The Summum Bonum (Burning Man 6)

Billy sat cross legged at the edge of the vast ocean, behind him was empty desert, empty except for a scraggly bush here and there a few stumps of ancient trees. There were hardly any signs of life which left him puzzled. He was used to finding living things even in the harshest conditions. His Grand uncles had taught him how to survive even when it seemed like their was no sustenance the earth provided. Still he was not thirsty, nor was he hungry. Somehow the manna of the snake meat was keeping him alive or he was in a dream or maybe, he thought, he had crossed into the dreamtime. He began to hum to himself. The song lifted his spirit. The tune had no name. He closed his eyes and calmed his breathing into a rhythmic chant.

For a long time he sat. He finally heard a rustling sound. Startled he opened his eyes and scratched his neck where the snakeskin rested on his neck. Things were changing around him. A white rock had appeared out of the water. Inscribed into the rock was the same symbol that Eingana had scratched into the sand many days ago, the symbol for MU. The rustling noise continued as he stood and turned looking at the now swirling sand. Two inhuman figures suddenly emerged, growling and grunting, gnashing their sharpened teeth and threatening with clawlike hands. “Who are you?” Billy demanded. The creatures snarled and gave him a hideous grin. They spoke in a coarse rhyme. “We are brothers, your brothers, greed and gluttony. Turn and come with us to the paradise of the wasteland!”

Billy clutched at the gem around his neck. Neither creature would look at him directly. They seemed to be looking out into the ocean with far away eyes. “Hurry you fool. Come with us and rule the wasteland!” He reached out to them but they both shrunk back. They would come no closer to him. Something occurred to Billy. “I have no need of either of you, there is nothing here to be greedy for and nothing to eat to be gluttonous.” “Then just give us the gem and drown you foolish man” they demanded as their eyes widened still staring past him. Billy turned again.

The ocean had vanished into the sky. Everything was blue. The shape of a seated figure was far in the distance. An enormous seated figure holding up the shadow of a hand. Billy turned back and the figures had vanished. He heard them arguing. “He has passed our realm we can no longer affect him.” Things were changing. Billy heard a rushing sound like the blast of a mighty wind. He blinked as water hit his face. The horizon returned as quickly as it had vanished. The water surged in front of the white stone. Out of the sea a gigantic crocodile like dragon came rushing from the ocean.

Billy fell to his knees and clutched the opal carving. The dragon spoke in a voice that came from everywhere at once. “Billy Bondi has arrived, the earth is his witness and his heart. He holds the Cintimani.” Everything Billy had been through flashed before him. He saw mountains and he saw the abyss. “Who are you and what do you want?” he asked. “I am the Makara,” the voice boomed. “I want you Billy, you have the sign, you have been marked by the one.”

“There is only one difference between a madman and me. The madman thinks he is sane. I know I am mad.” — Salvador Dali

“Have no fear of perfection – you’ll never reach it.” — Salvador Dali

Get off the cell phone and Drive! — Jake Shween

The Secret D-Bag Patrol

Ted Cruz stared uneasily out of the hotel room door as the cars screamed down the Sam Houston highway. He had chosen this location for the meeting because of its’ low profile guests and the easy access to the George Bush Intercontinental Airport. “The Hyatt Place Bush”, he said to himself. “Intercontinental Bush” he snorted. “Sounds like a Cambodian hooker.” He stepped back into the room and stared at his cell phone. He tweeted: ‘Defund Obama care now and I denounce my Canadian Identity’. He walked back into the bathroom and touched up his mascara. He smiled and winked at himself. “No one must ever know”.  He picked up a bottle of mouthwash and swallowed hard three times. He felt absolved and headed back to the door waiting.

Down in the parking lot below a Mexican cab driver was arguing with a woman about her cab fare. “Damn looney tunes” he caught himself, he had almost yelled down and told the noisy pair to shut up. At the far end of the parking lot a Hummer limo was pulling in. He walked back inside the door and wrung his hands together in a washing motion. He couldn’t stand the suspense and crept back to the door. Peeping out with a raccoon eye he saw a small figure get out of the limo surrounded by three burly body guards. He thought the passenger glanced up at him but he couldn’t be sure. Scratching his head he wondered again if it was really true. No sooner had he sat in the gaudy chair and turned on Fox news there was a knock at the door. He said “It’s unlocked” as if he was too important to get up.

The door swung open forcefully as a large man abruptly entered. Behind his frame, almost infantile in his presence was the teen phenom, the one the only, Justin Beiber. Ted sprang up as if to defend his chair, “No bodyguards” he said. The large man retreated. It was him and Justin. “Come here my Canadian boy”, Ted crooned with a syrupy sweetness that was gooey like maple syrup. “I don’t believe that it’s true!” whined Justin, “It cannot be!”.

“Now, now the DNA tests don’t lie, plus you have a smarmy way about you, you know it’s true”. “You are my illegitimate son!”

Ted flopped back in the chair. What he had said relieved him of his dark secret. While on the debate team years ago he had been unrestrained in his words. More than his tongue had been wagging! He blamed his incontinence on his hot Cuban roots.

“But I love Canada and health care and hip hop and tattoos!” Justin whined in protest.

“Face it son, Canada sucks, healthcare is socialism and gun control is downright Communist. Plus you can’t out debate me. Not yet you hip hop wanna be. Here’s the deal you help me and I help you!”

“I’ll never help you. Never. Rudy come and get meeee!” Justin pleaded as the door swung open. The large man scooped him up with leathery hands like a sheep herder plucking out a young ram to be neutered. “I don’t know why I came here.”

“Well don’t forget you will never escape the fact that secretly we are truly members of the secret d-bag patrol. You have your baggy, falling down pants and I have my crappy attitude and mascara. Plus we both love the Jesus”, Ted said loudly, “The Jesus.”

Justin turned and looked back. “You’re a Kanye West fan?”, he asked.

“No dammit not Kanye you jackass, the Jesus, we are a father and son in Christ so don’t ever forget that all our douche bagginess will be forgiven.”

The door shut quickly. It was Ted alone in the room again. He opened his suitcase and cradled his revolver. He rubbed it like there was a genie inside. He had really wanted Justin’s support and acceptance but at least he had the gun. He went back into the bathroom placing his precious gun by the sink. He daubed at his eyes. His mascara was waterproof thankfully. He picked up the mouthwash and took another swig. “Oh Canada” he hummed to himself.

“For every one of us who succeeds, it’s because there’s somebody there to show you the way out.” — Oprah Winfrey

“The cool thing about being famous is traveling. I have always wanted to travel across seas, like to Canada and stuff.” — Britney Spears

Get off the cell phone and Drive! — Jake Shween

The Great Marching Plutocracy! Iraq Ten Years After

Let’s cut a blood soaked bargain,
And sell the bovine mass a war,
Never mind they’ll do the fighting,
We’ll make those patriots our whore.

Hate will fuel our terrible cause,
The truth we’ll put on tragic pause,
Heck we’ll bend and rape it,
Reality is cheap,
and Son you are enlisted,
Our orders you will keep.

March from house to house then,
Shoot them if they flee
Remember nine eleven,
Mad justice you will seek.

Burn the village, burn the town,
Dethrone the evil bastard clown!

And if you’re hurt perhaps you’ll bleed,
But that’s our motto and our creed,
All for profit and capitalist greed.

Couched in forced Democracy
The Great Marching Plutocracy!

Just ask our crooked bankers,
And our highbrow lawyers too,
Humanity is fodder, just fodder we can screw.

Don’t ask for help when you get home
Tough it out, you’re free to roam.

Never mind your nightmares,
Who cares if you can’t sleep.
It was not about your choices,
Numb that conscience, kill that creep!

The violence has won now
Mercy never stood a chance
It was all about the oil
And about the corporate dance.

You’ll get the bill for sure Son,
It’s never us that pay!
This is the devil’s bargain
And this hate is here to stay!

“Screw voting rights I’m a corporate whore, a gun enthusiast and a two faced racist!” — Fatprick McCroney

“Death has a tendency to encourage a depressing view of war.”                               — Donald Rumsfeld

“There are a lot of people who lie and get away with it, and that’s just a fact.”          — Donald Rumsfeld

Get off the cell phone and Drive! — Jake Shween

Tea Party Nationalism & The Fourth Reich

Welcome to the new tea party. Come on in and join the fracas. “Don’t tread on me” is our new slogan. Here we share our love of hatred. Never mind that we consider ourselves religious. Maybe we just like to burn our crosses to show their importance in our lives. Immigration reform you say? Never, not on our watch! We don’t want any new people here competing for our jobs. No surprise what party we have aligned ourselves with. The right, the right the ever illuminated right, the GOP the grand old party spread the hate and laugh real haughty. We don’t just make history we invent it! Science and education are for the birds, all we need is ammunition and propaganda to extoll the virtues of our isolationism.

Never you mind that none, that’s right none of us came from the Americas. It’s our land now and we don’t need no one else. Those damned Indians were just red devils anyway. Check your Bible it’s in the book of Cruz chapter 4 verse 20. We’re closing the doors on that god dammed diversity. It’s scary! We don’t like strangers taking our land unless its the oil company come to frack us all to our Honey Boo Boo heaven. We just like people who align themselves with our own close mindedness. There is no global warming that’s a damn hoax. Scientists with nothing better to do than make up bullshit to scare people is all that is. Burn coal and natural gas! Smells almost like gun powder and what could be better?

Speaking of hoaxes how’d we end up with a Black President? That makes us madder than a bob cat caught in a piss fire. Screw raising the minimum wage we like people to be pissed off and poor, if we have to hate now they do too! Pollution control, no way, we need the oil companies dumping filthy water on the Indian reservations in Wyoming. Serves those red devils right we never wanted them anyway. We like climate change it gives us more crap to bitch about! The north pole is melted? Let the Eskimos paddle their way out of that one, better not show up at my door. Russians probably did it anyway. Abortions!, we hate abortions, we are all god’s creatures after all, not to mention we need the target practice when those little bastards grow up and come into our neighborhoods.

Don’t you have any sense of Nationalist pride? Look what that little vegan bastard did in the Reich land. He almost ruled the world! Maybe this time we can do that here. We don’t need no melting pot of diverse cultures. We like everything the same as long as we can bitch and hate on something. No need for too much reading or writing just show me someone who can shoot a gun and I will show you the way to peace. It’s not with logic or reason or your stupid idealism. It’s with stand your ground and if you’re not from around here go back to wherever you came from.

“I think… if it is true that there are as many minds as there are heads, then there are as many kinds of love as there are hearts.” ―  Leo Tolstoy from Anna Karenina

“If man is to survive, he will have learned to take a delight in the essential differences between men and between cultures. He will learn that differences in ideas and attitudes are a delight, part of life’s exciting variety, not something to fear.” — Gene Roddenberry

Get off the cell phone and Drive! — Jake Shween

The Gulf (Burning Man 5)

Roy Gillespie stood on the oil rig platform listening to his iPod. Strains of the Santana song “Oye Como Va” played at full blast in his ear pods. He looked out over the serene Gulf waters as the incredible guitar of Carlos Santana danced alive in his head. He liked this job as an oil rig man. He felt needed, he felt necessary. The country needed the energy from the natural gas this well supplied. He had been with the company now for over seventeen years. Sure there had been mishaps but nothing that this experienced crew couldn’t handle. Nothing like the Deep Horizon disaster or anything even close had happened here. Now of course that was due to faulty cement or at least that’s what the Times Picayune had reported. He had little use for the newspaper or newspapers in general. It was hard to trust anyone these days. The people he trusted were the people he could see, his fellow roughnecks. He liked that name. He had gone from being a leatherneck in the Gulf war to being a roughneck in a different Gulf. This irony made him smile.

He wondered again if he might have been a musician if he had just a little more ambition. He still had several guitars he kept and played for fun from time to time. No matter now, he was a roughneck and damned proud of it. After his term of service in the marines, semper fi, he came back to work the rigs. He enjoyed being on his feet and the hands on physical labor. He took a deep breath. How much better this was than being in the Persian Gulf. He turned around.

The blast was like a sand bag of noise and force. He didn’t really hear it as much as he felt and saw it. Wham it hit him like a giant hand wielding a sock full of flour. He stumbled backward and hit the rail hard, over he went. His eyes were burning from the flash. Down he went. Probably a good thing. He hit the water but he couldn’t feel it yet. For a moment he lay limp in the sea. His mind stalled, it lay open like a question mark, the hesitation between the flash of lightning and the thunder when the storm was right overhead. He instinctively began to back paddle away from the huge rig supports. He felt the surreal sensation as the water flooded his jumpsuit. His iPod went out. He floated calmly. His military time had prepared him for this. It did not seem strange to him.

He started humming a tune, “Platform Fire” by Jack’s Mannequin. He kept swimming back and away from the pillars of flames and billowing black smoke. His senses were numb. The song continued in his mind, it gave him focus. He wondered how long he might be in the water as he floated and swam further from the structure. He was alone, no one else had fallen over! He did not take this as a good sign. When he looked back at the platform it blazed wildly. There was no sign of life.

Another world away steel blue eyes gazed out into the vast ocean. Billy thought he heard a boom off in the distance. He shielded his eyes and as he looked out on the horizon he thought for a moment he saw a flash, maybe a sign of other life. For a split second his hopes rose. When he looked again he guessed it was just sunlight gleaming on the water. He turned around and saw a stick of driftwood. He picked it up and in frustration hurled it as far as he could out into the surf. He sat down to think with his head in his hands.

Roy tread water. He had already removed his heavy boots. Now he undid his coverall and slipped it from his powerful frame. He was glad the waters were warm. With the loss of the added weight his job of staying afloat was much easier. He felt something against his back. Startled he took a quick breath. The song came back in his head. “Under pressure, but I’m feeling weightless, across the desert when you’re feeling faithless” he turned in the water. There was a log floating there that had come out of nowhere. He clutched at it thankfully. He knew he was going to make it.

“He doesn’t measure his wealth in private jets, but purchased souls.” — Frank Underwood in House of Cards

“Conservation may be a sign of personal virtue but it is not a sufficient basis for a sound, comprehensive energy policy.” — Former Vice President Dick Cheney

Get off the cell phone and Drive! — Jake Shween