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walking

September 16, 2021

We are all just walking each other home

We all just want that simple basic good life

And we are all Frodo being denied it forever

Because of the weight of the things we have to carry

That aren’t even ours but we can’t put down

We are all just walking each other through Mordor

only got a gleam in your eye

September 1, 2021

August

all cloak no dagger

August 1, 2021

July

June

You are what you believe, but not about yourself

May

The lighter clicks and for a moment I stand in the glow of my own personal little fire. I inhale, and true real breath slips down my throat. God I love smoke. An ad panel suddenly reveals itself on the wall to my left with a soft hum. I sigh. The sigh rattles my rib bones a little, like all smoking sighs do. It’s a little game I play, trying to find the lowest rent locations to smoke in. You wouldn’t believe the out of the way little nooks and crannies where somebody somewhere has decided it still might pay to have an ad panel installed. 

Today I’m around the back of a dreary office building in a dreary office park, opposite from the parking lot, around the corner from the recycle bins. You wouldn’t think anyone would ever come here for anything, the only thing I can imagine anyone coming here for is to have a quick smoke and as the agency is so fond of telling me, there aren’t many smokers left in this country. It’s possible I’m the only smoker in this entire city. For sure nobody’s going to come back here just to hang out and soak in the atmosphere of empty asphalt and blank beige concrete walls. Maybe it’s a good place to shoot up. The thought makes me nervous. That new shit is no joke. You’d think the agency could focus on brain melting drugs for awhile instead of endlessly fucking with tobacco smokers.

The ad has fully loaded. Pictures of dead wildlife begin to slide by as a child’s voice informs me in a melancholy tone that she saw a bird die and when the doctors looked at it they found that its belly was full of cigarette butts that it couldn’t poop out. Think about what a bad tummyache it must have had for so long, she says. She cries a little. The image of each animal includes a pile of trash that was removed from its stomach after its death. To be fair, there is a lot of different kinds of trash, not just cigarette butts. I feel a surge of pure frustration. The bastards at the agency are getting better at what they do, but there’s still a lot about me they don’t know. 

They gave up on showing me diseased lungs and jerkified organs a long while ago. My sweet body and I have been in this together since the beginning. Something’s going to take us out sometime and it might as well be something we chose, something we do together that makes us feel for a few short moments like we’re the same being enjoying the same thing, not these two disparate entities desperately trying to share space. It’s not like this is going to be an option forever, anyhow. There is currently one tobacco plant left in the world, and they’re trying all the time to shut it down. A century plus legacy of experience manipulating the legal system stands between the last tobacco company and total extinction. I used to resent that history of manipulation for self profit, but now that I’ve come in for a chunk of the profit I find myself full of gratitude and admiration. Not fiscal profit, obviously. These cigarettes are the most expensive thing I do in my life. Just…personal profit. Soul profit. I’m not saying I’m the last Marlboro man or anything but sometimes I feel like it. My lungs and I, we’re riding off into the sunset on our own terms. Unless we get hit by a bus, I guess. But there’s something I like about the idea of going out my own way. Choosing my destiny, if you will. In the only way I get to. Who’s that guy who said the only freedom we get is to choose our own cage? I feel like for me, there’s a freedom to choosing my own exit strategy.

Out of spite I smoke the cigarette almost down to the filter, to the point where it’s starting to get that toasted plastic taste. I try to banish the uneasiness that the idea of this being a good place to get high has given me. I dare the agency to waste their resources on a second ad. They don’t, which annoys me. The screen stays frozen on a collage of dead wildlife and their respective belly trash piles. A sad tune wisps out quietly on loop, a loop so short that I’m sure its length was set on purpose to keep your brain tripping over it, not able to get used to it and block it out before it starts over again.

I sigh. The sigh rattles my rib bones, of course. I stub out what’s left of the glow on the filter and carefully tuck it into my Altoids tin. None of my cigarette butts make it into anyone’s belly. I carry that smelly tin full of dead cigarette ends on me like a badge of honor and dump it probably less often than I ought. Back before they started fucking with me all the time, back before the ads started getting unsubtly personalized, I used to empty it meticulously to avoid smelling like an ashtray. Nowadays I smell like an ashtray on purpose.

All hail.

With deepest unrest of mind we report a total failure of the Earth based operation. The circumstances are as follows, and are accompanied by a request for a complete and immediate withdrawal.

We descended in the customary formation 20 earth rotations ago. Instead of seeing the inhabitants panic and scatter at the arrival of our battleships, we watched with growing confusion as they went about the patterns of daily living that we’ve observed during data collections while constructing our tactical invasion. Not one life form deviated from its normal function. Our presence was not acknowledged at all.

Over the intervening time period we’ve fired every weapon we have. Everything from warning displays to comprehensive annihilation artillery has been deployed. Everything has failed. The scientific teams are still synthesizing the relevant data, but from preliminary reports it appears that the matter composition of all life forms on this planet, not just the dominant species but in fact all species, exists outside of our dimensional reality. They appear to be matter, but they are not matter.

Every type of matter or wavelength based weaponry at our disposal has failed to create any interaction with them whatsoever. We regret to inform, in fact, that every weapons discharge has passed directly through the entire planet and is following its discrete trajectory through ensuing space. To the best of our knowledge the pertinent planets along these trajectories do not share the lack of real mass that earth and its lifeforms seem to; however we are unable to confirm at this time that any planets and space objects not yet catalogued by the empire do in fact contain the mass composition required to absorb the discharged munitions.

In light of this ongoing failure to engage the life forms of earth at the organic level, three earth rotations ago we attempted to obtain their surrender by initiating diplomatic overtures. This strategy has not been long in action but it is already abundantly clear that we can expect it to result in an identical nonsuccess. We lack not only the ability to connect with the lifeforms of earth on the material plane – there is additionally no currently known method for communicating with them either aurally or telepathically.

We speak, and they do not hear. We throw thoughts, and they do not catch them. When taken in combination with the fact that we are present, yet unseen, that we attack, yet they remain untouched, it is our only and ardent recommendation that this invasion be terminated until further research can be conducted, and alternative methods of subjugation can be prepared.

April

March