Thursday, February 24, 2011

Things I Miss

When I heard news of the death of Stuart Cable, the drummer from the band Stereophonics, I
dismissed it as yet another tragedy and a classic case of rock and roll overload.  Something drew me to investigate the band, and I went to the song "Maybe Tomorrow".   The yearning and sadness of the song aroused feelings in me.  I would have to call these feelings melancholy because I watched the video of the song and I saw young men doing what they loved to do: write and play songs, preparing for a rock concert.  It was something I had hoped to do as a young man but never achieved.  I had too many character flaws; I wasn't enough of a team player to work with a band.  I had to be the boss.  Then this poem emerged.  







The things I miss the most
are things I never had,
or things I had but was too dense
to know they were there.
I miss loving when I was young.
I miss believing my future would be beautiful.
I miss having people weep
at a work of art I made,
while I weep at a work of art
someone else has made.
I miss the song I didn't learn how to write.
I miss the book I didn't publish
because I was so high I couldn't find the page.
I miss readers to love me, and I miss writers
to love.
I miss my life, the one I'm not living.
I miss the world, the one that's dying.
I miss the bears.  I miss the elephants.
I miss trees of mahogany.
The reefs at Bimini are empty of fish.  
I miss people who know themselves.
If there were more,  they might have helped me.
I miss knowing myself.  If I had, sooner, I could have enjoyed being young.
I missed half my life while I was living it.  I don't want to miss the rest of it.
It is possible, after all, that my future is beautiful.
It is possible.



Sunday, February 20, 2011

LOST: ONE MALE LIBIDO

                                               


This libido was last seen on December 31, 2015.  It is approximately ten feet tall, six feet wide and four feet deep.  It has between twelve and twenty horns of various descriptions.  It's covered in long brown fur and has eyes all the way around its vaguely cylindrical body.  The number of fingers, tentacles and hands it may possess are unknown at this time as it has been known to sprout extra limbs at moments of high stress.  It is not very intelligent but possesses a wild cunning that can take pursuers off guard.  If you see this libido DO NOT APPROACH IT.  DO NOT ATTEMPT A DIALOGUE.  IT IS NOT AMENABLE TO REASON.  Call the local sheriff's department, dial 911 or email me at artsdigiphoto@gmail.com.



There are commonly available and well known tranquilizers that calm this libido but I discourage their use except in extremely dangerous situations.  Under proper conditions this is a highly trained and valuable libido.  I am reluctant to cause it damage or harm. You might call it by one of its names: Thor, Zeus or Johnny.  This tactic may backfire, however, for if it is Johnny and is called Thor or Zeus it gets very upset.  Likewise if it is Thor and is called Johnny, etc.  The best approach is simply to say, "Hey big guy.  How's it hangin'."  It has been trained to recognize this as a non-threatening mnemonic.  It may trigger my libido's desire to return to its so-called master.


I repeat: DO NOT APPROACH THIS LIBIDO. CALL THE AUTHORITIES OR NOTIFY ME AS SOON AS POSSIBLE at artsdigiphoto@gmail.com.
REWARD OFFERED: I will give you, free of charge,  my guaranteed technique for healing all stress, depression and emotional trauma.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Sonic Vandals: A Hip Hop Story




Copyright 2012 by Art Rosch


           It’s one thirty in the morning.  A sound starts in the distance, barely audible.  The sound is almost subliminal, but it grows.  It grows at first gradually, but quickly acquires momentum as it approaches.
            Boom!  Boom!  Ka boomboom!  Kaboomboom!  Louder and louder it comes, like an approaching stampede, like an apocalypse.  BOOM BOOM KABOOM!  It crescendos and throws me from sleep like an earthquake.  BOOM BOOOM BOOOOOM!
            Then it fades away at the same speed at which it arrived and passed.  Boom boom.  Kaboom boom.  Kaboom.
            It’s a Boomkar.  It’s a vehicle whose purpose is to transport sonic vandals all night, waking  those who are asleep.  It is a variant of tribal drum language.  It may signal other Boomkars, some from hostile tribes, to converge upon a battleground.  They are Cadillac, Pontiac, Toyota, Honda, Dodge, Ford and other vehicles whose back seats and trunks have been converted into loudspeakers. These procedures transform hip hop bass lines into lethal sound weapons.  They are expressions of power.
            Battle is joined at a mall parking lot.  Vehicles arranged in ranks like Roman legions crank up their amplifiers. 
The balcony of my apartment has a perfect view of the Northway Mall parking lot.  I witness a BoomBattle first-hand.  It's dreadful.  The karnage is indescribable.
            It begins with the appearance of the chieftains from opposing tribes.  A Humvee and an Escalade roll ominously forward until they are nose to nose.  Their commanders emerge from the vehicles to relay hand signals to their deeji at the control consoles.  All Boomkar warriors are deaf.  They have no choice but to communicate with hand signals.
            The leader of the Escalade Krew is the infamous Doctor Doghouse.  Stepping out of the black Humvee is the equally notorious B.G.F. Fatpimp
            The Escalade’s Doctor Doghouse crosses his arms to form an “X” at chest height.  The fingers of both hands are flashing the "devil's horns" sign, the most notorious challenge of  gang sign language.  He wears shorts that almost reach his ankles but are so baggy he could fit two of himself into each leg.  His opponent, Fatpimp,  weighs three hundred pounds, but is dressed much the same. His shorts could house a large family of desert Bedouin with room to spare. Brand new baseball caps with their still-rigid shapes and original price tags are worn sideways at such and such an angle, just so. The chieftains posture at one another, fingers pointed in all directions, arms crossed, knees bent, shoulders rolling.
          One would assume that these are signs of insult, that is,  the tribal champions are flashing merk.  Of course, flashing merk don’t mean shit unless actual weapons are involved.   Nobody's gonna get capped sideways.
This is easy merk, not the hard kind.  The weapons are the Boomkars themselves.
The next part of the ritual is for each chief to reach into the pocket of his giant shorts and produce a knot.  At this point there is an advantage to the Escalade, because Doghouse’s knot is head up in c-notes, real hundreds, and as he withdraws the thick rubber band, he can easily show that the c-notes aren’t just bush for ones and fives.  The knot is deep in c-notes.  Fatpimp loses a load of headroom, his knot shows a couple c’s a couple twens, and a whole lotta ones.  Bad tone for Fatpimp.  Sometimes low quap is worse than no quap.
            The chiefs walk in their stylized manner, limbs loose and arms flailing, fingers folded into complex semaphores.  They circle one another, making a figure eight, which takes each chief around the opponent’s ride.
            Then the Escalade fires up its amps. 
            Boom, kachic!  A boom boom.  Ka chik-boomachic boomachic!
            I am at least a quarter mile distant, and the concussion of the bass roils my intestines. 
            In response, the Humvee emits another riffle: Kachik boom!  Kachik boom boom boom! Kachik- kachik-kachik-boom.  Taboom boom!
            Only a few words of the incantation are audible. The bass and the snare slap dominate the asphalt-juddering roar.  There are repeated calls of key code phrases.  “Motha fucka!  Motha fucka!  Motha fucka!  Yo! Yo!  Mothafucka Yo!”  That's the Escalade.  The Humvee snarls back.  “Gonna get up yo booty!  Gonna get up yo booty!  Phat bee-ahtch gonna sit on it, sit on it!”
            Cracks begin to spread from beneath each vehicle.  The vocalizations, I believe, are calls of love to the chieftains’ ladies.  Or perhaps they are calls to the fathers of women in other tribes, women desired by Fatpimp and Doghouse.  These calls are meant to demonstrate the impressive character and power of each chief.
          My scrotum is vibrating from the din.  Both cars hold equal volume and blare at one another.  The Escalade’s hubcaps suddenly blow into the air with such force that one of them shatters a sixty foot mercury vapor lamp.  Doctor Doghouse makes a sign to his deej: up the volume!  Turn on the extra amps.  Kick out the jams, motherfucker!
            The Humvee begins to fold and rumple along its width.  The imperial nine and a half foot grille and headlights compress.  The roof folds upon itself until the vehicle is perhaps eight feet wide.  Seven and a half.  Six feet!  Cracks widen beneath both Kars.
            “Mothafucka!  Booty.  Mothafucka!  Booty!  Get up get up get up!  Clap yo hands! Get up!  Booty.  Fucka!  Ooo.  Kachik.  Beeahtch!  Boom boom boom!”
           The pavement gives way with a giant splongk! and both cars fall into a sinkhole.  Doctor Doghouse’s fingers are gripping the ragged edges of the crater.  He manages to climb out.  His torn shorts are sucked under his armpits.  Droopy white socks look sad and lost sitting atop sneakers that look like M-1 Abrams battle tanks.  He looks back into the hole.  There is no sign of the Humvee’s Fatpimp.  The vehicles belonging to Doghouse’s tribe suddenly roar to life, each one circling the phalanx of their opponents’ Boomkars.  Their amps are turned all the way up.  The acrid smell of burning electronics reaches me on my perch above the parking lot.  Smoke blows from the trunks and windows of Boomkars.  The din is cataclysmic.  Escalade Boomkars circle the defeated Humvee tribe’s Boomkars. 
            Boom boom kaboom boom kaboom boom boom!  Chik chik snap bap boom, chaboom!
            There is a distant wailing.  The Boomkars skid in swathes of rubber as they disperse in all directions.  Twenty, twenty five police cars are screaming their way to the Boomkar Battle. 
            By the time they reach the scene of the karnage, all that remains is a giant sinkhole with the wreck of a Humvee in its depths.  B.G.F. Fatpimp is gone.  A faint boom boom seems to emit from the hole.  That may be my imagination.  Or perhaps it is a dying echo bouncing off a building far away, a feeble remnant of the battle between tribes of sonic vandals.




Friday, February 18, 2011

CONFESSIONS OF AN HONEST MAN

Writing a query for a book is difficult.  Until recently I've never written a satisfying query, description, synopsis or blurb about my autobiographical novel.  I've never even come close to writing something that gives me the gut feeling that this is RIGHT, this captures the essence of CONFESSIONS OF AN HONEST MAN.  Now, however, I've written a blurb that carries the punch I've wanted and failed to write.  I've written a short "something" (I don't know what to call it), that feels good.

This is it:

Regarding CONFESSIONS OF AN HONEST MAN.
Read this book if you like dark edgy humor.
Read this book if you want to be touched by a character who bucks the odds and wins.
Read this book if you’ve had an addiction, compulsion or neurosis that really messed up your life.
Read this book if you love jazz or if music has played an important role in your life.
Read this book if you were an underdog in high school.
Read this book if you’ve done something you knew was wrong but couldn’t help yourself.  Then you did it again and again.  Read this book if you want battle scenes in Afghanistan to rivet your attention so  you can't stop turning the pages.
Read this book if you want to know what Jimi Hendrix was really like.
Read this book if you love lyrical, poetic language.
Read this book if you long to see villains get karmic justice.                

Read this book if you identify with characters who are healing deep wounds in their souls and you want to heal along with them.
Read this book if you’ve had  therapy or  psychiatric treatment.
Read this book if you want to meet a family so dysfunctional that you'll conceive a new appreciation for your own family.
Read this book if you want to know the difference between “chemical imbalances in the brain” and true evil. Read this book.  Satisfaction guaranteed. One million year warranty.


Falling Off

The expression "It's all good" has become so pervasive that it's little more than a cliche.  Like many cliches,
it contains wisdom, but the "all good" has become washed away by endless vapid repetition.  I wrote this poem on July 4, 1999.  I guess it's my version of "it's all good."


Falling Off



It always falls

off,

away from the center,

to one side or the other,

just as you thought

you had the perfect understanding

the right groove,

the hint of a divine moment.

The divine moment is in

the off

as much as the on,

the sour stomach,

the moment of paranoia,

the lancing of passionate bubbles. 

There is no off.

There is only on, 

and the other on.        




Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Brilliant Jewish Guys' Network

This news flash from Long Island, New York.

The Brilliant Jewish Guys' Network has finally solved an ancient and thorny issue. The network's public relations officer, Bernie Swelling, has announced a startling new treaty between the BJGN, The Gorgeous Shicksa Collective and the Union for Funky Old Broads.  This development has arisen out of notorious psycho-sexual dynamics that have long been simmering between these three organizations.  While the Brilliant Jewish Guys have long confessed their weakness for Gorgeous Shicksas, a complaint has also surfaced that the aforesaid Schicksas lack skill and imagination.  On the other hand, the Funky Old Broads seem to possess these qualities in abundance.  An arrangement has been reached whereby the Jewish Guys can look at naked Gorgeous Shicksas while actually making love to Funky Old Broads.  This historic agreement, says Bernie Swelling, will change the world as we know it.  "It's a win-win-win situation" comments the celebrated flack "or at least a win-maybe-win-maybe situation.  Or something like that."

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

For Men Who Are Paranoid About Balding

          The Ambassador to my Head has notified me that the illegal migration of the Scalp Cover Tribe to adjoining countries has taken on such alarming proportions that urgent intervention is needed.  Debate in the Congress, Knesset and Duma centers around whether to send in the Rapid Response Force from the international consortium Hair Club For Men.  There is much political opposition to this move; the public fears too high a casualty rate.  The air war has failed, however.  Suspension of low-level attacks from the A-10 Grecian Formula squadrons have had no effect.  Senator Balding has suggested a high intensity Rogaine attack, lasting three months.  Premier Loksov, however, bristles at this suggestion, since all Rogaine manufacturing complexes exist in the Western Bloc.  The Premier advocates saturating the Crown Region with Vodka, a time tested Russian remedy.  Meanwhile, Hair Club troops are massing at the borders with their implant tools.  Reinforcements from Guido’s Toupee Emporium and reservists from the Comb-Over Cartel are also approaching from the south.
            Diplomatic remedies have failed.  The Scalp Cover tribes are adamant that they will migrate from the top of the head to the shoulders and upper back.  Civil authorities are preparing escape routes should the war be lost and the Big Hair Clans over-run not only the upper back but reach the lower back, with renegade tribes popping out of the nose and ears.     

Monday, February 14, 2011

Everything

I wrote this poem when I was twenty five years old.  A lot of my juvenilia has been tossed or lost; no great tragedy there. This poem has lasted.  I was deeply under Rilke's spell at the time.  I don't often show or read this poem.  Maybe a few poetry lovers will come this way and appreciate its intensity.



Everything is in a look.
Yet still, everything
is in looking away.
Unable to breathe suns from each other,
we turn to contemplate
lonely space,
and wash our hearts
with what warmth remains.
And again, that look,
rending the cosmos,
pours from the vat of creation
in our eyes.
The unspeakable love dashes its silences
to death,
against the perimeters of our exiles.
Yet, and there is always a yet,
to be born, to be resurrected
in a touch.  The miracle is
that my skin was made to meet your skin,
that unknowable lightnings are our servants
to carry the burdens of love and loneliness.
Somehow my universe gathers energy
and spreads, with the vague arms of an amoeba
to some call on the horizon.
No matter that horizons always recede;
if you too were to will your stars and dust
towards the furthest reach,
perhaps we would meet on some plain
lit by the ecstasy of celestial collision.
And perhaps we must die
to know each other.

Look!  I would fling off my skin
like a cloak,
to show you the sun that burns within.
But as it is, only my face,
and what desperate radiations that can pass
through this terrible cloak
may reach you.
Know me!  Know me!
Not by my escapes into smiles
but by my facelessness,
too full to shine,
too lonely to weep.
We are infinity
yet the mystery is always a deeper note
than we can hear.
Hearken to the remotest timbre,
it rises from our source
but hides its silence.
Listen to the mask of music,
behold the facade of suns,
yet be ready to fling them away
to peer into the depth beyond depth.
Love only wears faces to entice us
in our simplicity.
God dons the robe of the cosmos
that we may not plunge into her nakedness
before we ourselves are naked love.




Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Importance Of Poo

Poop Bags and Fire Logs:  The genius of American Marketing



            A woman is walking her toy poodle down Rodeo Drive.  The dog is elaborately coiffed.  Puffs of hair at the legs and atop the head are shaved so precisely that the creature seems to have been groomed in a machine shop by a computer-guided laser cutter.  The dog and the woman bear striking resemblance.  Both have long pointed noses and hair that is glossed with mechanical precision.  The woman is in her fifties, and her face is so full of botox that it looks as if someone has grabbed the skin at the back of her neck and pulled, hard, then pinned the seam shut and buffed it over to make it disappear in the red-brown hair that curls down across her collar.  A purse strap rests in the joint of her left elbow, dangling a small designer bag.  Her right hand holds the leash that keeps the dog at a careful ten foot distance as it sniffs at planters and street signs.  The dog pauses at the foot of a truncated redwood barrel in front of a store that sells expensive shoes.   The barrel is planted with azaleas.  It exudes a woody fragrance that competes bravely with the fumes of passing cars.
            The poodle circles several times before it squats, sniffing and searching for the perfect spot.  Then its spindly back legs spread apart, the shaved parts of its thighs looking like chicken legs in a butcher shop cooler.
            The woman looks into the shop window, regards her reflection layered over the displays of shoes.  She is allowing the proper interval for her dog to defecate.  She refuses to look at the dog while it does its business.  When the tension on the leash indicates that the dog is done, the woman reels the leash to bring the animal to her side. 
            "Stay," she says, and slips the leash handle over an ironwork scroll that decorates a nearby bench.  The little dog sits in contentment.  The woman opens her little purse and removes a somewhat long blue plastic baggie.  She kneels holding her knees together, thrusts her hand inside the baggie and, using it as a glove, scoops up two warm turds.  The expression on her face is only slightly modified.  She no longer has the use of a goodly number of her facial muscles, gone to botox paralysis.  Only her nostrils tighten and a slight wrinkle of revulsion pokes through the artificial smoothness of her forehead.
            She can feel the steamy new heat of the dog shit.  She makes an effort not to close her fingers over the poodle's production of poo.  Still, she can't help but apply pressure to the fresh arrivals on the sidewalk.  They squish a little as she neatly pulls them into the bag and quickly loops the bag shut on itself and tosses it into the trash bin provided by the town of Beverly Hills.
            I can't prevent myself from feeling a little frisson of pleasure.  Oh how close are the woman's fingers to that poo!  How much, a thousandth of an inch?  A tenth of a milimeter?  Her entire soul recoils in horror.  She has maids from El Salvador for jobs like this.  It would be too ridiculous, of course, to drag along a maid to pick up little Alicia's poo.  The rich woman will hold her nose and do her citizen's duty.
            It's the bags that interest me.  They are products of marketing ingenuity that
meet the criteria for brilliance in the capitalist system.  They are cheap to produce,
they sell in huge quantities at a price that is many multiples of the original cost.
            Imagine going online and ordering a box of thirty dog poop bags for five dollars.  It's not very wise shopping.  The website dogwaste.com sells institutional quantities: a thousand bags for thirty five dollars, or ten thousand for two seventy five.  The website shithappens.com sells designer poop bags that are fully biodegradable.  These clever boutique poo bags claim to have "built-in scoop action" and retail in packages of sixteen for around twenty dollars.  Ouch!  Expensive!  But they look so chic.  They have handles and are decorated with images of dog breeds and have humorous printed messages such as "shit happens" and "size matters".  Oh boy.
            At Flushdoggy.com you get a hundred bags for twenty bucks.  They're sturdy enough to do the dirty, with the added feature that they dissolve in water.  Flushable dog poo in a bag, that's what they're selling.  The easy, "green", thoughtful way to dispose of your portion of the 29,000 tons of poop that are daily produced by dogs in America.
            I live in an RV campground.  This is a business whose survival depends upon an infinite supply of cheap poo bags   They are dispensed at convenient locations throughout the campground and everyone who walks past a dispenser grabs two or three for later use.  We have two dogs and three cats.  We fill the bags with used kitty litter and poodle doody.  I'm glad I don't have to buy the damn things.
Campground management doesn't provide the best in amenities.  The TV reception is a joke, and using the internet wi fi is like trying to play basketball on a trampoline.  But at least they've got complimentary poo bags.
            I wish my dad had been in something as profitable as poo bags.  I'd be rich.  I could expect to inherit some money when my dad's time comes.  Unfortunately he owned a Dunkin' Donuts franchise.  He worked hard for every penny.  He struggled to provide for his family.  He lugged sixty pound sacks of flour, stayed up all night running big mixers and standing over a deep fryer whose grease was popping at four hundred degrees.
            Think high margin, dad.  Think cheap to produce, high volume sales, a thousand percent markup.  Something like fire logs.  Nothing but sawdust and paraffin, probably cost a dime to make, sell for five bucks a log.
            Or pharmaceuticals.  How big is the profit margin in pharmaceuticals?  How much does it cost to produce one of those five dollar antiobiotic pills that my wife needs during one of her bouts of pneumonia?
            This is the nature of capitalism.  Buy low, sell high.  You'd think there should be some kind of line, some restraint on greed.  But the degree and nature of this restraint invokes an old argument, a political debate that's been going on for generations. 
            When you're broke, and you get pneumonia, and you need twenty pills for a thousand dollars to save your life, there is no argument.  There is only desperation and anger.
            On the other hand, I don't begrudge the wealth accumulated by the makers of dog poo bags.  When we got our dogs, we agreed to abide by the regnant paradigm, the social contract that requires people to police their own animals.
            What kind of world would this be, if people just left their dog shit where it fell?
             

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Webber's Moon

They knocked down my door at three o clock in the morning. They were waving Microsoft badges, but these guys weren’t Special Internet Squad. They were something else. They wore teflon bike helmets, jump boots, and mauve lab coats. The leader, a tall skinny man with a face like a turtle’s back, waved a wrist-light in my eyes. “Software Police”, he said, flashing an ID card that I couldn’t read. I was only capable of alarmed grunts. Someone turned on the light. I was surrounded by heartless geeks. I’d heard about them:  Microsoft Special Ops, otherwise known as Gaters.

“You haven’t paid for software since ninteen ninety two. That’s twenty eight years. Quite a run”. The tall guy was talking to me but he was reading from his heads-up display; his eyes were focused on his glasses. “You’ve copied Space Birds a hundred forty two times for friends. You’ve been using Word 2000 for decades without registering. You’ve got five hundred and eighty seven violations of the Download Code. Seven hundred incidents of using duplicate numbers. I’m afraid you’re going to have to come with us.”

They put me in a cubicle. I was at the center of a vast chamber full of cubicles. If I could see what the security cameras were seeing, I would have viewed myself diminishing like the planet earth receding as the scale of the universe enlarged. I could hear interrogations like the murmuring of a room full of telephone operators. In the next cubicle someone was saying, “We can take your wifi license away from you, you know? Turn it off. How would you like that? Are you ready to tell us who gave you the unauthorized copy of Etherscape Modulator?”

Now that I think back, it was heavy handed enforcement like this that led to the AOL-Microsoft civil war. First came the Pooki Virus Riots, then a lot of people were ripped off by the Devil Snatchware bug. The government was useless. Bill Gates and Steve Case were having a hard time agreeing about the new wraparound. People started wearing AOL hats and t-shirts and calling themselves owls. The MS battalions responded in kind; but the name Softies stuck, and it drove them crazy. There were street brawls; there were hack attacks. No one could read email or chat for twenty nine days, and you can imagine how tense people got. Computers are very emotionally charged objects. A tweeter named Al Turnhauer got on the roof across from the AOL office and started firing an AK-47.

AOL lost the war, of course. Softies had all the terabytes. Their hard drives were bigger. Gates dictated the terms of the wraparound after eleven days of warfare in and around the big cities. The new company was called AmeriKaSoft. Owls and softies became mowls.

So I’m listening to this shit in the next cubicle when a gater appears over the top of the partition. She’s got bangs, thick black sixties glasses, and her chatreuse lab coat was open to reveal a bit of cleavage. There was something sexy and menacing about her.

“So you’re Webber Mendelsohn,” she said, taking the other ergonomic chair. She wore an ID on a chain that said Paula Shapiro, but she didn’t introduce herself. She too, was looking at the display on her glasses. I hate that about the new technology: there isn’t any more eye contact.

“You say that like I’m some kind of famous guy. I mean, ‘So you’re Webber Mendelsohn’ sounds like I’m somebody, and I’m not, believe me, I’m just a do-nothing putz who spends too much time at his computer, I mean...”

The Gater lady held up a hand, which stopped my nervous rattling. “Nonsense. You were a Colonel-Hacker during the civil war. You had twelve hundred computers in your network.” For a moment, there was a flicker of eyes looking outward, at the objective world. She almost, but not quite, looked at me.

“Is that why I’m here? This isn’t really about violations of the download code.”

The woman scratched herself right below her collarbone. “You have a lot of special skills," she said.  To get to the itch, she had to move her blouse a little farther apart. It may have been a calculated gesture, but that was beyond me. The lady was deep into bureaucratic narcissism. I didn’t really exist.

“You, Webber Mendelsohn, are the hacker who mooned the world from the jumbo-tron at Super Bowl Fifty Two.”

My shoulders went up towards my ears and I squinted like I’d been caught masturbating in a public toilet stall. That was my first reaction. Then I felt pride: at last somebody knew and acknowledged my stupendous feat of hackmanship.

“That was just me, a computer and a video camera in a garage in Wackasauckee. All I had was six gigs of RAM, a crappy old Belkin ethernet , but tell you the truth I coulda done it with a Mac Plus and a dial-up modem."

I just couldn’t stop myself from talking. My right leg was going back and forth about fifty times a second and I was twitching my left knee up and down from the pivot of my ankle.

The gater woman swung the rollers on her chair so that she was facing me, about fifteen inches away. I could see the characters rolling across her heads-up reflected in her glasses lens. I could smell soap.
Truth be told, I hadn’t been this close to a woman in four years. She inhaled, and I couldn’t stop myself from watching that little inch of cleavage rise towards my face and then recede.  Rise and recede, rise and recede.
It was hypnotic.

“Mr. Mendelsohn, look....” I was going to tell her to call me Webber, but the hand went up to forestall me.

“We know about your hacks. We know how many times you've hacked the DOD, the CIA, we know you
wiped out Citibank's credit records for three million people.  Bank of America would love to get their hands on you.   A modern Robin Hood, that's what you are.  Debt disappears from peoples' credit records and they don't even know what happened.  The ones that don't tell, they get away with it.  And believe me, nobody tells any more.   That's your doing. You've cost the banks billions of dollars."

This was making me nervous.  I worked hard to make my deletes anonymous.  If they were on to me, I was  in deep legal shit.  They could put me in jail forever.

Paula Shapiro watched me, her eyes actually tracked my face as if she knew what I was thinking.  She didn't have to be a genius to know what I was thinking.  Beads of sweat had popped out on my forehead.

"We have a job for you," she said, in a tone that allowed me to keep my dignity.  I was grateful for that.
She was treating me with respect.  I was just wondering what the price would be, what they would require of me to wipe the slate clean.

She wasted no time in telling me.
"We want you to do it again. We want you to do a big moon, just like at the Super Bowl.  Only this time your moon is going to be at the Pan Arab rally in Damascus during Bin Laden's speech.”

I opened my mouth a couple of times, fishlike. I was caught. I’d seen this scenario in a thousand Clancies. If I did the job, they’d drop the charges. Right. And I'd be working for THEM the rest of my life.

“My moon? My butt up there on a seventy eight foot TV screen, for the benefit of the entire Islamic world?”

The woman brushed a wisp of dark brown hair back from her forehead. “We can provide you with the latest equipment. We have a million mbps fiber optic modem…”

“Wait a minute. If you want me to do this hack, you better put me in a garage somewhere with a monitor that has fried-chicken fingerprints and a keyboard encrusted with boogers. I gotta have the right working conditions or my inspiration dries up.”

So the idiots put me in a quonset hut somewhere in Maryland. It was partitioned to look like a garage, but it wasn’t the real deal. As the date for the Pan Arab Rally came closer, I knew I had a little power. I was sure they had fifty other guys trying to replicate my moon-hack, but it was a question of ‘touch’. It really wasn’t so technically daunting, just a matter of style, finesse and the unique Mendelsohn decryption subroutine.

So I told Paula, “Look babe, this isn’t working. If you really want my hairy ass in Osama’s face, you better take me back to Wackasauckee or at least someplace where smack is getting dealt on the streetcorner. Someplace real, you know?”

That’s how I ended up in a garage in Philadelphia, with my old equipment. The Mitsui monitor had years of my snot on it. If I held the keyboard upside down I could feed my cat for a week.

So what can I say? The thing went down. There was Osama, Asad, the Sabha family, the Sudan guy, the emirs from the gulf, Taliban, Abu-what’s- his name from Pakistan, all kind of getting along uneasily, pretending they didn’t want to plant those blades with the rhino-horn handles into each other’s spines.

The Akbar stadium was packed with well-trained crowds with banners, doing the Islamic version of the wave. And Osama got up to speak. As I watched Al Jazeera's feed from my Philly garage, Paula raised three fingers, two, then one, and nodded. I hit Enter, dropped my overalls, and there was this hairy Jew boy’s butt seventy eight feet big over Osama’s head. The crowd let out a moan like I’ve never heard. Everybody in the world who hated Osama hatched a new plot that night. The dictator of Islamistan was toppled the next day for a benign democratic regime, which was toppled the next week by Osama’s asshole cousin.

Me and Paula are doing fine, playing Space Birds in Wackasauckee.