Monday, July 12, 2010


I could not get this story to go anywhere. Instead I am going to fold the ideas I had for it into "The Mover" which I am writing at my other blog. Sorry.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Chapter Two - Part 1e

As soon as she got close enough she said "Hi Guys! You looking for the 'Transformation Party' meeting?'

The rest, being the other two guys, told her "Yes!" I just sort of smiled and wondered if anyone had proposed calling it the "Gaia Party." I would have loved to have been in the room then and listened to the pro and con arguments. I also realized that she had just smiled at all of us and none of us. She had to have been in "Sales" of some sort once upon a time.

"Well come on. Follow me!" She said this looking back at us over her shoulder. I would bet I was the only one of the three guys who actually knew what her eye color was. They were blue. A very light blue at that.

The people at the table were about what I expected. A fatter version, probably the best friend of the hottie sent to fetch us, who needed to buy some Proactive and lighten up on the black eyeshadow. A thin, intense white guy with curly brown hair who looked liked he could be a pain in the ass. The other guy was big, square faced, and smarter then he looked. He was probably Skinny's 'security' and banging the good looking one on the side.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Chapter Two - Part 1d

I sat on the hood of my car and waited and watched. It was pretty dead at the park. Maybe three cars. Of them one was a couple who were there to work on their tans. The other two cars parked. After a few minutes each one emptied. Both were driven by guys about my age who had come alone. The flyer girls had worked their magic on more than just me. I noticed that in the last ten minutes the people at the table had been checking me out. I was beginning to think they were it, the flyer people. I didn't feel like going over to them because I had no clue what to say. I mean what was there to say? Are you the people who want to kick some ass and save humanity? Oh, and where are the Flyer girls?" No. Too transparent. I would need to ease into this. Hell, maybe I could get in one the ground floor of something big. Though, from looking at the turnout I was getting in at the subbasement level.

I looked at my cell and saw I had ten minutes to the start of whatever it was. I thought we could safely rule out a riot or a revolution from the number of people that had shown up. My checking of the time had not gone unnoticed by the guy from the car a couple cars down from me. He held out a flyer and said "You here for this?" I didn't have to look to closely at it to know it the same one, or close to it, that had brought me here. So I told him "Yep." He was a fellow White guy. He was till wearing the local uniform for worker drones. He had the khaki pants and polo shirt with a phone clipped to his belt. He was in his early thirties, the hairline starting to recede, his sunglasses pushed up to ride on his head, and very tired eyes. I felt like I already knew him.

He stepped up and put out his hand. We did the name exchange, first only of course. He was Rick. "Nice to meet you Dakota." Yes, that is my name. The legacy of a couple of Hippie parents who thought it vibrated with my inner spirit or some such shit. "So you been to one of these before" He asked me offhandedly. "No" I replied. "How about you."

He kind of smiled and said "No. Can't say I have. Say you think them women that were handing these out are going to be here?" He tried saying that offhanded too. I laughed, and said "I hope so but its not looking that way. He muttered "Yeah. No shit." During this one of the red haired women had gotten up from the table and was walking towards us smiling. We both watched her approach. She wasn't bad looking at all an even nicer was it was obvious she wasn't wearing a bra. The red hair didn't work for her but I was willing to overlook that.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Chapter Two - Part 1c

I showed up at the park 30 minutes early. I had a plan. Get there early, run into the flyer girls, and tell them how interested I was. Then, if I was lucky, one of them would would want to come by my place and tell me more. I felt good. I had a plan. I had taken a shower and shaved. Something that I had been not doing as often as I once did. Hell, maybe I could pass out flyers and get paid. Hopefully cash. That was somewhat far fetched. If this was something you had to believe in then you probably were expected to work for free.

I parked and looked around. Not a whole lot of cars. A handful were parked over to one side. They were residents. People were living in them. I looked away quickly. I didn't need that cold ball of fear I just got messing up my game. I also noticed an unmarked police car with the usual tinted windows parked at the other end of the lot. "Probably there for the homeless people" I thought. So where were all the people? I mean I was early but I figured there would be a 40 people or more here already with hundreds more by the start.

About a 100 yards away was a picnic table with four people sitting at it. They had a red flag flying on a pole and two of them had bright red hair. Weird, but not too weird. That was it except for a couple of kids playing near the homeless cars who were being watched by Mom types. I got out of the car as if that was going to make a difference in spotting them. Plus, I decided to wait a bit and I didn't want to sit in there and roast because I sure wasn't going to burn the gas to keep the a/c chugging away.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Chapter Two - Part 1b

The day went from bad to worse. It used to be surprising to me when that happened. I was finding out that in life that was a fairly normal occurrence. Especially when the money was no longer there to smooth it over or make it right.

When I got back to my condo I parked in a far corner of the garage next to a SUV, just in case, but I thought I had another couple months before I really had to start hiding my car. I caught the elevator up. Someone with a sharpy had written "Suck Oil Banker PIGZ!" It had been there since I had moved in. It would probably be there when I left too. That was confirmed when I saw the paper taped to my door. What the hell had happened to living rent free for two years? I read everywhere on the Internet that you could live for years without paying! How come I only got five months! I ripped it off the door and tossed it in a corner.I went directly to bed and went to sleep without taking my clothes off.

I slept for hours. When I woke up I was completely disoriented. Was it nighttime or morning? What day was it? I felt like I had emerged from a coma. Not a restful one either. After I took a leak I went to the window and looked at the barely lit office buildings I decided it would be easier to check my laptop then stand there and guess what timezone I had awakened into. It was midnight. It was going to be a long night. Maybe if I watched some porn and jerked off a hundred times I could fall back to sleep.

It didn't work. If anything it made me more depressed. What it did do was remind me of those two hotties who were passing out flyers. I sat up in bed and dug into my pocket where I had jammed it. What I read was not what I expected. It said:

Welcome. You have a choice.
You are better than this.
We all are.

Don't let them suck the life out of you
then tell you it's your fault.
Don't let them drain your soul of all the joy
just to feed their wallets and twisted minds.
Then feed you pharmaceuticals to fix the
numbness they created
All the time sucking away. Draining you. Using you.
They poison us with shit and sell it to us as sugar.
When we get sick from it
they take all our money
and blame us.
Chain us to electronic tethers
wired directly into our brains.
We jerk like frogs on command
They sell us overpriced toxic toys
made by slave labor.
That we have the privilege of paying to much for
You're a debt slave.
Guinea pig.
and a joke.
Fuck them.
It is time to turn it back
Back on them
Burn them and their toys
and tools
Burn them now!

It had a time and date. Tomorrow. The location? A county park. I was going.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Chapter Two - Part 1a

Was the job fair bad? No. Was it worse than bad? Yes. I walked towards the exit wanting to blow my brains out. There is something special about being treated like an beggar at the table of those who still feast on the fast food of an HR job to make you feel real good about yourself. I felt like one of the many homeless, drunken, insane people who had approached me over the course of my life. You quickly learned to see them with out seeing them. They were nothing and if you let them know you saw them as people they zeroed in on you like flies on fresh roadkill.

That was the way it felt in Job Fair land. It didn't take long for me to want to spark some life in those eyes. Make them acknowledge me as a human being. As someone that they once held meetings just to hear my views. I had been somebody! I once had a company Blackberry! I wasn't the only one either. I noticed a few blouses open a little more than when they started. Hell, I ended up doing the eye contact thing with a woman I wouldn't have even noticed once upon a time. Now, it was like "Yes! Take me into a suite and ride me! Please! Just give me a job! She knew too. I just didn't pass the meat test I guess.

The only bright spot was when I left.Two extremely hot women were handing out flyers by the main exit. Yes, Flyers. The favorite way of advertising for lost cats and housecleaning. I would have tossed it except for the great smile she gave me. That, and she wasn't wearing a bra. I stuffed in my pocket, smiled back, and thought I am looking at this thing as soon as I get in my car. Hell, maybe they are hiring.

I got in my car. I changed my mind about reading it there. Why? Because I looked over into the car next to me and saw the man with the dyed hair. He had his forehead resting on the steering wheel and was sobbing. Not crying. Sobbing."Holy Jeebus" I thought. "I got to get out of here before he puts a gun to his head and blows out one of my windows. I put it in reverse and sped all the way home. I still couldn't shake the image of him sobbing though.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Chapter Two - Part 1

Eventually I gave up and went to a job fair. I had always looked down on Job Fairs. It was where the losers and the hopeless went. Well I felt like both of those more often than not during some point in the day. I printed off copies of my resume. That was weird in itself. Putting on a tie only compounded it. I couldn't even remember how to tie it correctly at first. My suit still fit. I was losing weight which was good until the little voice inside my head said "Of course you are. You don't have a job dumbass."

My car was still there. That was a good sign. I had a missed last months payment. Traffic was lighter than usual on Route 7. I saw that as another positive sign. I was looking for omens, signs, and anything encouraging I could think of. Trying to psych myself up for this. Getting on my game face. Emanating good vibes. Smiling a winning, confident smile. I felt like throwing up.

My heart sank when I pulled up and saw the line. This turnout for what was being called an IT Career Fair? Oh, I was so screwed. Yes I was. I got of the car anyway. No one smiled or greeted me. I was just another threat to them being able to afford to eat. I thought I recognized a couple people but they looked away when they saw me.

I got into line and stared at the back of the head of the man in front of me. He was easily 40 years old. Maybe older. He had colored his hair black. I didn't understand why men did that. It always looked like they colored their hair and it screamed "I'm getting old and I don't want you to notice!" I knew it was petty but I was glad to see it. One less person to deal with.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Chapter One - 1d

Life was good for about a week. Maybe not even that. In the background, no matter how much I tried to block it out, my personal money meter was running. So I started looking online for work. Then I really started worrying. Nothing was out there. Well, nothing may be an exaggeration. To be accurate there was nothing out there for me. Nothing but temp or contract work that was a two hour commute away. By week two I was applying for those. Nothing. Just auto responses dropping into my spam folder like little pieces of electronic dog shit.

In the next two months I got two calls on my resume. Before I got an offer usually for every eight resumes I sent out. This time I had lost count on how many I had clicked "Send" on. The one that seemed promising required a clean piss test. That wasn't going to happen. I smoked it a bit now and then. Like every morning. If you got a buzz on early in the morning it seemed to hang in there all day. That way I could conserve my weed usage. Plus it helped with my anxiety levels. Self medication does have its place you know.

By month three I was running out of big money. Big money, to me at least, was enough money to pay my mortgage and condo fees. Big money was paying the note on my car and the quarterly car insurance bill. Little money I still had. Little money was for buying coffee at Starbucks and sitting around listening in on other peoples conversations in hopes that I would hear them tell someone how much worse their life was then mine. I heard some good stories of pain and loss. I also listened in what I thought at first were real estate agents selling houses. Instead it turned out they were former real estate agents selling various franchise scams.

I was also, at least at first, hoping I could get laid. I realized that being unemployed wasn't going to render me more attractive. I just hoped I could get a boredom hookup. Never happened. The barrista, who was cute but married, did give me free drinks when they made mistakes. That was the extent of my big score. Eventually I gave up on going there. It was getting expensive and way to depressing.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Chapter One - 1c

Talking to HR was about what I expected. A big nothing. The cafeteria had tables with placards lettered A-D, E-H, etc. Security was standing around making sure no one flipped out. As I came in with my box of personal stuff that half filled a copier paper box that I had emptied by dumping all the paper out of onto the floor I was stopped by a guard. He told me "You leave. You don't come back in. You raise your voice. You leave. You act like an asshole. You leave." Then he gave me the death stare.

"Fine" I shrugged. "Like I give a shit." Then I walked over to get in line at my table. I half expected him to say something or shout "Out of here! Now!" But he was already repeating what he just told me to someone else. "Fucking robo guard" I thought. The two people in line ahead of me I only knew by sight. I think the girl at the table talking to the HR drone was named Sheila or Shiela." She was crying. The HR drone who was Black like Sheila handed her the box of tissues she had on her table. Her expression didn't change. She was not showing any expression what so ever. I had landed in robo land it looked like.

Sheila left muttering "What am I going to do" over and over as she headed for the door. I watched her go. She had a nice ass. A little big but my sex life had been slow lately. We shuffled forward and I set my box down at me feet. The guy in front of me looked at me, looked at my box, smiled sadly, and said "Sucks don't it."

"Yep." I replied.

I think he wanted to care and share but I didn't. I was busy running numbers. Like how much I had in my savings account. How much in checking. My 401(k) which had gone back to doing a serious meltdown after showing signs of life and when my next car and condo payment were due. I was okay for awhile. Network people were in demand. It would be tight but I think I would be okay for awhile. Hell, I could get unemployment. I started to smile. Life was good.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Chapter One - 1b

My life, such as it was, consisted of work, getting to and from it, and the Internet. Sometimes I played my guitar. I usually played that on my tiny balcony. It seemed more romantic, more edgy out there. Plus in the back of my head I thought I would catch the eye of some fair maiden. This would lead to an encounter in the elevator or the hallway where she would stop, look twice, and exclaim "Hey! It's you!" Then she would laugh somewhat embarrassedly, look down for a second, then up, the desire impossible to hide in her eyes, and say "I was listening to you play guitar. Would you like to come by and play for me? I'll make us dinner." It never happened of course. I did find a flyer for guitar lessons under my door when I came home one night though.

My life on the Internet, for the amount of time it took up, returned very little actually worth anything. By worth, I mean anything that came in handy later after life changed for me. This was not really a surprise since half my time was spent finding the perfect porn video. The other half was spent looking at youtube videos and reading stuff I forget five minutes later.

The first change was when I was laid off. Yep. That certainly got the ball rolling. I went in one day, late due to traffic, and cleared through the security at the parking lot entrance. That part was easy because no one was there. That was my first clue that things were not right. The second was when I walked past the cube that contained the hottest girl on our floor. She was crying and there were three guys around her trying to comfort her.She was a drama queen normally so I shrugged that off thinking she had probably broken a heel or her favorite on Dancing with the Stars had been eliminated.

The next clue was when I got into my area and the Director of IT was waiting for me with a security guard. He looked pissed. The first words out of his mouth were "Forgot your Blackberry again?"

I replied "Ah...yes."

"Well, it doesn't matter. Your assistant took care of it." I could see Dat Le, my assistant, busy in our glass room.

He continued "We lost the contract. We are shutting down immediately. There is a chance you will be called back as a consultant. HR will want to see you. You have 30 minutes to pack your stuff." He looked at his watch "Make that 20 minutes. HR is in the cafeteria. After 20 minutes that will be the only space you will have access to." Then he got up and walked away. No goodbye. Nothing. I was stunned. Not too stunned to notice that the security guard hadn't left with him. I looked at him and said "Ain't this some shit."

He smiled sadly and replied "Yeah. I got until the end of the day."

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Chapter One - 1a

When I say "First inkling" I want to laugh. I had no clue then really about how bad it was going to be. In fact my definition of "Bad" has been revised downward multiple times since. I lived in Tysons Corner not far from where I worked. I had a condo. Not as good as a house when I bought it but respectable. I was one of the first buyers so I got the side I wanted. I had a nice view of the office towers and other condos that had sprouted like mushrooms around us. At the time I though that was very cool.

Unfortunately not only was I one of the first wave of buyers but I also turned out to be part of the last wave of buyers. The building was 20% occupied when I moved in. More units than that had sold but no one was living in them. They had been bought by speculators. At the time what they were doing made perfect sense to me. These places were only going to go up. It was easy money. Hell, I only planned on living in mine for a couple years until I could sell it and buy a house or something. It got a little fuzzy after that. I wasn't sure what I was going to buy. I just knew it would be better. I wasn't even sure how to define "Better." The best I could come with was bigger. There was usually a blond in there somewhere too. In my world big houses were the ultimate aphrodisiac back then.

It was a nice place. Huge too. The freaking hallways went on forever. They had left the concrete supports exposed everywhere for the edgy look. The same for inside the condo where they left the vent work exposed but painted in muted earth tones. I had a loft room behind the kitchen. It was raised and only had three walls and no door. My bedroom led into the bathroom and, as one woman visitor squealed, "You have a huge closet!" I didn't get her to squeal like that later much to my disappointment. I found out that sex was not as exciting for her as spending money, preferably mine was. We went our separate ways after I figured that out. I was way to young to be a sugar daddy.

The building had a pool too. I hadn't looked to closely at it when I bought the place. When I finally went down to use it I was surprised to find that it was only four feet deep. I asked about that and was told it was for "insurance reasons." It was still a nice place. It even had a Harris-Tweeter grocery store connected to it. I found that parking was never a problem no matter how late I came back at night. Eventually they closed off about half the parking with a chain link fence. I didn't ask. I already knew. It had to be "insurance reasons."

Chapter One - 1

Back then I worked as a network administrator for a company inside the Beltway that had a couple of big defense department contracts. The one that employed me and 312 other people was the contract for the new prototype Stealth F-34A that was supposed to go into testing very soon. It looked like something out of Star Wars from what I had seen. It was Super Duper Top Secret but if you do my job you have access anywhere. I was fascinated by it and repelled at the same time. Fascinated because I liked science fiction. Repelled because it looked so evil. Not a good evil either if there is such a thing. It was death and suffering evil. Of course I kept that opinion to myself. It helped that most people didn't care what I thought anyway.

I think my background in networks was what enabled me to see how bad things were and how bad they were going to be. Networks are all about interconnectivity, multiple nodes, interlocking electronic crap and software that all had to work together and correctly all the time. If it didn't, then my daily routine went from somewhat boring, which I liked, to incredibly stressful. People freaked when the network went down. They also didn't want to hear about how it was really multiple networks that were run by different entities and they had all become entwined like one big mutant kudzu forest. They just wanted the "Network" up now!

That was my first big realization. The entire world, or least the part I lived in was just one big freaking network. Since I knew how patched together mine was, how, since funding for new equipment had been cut to nothing a few years before, and how a lot of it was black box to me, and everyone else, because the people who designed it had been let go and never left any documentation behind, well that was terrifying. Especially as the points of failure were growing all the time. I wasn't the only one out there running a patched together piece of shit that I had no money to maintain.

My other realization, it quickly followed the first one, was the people in charge cared less. They didn't want to know that we had problems and they that they were only going to get worse. They just wanted to make money. Some of them didn't I realized even care about the money. They just liked running things. If parts of my network and the apps running on it were black boxes to me then the entire company was a black box to them. All they knew was that their needs had to be met. Screw everyone and everything else. That was my first inkling in to how bad things had become.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Chapter One - 0

So begins the book of Gip.

I asked myself one day "Why do we exist? To consume the flesh of the world? The sweat of children? The tears of hungry mothers? We are thieves. All of us. You say you aren't a thief? Then you must be a fool. I am a fool too. Yet I decided to do something about it.

I didn't plan on doing what I ended up doing, and I sure as hell didn't plan on going where it took me. I think that is common for a lot of people, especially nowadays. I can say I was one of the original apostles of the the Prophet. Not a lot of people remember that these days. That's fine with me. I like living as much as the next person.

For me, the journey started before I became unemployed. I became "Aware" that something was very, very wrong in the world. My problem was I couldn't articulate it then. I tried, and like learning a new language by teaching yourself with books an audio clips I learned simple phrases. I look back now and think of them as identity passwords. For example I would be hanging out a microbrew with some friends. There would be a group of women who stopped off from work there. We would merge our groups, if we were lucky, and often enough we were, we would begin "Identifying" ourselves.

Some guys would go the sports route. The bike thing was especially big. That was a tough one to fake. You had to have the body to back it up. There wasn't a lot of fat bikers if you know what I mean. Then there was what you did for a living. In DC that was huge back then. Mating was done by first making sure your object of attraction wasn't broke. So you would talk about what university or whatever you attended. Then that would lead into what you did for a living. Then there was how you graded out politically. Sarah Pallin wannabees did not usually fuck stoners and vice versa. I was lacking in sports and universities so I had to make the Green, sensitive poet thing work for me. Since I was making decent money than my other failures were usually overlooked. At least for the first fifteen minutes of conversation.

The problem was I wanted to scream "The world is dying!" That didn't go over really well the one time I tried it. Especially as I could never remember all the cool statistics the Green doomers could recite casually. It was just something I knew in the very marrow of my being. So basically, yeah, I want home alone a lot. If I got an email address or, if I was Mr. Magic that night, a cell phone number. The rest of the social contact/networking options, well, the truth was I hated them. In fact I often forgot to charge up the Blackberry my job had given me. Like one of my bosses said when I told him for third time why he was unable to contact me on a weekend by my cell "I don't know if you're a rebel or an idiot Thomas. Start charging your fucking cell phone." I would reply "Okay. You got it" but I never did. I also did not have a Facebook page, twitter, text, or like cats. Once that became clear it was usually time to watch their eyes start searching the crowd for someone else.