to participate in producing ICS have been devoted to (or at least sympathetic to) the concept of cooperative interaction - we have to be, it's the only practical way to learn how to use the VAX (the mainframe we use to compose and send ICS). We "train" each other, student-to-student, and offer the only comprehensive 'Net literacy program on campus. Because we are somewhat marginal (and way out ahead of the institution), we are left to fend for ourselves when it comes to promotion and recruiting; until the revolution arrives, we will do our best to find those lone voices .... [A Sad Note: This morning, I heard Jerry Rubin passed away--hit by a car in the mean streets of Los Angeles while jaywalking. You may remember him as the co-founder of the Yippie movement in the late 60s (America). With Abbie Hoffman, Rubin played a large part in raising the consciousness of a generation: his efforts provoked thought and incited reflection, if not action. Directing the March on the Pentagon in '67 is perhaps his masterpiece of activism--the protest brought together some of the major players of the anti-war effort (Noam Chomsky, Dr. Spock, Paul Goodman) as well as about 50,000 individuals who demanded that their government listen to them [see _Armies of the Night_ by Norman Mailer for a full account of the March]. Considering the stellar array of powerful people who wanted Rubin to "go away", there is a cosmic irony at work in the absurd tragedy of his death: after facing charges of conspiracy and lesser forms of treason, Rubin paid the ultimate price for jaywalking. I try to cushion the blow of death when my cultural heroes pass away. If there is an afterlife, I like to think that Abbie was waitin' for him, busting a gut laughing at the awful joke, welcoming him to the free state of transcendence. Folks, it's up to us to carry on the vision.] --Ed. [][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][] The Fate of Ethnic Diversity Bit by bit, one person at a time, my heritage is being diluted by my own generation. The stories that we were taught are being neglected and forgotten. What will the next generation know of its past? What lessons will they learn, and where will they come from? We have all fought too hard against blood-thirsty foes too let ourselves dissolve into humanity at large until the sweetness of our ancestors' philosophies is too watered-down to taste. Will the children of the future benefit or suffer from the breakdown of barriers that have long stood like great pinnacles in the desert, slowly eroding until they can no longer support their own weight and they crumble into a pile of rubble. I have heard them crashing to the ground. It is not too late for us to pick up the pieces and re-examine them and tell our children what we have learned. --David Trosty, 1994. {0}{0}{0}{0}{0}{0}{0}{0}{0}{0}{0}{0}{0}{0}{0}{0}{0}{0}{0}{0}{0}{0}{0}{0}{0}{0} ---------------------------------------------------------------------- _________________________________________________ / W o r l d N e t \ \____________ Tour Guide ____________/ \_______________________/ | InfoPro | \ Gopher / \---------------/ WorldNet Tour Guide is a periodic feature which appears in ICS. The Guide consists of articles designed to help you in using the WorldNet to the fullest potential. These articles will range from tutorials on aspects of WorldNet (programs) to reviews of places we find on the WorldNet (content). Why? Because together we know more than any one of us can know. If you would like to write a file or document to appear in this section, please do so. Send your final copy (in ASCII format) to: ORG_ZINE@WSC.COLORADO.EDU ------- This time around, we visit the InfoPro gopher site; it's a classic site, menus chocked full of good, basic reference type material. Logon to this site by typing: gopher 70 from your system prompt. From the first menu, choose "InfoPro Resources": from the next menu, choose from three pages of choices which offer info and access to 50, count 'em, 50 different areas of interest including: * The Legal Domain Network (courts, bbs, etc.) * Congressional Quarterly gopher * A Dictionary of Internet terminology (!) * Disclosure gopher and Edgar SEC Filings * FEDWORLD (U.S. Government bbs) * Internet Guides and Resources * Journalism info + Usenet searches * National Trade Databank * TV News abstracts (?) * VOA News Wire Service There are, of course, many more ... I like to send 'Net neophytes to this site--the menu system isn't threatening or difficult, and most people can find something of interest and/or use fairly quickly. Many of the files are "gateways", or directions which serve as pretty good "yellow pages" for those first reckless tromps across the 'Net. The folks at InfoPro also maintain a listserv for professional Info Brokers and Investigative types--from the application, it seems to be fairly restricted--choose #1, "About Infopro/" for the files with all the pertinent data. (*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*) ===================================================================== ___ ___ A Question of Balance \ _o_ / By David Trosty |---|---| I could tell she was unlike the other women that I had met in this dusty little town from the first time I saw her talking to a friend of mine. Right then I knew that I had to do whatever it took to meet her, anything that was necessary. Consequently, I knew that the best thing to do was nothing. I tried to play it cool; I looked at her demurely while she glanced nervously back and forth between my friend and I under the pink and azure shadows of the neon beer signs that decorated the walls of the dusky bar. I couldn't quite discern what she was about: a shy little girl was my first impression. She stood in the dimly lit country-western bar, the haven I called my home for those stretches of time when my desire to drink in public overcame my need to sit at home and smoke with my solitude and a good book as companionship. So there I was, drinking English ale, listening to country music on the jukebox and watching testosterone-induced idiocy being perpetrated by the sex-starved locals. Their behavior sent any women who possessed even a little decency or sense into deep hiding. Yet here was an unusual woman, seemingly unfazed by the heavy virile vibe that was permeating the unsavory atmosphere of this smokey bar. We started talking about assorted inconsequential matters: the kind of trivial conversation that I often have with the average college attending cutie that I might run into while drinking and not worrying about discovering new female companionship. It seems that when I'm not the least bit worried about such carnal matters, the opportunity arises in a most unlikely manner for a stimulating exchange with a stunningly uncommon woman and tonight was no exception. Trite conversation soon turned into serious discussion about the finer points of poetry and literature in general. My mind was reeling and I reveled in her voice and the content within it--for I know few women (if any) in this small western community who have a firm control of their mind and the confidence necessary for such discourse with someone, especially a strange man in an even stranger bar. But she was here, tangible and right in front of me, smelling pleasantly womanly and giving me her opnion about the merits of iambic pentameter verses free verse. My elated heart furiously pumped beer-laden blood through my amazed body, causing strange and excited thoughts to course through my head and out through my slightly drunk mouth. "Thompson, do you like him?" I asked, eager to hear her interpretation. "Who?" "Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing, Generation of Swine?" "I've heard of him, I think." "Oh God, you've got to read Fear and Loathing in Los Vegas, It's hilarious. Kinda reminds me of myself. How 'bout Southern, ever read him?" "Who?" "Terry Southern, he wrote the screenplay for Dr. Strangelove and Easy Rider." "No, I've never heard of him." "Oh man, you must read Red Dirt Marijuana. Great short stories with realistic dialogue and wonderfully absurd plots. It's cool stuff. O.K., You must know Keruac." "I've heard of him." "You have? Check him out sometime. The man _sees_ things." (uncomfortable silence) "What _do_ you read?" "I love the great romance writers: Shakespeare, Keats, Shelly and Byron, authors like that. I guess I'm not really interested in modern literature. I like poetry that rhymes and flows, with meter. I don't like suprises. Poetry should have a definite structure." "Poetry with rhyme and structure? I don't read too much of that kind of poetry anymore." "I guess we just like to read different things." These words of disagreement were unwelcomed by my ears and I made a vain attempt to block such disheartening comments from reaching the inner, more logical, rational regions of my slightly pickled mind. I failed to do so, at least completely, and questions of doubt began to simmer within my cranium. Soon it became clear that we were both enamored with completely different writers from different time periods. No problem, I thought, we can learn from each other by exposing each other to our different tastes and that would be hip and things would always be interesting. My mouth was on auto- pilot, lips moving but all that I could hear were my own thoughts about whether this fabulous woman and I could possibly be compatable together for longer than a fleeting moment or two before the novelty wore off and we were simply annoying each other like little children do when they share the same sandbox for too long. Everything was slowly going downhill when my obnoxious collegiate buddies began to unnerve me and my new-found friend with a barrage of jeers referring to my ulterior motives which were all too obvious to those who know me, even as an aquaintance. She was unnerved by the displays of bad taste by my inconsiderate friends. As it was, all the heckling was under- mining my attempts at making good at this cerebrally and otherwise well-endowed woman. The good-natured abuse was too much for her and she made little haste in leaving, once her only drink was finished. "Well Alex, it was an interesting conversation. Maybe I'll see you around campus." "Yes, Suzie, it was most certainly my pleasure. I'll see you around." She walked away and I understood what was contained within the realms of her mind ... I shuddered with delight. Perhaps I would not get this one, but meeting her renewed my faith that someday I may find a woman that can be seductively intellectual in this remote little town. Last call came and went. I finished my brew and went outside alone and cold, watching frosty tumbleweeds blow by, anticipating getting home to the next chapters of Visions of Cody and trying to imagine a bright young woman settling into the comfort of a warm bed and a romantic soliloquy. {^}{^}{^}{^}{^}{^}{^}{^}{^}{^}{^}{^}{^}{^}{^}{^}{^}{^}{^}{^}{^}{^}{^}{^} ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Unneeded Technology ----------------- ----------------- Brought to a place too soon temptation It creates a home for itself desire Soon, the people will want it compulsion Those with the money take it envy Those who are poor steal it crime Luxury has a price to be paid sin --Andrew DeSplinter ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ /\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\ A Submission from Vance Geiger: ------------------------------ +---------+ | Walmart | +---------+ So, you're walking out of Walmart. You got your stuff in a bag, the stuff you bought, your little contribution to consumer capitalism. Stuff, some little do-hickeys that just couldn't be done without, or maybe some stuff that someone else just couldn't do without. A gift. Stuff to give someone else that says you care enough to buy it. Markers on the road to a good and lasting relationship. Conversation pieces for conversations that go something like... "Hey, Doris, you remember when I gave you that whatsit, whatchama- callit, do-floppy, gizmo on your birthday? I don't see it, man. You break it already? Or, man, maybe you didn't like it so much, eh? Yeah, yeah, I know, it's the thoughts what counts." If you got kids, good American kids. Kids that know more about consumer capitalism than anybody else, then you probably got even more stuff. Kids know that they wouldn't make all of this stuff if their parents weren't supposed to buy it. You've heard it before..."C'mon, dad, Aw, mom, I ain't got one of THOSE, yet." Older kids, post-mystification kids, kids who have gotten past the mysterious production problem of Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy. Kids who maybe don't know where all this stuff comes from but they damn sure know it wasn't made by half-pint elves in a slave labor camp north of the Siberian. "Hey, mom, what's in that truck?" "What truck?" "That one over there." Little pudgy fingers pointing. "That one with To-y-s...Toys, Rrrrrr, Uhhsssss, hey! Toys-R-Us! Look dad, Toys-R-Us, does it got toys in it, mom, huh?!! Mom, does that truck got toys in it, huh, huh, mom?!!" So much for the flying fat guy in the red suit with those cute little reindeer you used to be able to lay all the blame on for your failure to get the kid that one and only thing you either forgot or couldn't afford. That one thing that will destroy the kid's youth and leave it with that psychologically debilitating nagging nit of doubt about its self-worth into adulthood so it can blame you when it flunks out of law school and have a good excuse to dump you in an old age home instead of building another wing onto the family mansion for you to dodder around in. Just as well. After all, it was about time anyway. Especially after last Christmas Eve when you caught the little jerk in the back yard with its model Star Wars-SDI ABM radar guided laser zapper, with real laser and fast focus radar. "Hey, kid, whatcha doing out here?" "I'm waitin' for Santa Claus, mom." "Waitin' for Santa Claus? With that thing?" You chuckle. "Hoping to guide him in, eh?" "No way, mom. I'm gonna shoot 'em down." "What the hhheee're gonna what?!" "Shoot 'em down, mom. Get all that stuff, ya know." So, you're walking out of Walmart with a lot of stuff. You've done your part to keep the orders for durable goods up. You watch the news, right? You know that orders for durable goods gotta go up if the economy is to pull out of the slump, right? Hey, those plastic flowers, the ones you got to put on top of the TV, that would look so nice there, that would add just a dash of color if they could compete with the high definition photon flood that gushes out the front of the box, those plastic flowers are durable, right? You got them to last. Don't have to water them, they don't need sunlight, they're perfect, they're durable. And of course you went to Walmart so you could "buy American", right? So the plastic flowers must be American durable goods plastic flowers. Hot damn, patriotic and tasteful all in one consumeristic spasm. Maybe you're in a good mood having done all you're supposed to as a good consumer. Maybe you're in a bad mood with the clucks of that damn revolving chicken stationed just outside the door to Walmart echoing in your ears. That chicken that sucks up your change, all your laundry quarters, and throws out those plastic eggs with little plastic toys the squalling brats just gotta have so they can leave them all over the house in ambush for the vacuum cleaner and clog it up. Just Walmart trying to be public spirited, eh. Good mood, bad mood, either way you don't need what's coming. What's coming is some raggedy ass kind of person. Some guy in raggedy jeans, shoes with the seams ripped and holes. Some guy in some nondescript shirt, maybe with an old denim jacket on, a jacket so old and dirty and wrinkled, it looks like a wadded up paper towel. The jeans, the shirt, the jacket, even the shoes are so dirty they're greasy with bodily exudates. The guy is scraggly, his face is scraggly, unshaven with scraggly hair on his face, scraggly eyebrows, scraggly nose hairs peeking out. The guy has those bleary eyes, those what the fuck?! eyes. But there's something else about those eyes. They're more than bleary, they're also beady. The guy's got beady eyes, pointing and probing out from all that mucus leaking out around them. The guys got eyes like a damn mosquito, pointed and needle-like with all kinds of infectious saliva-like goo oozing out of them. Shit, goddamn parking lot lurker. And you've been spotted. And he's headed your way. Shit. You've got bags, they gotta go in the trunk. You got kids, they gotta go in the front seat, or the back seat, or they gotta argue about who goes where and you gotta arbitrate. Shit, shit, shit! All that shit takes time and all you want to do is get in the goddamn car and get the hell out of there. No such luck. The guy is shambling along, coming closer. He knows he's got you on the run. He knows the only thing you want is for him to go away and he knows that that is the key to getting what he wants, money. A little money, and he'll go away. Hey, he's just an animate consumer product, something to be bought. Kind of a service provider, if you will. The service, his absence, the removal of his intrusive, noxious self, is available, for a fee. He gets closer and you notice something surprising. You can't smell him. Oh, maybe a little body odor, it's a hot day, but nothing like the wall of odor you expect to hit you when he gets close enough. Gives you a little surprise, a little micro-bit of a more positive perspective on this guy. Also gives you time to get it up, the money that is, before you become excessively intolerant. Smells are the strongest form of communication and this guy ain't gonna get no money from someone puking on their shoes because he smells so bad. Now he's close enough to start the spiel, the rambling miserable, pitiful, sad story. The car broke down, he was goin' to visit his brother or his sister, or maybe even his dying mother, down in Miami, and he ran out of gas and money. Maybe he had a job lined up somewhere, possibly taking you for a good republican, and didn't quite make it...or maybe he'll claim he was the one that got taken, conned or rolled by some other bum and now he ain't got nuthin' but the shirt on his back. It's never the real story. The real story is that he's from some other little town up North where they got sick of panhandling bums and the local cops put him on a bus, "one way ticket, please, as far South as 50 bucks will go", which just turned out to be...this Walmart parking lot. Of course, the guy may have other motives than not having any motivation. Maybe he's on the lam from the IRS, or maybe he's in the federal witness protection program. Maybe he's got millions stashed away somewhere and just likes the life, or maybe he was a good upstanding citizen somewhere at sometime with a family, a house, kids, the lot, and lost his job, got laid off, couldn't make the bills, got depressed and walked. Capitalism's walking wounded. Whatever the spiel, whatever the truth, the pitch is usually the same. "Could'ja spare some money, I ain't had nuthin ta eat all day, I jes' wanna buy some food, ya know." The guy will look unhappy but not pitiful. It's the hard luck, down on his luck approach, with just the slightest, subtlest, hint of menace. After all, this is a confrontation, like it or not. You, you don't want this, you don't want to go through this, that's all. This is one of those little bits of life that you'd just as soon as trim off with the rest of the fat and throw it away, you just don't need this. Furthermore, you couldn't give a shit what the story is. You figure no matter what, the guy is just going to go buy booze, which is probably his problem anyway, no matter what the story. But the guy says he needs some money for what...for food! Yeah, sure. You want some food mister...well... "Hey! You want some money mister! Well it's like this, bud. I done gave all my spare money to that damn spinning chicken thing, and I got the little useless plastic eggs, and the little plastic insects they put inside them for proof. Hey, you wanna see? Hey, kid...yeah you, give me one of them chicken egg things." You take the plastic egg and shove it in the guy's face. "See, see, this here egg, that's where my spare change went and I ain't got no more!" The guy backs up a little. Hey, what would you do? This was not in the plan, right? But, he does not give up. After all... "Hey! Do I look like a spinnin' chicken that pops out plastic eggs?! I gotta eat! That's all I'm trying ta do, get a little bread to eat!" Back in the car one of the kids is yelping. "My egg, I want my egg back! Waaaaaaaah." Back outside things are spinning out of control. "You want food, eh!" You say, a little high in the tone, but deliberate. "So it's food you want, is it." You look the guy straight in his god awful fish eyes. This is it. This is the essential confrontation, civilized society against the barbarians at the gate. This is going to be the line in the sand, your Rubicon, the bridge over the River Kwai, the Presidential Physical Fitness Test you failed in high school, the triumph over every bully who ever bullied you, over every back stabbing girlfriend who ever stole your date for Friday night on a Thursday afternoon when it was too late to line up a new one, the man you didn't marry, his yacht, his pool, the man you did marry, his La-Z-Boy rocker recliner, his golf clubs, his Pabst Blue Ribbon beer... "Mom, I want my egg back! Waaaaaaaaah!" ...his kids. You reach into the back seat where the grocery bag is sitting. The guy takes a step back. Maybe thinking you got a gun or something. But only one step back, maybe your purse is back there, you never know... You grab the super bonus buy 5 pound cellophane wrapped lump of ground beef, juicy minced cow that has been sitting in the hot car while you made a quick stop at the Walmart on the way home. You lift it out of the grocery bag. It's leaking, the juice is pooling at one end of the styrofoam tray and the cellophane is pushing out like a beer gut. You rip open the package, the juice splatters all over. The meat was for spaghetti tonight. Ain't gonna be no spaghetti tonight. You grab a hunk of raw gooey meat and heave it at the guy. You catch him right on the chest. It makes a juicy SMACK when it hits, and starts oozing down his shirt front. You grab another gob and heave again. This time you catch him right on the top of his head as he is looking down at the mess on his shirt front. The guy lifts up his head, takes a step back, "hey lady, what the...fuck?!! Pieces of meat are falling off his head in little slabs, and running down his face, falling on his shoulders. On his chest, a big piece of meat is peeling off, leaving a big red, juicy, mess that looks like the footprint of a giant bloody amoeba. You reach into the car again, into the grocery bag past all the crap on top, to get to the denser stuff nearer the bottom. You grab a head of lettuce and fling it at the guy, just to keep him on his toes, and then you find what you're looking for. The long styrofoam tray, cello wrapped, with the frozen porkchops. Another extra bonus buy, 16 porkchops, a full clip. They're still mostly frozen, still pretty hard. You've got them out and the package torn open. You set your throwing arm to full automatic. The guy is still standing there peeling meat off of his shirt and trying to scrape goo out of his hair. Cursing in a low voice, mumbling, "shit, shit, shit." He looks up and sees you coming. He starts backing up again. He stops. You got him pinned up against a dark blue Mercedes. The top of his body is leaning back while his feet try shuffling to the side. His mouth is open, but nothing is coming out. The porkchops start flying. The first couple miss and go bouncing and sliding across the Mercedes. The next one is a direct hit coming in frisbee-like, with a spin, into the guy's left cheek. You can hear the solid thump. The next one takes a glancing path off of his forehead and shoots up into the air, coming down on the sun roof of the Mercedes with a smack. You try to aim lower, the guy is still a little bent over backwards while he tries to slide around the Mercedes, making a good target. The first one you sling low cracks a tail light on the Mercedes. The next one going low takes him on the thigh. He gets the idea and puts his hands out in front, but too late. The next one goes in straight to the pit of his stomach. The guy groans, but it's not the kind of groan you wanted to hear. Shit, too high, you think. He's got his hands up now and he's turning to the left, slipping around the side of the Mercedes. You continue the pursuit. "You wanted food, man! Food is what you get! S'matter, man, don't you like meat?! You a vegetarian or something?!!!" You scream. You got a little crowd already but it ain't enough. More porkchops on the fly. This time a little flurry of flying meat. Thump, thump, thump, three on the back in quick succession. His back makes a better target anyway. He ducks down behind the Mercedes and the rest of the porkchops are just covering fire. You go back to your car and rummage in the grocery bag again. Damn, all the cans are on the bottom. You come up with a couple of cans and a package of hot dogs. You start in pursuit again. Now just where is the little fucker, you wonder. By now you've attracted quite a crowd. People are laughing and pointing at the blobs of meat in the parking lot. Somebody in a suit is coming out of the crowd and moving toward you. "Uh, ma'am, may I have a word with you, please," he yells, holding up his arm and pointing at you with his finger. You're moving, your eyes are roving the parking lot. You look over your shoulder, "no you may not," you say. He keeps coming. "Ma'am, please, stop, please, just stop and listen to me will you." He sounds insistent, a little too insistent. You hold a can of creamed corn, hubby's favorite, and cock back your arm. The man in the suit stops, his finger hovering. You turn back and see that some of the people in the crowd are pointing at something a couple of rows of cars away. Your quarry has been spotted. You begin moving off toward where they are pointing. Ah Ha! You see him trying to scurry around behind a big hulking car, probably a Lincoln and you think what the fuck kind of Walmart is this anyway? He sees you coming and starts walking faster, glances over his shoulder at you and then at something behind you and starts walking even faster, breaking into a run. You look behind you just in time to see the flashing lights of the cop car coming across the parking lot. The car stops and a cop gets out of the right hand side, slams the door and walks over to you as the car takes off again after the guy you been throwing food at, who is now running seriously. He knows what's coming, the next one-way ticket will not be to somewhere warmer. Who called the cops? Walmart did, that's who ... you're one big distraction. You are taking people's minds off of the reason they came there in the first place. People standing around in a parking lot watching you chase a grubby guy around and throwing food at him are not inside the Walmart spending money. Your behavior is an impediment to the proper conduct of capitalism, and if there is one thing the cops are supposed to do it is to ensure the proper conduct of capitalism. The cop walks over to you. He's big and has to look down to see you. You look up at him vaguely aware you ought to say something but you're too busy trying to rip open the package of hot dogs with your bare teeth. +X+X+X+X+X+X+X+X+X+X+X+X+X+X+X+X+X+X+X+X+X+X+X+X+X+X+X+X+X+X+X+X+X+X+X+X+X+X+X+ ******************************************************************************** ******************************************************************************** I n f o r m a t i o n, C o m m u n i c a t i o n, S u p p l y E L E C T R O Z I N E Established in 1993 by Deva Winblood Information Communication Supply 1/24/95 Vol.2: Issue 3-2 Email To: ORG_ZINE@WSC.COLORADO.EDU +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ ******************** THE HUMAN EXPERIENCE ******************** HAIKU NUMBER 745 IN THE MESQUITE BRUSH I SIT ALONE, SIPPING TIME SHOWING NO WISDOM HAIKU NUMBER 669 (VOTING SKUNKS) AT THE VOTING BOOTH THE SCENT OF SKUNKS DRIFTS SLOWLY THERE IS NO ONE ELSE HAIKU NUMBER 991 OUT OF MY WINDOW ASHES DRIFT BY ON THE WIND THIS COLD AFTERNOON HAIKU NUMBER 1037 BY THE OLD CROSSROADS LAUGHTER FELL THREW MY POCKET IN SAD PANTOMIME HAIKU NUMBER 7 NO POCKET MONEY WE OLD MEN GATHER TIN CANS AS THE FOG ROLLS IN HAIKU NUMBER 112 THE COLD WIND PICKS UP LEAVES TUMBLE ACROSS THE ROAD SEASICK SADDLE BUMS HAIKU NUMBER 115 FREUDIAN FRAGMENT SMALL BOYS RUN AFTER A HOOP AND LIFE JUST GOES ON HAIKU NUMBER 53 MOROSE MOSAIC I THINK OF MY YOUTH LONG PAST IN THE KILLING FIELD HAIKU NUMBER 163 IN SOMEONE'S POEM OLD WOMEN GATHER FLOWERS VELVET VERBATUM HAIKU NUMBER 568 MOOT MORTICIAN AN OLD LADY READS MY PALM LIFE IS VERY BIG HAIKU NUMBER 870 TRANSIENT TRINKET ANOTHER MILLENIUM IN OUR GOD'S POCKET HAIKU NUMBER 1088 FARTHER DOWN THE ROAD OUR LIVES SPIN OUT OF CONTROL THE THUNDER BOLT HITS HAIKU NUMBER 25 MULTIMILLIONAIRE AND TIME WILL FORGET HIS NAME WHILE ICICLES DRIP (c) Robert Fromme 1994 Please do not reprint in hard copy or redistribute these haiku without the permission of the Robert Fromme. <><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><> ============================================================================== +--------------------+ \ New Prejudices / / By Steven Peterson \ +=====================+ Upstarts and Rogues ... I find myself repeating this phrase every time I see a commercial for one or another of the computer industry's services or products. Amidst the thin gruel of network television programming offered during the recent holiday shopping season, juicy little chunks of techno- rhetoric kept surfacing in the one-sided discourse of mass-media advertising. This rhetoric, for the most part, attempts to persuade us to base our computer purchases on emotional or philosophical responses to technology, as opposed to pragmatic or rational reasoning--it's a proven tactic in the American consumer culture and usually indicates an attempt to preserve the "marginal differentiation" associated with an industry which has swiftly expanded and then entered a truly competitive phase. On the surface, the recent television ad campaigns are designed to allow the major players in the "info-tech" corporate world to stake a claim to our pocketbooks and our loyalties; on a subterranean level, these ads reflect a dark image of our uneasy relationship with technology and the rapid changes it entails. Apple, IBM, and MicroSoft, the three major players in the personal computer market, have mounted three very different marketing strategies in their ads. Superficially, these ads offer the public various goods and services which are touted as "multi-media *you* can use", "solutions for a small planet", and a vehicle for getting "where you want to go today" (Apple, IBM, and MicroSoft, respectively). Along with the catch-phrases, each advertising team has constructed a series of images and messages which establish the marginal differentiation which our consumer culture demands--we want to "know" what makes one machine or operating system better than the other. Apple, the upstart of the bunch, entered the advertising fray with the lowest market share and engaged in an open smear campaign to bolster their holiday sales. The ads, which featured befuddled parents hacking away at the "C:>" prompt while impatient children waited for results, openly implies that the rival's products were "too difficult" or impractical for the average Joe to operate; in case the point isn't clear, the ads close with the child leaving the scene on his/her way to the neighbor's house, where "they have a Mac". As with all negative campaigns, this one leaves the audience feeling as if it is the one who has been smeared: apparently, my worth as a parent is somehow tied to making machinery work for my children (especially during the holidays) and my best bet is to purchase a computer which is pre-loaded, pre-defined, and produced with a passive user approach in mind. Beneath these obvious messages, Apple attempts to offer us a useful "screen" to contain the changes technology has made in our communication habits-- email for the remote control set. Meanwhile, the baby boomers seem to have pulled off a palace coup over at IBM; that, or the water has been spiked with some sort of mind-altering substance. I know I damn near had a flashback the first time I saw the O/S2 "Warp" ad featuring a long-haired dude sporting a big ol' pot leaf t-shirt shucking and jiving about "surfin' the 'Net" and "true multi-tasking". Other ads feature nuns and folks from other lands, speaking in native languages about the relative merits of O/S2 (with subtitles for the intended audience), the delays in the release of MicroSoft's new "Chicago" OS, and about how they're "dying to surf the 'Net". Apparently, the staid, serious tradition of the "Big Blue" has been abandoned in the fierce competition for our business. It's weird, but I guess nothing is sacred in the fast-moving world of techno- logical consumer capitalism. The foreign-language ads, while somewhat precocious, do at least open our consciousness to the global aspect of computer-mediated communication; unfortunately, they also imply that there is a necessary element of corporate colonialism required to sustain the "communications revolution". I was left pondering the ramifications of technological dependence and colonial economics by these ads--IBM is a substantial force behind efforts to globalize the economies of our nations, and I'm not at all convinced that such an effort is a worthy "solution for a small planet". MicroSoft, sitting fat and happy with a huge market-share, took the high road in their most recent ad campaign. The ads, which employ rapid editing, a montage of images curiously devoid of machinery, and narration set in a tantric sort of verse, focus on the potential of their product and those who use it. The voice-over drones "*you* can do it ... *show* them how ... where do you want to go today?" in a manner which vaguely suggests transcendence or possibly religious conversion. At one level, MicroSoft is pitching for the professional's loyalty; at another, deeper level, one can glimpse through the window and find a sub-menu of global corporate interests--everyone wants to control the common coins of the new realm, so to speak. Two other players in the computer game have also contributed to the emerging form of mass-marketing information technology: Compton's and NetworkMCI. The Compton's ad for a CD-ROM based "Interactive Encyclopedia" borders on the baroque: a happy scene involving a bemused Dad and his technologically "hip" young daughter in front of a screen, the magic box promising "No More Homework Hassles". The chilling simplicity of their premise resists satirization--it's already ridiculous; nevertheless, there will be desperate parents and even teachers who latch on to the black-box solution for children's human learning needs. NetworkMCI, on the other hand, has invested their advertising dollars in a linked series of lengthy ads which present the story of a company integrating computer-mediated communication into their daily operations. The ads, presented in a dramatic form of sorts, give voice to the standard set of reactions to innovation: at least a dozen points of view are represented, and, in the happy world portrayed, everyone eventually comes around and embraces change. Despite their contrived nature, these ads were my favorite of the lot--they continue the process of providing an emotional framework for adapting to this communication medium. And O.K., I like to think Shakespeare would have used email ... In order to make a significant purchasing decision, most of us require some subjective or emotional content to enter the process; advertising attempts to play on those needs, often creating or reinforcing stereotypes in the effort. If, as consumers, we allow our decisions to be based on stereotypes and other sub-rational advertising techniques, we concede a great deal of our power to demand want we want and need from those who produce our goods and services--use your head, your heart, and your wallet to demand better. Better interfaces, better operating systems, better programs ... things we want and need that they *can* actually provide. And please, No More Homework Hassles ... "We arrive at the truth, not by the reason only, but also by the heart." - Pascal ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ <*><*><*><*><*><*><*><*><*><*><*><*><*><*><*><*><*><*><*><*><*><*><*><*><*><*> /\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\ From Dreams Tired and weary, a lone soul with no hope but for the Way takes the sacred staff and staggers on in a body weakened by darkness the burden is carried along a trail of tears filled with those still falling Great Eagle swoops down....claws extended to tear free his wings that he may fly.... purified in sacred fire, he joins the sky hastening to the their dreams into the dreams goes the nightwalker.... a holy staunch an endless flow of blood Red Blood....flowing from the innocent walking wounded he stops to sing, to pray, to love the earth Realizing their relations.... from the womb of Mother Earth pours life purifying....touching the soul.... sacred prayers are answered phone rings....late at night a shaking voice....trembling with excitement body drenched, purified.... and hope is born. >fini< 1/22/95 Joe West 10 Ridge Lane Gunnison, Co. 81230 [][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][][] Regretted Repression A secret question never asked, long forgotten, time has past, words of wisdom, folklore on the other end. A quiet mind, the mental shadows never mixes with blue water, globules of oil stacking still then coming back together. The crimson running over ivory carrying the hearts desire sinew wrapping everything together like a bow. Finally the tides stop flowing and the little lies stop growing what was that important question that I meant to ask before? <*><*><*><*><*><*><*><*><*><*><*><*><*><*><*><*><*><*><*><*><*><*><*><*><*><*> ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ <------------------------> | Rite of Fire | | (Part III) | | By Russell Hutchison | >------------------------< "Hurry up Doc! Our cover's compromised." Patch yelled. "I'll work as fast as I can," he replied. His voice was soon replaced by the scream of the power saw he had pulled from his duffel bag. Sparks flew from the locks in the metal cabinet. Patch started going over their options in his mind as Raze pulled a radio out of her bag. He could hear her advising Gecko of their situation, the conversation distracting his mental focus. Patch shook his head to clear it. Their options were fairly limited. They needed to get to the roof to escape and there were only two ways, the Stairs or the elevator. The security station controlled the elevators and could get guards to this floor in less than a minute, leaving the elevators. "Five minutes and our ride will be on the roof," Raze told Patch. He nodded distractedly. Doc's saw ceased its screaming and he slammed the flat planes of the door back with a crash and yell. "Got it! ... Patch, the mainframe is bolted in." "How long to cut it free?" "About thirty seconds." The saws noise rekindled, preventing Doc from hearing any response, but Patch had decided on a course of action and was already in motion. Retrieving his twenty-pound extinguisher, Patch ran down the hall to the reception area, tossing a casual "I'll go delay the guards, help Doc" over his shoulder as he passed Raze. Their situation wasn't hopeless. The guards didn't know whether they would go up or down and there was a stairwell at each end of the main hall. Also, most of the guards should be on the lower floors by now, after evacuating the high priority businesses above this floor. And they didn't know about Gecko and his chopper. Both the reception area and the main hall were empty, a comforting sight for Patch. He took his gloves off only long enough to find and light his antique zippo lighter, then headed acorss to the elevators. Patch aimed the wide, plastic nozzle at the row of doors and positioned the lighter flame before it. He gripped the handle tightly, and, unlike Doc's extinguisher, which still contained halon, the modified extinguishers gasoline/Kerosene mix jetted forth. The massive cloud of flame quickly coated and stuck to the doors, floor and ceiling. Patch was grateful for the fireman's gloves as some of the scorching deluge eddied around the nozzle and lightly coated his hand. The fire sprinklers turned themselves on, but did nothing to stop the flames. The nozzle of the extinguisher had started to burn as well, dripping melted plastic onto the floor. Patch put his zippo into a pocket of his firejacket, pressing against it to smother the flames, then began running towards the northern stairwell. The plan called for Gecko to land on the southern helipad, so Patch wanted to block the way up from the north. He knew that the elevators could bypass all his effort, but he hoped that the guards had been dropped off below and were trapped. He kicked the door open and flattened against the wall to see if anyone shot through the opening. When no bullets came, he looked in ... the stairwell was empty, but he could hear heavy foot-falls descending rapidly. Patch pointed the burning flame-thrower through the door and blanketed the stairs, above and below, in liquid fire. Reversing his direction, Patch sprinted past the entrance to the GMC offices just before Doc and Raze raced out, Doc cradling a gray box in both arms, Raze with a gun in one hand and the real extinguisher in the other. Their boots kicked up water as they splashed down the hall. Patch started to push open the door to the south 'well, then he noticed heavy black boots through the crack. He flung his weight to the left and crashed to the wet floor as bullets punched fist-sized holes in a random pattern through the door. Raze returned fire back through the wall and door, hoping for a hit. Her shots knocked the door open into the stairwell, so Patch took the opportunity to fill it with flame. Screams of agony mixed with the roar of fire. Patch pulled his oxygen mask over his face and motioned for the others to follow suit. "Get ready to run! I'll lead!" Patch yelled. They gathered close and Patch stuck the nozzle into the stairwell again, making sure he had flamed both up and down the stairs before charging into the inferno. He kept his hand clamped tight to the handle of the flame thrower, casting the deadly yield ahead of him as he ran. It was hard to see what was going on around him, but he could see the stairs, and that's all that mattered. Patch let up on the flame after the third flight. Doc was right behind him, followed by Raze, and all of them had fire clinging to their boots and small flames on various parts of their suits. A quick blast from the halon extinguisher stole the oxygen from the fires, putting them out...including the flame thrower. Patch motioned to Raze, who took the lead with her gun and the three wound their way up the last eight flights to the roof exit. "Give me the extinguisher, and then check to make sure the roof is clear," Patch haltingly ordered. Raze complied, pulling a second gun from her bag and cautiously departing through the door. Biting cold washed in, scraping at the exposed flesh around Patchs' mask. Patch pulled a roll of duct tape from his melted-in-some-spots bag. "What are you doing?" Doc demanded between gasps. "Watch," was all Patch bothered to reply. Raze returned in seconds. "Roof's clear." "Let's go. We've got to hold 'til Gecko gets here." Patch taped the handle of the extinguisher down and left it, stepping out into the gusting wind and closing the door behind him. He knew that the halon gas would dis- place the oxygen from the landing and the stairs below, making it nearly impassable to anyone who didn't have an oxygen tank. When Patch looked around he felt like he had stepped out into a nightmarish abyss. The roof was so deeply buried in the clouds it gave him the impression that he standing on a floating fragment of land, adrift in an even gray void. The landing lights created an ambient glow in the cloudy vapor, the brighest ones flashing blue and amber. Frigid wind pulled at his clothes. Not a single other building was visible through the haze. Patch jogged over to where Doc and Butch knelt by the south helipad. He dropped crushing weight of his bag and flamethrower, followed quickly by his helmet, oxygen tank, and jacket. The release of the suffocating body heat inside the fireman's suit allowed the biting cold to rush in and flash-freeze his skin. The icy wind gnawed, almost painfully, through his sweat soaked T-shirt and into his face, smog vapor tingling through him as he inhaled. Patch felt everything so vividly ... so alive. But his immediate situation intruded into his mind, he knew he still had work to do. He knelt by the others and stuffed his gear into his duffel bag, then put his normal respirator and goggles on. Patch could hear the faint sounds of a helicopter. "Stay here," he yelled over the wind. "I'm going to light the other stairwell on fire so they can't get to us!" Patch fished his lighter out of his bag and grabed the flame thrower, checking the preasure as he ran across the flashing roof. He hadn't even used a quarter of the fuel yet. Reaching the access door, he knelt in front of it. The structure provided no protection from the wind, so he placed the flame thrower against the door frame, freeing his hand to shelter the lighter. Fuel in the nozzle lit as soon as the flame touched it and plastic from the twisted end of the 'thrower dripped and sizzled on the damp roof. Patch watched to make sure the flame stayed lit before he put his lighter away and reached for the doorknob. A bullet torpedoed through the door near the lock, spinning Patch in a half-circle and depositing him on his face. He felt like someone had kicked him in his right shoulder. He could here gun shots tearing through the door above him, receding in the distance. He rolled twice to his left to get out from under the shadow of the door, pain stabbing through his shoulder with each motion. His right arm refused to obey his commands, so Patch used his left to pull his gun from its shoulder holster. He heard more gun shots on the roof and saw Raze running in his direction, both guns pumping bullets back through the door. She reached his side, dropped one gun, and used that hand to pull Patch to his feet, shoving him in the direction of the south helipad. Her propelling him into motion helped clear the numbness of shock from his head. The pair began to back up at a trot towards the south helipad, Patch emptying rounds into the door while Raze put in a new clip. Patch could see Gecko's chopper dropping to the helipad while bullets continued to audibly cut through the air around them. It set down with its tail pointed north, the side door open. Doc heaved the mainframe inside, followed by the duffel bags. "Let's just run for it!" Raze yelled. Patch nodded. They sprinted the last half of the roof and were less then ten running steps from the door. Doc leaned out of the chopper and yelled, but his message was torn away by the sound of the whirling blades. He started to raise his gun. Raze suddenly disappeared from the edge of Patch's vision with a grunt, then a sream of pain. The airy sound of a bullet sped over his shoulder, catching Doc in the forehead and snapping his head to the side. His body tumbled out of the chopper while Patch spun and dropped to one knee. Two guards had exited the access room, guns extended toward them, a third was stepping through. The muzzle of one guard's gun flashed twice. One bullet cratered the ground to the left of Patch, while the other plucked through the hair above his ear. Patch answered with three measured shots. One. After. Another. The first tore a chunk from the door frame, the second struck the shin of the guard coming out of the door. The third pierced the metal skin of the flame thrower standing next to the door. The compressed gas tore the canister apart, rending the door, the guards, and most of the door frame to splinters. Raze was clutching at her pulverized and torn knee, so Patch tossed his gun into the chopper, took her by the hand and hauled her to the vehicle. He helped her to her feet and she pulled herself inside. Together, they managed to get Doc's body in the chopper. "Go, go!" Patch yelled once he was in. Gecko directed the vehicle skywards, pressing them down with the G-forces. "Beautiful fucking plan." Raze said to Patch as she tied a tourniquet above her knee, tears lining her pain-taught face. Patch examined Doc's wound and tried to ignore her comment. The bullet had entered his right eye socket, barely grazing the eye, and had dug out a divot from his skull that encompassed most of the right temple region. Patch did the best he could to keep Doc alive and to staunch the blood flow ... Doc didn't die for five minutes while Patch listened to his distorted, animal-like groans. Gecko kept the chopper red-lining for speed all the way to the mountains. No police helicoptor had a chance to catch up and radar became useless once Gecko started to weave through the mountains. They dumped Doc's body along the way. Soon they were on the ground of Geckos' secluded landing pad. Patch's shoulder had been hit at an upward angle just below the collarbone, cracking it, and the bullet exited cleanly just above the shoulder blade. It would heal well enough. Raze, however, was going to need recon- structive surgery. It took the next two and a half hours to get their wounds dressed, destroy the back ups, clean up the chopper, and drive back to town. The whole time Patch kept replaying the day over in his mind, trying to see where he could have been faster, or plan better. But he always came back to the feeling of warm blood flowing through his fingers and sharp edges of bone scraping his palm and fingers. And the groans. It didn't take long to extract the files from the mainframe and Gecko was off to the meet. Patch and Raze stayed at the planning room and arranged for a back- door operation for her knee. While they waited for Gecko to return, Raze approached Patch. "Rand, I want to apologize for coming down on you earlier. Any way that I look at it we would have faced more problems without your plan. I was just worked up. Doc should have kept his head inside the chopper." "No, it was my fault. I shouldn't have stopped to take off my gear. Otherwise, I could have had those stairs aflame before the guards got there. I fucked up and he's dead." "He knew the risks." "Jesus!" "Don't give me that! It sounds bad but it's true." "It doesn't change anything." "It should." There was a short silence and Patch thought about what she had said. He knew he couldn't change what had happened and he should stop kicking himself. I wasn't the first time someone he knew had been killed when some minor action would have prevented it. He wondered about the others who had died today. People all around the nation would be hearing about this and condemning his actions over breakfast ... even those who had hired him. But when all was said and done he knew that he was the same in spirit as the Grim Reaper. The thought pissed him off. He would have been happy to have pulled it off without anyone getting hurt and he responded with the force that seemed necessary, only using lethal force when it was used against his team. It was too late, the stone had already been cast, for him to not see the monster, or rather tool of a monster, that he had become and try to find some virtue left in his life. Or was it. He had become a street operative in defiance of the cold hard world of the corporation's construction. He had believed that you could either live for this world vision, under its power, stamped into the mold it made for you, or find your own freedom--which will be against it. And it will be a fight for your life. But what was the difference between being paid to push buttons or pull a trigger and steal? His escape from corporate power just put him down, a pawn of its darker side. Where was this freedom he wanted? In love of a woman or God, or do either of these last outside the church or the lover's arms? These were questions that he had no ready answer for. The problem still remained-- he was hurt bad, his mind was filled with troubles. He needed his time to rest, a sojourn away from everything he knew to find out what he truly felt was a good way to live his life. Maybe being a killing demon was the only way live and have even limited freedom. But his stomach was full of it and he needed to at least try another way. Patch made his decision. "What's your name?" Patch asked. "...Sabrina Easten. Why do you ask?" "It's hard to ask a woman to run off to the tropics with you if you don't know her name." "Well, well. I thought you too professional to start a relationship with a partner." "I'm thinking of retiring with this least for a while. So I'm not breaking any personal codes." "I'd love to go, Rand. Just tell me one thing. Is this going to involve fire in any way?" "What do you think?" ############################################################################## ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ +----------------+ | Last Word \ | By Steven Peterson \ +----------------------+ We're back ... and behind schedule. So sorry, faithful readers-- the holiday break took a larger toll than expected. Over the next several months, you can expect a fresh fragment every three weeks or so, depending on the creative flow, the tides, the moon, and whatever else moves and shakes us. And hey, feel free to move and shake us with your ideas, stories, letters and whatnot -- email is our life .... Over the break, our sysop changed all the student account numbers, may take awhile for us to get all the new numbers together on the masthead. Until then, all staff members can be reached at the general org_zine address. The change was necessary, people were objecting to sending their social security numbers out over the 'Net. Live Well, People -Ed. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ICS would like to hear from you. We accept flames, comments, submissions, editorials, corrections, and just about anything else you wish to send us. We will use things sent to us when we think they would be appropriate for the issue coming out. 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