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Archive for the ‘Smokey Grey’ Category


Wednesday, June 27th, 2007

“For a Green Morocco”, Essaouira, Morocco


“After watching Hannibal, I theorize that the serial killer genre is meant to perpetuate mass mental illness. It glamorizes narcissism.”

Well, it’s important, Polly. You gotta have monsters to feed on the tribe. And you gotta have slow people to feed to the monsters. So serial killers feeding on narcissist leftovers gives the rest of us the chance to go about our normal business and thins the herd.

“Ah, so narcissists are slow… I used to be a fat narcissist.”

Yeah, they always stop and look at themselves. It’s important to keep slow people around you for when the monsters attack. I used Mom for that for years. Worked too; death visited and I got away.

“My generation is the generation of irony. You are more with my generation than your generation.”

Why, is that the decision of the Irony Board?

“OK, more about irony. I used to think it was just a fashion, but now I think it’s an oppression. Because They want everyone to feel superior; it’s a way of desensitizing my generation so we can’t feel anything about the bad shit that’s going down.”

I’m more from the Mad Max school of movies.

“Yes. Mad Max is cool. Look what he turned into, though.”

That’s exactly what I was thinking! I wonder what I’ll think of the movies next time I see them. Everything changes.

“Yes, I never thought Mel Gibson could age. I thought of him as a silver-tinged hairy beefcake.”

Do you get a side order of salt lick with that?



Tuesday, June 19th, 2007


I wrote down an idea for a Smokey Grey plot from reading an article about Einstein. The article says Einstein’s relatives went through his stuff, got rid of anything that made him look bad or less than perfect.

“That’s terrible.”

Yes, that fact, combined with how most scientists thought Einstein was ‘out of it’ the last two-thirds of his life. He was not considered a factor in the equation anymore, even though he started the equation.

“But it turns out he was.”

He was what?

“He was on cue, on ball. He anticipated some of the intricacies of modern string theory.”

He pointed out some serious problems with quantum mechanics. He said the universe would have to be modeled algebraically. And now they think he’s right, due to string theory details.

So Smokey Grey’s case, he finds out the family came across the folder labeled “farts”. Embarrassed, they 86’d it. It turns out that farts really was the answer that was the Unified Field Theory.

“This sounds a little juvenile.”

And FARTS’ gonna have to stand for something. You know, “FINAL ANSWER ROTATED THROUGH SPACE” or something, and now of course we’ll never know.

That’s the only thing not used in my pocket notebook besides one old rant about the rich.

“What’s the old rant?”

We’ve all heard it before:

All philosophers try to fit messy reality into their neat, preconceived constructs. They all seem to think if you kill God or the Evil State, Pure Good Man will rise to paradise. None of them even get close to the basic truth.

In the Beginning, the Strong took what they wanted. And they made laws so they could keep what they stole. They hired thugs called police and armies and judges and jails to keep what they got, and keep the poor in place.

The Rich Rule. They run the world for their benefit. What is good or right for mankind or the Earth has nothing to do with it. The Rich rule for the Rich.

Laws are made to benefit the rich. Governments work for the rich. Good, right, morality have nothing to do with it. It’s all about the Gots protecting what they Got. And help them get what little you got, too.

The Rich are what is wrong with the world.



Tuesday, June 12th, 2007

“Off the grid. That’s where we gotta go. Off the grid where they can’t find us and there’s no electricity.” Grey’s in a harrumpf. He sits on the salon couch, raising a puff of dust.

“Why do we have to go off the grid, Smokey?” Polly Pureheart’s voice sounds like Rocky the Squirrel from Rocky and Bullwinkle.

“Well, it’s safer off the grid. As long as you’re on grid, tapping into their resources using their services, they can track you. Know where you are. Know what you’ve used. Go off grid, they can’t find you.”

“This would be hard, Smokey. I don’t know if it’ll have any effect. But mutantkind’s gotta start preparing for a post energy age if the Earth’s gonna survive.” Pureheart snuggles up to Grey’s side. He pats and smoothes her hair.

“Yes, Polly. Sometimes, we won’t have refrigerators. And no hot water. We could dip in and out of the cybercafes, but that still leaves tracks. They can see where you accessed and when. So basically, to go off grid we’d have to shut down our cyber selves.”

“We could access, but we couldn’t send e-mail, couldn’t use blogs…”

“And no cell phone calls, Polly. No long distance anywhere. No airplanes, though boats and trains might be OK. If they take cash, and a smile. No ATMs. No border crossings.”

Pureheart bolts upright. “Borders aren’t relevant. I like the idea of the complete freedom of a human being. Anything that’s administrative law can be discarded.”

“Who decides?”

“All that matters is if you’re a rat who can get out of his cage.” Polly Pureheart the romantic. She paces up and down the salon. Grey’s prone on the couch. He crosses his arms.

“I’m a good rat,” Grey asserts matter-of-factly. He squeaks, “Someday I will make the holy journey to Rodentia, that Great Rat Trap in the Sky Reached on a Stairway of Cheese.” He lisps, “We rats have great mythsss…”

Polly stops pacing, giggles, asks, “What are the Great Rat Myths?”

“One of them is Build a Better Rat Trap and the World Will Beat a Path to Your Door. We got that one started, passing around. Pretty soon everybody’s busy trying to build better traps while we ate all their grain.”

Pureheart sits down, lays her head on Smokey’s lap.

Grey spreads out his arms demonstratively. “And there’s the Great Rat Moon. Once every thirteen Mouse moons, comes Rat Moon. We all go out in the dark and worship this large chromium rat trap that our Great Leader almost escaped. We worship the bits of leader left encrusted in the trap.”

“Oh, dear.”

“We also worship a special clan of rats, the Venice Water Rat Clan. They ate the city’s cats.”

“I hate to think of the kittens vs. the rats here in Morocco.”

“You think the rats eat the sick little kitty cats, Polly?” He tickles her side playfully.

“Definitely.” Pureheart notes her rising nausea.

“Nature’s garbage disposal. Cheaper than an undertaker. More honest, too. Rats should run all our funeral homes. We’d just eat the dead.”

“Why do you say that?”

“It’s food.”

“Ew! No; I mean why are undertakers dishonest?”

“Oh, there’s been a whole expose on that. They lie about what things cost. They lie about what the law requires, usually something more expensive. They arrange their showrooms and their tours psychologically so you tend to choose another thousand more to start with. They also don’t do very well keeping track of peoples’ bodies and they don’t bury or burn the right body.”

“Oh dear, Smokey.”

“Yes, Polly. Would you want an undertaker inserting things into *your* daughter? I think NOT! How’d we get on to that anyway? Oh yeah, the Great Rat Myths.”

“I think they’ve made off with some of the cats here.”

“The undertakers, or the Rats?”

“No, silly. I was thinking of –”

Grey cuts her off. “Oh, the undertakers were also selling body parts and organs for the medical replacement factories. Only just like used cars, they would roll back the odometer and tell you it was from a much younger person, healthy. They also sent a few diseased people parts out. Quite a scandal. ”

She’s not gonna let Grey get away with any bald assertions. “What evidence do you have for this, Smokey? Is this one of your solved cases?”

Grey ignores the question. “Rats are definitely more honest than undertakers. The rats look at you as you’re dying, as they nibble you, eating little bits and pieces. They look you right in the eye, and say, ‘What do ya think of THAT, buddy’ as they swallow a piece of your cheek.”

“And this is when you’re still alive?”


“I would think they’d wait until after you were dead.”

“Oh no, they’re more honest than that. All they care about is if you’re slow enough and feeble enough to eat. If you move a little bit, that’s all right. Adds flavor.”

“How do you know all this, Smokey?”

“I used to work with rats. Some called them Collection Lawyers. Everybody hates collection lawyers. Even collection lawyers.”

“Oh dear. So, finish your story. How can we get off the Grid?”

“We have to go to America,” Grey says. “Take all our money out, stop using banks, no more ATMs, no long distance phone calls to your mother, nothing in our name, utilities, nothing. Shut down our Internet accounts. No more e-mail to any of our friends. Drop out of electronic civilization, and stay away from places like England that have a video camera every 20 feet.”

He continues: “Gotta have some sort of population around you, otherwise your body heat would stand out. Misdirect view away from you, camouflage as one of the ants. Or we can just act real crazy and loud and swear on the streets and wave our arms and no one would pay attention to us this way too. Become so obvious they just don’t see you anymore.”

Polly says, “I’m afraid the end point of your logic is lucid insanity, Smokey.”



Friday, June 8th, 2007


Reporter Polly Pureheart poses patiently. Private Eye Smokey Grey inserts his key into the door. A Moroccan door, blue. The key halts its turn in the lock. Smokey bends down, rubs his fingers along something on the lower third of the door. It’s a mysterious mark, Arabic writing in chalk. Low, as though written by a child. The author asserted the mark over a film of chalk dust. The film indicates many prior etchings have occurred, and have been dutifully smudged off.

Smokey and Polly step through the dirty blue door into a dark kitchen. The musty apartment doesn’t have many amenities, but what it lacks in comfort, it makes up for in magic ambiance… step outside the door into crooked alley with buildings old and unstraight leaning between irregular stone arches and you’re in foreign movie land. Stay inside the apartment and the city caravans its never silent soundtrack by the blue door, the only door.

Smokey makes a discovery: “Look, Polly, there are panties growing like fungus on the kitchen chairs. There’s one chair, there are two chairs… it’s like the Bandysnatch was here.”

Smokey feels a pair of panties. It’s inside-out, and hung to dry on the back of the kitchen chair. “It’s wet…” He rubs the moisture thoughtfully between his thumb and middle finger.

“The Wet Bandysnatch?”

“Yes. The snatcher of bits bandied.”

“And it leaves panties on the chairs. Ah, the Case of the Wet Bandysnatch… Oh, Smokey Grey!”

“Smokey Grey…” Grey growls. “Ruddy Red?”

“What did you say?” Polly asks.

“You look like a ruddy red lumberjack with your sunburn.”

“I look like a guy?” Polly’s elfin face shows slight irritation, puckering worry lines between her eyebrows. The sunburn enhances the contrast of her skin with the lily whites of her eyes.

“Well, in your case it would be more Limber Jill,” Smokey says.

“Oh, OK.” She follows him into their clammy tiled salon. It’s hung with Pureheart’s wax art. To her dismay, beads of water have condensed on the art. She dabs it with a tissue.

Smokey settles on the couch, unwraps a bar of chocolate. Doses are broken off in a manner so as to round one edge. It is a delicately nibbled candy bar. Its perfume wafts over to Polly. Smells like an orange, she thinks.

“A lot of crazy shit comes out your mouth, Smokey,” Polly reflects. “But you look dignified, somber, composed.”

She settles next to Smokey, sitting Indian style on the couch. She wears a traditional Indian shirt over beat-up jeans. Smokey sticks some chocolate on a needle. The needle is mounted on a makeshift platform, a Philip K. Dick book. He lights the pellet of chocolate. Holds the orange flame eye level in judgement.

“I may look composed,” Smokey says, “but every now and then They look away, and one of Us slips out, dances about. They can’t keep their eye on Us all the time.”

He blows out the flame, releasing a thick white smoke plume.

“Oh yes They can,” Polly says. “They watch you.”

“There are a lot of Us in here. They make most of Us stand in line.”

“I caughtcha. I catch what you say when you think I’m zoning out.”

“Oh, do you work for Them?” Smokey asks, tenderly.

He passes the needle platform to Polly, capturing the smoke under a jelly jar. She tips it up, takes a sip.

“Oh, zone. Ozone. You’re my surrealogram…” Grey waxes.


“You’re my surrealogram to the future.”

Polly tries a Dadaist comeback: “Are you going to eat me?”

“No, there were discussions of eating you. but then you came up with the conversations. so we decided it’d be like killing the golden tape recorder goose.”

“Phew. I hate it when you put an apple on my head, Burroughs. I love you.”

“Don’t worry, Polly, I’m just a babbler. I’m a psycho logical babbler from way back.”

The duo passes the smoke cup in silence for a while. They relax in collapsed comfort on their salon couch, watching the intricate riotous tiled wall.

“I know why they have these tiled walls,” says Polly. “They’re like psychedelic bursts.” The tiles explode in firecracker pattern and color.

“Yes,” says Smokey. “There were a lot of drugs in Africa in the old days so maybe after the brown sameness of riding camels through desert in sun, they came to the cities, did drugs, and watched the wall tiles explode. These heavily patterned tiles are rock concert light shows. Toss in some hookas, a few belly dancers and you have a mixed media sound and vision art performance.”

“And I can see how the pattern represents Universality.”

“Repeated patterns symbolize the everywhere-ness of God: God is all, everything, complex, complicated, the core and the source. Rather like the DNA which creates bioforms, or the underlying quarks which build reality. Or maybe the sand scratches their eyeballs and they see a soft unfocused undulating wave of dancing color instead of the thousands of individual intricacies constituting the pattern.”

Smokey and Polly relax without talking for several minutes. The volume of street murmur amps up, permeates the tiled walls, the thin plastic windows into the apartment. Polly loses her focus in the sea of tile. A kitten mews piteously, repeatedly, insistently. The mew becomes louder, finally punctuating itself into Polly’s consciousness, and then she loses it in the rising murmur.

“They’re upping the volume of the street noise again,” she observes. “We gotta start talking; they’re on commercial break.”

“They touch the knobs on people to make it louder or softer,” says Smokey. “They’re listening. They attend to our soundtrack.”

“They touch the knobs on people?” Polly asks.

“Yeah, They nudge the knobs on people. Animals too.”

“Are the people constructs?”

“No, Polly,” Smokey explains. “The constructs are pre-set. So it’s only necessary to nudge the knobs for real people. Sometimes They don’t have to do it manually, because some of people knobs are temperature sensitive, and some of knobs are density sensitive.”

Pureheart thinks of mass psychosis and propaganda. “Why do the knobs sense density, Smokey?”

“Well, Polly, take the Texas Rabbits as an example. When the rabbits fuck too many of themselves into existence they develop a nervous condition. They twitch a lot, die off. So the population density reduces for optimal survival. We need those kinds of switches in people, in case of high People per Construct ratio.”

“OK…” Polly sounds dubious. “Why is it important to have a low ratio?”

“You never know what’ll happen when you get too many People together.”

“Oh, so that’s why They’re shutting down those liberal churches,” Pureheart realizes. “They’re pestering the churches because the churches try to raise awareness to change what’s going on. They call the churches ‘political’ and they remove the tax-exempt status. Meanwhile, they fund churches who promote Their status quo.”

“Good for Them,” says Smokey. “The churches are all dens of false hope, anyway.”

“Oh, Smokey, the Case of the Dens of False Hope!”

§ § §

“The concept of trailer trash stigmatizes poor people.”

“You and I could become trailer trash, you know. You could swear and get drunk and I could fart a lot.”

“Well, it’s an injustice.”

“Aha! There’s my little leftist radical come out of hiding. That’s alright. You won’t shake my faith in the government, not any more than it is.”

“I notice all the patriotic propaganda Hollywood movies. Hollywood’s just a tool of the State.”

“Tool of the State. You’re becoming radicalized, Polly. Your writing… World Trade Organization, the Dems not being honorable, Global Warming, World Hunger… And now you’re on the World Trade Organization’s Leader. You’ve becomed radicalized. That’s what happens when you get raised by hippies.”

“That’s what it is, tho. I remember when it all changed in the 90s. All these new TV shows, like the fascist COPS show on Fox – they’re saying to minorities – look out – this will happen to you. This is what we do to you… You know, the propaganda machine wants you to be scared.”

“Or sleepy with pleasure.”

“They want everyone to worship the perfect family with the perfect appliances. Meanwhile no one can ever be that perfect family.”

“The plu-perfect Republic. United We Spend!”

“That’s exactly it. We’re all a little too different from the Aryan ideal – no one could fit in perfectly. So that gives us all this shared sin, which tells us that we’re defective and superior at the same time.”

“I’m not defective. I just don’t work right.”

“Like that movie, Enemy of the State, you’re supposed to identify with Smith’s character. Which would seem like a good thing; you’re standing up to the Machine. But actually, the movie makes you scared for the character and scared of the State.”

“I think it’s right proper to be scared of the State, Polly. There’re a lotta weird people in it, and they do what they want. Your only real chance is not getting *noticed*, you know that?”

“No, I think the opposite is true. You want to dissent publicly, and IN WRITING especially. Because if other people know you’ve been dissenting, and then notice you’re MISSING, they’ll know what’s been done. If know one knows, then they can just pick you off. That’s what censorship’s about. It’s got real consequences. I have a lotta theories about this stuff.”

“Such as?”

“Oh, I don’t know. The theories just come out when they want to. It’s a kind of constant strategizing I have in my head. I always doing a maximum life optimization.”

§ § §

“Temperature sensitive…” Polly ponders. “Why do People need temperature sensitive knobs, Smokey?”

“Well, if you want a logical experiment, then you gotta vary the parameters, up the temperature. Run your subjects a little closer to the wire. See what happens when there’s less room to compute. UP the experimental WATTAGE! So, temperature sensitive and density sensitive – there are probably other models but They don’t tell me everything.”

“Who are They, the satellite?”

“Actually, the satellite might be a ‘They.’ I don’t know. I might be a They, who knows? The United Mutants of Smokey. We rule our little kingdom with enigmatic t-shirts.”

He pauses, says, “Most of my me’s keep in touch, get along.”

“Do any go bye-bye?”

“I ain’t seen some in a while. I’m gettin less surprised less often with a new one popping up.”

“I say when they pop up, kill them,” says Polly mischievously.

“Like those little monkey games you see in the zoo? Whap-a-primate?”

“How many me’s you got?”

“Probably seven mes, but somehow they break down into three equal keys, so, I’m not sure quite how that works. Seven’s a safe number. You can get away with a lot with seven. A lot of room to maneuver. And don’t forget Oversoul Seven. Your soul breaks down into seven lives over seven times, but there is no time and it’s all the same soul.”

“That sounds like good rap.”

“That’s Oversoul Seven. Seven’s also four and three so you have four directions and the holy trinity. Bible says forgive seven times seven to the seventh… but basically they break down into the Three: Databank, Desire and Logic.”

“That seems like a good parsing.”

“A parsing in a pear tree!”

“How do you know who’s who?”

“Repetition. Long period of time repetition. Gettin harder to lie to myself. I’ve been around myself too long.”

“It’s been a long time, Smokey, since we’ve been with any other people. It was odd yesterday, talking with that British couple. I felt stilted in my speech. Even though the couple was progressive, I felt like I was talking to Them.”

“Yes, it’s been a long time since we talked to Them. I gotta let you out and play every once in a while.”

“People might think we’re crazy.”

“Depends on who makes the rules. Next time I’ll let you play more. Give you more time. I won’t bite them. Just give them little subconscious snarls every now and then to keep them ill at ease.”

“Yes, you’ve gotta stop biting hands, Smokey.”

“I’ll play nice if they’ll play nice.” Smokey cracks a glinty side smile at Polly.

“Oh, you’re such a creature.” Polly rubs his head.


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