The Donald’s Revolution

 

 The Donald’s Revolution

by James L. Secor, Ph.D.

That part of the country that does not like Donald Trump–especially the radio and TV pundits and the Hillary supporters–and those modern Neville Chamberlains[1] who urge us to give the man a chance. . .I say, that part of the country will never be able to deal with The Donald because they are like three-year olds who are incapable of seeing someone else’s point of view. So, these Donald haters stand around bitching about him and what he’s doing and saying and, I suppose, figure that’s enough; that is, that bitching about him and his individual policies that daily become more and more obvious via his Cabinet choices is enough to take care of the problem of The Donald.

There is no thought here. There is no intelligence at all. Just a three-year old’s tantrum. Everything is interpreted through the three year old’s sensibility. And because no one has the separation to analyze and organize against The Donald’s very obvious anti-social bent, there will never be any focused effort to come to terms with The Donald and his concentrated aim, his purpose.

Because judging The Donald is the moral high ground, a definitely honorable yet useless cock-of-the-walk stance, there is no hope, for The Donald believes he exists outside of the bounds of accepted behavior. But just what does he believe? The misogyny, racism and general hate he articulates is not it. Like a recipe, the end product is not the individual ingredients.

Congress is totally useless, as they have been for quite a number of years, so nothing can be expected from this disparate bunch of greedy ideologues[2] who again cannot see past themselves and their childish wants. Like three-year old children, they are, each individual Congressman, stomping their feet and pouting. “No! I don’t want!” Though there might possibly be an outside chance that they actually manage to do something, they have become so settled into the nothin’ doin’ tar pit that a couch potato appears hyperactive.

The people? Even those who consider themselves political?

The people are historically, socially and politically ignorant, though it might be more PC to say naïve. They believe what they are told is the way to see things.  They are culturally isolated and, therefore believe their culture is the true and right culture, much like the 19th century Brits. They do not read anything that does not agree with their beliefs. Having thus chosen ignorance, the people, like The Donald’s followers, can be led around by the nose.[3]

Though the people who hate The Donald don’t have any perspicacity in understanding what’s going on, it is also true that the political machine–the individuals who ought to know–does not know what’s going on, either. But, then, they are part of the problem, the dysfunction. Whether anyone wants to admit it or not–aside from the few reporters who raised up this argument (and were left to wander aimlessly in the Desert of Silence)–The Donald has his finger on the tenor of the times: the country is in turmoil, people are alienated, and he’s going to change it, dammit! Just as he sees fit–his idea of a fix.

The problem? Social dysfunction that has left so many out and so many without. A dysfunction that allows no success or improvement for much of anyone. The dysfunction of a crippling economy that boisterously shoots itself in the foot while increasing the inhumanity shown to the people without whom the self-styled elite could not function. The dysfunction of a society in great denial, a society of exclusion; the same kind of arrogant exclusion found in the religions of The Chosen because, after all, the elite are chosen.[4]

The dysfunction-makers haven’t the damnedest idea what’s going on or what they’re doing, either. Greed. Power. Self-interest. And to hell with the rest of you. The elite status quo is perverted, being composed of ideologues who interpret policies and ideas for their own benefit–and then have the academics from the better universities helping them. As with Adam Smith and his Wealth of Nations: aside from the fact that Smith was dealing with “nations,” he believed that corporations were the bane of existence, the ruin of an economy. But the academics kind of forget this. On purpose.

Because ideologues give no thought at all to the repercussions, to the consequences of their exalted weltanschauung, the rest of society is barbarized. Like a cancer, the elite status quo does not see itself as dysfunctional because it is only interested in living. Like a parasite.

Does anyone know why it is parasites die?[5]

Let me see if I can give you an idea of what’s going on, for The Donald is no more than a symptom of dysfunction gone wild.

What to do? What to do? Oh, oh, oh!

With the loud and vociferous blatherings against The Donald and “what’s happened to this country,” none of these loud mouths manages to think further than their wagging tongues and their prognostications of the end of the world as we know it. You may be sure, though, they will be right there in the heart of the carnage declaiming with great vigor and self-righteousness, “I told you so!”

Why are they only clacking their gums? Probably because they just don’t know; probably because the elite status quo likes the dysfunction–and The Donald’s taking over; probably because they are part of the dysfunction. Even so, this does not mean all is lost. If people would just shut up their self-reflexive ranting and raving, they might actually begin to see what’s missing. . .and do something. Because what you don’t see is important.

So, what is happening beneath the clamoring chatter and damning personal attacks of The Donald and his disciples of hatred?

According to Chalmers Johnson’s Revolution and the Social System[6] what we have is an Anarchistic Revolution. Anarchistic Revolution? Just exactly what is this? Aren’t all revolutions the same? Answer: no. The US has witnessed many anarchistic revolutions and has lost every one it’s involved itself in.[7] Johnson says that these anarchistic revolutions “occur in response to conditions in the social system when major changes. . .have already occurred.” These changes are supposed to have relieved a social dysfunction. But they’ve not. Thus, these people believe that these changes they disapprove of are the cause of the dysfunction. These people want to relieve changes to the dysfunctional world that caused further dysfunction that arose from previous changes to solve the dysfunction that exists now.

Johnson notes this might also be called a nostalgic revolution, whether the nostalgia is true or, as in “Make America Great Again,” imagined and romanticized, because the feeling is that “before now” was a better time.

We live our lives by our dreams and feelings, our wants and desires, by our idea of purpose and value, thought and belief–and yet these drivers of life are based on “an integral without-ness.”[8] So that “Make America Great Again” may have no relation to actuality but what’s important is the belief that it does. This belief fires people with enthusiasm and they become infused by the idea and go out and do something about it: The Donald’s apostles.[9]

At the same time, believers of this slogan (or jingle) of a need to “Make America Great Again” are looking back onto a time when life was better for them, less complicated, a time when they had more control over their lives. . .they believe. These people are looking for a return to the good old days–a nostalgia for “the past.” When were they, those good old days? And whose good old days are they talking about? All imaginary. All scientifically, materially absent. And all vital to living.

The Anarchist Rebellion that is infused with this nostalgia comes via a time when there supposedly were no controls on behavior, no controls on business; that is, a belief in total freedom.

Once again, when you have unbounded freedom, you have no freedom at all; what you have is whatever goes, what you have is a free-for-all. No rules, no regulations, no guidelines, nothing to help you make a decision outside “fuck the other guy, I’m important.”

Real or fantasized is unimportant, because it is just this human characteristic of running our lives on emotions, feelings, ideas and desires that we need to consider. Terry Deacon calls these influences absentials because you cannot see, feel, touch or scientifically prove their existence yet they are central to behavior and life.[10]

What is important is how these absentials affect (and effect) our world. Two perfect examples of this are the ideologue and the do-gooder.

Marx saw anarchistic rebels and their nostalgia as people who feel they have been left out of the advancements of society. Indeed, an anarchist rebel does see himself as having been “bypassed by history–and now they’re going to reclaim it,” dammit![11] These people, this take-over by The Donald–it’s all about dysfunction and their impression of the dysfunction and the necessity of change to right the wrong.

And the social dysfunction(s), for they are real?

The sources of dysfunction are always ambiguous via non-labeling–a well-known political ploy–but nevertheless are threatening to the rebels. Personally threatening. But “me”–and the narcissistic and victimized me me me–can do nothing about it until a leader comes along to bring all the mes together.[12] Not, however, a true savior. As the believers are “already” prepared, like marinated meat, by an idealized tradition that drives them on even though the idealized tradition is unreal. That is to say, these anarchistic rebels are out of tune with their own historical reality. Which is good for The Donald and this Anarchistic Revolution.

This present Anarchistic Revolution comes as a “last resort in attempting to frustrate changes in the system that run counter to [their idea of] their established function.”[13] These people have poor prospects for the future because they are looking, lurching toward a utopia based on an idealized, romanticized notion of the way things ought to be. They are only looking backward. Not to be wondered at as the future holds naught but fear (one of Deacon’s absentials). They are driven by an unrealistic, unfounded fear one might call hysteria.

The elite status quo created this situation–the great dysfunction of unbounded freedom and much else–and wallows in it into a future they believe they own; and as the elite status quo backs the socio-historical myth of freedom that is the basis of this country, the anarchistic rebels believe this myth fervently and, without question, follow the elites’ lead; and so, they truly become the lost ones they only believe they now are. The elite status quo is totally indifferent to the consequences of its changes or to these dunderheaded rebels (whom they are nevertheless using to advance their agenda–double patriotism).

The elite status quo, in creating more social dysfunction, is fracturing society–but they don’t care and, so, bring about the Anarchistic Revolution and their own downfall. In the name of total unbounded freedom. Which they have made the disaffected believe is what the disaffected want. The chaos that ensues will bring about total destruction.

Anarchistic principles are short-lived and are situation-specific, like whimsy. The über-anarchistic rebels and The Donald can be attacked and overcome through this out-of-context behavior; though, in fact, the falling apart of the nation may be a necessary precedent to a solution.

The Anarchistic Revolution is a means of giving meaning, of finding form and sense in the present chaos; it is the physical manifestation of an absential, a potential something. The Anarchistic Revolution is a beginning place for ideas of change. And the change is not necessarily what the mob wants; it will be the change The Donald wants; he is only pitching it as hatred of this, that or the other person. Like a used car salesman selling you a lemon in the name of an unbelievable deal.

Realizing the absentials that are driving The Donald, we can work to manipulate them and can thus handle the future. But if all we’re going to do is bitch and point the finger and concentrate on what he’s doing “at this moment,” we’re lost; and then, when The Donald brings the edifice crashing down, we will have nothing to offer, not even a bandaid. Because we’ve concentrated on items out of context, individual and out of context.

What are the principles? His dreams, desires, beliefs, values, intentions, purpose–absentials, things that are not yet come about but point somewhere, that are important. His hatreds (fears?). Unbounded freedom. And something he said early on about running the country like a business?[14] Only a start, a starting place.

There is a major problem, though: Congress feels the same way, in a material and mechanistic way, judging from their verbiage and ideology and the pushes (putches?) they’ve made in the past. And Congress makes the laws.

Or we can look at this time as a return of the dark times of the dark god Tiamat.

[1] Neville Chamberlain was Prime Minister of Britain at the time of Hitler’s rise to power. Throughout, he kept telling people to give the man a chance, even after Hitler invaded Poland when he could not avoid taking the country into war.

[2] An ideologue is someone who is a blindly partisan adherent of a particular thought. There is no compromising with these sorts because any little tiny insignificant variance to the entirety of their thought is unacceptable. Ideologues are intolerant to the extreme. Visionary and idle speculators of some political or religious belief or other.

[3] Mark Twain remarked that people who do not read are more dangerous than people who can’t read. If we consider people who can’t read ignorant, then those who choose not to read choose ignorance over knowledge. If people read, they’d know the difference between socialism and communism. Paying attention to the absolute mess we’ve made in Africa with our idea of civilizing and advancement is one very good example of our arrogance and cultural narrow-mindedness, a result of not reading. In fact, it is not out of order to say that people do not know their own history. As evidence, the belief in the myth of the First Thanksgiving–and the subsequent behavior of the loving, open-minded and thankful god-fearing Pilgrims and white people: by the end of the 17th century there were virtually no Indians in New England, the very people who made it possible for the inept Pilgrims to survive.

[4] Social Darwinism: only the better sort succeed. And since everyone else is of the lesser sort they can be preyed upon.

[5] A parasite is a life form that lives in or on another life form (its host) and derives its nutrients, its ability to live at the host’s expense. As the host dies, so, too, does the parasite, having killed its food source. But it had a good go of it while it lasted. Cancer, tapeworm, leeches, lampreys, mistletoe, balamutha mandrilliaris.

[6] Hoover Institution Studies publication, Stanford University, 1964. No one since has done any study of a similar sort. One should look, nevertheless, into Ernst Cassirer’s The Myth of the State, even though The Donald is not the Moses.

[7] I think it might be interesting to look into what an anarchist is. Anarchists believe in unbounded freedom. Unbounded freedom means chaos. Anarchy is “the state of society where there is no law or supreme power; hence, a state of lawlessness or political disorder.” As with a biological cell, if there is no boundary, no cell wall, there is no cell, just a mass of stuff without definition or purpose. There are anarchists today who believe this is true freedom, however, and fly at any criticism with religious, fanatical romantic ideals about the goodness of people and how this will, without willing, bring about a just society. Utopian thinking? Again, when you have no bounds, you have no definition, no discrimination and whatever the hell you want–whim–becomes the imposed going thing because whoever doesn’t like what you’re doing can impose their wishes upon you. This kind of freedom always ends in a tyranny.

[8] Terrence Deacon, Incomplete Nature. But, also, heed Laozi, 11: “Therefore turn being into advantage, and turn non-being into utility.” Or, in a freer vein: “Though we can only work with what is there, use comes from what is not there.”

[9] “Human beliefs and purposes can shape events in ways that often have little direct relationship to current physical conditions. . . .” Deacon, p. 57.

[10] Cf. Incomplete Nature by Terrence Deacon, especially Chapters 0 and 1.

[11] Cf. David Mitrany, Marx Against the Peasant.

[12] In order to help give a solid footing here, see Richard Storry’s The Double Patriots where he lets us see the anarchistic quality in the history of pre-war Japan. It’s easier to see it’s shape in an unchanging environment (history) and then lay it over, like a transparency, the present and look for lines of conjunction.

[13] Revolution and the Social System.

[14] “It is in the realm of social interaction with other creatures like ourselves that we need tools for navigating the challenges created by ententional processes [absentials]. . . .social life constantly demands that we guess at, anticipate, and plan for the actions of others.” Deacon, p. 80.

Advertisements

Entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurship

by James L. Secor

David Longshanks was an entrepreneur, a self-made man. Not that he began poor or on the dole. He was the son of an undertaker, Dunns Longshanks. Dunns had made a single horse town concern into a thriving business, for people must die and they must be buried, appropriately or not. As civilization bloated the town into a city, there was little call for the inappropriate sort; however, there was the Green Pastures out on the far Northeastern edge of the city where the poor and penurious and unknown (usually street people) were buried with no to-do and little in the way of respect, respect being costly, even just moderately so. Dunns served anybody who had any money.

David, before taking over the business, expanded its purview to taxidermy, for he was a hunter who liked to display his trophies. As were his friends. People in the surrounding countryside heard of David Longshanks and his superior taxidermy skills and this end of the Dunns Family Mortuary grew in distinction as the hunting seasons became glutted with guns and displaced animals. Civilization with its unlimited development and expansion led to animals losing their habitat and food source and, thus, becoming easy targets for both the city slickers and the preying country folk.

Dunns Family Mortuary.

David’s Taxidermy.

David’s next entrepreneurial endeavor arose out of the immediate needs of the Mortuary business. The business had to expand, so more land had to be bought. Empty lots and old houses alongside the Mortuary were bought up. The lots were easy to acquire; the houses, more often than not, had to be condemned. The families were forced to relocate and David then waited to buy the property at auction. The houses came down. Some of the acquired land, what was not used for renovation and expansion of the undertaking business buildings, was turned into parking lot. As the winter wind could be icy and the summer sun blazing, David made sure the parking areas were dotted with trees. This also made the business more aesthetic and caring-appearing.

Which led to David’s landscaping business. There were no shade trees in any of the parking lots around the city and the city streets needed sprucing up. David made sure that both city and businesses saw the advantages of having trees, if for nothing else than the aesthetics of the place. From trees, general landscaping grew, as did a gardening and florist business in several locations around the city to forestall too much competition. Two of any kind of business in the same area was not good for either business, so David made sure he was on site first. On site and large.

Fortune Realty.

Longshanks Landscaping.

Emma’s Exquisite Floral Shop. Emma was Mrs. David Longshanks. Emma Sue Denniker Longshanks.

The Greenery.

Fortune Realty naturally grew into speculation which naturally led to the founding of a consortium focused on developing and building lucrative ventures. It did not matter if the venture was productive or not. The Ivy League Consortium owned the land and the buildings and managed to rent out the properties if, indeed, the original idea tanked. As happened with a couple shopping centres. They were interested in high end development. Of course, The Ivy League Consortium had nothing at all to do with the East Coast Ivy League colleges and universities. But it was suggestive.

Through it all, David Longshanks’ most engaging business was the Mortuary and the Taxidermy business. David loved embalming.

Despite his drive for neverending development and the furthering of civilization, David was also socially responsible. Socially active. Because of the fight to save his father’s life, David Longshanks became involved in organ donorship. His father had needed a liver. There were too few to go around or any liver available was too far away to make it a viable replacement. Thus, his father died a painful, wasting away death. David worked assiduously to make organ donorship a socially edifying behavior, albeit to begin with the religious battled against such heresy, until one of their own died in need. David made donorship a voluntary additive to licensing: if you joined the donor program and you were involved in a fatal accident, your organs could be harvested in order that another should live. Without advertising, David always gave the families of the organ donor program a discount on their casket and in-house services, if they were in the area.

So, David and Emma Longshanks became upstanding social citizens. They were asked to donate to this or that charity. They were asked to serve on this or that board of directors. They were sought out for this or that sponsorship. Life was good.

The first sign of a chink in the Longshanks well-tempered and lustrous armor was rather innocuous. Even a tad humorous. Sometime during prohibition, a notable area resident involved in rum running was shot and killed. Briskin Swipes, AKA Sousee. Not shot by the police, though they claimed the prize, but by a rival running crew. New Brummagem was not big enough for two such lines of transport. As New Brummagemens enjoyed viewing the unrepentant dead in proof that crime never pays, Briskin Swipes was exposed in a pinewood coffin, as per tradition, and photos were taken and displayed in various shop windows and church signboards around town. Before putrification set in, Briskin Swipes was turned over to David Longshanks for burial. But David wished to preserve, for posterity and example, the body. Briskin was not the most handsome of men and in death was downright gruesome looking. He was a modern day outlaw, revered by some, reviled by others. Face was important in this time of ignominy and David wanted to save this face. So, instead of embalming the man, pickling him, you might say, David decided to stuff him, taking especial care of the external taxidermy details. Perhaps, stuffed, Briskin Swipes appeared more real than real. Not surreal, super-real, über-real. Later, David began exhibiting his stuffed man in order to showcase his skills. Taxidermy was, after all, about preservation.

There was, however, a more offing aspect to the taxidermy: inside the stuffing was the real skeleton of Briskin Swipes. David did not tell anyone this. He found it, in fact, quite humorous and often giggled at his joke, assuming someone discovered the skeleton. How shocking! How ludicrous!

Dreams have a way of coming true in the most unimaginable ways.

The local New Brummagem film studio, Cantery Studio, borrowed the stuffed bootlegger for some independent science fiction film, The Forelanders by name. Briskin Swipes was a prop, a re-occurring prop. It so happened that during one removal and repositioning of Briskin, the arm fell off. The cast and crew were accordingly astounded and horrified.

The police were notified and the State Bureau of Investigation was called in to uncover the identity of the skeleton. They had a top forensic anthropologist, Necessity Bluffing—Nessy to her friends—who returned the diagnosis of Briskin Swipes. And so the history of the man rose up in the news. This could not be tolerated in the filming, so another dummy was found and the stuffed man—with skeleton—was disposed of. Apparently, a carny bought it, sewed the arm back on and displayed it in his Wonders of the World exhibit until the skin began to scale off and the joints to fall apart. By then, everyone had forgotten all about Briskin Swipes, except, perhaps, myth and legend.

In the meantime, David’s skill with a knife and needle did not go unnoticed. Even to David’s entrepreneurship. How could he make good use of these skills to enhance his businesses? Wealth, like development, was limitless. And his desire was unslaking. Emma did not know what he was doing but enjoyed no end the benison that accrued from it.

Now that organ transplanting had gained respectability and more and more people required new organs in order to continue living, cheating death, you might say, it was discovered that there were not enough organs to go around. The sick and dying were not being saved. People had to die in horrible pain, faces and bodies distorted. Organs could not be grown but could be harvested. David Longshanks was in a privileged position in this respect, as the newly accident dead came his way for embalming and assigned donation. But who was to know that a kidney or lung or liver or, less likely, heart was removed sans visé and sent on its way to someone in need. A secret social conscience is a self-satisfying thing. It is, too, delusional.

Fresher organs were needed even though David Longshanks had insinuated himself into the legion of organ rescuers. David beat his breast over the loss of life due to the shortage of good organs, as much by less death as by those who selfishly, in his eyes, kept their organs for themselves in death. Many still believed it was sacrilege to give away organs and for others to live with these second hand vestiges of humanity. Someone here was playing God, it was thought by these people. It was of little consequence that people died in the face of their superstitious intransigence.

And so David Longshanks got involved in illegal harvesting. It is true he would not kill the unwitting donor but, still, the donor was none the wiser until after the fact. The first inklings of this new business came via grisly newspaper and TV reports of bodies found in bath tubs full of ice water. The surgical-quality scars were, of course, suspicious and, while the recovering person was hospitalized, scrutinized and medicated into a stupor, the discovery of the missing organs was revealed.

This was worse than stories of Frankenstein monsters and mad scientist experiments. The grizzly details and gruesomeness, the inhumanity of the illegal harvesting was splashed everywhere. Investigations were initiated but never elicited findings. No notice was taken of the life saved somewhere in the land. David Longshanks was not, after all, after publicity. That kind of adulation was not soulful.

Stories began emerging of the sort of a person who meets someone at a bar and they have a few drinks, a few laughs. The unsuspecting tipster becomes inebriated. Together they go to a hotel room and the person passes out. Not solely from the alcohol. Knock out drugs were casually added to the drinks. The person wakes up in the morning in a bathtub filled with ice and an abdominal incision that was not theirs. Tales of injured construction or oil or mine workers waking up days later lying on a cold metal table without certain of their organs and writhing in pain. These latter unfortunates usually died. Though the two harvesting techniques were not related, they were conflated, adding to the inhumanity of the black market organ salesmen. Organ pushers.

The organ pusher is a monster. He’s not a natural man. The organ pusher will ruin someone’s body and leave its mind to scream, all in the name of goodness and right but truly for greed. God damn the organ pusher man.

As with criminals, organ harvesters—and David Longshanks—leaned toward repetitive behavior. Humanity is both blessed and cursed with such repetitiveness. It is comfortable.

It is in such wise that David Longshanks’ shenanigans were brought to light. This was, of course, the end of his entrepreneurship. The end of unending expansion and resource development. There is a limit to the things of life. A balance, the median way, must be found for continuance to be assured. David Longshanks was over-stepping his—society’s—bounds. Exposure and punishment was inevitable, though not by the outlaw. Was not David Longshanks a Robin Hood?

The fallout from David Longshanks’ greed, his delusion of social goodness, the lie he needed to tell himself in order to make life tolerable—the fallout was immediate and long lasting. Emma Longshanks became hysterical and would not wear any of the finery she had acquired secondary to her husband’s nefarious dealings. The mortuary and taxidermy businesses deteriorated and were, eventually, sold at great loss. Emma was attentive enough, however, to dispose of the landscaping, gardening and flower businesses before they became tainted beyond repair. She retired to a ghost town out in the middle of the plains along an abandoned railway line and lived out her life in seclusion. It was a miserable life. The David Longshanks family dispersed around the country, changing their name in order to escape censure and ostracization. The Ivy League Consortium dissolved in a hole-and-corner way, the assets being divided between the owners and then new venturisms begun.

New Brummagem faded away, turning into a historical village. A tourist trap.

And, then, there was nothing.

(c) 2015, James L. Secor

The Demons Among Us

by James L. Secor

The writing was difficult to decipher and I leaned over the old, yellowing, brown- edged paper, refocusing the lamp so that I could see better the smudgy handwriting. I turned off the room light so I’d not be distracted. I pulled the curtains so I’d not be noticed, disturbed in my studies. My eyes ached. I felt the blood pulsing through my temples. And I tried hard not to breathe for fear of destroying the amazing find before me–an ancient letter. A testament. Hurriedly scrawled and in a faltering hand: was the writer old? By the writing, the tale told was not of a primordial time, despite the condition of the paper, but of the recent past. Why, I asked myself, was it so important for this person to write down this story? Who would read it, for that matter, stuffed as it had been in a hole in the chimney of an old, historic house my friend had bought.

I leaned back and exhaled to one side. I did not even want to disturb the dust, believing that it, too, held the secret–some secret as to the writer and the writing. . . and the events. And why was this letter so important it should be hidden?

I looked at my hooded windows. Yes. What was out there? Out there that I could not see? I should be used to this hovering anxiety but I was not. Not after all these years. Too sensitive, I’m told–and laughed at for this utterly disgusting human failing. Perhaps. Perhaps so. I’d long since given up mixing with people, co-mingling, commiserating at one or the other approved public house. I could never escape looking for the surround-sound cameras and listening devices. . .and staring at them. No one else bothered with them. Just part of the scenery. I imagine I’m very well-known indeed to the people on the other side, especially as I’ve taken to not frequenting these places any more. To them, this will mean I have something to hide. But, in fact, don’t we all? Don’t we have a private life?

I rose hastily and began walking around the room, upset at myself for getting upset at. . .myself. And at letting the outside world infringe on the wonder of a past life that lay upon my table. Letting off steam was good. And the passing of my shadow behind the curtained window was good as well.

I took a deep breath and sat down at the table again.

They only come at night, believing that is when demons can be best appreciated without the finders being themselves found. They appear out of the blackness like ghost riders, glowing in their circle of pale light, a torch-like flame held high above them. Another, out front, holds some kind of cross, a divining rod, similar to what we used to use to find water. Whether it worked or not no one really knew but it was fun for us kids. And it was a long-lasting belief, for I remember my grandmother telling me of its use and how our distant relatives managed to live because they’d found water with such a thing. A divining rod.

I leaned back. There was a clue as to the time this was written: divining rods. They supposedly found water. What did they look like? I carefully made a note to look this up at the library. I am sometimes a little forgetful.

Slowly, silently they make their way down the street, the torch of light moving from side to side, hesitating occasionally, but always moving, moving. And suddenly the rod jerks wildly, out of control and draws it’s user off to one side and toward a particular house. He stands there as the rod vibrates and plunges up and down. The torch-bearer then steps up before the trembling rod, between it and the house–for, more often than not, it is a house– and raises his light on high and intones in a strange, secret language. . . something. And then he barks over his shoulder and the followers, clothed in robes, grey robes, all kneel and begin praying. They pray a long time. They pray silently. They occasionally respond to some outcry or other from their torch-bearer. Eventually, they erupt in wild hysteria, weaving and bobbing and throwing themselves on the ground. And then they clamber back to their feet and proceed further down the street. But the house is marked. Tomorrow, a different group will descend upon the house and take away its inhabitants who scream and plead. But to no avail. they are never seen again–unless the news of another nest of witches and warlocks, demon- worshipers, is an indication of their being. And then not being.

I had heard of these people before and laughed them off as fringe lunatics. They were then full of bluster and found only in isolated clusters in out-of-the-way little towns. Even when they began to make themselves known in larger towns, they remained localized. No one paid them much mind. We should have. It was so unfortunate for us that we did not notice their growth, like kudzu. And now we’re all caught. And afraid. So afraid no one will even talk about it. We’d be heard if we did. There is no place where there is privacy any more. The streets are indeed public! The light poles house cameras and listening devices. The picture-takers downtown–a tourist destination, though lord knows why, there’s nothing there but an old, crumbling wall with markings eons ago scratched on it and an old bronze statue of the last great hero of a past age, Titus Aguevivre– These picture-takers are but watchers in disguise. A Suspended sense of the real engages travelers and they flock to these people wanting their photographs taken opposite this or that part of the wall, in front of Aguevivre. To prove they were there. And then the police know who they are, where they live–everything. For they mail the photos to the naïfs. Selective blindness. People so obsessed with finding joy and

–there! I heard it just now. That horrid ringing in my ear. A thin high pitch that hurts. I don’t know where it comes from and I can’t ascertain when, if there’s a particular time or occurrence that brings it to me. But I know it is not natural. This time it is in the left ear and I clutch at it, squinching my eyes shut against the intrusion. When the intensity lessens, it seems to migrate into my right ear, so that both are beaming, you might say. But the intensity is not so great.

I must rest now. Turn out the light and go to bed. It is the usual time. It will not be seen as unnatural or suspicious.

So, I fold up the old document and slip it inbetween the city maps I am allowed to keep in my house due to my work at the City Offices. I turn down my covers and turn off the light.

The next evening I am at it again.

They have been coming down this particular street, my street, for the past several nights, apparently as they have been cruising down other streets in the city. Neighborhood by neighborhood they trek through the night uncovering the demons that cause us to go astray, it is said. They say. On their broadcasts on the news. It is news after all that there are demon- infested people in our town, leading us astray. But is it true that through our sinning we open up a portal for the demons to come in to us? What sin is it that’s been committed? No one is ever told. Someone surely must know what the sin–the sins are!

These are the Prayer Warriors. And this is spiritual warfare. These people believe they can pray–I so want to write “prey”!–out the evil that inhabits our society, the evil sent by this devil they say that is evil incarnate, rollicking round his fire deep, deep in the bowels of the earth– down there–tearing us away from the goodness that should be ours by entering us through these sinful portals. All of the ills that affect society are attributed to this Devil and the slaves he enlists, slaves that look like everyone else, behave like everyone else but nonetheless wreak havoc and cracks in the cosmic egg in the dark of night. How? Waves of ill influence. Emanations of evil. These people, the night prowling Spiritual warriors, know how to find them, Smell them out, if you will. With their divining rods, praying and panting before the house to weaken the evil spirit-carriers inside.

Only by way of praying can the wrongs of the world be righted. Only

The deep rumble of cars disturbed me, making the floor and windows shake in their passing. I got up from the table and walked to the window, looking out onto the now not-so-well lit street. Once it had been but as the lamps burnt out–or simply refused to light up at dusk–they were left untended. No one bothered to fix them. There was not total darkness out there, it is true, but it was dark enough that it was disturbing. But, of course, no one would go walking around in the dark of night. How unnatural! So, the grazing lights that blared through the darkness and the thrumming and rumbling of these joy-riding vehicles was disturbing. People complained about this kind of disturbance but. . .what was there to do about it?

I looked down the street to where they’d disappeared, their red tail lights still shadowing into the night. I looked back the way they’d come. No shafts of oncoming rowdies. I breathed deeply and shut the curtains.

Only by the furtive warring and furious praying of the Spiritual Warriors can this, this insidious iniquity poisoning our lives, be gotten rid of. For too long this malevolence had been infecting the world and, now the Prayer Warriors were strong enough, it could be fought. This was the story, the life story of these spiritual soldiers, the legion from heaven come to rid the garden of Satan and snakes. Long since, the police had been done away with, at least they did not appear at night, looking for the trouble they’d been saving us from for–how long?– interfering in the cleansing activities of these onward soldiers. But they were there during the day. The evil then was of a different sort that humanity’s earthly do-gooders could deal with.  And they cleaned up the remains of the prior evening’s finding, hauling off the offenders. Doing their duty.

I must smile at myself–I want to write “And of course” but it is not “of course.” Not at all an expectation of their helping the Spiritualists on their sweeping up of the marked warped souls. Nevertheless, they are there, though not so many and not so obtrusive and obdurate as before. They hold wands of a sort that emit fire of heaven, it is called, to control the corralled people. It is a device that emits a ray, a beam of crackling energy that–how can I say?– enlivens the devil’s minions. By fire the enemies of The People shall be destroyed.

Fire from heaven is what it is called. A euphemism for electrical shock, I’m sure. It is hard to watch it being applied. A pointing of the wand and a spitting of the crackling wave and down the infected one goes, groveling on the ground, groaning with the writhing within of the perverted spirit that has infected its soul being touched, fingered. Sometimes, their wickedness is so deep-seated that they must be burned numerous times til they cannot rise again. They are left where they lay, twisted and deformed, for the rescue squad to dispose of. There are forever sirens in the cities.

Later in the week, there will be a prayer gathering and the announcement of the finding and prayerful disposal of yet another coven of devil-spawn is made to great peals of singing and pounding of feet. I never go near these gatherings but you can hear them nonetheless, as they bound around the city from one spiritual Prayer Cleansing Meeting to another. A powerful and frightening message that one would think would dissuade the devil from further deviltry but this is not the case, for the evil one keeps investing other citizens with his waywardness. His call is apparently unresistable. Thus, more and more searchings at night. More and more Prayer Cleansing Meetings are held–even televised portions of such meetings are broadcast so that day and night the spiritual warriors’ shrill and intoxicated voices are heard, reminding us that we are not free, not yet. More work is necessary halleluiah.

I sat back in my chair, pressing my cool fingers to my eyelids. This was hard going, the handwriting so scratchy and the paper so discolored and friable–and the words so. . .mad, possessed and–there are the rumbling street machines again. As if on cue. Frightening the hell out of me.

Sometimes I was afraid I’d tear the pages as I turned them. I got up and went into the kitchen to fetch a drink of tonic water. The tart fizz would revive me, though perhaps I should pack it in for the evening–a few had commented at work of the dark circles under my eyes.

I had better cover my tracks.

So, I stashed the pages, switched off the light and went in to bed, still bothered by the images this person had drawn. But the next evening I was drawn again to reading this man’s story:

I do believe that their work will never be done, for humans will be human and it is only humans who sin. At least so it seem to me–I never see these Praying mantises

Oh! Now that’s a good pun. Praying mantises. This writer, whoever he is has a sense of humor. There is some character here, aside from a man who watches and writes, writes secretly and hurriedly.

stopping at a dog house or running after cats. Or catching birds. Only humans. Where will it end? When will there be a human who is not accessible to the demon king?

Lately there has been a rush to join the prayer groups in the belief that this will save their souls. Converts are hyperbolic about their new-found answer and ever find themselves in the front lines of the night-roving prayer warriors. In the dimness of the semi-lit streets, they are frightening of themselves. I guess the more to frighten the dEvil? Yet he laughs at them as he continues to fly through sin-opening portals to establish his hell on earth, to pervert the heaven we supposedly inhabit.

Heaven! What a laugh! Where is the heaven when people are afraid to go out at night? Where is the heaven that needs cameras and microphones to monitor its angels, its human manifestation of itself?

My heart aches and I burn inside to talk to someone about this. But who can I trust? It is blasphemy to question. If the reality does not fit the teaching, as I see it, the reality is altered or disinfected, gotten rid of. For whatever it is–it is not called “reality”–it is an imposed wave of distorting evil sent to

Damn! Those rumbling motor cars are at it again. Gunning it up and down the street, their metal plates slapping, slapping, slapping at the pavement like great webbed feet. The grating when they turn and retrace their course. Is there then something wrong on my street? Will someone here be fingered? There are so few of us left on this street any more. The others have all left for parts unknown. As no one else here works in the City Offices, I never see these people again. Only a smattering of dark houses with empty eyes. A more and more common sight, not only here but throughout the city, throughout the land if the TV eye is to be believed.

I shudder and turn my attention back to the manuscript on the table.

The holy war has finally come home, as it was sure to do, for the corruption of the soul is not something that exists only over there. It is something that exists wherever there are humans. Even amongst themselves there are those who fall. Their fate is truly horrible and their abuse and cleansing is televised, not only on the home sets but on the huge screens that abound throughout the town. They are inescapable. And. . .people actually stand there and watch without showing any emotion! Just as the sirens and helicopters roaming the skies above us are not given a second thought. No one–no one but me–looks up to see what they’re about, where they are training their glowing white-gold eye. They hover and they circle and no one bothers with them. Do they know what they’ve given up?

Ha-ha. I sometimes wonder what it is that is wrong with me–I am the only one to see this, the only one to pay attention. And what is one against the horde? Soon, soon I will be found out. The tell-tale signs of my. . .disease are visible in my face, for I cannot hide my reaction to the horrors thrown at us by the big screens. And, of course, I look up How long can I get away with pretending that I am looking at the birds, birds no one else also sees? I shudder in my skin. When will the hammer fall on my nailness? What new crime will I be charged with as they come crashing through my door, heaven’s fire whiplashing me. I am sure I am so infected that I will be left for the rescue squad to clean up in the morning. And I have done nothing but retain my. . .my humanity. I feel therefore I–

I jumped up. The rumbling road warriors raged by and then stopped. Right outside my house, their headlights illuminating my window. Quickly, I stash the manuscript and run to the window–and stop myself. I turn aside and go to the kitchen to look out. They cannot see me from there. And, yes, they are there. Headlights and great long proboscises pointing at my house. And on their bulging spider bodies. . .a white divining rod. . .

Their black minions, single opaque eye gleaming, are running up my walk, smashing in my door and filling up my room and

© James L. Secor, 2015