Recent Happenings And Transgressions

Posted on May 10, 2010


R.H.A.T.-a-tat-tat” Zig says as he holds his hands up so as to support and fire an imaginary Tommy Gun. He’s high. Everyone in the car is.

“And I mean, like… what is the deal with all this oil spill shit?” he says to Zag.
“I don’t know, dude,” Zag says. Zag says to me that there’s been a lot of fucked up shit going on recently but that our generation is “too jaded” to grasp or do anything about it so and any and all subversives like us will have to continue to bide our time and either wait for the problems to solve themselves or for the country to fall completely apart and be the first to show up at ground zero for cleanup duty. Either scenario seems likely given the current state of the world.

Just this past year we’ve seen high-magnitude earthquakes (one of which was powerful enough to alter the planet’s axis and shorten its days), the usual escalation of suicide bombings, heightened debate on socioeconomic issues domestically hindered by our divisive political sphere— not to mention that the financial crisis that hit like a bitch in 2007 is now three years later pummeling us into a pool of our own blood and sweat.

“Let’s call Arim,” says Zag. “I bumped into him the other day and totally got his number.”
“Okay,” I say. I haven’t seen Arim in well over six months partly due to a romantic involvement which kept me well occupied during that time and due in part of course to the fact that a generation constantly on-the-go seldom crosses its brethren more frequently than necessary, but given the occasion and having no real objection to the idea I consent.

Zig says, “So,” as Zag waits for Arim to answer his cell and then Zig says, “I thought you quit smoking?”

“Well, I was going to, but then, I’m not going to be getting another job anytime soon, and this [he points to the bong] is the best thing ever, so…” and then Zag trails off.

“That’s right,” I chime in. “You don’t quit the Mary Jane, she quits you.”


I hear Arim and his muffled tone on the other line and Zag invites him; they talk. I’m in my own little world in Zag’s Volvo at this moment, the world’s weight ebbing and flowing through the tide of my mind; one day I’ll be able to relax, I tell myself. My eyes shift one way then another— incessantly operating sentry units. Zag’s been talking this whole time but I’m too spaced out to notice and then he tells me “He’s like five minutes away. He’s down to chill.”

The streets in this suburban neighborhood are given a blue-black hue thanks to the position of the moon at night. These same evidently unassuming streets have been in recent weeks the site of violent crime. Not unusual in an urban metropolitan jungle, in a predominately white neighborhood filled with paranoid shut-ins it is as alien as the people Arizona is now actively profiling for. I’m on my guard, like always.

“I’m sketched out,” I say and Zig agrees and Zag does too even though we’re in our own neighborhood and shouldn’t have to feel that way. “I feel like there’s cops everywhere.”

Zag says, “Every car is like a cop to me.”
On a tangential note I add: “What’s funny is whenever someone says to me, like, ‘Watch out, there’s cops out today’ like it’s a big surprise. I’m all, ‘Yeah, you mean just like yesterday, and the day before that, ansowahnansoforth?’ I know the cops in this city. They never sleep. They never stop. And they are out. For you.”

Our local police department has been so gracious as to make their arrest records public, which is in many ways a good thing. Using basic arithmetic I deduced that for an estimated 17,981 arrests per 180 days our annual arrest rate would amount to around 35,962 yearly. The city population is estimated at 171,922. Do the math and you realize that roughly 1/5 of us end up behind bars at some point during the year. These Badges do a fine job at planting the seeds of paranoia and keeping the sheeple herd in line.

“Every car’s a cop,” I echo Zag and Zag echoes me: “EVERY COP’S A CAR!”

We L.O.L. though I don’t know why that inside joke is still funny. A car approaches quickly from behind where we’re parked. Could be Arim, could be a cop. Could be Arim is a cop, you don’t ever know given that recruitment for snitches, informants, and U.C. camouflaged pigs being pulled from the general populace is at an all-time high since everyone has been put out of work. The hulking, gray S.U.V. creeps closer.

“Is that him?” I ask.
“Of course it’s him,” Zag says. “It’s an Ess-Yoo-Vee. How many non-Arabic guys do you see driving those this time of night?”
“…Lots, actually. How many non-S.U.V.’s do you see anymore, period?”
“Oh yeah.”
Remember that there’s a bong in my hand at this moment.

Arim approaches us and instinctively hops into the Volvo backseat. He’s thinner than I remember last I saw him.

“What’s up, guys?” he asks and I tell him White Widow is what’s up. I pass him the instrument and he shoves his nose into the packed slide and smells it.
“This is good stuff,” he says, impressed. “Tell me what you guys have been up to lately. I mean, shit,” he’s looking at me, “I haven’t seen you since, like, the mall…”
“I know…” I say. “Been busy.”
I tell him about me and Samantha breaking up. I tell him that other than that I’ve just been doing the usual Work and School, an obligatory and arbitrary answer that never fails to satisfy idle small talk. Our lives reduced to our humdrum activities and obligations.

I ask him what he’s been up to, if he too has Work and/or School.
“Nah,” he says. “I was doing school but not anymore, and I don’t have a job right now. It kinda sucks because I don’t have any money, but then I never do, and I didn’t before the economy got bad either, and now all the people who got on my case for not having a job back then are unemployed. ‘Oh, who’s laughing now? I guess it doesn’t matter after all, now does it?'”

He laughs.

“Still doing a lot of this?” Zig says, gesturing the paraphernalia.

“No, actually, this is the first time in awhile I’ve smoked. I got so fed up with shady weed fiends and plus, ya know, not having any money, and plus I just got sick of smoking so much, ya know? So yeah. I don’t really do the ganj that much anymore. I just do lots of psychedelics. I don’t even buy weed anymore. Psychedelics are more me, anyway. They offer a much more real drug experience,” says Arim. Zag nods and I, too far-gone to argue this, humor Arim and I say “They Let You See The World As It Really Is.”

And then I say, “As Opposed To How The World Wants You To See It.”

And Arim says, insert ellipsis, “Yeah.”

We’ve all lived and lingered in this neighborhood for an extended amount of time and it’s time now that we discuss a lot of the recent happenings from within. A murder last week. Two (EDIT 05/19/2010: Three if you count last week’s attempt) accounts of rape against elderly women. A degenerate body of work at work within a body of suburban degenerates.

“Who would want to rape an OLD FUCKING WOMAN?” I say.
“No one does,” Arim adds. “My theory is that it’s the economy. This always happens like this. People start losing their jobs and then they get desperate and then they go crazy and shit like this happens.”
The fabric holding our society together, those little green paper presidents. Gawd Bless The U.S.A.
“They’re saying it’s the same guy,” I continue. “They say he wears a mask to obscure his face, that he enters homes via sliding glass doors. They’re looking for a white guy aged twenty-to-forty. Eh, kay, eh, could be anyone in this neighborhood.”
“Yeah,” someone says.
Arim says that Dan-The-Man is in town and we should call him to hang out.
Last time I recall an outing with Zig, Zag, Arim, and Dan-The-Man took place during my tenure house-sitting for a friend during the holidays in which we rolled a blunt in his house and boxed the place in his absence. If you’re reading this, Jared, I’m sorry. Kind of.

Next we’re in Arim’s S.U.V. The A.C. is circulating a smooth and fluid breeze amid our THC stink. He’s on the phone with Dan: “Yo, Dan? Hey man. What are you up to right now? I’m hangin’ out with [Zag] and Neil [C.K.R.] and we’re just chillin’, smokin’ a little, feelin’ like doing something, ya wanna hang?”
From the other line I hear Dan say, “Yeah, sure. I was thinking of hitting up Waffle House later.”
“What a coincidence,” Zag interjects from the backseat, “just the place my stomach was feeling.”

Remember that there’s a bong in his hand at this moment.
Arim ends the call, his cell glowing neon reflecting his S.U.V.’s neon dashboard reflecting the glow of the moon. He starts to talk about music, about how if a band is going to be good these days, “it pretty much has to be prog, or some variant of it.”
“That’s not true. There are tons of experimental musicians out there. Not exactly ‘prog’ but mainstream music seems to be getting a bit less formulaic, or at least differently formulaic, from the music of, say, the eighties and nineties,” I say. And he’s like: “Good point.”
He says, “Man, what is up with people like you and me with all our weird music tastes? I remember you and me were like the only people who had heard of, like, Dir en Grey and shit.”
And I say, “Yeah.”

Dan-The-Man arrives. We smoke, he mentions postmodernism a few times. Zag notes that Dan is wearing the same jade Buddha necklace that he wore in high school.
“Always have it,” Dan says.
I ask him if he was ever going to pass it on to another enlightened soul at any point as he had once promised to do so.
He responds, “Maybe. Maybe if I ever meet one.”