Monday, April 10, 2006
April 2006 Message from AssParrot
(Note: Read this Dan Simmons story first, if you haven't already. UPDATE: Try this link if that one isn't working. H/T: tigrismus in comments.
Greetings Readers, Friends, and Other Dhimmis:
The Time Traveler appeared suddenly in my asshole on New Year’s Eve, 2004. He was a stolid, grizzled man with a mullet and felt to be about the size of an extremely small Playmobil soldier (not that I would know). He also appeared to have been designed with an erotic purpose in mind or else in possession of terrible acne, since he had a ribbed exterior that I could feel tickling my anal passage. After I had managed to pass him onto the carpet of my study with no small discomfort, he announced in a husky voice that he was a Time Traveler come back to talk to me about the future.
Being a sometimes homosexual but not a top, I said, “Don’t they have fucking K-Y in the future?”
“Do you remember Replay?” he said.
My finger hovered over his tiny body, poised to flick him away. “The cheap cologne?” I said. “By Proctor & Gamble?”
The stranger – Time Traveler, psychotic, colon invader, whatever he was – looked bewildered.
“No, I don’t remember Replay,” I said. “What the fuck do I look like, Google?”
The little dildo-man informed me that he was speaking of a science fiction novel by some dork named Ken Grimwood which had won some big geek award, almost assuredly had been translated into Klingon, and probably had the sort of cover art that you would try to hide with one hand if you ever found yourself reading it on the subway. Long story short: Grimwood’s book was about some guy who travels back in time with full knowledge of his life ahead of him and gets to relive that life with his knowledge of the future … blah blah blah … establishing premise stolen from a better story … yada yada yada.
So, I thought, this is the stupidest start to a cautionary tale I’ve ever had the displeasure of satirizing.
I kept my finger poised over his tiny head and contemplated lubing him up and reinserting my brand new suppository from the future. But another ER bill to deal with? That was tsuris I didn’t need.
“What does that book have to do with you implausibly appearing in my ass and then me pulling you out to move this horrendous plot along (while also using broad metaphor to telegraph my opinion of the original story)?” I asked.
The stranger wiped some stray flecks of shit off his cheek. “You asked me to prove that I’m a Time Traveler,” he said softly. “Do you remember how Grimwood’s character in Replay went hunting for others in the 1960’s who had traveled back in time from the late 1980’s?”
No, I didn’t fucking remember. I never read the goddam book … don’t you remember when I told you that, wee sphincter man? Besides, by now I was only thinking about fair use and how much text from the original dumb story I could get away with stealing without getting sued, or worse … being asked to write a conservative blog for the Washington Post. I also had no idea how I was going to maintain this shit for another 5,000 words. But full steam ahead: The guy in Replay, once he suspected others were also replaying into the past, had taken out personal ads in major city newspapers around the country. The ads were concise. “Do you remember Three Mile Island, Challenger, Watergate, Reaganomics? If so, contact me at . . .”
Before I could say anything else on this New Year’s Eve of 2004, a few hours before 2005 began, the stranger said, “Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, Katrina and the Waves, 'What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas', Ward Cleaver, Ray Charles, Superman, Judge Judy, Red Sox sweep the Cardinals in four to win the World Series, Rope-a-Dope, women’s lib.”
“What the fuck?” I said, scrambling for a pen and then scrambling even faster to stab him with it as he scurried about on the carpet. “Red Sox sweep the Cardinals in four to win the World Series? That’s like, totally redundant. A sweep of the World Series implies ‘in four’ … dumbass. Besides, I thought you were supposed to tell me shit that hasn’t already happened.”
“You’ll recognize it all when you hear it all again,” said the stranger, clearly not getting that it wouldn’t have mattered even if he had told me about stuff from 2005 … because it’s 2006 as I write this, so like ‘Whoooaaa … Dan Simmons totally blew my mind by having a ‘guy from the future’ know crap that’s already freaking happened.
“I’ll see you in a year and we’ll have our conversation.”
“Wait!” I shouted. “Dammit, I have some Vaseline in the closet …” But when I looked up he had already disappeared up into my butthole ... and God knows how he was going to navigate my small intestine to get to wherever the hell he was going.
“Red Sox win the Series?” I muttered into the silence. “Better would have been to say ‘Red Sox fans become insufferable twats after winning Series. At least that would have been kind of funny … because it’s true!”
I was waiting for him on New Year’s Eve 2005. This time I’d greased my poopchute liberally. Wrong hole, I regret to say. Ever pass kidney stones? In the shape of a grizzled little fucker from the future? Yeah. Well. Anyway, seeing how I was doubled over with pain at the time, there wasn’t much I could do when he popped out, plunked himself down on my pleather pimpchair and started sucking on the crack pipe that I’m pretty sure you’ve guessed by now that I keep lying around.
“Dude!” I moaned. “Save me a rock, you bastard!”
Our conversation ran over two hours – or maybe it was 20 minutes or 30 seconds or three weeks – whatever, because after the crack ran out we hit the liquor cabinet, then we called up my meth connection … there was a part where I think we got chased by the cops or maybe a security guard at Safeway, all I know is half of my right ear is missing and I have no idea how that happened … at some point blotter acid was involved ... I’m pretty sure we ran over a woman but it may have been a dog or just my tore-up transmission acting up … and by the time we were out of cash and the tweaking had come down on my head hard enough for some feeble grasp of reality to awaken in my brain, the little dildo guy was cooking lacquer shavings he’d gouged out of my dresser and huffing the fumes … and I was trying to screw my hand to the refrigerator door with a butterknife.
With that in mind, here’s the gist of our talk:
The Time Traveler wouldn’t tell me what year in the future he was from. Not even the decade or century. But the pink-and-orange leopard-striped muscle pants and mesh half shirt he was wearing didn’t look very far-future science-fictiony or military, no Star Trekky boots or insignia, just shit- and piss-covered clothes that looked like something a guy who climbed in and out of people's asses and dicks would wear. Who also happened to hang out with Lou Ferrigno on Venice Beach in like, 1984.
“I know you can’t tell me details about the future because you’re not really from the future and this is all just made-up,” I began. I hadn’t spent the last 5 seconds thinking up that line for nothing.
“Oh, bugger time travel paradoxes,” said the Time Traveler, who was from what? England? And talked like some old codger from the 1960’s? And he’s supposed to be the grandson of me, an American? From the “future”? WTF? (Sorry for blowing the big reveal that he’s my grandson, but why do science fiction writers always have their characters say anachronistic crap like ‘bugger’ all the time?).
“They don’t exist," he said about the time paradoxes he brought up for no apparent reason. "I could tell you anything I want to and it won’t change anything. I just choose not to tell you some things.”
I frowned at this. Well, not at this, more at the fact that I was peaking on the 'shrooms I forgot to mention we munched, and the walls were breathing a fucking trip. “Time travel paradoxes…grk … dude … that’s a trip … I can totally … dude …I am totally tripping … that’s a trip … dude … trip ...”
The Time Traveler laughed and norted a huge rail off a giant lily pad that I didn’t know I owned. “Begain segunna plaxis?” he said. “Pilsbury filzag clobones Michelle Malkin?”
“Uh . . .Hitler? Cobagz?” I said weakly, because he wasn’t making any sense to me.
The Traveler smiled, but more ironically this time. “Good luck,” he said. “But don’t count on succeeding.”
I shook my head. “Cut to the fucking chase before you fucking snort me out of house and home, you greedy little urinary tract voyaging fuck!”
He looked slightly offended.
“Look, I believe your high ass patter about time travel,” I said, trying to humor him. The last thing I needed was a tweak war with a coked-up 6-inch figment of my imagination. Those suck.
“I gave you a raft of facts about your future a year ago as my bona fides,” said the Time Traveler. “Did it change anything? Did you bet on the Red Sox?”
“Yeah, sure,” I lied. “I also bet on Ali over Foreman based on your ‘rope-a-dope’ reference. I made a fucking bundle when they showed it on ESPN Classic the other day.”
The Time Traveler only shook his head. “Cogito ergo showoffium,” he said softly. “I could tell you that the River Anduin flows generally south. Would your knowing about it change its course or flow or flooding?”
I thought about this. Finally I said, “No, but it would make me think you were the kind of spaz whose knowledge of the topography of Middle Earth has an inverse relationship with his knowledge of the location of the female clitoris. But never mind that - why did you come back? Why do you want to talk to me? What do you want me to do?”
“I came back for my own purposes,” said the Time Traveler, looking around my booklined study, no doubt for some more of my stash he could raid. “I chose you to talk to because it was . . . convenient. And I don’t want you to do a goddamned thing. There’s nothing you can do. But relax . . . we’re not going to be talking about personal things. Such as, say, the year, day, and hour of your death. I don’t even know that sort of trivial information, although I could look it up quickly enough. You can release that white-knuckled grip you have on the edge of your desk.”
I tried to relax, even though that last paragraph was lifted nearly word-for-word from Simmons. “What do you want to talk about?” I said ... because I often like to "say" questions, rather than "ask" them. That's just how us literary hipsters roll.
“The Century War,” said the Time Traveler.
I blinked and tried to remember some Little Green Footballs lingo. “You mean the war with the Islamopaleswineanfascists, right?”
“I mean the Century War with Islam, yes,” the Tract Traveler said. “Your future. Everyone’s.” He was no longer smiling. Without asking, or bothering to even make a show of looking for a toilet, he stood, pissed all over my stereo, and sat again. He said, “It was important to me to come back to this time early on in the struggle. Even if only to remind myself of how unspeakably blind you all were.”
“You just pissed all over my stereo!” I said.
“I mean the Long War with Islam,” he said. “The Century War. And it’s not over yet where I come from. Not close to being over.”
“Maybe you didn’t hear me, cocksucker, but you better start cleaning up that piss before I step on your tiny ass!”
“Listen to me!” said the Time Traveler. His voice was very low but there was a strange and almost soothing edge to it. But nowhere near as soothing as my fucking stereo that he pissed on! What a total dick!
“The ‘peace’ in ‘Islam’ means ‘Submission.’ You’ll find that out soon enough.”
“Okay, blah blah blah,” I said. “Let’s summarize the filler and get to the funny part or we’re going to start losing the already tiny audience I’ve got on this blog. Islam is really, really bad … we’re supposed to be fighting Islam, not terrorism … some stupid analogy about fighting Japanese airplanes in World War II … something about a ‘Category Error’ in logic, as if this entire fictional exercise wasn’t a giant Category Error in itself … then, of course, the gentle but firm chiding about how me and other Americans who aren’t scared to the point of shitting ourselves hourly over Islamic terrorists are really big giant dumbasses who will be enslaved by crazed jihadis, like, by next year at the latest … that about sum it up?”
“Yes, it does,” said the little ass-crawling strawman. “Now, what do you know about Syracuse?”
I blinked again. “Uh, Keith Smart beat them with that jumper from the wing in ’87 and ‘Melo laid off the bong long enough to take them to the title a couple years ago?” I ventured.
He shook his head slowly. “Thucydides’ Syracuse,” he said softly, because that was the only adverb he knew how to speak in. “Syracuse circa 415 B.C. The Syracuse Athens invaded.”
“I don’t know shit about that, perfesser,” I said. “And I’m betting you don’t either. But I bet Wikipedia totally kicks ass in the, you know … ‘future’.”
“Okay, forget it,” he said. “I’ll just have to show you instead of tell you.”
With that, the Time Traveler started spurting shit and piss and puke out of every orifice until it covered half the floor in a giant puddle of foul, wretched excrement.
“Come, let us take the plunge,” he said, grabbing my hand.
“What, you mean ‘take the plunge’ … in that?” I asked, pointing to the puddle of filth. But with a movement quicker and stronger than I would have granted possible for him, the Time Traveler had pulled me onto my knees in the puddle. Where we remained for a few moments before he spoke again.
“Fuck. Well, that didn’t work,” he said.
“What didn’t work?” I must confess I screamed, due to the horror of my situation. “I’m on my knees in fucking shit!”
“No, no, it was supposed to take us magically back to the beginning of human civilization, where you would have seen all of history unfold to better understand your present problem … and my future one.”
“Wallowing in a puddle of shit and puke and piss was supposed to do that? Dude, I’m not normally one to say this … but lay off the fucking crack, John Zerzan!”
“Alright,” he said. “Let’s forget all about this. The point was supposed to be that the ancient Athenians should have nuked the Spartans when they had the chance. Also, in the future, you won’t be able to vote unless you can conjure up a magical time portal made out of crap.”
We climbed to our feet, trudged out of the puddle and sat back down. Because what’s a little getting caked in shit between friends?
“See, Athens failed in Syracuse – and doomed their democracy – not because they fought in the wrong place and at the wrong time, but because they weren’t ruthless enough,” the Time Traveling Shit Man said. “They had grown soft since their slaughter of every combat-age man and boy on the island of Melos, the enslavement of every woman and girl there. The democratic Athenians, in regards to Syracuse, thought that once engaged they could win without absolute commitment to winning, claim victory without being as ruthless and merciless as their Spartan and Syracusan enemies.”
“So you’re saying we need to start practicing genocide and bring back slavery?” I asked.
“Correct-amundo!” said the Time Traveler. “You win the prize!”
I went to the closet and fumbled around in the space behind the coats. Clearly, it was time to hit the nitrous.
He kept talking. “In 2006 you still fear yourselves and your own institutions first, out of old habit.”
“Hang on, I thought this was 2005 … wasn’t that the conceit way back in the beginning of the story …”
“So I need a fucking editor! Sue me!” he cut me off, but added with a twinkle in his eye, “Or more accurately, you need an editor.”
That sort of blew my mind, the whole meta-self referential poke at Simmons scope of it.
“I will tell you right now, and this is not a prediction but a history lesson, some of your grandchildren will live in dhimmitude.”
“Okay, Charles! You can come out now,” I yelled. By now my brain was so fried I thought Charles Johnson was the host of Punk’d. Which would be kind of funny in a very sick way, if you think about it. Like James Wolcott would be out walking his dog, and some actor with a towel on his head would jump out of the bushes and saw Wolcott’s head off, then Charles would run in and say, “You’ve been punk’d!” Actually, that wouldn’t be funny at all, just sick.
“Last year you gave me words about 2005,” I said, recovering. “The kind of words Ken Grimwood’s replayers in time would have put in the newspaper to find each other. Give me more now. Or, better yet, just fucking tell me what you’re talking about.”
He started giving me words. Even while I was scribbling them down, I was thinking of some porn that I’d downloaded earlier that I really wanted to jack off to.
“Ahmadenijad,” he said softly for the 50th fucking time, Simmons. Maybe you should have had him say “thesaurus,” Mr. Big Time Award Winning Writer. “Morgoth. Blak-a-lak. Babelflab. Iberzkak. Boner. Twenty-three skidoo.”
“Those words don’t mean a damned thing to me,” I said as I scribbled down my grocery list.
“You’ll know soon enough,” said the Time Traveler.
“Are you talking about . . . what? . . . the next fifteen or twenty years?” I said.
“I’m talking about the next fifteen or twenty seconds from your now,” he said softly. “Do you want more words?”
I didn’t. But I couldn’t speak just then, due to the peanut butter.
“General Mortimer O’Cuntlicker McGee,” intoned the Time Traveler. “Methlab-one, Methlab-two, Methlab-three. Telephone. Bukkake Triple Penetration Moneyshot, Al Bundy Spaceport on Venus, Hello Mudda Hello Fadda Here I Am at Camp Granada, Penguin, Cravat, Davenport, Poop, Weird al-Yankovic, Xanax, Sophia Loren, Fried Palenta, Gris-Gris. Letter Opener. Silly Putty. Charles de Gaulle. Desdemona.
“Oh, fuck,” I said. “Oh, Jesus.” I had no clue as to who or what Methlab One, Two, or Three might be, but the context and litany alone made me think this little bastard was holding out on me.
“This is just the beginning,” said the Time Traveler.
“Wasn’t the beginning on September 11, 2001?” I managed through numbied lips.
The one-note false man shook his head. “Historians in my time know that it began on November 5, 1953,” he said. “But it hasn’t really begun for you yet. For any of you.”
I thought – What on earth happened on the fifth of November, 1953? I’m old enough to remember. Wait, no I’m not. Can we end the arbitrary italics now?
“Uh, was that when Carlos the Jackal got his first toy airplane . . .” I began.
The Time Traveler shook his head.
“The Ayatollah … yeah, it’s got to have something to do with him … um, did he have an American girlfriend who broke up with him on that date, sending him into a spiral of hatred for the United States?”
Again he shook his head. “You’re getting warm, though …”
“Okay, okay,” I said, racking my brains. “The Ayatollah’s girlfriend blueballed him … and she was, um, Jimmy Carter’s second cousin?”
“It’s got nothing to do with the Ayatollah Khomeini, jackass!” thundered the small fella. “By ‘getting warm’ I just meant you were headed in the right general direction. Christ, you’re a fucking idiot!”
“Well, fuck you too!” I retorted. “Why don’t you just tell me what your stupid starting date for your asinine ‘Century War’ refers to?!?”
“It doesn’t matter!” he shouted back. “I just made up that date to make fun of the arbitrariness of Simmons picking RFK’s assassination as the starting date of a paranoid future 'Long War with Islam'! As if Sirhan Sirhan was anything more than a drooling wacko, much less some nefarious agent of an imaginary global Islamic conspiracy! Now here’s some more words from the future: Abraxas. Metronome. Philadelphia. Grand Junction, Colorado. Colostomy bag. Pencil.”
“Stop,” I said. “Just stop.”
“Heast Castle,” persisted the Time Traveler. “Grauman’s Chinese. Bob’s Donuts. El Farolito Tacqueria. The Biggest Ball of Twine in the World. The Calcutta Sewers …”
“Shut the fuck up!” I shouted, reverting to italics. “I’m high as a kite and this is turning into a fucking evil bad trip!”
“Fine, fine,” said the Time Traveler, his torn voice almost a whisper now. “Let’s skip to the three words. They’re the most important and scary words … EVAR.”
“Yeah, let’s fucking do that,” I said, in tears.
“Okay, so I’m your grandson and here’s three words …”
“What, ‘I’m your grandson’?”
“No, those weren’t the three words,” said the Time Traveler, who seemed to suddenly be shrinking. “Here they are …”
“Uh, ‘here they are’?”
“Goddam you, listen!”
“Goddam you …”
“For fuck’s sake …”
“Scary to the FCC, maybe, but I don’t see how ‘fuck’ is all that horrifying, as peppered as it’s been throughout this little essay …”
“Gahhh, shut up!” he screamed, holding his tiny hands over his cute little ears, which were growing smaller, along with the rest of him, by the second. “You! You don’t listen and you’re stupid! I’ve crawled out of thousands of asses and cocks, and I’ve told thousands of people the three words! But you are too idiotic to just wait for me to say them. You alone! You’re the first … the first … who’s … the first …”
“Who’s on first?” I offered. But the little Time Traveler had already disappeared.