Vanessa! #1

With new technological advances turning all of our gadgets against us.

With active participation in life at an all-time low, and vicariousness and voyeurism the new standard of practice.

With the creeping surveillance state allowed to operate wholly unaccountable– even when exposed– by a feckless and saginated rump republic.

Who, pray reader, will Watch the Watchers?

It’s me!

Vanessa: Watcher of Watchers

VANESSA

3:28 PM                  Hart Markford Elementary (adjacent)

Steven is waiting for the kids again. Always there. Sitting on the rainbow-slatted lawn chair in his front yard, a smile and a wave for each one as they walk up the hill from Hart Markford, home. He set up late this time and, in the rush, spilled his apple iced tea1 from over-stirring. It’s still half-full but his hands have turned sticky from drinking without wiping the drips. In just two minutes the bell will ring.

Imagine if 180 days a year you died and went to heaven, just to be pulled back ten minutes later to play out the rest of your vegetative state. If Michael Jackson got a funeral parade and commutation of sentence,2 then doesn’t Steven deserve his spot of tea?


4:16 PM      Bedroom, night

Alex isn’t a good person. He shouldn’t be doing this. He knows that he shouldn’t be doing this, and yet. Alex has a pocket full of staples. He pushes his hands into them during. He keeps plenty3 of lotion in his other pocket because he never learned that that’s not what you use to clean wounds. It’s in the medicine cabinet, isn’t it? Alex continues to push.


7:31 PM       112 N Bishop Ave, Chula Vista, CA

WHEEL! Of! FORTUNE! Mark picked moo shu pork this time and a small order of string beans. Two down, four to go. Michelob. His fork is congealing in the bean box as he waits for Vanna to turn the first letter. Well, touch. Ish. It gets harder and harder to get hard for this. If only DVRs had existed back when she actually had to work for it. Actually had to spin them with her actual hand. His other hand strays towards the Toss Across board strapped to the side of his recliner and touches what she touches. He turns his letters.


8:17 PM       Factory

Good. Good. Good. Good. Fine. Good. Ok. Good. Good. Good. Stop. “Pull the Chain!”


9:49 PM      Outside of 1941 E 20th St, Wilmington, DE

He doesn’t like that he’s with her. Not him, him. Up there. He thinks ‘s pretty sure he’s up there with her. The tv flickers over the couch but he doesn’t buy it. Not for a second. There’s no way they’re watching something so …flashing. But why leave the tv on? Obviously, it could be that, but…

They always talked about the environment and had agreed that humanity do everything possible to save it, given it’s absolute importance vis a vis their future. They’d both committed to brushing with the tap off, using every dish (at least) twice, only showering together, and putting a bunch of rocks in the toilet tank.45 He’d even convinced her to switch from round bulbs to that curly pigtail kind. She wouldn’t just leave the tv on like that, not after they spent so much coming to their compact about turning the lights off when leaving the apartment even if its just to go do a smoke. But now the tv is on and no one is on the couch watching it. Nothing about this feels right at all. He sheaths his bushnells and slips the case back under the overgrowth. He draws the strings of his hooded.


1:33 AM       9th & Henry

These two cops are loving the SHIT out of this stake-out. Good coffee, low stakes (always a plus), donuts (natch), plus McNichols’ daughter got married over the weekend so they have all this extra cocktail shrimp– like three Igloos full. All signs are pointing to the deal going down tomorrow night. Pretty much all the perps left for the clubs at 1, and two of the three guys who stuck around are on payroll. They’re laughing, they’re talking shit about the Giants/Eagles, they’re prank calling patrol cars, they’re singing along to Cheap Trick,6 they’re singing along to Journey,7 Supertramp.8 They are having shrimp contests9 and telling ghost stories – both of which are way scarier with that super-strong police flashlight.

Goodbye, Stranger Shrimps

TWIST ENDINGS: trying to cheat death in the first place was what ultimately resulted in your death; the thing you said three times in the mirror that was supposed to summon a really bad demon to kill you didn’t but then when you said it the fourth time (dismissively) it did!; the call wasn’t just coming from inside your house – it was coming from you!/?; you chose not to untie the yellow ribbon and all you got to show for it was a maggoty penis; your two fellow officers got killed because they got caught looking out at you telling ghost stories which are about dead people!


[REDACTED]       [REDACTED]

Somebody called his ex-boyfriend ‘a terrorist’ 12 times on a drunk dial.10 Somebody left a really enthusiastic voicemail about how good Among the Living is.11 Somebody twut the president (death words)!12 A small child, skyping her grandma to show off what she’d just learned, forgot 10.13 Somebody opted-out. Somebody opted-in.14 Somebody used Facebook. Somebody kept calling their chapstick lip balm (even though it is (clearly, explicitly) ChapStick® brand chapstick). Somebody’s iPhone ringtone is “You Dropped A Bomb On Me” by the Gap Band but they also wanted to plane.15

A tree fell in the woods. When it struck the ground it sounded suspiciously like, well. Here. Have a listen– “…crrrkkkkshhkkrCKKROOOSHkkAMMABrlNLaaRRRDNMmrkkrrsshhhhhh…”. Weird, huh?



Wait. Shut up a second. Shit.

Somebody played jihad in words for friends. It was rejected, of course (foreign language, proper noun?), but that could be the cover. Quick, direct, no way to trace it. Unless, of course, you’re being kibbutzed by the all-kibbutzing [REDACTED].


8:23 AM       Factory

Good. Good. Good. Ok. Good.





1Horizontal slices of apple (8, brown-sugar cured) flavor a slightly weak plain iced tea.

2for Nostalgic Songcraft

3Two tubes, hotel size

4Though even that commitment was tested by several overheard instances of multi-flush visits.5

5“Waste is already waste, why double/triple/quadruple down?” and “Shame is as futile as it is fuedal– don’t let the fief ‘manors’ lord over you. Do Not Vassalate.” [?]

6at Budokan

7Escape

8See pix!

9McNichols fit 13 in his mouth at once (tails out); Garrity popped 47-in-a-row clean out of the tail using just two fingers

10The post-adjustment sobriety-neutral magic number!

11Look it up!/jk, the only person who could have possibly left that voicemail has already committed suicide and was convicted deemed guilty in abstentia. Of hearing that album. CASE CLOSED.

12“@BarackObama yr brain-dead debt ceiling negotiation ‘tactics’ will only serve to hasten the slow death of the social safety net/middle class” 140 exactly! (Efficient!)

13…7, 8, 9…

14Real enthusiastic about it. Like, really.

15The opposite of deplane

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