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Plead the Fourth

I dock at the Newport Beach “Watchtower”, an old home I rarely get to visit.  It is July 4th, 2011 – 9am PST.  Apparently, I’m grossly behind schedule.

I’m not the first one to arrive.  There are hussies everywhere, vacationing prostitutes.  Shirtless men with Viking hats playing games with ping pong balls.  Parties in every other house.  The native old people batten down their hatches as if a drunken flesh tornado were coming and staying the night — because it is.

Premature fireworks explode and fade, the product of itchy, impatiently excited young patriots.  Sirens go off at random intervals, never very far away, reminding us all that somewhere very close, people are partying themselves into physical distress. An alarm clock message to all of us:  Step up your game, citizen!

For big events, my friends and I like to call on a spirit animal.  A spirit animal may take many forms depending on the event at hand.  At Coachella 2010, I was white fox / lone wolf.  At Coachella 2011, I was the laughing owl (Watson was an alligator).  Today, Bill Hicks is my spirit animal.

Watson and I center ourselves and hold a brief huddle on the roof.

Our Meeting’s Digest:  What is America?  An ideal.  A promise to strive for progression.  A more perfect union, which lets go of the constrictive, antiquated past.  America is an idea not bound to worshiping what was. It has been about worshiping what could be — the unwritten future.  Which is why America finds itself in a constant battle to auto-correct itself like some super iPhone versus a monkey with amateur opposable thumbs.  Three hundred years of cold ideological civil war.  The product?  Newport Beach Peninsula on the fourth of July.

There’s plenty more to do.  We can’t do it alone.  That’s what Bill Hicks is for.  He can be our Jesus (fall guy + savior).

“Yes, we are wearing torn gym shirts with a man’s face plastered on them.  Yes, we are disheveled.  We’re aware that people everywhere are dancing, screaming, and painting their faces like savages, and yes, that is fun.  But we’re just a couple of bored old souls up here drinking cheap beer with our chest hair out.  Talking about time travel.  We may spin some Radiohead later.  Really, this is what we do.  This is what we’re all about.  Take a seat.  Let me tell you about Hicksianity.”

Perhaps that’s laying it on a little thick.  Everyone relax.  Stay calm.  Nothing to see.  Just one pixel of Americana, here.  One splotch in the national Rorschach.  Move along.

We bathe in the sweat humidity and observe our surroundings.  We overhear one conversation, over and over, from a different person each time:

“Wait… Hello?  Where are you?  Who are you with?  I’m at the sand and… Wait, who are you with?  Is Justin there?  Tell Justin… Where are you guys?  Come to the beach.  Is this Justin?  Hello?  Can you hear me?  I’m on forty… something.  Come to the beach!”


Watson and I attempt to deprogram the brainwashed masses:

“Relinquish your illusions of control!  Extract yourself from the idealistic microcosm you have fashioned!  Join the Megaplex of national pride.  No segregation!  Things like this are happening all over the country.  You are a speck in the melting pot.  Congeal!  Congeal!”

Very little gets through.

We move to the beach.  What looks to be a mushroom cloud lurks in the distance.  Could be an imitator cumulonimbus.  Can’t say for sure.  50-50. Tie goes to the good weather.  The party must go on.

The memory movies are strong today.  Summer camp, I came to this beach.  High school, I came here cutting class to “surf”.  College?  I lived here, right in the heart of darkness, and I mimicked my surroundings.  And now… I’m only an observer.  Flashbacks left and right.  A visitor from the future.  When I was young, where was this me?  Where is the me who will return again, older and wiser?

I keep whipping my neck over my shoulder, looking for a T-1000 or a stalking Jesus. Nothing there except busty 18 year olds.  A miraculous relief.

The Nose radios in from close by.  He’s en route.  We are about to multiply.  The Nose’s special abilities are strong, and very handy.  He’s a master of sniffing things out and picking up scents.  He’s the first to know about everything.  Tip:  Whenever you’re anywhere, listen to whatever The Nose says.

The Nose joins our team and immediately begins to replace words with “Raug”.  Sentences are being vivisected left and right by his subversive nonsense.  People continue to act as if they understand.

The Nose:  “Raug Raug, want to hit the Raug and then Raug?”

Strange Local:  “Raug!”

Parrot see, Parrot do.  Put an infinite amount of parrots next to an infinite number of drinks and eventually, you get Shakespeare.  Then satire becomes mainstream, and before long, The Nose informs me that “Raug” is very out.

Ideals: you last a lifetime.  But Words: you are as impermanent as my music taste.

House to house, each party is blaring horrendous watered-down dubstep and heavy house.  Each year, the music changes like the tide.  A live-action car crash re-enactment of the awful trends we’re subjected to, care of Democracy.  It dawns on me that watching and listening to music genres as they form/evolve/torture/die in the Tweens of the 2000s is like watching stars supernova in slow motion.  Mini big bangs on fast forward.  Fireworks in the sky, smoke skeleton tracers.  Over and over, we all re-visit ourselves.  Embarrassments and all.

And I’m in love with that.  Swollen with true pride for our goop of mistakes yet-to-be auto-corrected.  These are the cracks in the pavement which will be smoothed over, gussied up by The Editor of some ignoramus history book.  These scenes will be deleted by memory and overlooked by newspapers.  These fractures are ours, and no one else’s.  Until they are erased, I pledge allegiance…


The above is an excerpt from The Psychosis Agent’s Field Reports – an episodic series about a young man driven completely insane by television.  His bubble gum stories, which are psychotic quests for meaning in banal occurrences, have been published in several issues of Banana Journal.

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