Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Veep me

The Dark Buddha sits resplendent behind the Party Chimp, taciturn and knowing in his lush purple tie, spun of colors so rich they burn up the cathode rays, clandestinely mesmerizing the audience.

Occasionally the corners of his mouth will dimple ever so slightly, as the pacemaker tickles the ripe scarlet flesh under his sternum.

24 hours earlier, on 24, our hero the crypto-Canadian Brat Packer turned meta-G-Man and real-time utilitarian, meets his brother for the first time in six-plus years. They exchange small talk in the foyer, meeting the wife and the boy, before retiring to the home office, where Jack rips an electrical cord from a lamp, ties his brother to a chair, and proceeds to commence the torture. Close-up on on a contorted face consumed by a gaping maw of mouth sucking on a cellophane bag wrapped around his head: the housewife's waterboard. Cut to black.

On the teleprompter, the über pledge captain reads from the fever dream of another Houstonian.

"We defended the city as best we could. The arrows of the Comanches came in clouds. The war clubs of the Comanches clattered on the soft, yellow pavements. There were earthworks along the Boulevard Mark Clark and the hedges had been laced with sparkling wire. People were trying to understand. I spoke to Sylvia. 'Do you think this is a good life?' The table held apples, books, long-playing records. She looked up. 'No.'

"Patrols of paras and volunteers with armbands guarded the tall, flat buildings. We interrogated the captured Comanche. Two of us forced his head back while another poured water into his nostrils. His body jerked, he choked and wept. Not believing a hurried, careless and exaggerated report of the number of casualties in the outer districts where trees, lamps, swans had been reduced to clear fields of wire we issued entrenching tools to those who seemed trustworthy and turned the heavy-weapons companies so that we could not be surprised from that direction. And I sat there getting drunker and drunker and more in love and more in love. We talked."

-- Donald Barthelme, "The Indian Uprising"

At the after-parties, red cocktails flow and the bards recite rhymeless epics of invisible literature as the loyal secretaries perform their best Lynndie England impressions for the crowd. Several garner those gratuitous standing ovations for which the gathered chambers are known.

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