vr

a novel

Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss

March 1996

This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental.

From: SAGReiss
Date: 1 March 1996
Subject: (no subject)

Would someone please forward the message where I thanked scaredycat for the technical help? My 'puter seems to have misplaced the file and I seem to have misplaced a paper copy. Scorn? Yes. Hatred? Yes. Loathing? Yes. You see I've read too many books. They are a depressing lot from Gulliver's Travels to Jude the Obscure. Also happinness and optimism are particularly American traits and my mind and adult personality was formed in Europe where I studied and worked and lived throughout my twenties. Nothing very bad has ever happened to me, but this is the way I feel. Many bad things have happened to you, but they do not seemed to have turned you into a mean drunk. But I can still respect an act of sheer will and courage. And I love great literature and strongly advise you to quit school now, write the Great American Rape Novel in exactly the style of your e-mail, but without the cheese of course, and you will be a millionairess in minutes. There is no book on the market anything remotely like the one you could write, not even in the libraries. Please do it before you get scooped by one of the camp de viol victimes in Bosnia. Why should I encourage you to do anything, Tyisha, except go out and get drunk and have unprotected sex a lot? Why would I want you, assuming I want anything for you, to go out and lead a successful life as a slimy lawyer and capitalist dog? True I am not a sis, but I haven't made much so far of otherworldly gifts and a solid middle class upbringing, have I? It's coming. I only promised myself to do as well as my namesake and conquor the world by the age of thirty-three. I still have another year to go and I don't think I'm pressed for time. I'll make this concession, Tyisha, if you need help in any arts and sciences or psych classes, I'll make myself available. From what I've seen at SU you may have no other access to world-class scolarship. Very few of the profs here have ever published in such a prestigeous literary journal as Les Temps Modernes. Berkeley is probably a better school, but whatknow. It's damn sure not of the calibre of the University of Strasbourg or the University of Freiburg. As you can see, I've trimmed the list to those who are participating. Don't worry about Corinne and Jeff. They are my friends irl and they know what they are doing. See if you can find another bad-ass or two to join, either irl or on some MOO. Where do you two MOO? Salut bisamme.

From: SAGReiss
Date: 1 March 1996
Subject: Must work tomorrow at six

Someone called in sick and I must get up very, very early in the morning. I can talk to you now for an hour or two. I'm sorry, but after 6PM OZtime will be too late. Please e-mail me if your free and we'll meet on the 'net if you like.

From: SAGReiss
Date: 1 March 1996
Subject: Tale of Two Cities

Your reading of the letters from my list serve was severely flawed. Either your English skills need work, or you didn't understand the cultural context (One of the letters was a spoof on a Dickens novel.) or my style is a little tough for you. When you misinterpreted that I said you had asked to join the serve, it is obvious that I'm talking about Nichelle. I don't really care why you don't want to participate, but I'm taking you off, of course. Please tell me if you receive any more mail, and I'll see that it's dealt with. I bought this 'puter to use essentially for e-mail, the MOOs, eventually to create a real list serve, writing scholarly research etc. I thought it wise to have a top of the line model because in five years this won't seem very big nor very fast. As to your silly threat about logging lambda, nothing worth logging ever happens on lambda, which is why I'm always in search of a MOO for the thinking man. If you can help me find one I'd be grateful. I'm going to try IRC as soon as I get my software upgrade. Besides I am neither a journalist nor a teacher. I wait tables, remember?

From: SAGReiss
Date: 1 March 1996
Subject: Foolish calculations

I've only just realized it's after 1AM here and I have to wake up in fewer than three hours. There's no point in my going to sleep. If you want to talk to me I'll be in the chat rooms. There may be a way of paging or locating a particular person. I don't know. I hope to see you and talk to you until 8PM OZtime.

From: SAGReiss
Date: 1 March 1996
Subject: Here I am

I'm in the Atrium restaurant at the table for ten.

From: scaredycat
Date: 1 March 1996
Subject: Re: Tale of Two Cities

i read it (the novel), and it wasn't to hard to see that you swapped the S and the T, i guess my english needs work. anyway, i didn't threaten you with anything, just thought i'd let you know. did you try the webster server (the one i gave you to check words)? it's a cute idea, esp if you need a defenition and don't have your dictionary around. i have a file some place about IRC, i can send it if you want. --scaredycat

From: SAGReiss
Date: 1 March 1996
Subject: Reading

I doubt the problem is your English. I just put that in there to tweak your big nose. The problem is more likely poor reading skills and bad reading habits. Reading requires extreme concentration and an utmost care to the details of syntax, vocabulary, rhythm and rhetoric, in short style. To do this one must never read on the screen, always off paper, in silence, no Pearl Jam blasting through high technology speakers with subwoofers from Japan driving your mother batty and you deaf. My style is very deceiving, very difficult to penetrate. It looks so natural, so idiomatic, as if I were talking, but if you looks carefully at the levels of stylistic variation, tone, irony, allusion, you'll see it's a technique just as studied as that of Proust or Faulkner. I know what I'm doing on a keyboard, and I've honed my skills relentlessly over the past eighteen years or so. It is a style which has an explicit esthetic and linguistic justification. It only looks like I'm improvising. I am not.

From: karen have a guess
Date: 1 March 1996
Subject: Re: Foolish calculations

dear scott,
thank you for your emails. i got home after work at 8pm australian time and just missed you on th line. got all your messages. do let me know in email when yyou're on again.
take care, bye for now, karen

From: SAGReiss
Date: 2 March 1996
Subject: Skeleton in the cupboard

Awake for more than thirty straight hours, I have decided to profit from your painfully-felt absence by telling you the worst thing you could possibly know about me, before you figure it out for yourself, as you will not neglect to do, sooner rather than later. Indeed it is a secret for very few people who know me and I would have told you myself (I did allude to it, but I'm not sure you took note.) except that I was so surprized and flattered that a woman of your calibre would be interested in a working-class bum like me, I was affraid to lose you before I even had a chance to find you. The expectations I place on myself are so high, as are the expectations others place on me (I have been known to both family and friends as Genius, if a troubled genius, for as long as I can remember.), that despite a certain cocky self-confidence (intellectual, sexual) I have felt like a failure for many, many years. The burdon of my middle name, Alexander, is such that I really think I have but one year left to conquer the world. Even my computer I have named Bucephalus in honor of this family tradition. Paradoxically, I feel I have at least an even shot at making good by the symbolic age of thirty-three, with BABEL in my pocket. Indeed I feel the brunt of the whole universe upon my shoulders, as something I must understand and explain to the world. The Nobel prize for literature is something which my family believes, and has long believed, is within my grasp, even if they understand nothing of the style I have created. They think: "If he would only stop doing that dumb e-mail shit, he could write a proustian masterpiece," but just as significantally I think: "If I can only show the world that Proust won't work for us anymore, they will understand that my e-mail and cybertext are a new kind of masterpiece." Indeed the simple pressure of thinking as hard as I do, concentrating with such intense mental discipline on the problem at hand, pondering the great questions of life from the moment I awake to the moment I fall asleep, mathematics at breakfast?" That's why I hate to dream. I feel that my mind is being cheated out of well-deserved rest. That plus the everyday loneliness, lack of love, from which you and so many others of us suffer suffise to create a symptom of terminal tension, guilt and shame. (This is a very long introduction, but I have a rule I have made for myself: once you commit something to paper [or the screen in this case] you cannot back off, you must send it.) I am an alcoholic. There, that was easy. If you can't love me because of that, so be it. Some girls can't. The Peruvian poetess hated alcohol, though she drank a fair amount of wine and was addicted to antidepressants. My ex-wife (I call her that, though we were never married.) once wrote: "If you didn't drink you would be perfect, and perfectly unbearable." You are a doctor so you probably have your own opinions about such matters as 200 gamma GTs. (That was the allusion I made to my problem.) Anyway I feel much better telling you this right away. You have had a chance to see the best of me, my brains, my erudition, my wit and my lovemaking, and now you see me at my weakest. I think I too have seen you both strong and vulnerable. I think I can take you with your faults. I wrote to my mother: "Last night I met the woman I think I will marry." I am not a man who doubts like Hamlet. I doubt like David Hume, who can still play billiards at two o'clock in the morning. Today this phrase came to my mind: "Dr Yung, would you like to become Mrs Dr Yung?" Words come to me like that. Flaubert had an almost mystical view of language which to some extent I share. Language does not belong to us. On the contrary we often seem to belong to it. I don't feel that my words come from me, but that they come to me.

From: CARLTON&PETRINA
Date: 2 March 1996
Subject: Re: Kicking ass

Oh,Jesus, SAG really! This is outrageous, even for you!

From: Nichelle
Date: 2 March 1996
Subject: The Great American Rape Novel

> And I love great literature and strongly advise
> you to quit school now, write the Great American Rape Novel in exactly the
> style of your e-mail, but without the cheese of course, and you will be a
> millionairess in minutes.

No way. Thanks for your confidence in my writing ability, though. There actually was a time when I wanted to be a writer, though this isn't the sort of thing I was writing at the time. It's just that I don't want to be immortalized as a victim. Can't you just imagine all of the calls from sleazy talk shows inviting me to come as an expert, book in hand, sit at the end of the couch with a bunch of weepy 19 year olds? No fucking way. If everyone in the world was like you, Scott and Tyisha and the rest of you, then I might just be able to do it. I might have a chance of being understood.

As for quitting school, I guess you just don't know me well enough to know about my other talents. You obviously have never heard me play the clarinet. Any beyond the talents, there is a whole lot more about me that you may get to know also, if we ever get past this abuse thing.

I'm not too interested in being famous. Rich, I could handle. Or at least richer than I am. I don't own a single piece of furniture that isn't made out of plywood and cinder blocks. I did manage to get myself some summer work, a night job playing musicals every night for two months. During the days, I may end up graduating with my degree (finally), whatever that means. It is strange, but I already have this feeling of completion. I wonder if I ought to get my masters degree. I often feel that the university is getting in the way of my education.

Oh, and I MOO on IdMOO where I am called Petrouchka and on Lambda, where I am called Nectarine. There are a few other places, but these are the important ones.

Nichelle

From: karen have a guess
Date: 2 March 1996
Subject: Re: Skeleton in the cupboard

dear scott,
thank you for sharing your "secret" with me. it does not make any difference in our friendship. I am a doctor and i do understand the vulnerability of human minds. but the difference of the word "am" and "was" would somehow be important. we, human have our weaknesses but to me you grow from your experience. (do forgive me... english is not my first language. my grammer is horrible) i understand you well. but......... you should be strong!! i have been lucky all my life. I would like to live a few lives in my short live time. There was a time I was very depressed (last about 2 years.......... my marriage) but one day i woke up and i decided that i could not live like that. i'm healthy (compare yourselve to those people in the war zone!!) and i should make use of my life...... it took me a while to see the light at the other end of the tunnel. but once i saw that light, everything looks so beautiful. you are ONLY 33. i know a few people who didn't go to uni until they were 30+. CHEER UP!!! make use of your life!! i know it is difficult and it'd take a lot of hardship but....... believe in yourselve and be confident. from your writting i can see an intelligent man with a wonderful creatative mind. don't waste that. i've got to go now...... a hair cut in town. ooups i'm running late. we are friends ok?! take care!! tell me when you're on and we shall chat again.
yours, karen

From: scaredycat
Date: 2 March 1996
Subject: Re: Reading

> one must never read on the screen.
not everyone has a printer.

From: SAGReiss
Date: 2 March 1996
Subject: Dr Geisskopf will see you now

I do not understand the West's obsession with youth. (From what I read in the papers twelve-year-old prostitutes are kind of big in the East.) I don't care about getting older. On the contrary I dread dying young, as I think I told you when you spoke to me about forensic medicine. I do however object to your ageing me by a year because of the strong symbolism of my thirty-third birthday. Remember Caesar looking at a bust of Alexander and saying that at such an age Alexander had already conquered the world? Chateaubriand also said that every generation had thirty-three years, the age of Christ when he died. I have five months left to equal my namesake. I am only thirty-two. And I was only thirty-one when I wrote the book I believe will be known as the first work of the third millenium. Why would you become depressed about your marriage five years after your divorce, if my chronology of your life is right? Anyway I probably fit the clinical definition of depression, but that definition is probably so vague as to include just about everyone. I told you that black bile dominates my personality and that Europessimism helped form my mind. There might be, however, some difference between life and art. (If you don't know, this is what I consider my art, but it could perhaps blur into my life...) I do sometimes laugh, though I don't smile because I lived for so long in Europe and Europeans don't smile like Americans. I do enjoy many aspects of my work, believe it or not. I do go to the pub and joke with the boys. I write and receive a lot of e-mail, though I very seldom see my irl friends for reasons that are obscure to me. I am certainly more bitter, more cynical, brooding, sardonic in e-mail that in on-line chat, which is a lot closer to real life. The internet is just blurring the distinctions between art and life (which have never been clear and with which all serious artists have always struggled) just as it blurs the distinction between written and spoken language. I have to go to work now. I should get off, and Can we talk then? I'll look for you in the 10-person rooms in the chat garden.
Rectum vinum.
Gaby

From: Brown_Sugar
Date: 2 March 1996
Subject: Re: The Great American Rape Novel

Nichelle,
Whatever helps you to cope better with your traumatic experiences you do because you want to. It is admirable that you deemed us good enough people to relate your feelings about the horrific situations that happened to you. Whatever you decide to do just know that I am behind you 200%.
Sincerely,

Tyisha

From: SAGReiss
Date: 2 March 1996
Subject: meeting

Are you sleeping or at church? Isn't the fourteen-hour difference right?

From: Francesca
Date: 2 March 1996
Subject: textes

Gabriel

i enjoyed the texts - hope to find them in print some time

best,

gash

From: SAGReiss
Date: 3 March 1996
Subject: I am a fucking idiot.

My whole fucking time sheet is off, and it's costing me your company. God am I a dumb ass.

NY: OZ
6AM: 8PM
9AM: 11PM
NOON: 2AM
3PM: 5AM
6PM: 8AM
9PM: 11AM
MIDNIGHT: 2PM
3AM: 5PM
I'm so sorry. I'm such a cunt. I'll just wait for you. I hope I'll see you in an hour's time. Actually I couldn't have asked you to wake up at 6AM on a Sunday anyway. A bientot.

From: Brown_Sugar
Date: 3 March 1996
Subject: Re: your mail

Now I realize why you are so fucked up. Help in Psych classes fuck you and what you are going through. I have never needed your help in the past and I damn sure do not need your help now.
Why should you encourage me to do anything? The truth of the matter is you shouldn't. I do not need nor did I ever ask for your encouragement or lack thereof. Going out and getting drunk and having alot of unprotected sex? I leave that up to your sorry ass. #1 I respect myself too much to do some shit like that, something you seem to be wholly lacking of. Why would you want to do anything for me? Did I ever ask your sorry ass to want something for me? I think not. You are no significant part of my life. As if you not wanting something good and productive for and to me would hinder me in fulfilling my goals. Or do you know what that word stands for? Probably not. Slimy lawyer?....You better check yourself Scott (Oh I forgot you are not black so you would not understand the black dialect) You better watch what you say to me because I will not be a slimy lawyer I will be damn good one and you better not forget it because you will need me one day and if you fuck up too many times with me you will fuck up with dealing with one of the best persons you have had the opportunity to meet in your entire lifetime. (No I am not conceited; I am convinced, and there is a difference in that as well....because you seem to have alot of trouble distinguishing differences.) Capitalist dog? Watch yourself Scott for you went way too fucking far in your insults by making such a reference to me. Do you know how many times my family and I have been screwed over by people who are staunch capitalists? No you do not, so before you go out doing all your fucking name calling do your damn research. Understand? Just because I want to be filthy rich does not mean I am a capitalist dog. If anything you are the capitalist dog wanting to be rich and "conquer the world". (Scary thought). Oh and another thing MR. Wise Ass....Not only is the University of California at Berkeley a better school it is a great school. Do me a favor.....if you are going to talk about something you better have your facts straight....and not just based on your damn experiences. Can you do that or will your expertise (right) and pride prevent you from doing so?
You see Scott, I think you have met your match because when you come at me with some shit like your asss just did I am going to have a rebuttal every single time. And if you can't take it then you are definitely not the person that all these people here believe that you are. Cause just like you don't give a fuck....take a close look and see if I give a fuck.Tyisha

From: SAGReiss
Date: 3 March 1996
Subject: Fatigue

Last night is a drunken blur. First I got slammed at work. Thirty room service orders is huge, horrible. I managed to get our more or less on time, around half past eleven, a nervous wreck. A few whiskies later I began feeling better. A loud fight with some foul-mouthed teenage girl helped me to unwind, but by the time I was ready to go to sleep I looked at my watch and it said twenty to two. I keenly saw the bootlessness of going to sleep with the alarm set for four. So in a drunken stupor I steadily charted a course of action. I ordered a sandwhich and put it in the oven to stay warm. Then I Mooed until four, ate my sandwhich with coffee, sobered up (I had only had maybe eight to ten drinks, so it was no big deal.) bathed, got dressed and calmly strolled to work. Not too bad. Yesterday I almost made a hundred and fifty dollars, today maybe one twenty. I should be able to pay the rent come Thursday.

From: SAGReiss
Date: 3 March 1996
Subject: Where are you?

I'm going crazy, my dear friend. Are you online?

From: SAGReiss
Date: 3 March 1996
Subject: Mr Wise Ass

Tyisha, if you're fucking with me, you're out of your league. I'm twelve years older and a lot smarter and better educated than you will ever be. Just ask Corinne and Jeff. Or you can check your school library for Les Temps Modernes, one of the most prestigeous literary journals in France, founded by Sartre and Beauvoir, December 1989. I think you'll recognize the name of one of the contributers. As for needing a lawyer (Bad things can happen to anyone.) I've already got mine, so thanks but no thanks. As for the person you all think I am, Corinne and Jeff know me very well irl. What you others think, I have no idea. When I go on lambda as a guest (I don't want to be a member of a dumb-ass MOO.) I use this description: "Small, mean, polyglot intellectual," which pretty much sums it up. Do you play classical or jazz, Nichelle? Oh and Tyisha, I'm pretty good in black English, 'cause I've spent almost every evening for the last year and a half in bars in the ghetto patronized by an all-black (except me) clientele.

From: SAGReiss
Date: 3 March 1996
Subject: A Printer

How could you not have a printer? Please send me your name and address and I'll order you a Hewlett Packard 5L Laserjet like mine. You're welcome. Gaby.

From: SAGReiss
Date: 3 March 1996
Subject: Stood up

I'm bitterly disappointed, crushed. In part it was my fault, since I fucked the time change, but it's now 7PM NYtime and I think it's 9PM OZtime. I'm very punctual. I'm always fifteen minutes early and almost never miss work or an appointment. Perhaps you don't want to talk to me. I don't fucking know. I'm on room service tomorrow morning so I'll be on the 'net at about 3PM here, which I think is 5AM in OZ. I'll be on for a couple of hours, so if you want to talk a little before work, that's fine. Please, please e-mail me to confirm. Also I'm not working Monday and Tuesday. E-mail me to say when we can talk, anytime day or night, at your convenience. What have I done wrong? Why does everything in my life have to fuck up so bad?

From: SAGReiss
Date: 3 March 1996
Subject: Very bad day

Well, I don't fucking know. We're going to have to find a new place to meet anyway. I can't afford MSN. I'm just checking it out during a free trial period. My real account, once I get a software upgrade and work out some the bugs (within a fortnight) my address will be sagr9@bergman.syr.vcomm.net, but we'll have to move to independant chat rooms or direct talking which I don't know how to do yet. I can't afford long phone calls either. I'm a poor man, not a rich boy. I don't really care. I don't care for money, or about it, but as Charles Bukowski says: "Sex and money seem a lot more important when you don't have any."

From: SAGReiss
Date: 3 March 1996
Subject: Silence

Sending you a blind letter just to wonder, what are you doing, thinking. Why do you seldom (almost never) write? Why do we never see eachother? I guess I'm not complaining, but I'd at least like to be able to explain to others how our weird friendship, if I may call it that, works. I'm constantly telling people: "My two best friends live within walking distance from me, but I haven't seen them in six months." Is there a reason for this? You never (almost never) even e-mail me. If I'm being indiscreet, please forgive me. Am I somehow terribly wrong and naive to call you my two best friends? After all, I thought of Sweet Lou and Calamity Kate as friends, but they apparently left without leaving a trace. I'd like to get Eric and Vanessa on our listserve... Just wondering...

From: SAGReiss
Date: 3 March 1996
Subject: Sleep

I'm so sorry, love, I must go to sleep. I don't understand what fucked up today. Do you know what the real time difference is? Do you want to talk with me? I don't know anything. I hate life.

From: Nichelle
Date: 3 March 1996
Subject: That's Mr. Wise Ass Sir, to you.

>Do you play classical or jazz, Nichelle?

Yes. And a lot of other things too. Tonight was the last night of the show (Big River) and I get to play a lot of Dixieland jazz, which is heaven for a clarinetist. You just squiggle around up in the nosebleed register of the instrument. Basically, I play the clarinet, and anything you put in front of me will be played well, with enthusiasm and soul. Period.

This musical has been a fucking disaster. Talk about actors who can't sing (though I doubt any of us musicians act well, either). Besides the out of tune singers, the bass player's instrument broke (the bridge slipped) on two different nights, the sewer backed up in the theater and the whole stage smelled like shit tonight, and the only amusing mistake was last night when the synth player accidentally hit one of those cheesy drum beat buttons at a completely imappropriate moment, and a disco beat started up during a slow harmonica solo.

Today I got toghether with an old friend who I haven't seen for a few years. He has thrown himself into the Spokane river on two different occasions, and it is surprising that he is sill alive. He tells me that I look as beautiful and tender and innocent as ever, and I said a few things that made his cheeks turn bright red, and the tension was magnificent. If only I had that effect on all men. Or maybe that's my problem.

From: Nichelle
Date: 3 March 1996
Subject: Mr. Old, Smart, and Well Educated Ass

> I'm twelve years older and a lot smarter and better educated than you will
>ever be.

And a thousand times more arrogant. Twelve years is a long time, sugar plum. I would love to hear about what you were doing when you were 22. (How old are you, Tyisha?)

>Just ask Corinne and Jeff.

Okay, I will. Corinne? Jeff? What's the scoop on Scott?

As for what I think of you... It goes against every instinct I have, but I actually kind of like you sometimes. I am convinced, however, that it would be a terrible idea to let you conquer the world. Are you with me on this one, Tyisha?

I also think you're pretty hard on Tyisha. Sounds like Mr. Grumpy Bear needs a nap.

From: SAGReiss
Date: 3 March 1996
Subject: Where are you?

Half out of my mind (which, as you know, is a very big place) with sadness and despair, I'm going to take drastic measures to find you. First I'm going to call you right now, which is about five AM NYtime and should be seven PM OZtime. Then I'm going to turn on my telephone ringer, which I usually have off because of my crazy schedule and hatred of the damned phone. I'll be at work for about eight hours and then am off for forty-eight. You can call me any time, anywhere day or night. I don't care if I'm asleep or crazy or dead. I can't believe in the information age we can't seem to stay in touch.

From: SAGReiss
Date: 3 March 1996
Subject: I'm a dumb ass.

Maybe this will make it easier. I'll give you my phone number. I'm so un-used to the phone that I can barely remember it. It's (315) 425-0388. Please call or e-mail or both. If not I'm going to steal a credit card and fly to Sydney.

From: karen have a guess
Date: 3 March 1996
Subject: (no subject)

i've got all your emails. i think you should cool down a bit. i don't think this is healthy. please leave me alone.

From: karen have a guess
Date: 3 March 1996
Subject: (no subject)

scott,
please cool down!!!!!!!!! i'm sorry but i think this is gettting out of hand. please leave me alone. i'm sorry. plase don't email me or contact me anymore.
karen. please

From: karen have a guess
Date: 3 March 1996
Subject: (no subject)

scott,
i believe i should explain everything clearly to you. i do like to chat with people, lots of people and all different kinds of people. and you are not the only person that ive chatted with. i would like to friends with everyone including you...... but please cool down. this is getting out of hand. OK?? please don't do this any more. PLEASE
karen

From: SAGReiss
Date: 3 March 1996
Subject: Won't bother you again.

No this is not healthy. You are a doctor. I should have thought you'd understand. We are all sick, with what Kierkegaard calls "The Sickness unto Death". Plato tells one of the most painful tales ever told when Socrates calmly drinks the hemlock and tells his friend Phaedo: "I owe a cock to Asclapius," the god of healing, for curing him of the disease known as life. I have a different attitude towards death which I have called the Alfred de Musset school of suicide. In our day he probably would have died from AIDS. I shan't be so lucky. I may be like my eighty-six-year-old grandmother, who has wished for death for nearly a decade, too tough to die. I'm a bit surprized by your change of heart (I would be a liar not to admit it.) and of course a bit disappointed. You kept asking me when I would be on line so we could talk. Perhaps I was a bit overbearing, a bit too bold, a bit too "daring" is the word we used. That's a habit I have. I like to push my mind, and other people's minds, as far as they can possibly go. Though I don't particularly like The 120 Days of Sodom (They lack the humour and irony of Sade's other works.), it is a worthy testament to a man whose mind simply couldn't be stopped, a man willing to shed the last bit of his humanity to see what his intellect could yield. I'm kind of disappointed in you too. I thought you understood the game, but I can see you still hold on to comfortable pillows like health and good manners. I have left all that behind, willingly and even willfully. I have destroyed my own career, my own language, my own self, in a fight to the finish with the powers of the human mind. That's OK. You're a big girl and as you say there are many other fish in the 'net. I too talk to as many of them as possible. Not many seem so promising as you did. It's a shame, but what can I do? I've turned my phone back off, which a big relief. Soon I won't even be on MSN so we won't meet up by accident. Another chapter in a weird and impossible novel which has the advantage of being absolutely truleaning towards the title "Rectum Vinum" for the sequel to BABEL. There is no such thing as safe sex, even on the internet.

From: SAGReiss
Date: 4 March 1996
Subject: Re: Mr. Old, Smart, and Well Educated Ass

That's a fair question, Nichelle. What was I doing ten years ago? In the winter of our discontent 1986, I was in my first year at the University of Strasbourg. I had already learned Greek, Latin and French and was struggling with German, a struggle which alas continues. I had already swallowed the whole corpus of English and American literature and was reading the French classics voraciously. I was already a confirmed alcoholic, who would read all day instead of going to class and then go to the Belle Epoque and get blind drunk. At Easter I wrote a seminal text on the comparative linguistics, prosedy and literature of English, French and German which remains as readable and as insightful today as the day I wrote it. I later incorporated it into a book-length study of the works of Jacques Lacan, whom you don't read in Psych 101, Tyisha, they don't want to give you the good stuff. I was involved, as I remember, in several fruitful correspondences, with my attorney, a high-school friend, with an otherwise married gf from the states and with a virgin called Carine or Karine. I would soon bed a thirty-something psychologist called Martine. I had no friends, a pattern which would continue until the present more or less, unless you count my friends in Saverne, with whom I have no more contact because they don't have e-mail, and Corinne and Jeff, whose relationship to me I have yet to fathom. I hope you are all sending eachother blind e-mail messages and wish you would invite other people on. I'm always trying to find new members. Eventually, when I get some money, I shall turn this into a listserve. As to your contention that I am an arrogant man, Nichelle, this is quite true, but not because I state the obvious truth. The fact is that I am a man of unmatched calibre, and everyone who knows me acknowledges this simple fact more or less explicitely, depending on their own jealous ego. That you are all very smart bad-ass bitches is also true. Why fight about it? My arrogance comes to the fore when I will never. I have suffered for it, particularly I got screwed at SU. Corinne, and to some extent Jeff, will let some things slide, but I play for keeps and I keep score. I am, or shall soon be, to SU what the Antichrist is to the Vatican. And I will make a lot of people very upset. Some of them will sue. So be it.

From: SAGReiss
Date: 4 March 1996
Subject: (no subject)

Send me fucking copy of that e-mail, beginning with: "I'm Surprized," or something like that, the one where I anzwered Rita about her help with the listserve. What do you think about all this? Talk you fuck.

From: Nichelle
Date: 4 March 1996
Subject: Literature and Music

Quick question, Scott? (to all of you, really) What is the appeal of literature for you? What do you gain personally from it? I read, but I don't have the kind of passion for literature that you seem to have. Lately, I have read mostly poetry and music-related texts. My real hunger is for music, I guess.

I gave up on writing. I have a need to express myself in words, to put my thoughts and questions into specific terms, to name them, to look at them from the outside. But I satisfy that need through my interactions on the net, and through a journal which I keep mostly as a form of self-communication. I don't write in an artistic way, not the way I once thought I would. Not the way I play the clarinet.

Do music and literature serve the same purpose? I see both as an expression of humanity. Ideas and emotions and experiences and interaction.
I don't feel that either writing or music can meet my expressive needs. If I have both, I come closer. What the fuck is it I think I have to express anyway?

I'm not sure, except that I have this burning need to express who I am, how I look at the world, what I think and feel and see. It is far stronger than my fear of being misunderstood. I want to take the hand of my audience and guide it, like a lover, to my center. I thrive on intimacy, and the challenge of creating an intimacy onstage with hundreds of people present is thrilling to me. I have found a way of opening myself up in front of an audience who is willing (sometimes) to experience a small part of me and appreciate it.

Is that it, then? The appeal of literature? To step inside another mind and experience the world in a new way?

Nichelle

From: SAGReiss
Date: 4 March 1996
Subject: Re: Literature and Music

I can see Jeff sitting there snickering and saying to Corinne (They live together.): "Watch. He is going to tear her undergraduate ass up." And of course I am, but it isn't going to be fun for me. If the university of Washington wasn't able to give you an education, I'll do it. It's free, in a sense, but it isn't painless and it doesn't begin with boosting your self-esteem. It begins with tearing down years of misguided misinformation from dumb-ass American schools. Corinne and I have the huge advantage of being educated in Europe, particularly in France, where the school system, the world's largest employer with three million civil servants, despite arguments and complaints which date back to Charlemagne, is one of the best in the world. First, for your musical education, I'll put you in the hands of Charles Ives. Please listen to his second symphony (my favorite) and anything else you can find. Almost fifty years ago Alain Robbe-Grillet, a fine esthetic thinker though I don't like his novels very much, said: "A writer is basically someone who has nothing to say, but has a way of saying it." Sam "Bam" Beckett took this so seriously that if he had lived another couple of years he would have published a hundred blank pages with "Untitled by Anonymous" on the cover, which is a very stupid thing to do, but an excellant metaphore. Just to show you how dumb your last letter is, you could fax it to AA&T and they would buy it from you to use in their TV ads: "Reach out and touch someone." I'm trying to explain to myself how a woman who could write such a brilliant and beautiful letter as you did before, could write such new-age doggerel. I think your unfortunate sexual experiences, if I may call them that, so galvanized your mind that even years of creative writing classes couldn't prevent you from writing simple, moving prose. Now let's look at the text. This is an embarassment to me, everyone on this list and most of all to yourself. What the fuck, I wonder, is self-communication? Do you fucking e-mail yourself or garentees you'll write this kind of gibberish. Writing artistically is what you did when, as Sidney says, you looked in your heart (He was joking, of course, he was looking into Petrarch's sonnets about Laure de Sade, a direct ascendent of the Marquis.) and wrote about those dudes roughing up your pussy. Yes, music and literature serve the same purpose, but it's not an expression of humanity, nor ideas, nor emotions, nor experiences, nor interaction. They have nothing at all to do with who you are, and certainly not guiding me, like a lover, to your center. I'm trying to refrain from making a tasteless joke here, as I've held back from all the things I could have said about playing the clarinet. Please admire my tact and honorable restraint. I'm not stepping inside of anyone else's fucking mind either. Art and science (They're the same thing as everyone from Pythagorus to Da Vinci clearly understood.) are an attempt by man to impose order on what appears to be chaos. They, like numbers, do not describe the world, they represent it. They, like numbers, are teleologically meaningless. When some asshole asked Bethoven what one of his numbers meant, he sighed and played it again, Sam. When someone asked Orson Welles, a brilliant man, what he felt was his strength as an artist, he said he could take absolutely any object and instantly know exactly the camara angle from which to shoot it. James Joyce said: "I care for nothing but style." I have nothing to say, but I know the way to say it is through e-mail of my peculiar kind and cybertext. There's a long esthetic and linguistic theory behind all of this, but I won't bore you, and myself, with the details. Lecture over. School's out. That's enough for right now, Mr Antichrist.

From: SAGReiss
Date: 4 March 1996
Subject: WWW

I'm very drunk, but god damn it woman you have got guts. to write me "the fine education received on on a living room floor in Edmonton" you are a big and tough woman. I admire you as does every member of thids net. I will twake up the finer points, where you are all wrong, tomoprrow. you will always win the moral batle but i will always be smarter than you. don't fight that that's the way it is.I like you very much and beleibve me this moo is going forwarword.

From: SAGReiss
Date: 4 March 1996
Subject: L'amour de ma vie

Salut,

Oui je suis deja amoureux de toi (On tutoie dans le 'net, non?) et du Cyberspace. Il m'a fallu tellement longtemps pour decouvrir toutes ces choses parce que (Ca va te paraitre etrange.) j'etais en France sans contact avec le monde informatique. Laisse-moi me presenter. Je m'appelle Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss. Je suis americain, desole pour ton ami en taule. J'ai vecu a Strasbourg et a Saverne pendant dix ans. Si ton probleme avec une version anglaise de ta page est de trouver un traducteur, me voici. Je le ferais avec plaisir, mais je ne sais rien des ordinatrices, vraiment rien, sauf que j'en ai une tres belle qui s'appelle Bucephalus. J'aimerais tant te parler en temps reel. On peut faire ca au bistrot? C'est le soir en France maintenant. Je vais envoyer ca et continuer de me presenter dans une autre lettre en attendant ta reponse, si je puis m'y attendre bien sur.

Ciao.

Gaby

From: SAGReiss
Date: 4 March 1996
Subject: Moi

J'ai trente-deux ans. Je sais c'est horriblement vieux dans le 'net, mais que puis-je? Je parle anglais, francais et allemand et j'essaie d'apprendre l'espagnol au resto ou je travaille. Je suis un intello qui fais un boulot proletaire. Pourquoi? Et bien je t'explique. J'ai passe une quinzaine d'annees dans une douzaine de facs aux Etats-Unis, au Canada, en France et en Allemagne, mais je n'ai pas de diplome, meme pas un bac. Je me suis toujours foutu de ca. Je suis linguiste de formation et j'ai surtout etudie la linguistique textuelle et la literature comparee. Je suis ecrivain de vocation. J'ai un grand roman que je viens d'envoyer a un editeur. J'ai des espoirs. Au fait j'ai deja fait publier un article dans Les Temps modernes de decembre 1989. Est-ce que tu lis l'anglais par hasard? Si oui, je peux t'envoyer la traduction que j'ai faite d'un sonnet de Ronsard. Je crois que c'est beau. Bien je vais t'envoyer ca, puis essayer de trouver la discussion en temps reel au cafe. Salut.

From: SAGReiss
Date: 4 March 1996
Subject: Le Cafe Orbital

Madame, Monsieur,

Ayant vu un article dans le journal, j'aimerais savoir comment je peux parler avec les gens dans votre etablissement en temps reel.

Merci infiniement.

Gabriel

From: Keith
Date: 4 March 1996
Subject: Re: Sale of Two Titties

i have 200 fucking stupid e-mails
to read in 1 hour
and i dont dive a fuck about any of them
fuck this alot!
hi i sent yoiu sAReiss mail last week and it came back twice
what the fuck
????

From: Keith
Date: 4 March 1996
Subject: Re: Only the beginning

cynicism is good, even if it's spelled wrong..
why fight a way againmst it.it wont work
smile
and be cynical

From: Keith
Date: 4 March 1996
Subject: Re: Lovescript

why the fuck do you send the previous 4 letters below every thing yousend
i repl'd 3 times
i dont check this thing all that
much
sorry
anyway
hi y'all
by'all

From: Keith
Date: 4 March 1996
Subject: Re: Lovescript

why make fucking jokes if it makes you wince inside
if it's not funny, if it's fucked up why say it and pretend to laugh
???

From: SAGReiss
Date: 5 March 1996
Subject: Re: WWW

I found the fucking web site and it's great. The first person whose home page I opened is this beautiful Arab girl screaming anti-American propaganda about some political prisoner in Pennsylvania. I e-mailed her immediately. This is so fucking amazing. Fuck MSN. These people even have a fucking blue ribbon on their net to show support for freedom of speech on the net. Minor problem, I think they want me to pay to connect. Fuck that, I'll just e-mail people (I signed their log book so I should be receiving e-mail too.) and meet them on the French MOO. Freedom of speech, but you have to pay. Yeah right. Why Jeff are you still jerking off in school instead of being a man and figuring out how to get us on the motherfucking web? Oh and another thing, I'll joke about whatever the fuck I want. The alternative is too painful. I just had my screen freeze and had to copy by hand and reboot. I check the mail and the fucking publisher has written me. They gave me their web address and I can see these are the guys for me. All of the shit they publish is cyberporn. I am elated, exstatic and have tomorrow off too. You don't see, when you enter here ("Abandon all hope ye who enter here.") some fascist disclaimer like when you go to the sex rooms at MSN. I was in a room creating a terrible brawl, no this was before the brawl and there was nobody on the net and I joked: "There must be a secret sex room which we're too dumb enough to know about." That was no joke. I just discovered it, and it was packed. These people are fucked. I just can't wait till I get my new software package. Then we'll move to my other address, which is either bergman.net or fellini.net I'm not sure and there may still be a few bugs amd I often can't get on at night. I'll use either this account or a Delphi account as a backup. I haven't decided yet. I don't know MSN's prices, but Delphi is pretty cheap at non-business hours, $20 for 20 hours plus $1.80 per additional off-peak hour. I wish these fuckers would e-mail me. I'm

From: SAGReiss
Date: 5 March 1996
Subject: Recent submission

Sir or Madam,

Having terrible problems with my cheap, uncensored direct internet provider, I have three e-mail addresses, some of which may work, one of which with the fascist Microsoft Network. The latter is probably only temporary. I recently sent you an extract from a cyberporn e-novel called BABEL. I have just visited your web site and think we would make a great team. The only problem is that my text is not typed and double-spaced because it deals so much with the physical, technical, technological act of writing that it would make no sense at all to eliminate its multi-media format. Eventually different fonts and points could reproduce the different types of writing. Please tell me if you are aware of my submission and are still interested.

Thank you so much for your consideration.

Faithfully,

Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss

From: CARLTON&PETRINA
Date: 5 March 1996
Subject: Re: Lovescript

He sure has a way with words, doesnt he?

From: SuzMo
Date: 5 March 1996
Subject: racy chats

where can i find the large selections of chats that kind that AOL offers (without going over to that overpriced cash cow). Looking for all those racy ones... alt.sex;blkm4whtw;mmfsf, bdsm, etc. etc. etc. post or email me

From: SAGReiss
Date: 5 March 1996
Subject: Re: racy chats

Use telnet to go to lambda.parc.xerox.com 8888 and connect as a guest. do @gender female and then @describe me as <description> and the @go #53011. this is the sex room and you're on your own from there.Another possibility is that you tell me something about yourself and perhaps i'll put you on an informal listserve I have. You're welcome.

From: SAGReiss
Date: 5 March 1996
Subject: Re: Lovescript

He is my fucking best friend and a very good writer and an honest man. Fuck you whoever the fuck you are, Carlton and Petrina. I have no idea how you got on here. Who the fuck are you?

From: Loretta
Date: 5 March 1996
Subject: Re: Lovescript

who are you?

From: Loretta
Date: 5 March 1996
Subject: Re: Sale of Two Titties

who are you guys?

From: SAGReiss
Date: 5 March 1996
Subject: Re: Sale of Two Titties

We are not guys, except for me and Jeff. All the others are women. We met, Loretta, on lambda about six months ago. You gave me your e-mail address (which I'd like you to confirm, should you wish to become a member of this list) at that time. I don't know much of anything about most of the people on here. Corinne and Jeff are my best friends irl. I know them. The others are probably college girls interested in what a bad-ass intellectual has to say. This is very experimental. It's going to become a Web site and listserve as soon as Jeff gets off his ass and tells Jude, the Obscure One, to come over to my house and help me set it up. Donde es la Comecabra, amiga?

From: SAGReiss
Date: 5 March 1996
Subject: Horse training

I'm not sure why you wanted me to e-mail you except perhaps that there are as few men who know how to do cybersex right as know how do it right irl. My name is Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss. I'm 32m. I usually describe myself on internet sights as <small, mean, polyglot intellectual> which pretty much tells the tale. What else do you want to know? Tell me something about yourself.

From: Nichelle
Date: 5 March 1996
Subject: Re: Literature and Music

> If the university of
> Washington wasn't able to give you an education, I'll do it. It's free, in a
> sense, but it isn't painless and it doesn't begin with boosting your
> self-esteem.

That's how the learning process generally works. It's sharp and quick, like touching your hand to a hot stove. And, by the way, I don't attend the Univeristy of Washington. There isn't much danger of you damaging my self-esteem. You know that I'm not fragile.

> First, for your musical education, I'll put you in the hands of Charles
> Ives. Please listen to his second symphony (my favorite) and anything else you
> can find.

Okay, I will. I am familiar with the music of Charles Ives... what is it you think I'll gain from listening to him? If you're going to guide my musical education, don't you think you ought to tell me these things?

>Almost fifty years ago Alain Robbe-Grillet, a fine esthetic thinker
> though I don't like his novels very much, said: "A writer is basically someone
> who has nothing to say, but has a way of saying it." Sam "Bam" Beckett took
> this so seriously that if he had lived another couple of years he would have
> published a hundred blank pages with "Untitled by Anonymous" on the cover,
> which is a very stupid thing to do, but an excellant metaphore.

What about John Cage, who wrote a piece of music with no notes, or Robert Rauschenberg painting white canvases with white paint? The idea is that there is no such thing as silence, that every noise and sound has meaning, musically at least. When you publish a blank book with blank pages doesn't say nothing, it makes a statement, it has meaning. The lights in the gallery where Rauschenberg's white paintings were displayed cast shadows on the canvas.

> Yes, music and
> literature serve the same purpose, but it's not an expression of humanity, nor
> ideas, nor emotions, nor experiences, nor interaction. They have nothing at
> all to do with who you are, and certainly not guiding me, like a lover, to
> your center.

This is what infuriates me about you, Scott. You open your mouth and think that what comes out is the Truth. You can talk to me about literature as much as you want. Your experience with literature is far greater than mine. But don't fucking tell me about music, because you *don't* know what I know about it. What do you know about musical intimacy? I have soloed with a major symphony and have been playing music professionally since I graduated from high school. I play the clarinet full-time plus some, practice and perofrmances and rehearsals for more than six-hours a day. So don't tell me you're a fucking expert just because you studied in France.

>I'm trying to refrain from making a tasteless joke here, as I've
> held back from all the things I could have said about playing the clarinet.
> Please admire my tact and honorable restraint.

I don't. If you have something to say, say it. If not, don't bother to mention it. Spit it out, let's have it.

> Art and science (They're the same thing as
> everyone from Pythagorus to Da Vinci clearly understood.) are an attempt by
> man to impose order on what appears to be chaos.

Thank you. Here's something that actually hints at the question I asked with total sincerity. You never did fully answer me.

I can't say that I don't care what you think. If I didn't, I wouldn't have posted it. But if you think that the fine education you received in Europe is superior to the fine education I received on a living room floor in Edmonton, you're wrong. You said that nothing bad has happened to you, but you still feel hatred, scorn, and loathing. And many bad things have happened to me and they didn't turn me into a mean drunk. I can live through horror and fear and shame and come out of it optimistic. They don't teach that in your fine schools. You don't have to be tortured to be brilliant, to suffer to be an artist.

NIchelle

From: Nichelle
Date: 5 March 1996
Subject: Re: Sale of Two Titties

> The others are
> probably college girls interested in what a bad-ass intellectual has to say.

Maybe we all ought to get cheerleader outfits.

From: VeritasLuxMea
Date: 5 March 1996
Subject: Re: Lux et Veritas

> You must be a Yalie.
No, Andover and Harvard.

> I don't know about your cyberbf, but aparently he hasn't answered. Rectum vinum.
He is not cybrbf. Real world bf. Just because of distance we e-mailed much along w/ calls and so on.

From: David
Date: 5 March 1996
Subject: Re: WWW

Scott,

Who the fuck am I? I am a friend of Nichelle's, who has been forwarding some of this correspondence to me. Deal with it.

While you are obviously a smart guy, I find you highly amusing. You seem to be a classic and cliched example of someone who cannot converse with the world, choosing instead to erect his own Mt. Everest from which to theorize in totalizing fashion. And just as every totalizing logic requires that its "True" propositions be subject to endless repetition in order that they will remain as such, you are not one to let us forget your superiority in matters where Truth is concerned. But the need for repetition betrays an essential insecurity. Seeing as you were educated in La France, you have undoubtedly read Derrida, who maintains (I paraphrase) that inherent within any text's logic of intelligibility are the very means by which that logic can be undone. Fearful of your undoing, you must don your professorial gown and lecture our Nichelle on her natural inferiority before the pillar of truth. A pillar which, if left ignored, might be supplanted by another paradigm. All that marches under the banner of truth are paiper-maiche cut-outs.

In other words Scott, you know your position of insecurity as Most High, and therefore must seek to impishly assert it at every instant so that we ordinary proles do not forget. You remind me of black turtleneck-wearing "poets" with their little books, in which they scribble and scribble their mantras which no one will ever read. Yes Scott, you *are* the Most High, for your pain is your pain, and none of us with ever climb the pillar on which we could join with you in a dialectical resolution that would bring about the culmination of Geist, manifested as (your) Superego. I suppose Nichelle should be satisfied with the fact that you even deign to compliment her character. (Like she needs you to boost her self-esteem.)

Your use of "France" is particularly amusing. Apart from the elitist and classist (forgive my 'doggerel') tone evident in such an affirmation, what better way to show your inherent superiority than to invoke the semiotics of "France," which call to mind an urbane sophistication lacking in us Yankees and an instant identification with the "Intelligentsia" (whoever they are). Not to mention that "France" is oh so fucking sexy.

Well, I'm trying to refrain from making a tasteless joke here. Please admire my tact and honorable restraint, as we continue to admire you for your unshakeable conviction to speak the Truth wherever such is called for.

Very truly yours,
David

From: Brown_Sugar
Date: 5 March 1996
Subject: Re: Mr. Old, Smart, and Well Educated Ass

Thank you Nichelle. I am 18 years old. And yes I agree with the fact that Scott is likeabel but sometimes he is just out of control.

Tyisha

From: Brown_Sugar
Date: 5 March 1996
Subject: Re: WWW

Scott,
I know you do not care but could you refrian from using the derogatory terms bitch and nigger because they are not greatly appreciated by me.

Tyisha

From: Nichelle
Date: 5 March 1996
Subject: Re: WWW

> Scott,
> I know you do not care but could you refrian from using the derogatory
> terms bitch and nigger because they are not greatly appreciated by me.
>
> Tyisha

Or by any of us.

Nichelle

From: Brown_Sugar
Date: 5 March 1996
Subject: Re: Lovescript

I agree with you completely wild.

Tyisha

On Mon, 4 Mar 1996, CARLTON&PETRINA wrote:
> He sure has a way with words, doesnt he?

From: Brown_Sugar
Date: 5 March 1996
Subject: Re: Sale of Two Titties

Maybe Scott should get a cheerleader outfit as well since we are "bad smart ass bitches" and intellectuals as well who Scott wants to listen to.

Tyisha

On Mon, 4 Mar 1996 Nichelle wrote:
> > The others are
> > probably college girls interested in what a bad-ass intellectual has to say.
>
> Maybe we all ought to get cheerleader outfits.

From: Brown_Sugar
Date: 5 March 1996
Subject: Re: WWW

Dammit Scott you are so fucking arrogant and SOMETIMES I like for that attribute.

Tyisha

From: Brown_Sugar
Date: 5 March 1996
Subject: Re: WWW

Thanks Nichelle...Nice to know I have support from someone. :)

Tyisha

On Mon, 4 Mar 1996 Nichelle wrote:
> > Scott,
> > I know you do not care but could you refrian from using the derogatory
> > terms bitch and nigger because they are not greatly appreciated by me.
> >
> > Tyisha
>
> Or by any of us.
>
> Nichelle

From: Brown_Sugar
Date: 5 March 1996
Subject: Returned Mail (Errors)

Scott,
Are you still having problems with the mail because I keep getting back the same email addresses that I discussed with you before. How soon will this problem be taken care of because it is annoying. Thanks for your prompt attention in this matter.
Sincerely,

Tyisha

From: Vicki
Date: 5 March 1996
Subject: Re: Horse training

Hello Scott,

My name is Vicki, just turned 36, and found you extremely appealing.

I had to run!
I too would consider myself small, mean, and a polyglot intellectual! Love horses and did ride in Yorba Linda. I went to one college out there, Cal Poly, Pomona and earned one of my two degrees. I love life and all living things and the activities that bring me closer to nature......lol (a real animal at heart).

Tell me more about yourself, your interests, hobbies, and intellectual attributes (most appealing).

Vicki

From: Francesca
Date: 5 March 1996
Subject: Re: FW: WWW

shallow childish unimaginative prosaic

i'm flattered

gash

ps please take me off yr listserve as i am on a free email service and i have a limited amount of Etraffic i can receive..so this is my work space rather than my research zone

From: Keith
Date: 5 March 1996
Subject: Re: Lovescript

it grows it grows and now i'm misguided... ohh no... i hope i'll be ok
(gasp!)
and as for scott gabe or what ever the hell he terms himself... i think
you will all find that asking him to refrain from this.. or to do this or
that is a lost cause... he thinks he knows everything...
a real night mare of classical education... where everything is carved in
stone and shakespaer (sorry gabe...) is the penultimate...
and if you dont see it... just inferior...
but who every has a problem with cynicis...please stop
it's silly
and so as this madness gets started... we will all sit back and learn?
maybe
but it seems to me that it's rapidly headed for name calling... bitch
nigger mother fucker fuck you no fuck you no FUCK you
and on and on...
tyshia i can picture the resopnse... hell it could already have
been written (i rean out of disk space) and sitting on the server...
"p.c...... first amendment rights ... blacks use it.... why cant i...."
i dunno... i dunno
i just dont know

From: Loretta
Date: 5 March 1996
Subject: Hey?!

I KNOW that i met you on LambdaMOO but what's going on NOW? Who in the
world is Keith? Would you fill me in?

From: SAGReiss
Date: 5 March 1996
Subject: (no subject)

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From: SAGReiss
Date: 5 March 1996
Subject: Overwhelmed

I have not the slightest idea where to begin, I have just received two dozen e-mail messages. Your attacks on me, which I gratefully ackowledge, fall just a little bit short on one small point. You are all here because I wanted you here. This expanding monsterpiece is just the product of my will, a figment of my imagination. And I set it up intentionally to be as democratic and anarchistic as possible. You see, you all can depose me as figurehead king of this moo at any time. Indeed you could kick me right off it simply by continuing amonst yourselves and excluding my address. (By the way, would Loretta and Carlton and Petrina please send me their proper e-mail addresses. Mine is going to change soon and I want to make sure no one gets lost, while getting anyone off who wants to leave. Please cooperate with me on this by always answering my last letter.) I really don't care if you do, for I can set up another as easily as I set up this one. I lead only as far as you let me, based on whatever moral and intellectual authority you give me. You see? I've got you right where I want you, in a bind, a catch-22. If I'm such a miserable asshole, why are you here listening to me and fueling my boundless ego and hunger for e-mail? Why do you put up with my drunken, foul-mouthed self? And no, Jeff knows me too well not to know that I will not abstain from using words like bitch or cunt or even (And I have slight hesitations on this one, since I do get drunk every night in the hood with the bros.) nigger. Freedom of speech means freedom of speech. What I put in my e-mail is not equivalent to shouting fire in a crowded theatre by any means. So, now I'll go through your very-much appreciated letters and try to answer specific points. Rectum vinum and a vos souhaits. Now David, of course I'm very familiar with Derrida. I'm a linguist formally trained in structuralist theory. I think I have just shown you how I willingly and willfully included in this 'net the seeds of my own downfall, the undoing of my own perverted logic. I secret from eachother and thus been a true tyrant and ruled this without challenge. I didn't want any more power than you would give me and, as I said, you can take it away at any time. And yes you are climbing my Mt Everest in as much as you are contributing and participating in this experiment. Oh, yes, thank you Loretta. Please send me your dress sizes. I'm ordering the cheerleader outfits, UCONN colors, one of the few universities which I have actually not attended, but it's my home state (I went to Yale and Southern CT among a dozen others) and they have a great basketball team which earned my twenty bucks when I gave Syracuse 8 points and UCONN won by nine. Also their girls team is very sexy. You write much better, Nichelle, when you are angry and I'm pretty good at creating some very creative anger. What you should look for in Charles Ives, also from CT and Yale, is me, for his esthetic theories are the closest anyone comes to mine. It's a theory of imperfection or exploded letters (Sorry about the terminology, but...) Chuck though he could write music like the sound of two orchestras playing different songs at once, like people singing out of key, pitch tempo etc. If you think about it a 100 piece orchestra is never in synch, they just pretend to be, but Chas said what if i wrote the music like that? And that's how I write, badly, wildly, weirdly, boring, whatever. John Cage and Rauschenberg are cunts, munchkins, peanuts, ham and eggers. The best author next to me is Harry Mathews and his best books are Tlooth (not a misprint) and The Sinking of the Odradek Stadium. Suffering is a very democratic institution, not confined to artists and maniacs like myself. Jeff, who hides behind the fake name Keith to protect his identity (There's so many womens here he's affraid he'll be the next one to get raped.) this is not going to degenerate into name-calling because I won't let it, not that there's much I can do about it, but I can try. You all know I like you, or someone I like likes you (Please do invite yourwhine about my evil mind and vile tongue.) or else you wouldn't be here. I have created this as a writing workshop. We're writing a collective novel, but it can be anything your imagination wants it to be. Any other questions I have forgotten about? I didn't say you were misguided, Jeff, except I guess by going to Syracuse, but you seem to have made up for that mistake. By the way where the fuck did you come up with "a real night mare of classical education"? I thought you were my friend. How could you say that about your ex-French teacher? Shiiit I gave you a B+ and you only got an 84 on the exam. I should turn you in for guilty knowledge about our cheating on the final and my fucking Calamity Kate and giving her an A. And last, Shakespeare is not the penultimate (next but last to those of you in our studio audience) but the ultimate, the nec plus ultra, the best, even better than I...

From: Brian
Date: 5 March 1996
Subject: Re: Recent submission

I am aware of it, but am not sure what you'd like me to do with it, considering I'm only reading for the Pocket Rocket Prize until 6/96. Are you thinking I should publish it on the Web?

Brian, Editor/Publisher
Permeable Press

From: SAGReiss
Date: 5 March 1996
Subject: Nixon's granddaughter

I didn't know my printer could do drawings. You see I'm just learning about 'puters and the 'net. How can you say you're mean when you love life and all living things? I hate and loathe life and scorn the living things known as human beings. I am a trained linguist who has studied comparative literature in about 12 schools, at none of which eared a degree. My first profession was as an English teacher in France where I stayed ten years until they kicked me out. My second profession is waiter right now in a hotel restaurant. My calling is as a writer and I've written a couple of books, one of which I still hope to get published. I speak French and German and am trying to learn Spanish from the dishwashers. I have no hobbies except the www and the internet and smoking and drinking, not a very attractive date, but I am good in bed and even at cybersex. I don't know what you expected. I'm just trying everything out. Is this some kind of dating service?

From: SAGReiss
Date: 5 March 1996
Subject: BABEL

Brian,

Thank you for your propt answer. I'm interested in finding a publisher for the book in real life not on the Web. Would it possibly be acceptable for the Pocket Rocket Prize, or any other of your collections? Could you put me in contact with someone who would be willing to look at the whole thing? Does the novel sound appealing to you at all? I'm sorry, that's a lot of questions. I'm sure you know how it is for an intellectual to work in a restaurant waiting tables and waiting for his luck to change.

Thank you for your time.

Respectfully,

Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss

From: Brian
Date: 5 March 1996
Subject: Re: BABEL

I'd certainly be willing to read it in the context of the Pocket Rocket Prize contest. All you'd have to do is enter it. You can get the rules from my web site (tho it sounded like you already read them?) or I can mail them to you along with an entry form. If you're worried about the format of the book not fitting the rules of the contest, don't worry about it. The main reason I didn't want the author's nake of every page was because I'm using a bunch of freelance readers for this project and didn't want a name to influence a reader's judgement. In your case, as in a couple of others, I'd simply read the book myself.

Best,

Brian, Editor/Publisher
Permeable Press

From: Nichelle
Date: 6 March 1996
Subject: mail?

My account has been fucked up today, I assume because I exceeded my space quota. If there have been any messages in the last 24 hours, could you please forward them to me? (I got all 400 of Tyisha's messages last night, so don't bother with those.)

Nichelle

From: SAGReiss
Date: 6 March 1996
Subject: Now

If you get this please answer immediately. Why don't we go to lambda and talk. I'd really like to talk to you in real time.

From: Nichelle
Date: 6 March 1996
Subject: Re: Now

I haven't been able to send email... I tried to get you, but couldn't.

Nichelle

From: Nichelle
Date: 6 March 1996
Subject: Re: Now

Ah, it works. I have no time now, but I'd like to talk also. Let me know when you're around on the MOO.

From: SAGReiss
Date: 6 March 1996
Subject: Right away

I'm going on lambda this minute. Look for a guest in the quiet room called small, mean, polyglot, intellectual, or any old guest.

From: SAGReiss
Date: 6 March 1996
Subject: Hic et nunc

Sorry I had some trouble getting on I'll wait a bit for an answer then go back on lambda. Please answer.

From: SAGReiss
Date: 6 March 1996
Subject: Lambda

Alright, I'll go on now and you can find me whenever you like. I'll be a guest called small, mean, polyglot intellectual.

From: Nichelle
Date: 6 March 1996
Subject: Re: Hic et nunc

Hi. I had a clarinet lesson to deal with. I'll check to see if you're still around. I'm around on and off tonight, before and after an orchestra concert. I hope to run into you.

Nichelle

From: SAGReiss
Date: 6 March 1996
Subject: You are all assholes

This shit is too much for words. Nichelle and I managed to find eachother on the 'net. We met in lambda and some other chickenshit MOO. She more or less seriously offered me cybersex and I more or less seriously declined. We joked about rape and whatnot, but she had to go too soon, far too soon. For those of you who are interested we have a cyberdate tomorrow afternoon at three NY time on lambda. All are welcome. As I told her this evening, in six months I'll be able to quit my job and do this full-time for pay. If only fucking Jeff would give me Jude's e-mail. I'll pay him $20 an hour, Jeff, in cash, up front.
Could you please send him over here to make my 'pputer system work like it should? The only delicate item is how to make people pay for our services. I suggest we get a web site which will show a different e-mail every day chosen at random so no one holds the floor. We simply ask for donations to adhere, tax-deductible of course. We'll set up a non-profit organization. I'm sure we could earn enough to live on. Shiiit with all this e-mail I hardly have time to drink. Well I don't feel like dealing with myself, so I'll go cause some trouble on lambda or MSN. Everyone on the latter already knows that last night I got drunk and called some cunt a cunt. I may not last a week on that fucking MOO.

From: SAGReiss
Date: 6 March 1996
Subject: Re: You are all assholes

By the way and i must be getting to sleep now for i work tomorrow. i make a special plea to corinne to please introduce herself and write us a little. i know you're shy, mais s'il te plait ecris-nous quelque chose. je suis sur que tout nos amis l'apprecieront. Je t'emprie vraiment, Corinne, ecris-nous.

From: Brown_Sugar
Date: 6 March 1996
Subject: Re: your mail

Scott You are such an intelligent ass and I will always like you even if you do say hateful things to me at times. But I want to know what were you trying to say in this email?

Tyisha

On Tue, 5 Mar 1996, Scott Reiss wrote:
> begin 600 KARENC~1.RTF
> MT,\1X*&Q&N$`````````````````````/@`#`/[_"0`&```````````````"
> M`````0``````````$ ```@````$```#^____``````````!L````________
> M____________________________________________________________
> M____________________________________________________________
> M____________________________________________________________
> M____________________________________________________________
> M____________________________________________________________
> M____________________________________________________________
> M____________________________________________________________
> M____________________________________________________________
> M____________________________________________________________
> M_______________________]____K0```/[___^N````!0````8````'````
> M" ````D````*````"P````P````-````#@````\````0````$0```!(````3
> M````% ```!4````6````%P```!@````9````&@```!L````<````'0```!X`
> M```?````( ```"$````B````(P```"0````E````)@```"<````H````*0``
> M`"H````K````+ ```"T````N````+P```# ````Q````,@```#,````T````
> M-0```#8````W````. ```#D````Z````.P```#P````]````/@```#\```!
> M````00```$(```!#````1 ```$4```!&````1P```$@```!)````2@```$L`
> M``!,````30```$X```!/````4 ```%$```!2````4P```%0```!5````5@``
> M`%<```!8````60```%H```!;````7 ```%T```!>````7P```& ```!A````
> M8@```&,```!D````90```&8```!G````: ```&D```!J````:P```&T```#]
> M____;@```&\```!P````<0```'(```!S````= ```'4```!V````=P```'@`
> M``!Y````>@```'L```!\````?0```'X```!_````@ ```%(`;P!O`'0`( !%
> M`&X`= !R`'D`````````````````````````````````````````````````
> M```````````6``4`__________\#``````D"``````# ````````1@``````
> M`````````.#?T@7-"KL!`P```$ #`````````0!#`&\`;0!P`$\`8@!J````
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> M__\$````_____P``````````````````````````````````````````````
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> M```````````````````````````````````````````6``$!`0````(```#_
> M____``````````````````````````#@F$P%S0J[`>"83 7-"KL!````````

From: SAGReiss
Date: 6 March 1996
Subject: SAGR code

What's the matter, Tyisha, can't crack the code? It must be that Bell Curve thang... Oops, just kidding, actually I tried to send you all a word file, the text of my cyberdate with that other girl. Obviously it didn't work. Maybe I'll show you some of the e-mail I wrote her. She, like everyone else in my life for the past fifteen years or so, couldn't keep up with my voracious hunger for words, spitting them out twenty-four hours a day almost. I barely eat or sleep anymore. At the bar Mister Betsy and Lou, not Sweet Lou he's another one of my legendary students, never came to class, but spoke the best French, he deserved an F but I gave him a C+, he got out the best line of the whole weird, crazy semester, at the first exam, i had to call him from my office: "Lou this is your French teacher. Get your ass down here. We're having a fucking exam." so he shows up looks at the exam for about five minutes, stands up and says: "Fuck this shit. I've got better things to do. Can I bum a cigarette off you?" I gave him a smoke and he stormed out, Sweet Lou, where are you when I need you? Anyway Betsy and Lou are mad at me because they feel I've been neglecting them. I had to buy them a drink yesterday to calm them down. I often wonder how a short white boy can just walk past the crack houses in the ghetto day and night with a lot of cash in his pocket and nobody touches him. I think Anthony, the bouncer at Cosmos, must have put the word out on the street: "Don't fuck with our white boy." He's a very bad dude, 350 pounds of very sober muscle. Hell I know most everyone on the block. The panhandlers don't even ask me for money anymore, just walk up and ask how it's going. I'm always good for a few bucks in change. Hell, I won't roll anything but quarters. The idea of making people pay for this shit is bugging me. I think my idea about donations won't work, but I remember my indignation at the Cafe Orbital when they asked for one franc per minute. What do you all think about this. I need a secretary real bad. I'm going to rubring myself to spend the time cleaning up my inbox and sent mail box, but it must be done. Corinne and Jeff please give me Jude the Obscure One's e-mail address. I will pay him to do the job. Shiiit, I may not even need you fuckers. I'm in e-touch with a publisher and it seems right... Besides with my new software from IDT and AT&T, I can create my own web site, I think, if I figure out how. I can't believe that crazy, paranoid bitch scaredycat is coming to NY and won't come here and do this for me. I have never met such a dazed and confused person. I've got to go to work soon so I'll just chat a bit and see you all at 3PM NYtime on lambda. Ciao.

From: Nichelle
Date: 6 March 1996
Subject: Email problems

I don't know what the problem is, but for some reason, I'm way over quota and I'm not getting all of my email. Please forward any mail from yesterday, and I'll try to get this thing worked out today so I won't have to ask again. Thanks, and see you at 3.

Nichelle

From: Nichelle
Date: 7 March 1996
Subject: Fucking Insomniacs


> This shit is too much for words. Nichelle and I managed to find eachother on
> the 'net. We met in lambda and some other chickenshit MOO. She more or less
> seriously offered me cybersex and I more or less seriously declined.

Don't flatter yourself, honey. I don't "more or less" offer cybersex. Either I do, or I don't. And I didn't. You didn't even buy me a cyber-dinner, or any fucking cyber-roses. Some date you are.

> For those of
> you who are interested we have a cyberdate tomorrow afternoon at three
> NY time on lambda. All are welcome.

Wow. I didn't read this until about four hours after we talked. We could have had an orgy. Next time Scott invites you all on a date with me, I will expect you all to show up.

Actually, a lot came of that meeting. We came to the conclusion, right
before I had to leave for rehearsal, that I just "need a good fuck" and
that that would cure my insomnia. This ought to put the Sominex company
out of business. If this e-novel doesn't work out, you could always go
into business curing insomniacs. Nice work if you can get it.

From: SAGReiss
Date: 7 March 1996
Subject: Re: Fucking Insomniacs

Don't even try to play these silly games with me, stiff lips, I know an offer when I see one. If you hadn't been pressed for time this afternoon, you would probably have attempted to cyberrape me and (to tell the truth) I don't know how much resistance I would have shown. That's exactly what I mean about being no good at seduction, but good at sex, although you can ask Corinne and Jeff I always pay for drinks, dinner, give roses and whatever. I'm old school compared to you all. The first time Corinne and Jeff came to my flat I scolded Jeff for going to the bathroom before Corinne, and he said: "We don't do that shit anymore." By the way whatsyourfuckingname from some weird mid-western state i said to Nichelle that i thought your letter was quite well-written. Only problem is you have fallen into my well-laid trap. Either you continue to answer and confirm my conception of this list or you shut up and me and Nichelle will go on the web in a week or two and you will be left behind. Nichelle, you're dealing with a very smart man. I did invite them all, and I was very drunk when I did, but I was still smart enough not to tell them how to find lambda, and if they knew, how to find us. How would they have known your nickname? Hell you can probably ask Corinne what Katie said about my cock and my lovemaking. We were both pretty drunk, but I remember very clearly the number her mouth played on my dick. She was at least as good in bed as the 94 she earned on her final.

From: SAGReiss
Date: 7 March 1996
Subject: Re: Fucking Insomniacs

Sorry she got a 96 (inverted 69) on the final, and besides you clearly offered me, and I more or less clearly offered you (or perhaps it's the contrary) sex irl, so fuck your bf in the Mid-West.

From: Nichelle
Date: 7 March 1996
Subject: Re: SAGR code

One more thing, before I take off for my rehearsal tonight. Hoard your secrets. They are not safe here.

You see, the text does not belong to you. The minute you hit the key to send it, it is the property of everyone on this list. Maybe you knew this already. My text, which I shared with you in complete trust has been forwarded to several other people without my permission.

Now here's the thing I don't understand. I send the text to Scott, he says something like, "I'm not going to send it to the list, but I hope you will do it yourself." But then he goes off and sends it around without asking me. That makes absolutely no sense to me. If I had known this would happen, would I have sent it anyway? I'm not sure.

From: SAGReiss
Date: 7 March 1996
Subject: Re: SAGR code

Yeah, so I sent the fucking text to my mother, so what? And yes this is a public forum. Did any of you ever think about sending my letter concerning Saddam Hussein to the hotel and getting me fired? Well, you could do that. I'm not hiding. No text belongs to its author. "Je est un autre". How is it that you talk about taking a plane to Syracuse and feeling my big cock in you in my bed and then turn around and accuse me of dishonesty? Especially when I admitted it to you. Anyone here who wants to hide his or her secrets can just as well fuck off and go spamm on some other MOO 'cause I'll cut your ass out of here anyway. In a week or two I'll have a web site publicized by IDT and AT&T, so I can choose the number of members. Anyone who simply wants to read the lessons of my life and mind without contributing anything will be bounced.

From: Brown_Sugar
Date: 7 March 1996
Subject: Re: SAGR code

Ha ha ha!!! Very funny Scott.
Bye,

Tyisha

From: Brown_Sugar
Date: 7 March 1996
Subject: Re: SAGR code

Damn Scott What the hell is wrong with your ass. Did you wake up on the wrong side of the bed this morning? LIghten up if that is possible. I hate seeing you angry because the intelligence that you supposedly have is not properly exuded in the right fashion when you are angry. Just an opinion.
Chow,

Tyisha
P.S. How is everyone on this list doing? Have not heard much from you except for Nichelle. Come on now talk to me. :) Bye.

From: Brown_Sugar
Date: 7 March 1996
Subject: Re: Overwhelmed

Hi Scott Tis I Tyisha once again to work your nerves. :)
I understand that I am here because you want me here but understand that I am here because I want to be here as well.
Why do I put up with your Bullshit and constan arrogance? Because I enjoy doing so. I like to see what makes you tick or go off and I think that to some extent I have been pretty successful. Now as for your freedom of speech I totally agree with you; I would never think of infringing on anyones rights but just remember that when you call me niggger or bitch that you offend me immensely and each time you do that Scott you loose just a little more respect that I had for you in the beginning. Now I am sure that everyone like to be respected in everyway possible. For me personally it is something that I value and cherrish immensely. I have my freedom of speech as well and I just wanted everyone to know where I stood even if you don't give a damn. And I'm out, Tyisha

From: Brown_Sugar
Date: 7 March 1996
Subject: Re: Fatigue

Scott, In all seriousness I want you to be careful because you talk about getting drunk too often and I do not want you to lose your job okay? All I am saying is that you be careful.

Tyisha

From: Brown_Sugar
Date: 7 March 1996
Subject: Re: Lovescript

Yes Keith. I agree that telling Scott to refrain from doing something that he has already done once or more maybe a waste of my time but I do not think that it is futile. I think that Scott knowing that someone is taking offense to his name calling will give him something to think about even if it is for a brief second. As for the statements of blacks saying the word nigger...welll while that may be true all blacks do not say that at all (like me) and so what if they do say...it does not give other people the go ahead to insult those who take offense to that word. Thats like saying that just because SOME blacks use that insulting word that it's okay for everyone else to use, which in my opinion is totally ludicrous. Now it would be futile for me to say that this has nothing to do with the fact that I am black because I would be lying.

Peacefully,

Tyisha
P.S. I would like to add that when blacks do use that word that it is for the most part not used as an insult like when other ethnicities use it.

From: SAGReiss
Date: 7 March 1996
Subject: Fat white bitches revisited

You girls can try that shit on your undergrad bfs, but not on a man of calibre. First, Miss Brown Suga, I'm not talking about gentrified blacks like you, Corinne (Her mother is from Madagascar, but her father is a French dentiste.) or Jude the Obscure One (His old man works for the CT state prison system. He is the Man.) I have sat in that bar every night for more than a year with the pimps, whores, bookmakers, drugdealers and assorted boys in the hood who occasionally get drunk and talk about sticking a knife in your ass, white motherfucker. Everybody in there has been to prison and owns a gun and I'm the only one with a 'puter and a steady job. I even saw the guy who broke into my flat while I was sleeping, so I know of what I speak. When they say (And it was Jeff's argument, not mine, that they say it too.) "Don't give them niggas a drink," is that s'posed to be a compliment? I recently stated to some kind of radical feminist cyberpornographer that misogyny is just a refinement of misanthropy, and I reserve the right to hate every race and religion with equal wrath. As for you, Miss Stiff Lips, don't think you can truss up our MOO conversations 'cause I got the script, I just don't know how the fuck to send it. And I didn't say: "More or less offered" but "More or less seriously offered" there's a big difference.

From: SAGReiss
Date: 7 March 1996
Subject: Re: Hey?!

This MOO is going to migrate, so if you don't send your proper, complete e-mail address to MSN very soon, you won't be with us any longer. I'm sorry and I hope to hear from you.

From: Keith
Date: 7 March 1996
Subject: Re: Lovescript

please read closer.. or perhpse i just cant write... i had anticipated
seeing that in the infamous ones(oh ego) response to your request.. and i
did not anticipatye... not do i need a lecture on the semantice behind
that word.. although.. last night an interesting with 2 yo boy white kid
ex-cons did raise some interesting questions...
yo boy 1 (yb1)- yea kid we aint livin fast like before no niggas on the
corner schemin to be takin yo shit...
yo boy 2 (yb2)- aint seen noneadem niggas on the coner no beefIN no shootIN
etc.
both done time
both been bangin.. latino style
since they were 16
some howteh situation is different...
isnt it
????????
as for this whole fucking thing.. how mastubatory... like art
like lityerature like music
like life
just another fucking game... sometimes (appearentlyzy) a half assed
scheme to get laid
and sometimes...

From: David
Date: 7 March 1996
Subject: Re: Fat white bitches revisited

Scott, I am sick of you. Take me off of this fucking list.

David

From: SAGReiss
Date: 7 March 1996
Subject: The Man

Trying to figure out whether we were going to get slammed as we did yesterday when a group of eighty people walked in from out of nowhere and took over the restaurant, I asked a member of that group who came to breakfast this morning which conference they came from. "Justice Department." I smiled and said: "Uh oh, I'll try not to do anything illegal. Then again it's not so easy to break federal law." "We can always find something. All you have to do is cross a state line." You fucking nazi swine from Maryland. I hate the law. I even hate the so-called Masters (wizards on MSN) whom I call O Illustrious One or Beloved Leader or Meister whenever I ask them a question. Just to be on the safe side I apologized to that girl I called a cunt: "Your two dumb friends, Fast and Sun, told me I should apologize to you, so I apologize." "Dumb?" "Well they are dumb. You don't mean to tell me I can't say that in this chat?" She said my apology lacked sincerity. Tyisha, could you please translate Jeff's black English for me? I hardly understood a word, but, as your ex-future French teacher, I approve. Jeff has a calligraphic epistolary style and he used to close his letters with his motto, don't let them destroy you. "a half-assed scheme to get laid"? This is going to be my own private brothel cum psych ward cum writer's workshop and I don't see anything half-assed about it. You're just jealous you didn't think of it first. I'm already designing my Web site in my mind, polyglot porn, but none of those low-rent quotations, no lists of favorite songs or movies, just some poetry, "Marie please fuck me", a letter, perhaps the inaugural one, that way my parents could never come on without being reminded of their terminal guilt and sin, and perhaps each of you, the charter members of the list, would care to contribute something. It's really too bad Calamity Kate isn't here to do the artwork. I don't know if I'm up to the job. Jeff, do you know any snivelling co-ed in the art school who would like to do it and might even give a littlis a lot of name-calling on this list, but don't tell me you're like those nitwits on the 'net who can't take a little passion or emotion 'cause I know better. You like a good fight as much as I and so what if a little blood is drawn? Last night this silly nineteen-year-old slut on MSN was doing some stupid cybersex routine and I asked her if she really thought she could turn anyone on like that? "You just want a piece of my pussy. You're jealous." "Darling, I don't think you could give me a hard on if you tried all night." She bet me she could, so we went to a private room where she continued her SUCKS YOUR COCK histrionics for half an hour as I tried to explain to her that she might more profitably begin with something like: "Unbuttons the top button of her shit." Finally I levelled with her and told her to pick on someone her own size, that she had no chance in Hell of ever exciting me. It was mean and ugly, but it had to be done. Besides it was pedagogical and maybe she'll learn something. Oh, yes, by the way, Nichelle, this may be just a way to comfort my guilty conscience, but I did not want to put your text in a public forum. Once you did that, with people unkown to you, handpicked by me, it seemed to me not really that immoral to continue to give the text to others unknown to you of my choosing. I couldn't ask your permission, for I would simply have found the answer No unacceptable and I never ask a question unless I'm prepared to accept any possible answer. I'm sorry, again. It's obviously not something I'm proud of. USAToday carried an excerpt of John Updike's new novel. It's such cliche-ridden trash I couldn't even get to the end of the first sentence. It's rot, eyewash. He can't write his way out of a paper bag. I can't believe I'm having trouble publishing a novel as superior to his. He should be shot and put out of his misery. I'm off tomorrow so I'll be online until I get so drunk someone throws me off. I'll probably spend my time in one of the sex rooms lambda starting fights and not getting anew software from that dickass IDT. I'll be checking my e-mail often. If anyone would like to join me, feel free. I can't go on DU, Tyisha, 'cause they hate me so much they got me thrown off two servers, SU and Delphi shortly after we met. Adieu.

From: David
Date: 7 March 1996
Subject: Re: The Man

Scott, I repeat, take me off this list of yours. You bore me.

David

From: Nichelle
Date: 8 March 1996
Subject: Re: The Man

> Oh, yes, by the way, Nichelle, this may be just a way
> to comfort my guilty conscience, but I did not want to put your text in a
> public forum. Once you did that, with people unkown to you, handpicked by me,
> it seemed to me not really that immoral to continue to give the text to others
> unknown to you of my choosing. I couldn't ask your permission, for I would
> simply have found the answer No unacceptable and I never ask a question unless
> I'm prepared to accept any possible answer.

I understand why you did that. Just try to have some respect for what you have there. It isn't so much the matter of sharing it with strangers on the net that scares me. It's the threat of that creeping back here, to the people I live with every day. Be careful with that thing, because it could really fuck me up if the wrong people read it.

In that particular case, I would have said yes.

From: Nichelle
Date: 8 March 1996
Subject: Re: Fucking Insomniacs

> Don't even try to play these silly games with me, stiff lips, I know an offer
> when I see one. If you hadn't been pressed for time this afternoon, you would
> probably have attempted to cyberrape me and (to tell the truth) I don't know
> how much resistance I would have shown.

I'm not trying to play games. I'm not denying what I said to you on Lambda. I don't even care if you post it. I have said nothing I am ashamed of. I just don't think that any of it was a blatant offer to have sex, on the moo or in person, as you seem to have interpreted it. And cyberrape isn't really a very appropriate word. There is a difference between rape and seduction, quite a big one, and it does really matter to me that you use the proper term.

> Nichelle, you're dealing with a very smart man. I did invite them all, and I
> was very drunk when I did, but I was still smart enough not to tell them how
> to find lambda, and if they knew, how to find us. How would they have known
> your nickname?

I announced to to everyone in my email a few days back when you asked us where we all MOO.

From: Nichelle
Date: 8 March 1996
Subject: Re: SAGR code

> How is it that you
> talk about taking a plane to Syracuse and feeling my big cock in you in my
> bed and then turn around and accuse me of dishonesty?

Okay, that's a fair call. Of course this isn't the whole story, just a fragment of what was said, out of context. And what you have done is make me question whether I ought to trust you, which I why I got so defensive. You know, if we did fuck you'd probably post the dimensions of my pussy to everyone on this list, how good it was or wasn't, and what grade you would have given me in your French class. But in all fairness, I do owe you an apology.

> Anyone here who wants to hide his or her secrets can just
> as well fuck off

You see, that's the weird thing. I keep doing the same shit, even though experience tells me not to. I will continue to post things that I would prefer to keep among a small group. I suspect you will continue to send them around, and it wasn't just to your mother.

From: Nichelle
Date: 8 March 1996
Subject: Do rapists kiss their victims?

Kind of an interesting question, actually. It's strange, because it is such a repulsive thought to me. When my stepfather kissed me, I squirmed and fought and ran to my room to cry. I wonder why he kissed me. I didn't have any love for him, that was clear, and he had to hold me there while I struggled to be able to do it. It isn't just an act of violence. It depends on the situation. It has to do with perversion and lust, and yes they do, and in a way it's the worst part.

When I think about being raped, I think about a violent asshole, holding me down, calling me a whore, telling me how he fucked my mother. But when I think of a rapist kissing a victim, I feel pity.

I was involved in a relationship witha guy named Don for two or three years. It was a pretty good relationship, actually. We were a good match. But sometimes, when we had sex, I would get scared. It's understandable. I would shake, or cry, I would push him off of me. He didn't understand how I felt at that moment. It was horrible. A few times it upset him so much he just left me there.

At those moments, I think I was able to see inside of the mind of a rapist. I wanted to hurt him so that he could understand me. I wanted him to know what it meant to be raped. There were times when I attacked him with complete sexual violence. He enjoyed it, and it made me angrier. I don't think he ever knew that I felt that violence when I was with him. When we broke up, he told me that I needed to just get on with things and not dwell on them anymore. Sweep them under the carpet.

In a way it's the most fucking twisted thing a rapist can do. To kiss their victim. Stroke their cheek before they smack them across the face.

From: Brown_Sugar
Date: 8 March 1996
Subject: Re: Fat white bitches revisited

Temper temper

Tyisha

From: scaredycat
Date: 8 March 1996
Subject: Junk Mail

I'm still getting messages from your pals, it's becoming a niusance. i have limited disc space on this account and it's a pain having to erase messages all the time. i would be very happy if you could get them not to send to me.
-CC

From: SAGReiss
Date: 8 March 1996
Subject: Kiss and tell

It's too hard for me to attempt a global commentary on your messages. I must take them line by line, so some of the first stuff may not apply to the eventual whole. Please bear with me. First, there is no such thing as privacy in the age of cybernotics. Your friend has begged off, from De Paul. Once we get on the Web and a real, non-moderated listserve, no one will be able to control this thing, and we shall all find ourselves in extremely vulnerable positions. There's no such thing as safe sex. That is a risk we agree to take, or you sign off as David did. We are the charter members and have the option not to take part in the public version of this. This is still, but not for long my private 'net. Think about it, all of you. Unfortunately I don't know how to post the scripts I've got, with you Nichelle or with others. If none of it was a blatant offer to have sex what does "I'm interested in what you have to offer" mean? or "The bed will do just fine"? or whatever you said about my fat prick? or taking out your frustrations on the devil's penis (clarinet)? Please don't misunderstand me, I'm not blaming you or saying anything bad. I see nothing wrong with sex, vr or irl. But to claim you didn't offer me real and virtual sex (actually you offered virtual to which I said no, and I offered real to which you said yes) is just such a lie I can't believe you'd try to slip it past me. I was using the term rape, and it was very clear in your answers that you understood my irony, in a figurative way. We were playing and you knew it. My jokes may be in poor taste, but I was obviously not suggesting you come here to be cut up with a rasor. You are probably right that I would describe intimate details of our lovemaking to our listserve. When I slept with Katy the next morning I wrote a letter about it to Corinne and Jeff, which Jeff immediately sent to Katy. I did thrash him in a subsequent e-mail, but I'd do the same thing again. My life is second to literature. Actually it wouldn't matter this time 'cause I'd send the mObviously I know nothing (and most probably never will) about the dimentions of your pussy, but that's a pretty complex question. I would be more likely to talk about other things. Corinne and Jeff can send you some letters about Katy if they want. From the time I've spent with you my guess is you're pretty good in bed, or if not could learn, which is just as good. I haven't sent any other of your messages except the seminal (excuse the pun) rape text, and I did that only to show that I wasn't the only literary light on this 'net. Alright, it was my mother and two other girls and I won't do it again. Maybe I should just get my mother on the line and then you'll see what a fat white bitch can be like at its worst. By the way, when I asked you if you were a FWB I meant are you really fat irl. I'm not sure you interpreted it that way. We, I should say me Corinne and Jeff are all scrawny. And I owe you all the apologies. We've already been through that. You see in your last and best letter how you avoid the stupid cliches: "Rape is a crime of violence/power/hat(red) not of sex." Of course it's perversion and lust and if, as we both envisioned at least potentially, I made love to you in my bed, those same passions and some of those same acts would come to the fore. There's no such thing as safe sex. Actually the most moving part of your rape letter was when the third guy talked to you, trying in some insane way to make contact with you and to explain his pathological act. "under the carpet" after what we said about my preferring to rape you in bed to avoid carpet burns?

From: Nichelle
Date: 8 March 1996
Subject: Re: Kiss and tell

A few quick comments on your message...

> If none of
> it was a blatant offer to have sex what does "I'm interested in what you have
> to offer" mean?

Actually, this particular comment had nothing whatsoever to do with sex. In total honesty, I can tell you that I was thinking about the many other things you have to offer.

> We were playing and you knew it.

Yeah, that's what I thought it was. And I said some very clearly sexual things, and the fact is, the next time we meet on the moo, I'll probably say more things like that. That's just part of the way I am. Doesn't mean I'm going to fly to Syracuse and hop in your bed... This whole thing is way out of proportion anyway. I probably would have had cybersex with you, even though it wasn't on my mind at the time, and I really shouldn't be such a jerk about it.

> By the way, when I asked you if you were a FWB I meant are you really fat
> irl. I'm not sure you interpreted it that way.

Yeah, I did interpret it that way, and yeah I'm definitely not scrawny. I wouldn't say that I'm really *fat*, but I'm certainy a bit overweight. And yeah, there is a relationship between the weight and the rapes, because I put it on right after I was raped in high school, though most of it has come off since then too.

> You see in your last and
> best letter how you avoid the stupid cliches: "Rape is a crime of
> violence/power/hat(red) not of sex." Of course it's perversion and lust and
> if, as we both envisioned at least potentially, I made love to you in my bed,
> those same passions and some of those same acts would come to the fore.

Well, it is (or can be) a violent act too. But it isn't just about violence. It's tough to separate the two, sex and violence, and I think that saying it is one and not the other is a way of avoiding what is really going on. The hardest thing for me to do is to understand the mind of the rapist, to sympathize, to understand what happens, what happened to me. When you think of it as a sexual act as well, it really changes things. Take the first time as an example... This is a high school kid, spending the night with me, and I was a pretty little girl, too. Children are beautiful and I wasn't really a scrawny kid, either. I was tall, blond, long legs, big beautiful blue eyes, and here's this hormonal kid, thinking of nothing but his dick all day long, seven days a week. And here I was sleeping on his bedroom floor!? I'm sure it was similar for my stepdad. I think most people have those thoughts, and just don't act on them.

> "under the carpet" after
> what we said about my preferring to rape you in bed to avoid carpet burns?

Didn't even think about it. Though I wish I had....

Nichelle

From: Nichelle
Date: 8 March 1996
Subject: Quick note

Are we cool with this whole thing? Frankly, I'm sick of talking about it. The more I think about it, the more I think I was just mad about you forwarding the email thing, and felt some weird tension about it with Dave, which I think you sensed also.

It's not worth fighting about, because I probably would have had cybersex with you, just didn't want to admit I was that attracted to you. And I really don't like everyone to know about that stuff, either.

One other thing. Your life may come second to literature, but mine does not. Keep that in mind.

From: Nichelle
Date: 8 March 1996
Subject: Re: Kiss and tell

Could you also forward a copy of the email titled Do rapists kiss their victims? I didn't save a copy, for some reason, and I'd like to have one.

From: Nichelle
Date: 8 March 1996
Subject: Nichelle, Internet Masochist

I had a long discussion with Dave tonight. He can't figure out what I see in you or in the list. And I had a difficult time trying to explain it to him. I think it's more than my boredom and isolation, because there are a lot of ways to deal with that.

Myabe you can explain to me why you think you ought to share every intimate detail of our conversation with the list. That would help. Should I trust you? I guess it doesn't matter, since I do. I don't understand you. I don't mean that in a negative way.

I guess I should just push ahead, knowing that whatever I say is not mine the minute it leaves my mouth, and just get on with it. I get defensive easily. One way or another, I really enjoyed chatting with you on the MOO, and I wouldn't mind doing it again soon. I guess the problem is me, not you, and that my friendship with Dave and his presence on the list made me uncomfortable. If you want to find me there, I'll probably be on the MOO a lot tomorrow. Email me, if you like.

I feel like just bitching about my life, but what I really need is sleep, so I'm going to give it a try. I'm a chronic insomniac and I sleep about 3-4 hours on weeknights. I ought to stay up and teach myself German and French so I can read your book...

-Stiff-lips

From: SAGReiss
Date: 8 March 1996
Subject: Late night phone calls

I too had a late-night conversation, a very rare pleasure, talking to Corinne. You see I seldom use the phone and they almost never answer theirs, so just hearing her beautiful voice (We spoke both French and English.) was a rare thrill. Fuck Jude, he's too hard to reach. Once I get both the IDT and AT&T software, I'll just put a few notes up on campus offering $20 an hour to set up a web site, a mail exploder and a non-moderated listserv and this will take right off. I'm not going to bother about trying to make people pay. I haven't got time for that shit. I'll just wait tables the rest of my life. Now as to your mail, Nichelle. I have no idea what I have to offer if not sex, poverty and drunkeness. We can have cybersex or sex irl or not, it's up to you. It's just part of the game, part of life. I've made some very leecherous overtures to Corinne in letters I knew Jeff was reading, so (I repeat) fuck Dave. If I'm not worried about a man of calibre like Jeff, I'm certainly not going to worry about a punk like Dave. Rape of course is a very violent act, but then so can normal sex be. As you say, it's tough to seperate the two. Whatever her name Andrea Dworkins or something like that (a radical lesbian seperatist) said that sex for a man is indistinguishable from giving pain to women. She is not entirely wrong. The Marquis de Sade was not crazy, he was just a little weird, and an artist, like you and me. There really is no such thing as consent. Corinne and Jeff don't ask permission from eachother to fuck, they just do it. Maybe they should make their own Nike commercial. Of course everyone has those thoughts. I (having never left the teenage hormonal stage) think of raping every reasonably attractive woman I see. The difference is in what the French call the passage a l'acte. I'm too much a physical coward to try it. I may be a mental giant, but I'm just a skinny white boy at heart. Of course given the proper circumstances, war in Bosnia for instance, we could all turn into Kurtz. He after all was a skinny inteamazed I can still quote things verbatim that I haven't read in ten years. Your life, my life, all of our lives are quickly going to become inseperable from literature, so you might think about that, but I'm sure you've come too far already to turn back. We have become cyberbeings. Big Brother isn't listening. We're e-mailing him. Every detail of our intimate beings will go on the 'net. If we have cybersex, I'll e-mail the cybersex to the list, which really only includes Tyisha, you, Corinne and Jeff for the moment, but you can all see how fast that may change. You ask why. You ask if you can trust me. Why? I don't know. My whole life has been building up to this and I'm sure as Hell not affraid to push on into some unknown world of my own making. Can you trust me? I have already told you that our every move, vr or irl, will go onto the 'net, so what is there to trust me about? And by the way, the attraction is mutual. Even your e-mail gives me a hard on.

From: SAGReiss
Date: 8 March 1996
Subject: Boys n the Web

Nichelle are you sleeping? When will you be on lambda? Here are my thoughts for the Web site. I must still find out about text limits or costs etc. so this might not be materially possible. By the way we are all taking a certain risk going on the Web. While only my real name will appear, for Corinne, Keith, Nichelle, Tyisha, I will substitute La Comecabra, Jeff, Stiff Lips, Brown Sugar. You see, Jeff, there's a method to my madness even if I was drunk a year and a half ago when we met and I misremembered your name, sooner or later we're going to have to deal with some real psychopaths. Hackers may also pose a problem, and of course we all may just get arrested by the brain police. The title is The World According to Gabe. the next line reads "RECTUM VINUM" and clicking on it brings up the inaugural letter. All of the texts will be slightly edited to protect the guilty. Under rectum vinum is Ronsard and Reiss version of Marie please fuck me. Under that reads There's no such thing as virtual reality. Clicking this brings up the raging letter I wrote you the day after my mother's birthday, you remember that tirade. I believe that letter is the emotional heart and structural climax of BABEL. Under that reads There's no such thing as safe sex. Clicking on that brings up me eating out that doctor whom I'll call Dr Geisskopf. Under that reads There's no such thing as paranoia. Clicking on that... any guesses? Will you give me permission, Nichelle? Under that will read Donde es la Comecabra? Clicking on that will bring up a text I hope you'll write in French, just to confuse them, Corinne. Under that will read don't let them destroy you. Clicking on that will bring up a text that you can choose or prepare, Jeff, of your own hand of course. Under that will read There's no such thing as racism. Clicking on that will bring up a text you can write for us Tyisha. What do you all think?

From: SAGReiss
Date: 8 March 1996
Subject: log

SAGR: Karen, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to hurt you and I don't judge you for being divorced.
KCY: it's ok
KCY: can't help that
SAGR: I tend to joke and make fun of everything because the alternative is so painful.
KCY: i know... but i only joke about myself... but not put other people down
SAGR: Well, I'm sorry.
KCY: it's ok
KCY: friends
SAGR: I hope so.
KCY: yes
KCY: friends
SAGR: OK, my friend.
KCY: yes
SAGR: So now can we have cybersex?
KCY: ok
SAGR: Just kidding!!!
KCY: ok
KCY: sure
SAGR: What OK?
KCY: we're friends
SAGR: Good.
KCY: so
SAGR: I thought you didn't do that.
KCY: if you insist
KCY: try
SAGR: How hard should I try?
KCY: not v
SAGR: What color are those panties?
KCY: white
SAGR: If it's that hot perhaps you might feel more comfortable if you removed them.
KCY: ok
SAGR: Can you type with one hand?
KCY: no
SAGR: If you could?
KCY: i'd try
SAGR: But what would you do with the other, idle hand?
KCY: try to seduce me
SAGR: I think I already have.
KCY: lol
SAGR: I'm not sure how this works on this 'net. Can you "do" things or only say things?
KCY: say things only
SAGR: Then this will be a little new to me.
KCY: try
SAGR: caresses your hair.
KCY: ok
SAGR: strokes your left cheek.
SAGR: pulls on your left earlobe.
KCY: wow
KCY: have uuu done this be4?
SAGR: longs to kiss you.
KCY: me too
SAGR: slowly approaches his face to yours.
KCY: mmm
SAGR: thinks about that confernce in May and brings his open mouth to yours.
KCY: yes
SAGR: brushes his lips against yours.
KCY: mmmmm
SAGR: touches his tongue to your upper lip.
KCY: yes
KCY: please
SAGR: presses his warm mouth to yours, embracing you in his arms.
SAGR: searches your tongue with his.
SAGR: takes off his ugly bathrobe and slippers never ceasing to kiss you.
SAGR: puts his hands through your hair.
KCY: yes
SAGR: rubs his face against yours.
KCY: i feel good
SAGR: kisses your right eye.
KCY: mmm
SAGR: holds you shoulders.
SAGR: kisses your nose.
SAGR: licks your left eyebrow.
SAGR: runs his hands down your back.
KCY: mmmmmmmmmmmmm
KCY: yummy
KCY: i like that
SAGR: kisses you on the mouth again.
KCY: mmmmmmmm
SAGR: runs his hand between your cheeks.
KCY: i would kiss your hand
SAGR: caresses your ribs on both sides.
KCY: mmmmmm
SAGR: feels your ribs and in between them.
SAGR: kisses you.
KCY: and i 'd press my lips against your
SAGR: caresses your shoulders.
SAGR: kisses your neck.
SAGR: licks and gently bites your neck.
KCY: mmmmmmmm
SAGR: kisses your hair.
SAGR: kisses your neck again.
SAGR: wants to taste your lips again.
SAGR: bites your lips feverish with desire.
SAGR: kisses you.
KCY: wow
SAGR: licks your lips.
KCY: i'd touch u as well
SAGR: massages your shoulder blades.
SAGR: kisses your right shoulder.
KCY: you're nice
SAGR: lightly touches your left nipple.
SAGR: runs his index finger around your left nipple.
KCY: they're erected
SAGR: fondels both of your breasts.
SAGR: kisses your throat.
SAGR: caresses your breasts more firmly.
SAGR: moves his head down between your breasts licking you.
KCY: i'd arch my back
KCY: hold u tight
SAGR: massages your ribs and kisses your right nipple.
KCY: mmmmmmmmmmm
KCY: goshhhhhhhhhh
SAGR: licks and softly bites your right nipple.
KCY: aahhhhhhhh
SAGR: fondels both breasts and sucks your right nipple.
SAGR: kisses your left breast so it won't get jealous.
SAGR: licks it around the nipple.
KCY: youre making me smile
SAGR: We can even joke in bed, darling.
SAGR: bites you.
KCY: that's nice
SAGR: kisses you between the breasts.
SAGR: licks you between the breasts rubbing them with his hands.
SAGR: lowers his head.
KCY: are these from your new book?
KCY: lol
SAGR: feels your hips and kisses your stomach.
SAGR: The first time I had cybersex is in the book.
KCY: i'd move my hip in a slow motion
KCY: lol
SAGR: kisses your stomach.
KCY: mmmm
SAGR: I've only done this three or four times.
SAGR: licks your stomach.
SAGR: moves his hands back to your breasts.
SAGR: licks your belly-button.
SAGR: lowers his head and kisses the bottom of your stomach.
SAGR: kisses your pubic hair.
SAGR: massages your thighs.
KCY: mmmmmm
KCY: you'renice
SAGR: kisses your right thigh.
SAGR: kisses your right thigh and fondels your left.
SAGR: runs his index finger down the inside of your left thigh.
SAGR: kisses your right knee.
SAGR: kisses and licks you behind the kneecap.
SAGR: runs his mouth over your right calf.
SAGR: kisses your right ankle.
SAGR: kisses your right foot.
SAGR: licks between the toes.
SAGR: sucks your big toe.
KCY: you're so senusal
SAGR: kisses the bottom of your foot.
SAGR: moves his head to the left foot.
SAGR: fondels your thighs.
SAGR: sucks your toes.
KCY: mmmmmmmmmmm
SAGR: kisses your left knee.
SAGR: kisses the inside of both thighs.
SAGR: puts his head near your vagina.
SAGR: breathes on your vagina.
SAGR: kisses your pubic hair.
KCY: i'm so wet
SAGR: lightly touches your clit with the tip of his tongue.
SAGR: flicks his tongue at your clit.
SAGR: licks your clit firmly.
SAGR: brushes his lips against your clit.
SAGR: licks it throbbingly.
SAGR: bites it tenderly.
SAGR: takes it in his mouth.
KCY: you're good
SAGR: massages it between his lips and with his tongue.
SAGR: licks your clit with an increasing rhythm.
SAGR: licks it faster.
KCY: mmmmmmm
SAGR: sucks it into his mouth.
SAGR: thrashes your clit with his impatient tongue.
SAGR: gently touches your vulva with his right index finger.
SAGR: runs his finger up and down your lips while licking your clit furiously.
SAGR: runs his tongue down your lips and licks you pereneum.
SAGR: flicks his tongue in your anus.
SAGR: licks your anus.
SAGR: runs his tongue back up to your swollen clit.
SAGR: bites it and licks it.
SAGR: eases a finger up your vagina while licking your clit.
SAGR: asks how you are feeling.
KCY: geart
KCY: great
SAGR: encourage, inches his whole finger into your vagina.
KCY: god. that was great
SAGR: did you masturbate irl?
KCY: mmmmmmm
SAGR: are we still friends?
KCY: yes we are
KCY: very much so
SAGR: Good.
KCY: thank you....lol
SAGR: I was a little worried about doing that with someone I know a little and would like to know more.
KCY: ok
SAGR: Maybe I was even joking a little when I suggested it. I don't know. It's complicated.
SAGR: What are you thinking, Karen?
KCY: thinking
KCY: have to go the loo
KCY: brb
KCY: hi
SAGR: You even practice safe cybersex, Dr Yung.
KCY: no virus
KCY: please
SAGR: "No, I mean going to the loo after sex.
KCY: lol

From: SAGReiss
Date: 8 March 1996
Subject: Adults only

Of course I forgot the sign-on for the list. That will be the last line which will read Sechs isch ke zahl. Es isch e hobby. clicking on that will bring up the brief rules, anything goes, but you must be eighteen. Also I'll do as much as I can to protect us, so far as possible. It may, for example, be possible to forbid certain kinds of accounts, such as anonymous ones etc. Tyisha if you need help writing or editing your text, I have some ideas which might help you get started. I really don't know what kind of writer you are as most of your letters are very short and merely transmit information or make a comment. I'm a little tired so I'll just go on lambda and wait for Nichelle.

From: Loretta
Date: 8 March 1996
Subject: whoa!

Hey yo NICHELLE, I don't know why guys are soo perverted like that. but no matter which way we see it...it seems that the guys get a kick out being handled roughly...it pisses me off to hear such things like that. We tried to let them see what it's like and the guys think it's a game.! Although that (rape) hasn't happened to me, i never thought that they kissed you..but i'm curious, why is it that girls are called bitches, whore, hoe and we get P.I.S.S.E.D!!! BUT, when a guy is called a but guys get names (i can't think of any) and he revels in it?
Remember, i'm curious!!!!

From: SAGReiss
Date: 9 March 1996
Subject: Re: whoa!

I'm sorry, but if you don't send me you full and complete e-mail address very soon we won't be in contact. I'd love to have you on our list, but I need that information.

From: scaredycat
Date: 9 March 1996
Subject: Re: FW: Boys n the Web

it's me again,

i just want to tell you about the Lambda's Help System
It would be easier if you had a character here... but nevermind that.
lets say you want to set up a web site.
all you have to do is type:
page help Does anyone want to help me out with a web site?
then your page is forwarded to all `helpful people` on the
MOO (much like your humble servant).
If you want to get help you have to pretend to be a gentleman,
don't be too rude. unlike me - they will tell you to fuck
off if you start to get on there nerves.
ask them about finding help for html, there are tons of people
who know it, it your site seems very easy to set up.

If you have IRC you can *try* to get help on one of the channels
there, but i don't recommend it. they are the worst (esp. the
UNIX channel) they'll never help newbies, short tolorance for
non-techies, probably kick you off or tell you to shut up and RTFM.
I'll be very impressed if you get help from those worthless
know-it-all bums.

about anonymous accounts once you get your mail exploder, you
can simply create some kind of registration form to fill before you add
people to the list, you can ask them for there full name, address,
favorit food, whatever. sure they can lie, but at least you have there
email. and if something looks fishy - don't put them on!
you can even require them to send you a postcard... analize the writting...
a picture... some flowers. whatever!

My best friend knows html when i get back from the US i can ask
her to teach me. but i'm sure you could get help faster
through the `page help` on Lambda.

--CC

From: SAGReiss
Date: 8 March 1996
Subject: My name

My name is Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss, but you can call me whatever you like. Just don't call me late for cybersex. Scott is unpronouncible (able?) to the French, so they called me Gabriel or more often Gaby. Since I lived there ten years, I got used to it. Here most people call me Gabriel, Gabe or Gaby. In my family Scott is most common, but all the others are used too, alone or in combination. Only Alexander is never used alone, but always Scott Alexander or Scott Alexander Gabriel, which my mother used to sing to me.

From: Nichelle
Date: 9 March 1996
Subject: Re: My name

Um... good answer. Answers. Strange, I'm really picky about my name. I like Gabriel best, actually. I've known a lot of assholes named Scott, and I knew a real jerk named Gabe, but it wasn't short for Gabriel. And you *are* late for cybersex, so I just went and got dinner instead. (just kidding)

From: Nichelle
Date: 9 March 1996
Subject: (no subject)

When’s our next date?

From: SAGReiss
Date: 9 March 1996
Subject: FWB gets the upper hand

Jeff, I have to tell you right away that you are a fucking bastard 'cause you are going to laugh at me when you read this. Yes, the fat white bitch got the upper hand. I don't understand it. I can't believe it. It's physically impossible, but it's true. This is big, bad Gabe, the brilliant but dangerous talking and he's saying he just got whupped by a co-ed. I mean I got smoked. She tore me up without even trying. It was scary. I had just, no we were both smoking eachother out on the IDMOO, both feeling nervous, intimidated, insecure, me the whirling dervish of cybersex cocksureless? It's true. Then I played a brilliant card, devastating in its simple truth, a sure trump. I told her about when you were driving me to the train station and you said, sheepishly, that rape is wrong. I told her I was not ready to make such a statement, that I had too many problems with the word wrong, asked her if she had ever read Heart of Darkness. We're both trying to figure out how to initiate cybersex, which has never ever been a problem for me, and I figure I've just kicked some ass, given her something she could not possibly deal with. And I did have her reeling. It took her a minute to catch her breath and clear her head. But then she starts talking about pulling hair and sexual violence. I tugged her hair a bit, gently, softly. I was a total fool. She tells me about some dude she let tie her up and shave her cunt. I was totally lost. I said: "There's no way I can tie you up. I just can't do it." We'd spent about two hours trying to seduce eachother and here I am affraid, scared of this brutal sexuality, this force of nature, this succubus. There was absolutely nothing I could do. I was doomed. I had lost. I had been beaten by a twenty-three-year-old girl, a virtual virgin compared to me, a woman who may have read five hundred books if she's lucky. And she stomped me, killed me utterly. I mean, I can deal with "There were times when I attacked him with complete sexual violence," in an e-mail, but this was pretty fucking cloand there was no way I could do it. She even showed good sportsmanship in the face of total victory and humiliation of the home team, which only serves to rub it in your face. She said something about my being different from my e-male (my pun) personna. I said: "I'm sorry to disappoint you," but instead of saying: "I didn't know you were a fucking wimp," she said: "No, not at all," and made what she called a blatant offer of sex. Sure, whip the dog till he falls down and then offer to jerk him off. I have never so shamelessly lost at any game in my life and this was a very serious game. Shiiit I take a game of darts with Mister Betsy seriously, and you know he does. I'm going to the bar. I can taste the sour savor of total defeat in my mouth. It's going to take a sacre Ricesfescht to wash it away...

From: Nichelle
Date: 8 March 1996
Subject: Good Lord!

I loved the email you sent out. Are you trying to flatter me? Soften me up so you can seduce me? If not, think about it. Keep this up, and it’ll work. I’m going to take this letter home and paste it to my headboard so I can masturbate to it.

From: SAGReiss
Date: 9 March 1996
Subject: Your help

I just want to tell you how much I appreciate that you apologized to Nichelle. She told me only because I was not feeling good about involving you in our listserv without your being open with us. She didn't say anything before that. I'm a patient man. I can wait a month to do things right. I hope that you can overcome a bad case of paranoia and come to Syracuse. As we agreed, I think, you can stay in my flat and I'll stay with Corinne and Jeff. You'll have to trust me that I have only one key, but I'll have to trust you with a three-thousand-dollar 'puter. You're welcome to bring a friend and we never have to see eachother alone. I'm not insisting on this because of some weird idee fixe. I'm insisting because I know you're close to the best and I want this done right. Of course I can put up a note on some bulletin board offering $20 an hour for some grad student to do it for me, but how shall I evaluate the candidates. I know you're good. I shall also e-mail gbourla and see if I can get him to do it. If he agrees then that's OK. I know he's good too, but you are in some ways a closer friend, and I think it would be theraputic for you too to conquer this paranoia. Of course I could do it myself, but I'd be a new learner and I don't want a half-assed job. While I don't want any cool graphics and bullshit, I want it to look professional. I know you can do that. I wonder if you can do that for me. I think so. I'm not sure how I can convince you, but you can ask any of my friends about me and I'll send you my parents' e-mail addresses so you can check with them. Corinne and Jeff know me the best irl, so you can ask them anything you want. I truely think this would be good for both of us, and of course I'll pay for your transport and everything else, and if I have any extra money, I'll give it to you. Thank you for your help, and I hope you'll think about it seriously.

From: scaredycat
Date: 8 March 1996
Subject: Re: Your help

heh, I never set up a web page before. I’m not as good as you think :)
[you don’t want whats-it’s-name (your computer) to be my guiny pig…]
thanks for the invitation.
even if a weren’t paranoid (which I am), I made plans etc.
btw, I talked to negatron (john, right?) he usually hangs our at ID-MOO,
so you might be able to find him there. I don’t think he remembers you
though.
--scaredycat

From: Nichelle
Date: 9 March 1996
Subject: Insomnia

I can't sleep at night. I go until my body can't take any more, and then I collapse. I almost passed out this morning when I was taking a walk through town. Tonight I walked into the front room where my frat boy housemate was watching tv. It was a dexatrim commercial, here's the obedient housewife talking about losing weight. I don't crave food anymore. I feel full and satisfied all day long. Good dog, good dog. Then she brings a bowl of fucking potato chips to her husband who is sitting in front of the television. fuck this. I didn't ask to be dumped into this fucking system. We're just sitting here washing our fucking laundry in Tide and waiting to die. NO wonder I can't sleep at night.

From: SAGReiss
Date: 9 March 1996
Subject: John, John, the Negatron

I hope I haven't been hasty in putting you on here, John. You see this is not lambda, this is real life. There's no spam here, you'll be happy to learn and there's a place for mail bravado, indeed a need for it (I can't believe that Gabriel, the neanderthal (o?) misogynist has created an essentially woman's forum. And I used to think Jeff was hen-pecked. I can't even dominate my own fucking chicken coop.) the emotions here are real. I have said before that we will eventually have to deal with the odd psychopath and if that's your name John, so be it, but anyone fucks with Nichelle is going to have to deal with two very smart, very angry bodyguards, me and Jeff. We will make your life more than miserable. We will turn you into a piece of meat. I don't mean to come on strong, just cautious. I'm a pretty good judge of character and I think you're a man of calibre, John. I'm just making sure. If anyone out there knows Loretta Vilanueva's e-mail address, please give it to me. I'd like to have her on, but can't seem to get her proper e-name. I have e-mailed Gody. Any man who can read Plato and Moses in their mothertongue is man enough to help us set this up. Besides, he's a geek, but don't tell him I said so. I just have to convince him to make a trip to Syracuse, the rich bastard. Yes, Jeff, that was "hen-pecked" I said, but I really meant to say "pussy-whipped". Take that you fucker and stuff it in your "real nightmare of classical education". Yes, folks it's an erection year, oops, cheap joke, election year so you know where to find me around Christmas, Tully Hill rehab, another nervous breakdown. I can see it happening already, my weight is dropping like Oppenheimer's when he was working on the bomb. My rib cage looks like I'm already under 55 kilos and we all know what that means. I have no time to go shopping or eat or sleep. I don't even go to the bar anymore. I'll be damned if I'm going to wait for a bus in the fucking snow just to buy some grapefruit and mushrooms and parmesan cheese. Oh by the way, Nichelle our next date is on IDMOO at around 3PM NYtime. I'll bring my rope, but if I'm going to shave your cunt, I'll only do it with the used rasor Calamity Kate handed in with her "composition". I have to go to work soon, hell Jeff is a fucking cook and John works making some kind of phallic plastic nosels for hoses or something. Just ask him. I'm sure he'll be glad to tell you all about it. It must be a very fulfilling job...

From: SAGReiss
Date: 9 March 1996
Subject: Can you help me?

Do you know someone at SU or could you spare some time to come here and help me? I'm trying to set up a web site, a mail exploder and a non-moderated listserv. It's a very important project. I don't want anything complicated, but a good, professional job. I'm a poor man, so I couldn't pay you, but you'd be doing Eric's sister Corinne a favor. Would you consider it? I'll explain more and answer all your questions if and when you answer.

From: SAGReiss
Date: 10 March 1996
Subject: Re: Work

I'm drunk and I love you Nichelle.

From: SAGReiss
Date: 10 March 1996
Subject: Awake

I'm awake if you'd like to talk. I guess it's still early there, only midnight. Why so quiet?

From: SAGReiss
Date: 10 March 1996
Subject: Last Chance

I'm tired and I'm drunk. If you want to become part of a bad-ass intellectual listserv just tell me.

From: SAGReiss
Date: 10 March 1996
Subject: LATE

I'm so sorry I was late. I had to help out in the bar. I'll explain more in an immediately following letter.

From: Nichelle
Date: 10 March 1996
Subject: IdMOO

Sorry I missed you on IdMOO. I wish I had been there, but I was in Spokane "celebrating" my birthday with my family. Had a dreadful time, would much rather have been talking with you.
Yesterday I got to play Clarinet Clinician, which I do about a dozen times each year. Worked with a group of about 20 high school kids in the morning, taught clarinet lessons after, then met my friend Andrew for a few hours in Spokane. I let him rub my back, because I really needed it, but I told him I wasn't interested in starting something serious. I ended up feeling really guilty when he told me that he really cared about me, even dared to say he loved me, which I don't take lightly. We stood by the river, him in tears, me feeling terrible even though I didn't do anything to feel guilty about except not fall in love with him, which I can't help.
After that, I had dinner with my family, birthday cake after, which I really didn't need. It only took me about two minutes to fall asleep last night. I was really exhausted.
I'll be around the moo from about noon to one or so, pacific time, and then I'll be around all night after five. I guess you figured out my last name. My name is Nichelle. And my number is 509-235-5850, and you're welcome to call me anytime. I'm not often at home, but if I know when you're calling I'll be sure to be around.

From: Nichelle
Date: 10 March 1996
Subject: Re: John, John, the Negatron

> Oh by the way, Nichelle, our next date is
> on IDMOO at around 3PM NYtime. I’ll bring my rope, but if I’m going to shave
> your cunt, I’ll only do it with the used rasor Calamity Kate handed in with
> her “composition”.

Sorry I missed it. As I told you, I had to go to town for a birthday celebration. My parents took me to some damn carnivore steak house place, so I just had some salad. “Are you sure that’s all you want honey?” I can’t believe they had the balls to take me to a steak house. My brother brought me a gift, which he picked up on the way to the house. And a CD with a bunch of opera excerpts. I sat there nodding off while my mother told everyone about how she wanted to decorate the basement, kept asking me “when are you moving home?”.
My brother is a fucking genius. Always has been. I mean I was no slouch, but I had to grow up in the shadow of that brilliance. Now he sells carpet and watches TV four hours a day, maybe more. Why am I telling you this crap?
Anyway Gabriel, about the razor and the rope… I’d prefer a date without them, really. When I told you about that, I was telling you about an experience, not my desires. As for my desires…

From: SAGReiss
Date: 10 March 1996
Subject: Jihad and Miss America

God am I sentimental when I'm drunk. The problem with not being able to drink all day is that you sober and then drink presto and it all goes to your head. The best thing is to drink adagio all day long and you're never drunk and never sober. I'm purposely avoiding you on the 'net right now for two reasons, Nichelle. The first is purely esthetic, I hate to talk to someone before writing the letter I want to write because it takes all my inspiration away, and I told you I put the interests of this list ahead of my own, I take writing more seriously than my personal life. The second is more complex. I'm still unsure about having cybersex with you. First as I said I don't want to mix business with pleasure. Second I still don't know how to begin. It seems like it would be much easier irl. Anyway I'll be back on tomorrow at about 3 PM NYtime, and then I'm off for two days and will be on as often as possible. You'll just have to catch me drunk and take advantage of me. Then I can have you busted for cyberdaterape. I have had sex in the kitchen of a restaurant, I have had sex in the bathroom of a restaurant, I have waited tables in my underware, but the funniest, weirdest thing I have ever seen in a resto happened today. Saddam Hussein, whom I call Stephen because I can't call him Mr Hussein and don't want to call Mr Blanket, is a very nice guy and an outstanding tipper. He's not very nice to his girlfriend, but she's a whore, so who cares. It's a simple business proposition, she gives him sex, he gives her money, why get friendly with the domestic help? He is friendly, in a somewhat patronizing way, to the staff, but he expects curteous, efficient service. That's our job, so I have no problem with that. He's used to being well-treated. He's also used to getting a lot of shit from Arab ex-partiots, so when he walked into the restaurant and saw Hafez, our cook from Jordan, working the omelette station on the floor, he may have tensed up a bit. Hafez knew who he was of course and was probably feeling the stress, but hany other guest. That's not quite the way it worked out. Saddam goes up to the omelette station speaking his beautiful English. Hafez speaks broken English. Let's stop the frame and look at two very nervous, edgy men talking about mushrooms and cheddar cheese. Saddam, on the defensive, must have said something that sounded surly or disrespectful. Hafez was taking no shit. In a minute he exploded in anger, screaming and cursing in Arabic: "Que sem mec..." very colorful curses in all mediterranean languages. I know how to curse in almost every language on God's Earth so I actually understood what was going on. They were not kidding. Saddam starts shouting too and no one can figure out what's happening. And they weren't about to stop. Most of the waitstaff is bent over double laughing, but management is panicking. Finally they got Fred, the ex-drill seargent who was court martialed twice once for slugging an officer and once for cruelty to the troops, makeing them do the duck walk for two hours. He more or less bodily removed Hafez, still raging and cursing, from the dining room. This afternoon I thought I was going to see some leg. I had to bring something to Miss America's room, but she wasn't there. I thought I was going to get to see the girl who sucked the most dicks in the least time in some sleasy hotel in Las Vegas...

From: SAGReiss
Date: 10 March 1996
Subject: Synechdoche

Actually, calling a woman a cunt or calling a man a prick is a rhetorical devise so old one would have to be criminally insane to think there was something wrong with it. It's like calling your car your wheels, using a part to represent the whole. John claims to be uneducated, which I find hard to believe because of his very smart MOO behavior, but let's give him the benefit of the doubt. I propose the following. Let's share our knowledge of literature with him. I propose the following format, which will seem very conventional to Corinne, educated in France, and very weird to the rest of you, 'cept maybe Jeff who was exposed to my teaching methods. Let's take one short, easy to find, book, Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, and analyse it sentence by sentence beginning with the first sentence of the novel. We can start as soon as someone sends the text of the first sentence to the list. I would prefer either the Penguin edition or Norton. My own worldly possessions are scatered to the four winds, at my mother's, my father's, my sister's and my friends' in Saverne, and I can't take books out of the library, so I can't go first. Someone just send in the text and we can begin. Why is this list so quiet on the week-ends? Do you all have part-time jobs? Don't you check your e-mail often? Are you pissed off at me? It's hard for me to write in a vaccuum, with only Nichelle answering and I haven't heard from her lately. Tell me what's up.

From: negatron
Date: 10 March 1996
Subject: Re: Synechdoche

I just happen to have a copy of Heart of Darkness, borrowed from a friend quite recently, so I will give the first line:

The Nellie, a cruising yawl, swung to her anchor without a flutter of the sails, and was at rest.

Quite a coincidence that you should choose this particular novel, Gabe. I'll be getting my locks changed now.

From: SAGReiss
Date: 10 March 1996
Subject: Lit 101

Oh shit, I may have gotten myself into something I'm not ready to handle. Why do I do these things, but I said I would and I will. Please remember I'm working without the full text, without a proper dictionary. Before I begin, I have had an idea. Since I know you are all, mostly, disorgasmized, inefficient, chronically-late and possibly lazy college kids, I have decided to write your own texts for you, those which will appear on the Web site under your pseudonym. That takes some of the pressure off you. If you want to write them, you can. If you don't, I will. While I will hold copywrite to all texts, all profits, except those from BABEL, will be shared equally amongst ourselves. I consider the charter members of this MOO Corinne, Jeff, Nichelle and myself. Tyisha, Loretta and John are for the moment borderline cases. It depends on your future participation. Only two things, I can't write your text, Jeff. Your inimitable style is beyond me, so if you don't give me something, I'll choose from among your letters that I have. I'd probably choose the "real nightmare of classical education" because of it's human interest value. It will be extremely hard for me Corinne to write a text for you, and I may not be able to. I would be extremely grateful if you could send me something, anything. You have never written to me so how can I know how you write?
Let's first take a bird's eye view of the first sentence of Heart of D, then we'll attack it from the six (Sech isch ke zahl. Es isch e hobby.) kinds of analysis: phonetics, morphology, syntax, philology, rhetoric, semantics. First who is talking? A narrator, we don't yet know if it's first or third person, whether it's omniscient, from what focalisation. The sentence is third person, but that doesn't tell us much.
Phonetically I scan the first sentence thus:
u-u/(u-)(u-)/(-uu)(-u)/(u-)(u-u)/uu-/(u-)(u-) a rather typical iambic English sentece with half of the feet iambic and no particular pattern to the others. It is of course a credit to Conrad that he can write such phonetically idiomatic prose in his third language, after Polish and French.
Morphology all I see is the marked use of the feminine determiner her to represent sea language.
Syntactically we've got paratax, no subordination, but this is how I read it:
Sn App V Prep Prep Prep Coor Conj V Prep
Dominence of prepositional phrases, telling us circumstancial facts, where, how, of what, how, almost journalistic style. Other very interesting syntactic note, the opposition of a verb of action, swung, and a verb of state, was. We might have expected subordination here, hypotax: having swung to anchor... was at rest or had swung to anchor... and was at rest. We don't get that, but that may in part be due to the fact that the author is a Polack.
Philologically we note that Nellie is a nickname for Helen (of Troy perhaps) and we must keep in mind that name. I don't remember the name of Kurtz's wife, but we may see this name again. Actually I think it was Elizabeth or maybe is not told at all.
Rhetorically I see one figure of speech, an etymological pun. Flutter comes from a word which means float. Obviously the boat is floating, not the sails. If I had my library I could find you an unpronouncible word for this trops, actually it's not a trope but a scheme, but I can see I'm already driving you crazy with my weird terminology.
Finally the semantics are obvious, yawl, anchor, sails all refer to ships, so the tone is set for a sea voyage, which is not at all what is to come, by the way.
Tell me what you think, boys and girls. I know this kind of close-reading is new to you. Does it make any sense? Can you understand the terms and abbreviations? Am I a raving, drunken lunatic? Do you read my mail? Hello?

From: Nichelle
Date: 10 March 1996
Subject: moo

I'm disappointed to hear that you're intentionally avoiding me today. I don't give a fuck about cybersex, I like your presence and your conversation in real time. I won't deny the fact that I am attracted to you, but I'm really not in any hurry to jump into the virtual sack with you either. Well, I'll be around, and I'll try to be on the MOO tomorrow at three.

From: SAGReiss
Date: 10 March 1996
Subject: Cybersex

Darling, I just said I wanted to write an e-mail first and that you need to catch me when I'm drunk. That can't be so hard to do... John is a man of calibre and you are a bold and brave motherfucker. He told me you'd met. I'm very glad I put him on our net. He isn't like the others: "I'm fucking ignorant so you must be too." He just says he knows nothing, which isn't true, but wants to learn. Please tell me how you all understand the first sentence of Heart of D. I would never try to avoid you, Stiff Lips, I love you.

From: Nichelle
Date: 11 March 1996
Subject: (no subject)

What happened? I wasn't done yet, either.

From: Nichelle
Date: 11 March 1996
Subject: moo

I'm going to go home now... I'm not sure if you're coming back or not, but you know how to reach me if it's important. I enjoyed both our phone conversation and our moo conversation tonight. I'll be on the moo tomorrow at 3 your time if you want to talk again.

Nichelle

From: SAGReiss
Date: 11 March 1996
Subject: Cyberphonedaterape

When I finally staggered into work two and a half hours late I gave a brilliant, subtle excuse: "I got raped on the internet last night, overslept and I'm still fucking drunk from yesterday so don't fuck with me today." Because I so seldom call in or come late no one said anything. Well Robert said: "When you look as bad as you do you should call in." and Bobbie asked me to fill in for room service after eleven: "I should be sober then," and I did more or less sober up at eleven. Yes, we finally kind of broke the ice. I remember reading about Johnny Bench (I already had one New-Age asshole on the World [I've decided to call it that.] laughing at me because I read the sports page first, why have I invited another? I could have been alone with half a dozen beautiful women and I brought on men? I don't even like men. They're ugly and smell bad.) "That is the work of a disciplined man." So is this. I could be out there cavorting with Stiff Lips and I'm in here jerking off. I said, my life takes second place to the World. Unfortunately I can't tell you much about our date 'cause I drank a quart of Ricard between three and whenever I passed out, sometime after midnight. I hereby appoint you night watchman of the World, Nichelle, and you must tuck me into bed, real or cyber, at an appropriate time when I'm on the next morning. Nichelle will have to send us a script or tell us about it. Apparently I kind of prematurely evaporated. My guess is I got cut off and some Lustprinzip or Toderstrieb told me to get the fuck to bed. I finally initiated sex in the least-likely of all possible ways, I called her. I was expecting this white-trash snarl, but was pleasantly surprized to hear a classy, airy, ethereal, vaguely Californian, almost British, aristocratic voice. First we tried phone sex which I didn't like very well, so we got down and dirty on the 'net, but I can't say more than that. Shiiit I don't even know if it was any good... P.S. Just a suggestion, Corinne, you could use that reference you wrote to UCONN for me. If you send it to me I’ll translate it into French for you.

From: SAGReiss
Date: 11 March 1996
Subject: Premature evaporation

Talk about coitus interruptus. That's twice now we have had to stop just when things were getting good. Are we starcrossed? I don't know we seem to be made for eachother in bed, constantly moving to exactly the same spots at the same time, talking and fucking simultaneously. The whole thing is quite funny and dead serious. It must be the curse of Benedicte. She told me, while we were breaking up: "Tu vas epouser une Americaine avec un gros cul et de grosses dents." As much as I respect you, Nichelle, or maybe because I respect you, I'm not going to break my rule of never translating for someone who doesn't understand. It's a matter of principle and I have very many weird principals. What I forgot in my last letter (Stiff Lips said: "I can't believe you don't remember fucking me last night.") (Yes, these letters are not so improvisational as they seem. I usually have a mental outline before I begin. It may not look like it, but there's a very carefully worked out literary and linguistic and esthetic theory behind this madness.) was the most important. Nichelle, you are the bravest and most courageous (binosynonymy) human being I have ever met. Last night she told me that the man who did her in Edmonton is still on lambda. I told her I didn't want to know his name. I get in enough trouble dealing with all the FWBs. I also told her that if he ever said a word to her, even hello, that she should tell me and me and John would personally tear him apart limb from limb. Are you with me on this, John? The truth is I hope I have already insulted the cocksucker, and it's quite likely I have. I've made a lot of enemies on the 'net. But I've also made some friends and that's you. A man used to being called Genius is seldom surprized by what he can do. I am stunned and amazed (binosynonymy) by what I have wrought. Pretty soon they'll be calling me God. John, may I have the next sentence of Heart of D before I get too remorselessly drunk to deal with it? Why the fuck isn't anyone talking?

From: Nichelle
Date: 11 March 1996
Subject: Re: Cyberphonedaterape

> Apparently I kind of prematurely
> evaporated.

I would actually call it premature evacuation.

> I was expecting this white-trash snarl, but was
> pleasantly surprized to hear a classy, airy, ethereal, vaguely Californian,
> almost British, aristocratic voice.

I don't know whether to be flattered or insulted by this. You keep underestimating me, Gabriel, and I'm starting to feel hurt. And at the time, he called it 'sultry' which I like a lot. I was pleasantly surprised by Gabriel's voice also, even though he woke me from my nap. Or especially since he woke me from my nap.

> First we tried phone sex which I didn't
> like very well, so we got down and dirty on the 'net, but I can't say more
> than that. Shiiit I don't even know if it was any good...

It was fabulous, if you read typo fluently, as I do. Gabe was very difficult to understand, but charming as hell. You would have been impressed. He and I both felt awkward at first, and just as I was getting worked up, he disconnected. I was in my finest form, too. Brilliant, seductive... And all he remembers sucking was the damn bottle?

From: negatron
Date: 11 March 1996
Subject: Re: Premature evaporation

Well, I was hoping to go on the IDmoo and look for a little bit of conflict to ease the afterwork tensions, but it appears to be nonfunctional at this time. I guess I'll have to masturbate instead. The next sentence of Heart of Darkness:

The flood had made, the wind was nearly calm, and being bound down the river, the only thing for it was to come to and wait for the turn of the tide.

By the way, I picked up Bukowski's Notes of A Dirty Old Man at the uni library. (The only thing they had that wasn't signed out or stolen. Most of his stuff was stolen.) I'm about half way through.

From: SAGReiss
Date: 11 March 1996
Subject: Masturbation

John has just proven he is a man of calibre and so has earned a charter membership. I'm still fucking dead in the water. I can't even understand that sentence, unless it's a misprint, but I'll try to analyze it.
Phonetics. I scan this:
(u-)(u-)/u-/(u-)(u-)/(u-)(u-)/(-u)(-u)/(u-)(u-)/u-/uu--/u-/uu-/uu-
Much more complicated phonetically than the first sentence, beginning remorselessly iambic, turning briefly trochaic, going back to iambs and ending up, with a slight iambic hesitation, anapestic. I just hope all of you can see the awesome beauty of a sentence so constructed. The rhythm is breathtaking. Those words, which I don't even think I understand yet, just glow on the page and numb the ear. What a brilliant tempo, what a phonetic genius. Can you compare this to music, Nichelle? Can you others see this? Alliteration turn of the tide.
Morphology. Any ideas?
Syntax. Marked use of made as an intransitive verb. Hypotax, with a past perfect, a present verb of state, a passive present participle, main verb and infinitive construction with a coordinating conjunction. Again the structural beauty of this sentence must not escape any of you.
Philology. Any ideas?
Rhetoric. Anaphora, the six-time repetition of the, which is made more subtle by the first two and the fourth the's being at the beginning of their syntactic units, syllabic groups and metrical feet, the third, fifth and sixth in the middle. Visually this anaphore plays a lovely counterpoint to the phonetic alliteration, what I have elsewhere called a deaf alliteration, the with turn and tide. Are you following me? Again, Nichelle, see any musical parallels?
Semantics. the verbs to make, to be bound down, to come to and the nouns flood, wind, river, tide take up the semantic field of the sea from the first sentence.
I'm sorry, but I'm going to flatter my own outsized ego. If any of you out there don't think this is brilliant literary criticism, you're fucking dumb. And I still have no idea what the damned sentence means... P.S. John all the MOOs seem to be down, but I'm going to try again to get onto ID. I hope I see you there.

From: negatron
Date: 11 March 1996
Subject: Re: Masturbation

If all it takes to be a man of calibre is wanking then yes, I am a man of extremely high calibre. There doesn't seem to be a single decent MOO that isn't down right now. I was on that tedious RiverMOO for a while as a guest, and having some fairly interesting conversations about MOO security, stupid wizards, and the evils of Dr. Pepper. After 20 minutes as one guest and 15 as another I was shut out. It's a good thing I know how to amuse (abuse?) myself.

From: SAGReiss
Date: 11 March 1996
Subject: Simultaneous ejaculation

Very short note before I call you, Nichelle. This is out of hand. While I was writing a letter entitled "Premature evacuation" you were telling me the same thing. This is very weird. Please don't feel insulted, flattered or hurt. I don't underestimate you. You are the bravest, boldest (binosynonymy and alliteration, Stabreim, combined) soul I have ever met on this cold Earth. As for typos, the seminal text of my literary theory is found in Kierkegaard's The Sickness Unto Death, a bit where he describes the typo in revolt: "It is as if an author..." Go to the library, I haven't got time to quote the whole thing from memory. John, jerking off is no big deal. What is no mean feat is coming to the World and telling half a dozen FWBs about it. It also helps to make etymological puns about wanking (self-abuse in Latin).

From: Brown_Sugar
Date: 11 March 1996
Subject: Re: Late night phone calls

Hi everyone. I know that you have not heard from me in a long time but I had a hectic weekend. How is everyoned doing? Fine I hope. As for me I could be better. I just broke up with my boyfriend and I am feeling kind of shitty at this point. Anyhow I do have something of essence to say: Rape is not something to joke about and should not be taken lightly. It traumatizes the victims for the rest of their lives and should not be reckoned with.
Always giving my opinion,

Tyisha

From: Brown_Sugar
Date: 11 March 1996
Subject: Re: Boys n the Web

I think that it is a great start and idea Scott. One question what do you want me to write about or is that up to me?

Tyisha

From: Brown_Sugar
Date: 11 March 1996
Subject: Re: Adults only

The help would be greatly appreciated Scott. Thanks.

Tyisha

From: Brown_Sugar
Date: 12 March 1996
Subject: Re: My name

Then I will just call you Gaby or Scott which ever one I feel like using that day. :)

Tyisha

From: Brown_Sugar
Date: 12 March 1996
Subject: Re: FWB gets the upper hand

Well Scott all I have to say is that there is a first time for everything.

Tyisha

From: Mary Ellen
Date: 12 March 1996
Subject: Nichelle (email problems)

MIME-version: 1.0
Gabriel,

I'm having a terrible time sending email. It seems that our minds are in synch, but our schedules aren't. During the time you waid you would call me, I was in a rehearsal and teaching clarinet lessons. I'm going home now, and I'll be back later to get on the moo. If you are still around, please try again to get in touch with me.

From: Brown_Sugar
Date: 12 March 1996
Subject: Re: Synechdoche

Well Gaby I do not have the time to reply on the weekends which is why you never hear from me so do not think that I have abandoned you because I would never do that to you or the wonderful people that I have met her on your developing moo. :)

Tyisha

From: Nichelle
Date: 12 March 1996
Subject: test message

Fuck, I haven't been able to send email. If this works, I'll send another one in a moment.

From: SAGReiss
Date: 12 March 1996
Subject: My mail

I think there may be something fucking up my mail today, and perhaps last night. Please resend messages. Thank you.

From: Nichelle
Date: 12 March 1996
Subject: Reno Sheraton

My e-mail is fucking up and I'm not getting your messages, boys and girls, please bear with me. The only thing that'll really fuck up is Heart of D. I just realized that at this rate it will take me about three years to get to the horror... I also think I've won the concours de mariage and shall have a few very big phone bills. One night I'm going to get so drunk, I'll use one of my mother's cheap-ass credit cards and send me and Nichelle to the Sheraton (I get a discount.) in Reno and we'll be married in the bar by some gin-soaked Irish priest down on his luck. We've already had our first few fights, some nonesense about her voice and electronic music written by my cousin Andrew. She knows I'm right, but just won't admit it, or maybe the contrary. If everything else is going to be electronic why not music? Shiiit maybe someday they'll even give us digital phone lines...

From: SAGReiss
Date: 12 March 1996
Subject: Re: BABEL

Am very sorry not to have answered. My e-mail is fucking up. Mircosoft is shit, but it's free and I haven't got the other software I'm waiting for yet. I'll send the entire text of BABEL today. Thank you so much. By the way... I'm setting up a listserv, very informal so far. I think you might be interested. It's populated by some very bad-ass intellectuals. To give you an idea, one girl breatakingly described being raped four times in simple chilling words. I could send you a couple of examples if you like...

From: SAGReiss
Date: 12 March 1996
Subject: BABEL

Thank you Tyisha. I haven't been getting my e-mail properly and didn't know that the fucking publisher wants to read BABEL. I'll send it just as soon as I get offline with Stiff Lips. I also told him about the World. You can write whatever you like, Tyisha. I can help you if you like, but it's really up to you.

From: SAGReiss
Date: 12 March 1996
Subject: Waiting

I'm in your room at lambda right now. Please join me.

From: SAGReiss
Date: 12 March 1996
Subject: Phone sex

My mind is spinning and it's not just because I began drinking whisky at ten o'clock in the morning. I just got off of the longest phone call of my life, three and a half hours, and yes she did come, or so she said which is exactly the same thing in a text-based World. Talk about walking and chewing gum, this woman jerked off while carrying on a conversation. She didn't lose her voice till she was pretty close to coming. I am awed by you, Nichelle, this from a man who has always been refered to as Genius and who has often refered to himself as God. You are a miracle and I am in love with you even when I'm sober. I can't even write much, my balls hurt too much. By the way, World, I'm taking up a collection to send Nichelle to my bed irl. Please send tax-deductible donations to Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss, Apartment 7, 1009 Madison Street, Syracuse, NY 13210. Thank you.

From: SAGReiss
Date: 12 March 1996
Subject: Virtual reality

Then why is my whole body below the neck still throbbing in pain half an hourafter I got off the phone? By the way, Tyisha, you are also a charter member.I just wasn't sure if I'd scared you off. We also need to think of a title forJohn's text on the Web site, any ideas? Sorry folks, but I have to go onlambda and cyberfuck Stiff Lips again. It's what might be called a biologicalor digital imperative...

From: Nichelle
Date: 12 March 1996
Subject: Finally

Well, I finally figured out what is going on with my email, and I souldn't be having these problems anymore. I finally talked to a guy in the lab who knew what the hell he was talking about, let him log on to my account, he fucked around with something, and things are working fine now.
I tried to respond to your message about Reno, but couldn't send it, and now the message has been deleted. Anyway, all I said is that I'm going to be there, so if you steal any credit cards, You just have to send yourself. I'm off to teach a clarinet lesson at 5:00, and I'll be around most of the night, after I grab a quick dinner.

From: Nichelle
Date: 12 March 1996
Subject: Email and the list

Gabriel,

I'm furious right now. I just read about a student here who raped a girl. ANd there were witnesses too. People saw him dragging her down the fucking hall. ANd he gets off on some god damn legal technicality. I can't tell you how fucking pissed I am. I've been screaming all fucking night about this because I just don't see how I can fucking deal with this. How can things like this happen? Doesn't anyone THINK? Doesn't anyone give a fuck!?
Here's a girl who was raped in the dormitories by some sleazy fucking football playing frat boy, and his right to a speedy trial comes first. I don't fucking get it, this stupid system makes no sense to me, Gabriel. I mean, this girl has the balls to come forward and confront this bastard, and as strong as I am I have never had the guts to do that. This woman is able to stand up to this asshole and say, "Don't fuck with me. Don't fucking treat me like that." And it didn't mean shit.None of it meant shit. And in this stupid fucking article in the paper, they have to balls to say, "I'm sure she felt raped by the system." They don't god damn know how badly this girl was fucked, but I do and it is killing me. To have the balls to come out and stand up to this bastard and to get cut down over a fucking legal technicality.
I am so full of rage at this moment that I can barely control it. I don't even know what the hell I just wrote, my mind is racing so fast. Oh god, Gabriel, what is going on here? I can't handle shit like this. I would have sent this to the list, but all my shit got deleted, so you can forward it if you want. You have to help me with this, I'm going crazy about it.

From: Nichelle
Date: 12 March 1996
Subject: frustration

I'm going home. I just can't handle this shit, so I'm going to go work on some music at home and see if I can get this girl off my mind. I feel like going for a walk, but that just doesn't seem safe, even in such a small town, and especially with rape on my brain.
Let me know when you will be around. I'll try to find you on the 'net tomorrow if I can. I have my clarinet lesson, for which I am completely unprepared, but I'll make it through somehow. Shit I still can't think straight. I have to deal with this.

From: Brown_Sugar
Date: 13 March 1996
Subject: Re: Virtual reality

Gaby I must say that I am hurt that you think that you could scare me offso easily. Such audacity. Sorry but you cant get rid of me that easily.

Tyisha

From: SAGReiss
Date: 13 March 1996
Subject: Habeas corpus

What I have to say is just going to sound awful so just tear up this letter right now. Rape is of course illegal. It's also illegal for the cops to fuck with me when maybe I haven't raped anyone. The fourth ammendment, everything down to those silly fucking rights they're s'posed to read us like Starsky and Hutch, all of those things are more important than the outcome of one given trial, even if a woman is hurt and the man who may have hurt her goes free. Johnny Grummage didn't get a trial. If that name doesn't ring a bell, ask Tyisha. I finally got some sleep. First I went to the bar and Lou and Mister Betsy were asking me if I was sick, so I said lovesick. Actually first I jerked off standing up in the bathroom (Men are gross, no?), a long, painful, knee-buckling, difficultly-attained orgasm, lots and lots of sperm shooting out of my overworked balls. After three drinks, I was so mentally and physically exhausted I was glad John hadn't sent a new sentence from Heart of D, though I could be doing that now had he done so, I got something to eat (I've got to watch that might weight doesn't drop too low.) and went to bed very early. I give up. I'm going to look for you on lambda and on ID. It's easier when I work, to tell the truth, 'cause the pattern of one letter before work if I'm ahead of schedule and one after, before trying to find out where you could be hiding, is comforting to me. L'habitude (La bitte rude?) est une grande sourdine...

From: SAGReiss
Date: 13 March 1996
Subject: The Body Electronic

The reason TS Eliot was such a grump is that as smart and well-educated as most of you more or less are, probably none will understand that beautiful pun nor recognize that brilliant allusion, so I have to explain it and jokes that you have to explain are like limp cocks, they're not much use and don't even look too good. After the letter called Habeas Corpus ("to have the body" well it's subjunctive really, but who cares), the Body Electronic refers to Whitman's lovely pornopoem "I Sing the Body Electric" where, after minutely describing two bodies comming together he says something about falling back "into the prost(r)ate dawn" which is one of the best pornopuns ever made. I guess should forward your letter to the World, but I don't want to get in a stupid argument about our wonderful criminal justice system, I just don't want to get fucking busted for a crime I didn't commit (or even for one I did) and go to jail because some dumb-ass roockie cop doesn't like my e-mail style. And it could happen. I'll also forward to all of you the copy of a very funny, weird and somewhat scary letter I got from a stranger, apparently because some girl I met in an MSN chatroom about whom I knew next to nothing gave me his e-mail address thinking it was hers, or something like that, a girl, it turns out, from Syracuse. There is no such thing as paranoia. I have found a picture of me working. Those scars on my face are from falling and breaking my nose for the fourth or fifth time. Those are my reading glasses, which are still in Saverne with all my other stuff. This picture was taken in the fall of 1990, but I still look exactly the same. Behind me you can see my beautiful IBM AZERTY typer, which also languishes in France. You can also see my bookcase (idem for the books) atop which you can just make out a bottle of very good Pinch whisky. In the foreground you see my watch which I lost in the computer cluster on Christmas Eve 1994. There are two calculators which I was using to write an article about baseball statistics which are just one of my weird fetishes. You can also see one of the Pilot pens which I still use, except at work 'cause they let me write too fast and no one can understand my handwriting. I'll send it to you just as soon as you give me your address. Why do I need to tell the World about my stupid lovelife? I don't know, but I do...

From: SAGReiss
Date: 13 March 1996
Subject: Web site

We are moving ahead, if not so fast as I'd like, on creating our own Web site. The IDT software should be here tomorrow and it includes instructions for setting one up, if only I can understand and follow them. People keep suggesting the Dummies books and I keep saying: "I've tried them before and I'm sure they're very helpful for dummies, but they're useless and incomprehensible to me." Why is it you think people look at me funny when I say that? As to the mail exploder and listserv, I'm getting nowhere fast. scaredycat is a few hours' drive away and won't come. Gody hasn't answered my e-mail and may no longer use that account and Jude the Obscure One seems to have prematurely evaporated into thin cyberspace. Also tomorrow BABEL arrives in San Francisco. Maybe that dude will send me to California to sign a contract... If he does, I'm going to quit my fucking job, buy me a graduate student in Computer Science and we'll be in buisiness before you know it. Shiiit we could even create our own spammless, spoofless MOO. When are you going to be on lambda or ID, Nichelle? I'm free all day until about midnight at the very latest 'cause I'm on at eight tomorrow morning and that would still give me six hours' sleep. I'd prefer eight, but we'll see. Remember to tuck me in, just log off if I'm too stubborn to go. Besides I always let the lady leave first so I can hold the cyberdoor for her. It's a little frustrating for me and Nichelle feeling that we're carrying everyone else's load. I understand you are all students, but I work a hard, full-time job. If you can't even find the time to read and answer your e-mail, however are you going to write texts for the Web site? I don't really care, I'll write them for you, but it might be better, and you might feel more self-determination with respect to me, if you got orgasmized, took the time and wrote your own contributions. Just a thought...

From: Brian
Date: 13 March 1996
Subject: Re: BABEL

I’ll pass…

Brian, Editor/Publisher
Permeable Press

From: SAGReiss
Date: 13 March 1996
Subject: Voices

I am disgusted. John Updike, who couldn't write his way out of a paper bag, and Joyce Carol Oates have just published very high priced books, and I've been struggling for a year to publish BABEL. I won't even bother quoting Updike. I couldn't get through the first sentence of the excerpt in the paper. But this is really wretched (blind alliteration). Nichelle is 23 and does not especially consider herself a writer, so far as I know, and she can fall out of bed and outwrite Ms Oates: "When she makes love to Harry, he knows that she is 'thinking of Frannie's struggling body as it, too, was penetrated by a man's penis; this excited Harry enormously.'" What a shameless piece of eyewash. What rot. What rubbish. And we can't even find someone to help us make our literature available to the public for free? Anyway, here's the poem in translation I will put on our Web site:

Marie please kiss me, fuck me, no not fuck
But tear my heart out with your rosy breath.
Don't tear it out, but out of every vein
Suck my whole scattered soul between your arms.

No, no don't suck it, for upon my death
What would I be if not an empty ghost,
No body lying on the loveless bank
(Excuse me, Pluto) where one fakes love games?

As long as we live let us love, Marie.
Love doesn't reign on the enchanted troops
Of death who wallow furrowed in steel sleep.

He lies when Pluto loves Persephone.
So sweet a care can't enter hardened breast.
Love reigns on Earth and never down in Hell.

By the way, Nichelle, I keep forgetting to say that our spat about your voice was based on a misunderstanding because I didn't express myself clearly. What I thought was sultry was your breathing, even when you weren't masturbating. (Perhaps you were and just didn't say so.) This may be an occupational hasard, but I sure like it. Your voice, which I like too, is what I found airy and ethereal. I hope that clears things up. Are you going to be around this afternoon? Is anyone going to e-mail me? Have I got to do everything myself?

From: SAGReiss
Date: 13 March 1996
Subject: Afternoon blues

I'm tired and bored and I can't find you anywhere. I'm going to have the very rare afternoon cup of coffee so I can read the Sunday Times in bed without nodding off. E-mail me or you can even phone me. I've got the ringer turned on because IDT is s'posed to call. My number is (325) 425-0388.

From: SAGReiss
Date: 13 March 1996
Subject: Such a cunt

I can't even remember my own fucking phone number. It's (315) 425-0388.

From: Nichelle
Date: 13 March 1996
Subject: Re: Such a cunt

Well, come find me on the MOO, you cunt. I’m waiting on Lambda. I can’t call at the moment, but let’s set a phone date.

From: Nichelle
Date: 13 March 1996
Subject: My address

Gabriel,

My address is enclosed.
I guess now I have to dig through my photos too. I hope you don't think I'm too much of a toad. I have a concert tonight. They just never end, do they? It is actually the last concert of this term, and a week from today I will be going to Reno with the wind ensemble. Anyway, I'll be around tonight, but only until about 6 or 6:30. I have an early morning dentist appointment tomorrow. Maybe I could call you after it is over?
Come to the MOO.

From: SAGReiss
Date: 13 March 1996
Subject: WILDLUST

I'm sorry you got cut off the list, but it's because of that weird Carlton and Petrina shit. Please pay very careful attention, all of you, always to use the most recent letter when you answer. This whole list has been going to someone whom we don't know. IDT is fucking with me, the bastards. I will work out the bugs and then I'll be changing e-mail addresses. I'll eventually have two. If you're not careful about giving and using proper e-mail addresses, you might not be able to follow me when I move. By the way Tyisha, I suggested the title "There's no such thing as racism". Maybe you could write it in collaboration with WILDLUST who I think is a sis' called Lisa. I can help you if you need ideas. Please introduce yourself, Lisa. By the way, Nichelle, was that some kind of a buy one, get one free deal on the two post-shower orgasms?

From: Nichelle
Date: 13 March 1996
Subject: Re: WILDLUST

> By the way, Nichelle, was that some
> kind of a buy one, get one free deal on the two post-shower orgasms?

Never go for the bargain when it comes to orgasms.

From: Nichelle
Date: 13 March 1996
Subject: blah blah blah

I practiced clarinet all morning, and I feel slightly less guilty now. I feel a bit guilty about leaving you hanging on the MOO, Gabriel, but I really needed to do it. At one point, I really wanted to be a writer, and if you want me to, and if you have a high tolerance for pain, I'll send you all one of my early poems. They are dreadful, but probably good for a laugh. As for what I have been writing lately, you are reading it.
In my dream last night, I was at a clarinet convention, and I was asked to sing at the opening concert. So I somehow ended up sitting in a tiny windowsill singing a song about Juliet, in French (which I don't speak, or sing) that I have never heard in my life. It's like I'm making up my own tune because I can't read the music fast enough. And it's a pretty steep drop down to the ground too, maybe five stories. Still, it's a better dream than the night before when my mother was cutting my arm with a knife.
I'm just going to hang around on the MOO for a while this afternoon. Maybe Gabriel will catch up with me. If not, I'm listening to a rehearsal of Schoenberg's Ode To Napoleon through the wall, and that ought to keep me entertained.

From: Nichelle
Date: 13 March 1996
Subject: Re: Voices

> By the way, Nichelle, I keep forgetting to say that our spat about your voice
> was based on a misunderstanding because I didn't express myself clearly. What
> I thought was sultry was your breathing, even when you weren't masturbating.
> (Perhaps you were and just didn't say so.)

I didn't know that you meant my breathing, but that is probably because I was still half asleep when you told me it was sultry.

> This may be an occupational hasard, but I sure like it.

Well it is if you keep calling me while I'm in bed. Shit, most of the time we have spent talking has been in bed.

> Your voice, which I like too, is what I found airy and
> ethereal. I hope that clears things up.

It does. I like your voice too. I was never really upset about it. It takes quite a lot to piss me off, and the only time you have seen me angry is in the letter I sent to you last night about the rape trial.

From: Nichelle
Date: 13 March 1996
Subject: MOO departure

Gabriel,
I'm sorry I had to leave so quickly from IdMOO, but I had rehearsal, as you know, and I never skip my rehearsals. Sorry I couldn't wait any longer. It doesn't matter that we're playing a bunch of garbage, I still have to be there because that's the way it works.
About your letter about rape, what I care about has nothing to do with what is legal and what isn't. What bothers me about this thing is that this woman had the courage to come forward and confront the man who raped her, which I have never been able to do, and I've had four fucking chances. And all that happens is thatnow a bunch of people feel sorry for her because she must feel "raped by the system". No, she was raped by some stupid jock and nobody has done anything about it. I hope a bunch of her family or friends beat the shit out of that motherfucker.
You said I seemed pretty broken up about this thing last night. I was. I walked around by the train tracks for three hours, got shitfaced, didn't sleep until 5 am, and I still feel like shit. I'm still pretty broken up about it. Even though this has happened to me so many times that you didn't even believe me when I told you, I still can't believe that it happens to other people. And it does. And it's practically considered normal because so many women have been raped. I don't know the percentages, but that doesn't really matter. How can you look at it and say, "well legally they were within their rights, so..." The laws don't have anything to do with this woman who was raped, it is beyond those silly fucking laws, it is beyond some frat boy jock's right to a speedy trial, it is much more than any of these things.

From: Nichelle
Date: 13 March 1996
Subject: marriage in Reno

I can't figure you out, Gabriel, though I think I'm getting closer. Sorry if it offends the rest of you that I address Gabe all of the time in my letters, but I don't hear from the rest of you so I might as well. I'm very tired right now because of my late night, and I have to go back into Spokane tonight so that I'm there in time for an early morning dentist appointment. I need a computer in my home.
I hope we can put this thing about my voice behind us. It really wasn't such a big deal to me, and I'm glad you like it, and I'm very happy that you feel comfortable talking with me on the phone. Try not to go broke, though, because we still have to get me to Syracuse somehow. When scaredycat asked me if I knew you irl, I told her that you and I should probably meet before we get married in Reno. Did you know that you can get married in a drive-thru there? "We'll have onion rings, two chocolate malts, and some promises of eternal love, please." I can't believe this stupid fucking country, that you can get married in a drive-thru.

Gabriel, you need to start being more careful about who you propose to. I'm a lonely woman.

From: SAGReiss
Date: 13 March 1996
Subject: Third sentence

John asked me what I meant, for example, by "(u-)(u-)/u-/". That means that the first syllabic group consists of two iambic metrical feet with the pattern unstressed syllable, stressed syllable and the second syllabic group consists of one iambic foot with the same pattern. Our vocal apparatus supports between two and four syllables in normal spoken language before we need to breathe, so a syllabic unit can contain, normally in English, one or two metrical feet. John also gave me today's sentence which looks easy:
The sea-reach of the Thames stretched before us like the beginning of an interminable waterway.
The phonetics of this sentence aren't very clear to me, but it resolves into four iambic feet divided into two syllabic groups (u-)(u-)/(u-)(u-).
Morphology. sea-reach is some kind of compound neologism. More important, we have our first clue as to the narrative technique, we. So it's first person (plural) for now at least.
Syntax. Nothing special a main clause followed by some kind of predicate nominative which I guess one could call a simile, but it's not particularly figurative language, just an everyday comparison. More important an interesting parallel between the first clause, the... of the..., where all is certain, introduced by the definite article, and the second clause, the... of an..., where the second term is unknown, introduced by the indefinite article. In the first clause both beginning and end are known, in the second we know where we begin, but have no idea where the path will lead us.
Philology. My dick-ass Random House doesn't give the crucial etymology of Thames, so we really don't know what the fuck is going on unless one of you can look it up.
Rhetoric. Extended metaphore reach... stretched. Also some weird figure of speech that a beginning is interminable (has no end). This bodes heavily on the rest of the novel.
Semantics. We stay with our semantic field, the water, sea, Thames, waterway.

From SAGReiss
Date: 14 March 1996
Subject: Al dente

I'll marry you, Nichelle, just as soon as we can find the money and a drive-thru which serves spaghetti al dente and a glass of chianti (not one of those cheesy fucking plastic cups). Why shouldn't I? You are already the best fuck I've ever had, and we haven't even fucked. I'd feel better about it though if you would send me one of those cassettes to send to my cousin Andrew. I can't wait for the CD. I wouldn't even tell him to listen to the clarinetist, but I'd feel mighty fine if he wrote me back: "That clarinetest sounds better than having your ass licked." That's an expression of his to compliment my grandmother's cooking. So what if you have a fat white ass? Everyone has their problems. Chacun sa merde. Just don't turn into a thirty-year-old blob on me. Lisa, you fucking nigger bitch, what is this shit about CARLTON&PERTRINA? It's messing up my e-mail esthetics. (That ought to wake her up. "By any means necessary," right girls?) (Those are strong words, Tyisha, to express strong emotions, real or feigned. I feel very strongly about e-mail and esthetics. Besides, anyone who can't handle strong words and strong emotions made a wrong turn out of kindergarten and shouldn't be on here. I would hate to lose you, Tyisha, but I won't let you tell me what I can say. I'd hate to see this become a forum for FWBs like DU. I'd like it to be as black and brown and beautiful as can be. If you disagree, please write me an answer and I'll put it on the Web under the title "There's no such thing as racism". Me and Corinne and Jeff know who Johnny Grummage is. He was from Syracuse. By the way, Corinne's mother is a black African from Madagascar, so we've more or less been through this before.)

From: SAGReiss
Date: 14 March 1996
Subject: FWB revisited

This is fucking rediculous. I'm having the best sex of my life without taking my clothes off, on the phone. This woman is an Amazon, a Sphinx. We pass as naturally as can be from intellectual discussion to sex and back, and then she tells me she's so hot she has to got masturbate. I say: "May I listen in?" She jerks off not once, but twice, and I'm beginning to understand how to participate. This woman was born for sex and has never before had the opportunity to show her gifts. She is amazing and I love her. John, I thank you for the Conrad text. I wrote a commentary, but I'm beginning to think we might better study an Ode of Keats, "To the Nightengale" for example 'cause we could never get through Heart of D. I wish you fuckers would wake up and start writing. It's very frustrating that we so seldom hear from you. I don't know. I'll just order a pizza and go talk to John on ID. Corinne and Jeff, you really are scum. You're going to make so much money (For those of you who don't know, BABEL is essentially an epistolary novel written to them, and they will each receive half of the royalties, the other half going to me.) and you won't even participate in our World? I don't know, I've just been through two orgasms of a woman on the phone...

From: SAGReiss
Date: 14 March 1996
Subject: Oh, say can you see?

The Marquis de Sade, Sweet Lou to his friends, defends wanton rape and murder and condemns capital punishment. The government cannot kill people and say it's right. Murders don't say it's right. The Marquis would just say he was indulging his passions. Government is by it's nature so dangerous and tyrannical that there must be checks on its power. What I loved about your letter was that it avoided dumb-ass cliches like "raped by the system". I would have no problem with the girls brother castrating the motherfucker, as some veterinarian in France did once to two dudes who had raped her. She just asked them if they would like some more at her place, drugged their drinks and slipped the things she used to make oxen on their balls. They woke up geldings. She did two years... But I do want Miranda rights and who gives a fuck if Miranda too was a rapist in Arizona, I believe. Jeff could probably tell you. He has an evil little way of catching every fucking mistake I make, though I seldom give him the pleasure. I didn't imagine you drank. I'll tell you what makes me indignant, that a man called Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf is told he can't play basketball in the NBA if he won't stand up to honor the National Anthem. I was so hot about it I was almost rude to a guest. They were discussing it at a table and I said: "That's rediculous. What if they began doing that at the Sheraton?" "You choose to work for the Sheraton." "And in making that choice I do not forfeit inalienable rights." There was a stressful silence. Fortunately one of the other guests backed me up and I could just slink away telling myself to hold my temper. I said: "How can I exude charm and sexual confidence with a name like Cookie_Monster Guest?" She tried to flatter me into a hard on by saying I was doing a pretty good job. Don't you know, any woman who can throw a couple of multiple orgasms a day in my ear over the telephone can get me to do just about anything without sycophancy? (Didn't think I could spell a word like that, eh Jeff? I can't. I looked the fsex-goddess on my tail and my tail is feeling pretty happy. She's better at phonesex than I, though I'm still probably better cyber and irl, but we all know the latter won't last. I'll just teach her a couple of tricks and I'll have to change my name from Dr Geisskopf to Dr Frankenstein, which is also a literary reference, John, and a fine novel by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, daughter of Mary Shelley, who wrote A Declaration of the Rights of Woman (please, not women) which Tom Paine and the French revolution answered, and wife of the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley. They had a very weird kind of marriage and probably would have loved phonesex. She wrote it in a night on a dare from Lord Byron, or that's what they say anyway. Oh, and by the way, did I hear a "Yes" anywhere in all that noise and bad craziness? Have I just about won the concours de mariage? Can I refer to you in public as my fiancee?

From: negatron
Date: 14 March 1996
Subject: Re: Oh, say can you see?

The next sentence of Heart of Darkness:
In the offing the sea and the sky were welded together without a joint, and in the luminous space the tanned sails of the barges drifting up with the tide seemed to stand still in red clusters of canvas sharply peeked, with gleams of varnished sprits.
You're right, Gabe, maybe a shorter work would be better. This is the fourth sentence. At the current pace we will be finished the first page in 9 days. Figure two weeks per page times about 95 pages. I hope you don't have any big plans for the next 4 years.

From: Nichelle
Date: 14 March 1996
Subject: (no subject)

How the hell can you say that you're no good at seduction? I'm practically ready to pack my bags and go to Boston with you and we haven't even met yet. You're a very persuasive man, and if you can talk me into shacking up with you in Boston, I'm confident that you will somehow manage to get me in bed.
I've never been told that my playing was better than having your ass licked. I would have been delighted if they had reviewed me that way in the paper when I played with the symphony. What they did say was that I gave a "barn burning performance", which is the way we talk about art out here in the fucking wheat fields. I guess they're not allowed to say it was an "ass licking performance" or whatever. I liked it so much that I wrote on my recital posters: BYOB (bring your own barn).
I do drink, Gabriel, but not very often, and almost never in such extreme quantities. But don't worry. You won't have to get me drunk to take advantage of me. And by the way, my darling Gabriel, are you telling me that you _haven't_ been taking your clothes off?

From: SAGReiss
Date: 15 March 1996
Subject: Thirst

Every time I get the urge to drink I should fuck you? You don't understand, woman. I have a powerful thirst. We might both die. Well, at least we'd die happy.

From: SAGReiss
Date: 15 March 1996
Subject: Breakfast

Just a cigarette and water for breakfast. I woke up with a serious grapefruit lust, but had none in the fridge. It killed my appetite even for coffee. Jeff, if you want me to live long enough to meet Nichelle, we've got to figure out how to get me to the supermarket. My every bit of energy is consumed by the World (and work) and I have no strength to deal with buses and hauling bags of groceries. I've even stopped carrying the fifty-pound trays at work. The busboy likes to do it anyway. Two things at work yesterday. Peter Englot, a man I begged to help me when I was starving at Thanksgiving 1994, ate at my station and he didn't even recognize me. It's not the first time. That's fine. I hope they just remember that I keep score... Also there was this FWB having a two-hour meeting at one of my tables. I kept scoping her to see if I could find a whale tail sexually attractive. I did. A bon entendeur, salut. I'm very sorry about scaredycat, for her and for us, and I've told her so. We're missing out on a sorely needed technical director. She desperately wants to be a part of this, but she can't get over her paranoia. I even told her she could participate uniquely as a spectator, but she wouldn't or couldn't do it. It makes me sad. She's a good girl, if a little immature for her age. She's very young, but then all of you are at least nine years younger than I. I can't help that. John, here's my plans for the next four years. To write to the World every day and to make it a formal listserv and perhaps a full-fledged, real-time MOO. To try to fuck Stiff Lips as many times a day as she has been raped in her life. To move to Boston and then back to Alsace. How's that sound? I'll do this sentence, if only because it is so beautiful even at first glance, but I think you should send me the first stanza of the Ode to the Nightengale. I can't do the whole stanza in one day, but it's the smallest unit of poetry I need before my eyes.
Phonetics. A long tough sentence to scan, but I'm sure all of you can hear the soaring, rolling, majestic rhythm (which is the same word as rhyme etymologically) of such stunning beauty. Here's a tentative scan:
uu-/uu-/uu-/u-/u-/uu-/uu-/u-/uuu-/uu-/u--/uu-/u-/u-/uu-/-u/--/u--/uu-/u-/u-/u-/u-/u-
surely everyone can see the raw phonetic beauty of such a construction, those long, sensual anapests playing off the more idiomatic iambs and finally resolving in five solomn iambs. Just read the fucking sentence aloud and compare it to Ms Oats rubbish about "a man's penis". What was she expecting a woman's penis? a goat's? a boy's? Nichelle is already a better writer than Joyce Carol Oats. And Nichelle, please do continue in that vein, if you wish. (We talked about it on the phone yesterday. Didn't we forget to have phonesex?) I was serious that you could flesh it out to book length.
I drink too much, work too hard to really concentrate on all the aspects of this sentence, but let's at least look at the powerful rhetorical outburst. were welded together, a metaphore, I'd say. seemed to stand still, a simile, I think. red clusters of canvas, a vague kind of metaphore. (Back to phonetics) sea and sky the alliteration underlines the metaphore to come. were welded without more alliteration. space and sails more s's. seemed to stand still, this piece is definately in the key of s major. clusters of canvas more alliteration, but a few internal s's to tide us over. seemed peaked gleams, assonance. The final brilliant word sprits, whose meaning I'm not even going to bother looking up, sounds the gong with an s at both beginning and end. No one is going to tell me he can't see that we are in the hands of a master.

From: Scott Reiss
Date: 15 March 1996
Subject: Time zones

I think it would be best for us to each use his own time because I keep getting confused. I'm off at half past eleven or maybe midnight here. I think that's half past eight or nine o'clock pacific. We can MOO for while, just to get good and horny, and then I can call you when the lab closes. I have never understood why labs and bars ever close. They don't close the hospitals and the jails, so why do they close the places I want to go? Everyone on lambda thinks I'm you, John, in disguise. They're such cunts. By the bye, it would be very convenient for me, John, if you would send me the first stanza of "To the Nightengale" double or even triple spaced, as big as possible. I think what I'll do is take the whole stanza at a time, but from only one analytical standpoint per day. Thus the first letter will concern only phonetics, the second only morphology etc. I think this is the best way to give coherent commentary. I wouldn't worry too much about getting to Christminster (Oxford and a symbol of higher learning in general in Jude the Obscure). You can learn 'puters by yourself, I believe, and linguistics and literature here. What else do you need, except for a decent job, but I'm working on that too. If you can figure out how to turn this into a full-fledged list, you can be our technical director.

From: Brown_Sugar
Date: 15 March 1996
Subject: Re: Web site

Well Gaby WHen You decide to want to officially buy a computer science graduate look at Berkeley they have some of the best. Lisa email me so that we can get together on our contribution to the new web site. Okay?

And I'm Out,
Tyisha

From: Brown_Sugar
Date: 15 March 1996
Subject: Re: Al dente

Gabe, Gabe, Gabe, Gabe....
The words you used for and to Lisa were awfully strong and offensive. Not only to Lisa but to me as well because I hate those words; however you will not loose me because you said them. YOu will loose me if you call me that because that means that you have lost all respect for me and I would not appreciate that and I would not care to be some place where I am not respected. In other words when doing your name calling just watch what you call me and we will be fine. I can take being called an asshole and even a bitch but nigger crosses the line and while you have the right to say wahtever the hell you choose that is an inslut to me especailly if you ever ever refer to me in that manner.

Later my friend(s),
Tyisha

From: Brown_Sugar
Date: 15 March 1996
Subject: Re: MOO departure

Nichelle, I agree with you that some of the young lady's family and friends should beat up that asshole if that makes the young lady feel better; however, he needs more than a beating he needs to have something so severely done to him that not a day goes by that he does not fortget that he raped that young lady. If he just got beat up the bruises would go away and it would be just another day. He needs some emotional pain something that is not that easy to forget about something that he could never forget about just like that young woman will never forget that she was raped.
And as for the comment about rape being considered a common thing let me just tell you that that scares the hell out of me and something needs to be done about that immediately.

Forever giving my opinion,
Tyisha

From: Brown_Sugar
Date: 16 March 1996
Subject: Re: WILDLUST

Hey Gaby, How are you? How is everyone else doing? fine I hope. Gabe sorry that I have not been consistent with my responses but this is just to let you know that I am here and that I still do exist. As for the suggested topic EXCELLENT!!! and I would love to work with Lisa. So what do you say LIsa. Any and all ideas will be welcome from anyone. :)

Peace,
Tyisha

From: Nichelle
Date: 16 March 1996
Subject: Re: Time zones

I'll be around after about 8:30 pacific on Lambda. I'm looking forward to it. I bought Tropic of Capricorn yesterday at the bookstore while waiting to transfer buses. I'll tell you everything else when I see you because I can't stand sitting here on such a beautiful afternoon.

From: SAGReiss
Date: 16 March 1996
Subject: FNB

I'm going to resist the childish temptation to nigger-motherfucker you. This is not easy for a poor white trash boy. On a personal note, for those of you who may wish to have a personal relationship with me, the worst thing to do is to set boundaries for me. I will step across them just as soon as you draw the line. This is such a pavlovian habit that I can pretty easily be manipulated by someone telling me not to do what he really wants me to do. I'm a spoilt, stubborn little boy at heart, whose will was greater than his parents' by the age of seven. When the Marquis de Sade wrote: "Pour quant a mes vices: imperieux, colere, emporte - extreme en tout, d'un dereglement d'imagination sur les moeurs qui de la vie n'a eu son pareil, athee jusqu'au fanatisme, en deux mots me voila, et encore un coup tuez-moi ou prenez-moi comme cela, car je ne changerai pas," he was actually talking about me. No, the reason I'm going to compromise with you on this one, Tyisha, is just so that I can smile and know that I am the better man. I'm right, so I can afford to be big. I'll even be a man and apologize. I'm sorry, Lisa for calling you an FWB. I didn't mean any disrespect. I was just trying to get your attention. I'm terribly frustrated that no one but Nichelle writes to the World. There, you see, Tyisha? Does that make you feel better? Would you really rather have that skin-deep R-E-S-P-E-C-T that you get on DU, where they call you an African-American female and then turn around the first time I stir up some trouble and say: "I'm proud to be white"? Proud of what, exactly, five hundred years of shame, rape, murder, oppression, genocide and slavery? Would you rather the chief of police of LA call you a sister, while the cops are beating the shit out of your brothers every fucking day and night? "Just make sure there are no camcorders around, boys, and for God's sake don't call them nigger. We don't want the ACLU fucking with our asses." Shiiit... If I were you and Lisa I'd start a gangsta rap group called FNB (Fucking Nigger and write a song called "There's no such thing as racism". What I had in mind, by the way, was something along the lines of John Swift's savage satire, "A Modest Proposal", in which he suggests, to be rid of the problem of poor children stinking up the place, that the rich simply eat them. As I told Jeff's class last year, John Swift is one of the meanest, blackest souls who has ever lived. He makes Celine look like a punk. Anyone who thinks Gulliver's Travels is for children should be sterilized by the Stalinist Chinese. That is one of the most hateful books I have ever read, and I've read 'em all. The man basically ends up not being able to stand the smell of his wife and kids. Any man who doesn't like the smell of his wife's pussy deserves exactly what he's probably getting, nothing. Henry James never got any and he defined marriage as: "The exchange of bad humours in the day and bad odors at night." What was wrong with these guys? Nichelle, you won't find that kind of bullshit in Capricorn. The middle hundred pages of the book, a passage called The Land of Fuck, is basically a treatise on the smell of cunt: "One can remember many things about the woman one has loved, but it is hard to remember the smell of her cunt with anything like certitude." That's enough of that intellectual shit, asshole, what we really want to hear about is your twisted sex life. (You see, Jeff, I can hear you even when you're not reading your e-mail.) No, Nichelle, I haven't taken my clothes off during our daily little phonewanks. I don't know why. Maybe I'm too nervous, or cerebral or prudish or dumb. Maybe I'm concentrating too hard on your overwhelming body? voice? mind? Probably I'm just too much of a clutz to hold the phone, hold my dick, hold my glass and smoke a cigarette at the same time. Maybe that'll change. Maybe I'll con my old man out of five hundred bucks and send it to you 'cause if you come to Syracuse not only will you get a chance to meet Corinne and Jeff in person, but I'll also set a land speed record for tearinnumber. I tried last night, but no answer. I'll try again after I send this. She is really trying to fuck with me. She actually went out and got pneumonia just to make me feel sorry for her and to regret calling her a thief. (Anyone who doesn't believe that someone could be so devious has never met April Deborah Reiss and has also probably never read The Psychopathology in Daily Life. She is a monster of mendacity.) No such luck. If she wants to deal with me she can be a man and e-mail me a proper message. I'll answer if I've got time. Even now I'm watching the clock 'cause fuck the supermarket I have to go to the liquor store.

From: Nichelle
Date: 17 March 1996
Subject: Stalkers

This guy named Andrew knocked on my door for almost two hours this afternoon. Unbelievable. I didn't answer him. I had seen him meditating (?) across the street for about an hour, heard him come up the steps, closed the shades, and hid. And he knocked, rang the bell, talked to the door, put notes into the mailbox, and occasionally left to call me on the telephone. He has been calling me every fifteen minutes all fucking day.
Last saturday, I walked around downtown with Andrew and had a fairly normal conversation. Until he decided to show me the exact spot where he threw his body off a bridge into the Spokane River, went over the falls, and still lived! Apparently he tried it again about a year later.
The only conclusion that I can come to based on everything I know about him, most of which I have just shared with you, is that this guy just can't take a hint. Maybe he did know that I was in there, that I could hear him (he sighs louder than anyone I have ever met), and that I was hiding on the floor behind the coffee table with Henry Miller and my mother's cat, Spunky. But if I didn't answer the door the 20th time he knocked, why the fuck should I answer the 21st? After about the second attempt, you really can't answer the door anyway because at that point it is obvious taht you have been ignoring it.
What was I supposed to do? I have every right to lie on the living room floor and not answer the door if that's what I feel like doing. Especially if he's going to sit and meditate across the street from my mother's house all morning. I don't need any more psychos in my life. Is this guy stalking me?

From: SAGReiss
Date: 17 March 1996
Subject: Letter will follow

Nichelle, I think you should drop out and come to Syracuse immediately. Try to borrow the money, as have I. I don't want any more of these motherfuckers fucking with you. Can I call you? Please answer immediately.

From: SAGReiss
Date: 17 March 1996
Subject: Toothache

My teeth and back are throbbing in pain. I called in sick today and tomorrow, but it has nothing to do with that. I can work when my teeth and back are throbbing. I called in because of that heart-stopping letter called "Stalkers". I told my uberboss why I wasn't coming in. I spent half the night trying to get Nichelle out of that fucking nightmare and into my arms. I hope I succeeded. The asshole at United Airlines wouldn't confirm that she was on the plane. I asked if I would be billed for the ticket. He said: "Of course, sir." I didn't even bother to get angry. Sometimes I have to say shit like that too. I begged and pleaded with Nichelle to get on that plane to Syracuse. I hope she has. Corinne and Jeff, I may need you two tomorrow to be best man, first maiden, witnesses, give away the bride etc. if I win the concours de mariage tomorrow. I'm meeting a plane out of Chicago at 6:54 PM. I hope Nichelle will be on it with her three devil's penises and a change of underware. I more or less invited RoyCohn to the World last night before the madness began. I said I'd have to ask the citizens of the World, meaning Nichelle, and he said he'd talk to John. I'm trying to think what to do until that fateful ride to the airport. I know I'm going to need whisky, but I'll hold off. I don't want to fuck Nichelle irl and not remember it. My parents have both sent me some pitiful kind of e-mail which I can't even answer. You see, I can't write in a vaccuum, dans le vide, I need some kind of Muse and Corinne and Jeff you have long and very well filled that role and now Nichelle is my Calliope. I hope that tomorrow we can just call her Mrs Geisskopf...

From: SAGReiss
Date: 17 March 1996
Subject: 6:54

My friends, I don't know what to say. This is not something that happens very often to big, bad Gabriel, the brilliant and dangerous. I am awestruck, stupified, bewildered by my own wonderous luck. Nichelle will be here soon. I will soon be a married man. I will meet you for drinks at Lou's and dinner at the place of your choice, Corinne and Jeff, at the time of your chosing tomorrow evening. I love all of you very much, just for being a part of this weird nightmare. Mesdames et Messieurs, puis-je avoir l'honneur et le plaisir de vous faire part de mon prochain mariage avec Madame Nichelle Ann Reiss? And no, it's not the chickenshit Anne Rice you all are thinking of. I can't speak.

From: Brown_Sugar
Date: 18 March 1996
Subject: Re: 6:54

Congratulations Scott and Nichelle on whatever has progressed between the two of you and what will continue to happen. I wish both of you all the best and I hope that the two of you will treat each other with the utmost respect. Take care and keep me posted ......

Tyisha

From: SAGReiss
Date: 18 March 1996
Subject: Pygmalion

Yes, my monsterous ego and towering ambition has really taken on these proportions. It's like the movie Vertigo, my favorite film by one of my favorite directors. I am going to make or remake a woman. I was going to call this letter: "Honesty, trust and a little deceit". You see honesty is not never telling a lie, although I usually practice this brand of take-no-prisoners honesty, but always seeking the truth. If Nichelle had to mislead me a little bit in order to find out the truth about herself and me, so be it. I immediately understood this and accepted it. I hugged her saying to myself: "Buy the ticket, take the fucking ride". We have agreed to shack up more or less for six months and see after that. You see, although she had told me her weight, I had no context in which to put it, had no way of imagining what seventy extra pounds would look on a woman's body my hight. So she allowed me to believe that she was a beautiful woman a little plump. I really don't have any idea what Nichelle looks like because her body is so misshapen and deformed by all that extra fat. I can't even imagine what her face really looks like. But I've decided to find out. This is a kind of experiment, but I'm pretty sure it will work. I'll will it to work. Nichelle is too brave a woman for it not to work, and too great a writer. Anyone with a voice and mind like hers must have a beautiful face and body hidden under many years of pain and suffering. And I've decided to find it. We have also, obviously, agreed not to let our personal life interfere with the World, so we'll continue to write to you every day. My life has just turned very weird and much more complicated, but I once said it myself: "There's no such thing as safe sex, even on the internet."

From: Brown_Sugar
Date: 18 March 1996
Subject: Re: FNB

Hey hey hey all! How is everyone doing? Fine I hope. I am just letting you know that you will PROBABLY be receiving an influx of mail from me during this week. The reason being that on March 22 I will be going back home to Los Angeles (YES!!!!) for Spring Break. I will not be returning until March 31. So from that period you all will not be hearing anything from me unless I get access to a computer at home. (Do not count on that.) This is just to let you know what is going on. I know how sensitive you can be Gaby when people do not respond to your email. Nichelle just make sure that you do not let him forget about me okay? And just continue to send me mail during the week that I am not here in Berkeley. When I return I will get back to you. Promise.

Take Care,
Tyisha

P.S. I know that you will miss my opinions but do not worry when I return I will be back and bold as always. :)

From: Keith
Date: 18 March 1996
Subject: (no subject)

hello all
i take it some strange things have happened in the 100 messages since i last logged in... you see i was in sunny virgine.... ha ha carried off no doubt... in any case i read now and with prior knowladge of a phone call and answering machine message anticipate anxiously...
sadly? but i'm not sure yet, just not sure....

From: Keith
Date: 18 March 1996
Subject: Re: Lit 101

and now hoping it's not too late... i reply yes and wonder if i will see the next sentance... yes saGR19 alexander (but never alone) scott alexander gabrile riess (or is it reiss) gabe scott gaby professor riess or what ever somone will have you called we do read the email (though 8 days late) some of us sit donw and read it... all of it....

From: Keith
Date: 18 March 1996
Subject: Re: Pygmalion

well i dont know how the 2 of you are doing... probab;y still in bed... hopepefull well. ... how to describe... shocked... anticipating... what happens next.. my god next is happening now only now i have to wait to find out.. wait untill after it's happened... i think i cheated by reading 94 messages in an hour... i read them as history, not as they ocured...and now i'm stuck waiting... gabe nchelle(sorry i misspelled it im sorry) what happens next?>>>>

From: Loretta
Date: 18 March 1996
Subject: Re: Whoa, and FWB etc.

Nichelle,
yes i meant "we" as in all females. Thanks for pointing that out to me. I need to help explain myself more.

> Who's we? We women? We women who have been raped? And in the email I
> sent, I never said he thought it was a game. He thought it was damn
> sexy. He wasn't amused, he was aroused.

Well, most guys see it as a game and others find it sexy. I personally thought it sounded the same. Well, i guess that's me !

> I don't get P.I.S.S.E.D. It's just a word, it's just a name. It doesn't
> mean anything, just a collection of letters. When big bad Gabe calls me
> a fat white bitch, or a cunt, it doesn't offend me nearly as much as the
> people who call me Nikki, or Nichole, or Michelle.

> > Remember, i'm curious!!!!

Yes, i am. I learn alot through you guys. I'm new at everything that most of you guys don't think anything of. Ex: dating. I'm 22 (just turned 22 March 17th!) i haven't went on my FIRST date. I always put school first. Now i'm starting to wonder why.....
Well, Nichelle and Gabe...all i have to say is "JUST HAVE FUN *wink* AND BE WILD!!!! Like you two really need my opinion...

> Oh, and Scott, should I keep calling you that, or is Gabe what you
> prefer?

I was starting to wonder who was Gabe...

From: SAGReiss
Date: 18 March 1996
Subject: The first supper

Tyisha, I asked Siff Lips: "Does being 'utterly respectful' mean I can't ask you for blow jobs?" It took half an hour of New-Age psychology to coax an aborted blowjob out of Nichelle, just enough to justify her nickname. Jeff, I have no fucking idea where we go from here. We've more or less agreed on the terms of our little experiment in communal living. We spent a kind of domestic day, she whittling her reeds, me straightening up a little (We plan an Osterputz tomorrow.), going shopping, her beginning to explain to her friends what's going on, e-mail etc. Tonight I made my famous sauce schpaghetti pimentiert and it shall be violent and painful to eat, but tonight we had salmon filets with a shrimp garnish, accompanied by wild and brown rice, broccoli and a slice or two of mushrooms, onions, garlic, carrots, celery, jalopeno peppers and some fresh cilantro and oregano. It was mighty fine, if I may say so myself. I think Nichelle was very impressed with my restaurant-style cooking and presentation and service. I have had three drinks today, down from an average of about twenty-five, and I feel OK. We are coming to terms and feeling more comfortable with a very weird situation. She has some contacts with the Syracuse Symphony, so I hope she'll quickly be able to get access to practice rooms, the music library etc. We're planning to go to the concert (clarinet) this Friday. Other than that, I don't know. This is some very odd weirdness and bad craziness I've created for myself, but, as Janus once said: "I could use a little adventure."

From: SAGReiss
Date: 18 March 1996
Subject: Re: The first supper

I forgot to say, Loretta, I have found your contributions interesting. You are about the average age on the World. I'm the Dirty Old Man of the bunch. Please feel free to tell us some more about yourself. Where are you from? Do you go to school in Texas? Etc? Lisa, same to you.

From: SAGReiss
Date: 19 March 1996
Subject: Honesty, trust and deceit revisited

Sometimes it has to get weirder before it clears up. I had my chronology a little mixed up as to Nichelle's experiences. She had told me she had been tested for AIDS and had been very lucky. She didn't mention that that was before her last accident, if I may call it that, three months ago. She also didn't know about the six-month incubation period of the HIV virus. When I asked her if she hadn't thought about AIDS before she came here she said these odd and chilling words: "I was more worried about you than about him. I still believed everything he had told me [about his previous sexual escapades and his own negative test] when I got back to Spokane." Um, more worried about me than about a psychotic rapist? She asked me why I wasn't angry and screaming. I said I'd save that for when we see the test results, in three or four months. I'm not at very much risk, but I'll be not fucking or using a glove from here on in, probably a combination of both. A little social irresponsibility tends to wilt my cock. She said over breakfast: "I'm trying to think of an explanation." I said: "If the tests turn out negative, no explanation will be necessary. If they turn out positive, none will be satisfactory." What am I s'posed to say? A woman more or less consciously put me at risk, a very small risk, but much greater than screwing Cecilia or Calamity Kate, but a risk in a game where the stakes are very high. Ranting and raving won't change anything. The shit just continues and it doesn't get any easier.

From: Loretta
Date: 19 March 1996
Subject: Curious

Hey,
If everyone is on Lambda (LagdaMOO), then how come i don't know your character names? It would be much easier letting me know who you guys are if you told me your character names, don't you think?

Loretta "Zelina"

From: Keith
Date: 19 March 1996
Subject: Re: Honesty, trust and deceit revisited

its kinda strange isnt it... if i could find them i could send you a whole pile of reantings and other assorted shit you directed at rforiely concerning aids foucault and other tales (tails) of ordinary madness.. thats the concertedly strange thing about the disease is that it really fucks up rationality.. and thats just viewing it in a sexual sense... on screws one screws one but in the end that adds up to quite a lot... as for katy i think you can assume that was an (extremely) low risk encounter... but really who knows... who the fuck knows.... hoping you habitate peacefully and drink moderatly...
k.

From: SAGReiss
Date: 19 March 1996
Subject: Risk

I remember those very well, you asshole, I still have copies. I know Katy and Cecilia were very low risk. I just hadn't planned on sleeping with a girl who had just been raped and not had a test. I never would have done it had I known.

From: negatron
Date: 19 March 1996
Subject: Re: Risk

My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains
My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk,
Or emptied some dull opiate to the drains
One minute past, and Lethe-wards had sunk:
'Tis not through envy of thy happy lot,
But being too happy in thine happiness,---
That thou, light-winged Dryad of the trees
In some melodious plot
Of beechen green, and shadows numberless,
Singest of summer in full-throated ease.

There it is Gabe, sorry I took so long. I'm still sick as a dog.

From: SAGReiss
Date: 20 March 1996
Subject: The Detox Lectures

I was going to call these The Whisky Lectures, but due to circomstances beyond my control my drinking has dropped eight-fold. You came through just in the nick of time, John, just as Jeff was pissing me off with his New-Age judgemental shit. I was wondering whatever in Hell I was going to do, now that I don't spend four hours a day getting drunk. (Nichelle, feel free to turn on the phone so the dude from the symphony can reach you. I would have done it myself, but I didn't want you to be woken up. Also I've put the travel section of the Sunday Times, dedicated this week to music around the world, on the kitchen table for you to read.) The great Odes are just as they have lived in my mind for so long, dumbfounding, awestriking, fearsome. It will be a pleasure to study them with you. I'll just need red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple pens to draw my silly, but mind-clearing diagrammes for our six (Sechs isch ke zahl. Es isch e hobby.) fields: phonetics, morphology, syntax, philology, rhetoric and semantics. I'll buy those after work and begin this afternoon, if Nichelle doesn't need anything special to be done. We are getting along fine in our new, weird, twisted lifestyle. As I told her: "I can handle a lot of bad craziness."

From: Nichelle
Date: 20 March 1996
Subject: (no subject)

How to begin writing again? Syracuse is an ugly city. There is garbage all over all of the streets I have seen, and plastic bags in the branches of the trees. I have never seen such filth. The only really beautiful thing I have seen in Syracuse is Scott ALexander Gabriel Reiss, who is treating me with more understanding and patience than I deserve, and who is a very good man.
I have spent the last few days trying to explain various things to various people, with varying degrees of success. I am trying to figure out what to do next. I guess play a lot of clarinet, write the Great American Rape Novel, and do whatever I can to earn my keep here. Move on from one weird twisted lifestyle to another, and maybe it's that way everywhere in the world.

From: SAGReiss
Date: 21 March 1996
Subject: From dirge to paean

Of course everyone out there understands from the beginning that we are reading the first stanza of one of the most beautiful poems ever written. [Famous, high-paid, professional lecturer glares at the auditorium and sees twelve thousand undergraduates staring at him in sullen silence. Finally a scrawny kid in baggy trousers raises his hand and says: "It's deep." Famous, high-paid, professional lecturer returns to his silly, but mind-clearing diagrammes, lights a cigarette and prepares to continue.] By the way, John, you might write the precise title, 'cause I can't remember if it's Ode to the Nightengale or just To the Nightengale. It might make a difference. I've decided it's senseless to try to take on point per day, so I'll do the whole stanza from each angle in order of increasing minimal units of analysis (phoneme, morpheme, syntagm) being the non-meaningful units (word, figure of speach, semantic field) being the meaningful ones.
Phonetics. I scan thus:
---/uu-/u-/u-
u-/u-/u-/u-/u-
u-/uu-/-uu/uu-
--/u-/u-/u-/u-
u-/u-/uu/--/u-
u-/u--/uu-/-uu
u-/--/u-/uu/u-
u-/u-/u-
u-/u-/u-/u-/uu
-u/u-/uu/--/u-
The rhyme is ABABCdECdE, with the first quatrain rich (rhymes of three and four phonemes) and the two tercets sufficient (two or three phonemes). The rhythm of the first two verses is slow and prosaic, the rhythm of the last three fast and lyrical. The overall metrical pattern is standard iambic pentameter with a triameter thrown in (verse 8). Exceptions: the poem opens strongly with three stressed syllables to set off the beginning. Verse 3 shows an interesting pattern of a dactyl between two anapests. This drifting rhythm suggests a dream-like transe. Trochaic rhythms set off and underscore other rhetorical tricks, thy hap(py), thine hap(piness), light-win(ged), full-throa(ted). numberless (verse 9) rekindles and shifts beautifully the sounds and letters of numbness. Alliteration: drunk, dull, drains; But being; That thou; Singest of summer. Assonance: beechen green, which picks up the rhyme of trees and ease. I'm not sure what this is called, but some melodious ends the first word with the first phoneme of the second word, which highlights the meaning of the latter, almost as if the poem begins to sing at the mention of song.
Morphology. The quatrain (seperated from the two tercets in the rhyme scheme) has only first person deictics. The narrator dominates. Someone says I and speaks of his feelings. The two tercets have only second person deictics, archaic singular ones according to poetic convention. The narratee dominates. So much so that the poet must use a present participle with the subject understood, being, instead of saying I am. A note of passing interest to all Bud drinkers, beechen is a neologism, an adjective formed from the beech tree, as in beechwood aged...
Syntax. The long apposition in verses 7 through 9 symmetrically mirrors the long subordinate clause in verses 2 through 4. of hemlock I had drunk, a poetic inversion of object and subject-verb unit.
Philology. hemlock, the drug used in the execution-suicide of Socrates. Lethe, in Greek mythology the river of forgetfulness in Hell. Dryad, in Greek mythology a nymph of the woods. These allusions put us in the context of the classical tradition, of which the pindaric ode is a part.
Rhetoric. My heart... My sense is an interesting anaphore because the syntagms perform different grammatical functions, subject and object, the heart aches, intransitive, but the numbness pains the sense, transitive. [Scrawny kid in the baggy trousers yells: "Enough with the big words, Dr Geisskopf."] drowsy numbness and melodious plot are some kind of metastasis. (It's hard to work without dictionaries.) The numbness is not drowsy, but the narrator feels both drowsy and numb. Likewise the plot in which the bird sings is not melodious. The bird is melodious. as though, classic simile. happy lot... too happy... happiness. This is an overwhelming figure of speach. happy and happy is a syllepsis, using the same word with two meanings, the first lucky and the second joyful. happiness adds a polyptoton, using two different grammatical or morphological forms of the same root. [The scrawny kid in the baggy trousers screams: "Please."] light-winged and full-throated represent some kind of oxymoron. [The scrawny kid in the baggy trousers noisily gets up and leaves the auditorium.] How we ask can such a frail bird sing in such a booming voice?
Semantics. Two semantic fields, death (including pain, drugs and coma) and life (including happiness, lush nature and song), divide the poem in two, as does the rhyme scheme and the narrative dichotomy (I, thou). The quatrain is full of words refering to death (aches, drowsy, numbness, pains, hemlock, dull, opiate, Lethe). The two tercets brim with words refering to life (happy, happy, happiness, Dryad, trees, melodious, green, Singest, summer, ease). Only one word in the tercets harkens back to the quatrain, shadows, which forebodes that this poem will not simply abandon the tone of the quatrain, but will tell the tale of a swinging, pendular movement between life and death...

From: Brown_Sugar
Date: 21 March 1996
Subject: Re: Honesty, trust and deceit revisited

So Alexander, What are you saying? If the test is positive that you will leave Nichelle? I hope not because #1 it is not her fault at all and #2 both of you make such an endearing couple. If you love her as your previous messages have suggested I hope that love will conquer all.

Forever putting my 2 cents in,
Tyisha

From: Brown_Sugar
Date: 21 March 1996
Subject: Re: your mail

Nichelle, You deserve to be treated with the utmost understanding and patience at all times so please do not say things like that Okay?

Tyisha

From: Brown_Sugar
Date: 21 March 1996
Subject: Re: Curious

Hi Loretta, On lambda moo I am Brown_Sugar. Sorry that I did not let you know. This is for everyone else too. And like Loretta I only know Nichelle's alias on Lambda. It would be appreciated if I could know everyone else. :)

I'm Outtie,
Tyisha

From: Brown_Sugar
Date: 21 March 1996
Subject: Re: The first supper

I know that I siad this before but I really wish you and Nichelle the best (Alexander). Be good all of you and do not forget me in my week abscence. I will miss all of you guys. Hey Gaby did I tell you that you are so silly. ( I mean that in a good way so do not get mad.) =)
One question Isn't Love Grand.
Take Care,
Tyisha

From: SAGReiss
Date: 21 March 1996
Subject: Lemon Stirfry

The first cigarette after my first blowjob of the new era, a long, agonizing affaire on the kitchen floor after breakfast, constantly interrupted by Nichelle's hopeless pleas that she couldn't do it and my crazy reassurances that indeed she could, my mind racing, tantalized by the thought of having to jerk off again in the shower. When it was over she said: "Thank you for breakfast." You see, Tyisha, we're dealing with things much more serious than love. We're dealing with life and death, food and sex, the body-image of the self and the Other, sperm and the spectre of the HIV virus. This is not daytime TV, except perhaps for my neighbors who may have been watching from their window across the alleyway. As for opinions, I don't care for yours any more than I care for mine or anyone else's. I'm a man of letters, which means I deal in truth and beauty. I don't care what you think, what do you know? I'm sure you could write us some very interesting letters. Me and Nichelle both complained last night that, while you are more or less the most steady contributor, you so seldom say anything meaningful. Tell us about your spring break with the homeboys. Tell us about the hood. I know you are handicapped by an American education, but try to cut to the core, to eliminate the "every opinion is equally valid" New-Age bullshit, look in your heart, meaning look at the squalor, the stench of sex and death, the shattered leftovers of our lives, and write. Last night I made a stirfry with carrots, celery, onions, garlic, one of those violent jalopenas, olives, mushrooms, fresh herbs and spices, and at the last minute I asked Nichelle if I might indulge an idea, to throw in some lemon slices, peel and all. We're living kind of dangerously, so she said: "What the fuck..." so I did and it was delicious. As we say in the restaurant: "reckless elegance" a keen and delicate melody of mediterranean savors, hot spices, robust vegetables, lustful olives in their own oil, and this sickly-sweet vaguely oriental aroma of lightly cooked citrus. I even ate the lemon slices whole and damn the toxic poison they inject into the skin to make them that otherworldly yellow color that no respectable Greek worker in a lemon grove would recognize...

From: Keith
Date: 21 March 1996
Subject: Re: The Detox Lectures

fuck you new age shit... and fuck you judgmental too... i dont really give a fuck what you do... i dont tell you not to do anythinmg and i dont care...
anyway i think there are 2 stores on genesee street that sell imported vegitables olives etc. one is called samir market or some shit and it is on the next block up from win hope on the same side.....there is also a hallel butcher on the street perpindicular to genessee before phoebes (on the same side.... ) should be easier and i know the grocer is of much higher quality and price that p.chopper....
whatever....

From: Nichelle
Date: 21 March 1996
Subject: (no subject)

It seems strange to me that in all of this craziness, the main thought in my mind is that when my mother goes to pack up my room, she will find my dildo. I can handle just about all of it, my Mom crying on the telephone, trying to figure out what needs to be done, but the thought of my mother digging through my stuff in Spokane and finding this thing is horrible to me, and I keep thinking about it.
I love Gabriel's cooking, even if he isn't so sure of that, and even though it is spicier than I am used to. Breakfast was a bit of a surprise. It could have been worse. A friend of mine told me that one night, she ate an entire chocolate Jiffy cake, with frosting, and drank a 99 cent bottle of Boone's wine from the Air Force base, and threw up all over her boyfriend's lap in an attempt to give him a blow job. At least I had a light breakfast.

From: Nichelle
Date: 21 March 1996
Subject: Notes from Nichelle

Johanne,

Here are a few forwarded messages from a list I have been on for a while. I have forwarded them from the account of a friend, and I'd love to hear from you and tell you more about my situation. Please keep in touch and let me know if you are interested in the list.

Nichelle, queen of Syracuse

From: Johanne
Date: 21 March 1996
Subject: Re: Lemon stirfry

I imagine that this is where I might address an e-mail to Nichelle? That is, if she's not otherwise occupied eating lemons or other things that are prone to juiciness?
Nicki, we've been a little worried and a lot pissed... there's no sense my lecturing you: you did what you felt you had to do, and in any even, it's done. I'm glad to know you're okay, I truly am, and that you're somewhere where you're safe.
However, I will ask you to contact Dave... you owe him a bit of an apology, given your committment to play on his recital. I don't know whether it would've been possible for you to let any of us know even so much as "I'm in a bad situation, I need to leave town for a while because I'm worried about my safety, and I apologize for the hassle and inconvenience..." Details, schmetails, my little Belgian love waffle, details are relatively unimportant and I shan't pry, as is my wont, but courtesy is a commodity becoming rarer and rarer these days and while I am rarely completely polite, often distracting, and sometimes downright inflammatory, I do believe in the value of a bit of courtesy.
Keep me posted as to your whereabouts/plans. I'd like it if I could see you sometime before I leave Spokane; I'm moving back to Boston in July to begin my Ph.D. at Brandeis. Let me know if there's anything I can do to be of assistance to you, and take good care.
I must add, that though I was a bit spastic in terms of contact with you since the late autumn -- and of course, there are extenuating circumstances, as there always are, and for which I shan't bother trying to apologize knowing how idiotic that sounds after the fact -- that Spokane, while grim on the best of days, has taken on a bit more of that wad-of-gum-stuck-to-the-bottom-of-your-shoe quality now that I know I can't run into you at Eastern or pick up the phone and call.

Be well,
Johanne

From: Brown_Sugar
Date: 22 March 1996
Subject: Tired of your Negativity

Oops!!! My bad for not contributing anything meaningful to your whatever the hell you call this thing. I will not apologize for thinking that love is better than sex and all the other shit that you mentioned. Unfortuantely if I did contribute something that was meaningful you (Gaby) would make a mockery of it. So fuck what you are going through. As if what you have to say is meaningful. The only thing that is meaningful that you have going for you is Nichelle. I will let you know what happened in "the hood" as you call it for my Spring Break and if that does not prove meaningful to you and Nichelle you can take this young lady whose responses are meaningless (yet who contributes most often) off this service because I do not need your shit okay. And yes you hurt my feelings as if you would give a damn but just to let you know. I will get over it and it will make me a stronger person than I already am.

Never again giving my meaningless opinion to unappreciative jerks like you,
Tyisha

From: John
Date: 22 March 1996
Subject: Ode to a Nightingale

Okay, Gabe, here's the second stanza, as promised.

O for a draught of vintage, that hath been
Cooled a long age in the deep-delved earth,
Tasting of Flora and the country green,
Dance, and Provencal song, and sun-burnt mirth!
O for a beaker full of the warm South,
Full of the true, the blushful Hippocrene,
With beaded bubbles winking at the brim,
And purple-stained mouth;
That I might drink, and leave the world unseen,
And with thee fade away into the forest dim:

From: Johanne
Date: 22 March 1996
Subject: Re: Notes from Nichelle

On Fri, 22 Mar 1996, SAGReiss wrote:

> Johanne,
>
> Here are a few forwarded messages from a list I have been on for a while. I
> have forwarded them from the account of a friend,

So I gathered. The stirfry sounded quite good.

and I'd love to hear from
> you and tell you more about my situation.

I'm waiting with open eyes/ears...

Please keep in touch and let me
> know if you are interested in the list.
>
I've sent a letter... you should recieve it around the same time as this one, I'd guess. The list seems interesting, but perhaps I ought to ask you just to forward me the highlights... since I somehow manage to keep spending an inordinate amount of time writing e-mail when I ought to be writing the things I'm under contract to write, even without my own former plethora of listservs.

Be well,
Johanne

From: SAGReiss
Date: 22 March 1996
Subject: Three Lives

There seems to be a misunderstanding, Tyisha. Please try to hold your emotions in check and think carefully about what you read. We often seem to use strong language to express strong feelings, but in truth we have those feelings under lock and key. Otherwise we could not express them in an orderly way. When me and Jeff sling hateful insults at eachother, it doesn't mean we hate eachother. Not to imply that the feelings or their strength is not somehow real. They are, but we keep them under control in order to express them through a literary medium. Enough. You seem to misinterpret what I meant to say by 'meaningful'. I will more or less misquote A.J. Ayer, the British logical-positivist philosopher who wrote the trochaic Language, Truth and Logic: "A meaningful utterence is one which can be verified, can be proven true or false. All utterences about God, for example, [or love] are therefore nonsense in the technical sense of the term.' You have not said much of meaning, not because you can't, but because you really haven't tried. If you do, I am very unlikely to make a mockery of it. Why should I? I argue like a possessed man with everyone on the MOOs that they should stop the spamm and spoof and gibberish and say something, anything, so we could pursue a meaningful dialogue. I'm not asking you to say something smart or witty, thought I'm sure you could, just something meaningful, such as describing the goings on in the hood. By the way, I don't call it the hood, the brothers and sisters do. I didn't mean to hurt your feelings and I'm sorry that I did. I'm just trying to create a forum for meaningful dialogue. I like your spunk, think you can contribute a lot and perhaps even learn a thing or two, but no I'm not interested in your opinions. I gave up having opinions fifteen years ago when I realized I could find knowledge and truth. Believe me they're a lot better.
Johanne, I was very impressed by your letter. You made explicit the link (which existed only unconsciously in my mind) between the blowjob and the lemon, what T.S. Eliot would call an objective correlative. Actually there was a slight connection in the text, the talk of breakfast and the kitchen floor, which in turn made a masked allusion to the living room floor, of which we all know quite enough. Nichelle and I have had two conversations about you. Some extracts: "Why do you know people in weird places like Indiana?" "..." "Weird? They've got Bob Knight there." "She doesn't play basketball." "If she really outweighs you by a hundred and fifty pounds, I'm happy to hear that. What is she five-eight and weighs as much as Shaquille O'Neill?" That was last night. This morning: "My cousin has defined music as 'sounds in time'. He's wrong on both counts. Sounds make up music no more than they make up language. Notes make up the former and phonemes make up the latter. Music does not pass through time either, though he [my cousin] may have gotten this from Stravinsky [whose brilliant book Poetics of Music I'm reading]. Just as language uses tense and not time, music uses tempo and not time. I'm going to whup both of your fat white asses on your own turf." "Feeling a little poweful this morning? That's a lot of fat white ass to whup." "It must be the yoghurt, but I'm on such a roll I honestly think I can whup all four-hundred-fifty pounds of you two."
Last night I gave in to a powerful lust and, after masturbating Nichelle, I tried to stick my dick in her. She refused. Not only is this a supreme act of courage and self-sacrifice, but it's probably the first time she's ever said "No" to an angry cock. I bet she enjoyed it. This morning marked another step in our weird, semi-public sexlife. Stiff Lips apparently felt somewhat more comfortable giving me head after I gave her a fine handjob. Only thing is as I started to come in her mouth her head fell to the side as she made a ghastly gagging sound. I came in her hand and burst out laughing, thinking she had just puked on me. I could take no heed of her pleas not to make fun of her. She couldn't stop laughing either. I was kind of disappointed when I discovered she had not actually vomitted. I was looking forward to describing the bits of half-digested tofu and carrots. Yes, Jeff, I finally braved the death threats and went back to Win Hope because, though she'll never admit it, Nichelle forgot to soak the black beans to make soup. They were overjoyed to see me. Sammy is back from China, but he's leaving again in two months. I gave him my phone number. I guess I know where to look for work when things get slow at the Sheraton this summer. They gave me a spring roll and a twenty-percent employee discount. It was wonderful. Anyway, as it turned out, my stomach was bare. "I s'pose it's no use to ask you not to write about this?" "None at all." "Do you want me to ever try again?" "It's not as important to me as the World." Don't you see, boys and girls, I place you before even my sexlife. I'm going to try to save this and draw my silly, but mind-clearing diagrammes on the second stanza of 'Ode to a Nightingale'. The indefinite article is key here and we shall have to give it its full weight at the appropriate time. Brb.
Phonetics. I'm not going to bother to scan the second stanza for you. I've done it for myself and will limit myself to a few short comments. The meter is very free, with the first six verses beginning with a trochee or dactyl, lots of slack and variation and perhaps only verses 8 and 9 being strickly regular. The rhyme scheme is of course the same, but it should be noted that A and D are the same. Lots of alliteration in d and s, as in the first stanza. We'll get back to that major point at the end of today's lecture. Alliteration in b (verse 7) and f (10).
Morphology. I can now state what I felt but wasn't sure of in the first stanza. Keats preceeds G.M. Hopkins in innovative use of compound words. From the first stanza Lethe-wards, light-winged and full-throated. Here deep-delved, sun-burnt and purple-stained. This technique, which boarders on neologism, concentrates the language into very expressive small units surcharged with meaning.
Syntax. The quatrain is a long interjection with the only verb coming in a relative clause. The two tercets form a huge interjection with the only verbs coming in a subordinate clause, what we asshole grammarians call a hortatory subjunctive, even though he uses a conditional form, see my many unpublished texts on the relationship between subjunctive and conditional. Two other little notes. unseen (verse 9) has for anteceedent not the world, which might seem right at first glance, but I, as in I leave the world without being seen. forest dim is a nice little poetic inversion for those of us who are fond of those things.
Philology. Classical antiquity remains the reference, Flora the Roman Goddess of flowers and Hippocrene the spring on Mount Helicon sacred to the Muses and thus to poetry. Provencal song, however, refers to another tradition, that of the troubadours in late medieval Provence, the South of France. This represents a modern, European tradition in the vulgar tongue, not Greek or Latin.
Rhetoric. O for a draught... O for a beaker the anaphore underscores the syntactic and rhyme break between the quatrain and tercets. Four of the same kind of metastasis we saw in the first stanza. Here it's verses 3, 5, 6 and 8. He keeps assigning the attributes of one thing to another. The spring neither blushes nor has a purple mouth, the drinkers (the Muses) do.
Semantics. I'd break it down into four semantic fields, fire, water, earth and air. There isn't too much to go on here, but my bet is that the whole poem could profitably be broken down this way. My concentration is flagging. I had a hard lunch, thirty-three covers by my count and I may be missing a few, and myself didn't get a lunch break and haven't eaten since the yoghurt this morning at seven. I need a drink.
Finally. Let's harken back to the first stanza. The rhyme sceme told us the stanza consists of a quatrain, on the one hand, two tercets on the other. Morphology reinforced this dichotomy and put the quatrain under the sign of the narrator and the tercets under the sign of the narratee, the nightingale herself. The semantic fields associated death with the narrator and life (which we may call song for reasons I'll make clear in a moment) with the bird. The second stanza shows us what is really going on. There are two consonnants which play a structural role in the beginning of the ode (My guess is that they dominate the whole poem.) d and s. In the first stanza drowsy, drunk and dull all refer to death and to the feelings of the narrator, whereas Singest of summer (with three s's) refer to life (song) and the narratee. In the second stanza draught (verse 1) and drink (9) refer to the narrator's yearning to drink what the narratee has already drunk and which inspires her song. The terrible last line tells the tragic tale. (You see, I can write like Edgar Allen Poe if I want to.) The nightingale has drunk of the Hippocrene, whence her song. The narrator wishes he too could drink of the sacred spring, and here's the clincher: "And with thee fade away into the forest dim:" dim, d as in death. In German it would have been a t, and this poem could have been called, Das Todestrieb.

From: Johanne
Date: 22 March 1996
Subject: Re: Three Lives

Nicki (and/or/with Gabe, as I see I've become part of the onmorphing mythospool, or at least my admittedly fat white ass has...) --

Glad you enjoyed the letter. I have to say I think poor old Jonny Keats is being both strangely maligned and, perhaps even more strangely, exalted by your insistent probing (Jonny can't roll over and tell you to stick your angry young penis elsewhere, so I suppose it's a good thing you approach his words with reverence if not necessarily humility). Do you know his tombstone? Keats'? "Here lies one whose name was writ in water." Appropriate then that you write of him, quite literally, in air.

Nicki, do send your address, please. My budget at present doesn't permit many long distance phonecalls, and I would only have to call at some perfectly rude hour anyway to catch you offline. And for the record, I but dwelt in Indiana...thank God I don't have the burden of Hoosier birth to carry through this life like some steaming pan of geographical afterbirth.

I'm not sure I care to enter the "music is sound in time" debate, devoid as it is of meaningful referent. Stravinsky's "Polemics of Music", as I call it, is one of the more arresting examples of opinion being taken as fact in the twentieth-century musical literature. Sounds do exist in time, and that is one of their chief attributes: they begin and end, and playing the same pitch a second time is not the same sound (and you can never step in the same river twice, yadda yadda). Duration is an element of time, or at least of how we measure time. Tempo is an element of speed, or of how long a duration passes between events (pitch events, in music). I find the "tense/tempo" comparison eexceedingly tenuous. To the point of fatuousness, in fact. If you want to discuss it, I will, but do me the favor of reading Seymour Chatman, Eero Tarasti, Wendy Steiner, and Roland Barthes on music and semiotics *first* so that we can cut out the silly ineptitudes of roiling around pontificating and attempting to reinvent the wheel; verbal analysis of musical function is difficult enough. FOr all that, I agree that "music is sound in time" is useless because it is (perhaps necessarily?) incomplete. But one mustn't lambaste Iggy too much, I suppose, he was always better with notes than words, and as I said previously, his "Polemics" are often just that.

Ah, well. Have another cup of yoghurt. And throw in some vitamin C, it'll help keep your sperm count up. Nicki's, too, if only by ingestion.

Nicki, I spoke with Dave in Seattle and mentioned that I had heard from you. He is relieved to know that you are okay; I believe a day riding the ferry and tromping around Bainbridge put him in a reasonably quiescent mood. I do have to ask as to your plans, though, to satisfy my own curiosity, and so as is consistent with my inconsistency, the "details schmetails" of last night is, on this point, "schmetails" itself.
Spill.

It is a sad day here, somewhat, having just ended what has been a rather exquisite love affair. It needed to be done. "Always" has such a grotesque self-parodying ring to it, and I simply couldn't suffer it being used in relation to me. No matter how delightful the man in question. It reminded me of a poem by Hilda Doolittle (certainly a classicist, or rather neoclassicist, to wrestle with, ye devotees of Keats) which I like, and thought you might, as well:

"I love you,"
spoken in rhapsodic metre
leaves me cold.

I would rather
hazard a guess,
see if either of us could
for a moment withstand the other
after the first
fine taste of irony
had worn off.

Excelsior,
Johanne

From: SAGReiss
Date: 23 March 1996
Subject: A friendly wager

Once again impressed by your letter, Johanne, I propose the following gentleman's bet, as you are obviously a woman of calibre. I'm very sceptical about Nichelle's friends as they are all "brilliant" in her words and I know they can't all be so. If I win our little joust over time and music, you'll let me make you a member of our World. If you win, I'll let you become a member. Nichelle will tell you this is eminently right and fair, and she will be judge, jury and executioner of our contest. She (and this may surprise you) and not I is the sun of our World. I am gravity and my name is f=ma. While my mass won't impress an FWB like yourself, my acceleration is enough to sober up Albert Einstein after a long night sniffing ether in his lab at Princeton. I have spent many an evening hitting the bottle with Atomic Al and we are both the better man for it. As for John Boy Keats (He was listed in the NCAAs at five foot, still a record, but was closer to four-eleven.) he has no problem with me. We met in his house in Rome, where he died after writing those heart-breaking letters back to Merry Old England. Among his last words were the bit about negative capability, "When I die I shall be among the English poets," and the final, endless "I hate to say good-bye". For the record, our address is Apartment 7, 1009 Madison Street, Syracuse, NY 13210. And now back to the show. I won't bother with your bibliography, as the best thing Barthes ever did was to get hit by a car coming out of the Sorbonne. I'm not a stubble-faced undergraduate, but a thirty-two-year-old "nightmare of classical education". The structuralists were the drinking buddies of my misspent youth. Lacan is by far the funniest, Jakobson and Levi-Strauss (of blue jean fame) the smartest and Althusser the saddest. The latter took his theories so far as to strangle his wife to death on the stage of a Paris amphitheatre, or so they say. Seymour Chatman helped me get kicked out of Syracuse University. I wrote about his claim that some French flick based on a stowith lust: "How are we supposed to look at them? Like we look at men, with fear and loathing, hatred and scorn?" I may have played a little fast and loose with the word tempo and I apologize for that unforgivable mistake, but that's nothing compared to your dumb-ass gibberish about duration. Duration is a length of chronological time. Its units (seconds, minutes, hours) are to time precisely what inches, feet and yards are to the category known as space. I quote: "Tempo is an element of speed, or of how long a duration passes between two events." This is utter nonsense, unworthy of a woman of calibre. Duration does not move. It's a measurement. A simpler analogy than tense, to which I will have to come back when I don't have to be off to serve breakfast to fat white bitches, is baseball. I don't read secondary literature anymore ("Ladies and Gentlemen, we are philologists. We don't read dictionaries. We write them," dixit a German professor of mine.) but I humbly and shamelessly recommend you do me the favor of reading "Le Baseball" in December 1989s edition of Les Temps Modernes. Time in baseball is not measured on the clock. It's measured in outs and innings with no external reference to anything but itself. Similarly, in music time is measured in beats and measures. That is what I foolishly meant by tempo. Actually what I had in mind was a brilliant but cruelly flawed book by Erich Weinrich called Tempus. What I was trying to do was set up a nice parallel between the words time, tense and tempo, which will work if you accept my definition of the latter as the internal clock of music, the means by which time is measured. If you tell me how many beats in a measure and how many measures in the piece, I know how long it is. If you tell me it took six (Sechs isch ke zahl. Es isch e hobby.) minutes for a given musician to play on a given day, I know nothing. Again sound exists in time, but not in music or language or baseball. Music is made up of notes, as language is made up of phonemes. An A (in music or languamatter if my baritone voice sings or says it or Nichelle's clarinet plays it. The sounds may be different, but withing the semiotic system, language or music, the note or phoneme is always the same, assuming we can create minimal pairs. As for meaning, neither language nor music is a system of communication. They are systems created for the exchange of signs. They are in their essence esthetic.

From: Nichelle
Date: 23 March 1996
Subject: Re: A friendly wager

I'm awake if you'd like to talk. I guess it's still early there, only midnight. Why so quiet?

Johanne, I sent email to Dave and wondered why he hadn't responded. Will he be be in Seattle for the entire break? As for my plans, I'm staying here, doing my laundry, going to the SU library to get a score, and beyond that I haven't a clue.

No, Gabriel, not all of my friends are brilliant. I like the idea of being judge, jury, and executioner, though, so I'll not argue about it with you. No sense depriving myself of a bit of fun. Though for the moment, at least for today, I won't enter into your music discussion with Johanne because I'm busy breaking hearts.

The last detail to take care of because of coming here is calling Dave, my "boyfriend in the Midwest" and telling him that I am here with his sworn enemy. I talked to him already for a few minutes this morning, and he told me that if I really cared about him, I would find a way to get there. I have talent if I can make practically everyone who cares about me this angry. "If you don't come here, I don't know if I want to talk to you again." I'm not sure which of us is the childish one. My brother called me selfish.

See, Tyisha, everything we do is judged. So what's the answer? Read your email carefully and privately and don't dare to say anything because Gabriel might tease you? With that philosophy, I could be living in my mother's basement right now. Or you can write to the whole fucking universe about your dildo, or your neighbor sticking his finger in your seven year old pussy, or what you put in your stirfry. Don't be intimidated by Gabriel. Say your thing and kick him in the ass if you don't like his response. Just keep in mind that he's always right.

More later, after my call to young David. All of this explaining is wearing me out. I can't wait to start playing the clarinet again.

From: Johanne
Date: 23 March 1996
Subject: Re: A friendly wager

Gabriel, Nichelle:

First, I have made no claims to brilliance, nor even calibre. And Hobson's Choice strikes me as a prize unlikely to be coveted, Gabriel. Whether I wish to join in the workings of your World or not is a matter I believe I will leave aside; my point is that I don't care for being conscripted. Kindly refrain from doing me the "favor" of including me by implying that I have accepted, or will accept, the terms of your non-wager.

That said, I had to laugh at your characterizations of Barthes, Lacan, et al... finding Lacan fairly funny myself (though not nearly as funny as I find Bataille). I retain a certain fondness for Barthes, though it's probably a sentimental one. I had heard that story about Althusser as well, and wondered if it were true. Different literatures acquire their own apocryphae, it seems only fitting that a public strangling of a woman be a part of this one.

Now then. I did not specify that duration had to be measured in the units in which we, in our superimposition of numbers on a clock, have divided it. As you say, in baseball time is measured in outs and innings (I think that's often the case in sex as well, no?), in music it is measured in beats -- and, I would add, in the spaces between the beats, or the relative duration between the beats. This relative duration, relative space, is a way of referring to "speed" as we percieve it, the rapidity or slowness with which events in a series occur. It doesn't matter if a piece is six minutes long, no. But it matters a great deal if that six-minute-long piece is an allegro, an andante, or a largo... and within each of those vague terms, it matters if it is a "Mozart allegro" as opposed to a "Beethoven allegro" (one is faster), or a "Bruckner largo" rather than a "Bach largo" (one is slower). I for one am not going to open the Pandora's Box of venturing a guess as to how many beats per minute a largo "is", nor an allegro or anything else, I will leave that kind of crap to makers of metronomes and other people who for some unknown reason decide to bring it upon themselves. But I remain steadfast in my assertion that in music, tempo is (in part) a way of describing in general terms the length of time that passes between any two rhythmic events (beats) in a piece of music which has a single tempo. Spare me the casuistry of telling me that "time" does not "pass" in the sense of having motion, I know that. It's called colloquial English.

However, "tempo" is much more than "the internal clock of music", although I rather like your phrase and think it's a very neat way of describing *one* of the things that tempo in music does. Tempo is also indicative of certain elements of style, as I suggested above in my comments on the difference between a "Mozart allegro" and a "Beethoven allegro", and extremely suggestive of aspects of interpretation... which are not functions I can see as being reasonably applied to tense in language.

Though I am by trade a musicologist, I make myself unpopular with my peers by insisting on at least attempting to consider music as a performed medium and not something which exists immutably on a page in a venerable leatherbound Gesamtausgabe. In indicating -- vaguely -- how relatively quickly or slowly the events of a piece of music are going to occur (and mind you, this function of tempo is one that is not merely Western, but pan-cultural... where tempo-as-style-indicator is basically a Western phenomenon, other cultures with a slightly more inwardlooking musical terminology, such as classical Persian music, having a separate terminology to help indicate mood, degree of dynamic contrast, style of phrasing and articulation, and so forth...), a tempo marking indicates to a Western musician something of the mood of the work as well, and therefore suggests to that person not only the "speed" at which it might be performed but a myriad of other parameters as well, most prominently perhaps phrasing and articulation.

Your statement that "neither language nor music are systems of communication" interests me. I believe that both are systems of communication -- through the use of signs, usw. -- and I derive that belief from the fact that they are used that way fairly consistently in every culture that I know of and probably quite a few that I don't. What I find so intriguing about the whole mess is that while in language, it is possible to have a (fairly) standardized set of signs to represent objects, people, places, and states of being/attitude, and we can indicate that standard by comparison (you point to a chair, you say "chair", having learned by the consensus of your culture that in that culture, the verbal sign for that particular object is "chair" and that, furthermore, it doesn't just refer to the one chair, but to lots of other objects on which you can park your fanny and which probably share certain physical characteristics in common... ) and consensus in a fairly clear, reasonably denotative way, this doesn't seem to be possible with music. I find the evidence, from music makers and music hearers alike, to be compelling that music does indeed have meaning, or is percieved as doing so, which is what matters here. But music seems to be somewhat ideogrammatic, if you will, and it becomes difficult (impossible?) to separate the elements of music as we might the elements of language to figure out not just *what* it might mean, but *how* those sounds "mean" something to us in the first place. Tempo in music is only a tiny piece of this -- and all of the things that "tempo" can indicate, in terms of relative speed (and relative duration of beats) as well as broader stylistic/interpretive factors are relevant to that mechanics of how we percieve music to have meaning. Functionally, it is *not* analogous to tense in language; tense is, essentially, a temporal locator, and tempo is not. The systems in which the signs are organized don't work the same way. I don't pretend to have any particularly good answers (or any answers at all) about how the signs in music *do* function, but it ain't a language (and it sure as fuck isn't the "universal language", as the hoary hacks of music education like to dribble; go listen to a Balinese kecak and tell me that's "universal" and it makes as much sense to your Western-raised musical mind as the Mozart Requiem, you necktie-wearing beancounting betrayers of music...), and tempo ain't tense.

The connections are pretty, though, and it's tempting. Etymologically of course, and on some levels, functionally... there is certainly an "architext" here on methods of parsing time. Something can, I am sure, be made of that element. However, I am not the one to do it, though I'd pay to buy a ticket to hear Lewis Rowell and Al Keiler talk about it (they're both musicologist/linguists... Rowell more of a musicologist, Keiler more of a linguist/semiotician).

And that, through this fucking migraine, is all I have to say on the subject.

Excelsior,
Johanne

From: SAGReiss
Date: 23 March 1996
Subject: Drinking Roses

I called Dave. How many more people do I need to hurt? He said, "Poor honey. Life is so hard for you." Yeah, well it's hard for everybody. You see, Gabriel, how much courage I have? You tell me I'm the boldest and bravest soul you have known. It doesn't matter. I'm glad I came here.

The next thing to do, after lunch, is to go up to the library and get that music. I'm freezing anyway, and the walk would do me good. Somewhere along the way, I need to pick up some aspirin or something. I'm sure it will be a nice adventure for me. Maybe I'll even run across one of those judges robes and a gavel.

From: SAGReiss
Date: 23 March 1996
Subject: Unimpressed

Before I give the floor to one of the innumerable poets, linguists and philosophers who have, since the dawn of time, claimed that language represents, but does not describe, the world, in other words that it is non-referential, I'll just point out, Johanne, that Nichelle, not I, has included you in our World. I have simply followed your instructions and forwarded you blind copies of some of my mail. I did propose ("L'homme propose. La femme dispose.") a little game and I shall explain later why I set the stakes exactly as I did. For now let us turn our minds to Germany, more precisely to the man known as Novalis:
"C'est au fond une drole de chose que de parler et d'ecrire; la vraie conversation, le dialogue authentique est un pur jeu de mots. Tout bonnement ahurrissante est l'erreur ridicule des gens qui se figurent parler pour les choses elles-memes. Mais le propre du langage, a savoir qu'il n'est tout uniquement occupe que de soi-meme, tous l'ignorent. C'est pourquoi le langage est un si merveilleux mystere, et si fecond: que quelqu'un parle tout simplement pour parler, c'est justement alors qu'il exprime les plus originales et les plus magnifiques verites [...] Si seulement on pouvait faire comprendre aux gens qu'il en va du langage comme des formules mathematiques: elle constituent un monde en soi, pour elles seules; elles jouent entre elles exclusivement, n'expriment rien sinon leur propre nature merveilleuse, -- ce qui, justement, fait qu'elles sont si expressives, que justement entre elles se refletent le jeu etrange des rapports entre les choses."
If I had my library or the energy to go to a library (I served more than eighty covers today.) I could quote you everyone from Sophocles to Shakespeare, from Ronsard to Rimbaud saying exactly the same thing. I'm sorry. Sorry first that I shall have to live with the shame of UCONN's wretched loss to a gang of Dixie niggers from Ole Miss. The wound may never close and the scar may never heal. Sorry second that I could barely slog through most of your recent letter. Perhaps I'll explain why later, but first I'll answer the only part which made any sense to me. A baseball game on a sunny day lasts eight and a half to nine full innings, end of story. It doesn't matter how long Rickey Henderson scratches his balls between pitches, the games lasts fifty-one to fifty-four outs, unless it rains. No other factor interferes with baseball's clock. Similarly, a piece of music lasts so many beats. They may be long or short, with as much "time" in between them as you like (The first violinist may also wish to scratch his balls.), as many as you like to a measure, but there are still only so many, no more, no less. Hell even orgasms take more or less time, or so it seems, but I can always tell how many I've had, or so it seems. But I must make a confession, and I've been plotting and thinking this out all day, despite being slammed and not getting a lunch break for the second day in a row. Nichelle is making me some soup, so I should only lose a pound or two today. I'm not always right, as Stiff Lips claims, but I'm so seldom wrong that it may sometimes seem that way. That's besides the point. What Nichelle has understood, what the woman I shacked up with for three years understood, is that I'm playing a different kind of game than you. Or perhaps I'm just playing it on a higher plane, as they say in basketball. Nichelle has stared at my back while I work out on the keyboard long enough to realize that, while she has seen how the big boys play, she is witnessing an altogether different phenomenon, what the other girl called "with a look in the eye or a flick of the wrist. I really couldn't care less if what I've said about tempo makes any sense. That's for Ph.D. candidates like yourself to decide. I'm looking for something else, which is why I made the stakes identical, win or lose. I'm not a Ph.D. candidate. I'm a waiter. I'm also a man who will have his detractors and his praise-givers. I don't give a fuck. My business is the word game, and I can get as much copy out of being puked upon during an aborted blowjob as anything else. That's why I haven't even read your last letter very carefully. It was academic, boring, off-putting, dry as ice. Do you see? Being a brilliant, erudite intellectual has its merits, whether you are or not. I am, but Nichelle will tell you that has nothing to do with my worth as a thinker or as a man. That I can summon the planets with the force of my own private, personal gravity, despite a mass of under fifty-five kilos, that I can create a World by means of my imagination, my will, that is what makes every game go according to my rules, whether I'm waiting tables, founding a fat farm for wayward musicians, or writing my way into that special place reserved for the English poets. I'll take li'll John Keats on my own terms. I know what he'll say: "Gaby, we've been waiting for you."

From: Johanne
Date: 23 March 1996
Subject: Re: Unimpressed

Okay. Hell, I'm not about to argue with you, Gabriel. Your autocracy is clearly potent, at least in the rather limited sphere that any autocracy really serves. You're quite right. You're a very good player of the word game. And if that has enough value for you to be an end in itself, then I leave you to your toys. I have work to do.

Nichelle, bonne chance.

Excelsior,
Johanne

From: scaredycat
Date: 25 March 1996
Subject: Re: your page on Lambda

hi, what did you want?
were you the guest on lambda that paged me inquiring as to my whereabouts? if so, i am still on vacation in NYC, postponed my flight back till the end of next month (even got my$elf a job). contact is available through email/MOOmail only, unless you are lucky enough to catch me on my brief sorties to LambdaMOO.

--scaredycat

(i think i'm suffering a culture shock. especially all this "have a nice day!" bussiness, i get this strange urge to vomit every time i hear it, how can you bare it? it's sick! people smile too much.)

From: SAGReiss
Date: 25 March 1996
Subject: Re: your page on Lambda

Americans smile too much, but not I, except a little, 'cause Nichelle is here.

From: Loretta
Date: 25 March 1996
Subject: Re: Unimpressed

I don't know what you said! I know it sounds nice but i don't understand!!!
I would appreciate it if you would translate it for me *smile*. Anyway Gabe, when you said you were a dirty old man, i thought you were in your late 40's or early 50's. But 32??!!! Man, i've talked to my buddie whose 39 and my other buddie whose 42. In my eyes, you're young!! Keith, are you around the same age as Gabe? Is Nichelle? I feel as if i'm the baby of the bunch! Do any one of you guys have characters besides Tyisha ( i think i spelled it right) and myself? What's the address to IdMOO so i could talk to you guys to see what you guys are like? I'm just going on typing/talking (which is something i don't usually do). I like listening to you guys talk...but let me know your answer to my questions hasta luego.

From: SAGReiss
Date: 25 March 1996
Subject: Mail

Hola Chica. If you can read Spanish, you can damn well read French. Perhaps Corinne will translate the Novalis quotation for you, but I won't. Everyone on the World is between eighteen and twenty-four, except me, so you're by no means young, just the only virgin. Actually John's left hand may also be a virgin. There's some controversy about this. The ID MOO is moo.fly.net 7777 but I'm always a guest, whether there or on lambda. My description usually reads either "small, mean, polyglot intellectual" or "cunning linguist". I don't really think I should tell you the others' character names. They can do so if they like. I was very angry that you sent me that chain letter. In the future, please don't send any junk either to me or any other citizen of the World. We don't like it. Thank you and please keep writing. If you want to get me back for the French text, just write something in Spanish...

From: SAGReiss
Date: 26 March 1996
Subject: Bitchin’ sex machine

Sometimes I see it, that round-eyed look of dread, that doe-in-the-headlights look of doom, that weakness and pure fear which is the sexual rush the rapist must crave. Funny, I don't find it exciting, as I thought I might,such remembrance of things past. I just feel concerned, and curious, just ask: "Are you OK?" or "Is something the matter?" or "Would you like to tell me something?" I may be mistaken. I may misinterpret bewildered pleasure for bewildered pain, but I've seen pleasure painted on many a face, and never has it taken on such a haunted hue. I'm not even sure she's aware of it. She never says anything, just brushes my hand away from her belly, but even that means nothing. She herself has admitted she can't even tell how many orgasms she has had after the fireworks have stopped. And then she'll turn around and give me the best blowjob I've ever had, nerve-wracking, flesh-eating, endless, thrashings which leave me jabbering, shaking, feeling like my spine has just snapped: "I need a minute to clear my head." It took me an hour before I could speak. (Then I woke up and wrote the outline for the official version of "The Role of Three Phonemes in the Ode to a Nightingale of John Keats". You see, I haven't abandoned you, just changed strategies. I'll keep you abreast of the outcome.) Part of it is cyber- and phonesex. I had guessed right, that logosex would turn me into a more vocal lover, me who used to epitomize the strong, silent type. But this awful mix of pleasure and pain plays on my senses like nothing I've ever known. It's like having a dominatrix whore drill your teeth and pull you off at the same time. Perhaps it's the clarinet, all that stiff-lipped biting the reed and whatnot.

From: Nichelle
Date: 26 March 1996
Subject: Re: Bitchin’ sex machine

It's hard not to associate sex with fear. I don't know if I am really afraid, or if I just think that the two go together, sex and fear. I thought that sex was all about men dominating women, even when I wasn't being raped. I used to feel that my boyfriend Don just thought I was something to fuck, and I would look at it like eating lima beans or spinach, something that was good for me whether or not I enjoyed it. And he would tell me that it was time for me to get over it, that I needed to forget. I was like these frigid wives who stare at the ceiling and lie motionless while their husbands slam into them over and over.

Sex and fear, sex and shame, sex and anger. Never have I felt the way about sex that I do right now. Delight and hunger and joy and I don't even have enough words to tell you about it. If I look bewildered, it may be because I had no idea that people felt the things I feel. I'm not sure what it really means to be a virgin, because I lost my virginity at the age of seven. But it must be something like what I feel now.

The best blowjob you've had? An hour to clear your head? And this is how fucked up I am... I'm lying there wondering what I did wrong.

From: Loretta
Date: 26 March 1996
Subject: to who?

who was this written to?

From: Loretta
Date: 26 March 1996
Subject: Re: Mail

On Mon, 25 Mar 1996, SAGReiss wrote:

> Hola Chica. If you can read Spanish, you can damn well read French.

Who said i could read spanish? Did I SAY i knew how to read spanish? NO!! All i asked was for someone to translate French. Just because i'm part latin DOESN'T mean i know spanish. That's stereotyping.
> but I won't.
Personally, i didn't ask for YOU to translate...just someone..ANYONE!!
> the World is between eighteen and twenty-four, except me, so you're by no
> means young, just the only virgin.
Actually, i'm honored at that statement. My reputation is good!
> The ID MOO is moo.fly.net 7777
I new the IDMOO by a different name!
> I was very angry that you sent me that chain letter.
I, personally, wasn't enthuased about receiving a chain letter myself.I just got mad and forwarded it to everyone on my email list! If other people got mad...i guess they got over it!
> If you want to get me back for the French text, just write something in Spanish...
If only i knew spanish!

From: SAGReiss
Date: 26 March 1996
Subject: Snail Mail

Brian,

Hoping you have received the manuscript of BABEL, I wonder if you've found the time to look into it. Even if Permeable Press is not interested, I would be very grateful for any comments or suggestions you could make.

I thank you for your time and your consideration.

Faithfully,

Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss

From: scaredycat
Date: 26 March 1996
Subject: Re: your page on Lambda

guess who's learning HTML *and* getting paid for it??
just this afternoon i got a "teach-yourself" type of book and i almost finished half of it (it's called "HTML in a week"... but...)
i'd be happy to be your WebMaster once i get back home where my faithful pentium awaits me.

From: Brian
Date: 26 March 1996
Subject: Re: Snail Mail

We received it.

Brian Clark, Editor/Publisher
Permeable Press

From: Loretta
Date: 27 March 1996
Subject: Listen!

I was told that i don't talk. Why should i? I asked Gabe what did Nichelle look like (to hear how he would describe her to me...in his own words) he said "you have to ask her" I only asked to hear his reaction. Some guys tell me how beautiful their gf looks, the perfume that she wears, ex...ex..He didn't. I asked if Nichelle was his gf. He said she wasn't. I asked to see if she was an aquaintance (in bed) or an assistance (in sex) she wasn't either of those things to him! So if Nichelle isn't anything to Gabe, what is she? Personally, I DON'T KNOW!
To me, she's a lady at heart (inside and out). Nichelle, don't put yourself down. It hurts me deeply. Everyone knows that i'm Zelina on ID MOO and Lagda MOO! *grin* I'm proud of it! I don't know what anyone looks like...so i'll tell you about me.
Name: Loretta
Age: 22
Height: 5'2 Weight: don't know...to some guys i'm small...to others i'm big
Hair color: brown
Eye color: hazel
I'm a student at McLennan Community College and my major is Microcomputer Applications! I like to help people with computers. I'm nice *smile* and like Tyisha said that Gabe hurt her feelings..Tyisha, he hurt mine as well!
It's like talking to a wall...i remember first meeting Gabe on Lambda and he seemed nice...I think he got screwed too much! I'm mulatto ( i think that's how you spell it) which means i'm many nationalities..or i'm mulatto colors *grin*(thanks to my dad) He said "love knows no colors" and i agree! *smile* Tyisha, if you're Brown_Sugar...then call me Alpine! I'm still chocolate, just bright!
I feel as if i'm talking to the wall! Can anyone say "Hello Loretta?" Well, i guess not!
If you have any questions...write me!

Loretta "Zelina"

From: Nichelle
Date: 27 March 1996
Subject: Listening.

Hello Loretta. You're basically asking two questions. I can answer the first one, but the second one I can't help you with. What do I look like? No Gabriel isn't going to tell you how beautiful I am or what kind of perfume I wear. I'm fat. That's what he sees. "I find you fat." And don't be critical of him, because it's the truth, and he's just being honest.

It isn't that I didn't tell Gabriel this. I don't think he believed me, or maybe he couldn't imagine it, or maybe he was too busy proposing to me that he forgot to think about it too seriously. Until I stepped into the airport and he asked, "Is your name Nichelle?". "Don't call me fat girl. I can joke about it, but it's not my name. It isn't all I am."

He doesn't understand how anyone can gain that much weight. I don't understand how anyone can have 25 drinks in one day either. We all have our flaws. It's just that the whole world can see mine written all over my big fat body, and nobody needs to know how many drinks you have in one day. One way or another, it makes all the difference in the world.

I told you this, and I knew it would happen this way, but you can't blame me for wanting to risk it. I never lied about it. I'm a fat girl. I'm afraid to meet you. You won't be attracted to me. I told you the truth. One way or another, I'm here. Maybe Gabriel will explain what our relationship to you. Maybe he doesn't know either. Maybe it's just none of your business. I don't know. What I do know is that it seems to have very little to do with the daily declarations of "Stiff Lips, I love you." that we all heard before I came to Syracuse. If a beautiful woman had stepped off the plane, things would have been different.

From: SAGReiss
Date: 28 March 1996
Subject: Unruly stable

Alpine or Miss Virgin-Pussy, you seem to have a very selective and creative memory, which is my polite way of calling you a fucking liar. I didn't log our little chat, but I don't need to. I already had a better memory than any of you when I was swilling twenty-five drinks a day. Don't fuck with me when I'm sober. The conversation went this way. You asked what we, Nichelle and I, looked like. I described myself. You asked about Nichelle. I declined to answer, for reasons of common courtesy and tact. You said that most guys you knew liked to talk all about their gfs. I answered that I didn't know if she was my gf. You guessed that she was either an acquaintance or an assistant (nothing about [in bed] or [in sex]). I said that she was neither. Last night, in a last-minute flourish of genius which stunned even Nichelle and myself, though we're both getting to the point where nothing I can do surprizes us anymore, I described John to himself so accurately that he speculated he must have described himself to me, but of course he hadn't. I just improvised on Jeff's looks, made him a little taller and heavier because of Kanadian beer and hearty food. Poof, and there you have John, unshaven, ill-kempt, with his pants falling down over his boxer shorts. Nichelle's letter is scarcely less misleading, but much harder to answer because my hands are tied and I'm not ready to address some of the tougher questions asked in her letter. As I said: "I don't think a leggy, blond volleyball player would have stepped off that plane under those circumstances, so the point is moot." As to declarations of love and marriage proposals, I'll let my acts speak for themselves. As I've told you: "I always watch my back when someone tells me she loves me." Mens sanis, corpus sanis. (No, Jeff, I'm no longer sure about the gender of mens, mentis. So write me up.) This is not some silly argument about gender esthetics or whether Manet's Olympia really looks like a "female gorrilla" in the words of one contemporary critic. It cuts to the core of our life together, in particular our sex life. No one but an Amerikan would ever imply that physical appearence or attraction is unimportant. You yourself said that you were surprized. You said I was better-looking than you imagined. Jeff, John and I are all three scratching our heads wondering: "If that ugly asshole is better-looking, what kind of monster did she imagine?"

From: Loretta
Date: 28 March 1996
Subject: Re: Unruly stable

I thought that every guy knew about aquaintances and assistants. The way it was explained to me was that the guys were the ones who invented that term. Don't be mad at me!!! Get over it! That's why i was curious! Nichelle, i don't care how fat you are but i do care that you have a good life. FON (Fat Or Not). Do you hear? The rest of the crew..."hi"

From: SAGReiss
Date: 28 March 1996
Subject: Ultimatum

OK, boys and girls. 'tis the hour of triumph and glory. We shall soon have our own Web site. I don't use the royal we in this case. I mean ours. But here's the catch. While I have my texts, obviously, and Nichelle's, as you know, and can use Jeff's shameless "real nightmare of classical education" diatribe, I have nothing from you, Tyisha (under the title "There's no such thing as racism"), though I can easily write it for you and will not hesitate to do so if you don't move your ass, nor you Corinne (under the title "Donde es la Comecabra?"), which I could also write for you, but it would break my heart. John, I'd like for you to write a text too. We'll call it "There's no such thing as white trash". I'm begging you all. I'll give you till Monday, April Fool's Day, to submit your texts. I'll grant an extention of one week to Tyisha, since she won't read this until Monday, probably. Please don't let me down. On another topic, I know you have all been waiting for the oracle at Syracusa (Sicily in Greek, where the Greek colony had an oracle) to speak on the all-important subject of what Nichelle really looks like. For the answer, each of you must make a trip to the library. Look up Man Ray's picture of the Marquis de Sade, and there you have her, same nose, same chin, same blue eyes looking off into the distance, same curly hair, same corpulence. When I told her this, she didn't seem happy. I wonder why...

From: Nichelle
Date: 28 March 1996
Subject: Re: Ultimatum

When Gabe and I were talking about my appearance I told him that his guesses were 'close enough'. Now I wonder how close he really is. The thing that he decided to emphasize most of all in his message here is the one thing that is farthest from the truth. My pants fit.
Enough about that.
How am I going to write that there is no such thing as white trash? I myself am white trash. Slightly smarter and better behaved than most, but white trash all the same. I drink Bud ferchrissakes. To ask a man to deny the very existence of the cultural group he identifies most closely with is to weaken him and to force him to reinvent all of his ideas about himself. It's hard enough to feel part of anything in this world of narrow cause-oriented single issue people.
Anyways. What ever happened to Keats?

From: SAGReiss
Date: 29 March 1996
Subject: John, the man

I'm happy to say, John, you have most perfectly understood the implications of your writing a text called "There's no such thing as white trash" or of Tyisha's writing one called "There's no such thing as racism", which alas I doubt she'll ever do. The idea is precisely to sabotage and subvert any cultural or individual indentity one may have, to reach down inside and rip up by the roots any last vestige of humanity one may feel, to confront, fragmented, disassociated and disenfranchised, a blank sheet of paper with nothing but his mind and will. If you prefer, we can just call it irony. IDT isn't working out, so I must wait for the AT&T software before we can begin in earnest. This gives you all a reprieve of perhaps a week, if you want to contribute to the Web site. I have suggested to Alpine that she write about the closest she has ever come to losing her prized virginity (which, it should be noted, I tried to sell to John for a few kegs of Molson) and we'd call it "In Strassburi gib's ke jungifrau mehr". Note to Corinne and Jeff. Please print and snail-mail me all letters beginning with Negatron's and including mine. I won't be able to print until I get AT&T set up. Sorry for the inconvenience. This interlude, however, gives me some time to work on Keats. I thought I had made clear that I had done enough leg work to draw up an outline and begin a standard English version, which I have been working on. There are six sections. I'll try to send you all a copy of each section once I have completed it. I'm about one fifth done with the first section. I think I know how to send word files. I haven't given up on you, just changed course. Right now I'm going to pour myself a drink (It was a stressful day at work, but I've made some serious cash this week and I conned my way into working five days next week when everyone was only scheduled for four.) and write some about the Ode and then I'll see you, Alpine and Negatron, on the ID MOO. Rectum Vinum.

From: SAGReiss
Date: 31 March 1996
Subject: Hooters

Yes, Jeff, we cased the joint yesterday afternoon in search of a cigarette and beer for me after a harrowing half an hour in the Carousel Mall. Stiff Lips said she would humour me, but, as you know, I'm a scientist and felt a powerful professional duty to check the place out and pass on my scolarly findings to the World. It's a pit. I was expecting this possibly sleazy, possibly posh soft-core porn bar. Bullshit. This is a nouveau clean, better-than-fast-food grille teeming with children. Their system of sliding orders to the line on these wire clothes lines struck me as accident prone. What happens when some dude gets drunk and scarfs up a dozen dupes without anyone noticing? Anyway it's out of the question sticking ten-dollar bills up the waitress's pussy. You'd be killed instantly. They looked OK, your average OCC students in skimpy clothes with lots of cleavage, but seeing women's bras and panties through their clothes puts me off a little. Also they wore these wretched nylon stockings and all looked as if they'd been to the tanning salon a bit too often. I think Nichelle was furious that I'd take her to such a dive, but I got to see Wade Boggs get a walk and some other Yankee make a stunning catch while in the air jumping over the fence and into the bullpen. I also filled out a job application in your name, saying I couldn't remember my social securtiy number. You're welcome. As I told John last night I was right in the middle of fucking when I slapped the pillow and said: "God damn it, it's a sestet!" How could I be so dumb. I've reorgasmized "Three Phonemes in the Ode" accordingly. I would send you all an excerpt of the first draft, but I can't use MSN anymore. Nichelle didn't seem pissed that I analyse poetry while fucking, but hell a man of calibre is s'posed to be able to do two things at once, isn't he? Why should I turn my brain off when my dick gets hard? We're now just waiting for AT&T to come through. I think we'll be able to set up the Web site ourselves. The listserv will have to wait till we find some cash to give to a starving graduate student. If you see Jude the Obscure One... Once we get on the Web, anything goes, boys and girls, so buckle your seatbelts and hang on.

February 1996

April 1996

vr: 1996

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