vr

a novel

Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss

December 1996

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

From: SAGReiss
Date: 1 December 1996
Subject: SAGReiss is always right

"Excuse me for overhearing, sir, but you've got a band?" "Our son is the director of the Syracuse University marching band." "Do you need a clarinetist? My girlfriend was a substitute at the Spokane Symphony Orchestra." "She wouldn't be interested in the marching band, but we always need clarinetists for the woodwind ensemble." He gave me his number. He told me you could simply audit the class. Dust off your horn, sweetheart, you're going to be a star.

RECTVM VINVM
Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss

From: Columbine
Date: 1 December 1996
Subject: Fwd: Palace personal server

Gabriel, I thought you and Nichelle might like to see what popped into my mailbox.

Subject: Palace personal server
Sent: 11/25/96 6:12 PM
Received: 11/29/96 7:55 PM
From: Palace Pioneers
To: Columbine

Congratulations. Our records show that you are one of the original Palace users - a Palace Pioneer. Thank you for helping make The Palace the best virtual world community on the Internet. In recognition for being a Palace Pioneer, we are sending you a complimentary personal server registration number, as well as the Software Upgrades for both the server and client products.

On Wednesday, 11/27, The Palace will release a new family of personal servers for PC, Mac and Unix. We have fixed numerous bugs in the servers, and added several new features. New users will pay $50 for the personal servers, but all Palace Pioneers will receive a complimentary registration number. You can download the software from our website starting next Wednesday at (http://www.thepalace.com/downloads.html).

PALACE SERVER REGISTRATION NUMBER:

Your unique personal server registration number is

[number omitted on the off chance that I ever decide to use it]

This registration number activates the software and allows you to run a Palace server with up to 40 concurrent users. The server registration number works for PC, Mac or Unix personal servers. The PC and Mac versions will prompt you to enter the server registration number when you run them. The Unix versions prompt you during the install.

Note: Don't give out your Palace registration number. It is unique to your installation.

THE PALACE SOFTWARE UPGRADES

All Palace Pioneers are entitled to download new software releases of the personal server and The Palace client for one full year (through November 30, 1997). New software releases can be downloaded from (http://www.thepalace.com/downloads.html). Register your software today (use the Register menu in The Palace client software) to make sure you're notified when new software releases are available.

[etc. deleted]

I don't know quite how to react to this. Apathy, I think. I don't want to devote the necessary energy for antipathy.

If they think they're going to make this site profitable they may be in for a surprise. Most of the habitual, original core users (yeah, I supposed that included me at one point) are either wizards on an ego trip, or disgusted with what they perceive, rightly, as a decline in the quality of conversation. Most of the guests won't cough up to register NOW, let alone under the new regime. I dunno. Such a good idea, and it's just completely been wasted.

From: Columbine
Date: 1 December 1996
Subject: Death and the Maiden: Juxtaposition

Der Tod und das Mädchen

[Das Mädchen:]
Vorüber! Ach, vorüber!
geh, wilder Knochenmann!
Ich bin noch jung, geh, Lieber!
und rühre mich nicht an.

[Der Tod:]
Gib deine Hand, du schön und zart Gebild!
Bin Freund und komme nicht zu strafen.
Sei gutes Muts! ich bin nicht wild,
sollst sanft in meinen Armen schlafen!

 -- Matthias Claudius (1740-1815)

Piazza Piece

-- I am a gentleman in a dustcoat trying
To make you hear. Your ears are soft and small
And listen to an old man not at all.
They want the young men's whispering and sighing.
But see the roses on your trellis dying
And hear the spectral singing of the moon;
For I must have my lovely lady soon,
I am a gentleman in a dustcoat trying.

-- I am a lady young in beauty waiting
Until my truelove comes, and then we kiss.
But what grey man among the vines is this
Whose words are dry and faint as in a dream?
Back from my trellis, Sir, before I scream!
I am a lady young in beauty waiting.

 -- John Crowe Ransom (1888-1974)

From: Columbine
Date: 1 December 1996
Subject: Chapter 111a

--- 111a ---

Poetry is nothing more than an intensification or illumination of common objects and everyday events until they shine with their singular nature, until we can experience their power, until we can follow their steps in the dance, until we can discern what parts they play in the Great Order of Love. How is this done? By fucking around with syntax.

[Definitions are limiting. Limitations are deadening. To limit oneself is a kind of suicide. To limit another is a kind of murder. To limit poetry is a Hiroshima of the human spirit. DANGER: RADIATION. Unauthorized personnel not allowed on the premises of Chapter 111a.]

-- from EVEN COWGIRLS GET THE BLUES by Tom Robbins

From: Columbine
Date: 1 December 1996
Subject: Wolves

Forgive me, it just seems like a good day for poetry.

WOLVES

I do not want to be reflective any more
Envying and despising unreflective things
Finding pathos in dogs and undeveloped handwriting
And young girls doing their hair and all the castles of sand
Flushed by the children's bedtime, level with the shore.

The tide comes in and goes outagain, I do not want
To be always stressing either its flux or its permanence,
I do not want to be a tragic or philosophic chorus
But to keep my eye only on the nearer future
And after that let the sea flow over us.

Come then all of you, come closer, form a circle,
Join hands and make believe that joined
Hands will keep away the wolves of water
Who howl along our coast. And be it assumed
That no one hears them among the talk and laughter.

-- Louis MacNiece

From: Nichelle
Date: 2 December 1996
Subject: reading Freud

reading Freud, some woman telling him how she became pregnant before she was
ready and beat herself, trying to kill the child inside of her
before I had the test, I knew. I did this also. I hit myself in the stomach
and tried to kill what I imagined was living inside of me
I am a brute and a murderer
I wonder if my mother beat herself in the stomach, hoping that I would die.
embryo wrapped in so many layers of flesh, so deep inside the mother's body
that not even she can harm it
when I was lying on the table waiting for the abortion doctor, with my legs
hanging over the stirrups and the paper on the table sticking to my ass
I hadn't shaved my legs in weeks. my hairy legs were hanging over the
stirrups and the two women talked to each other outside the door while I waited
with the machine sucking it out of me, sucking a baby out of me, all I could
think of was the noise of the machine sucking and the woman standing next to
me telling me not to move and to keep breathing
he told me just a minute more but I was already crying and panicked
it hurt
it hurt bad
I cried out NO
please no more
there was so much blood
when I sat up all of it came pouring out and there was an enormous pain
bigger than what had been there before
I cleaned myself by the toilet
the blood kept coming out
when I opened the door there was no nurse waiting
I found the recovery room alone
it was the day after halloween
I took a lollypop before I went home
I showered to wash off the blood
it kept pouring out of me
they had a huge light on me that made the hair on my legs look black
I wonder how many mothers have beat their fists against their bodies wanting
to kill the child inside of them
I remember as a teenager in a fight with my mother she beat her fists hard
against my back and I was doubled over
near my bedroom window
I wonder how many times my parents have wished that I had died in the womb
my mother beating her fists against her body trying to kill me
and I signed a paper which said
yes, please kill this child
my fists weren't strong enough to murder it

Nichelle
crockena@maple.lemoyne.edu

From: Nichelle
Date: 2 December 1996
Subject: My dream, shot to hell

Nichelle: Hello, I'm Nichelle. I've got a nine-fifteen interview.
Bagel_Boy: Yeah... ok, hang on. JOE! Some girl is here about an interview.
Why don't you sit down over there?
N: Thanks very much.
Nichelle sits down.
Nichelle waits, looks at watch. 9:12.
Nichelle waits, looks at watch. 9:17.
Big_Manager enters, stage right.
Nichelle stands. They shake hands.
BM: Nice to meet you, Nichelle, I'm Big_Manager. Have a seat.
N: Thank you.
Big_Manager looks at Nichelle's application, which is written on notebook
paper because Generic_Bagel_Franchise ran out of applications.
BM: What do you know about our business?
N: You make bagels. Then you cut them in half and sell them to people with
stuff on them.
BM: What can you tell me about each of these jobs?
Nichelle describes these positions and their various responsibilities.
BM: What are your three strongest qualities as a worker?
N: Well, first of all I'm a hard worker. Boy do I ever work hard. I mean,
really hard. I love to work. Second, I'm smart as hell. I feel this quality
will enable me to face any bagel crisis head-on. Third, I am very
dependable. You can count on me to cut those bagels straight, right in half,
and spread the right amout of cream cheese on each side.
BM: Well, OK that's pretty convincing, but what is your weakest quality?
N: The other workers resent the fact that I'm a brown-noser.
Big_Manager chuckles. "Well, that'll do just fine Nichelle."
BM: Tell me, do you mind hard work, cleaning?
N: I used to, but I went through electroshock therapy. Now dirt scares me.
BM: What are your qualifications?
N: First of all, I have a lot of experience with bagels. I know just how
they're supposed to be- crusty outside with a soft bready middle. I have a
bagel-cutting knife just like the ones you use here at
Generic_Bagel_Franchise. I've practiced cutting bagels in half, your own
Generic_Bagels as a matter of fact, and I've become quite skilled at it.
Modesty prevents me from saying too much about my expert cream cheese
spreading technique, or the ease with which I can top any variety of
Generic_Bagels with the tastiest toppings.
BM: I see...
N: Oh yes, I feel I have all of the qualifications needed to be your best
worker.
BM: You seem like a highly skilled, highly motivated young woman.
N: Does that mean I'm hired?
BM: No...

Nichelle

From: Columbine
Date: 2 December 1996
Subject: Job Application

I'd like to apply for a job ... yes,
The job you have available.
My manner is most salable, and
I hope you'll find me suitable
For five-fifteen an hour.
I really have the skills, you see,
I've been to a university,
And though I studied history
I found my heart to truly be
In
Menstiesandsocksglassfigurinesthediscountshoeindustry ...

What makes me think I'd be good for this job?
Well ...
I love working with people,
And I LOVE riding the subway
An hour and a half each way, let's see,
Add THOSE hours to my day
And I'll be making a whopping ...
Three-seventy-five an hour ...

No, sir, I ... I do want the job,
Can't you tell by my suit?

.. No, actually, I DON'T own a dress.
I don't feel comfortable, I confess.
But, hell, for $5.15 an hour I'll
Definitely wear some colors
Other than black ...

I, um, enjoy working with the public,
And I'm good with money ...

Oh, yes, you're right,
ALL us girls are good with money,
Yes, that's charming. Yes, how funny ...
I like a good work atmosphere
Where the boss says whatever he wants
And the rest of us just listen ...
I'm a very fast learner and I promise
That if you give me this job
I'll be the perfect sub-human
And never let my contempt shine
In my worshipping eyes ...
I love working with people, and
Let's see, what else
Was I going to tell you?

No, I don't expect vacation pay,
And yes, I'm available every day,
And though I don't like the evil way
You're looking at me, I've got rent to pay ...

And yes, I can start on Saturday.

-- "Job Application"
Meryn Cadell
from the album ANGEL FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Kannst du nicht allen gefallen durch deine That und dein Kunstwerk - mach es wenigen recht. Vielen gefallen ist schlimm. -Schiller

From: Columbine
Date: 2 December 1996
Subject: Re: reading Freud

The abortion clinics in Louisiana always had a rocky road what with the heavy fundamentalist presence and all. The street where the clinic in Baton Rouge was located also had the town's first and only upscale strip joint, so there were always people walking up and down that street with little signs, protesting one of the two establishments.

My post office box was on that street, so I passed by a lot. I was younger then and more reckless and I am not so morally sparking clean that I'm above baiting these people every once in a while. Abortion is a tricky issue for me - I suppose it's tricky for everybody - but this was the time period when abortion doctors in the South were getting shot right and left, and I knew for damn sure I didn't approve of that. Ours rotated between several facilities; he had taken to flying in from Texas in a Kevlar vest.

They'd harass women who were trying to leave the facility as quietly as possible, women who were walking as if they'd been riding a horse for seven days, women in pain, their eyes red and swollen. I knew, watching this, that the anti-abortion party line contained at least one gaping hole. No woman has an abortion performed without pains of conscience. The guiltless abortion is a myth. We may well be incapable of it.

The issue is muddied, as are most issues, by the fact that we are not saints, far from it. There are people who give both sides of the argument a bad name: the shooters and the women who really do verge as close as possible to apathetic, like this woman in Minnesota? Wisconsin? somewhere in the great frozen central north who was apparently determined to drink both herself and her fetus to death; it was a tossup which would succumb first. The fetus had less resistance but the woman had been working at destroying her own body a lot longer.

Two days ago, John Salvi, the man who shot several women at two abortion clinics in the Boston area, apparently committed suicide in his prison cell by closing his head in a plastic garbage bag. The reaction in this area has been more mixed than I'd expect; there were fewer people than I thought hewing to the "good riddance" line. Nobody wanted him back, mind you, but I expected more people to succumb to the temptation to throw spitballs.

The mother of one of the women who had been killed said something along the lines of how now she and Salvi's mother had something in common.

From: Nichelle
Date: 3 December 1996
Subject: The Terminator

It's a sad day. I think they're killing The Petersons.

From: SAGReiss
Date: 3 December 1996
Subject: Lemon wedges

"May I take one of those?" "No." She reaches for one of the lemon wedges I was cutting. "I said no." "What you say to Liz? She out there crying." "I told her she couldn't have one of my lemon wedges." "I didn't know she cry about lemon." Of course she wasn't crying about that. She was crying because I was being an asshole for no good reason except that I was still exhausted from this week-end, room service called in so I had to do that too, and I don't like the dumb bitch to begin with. No one thought this odd. Columbine, you would not like the restaurant business. One of the other girls laughed and said: "You bully." Even the nice people in a restaurant are mean and rude. It was a weird day. Joey dropped a tray of thirty Cokes. One of the guests asked me if he'd be docked for the glasses. I said: "No, we'll just laugh at him and tease him for a few days." Liz had earlier said while we were out smoking: "I don't test well. I failed the NYNEX test, but I'm a 3.5 student at SU. That tells you something." Shiiit, it tells me that she's a dumb cunt and that getting good grades at some high-priced, chickenshit school doesn't mean shit. They haven't invented a test I can't pass. That's the only reason I got as far as I did academically. Test scores don't lie. I had been expecting a letter from Nichelle on the subject of the proceedure. I guess I just beat her to the punch on the Day of the Dead. Of course I had been writing that letter in my head for a couple of weeks. I'm always writing e-mail in my head. Sometimes it never makes it to the page. Or sometimes it turns up later. For example, I'm not sure whom you mean, Columbine, by the dadaists. In France this is a group of artists who eventually more or less migrated to surrealism. I'm not a big fan of either one. I like Celine, if that means anything to you, Journee au bout de la nuit and Mort a credit. I guess he's the French writer I feel closest to. Fuck it, maybe I'm just tired and braindead. I think I'll just fuck around and wait to eat spinach lasagne...

RECTVM VINVM
Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss

From: Columbine
Date: 3 December 1996
Subject: Re: Lemon wedges

Just upgraded my email software today, not entirely sure why I went to the trouble since I don't plan on using any of the features that weren't in the old version. Obsessive-compulsive, I suppose.

Gabriel, you're only now getting around to the Dada comments? You HAVE been busy. I suppose I belabor the obvious, but you need a job that doesn't field-strip your brain every day. I've worked in restaurants. I've had one restaurant job that was even remotely close to being satisfying/rewarding. The rest were miserable and I quit them as soon as I possibly could.

I'm not necessarily in a position to cast the first stone, since I'm in a fit of "boy, I need to quit my job" angst right now myself ... but that's beside the point.

Strange blessings never in Paradise
Fall from these beclouded skies.
-- Edwin Muir

From: SAGReiss
Date: 7 December 1996
Subject: Will comment when sober
RL MOO (The Real Life MOO)
"In the twenty-first century e-novels will be written online."
For more information, please see the RL MOO web site.
Valid commands are: WELcome, who, COnnect, quit, UPtime, version, or REQuest.
You must be twenty-one or older to connect. Please use your real name.
Type: co name password
Or: co guest
********* Please read "help disclaimer" after logging on. *********
*** Connected ***
Limbo
Woe unto you, unbaptized child. You are tottering on the brink of Sodom and Gomorrah. Silence prevails within these dark confines; only paging and remote emoting are allowed in this room.
For spiritual guidance (RL-MOO help), type 'help'.
To get away from the heat (Enter RL-MOO), go to Purgatorio. Type 'Pur'.
Last connected Sat Dec 7 03:54:13 1996 AKST from sa14.dreamscape.com
<Connected: Goldie (#231) at Sat Dec 7 12:23:18 1996 AKST.>
page goldie What's up, sis? Been sabotaging the MOO lately?
Your message has been sent.
Goldie pages, "No, not at all."
page goldie We were a little confused the other day.
Your message has been sent.

Goldie pages, "How so?"
page goldie I don't really know what was up. You'll have to ask John. We were both confused what you were doing with your prog bit.
Goldie pages, "Newt verb."
page goldie As I said, you'll have to talk to John about it. He may have taken away the prog bit. Perhaps he should have been a little more clear about how/why and to whom they are given.
Goldie pages, "Stop sounding so stuffy."
Goldie pages, "He really gave it to me so I could port paste, which we turned out to already have."
page goldie I'm sorry if you don't like my tone. As I told him: 'I don't give a fuck. You're the one who will have to clean up the mess.'
Goldie pages, "There wasn't any mess. It's a little verb that I copied directly from a Lambda help text."
Goldie pages, "I showed it to him anyway. He's seen it before."
Goldie pages, "COuld it be that you're a little...paranoid?"
page goldie Not at all. We were just a little confused. You kept logging off without logging on and then you were logged on as a guest in some weird way. There's no sense explaining it to me. I wouldn't understand. I'm sure you and John can figure it out.
Goldie pages, "Oh, that. My telnet program messed up and I got stuck as a guest. :)"
Goldie pages, "And the logging off was me testing the newt, probably."
Goldie pages, "If it's no use explaining to you, you probably shouldn't bring it up."
page goldie I bring it up because we were concerned. I don't know what newt is and don't care. The reason we don't want people to have prog bits is so that they won't clutter up the MOO with unnecessary verbs. We've got enough verbs.
Goldie pages, "As you say, he's the wiz, he's the one who worries about this stuff. If it doesn't concern you, don't mention it. You can't have it both ways."
Goldie pages, "I'm tired of you walking around with your little lectures and then ending with 'but I do't understand this stuff. Talk to him.'"
page goldie It does concern me and I was voicing that concern. I know that he was concerned too. That's why I suggested you talk to him.
Goldie pages, "I /have/."
Goldie pages, "Nothing he's ever said to me sounds half so nervous as you make him sound."
page goldie Well then, I'm sure it's all been cleared up.
Goldie pages, "Yeah, guess so."
page goldie I don't know why you would begrudge me a little worry. I'veinvested a lot of time, energy and money in this MOO. I care about itswell-being.
pur
Purgatorio
"Puro e disposto a salire alle stelle."
"Pure and ready to rise to the stars."
Exits: Up (to Paradiso), Limbo (to Limbo), and Down (to Inferno).
To private rooms: North (free), South (free), East (free), and West (free).
Goldie is here.
Goldie [to SAGReiss]: You're paranoid, dude. Face it.
You say, "I don't see the point of trading epithets."
Goldie says, "Okay. Lessee. You get to call me 'fucking paranoid' all you like, but if I mention it, I'm 'trading epithets?'"
You say, "Whatever, darling."
Goldie says, "I'm sure negatron's on top of all that stuff. You don't need to mention it."
You say, "As far as I'm concerned, that's fine. I'll discuss it with him."
Goldie says, "WHat a useless conversation."
You say, "I've had a hard day. I don't really care to discuss it any further. I'll talk with John and if I have anything further to say, I'll do so."
<Connected: angry johnny (#96) at Sat Dec 7 13:17:12 1996 AKST.>
angry johnny has arrived.
SAGReiss [to angry johnny]: What's up, bro?
angry johnny says to you, "installing netscape 3."
SAGReiss [to angry johnny]: God are you behind the times.
angry johnny says to you, "i couldn't be bothered downloading it. somebody gave me the disks."
SAGReiss [to angry johnny]: People actually buy Netscape?
angry johnny says to you, "no, this wasn't bought."
Goldie says, "I have to reinstall Netscape because the exe file disappeared mysteriously."
SAGReiss [to angry johnny]: It came in a box of Cheerios?
angry johnny says to you, "i don't know where it came from. it's not a purchased copy, just copied onto some diskettes."
angry johnny says, "i also got a MSIE 3.0 cd."
SAGReiss [to angry johnny]: What's that?
Goldie [to SAGReiss]: Different browser.
angry johnny says to you, "microsoft internet explorer"
Goldie [to angry johnny]: So, are you concerned about my misuses of my progbit?
You say, "I think I've got that. Nichelle sometimes uses it."
angry johnny asks Goldie, "what misuses?"
Goldie [to angry johnny]: Unnecessary verbs?
angry johnny says to Goldie, "oh. i don't give a fuck about that."
Goldie [to angry johnny]: Ah. Gotcha.
angry johnny says, "oh fuck"
Goldie [to angry johnny]: What?
angry johnny says to Goldie, "nothing. i was wondering why it was taking so long for my email to download. it was the attached porn picture."
Goldie [to angry johnny]: Who sent you that?
angry johnny says to Goldie, "mark, the guy who gave me these browsers."
SAGReiss [to angry johnny]: Someone has told me I can access UseNet, the trashiest of the porn sites, for free. It's something through newsgroup access...
angry johnny says to you, "bring up netscape. click Window and select News"
Goldie says, "Regretfully, I must leave this tutorial to go eat. Have a nice eeevening, gentlemen."
<Disconnected: Goldie (#231) at Sat Dec 7 13:46:22 1996 AKST.>
You ask, "Done. What next?"
angry johnny asks, "are there any folders in the left news window?"
You say, "C and C:/embarque/news default etc."
angry johnny says, "click one of the folders and see what happens"
You say, "It gives me some kind of fucked up message. Can't find etc."
angry johnny says, "you need to set up a news server for netscape. under Options/Mail and News preferences. Set the news server to news.dreamscape.com"
You say, "Hold on. My technical director will take over..."
You ask, "yo, what's up?"
angry johnny asks, "not too much. you?"
You say, "I guess I'm going to do whatever you were telling gabe to do"
You say, "oh, you can read this thing as a newsgroup? We can do that already, through a news reader thing"
angry johnny says, "in netscape, open the Options window. select Mail and News Prefs. click the Servers tab. in the News part there's a News (NNTP) Server field. put news.dreamscape.com there and OK"
You say, "ok I did that"
angry johnny says, "go to Window/Netscape News"
You say, "ok"
angry johnny says, "should be a little folder that says news.dreamscape.com (default news host)"
angry johnny says, "click it"
You say, "ok"
angry johnny asks, "what happened?"
You say, "it opened the little folder, and it lists..."
You say, "some news things... news.announce.newusers... etc"
angry johnny says, "if you do Options/Show all Newsgroups a really long list should grow there."
You say, "ok, doing that"
angry johnny says, "or not really long, but longer."
You say, "it's doing it, I guess..."
You ask, "ok... then?"
angry johnny says, "then you can pick newsgroups like alt.binaries.pictures.erotica.bestiality"
You ask, "was this whole thing just to get us to be able to look at a list of newsgroups, or was it more specific?"
You say, "do me, john"
angry johnny says, "now, if you were to read the messages on alt.binaries.pictures.tasteless you might get to see a picture of a dead person post-autopsy."
You say, "but we already have a thing to see newsgroups. You two are weird."
angry johnny asks, "does it show the pictures?"
You say, "what do you mean? If you select the message, then decode it the picture will appear"
angry johnny says to you, "with netscape the picture appears automatically."
angry johnny says, "maybe this has all been a waste of time."
You say, "well, maybe it will be more gabe-friendly with netscape"
angry johnny shrugs
You say, "no, thanks though. I think netscape may be easier than ours"
angry johnny says, "wow. netscape 3 loads a fuck of a lot faster."
You ask, "so... if you click the message, it comes up in the browser window?"
angry johnny says, "no, the news window is split three ways. it comes in the bottom part."
<Disconnected: angry johnny (#96) at Sat Dec 7 14:17:05 1996 AKST.>
angry johnny has disconnected.
Virgil leads angry johnny to another world.

RECTVM VINVM
Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss

From: SAGReiss
Date: 8 December 1996
Subject: Brunch

Janet [to Brian] What should I buy you for Christmas, a big, black dildo?
Brian [to Janet] I'd just rewrap it and give it back to you. At least I can get the real thing.
It was a weird day at work. Yesterday Liz got in a car accident and Joey had to open alone, which is a nightmare. I walked in at ten past eight. Joey was foaming at the mouth.
Mad_Greek_Woman [to SAGReiss] What's a matta you?
SAGReiss [to Mad_Greek_Woman] Nothing, what's up?
Mad_Greek_Woman [to SAGReiss] You s'posed be in at six.
SAGReiss [to Joey] Gee, I'm sorry. I guess I misread the schedule.
Joey [to SAGReiss] Don't even fucking talk to me.
Tomorrow Beth's going to hide and the mad Greek woman's going to say that she called in. The mad Greek woman's mother is dying. She said: "Joey's a crybaby. Yesterday was accident and you can't help you can't see straight." It helps being the most puctual, dependable worker. When I do fuck up, no one gets too mad.

RECTVM VINVM
Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss

From: SAGReiss
Date: 11 December 1996
Subject: A quarter past five

That's when I was to begin serving twelve to fifteen people breakfast at eight dollars a head. I woke up at three o'clock in the morning, as negatron said, a time to go to sleep, not to wake up. Only five people showed up. The Man asked me how I should bill it: "I was told twelve to fifteen, sir, billed to room 433." He said: "Can you give me the rest of that stuff to go and hit me for fifteen?" "No problem, sir." I threw the shit in two pizza boxes, wrote a bill for a hundred and twenty dollars and wrote in an eighteen dollar tip, fifteen percent. Then, me and Joey are standing around thinking up ways to torment the brain-dead busboy who at a foolish staff meeting yesterday afternoon once again brought up the idea that one of us should help him close the restaurant, which means do all the work as he jerks off, makes phone calls, goes to the bathroom, God knows what, milks the clock. Sixty people we've never heared of walk in the door. I said to Joey: "Let's get them out of here and clean up. Fuck Mark. We'll take the busser pay." "I was just thinking the same thing." So we screwed him out of about ten bucks. At a quarter to twelve the group of thirty we expected turned out to be sixty. "Fuck them, Joey. Where else can they go for a free lunch? They'll get the service they're paying for." It was a good day, considering we had ninety unexpected guests. I got my century, as cricket players say. There was no special panic and no fighting, except for a minor catfight between the girls, Mark and Joey. They were screaming at eachother in the kitchen. Me and all the guests could hear them on the floor: "If you want to get the fuck out of here early, you can just pick your ass up and work. You chose the wrong person to fuck with today, wench." Later Mark shows me a can of shaving cream: "I'm going to get back at Joleen. I'm going to spray that queen with shaving cream right between the legs. Then I'll rub her legs together." "Whatever, Mark."

RECTVM VINVM
Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss

From: Murder
Date: 13 December 1996
Subject: Bye!

I'm leaving school for the holidays and will be back January 5. Please update my email address.

Thanks,

Murder

From: Murder
Date: 13 December 1996
Subject: (no subject)

By the way, I forgot to mention that my address change will take effect on December 16. Until then, please send mail to my current address.

Thanks,

Murder

From: SAGReiss
Date: 13 December 1996
Subject: White trash

"Bobby was all fucked up last night and fell down the stairs. Granny's yelling down the hall: 'Who fell down the fucking stairs? You woke me up.'" Joey and his revolving door of roomates lives in Bobby's grandmother's house where Bobby and Derrek also live. It's amazing the people I work with. The housekeepers or room attendants as we're supposed to call the maids are the worst. They're always talking about beating the shit out of their kids. One of them once lit her ex-bf on fire when he came around for an unexpected late-night visit. She just waited for him to pass out on the couch, poured lighter fluid on him and stoked him up. He ran right out of the house naked and screaming. She said she hasn't seen him since.

RECTVM VINVM
Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss

From: Nichelle
Date: 14 December 1996
Subject: giddy-up, let's go...

I think there is something in the rhythm of fucking that lends itself to music. The pounding, the grinding, the movement, the breathing. I thought it was great, don't get me wrong. But somewhere in the middle of it all, my mind, brainwashed with all of this Holiday Cheer, started to accompany those rhythmic thrusts with Leroy Anderson's "Sleigh Ride". An added incentive to perform well? That had been the audition piece in my high school band. How did I do, Gaby? Did I get first chair?

Sex is always kind of a weird issue in the Reiss household. Along with food and drink, I guess. I have a more or less normal relationship with alcohol, and Gabe has a more or less normal relationship with food. I'm not sure where that leaves us with sex. I guess the fact that I'm a sexual mutant makes it impossible for us to have a normal sex life. Not that it matters to me- I don't know what a normal one is.

Our tub has been leaking, both cold and hot water. This is why (the guy is going to fix it on Monday) I ran out of hot water in the shower the other day. When I was in there, I had a weird flashback. I'm still a little reluctant to talk about it. Something that might have happened, or that my mind might have invented. I don't know much about suppressed memories. I have always had some idea of the things which had happened to me. Because I can remember some things so clearly, I am not really willing to accept that there are other hidden memories. The fact is, I haven't got the balls to tell you about my "memory" if that's what it was. The fact is, my whole life sometimes feels like a circus sideshow, all of my weirdness out there for all of the horrible Oklahoma schoolteachers to look at and say "I'm so glad I'm normal". Maybe later. For now, I've got a lot of things to get ready. I'm catching a cab at five-fifteen tomorrow morning. I'll see you all on the 29th...

Nichelle

From: Columbine
Date: 16 December 1996
Subject: Re: giddy-up, let's go...

Does anyone have a normal sex life? I certainly don't. What IS a normal sex life anyway?

Strange blessings never in Paradise
Fall from these beclouded skies.
-- Edwin Muir

From: Columbine
Date: 16 December 1996
Subject: Re: giddy-up, let's go...

Could have been worse; that other famous Leroy Anderson piece - "Syncopated Clocks" - could have been going through your head. If you've ever heard it, you'll understand. If not, never mind, I'll get the giggles by myself ....

Strange blessings never in Paradise
Fall from these beclouded skies.
-- Edwin Muir

From: Columbine
Date: 16 December 1996
Subject: A little excitement

On Saturday morning we were awakened at approximately nine-thirty (which is about three hours earlier than I would normally wake up on a weekend) by the sound of a large object colliding with the outer wall of the house just below our bedroom window. When we looked out said window, we saw a red Corvette sitting in the middle of our small front lawn.

Somerville is one of the most densely populated towns for its size in the U.S. People don't really have lawns here. Ours is a fairly steep rise - probably about fifty degrees, sloping up, from the sidewalk to the house. There is a chainlink fence down by the sidewalk and a tree not four feet from the window. The fence was intact, though somewhat bent. It looked for all the world like the car had somehow managed to vault the fence and land itself in the only rectangular space in the yard large enough to hold it, without damaging the tree, the house, or even causing any major body crumpling in the car. The foundation of the house has some red paint scrapes but is otherwise ok - which is good, otherwise the driver would have been in bed with us.

Someone proceeded through a stop sign without seeing him. He was probably driving too fast - even though this is a residential area, our street is one of the few connecting roads to Interstate 93 and Boston proper, and people drive it like demons at all hours. He swerved to avoid the other driver (and succeeded - the other driver and his car were untouched) and landed in our yard.

His car is drivable but it's one of those plastic body things - a couple of cracks and missing chunks, and he's out a thousand bucks. On the whole, though, everybody got lucky, and it made for a very exciting morning, except that one of our cats was traumatized and wouldn't come out from under the bed until two hours after everyone left.

My favorite moment was when our landlord and his wife came up. They're in their late sixties, Irish as all getout, and sharp as a tack. The landlady - little old woman and she takes no s**t - had a plastic grocery bag. Okay, so she's carrying something. She opened it and pulled out a Polaroid camera and calmly began photographing the scene. They've been renting this house, mostly to college students, for ten years now. Nothing fazes them anymore.

Strange blessings never in Paradise
Fall from these beclouded skies.
-- Edwin Muir

From: SAGReiss
Date: 17 December 1996
Subject: Misorderly conduct

Those first pained strains of the Ninth, which have always sounded to me as if the orchestra were still tuning up, that first sip of cool, anis-and-liqorice Ricard, sound and taste better when I've been beaten, crushed and humiliated. I did over fifty covers for lunch, earned over seventy dollars and was rewarded with two bitter complaints, both of which were only half my fault, though ultimately I must and do take full responsibility. I can remember minute mistakes I've made in this business years and years later. One guy who came in recently after a long absence was stunned that I remembered that he drank ginger ale. I remembered because a year ago he ordered one and I forgot it. The shame. Llowell, who saw that I was more broken-up about it than he was, tried to comfort me, insisting that I come to the company Christmas party tonight. Fuck, I don't even think I'll eat. Just drink my Ricard and wallow in my hurt and tell my woes to Matilda, who is sad herself because Nichelle has gone home for the holidays. Sunday I thought she was in heat. She smelled bad, kind of a rancid cunt-smell. I'm not sure. Perhaps she always smells that way and my nose was simply having a good day. I don't know if one can see it in my photograph, but I've got a rather prominent nose, which has suffered a terrible beating, a factory accident, a baseball accident and a couple of operations. Holly ("If you come in my mouth, you're getting it back.") should get employee-of-the-month for showing up today. Her ex-bf, who has stalked her, come to the hotel and beaten the shit out of her, broke into her house and stole seven hundred dollars of Christmas gifts for her daughter, among other things. She was talking shit yesterday, so when I saw her this morning I said: "You aren't in jail yet?" "I'm out on six hundred dollars bail. I fucked him up." She went over to the project where her Puerto Rican ex lives, hid behind some bushes and attacked him with a two foot pipe. As they struggled, the cops came, eight of them. They dragged Felix off of her and she wacked him twice with the pipe as they held him. One of the cops drew his gun: "Drop the weapon." She threw it at him. Eight cops jumped her, threw her into a briar patch and handcuffed her. Both she and Felix were already covered in dogshit from the fight. When the eight cops were finally able to subdue the handcuffed lady, they took her downtown and booked her for assault, possession of a weapon and "misorderly conduct". She was out in a couple of hours. All charges except the misdemeanor were dropped. I told her: "Holly, don't worry about the disorderly conduct. They'll give you community service or a fifty-dollar fine. You had better sleep with your eyes open."

RECTVM VINVM
Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss

From: SAGReiss
Date: 18 December 1996
Subject: No sympathy from Shitass

Joey, room service Mark and I all clocked in on time in uniform at six this morning. It was an ugly sight. "I'm still shitfaced." "I must have taken a spill. I've got a bruise on my arm." "You look like you need a drink." "Obviously I need a drink, but this is not the place." "I stayed home and got drunk with my cat." "Can I borrow your cat? I need someone to get drunk with." "I'm going to put the cat in a twelve-paw program." I cannot imagine what the guests must have thought, three balding, drunken thirty-year-old men with a bad case of red-eye wandering around the dining room like ghosts. "We'd better get ahead, Joey. I'm not moving too fucking fast." It was awful. Guess who looked the worst? You lose. It was a trick question. The day bartender looked the worst. He was so fucked up last night he took a room in the hotel. Why go home and get yelled at? We had to call to wake him up at eleven. He came down unwashed, unshaven, looking for a toothbrush. "I can't work. I'm too sick. I'm still drunk."

RECTVM VINVM
Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss

From: SAGReiss
Date: 19 December 1996
Subject: The mothers' virus

I've received an e-mail message from my mother (We've received others from Nichelle's mother and the clarinet listserv.), to whom I shall forward a copy of this, warning me about an e-mail virus called PENPAL GREETING or some such bullshit. As I read the message I was gripped with terror. I thought, anyone with a brain and a desire to trash strangers' hard drives (an unlikely combination, I admit) would send out precisely such a chain-mail message: "Beware the dreaded BLOWJOB virus. Please forward this message to your friends and loved ones." I hustled out of the shitter, which anyone who knows me knows is an important place in my morning life, and ran virus scans on every conceivable program. My 'puter's clean. Anyone who sets up a chain-letter anti-virus message is either very fucking dumb or a psycho trying to send out a virus. I hereby ask all of you, in particular Mrs Reiss, please never to send me such a message. Any responsible person with a warning would say: "Please don't use this as a chain letter. Don't forward it to anyone. Just use the information to advise your friends and family." I also ask you, my geek friends, if a virus can really be caught through e-mail. I have been told that it couldn't. I know we had a virus called... Nichelle can tell you, which slightly fucked up my MSWord until we installed the virus scanner. I have always believed that there's nothing safer than a paper copy, and I've got paper copies of the two thousand pages of the World's e-mail and most of what's on the web site. I just don't want my fucking hard drive to die on me. Anyone know of a virus scanner which will detect shit as it downloads? It's simply not practical to check every fucking e-mail message for a virus. I went to the bar for the first time in months tonight. I had given Nichelle all of our money and hadn't made enough cash to show up. I had a good time. I'm going to MOO a bit, then have supper. I'm on at six again tomorrow, my sixth day in a row. Joey asked me to work for him Saturday: "Fuck you, Joey." I'm already working every fucking Christmas, New Years and in-between shift for everybody. I won't even make any fucking money, except for OT or if I get lucky. On the other hand, I can't get lucky sitting home...

RECTVM VINVM
Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss

From: SAGReiss
Date: 19 December 1996
Subject: Fuck up

That was just a little mistake that I accidentally added my mother's, father's and brother-in-law's addresses to the list. Please do not reply to those last three addresses.
Thank you.

RECTVM VINVM
Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss

From: Columbine
Date: 19 December 1996
Subject: Re: Fuck up

You can't get a virus via email. You *can* get a virus via attachments to email, which, when you think about it, are just downloads.

Viruses are always attached to executable files (read:programs). Things you run, not things you read passively. They can't spread until you run them. So most documents, things you would open inside another program, like pictures and text files, are safe.

The lone exception is Microsoft Word documents, which CAN carry a virus. They can do this because Word has a little macro language, and it can be set up so that when you open a document, you are actually running a little program inside that document.

There are programs that can stay in memory and automatically check when new files come in, but you might find the cure worse than the disease. I don't use those, so I can't recommend any by name. I use MacAfee on the PCs I run; I run it every couple of months and that seems to suffice. The virus threat is greatly exaggerated unless you download software from the Web daily.

Strange blessings never in Paradise
Fall from these beclouded skies.
-- Edwin Muir

From: SAGReiss
Date: 23 December 1996
Subject: The Shrimping

Back at the bar. I hadn't sat down for half an hour before there were a dozen upside-down shot glasses in front of me. I was a little embarassed so I ran the bar. It's a funny place. You walk past the crackhouses and there's this seedy, sleazy, shabby broken-down house on a corner. Everything about it is dingy and dreary. Inside the music blares. Alcohol impairs hearing, and black people just make more noise than whites. The music is so damned loud you have to shout. The bar was redecorated last summer under the direction of the owner's mistress, the night barmaid and manager. From the two long walls of the rectanglar room hang huge mirrors. Everything else is painted in gaudy green and gold. It looks like a poor man's Xanadu. On the top right side of the bar sits my bottle of Ricard, French anisette which seems about as out of place as a white intellectual in a forgotten ghetto gin joint. One afternoon the ladies were talking about their lives at home (irl I'm tempted to say). Women my age living with their daughters and their daughters' children. Families beating the shit out of eachother for no reason. This new barmaid is a stunning beauty, about six feet tall in heels with a model's long, lean legs, a jutting black ass, thin waist, huge tits and a large, full, movie-star face, a black Elizabeth Taylor in "Who's afraid of Virginia Woolf?" Another afternoon a white trash co-worker of one of the regulars was there, drunk to death. He was babbling about some high school wrestling matches thirty years ago. When he left, Buster said: "I have some white friends, not many." Anthony, the owner's side-kick, bouncer, collector, was in there yesterday as we watched the Minnesota-Green Bay game. Anthony is the same size as those guys, about six foot three, three hundred and fifty pounds. In other words he is about three times my weight and claims he could still outrun me, which I don't doubt. Shrimping is this new thing I learned about at work. I can't quite figure out the etymology, but it consists of putting a straw up the bum and blowing or sucking. I'm not sure what pleasure is s'posed to be derived from this activity. Maybe some day I'll get a respectable job and know someone who isn't either gay or black. For the moment I've got a kind of marginalized life style...

RECTVM VINVM
Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss

From: SAGReiss
Date: 24 December 1996
Subject: Poor man's Xanadu

Having made occasional attempts to create a literary forum on the list or on the MOO, I think I shall try again. I can't remember if it was before or after my last e-mail, but these words have been searing my brain for the past couple of days:

In Xanadu did Kubla Kahn
A stately pleasure dome decree:
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
Down to a sunless sea.

Never mind the bollocks (I'm just trying to give proper respect to negatron's cultural reference frame.) about opium dreams and travelling salesmen. This is a carefully composed and beautifully finished piece of work. When an artist is fucking or writing, he doesn't answer the doorbell. End of story. This is poetry at its highest. The meaning is completely irrelevant, the pleasure purely phonetic and syntactical. I think most of us sense this from a superficial reading. I assume no one on this list will read these exquisite lines and not see their overpowering beauty. Obviously I will not be told that this is more dead white male shit and that I need to read more Tony Morrison. Fuck you. I don't read anymore, except my e-mail and the newspaper. I believe the beauty of these words comes from four sources (in order of importance): alliteration (consonants), inversion (syntax), meter (stress or tonic accent) and rhyme (which I believe is essentially vocalic, an outgrowth of medieval assonance). The alliteration (Stabreim in German) is -du/did, Kubla/Kahn, dome/decree, river/ran, measureless/man, sunless/sea. The inversions are In Xanadu/did Kubla Kahn a stately pleasure dome decree, did/Kubla Kahn, a stately pleasure dome/decree. We can see them more clearly through a prose translation of the text:

Kubla Kahn decreed a stately pleasure dome in Xanadu.

You notice that the alliterations and inversions go together. The meter is very regular, and strongly heard. By my scansion the only two irregularities are the accent on (measure)-less and (Down) to, the latter being almost impossible to read as unstressed. More generally the rhythm, so noble in the first line with the caesura in the middle, slows in the second line to make time for the blends (st-, -tel-, pl-, -cr-), quickens because of the -r/r- in river ran and the long word measureless, and stops short in the foreshortened trimeter of the last line. As for the rhyme (This is a pure guess.) I would bet that in Coleridge's English Kahn, ran and man rhyme. Even if I'm wrong (and we all know that SAGReiss is always right) the consonnance of the -n and the eye-rhyme of the -a- remains. Please feel free to give your comments or criticisms. When I feel up to it I'll try to tackle the next sentence. Merry Christmas.

RECTVM VINVM
Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss

From: SAGReiss
Date: 25 December 1996
Subject: Two quick thoughts

First, I realized this morning in the shower that my prose translation last night turned Coleridge's near-perfect iambs into perfect trochees. Second, how about if someone else tackles the next sentence:

So twice five miles of fertile ground
With walls and towers were girdled round:
And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills,
Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree;
And here were forests ancient as the hills,
Enfolding sunny spots of greenery.

It's not that I'm lazy or uninspired, but why should I do all the work? This is s'posed to be interactive...

RECTVM VINVM
Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss

From: SAGReiss
Date: 27 December 1996
Subject: Kubla Kahn

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure dome decree:
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
Down to a sunless sea.
So twice five miles of fertile ground
With walls and towers were girdled round:
And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills,
Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree;
And here were forests ancient as the hills,
Enfolding sunny spots of greenery.

But oh! that deep romantic chasm which slanted
Down the green hill athwart a cedarn cover!
A savage place! as holy and enchanted
As e'er beneath a waning moon was haunted
By woman wailing for her demon lover!
And from this chasm, with ceaseless turmoil seething,
As if this earth in fast thick pants were breathing,
A mighty fountain momently was forced:
Amid whose swift half-intermitted burst
Huge fragments vaulted like rebounding hail,
Or chaffy grain beneath the thresher's flail:
And 'mid these dancing rocks at once and ever
It flung up momently the sacred river.
Five miles meandering with a mazy motion
Through wood and dale the sacred river ran,
Then reached the caverns measureless to man,
And sank in tumult to a lifeless ocean:
And 'mid this tumult Kubla heard from far
Ancestral voices prophesying war!
The shadow of the dome of pleasure
Floated midway on the waves;
Where was heard the mingled measure
From the fountain and the caves.
It was a miracle of rare device,
A sunny pleasure dome with caves of ice!

A damsel with a dulcimer
In a vision once I saw:
It was an Abyssinian maid,
And on her dulcimer she played,
Singing of Mount Abora.
Could I revive within me
Her symphony and song,
To such a deep delight 'twould win me,
That with music loud and long,
I would build that dome in air,
That sunny dome! those caves of ice!
And all who heard should see them there,
And all should cry, Beware! Beware!
His flashing eyes, his floating hair!
Weave a circle round him thrice,
And close your eyes with holy dread,
For he on honeydew hath fed,
And drunk the milk of Paradise.

RECTVM VINVM
Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss

From: SAGReiss
Date: 28 December 1996
Subject: Christmas Day

This morning I braved my latent agoraphobia and gallopping paranoia and went to the mall. Yesterday I had spent my last dollar buying a bottle of Amaretto di Saronno, so I had to take money out of the ATM (which I don't like to do. I want to live off of my tips and pay my bills with my check, but we've been so slow the past two weeks and what with my nightly bar tab...) and find the kitchen supplies store. The place wasn't too mobbed, which surprised me on the Saturday after Christmas and before New Year's Eve (Saint Sylvester). I quickly located the shop and bought two brandy snifters. I came home, did the laundry, washed the dishes, vaccumed, scrubbed and mopped. I'm ready for Nichelle to teleport in on Sunday evening, though we won't be able to spend Saint Sylvester out because I always have to work every fucking holiday at that bullshit hotel. On Christmas Day me and Jim Brennen worked, as we did last year, and I got stiffed by a priest. We had this free Continental buffet and a dozen people (including a fucking priest in full uniform) came by, were served coffee, helped themselves at the buffet and ignored or didn't notice the Christmas J&B box I had placed next to the pastry tray. Jim said: "He was probably pissed off that he had to work too." Later that day Jim's fourth future-ex-wife called and they got into a huge brawl. A family came into the bar, so I picked up the table. I had nothing else to do. They left me thirteen dollars and change. I didn't have the heart to tell Jim.

RECTVM VINVM
Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss

From: Nichelle
Date: 31 December 1996
Subject: December 16th

Well, since we talked about it Gabe, I'll tell you how they transport sports teams. I don't know about the pros, but the college teams, and Western Washington University's football team specifically, fly coach on Delta. You should have seen them getting on the plane, all lined up single file as the coach asked them "got a headache?" "No, sir." "How about you, Marks?" "No, coach." They won their big game. They snored (god only knows how many of them) the whole way from Cincinnatti to Seattle. Every seat on the plane was full. I had three in front and behind me and two to my left. I gave one of them my breakfast. Mom and stepdad met me at the airport and we had a turkey dinner the first night. I won't tell you how many starches, darling. Shit, my family gained about 100 shared between the four of them, plus the cat. They were calling me "Slim". No shit. Spunky (the kitty) isn't so spunky anymore. I think they should change her name to "old, fat, lusty, asthmatic barmaid". It was almost like a real Thanksgiving dinner, except that my grandparents weren't there. Apparently, there was quite a scene between my Nana and Poppa. Now my Poppa (my Mom's dad) is tall and lean with black & silver hair (before he went gray, his nickname was Blackie). He's the Marlboro Man. Lights his cigarettes with a burning branch out of the fire. All of his girlfriends are thirty. But he's a little blind, so when he mistakenly picked up a wheat roll and wanted a white one, they forgave him and didn't mind so much that he put it back. Except Nana. My grandmother- No, hold off a bit. First, about Nana. She's a small, tough, mean Italian bitch who hates my grandfather with a huge and horrible biting nasty evil passion, to put it mildly. So when the rolls got around to her, Angelina Ventimiglio (now Steele) slammed her fist down on the table and yelled, "I'm not touching those things! You never know where his hands have been." Sorry to have missed that one. But I've had my share of excitement. Two trips to the dentist (a filling in my upper right something or other) one to the optometrist and another coming up to get my new lenses, Christmas shopping, new clothes, old friends, and a hundred thousand rumors. Which brings me to Murder. Haven't seen him yet, and I'll see him before any of you see this, but this is the first time I've been mad at him. I got a call from an oboe player a few days after I arrived. And after a few minutes into the conversation, he gently squeezed in a question about whether or not I had gotten pregnant, since the tuba player in the Washington-Idaho Symphony told him I had. Shit John, why the fuck did you have to go tell David? Maybe I don't have a right to be pissed, since I tell the whole universe about my life and its every detail. But the fact is this: I only told my mother and this list. I dismissed the whole thing by saying that I'd heard that too. Can I trust you or can't I, John? We've been friends for how long? Did you really think I wanted the whole fucking Iwash symphony to know about this? Enough said. You're a big boy. Live and learn. In the future I'll make my own announcements, ok? Enough said. Beyond that, it's just been a whole lotta bullshit. I've barely had time to breathe with all of the people to see and boxes of shit to sift through. I didn't really need a homecoming to realize that I'm glad I left, and everybody here seems to be stuck eight months in the past still. Everyone is so happy to see me, but after that wears off I get the judgments and lectures. There are some people I don't even want to deal with. I just want to go home. I miss Gaby, I miss Matilda, I want a decent meal, and I want to get my ass online. Screw this. I'm going to take a shower.

Nichelle

November 1996

January 1997

vr: 1996

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