Monday, August 22, 2016

Looking Back in Anger

 (Fuck Oasis)

I've always wanted it to just be a switch. I wanted a day to come where my head would make sense, and I wouldn't hate myself any more, and I could spend the rest of my days leisurely expressing myself.

I've always wanted to be reimbursed for the misery I was forced to endure. I wanted the world to get its shit together, to understand what it did to me, to apologize to me, and to give me a fuckin' break.

I've always wanted large numbers of people to love me. I wanted to fart out a little book and have people love it and adore me and give me movie deals so I'd never have to worry about money and could live however the fuck I wanted.

Exactly none of that will happen.

Living takes work. We live in an irrational world where none of the things we believe about it are true. Sometimes the bad guys win. Sometimes shit just happens for no reason. Sometimes there are no right choices.

There is no cosmic mechanism for justice. There is no karma. Being subject to undue pain and misery does not entitle me to anything. It doesn't mean I deserve to have things come easy. It doesn't mean people owe me special consideration.

Success is not given. Prestige is not automatic, and is rarely based on any actual skill or accomplishment. It happens often enough by sheer dumb luck to make it essentially worthless. I am not guaranteed an audience just because I'm a fragile, unique soul.

If I want this, and I know I do, then I have to put in the work. I have to understand that, while the work I've put into simply surviving is substantial and valid, it is not the same as working at my craft. That takes time and effort. It take rote practice and perseverance and self-doubt and criticism and the same unbreakable mindset that has kept me alive to see 30.

Art takes work. Life takes work. I have to accept that it takes work, and I have to put forth the work, and the more time I spend looking back and counting up all the bits and pieces of me that I've lost, and being angry and hurt about what I did and didn't get, is more time that I allow it to take from me.

I am done letting it win. I am done looking back. I have to keep telling myself that, to keep pushing myself out of this still-born chrysalis in which I've made my home for the past decade. I have to keep at it because writing it in a blog post alone is not enough. It takes practice. It takes effort.

It takes work.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The Record: Part 4

I have gone roughly three weeks without any major depressive moods. I think that's a first, though I can't say for sure, given the murkiness of my memory of certain time periods. But I suspect that this is a first.

The most unusual thing about this is that it's not for lack of trying. I had a couple of instances where I did or thought things that made me depressed, and I managed to pull out of it. This is a pretty major development for me.

I have asked myself a couple of times since the last entry whether it was worth it to continue this. The worst is largely written at this point, and I'm ever fearful of seeming like I'm trying to get attention. The reason for that fear, I think, makes it worth it to continue.

We were kicked out of our hovel in the Winter of 1999. I don't know exactly why, but my impression was that my dad's relationship with the guy who was renting it to us had soured. We moved to an apartment on the East side of Mount Vernon, which is the more-shitty part of town. I remember it was within walking distance of a bridge over a river, and a Calvary Chapel, which was also the name of the church my mom attended in Spokane at the time.

I wasn't really happy with the move, or anything about life at that point. Dad would yell at me to help move and pack stuff, and I didn't want to. So I yelled back.

It was a particularly desperate shouting match, shortly after New Year's in 2000, that saw my time with my dad end. I yelled that I wanted to kill myself, and that I would jump off the nearby bridge. He yelled and said he wouldn't let me. I told him he had to sleep at some point.

There's a sort of threshhold for dealing with a suicidal person. Ideation and rumination are one thing. Making a plan is another, and it's after the latter that most mental health professionals will become proactive in trying to find you a psych ward or some other restricted location. I had thought about suicide before that fight with dad, and had even threatened. But that was the first time I made a plan, and, I think, the first time I believed I would do it.

Dad called 911, not knowing what else to do, and I was taken in the back of a police car to a local hospital. Dad and Karen came to see me, and talked with the doctors there, who were trying to find a room in a psych ward. The nearest one was in Sacred Heart. In Spokane.

I was transported across the state by a kindly, older couple in what they called 'The Rainbow Van.' I remember an odd sense of enjoyment. We played music on the radio and sang along to Three Dog Night, of all things (Joy To The World, naturally).

Mom was there to meet me when we got to Sacred Heart. It was night time. I hugged her and cried, and I think this is the point where I told her I never wanted to go back, that I wanted to stay with her. She said 'of course.'

There was a lot of psychological warfare between my mom and dad on us kids. Dad insisted that mom's drug abuse was the cause of all the problems in their relationship, and he told me years later that if not for the drugs, they wouldn't probably still be together.

I didn't know any better, and believed him, and had said some things to mom that were hurtful prior to that night. I can't imagine how much that must have hurt her to hear from me. If I'd had any doubt that mom would let me stay with her, it was because of that.

I stayed in a room on the ward for a couple of days. I spoke with a couple of therapists, and was prescribed some medication, not the first psych meds I'd taken, and certainly not the last. At various times, I've been on any of about 15 different medications for various reasons, most of them before I was 18. Psychiatry has come a long way in the time since.

I finished 8th grade at Northwood Middle School. I did not particular enjoy it, but this is around the time I met my best friend, Kevin. He was the first person who tried to be friends with the sad, quiet kid, and he was someone I could relate to. I don't want to say too much about what he'd dealt with here, but he knew what it was like to be from a broken home situation. From early on, he was my brother in arms. Our relationship wasn't always easy, or smooth, but he remains my dearest friend on this Earth.

Mom did what she cold to help me, but at the time of my arrival, she had a five year old daughter, and was pregnant with a son. I don't think she could have given me the attention I needed even if she'd known exactly how to help me, and Bruce was useless as a father at the time (and has only marginally improved sense).

I raged a lot. I would rage at school and at home. I didn't do any school work. I mostly just stayed in my room. In one instance, I got so angry that I tore a towel rod out of the bathroom wall after mom had accused me, during a conversation with someone else, that I was just like my father. I stormed out of the bathroom and demanded she apologize, unknowingly still holding the towel rod. I remember the fear in the voice when she said she was sorry, and begged me not to hurt her.

I hated myself for a long time for that.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

The Record: Part 3

I don't have any real sense of family. I have a connection with my mom, and that's about it. Everyone else tends to feel at arm's length on good days, and completely foreign on bad days.

When my younger sister, Haley, developed anorexia, the family worked together and did everything they could to help. They spent money they didn't have to make sure she got the treatment she needed. I have a lot of resentment about that.

I lashed out a lot in high-school as a result of prolonged abuse. I was angry, I yelled, I threw things, and most assuredly scared everyone. I was often told that I was simply looking for attention. I was made to feel like it was my problem, that I had to deal with, and it felt like everyone walked on eggshells around me and let me to deal with it alone.

And I have. And I feel like I will never again feel like I have a family beyond a few very, very good friends who I can regard as family. And I hate that, and I resent it, and I feel like there's nothing I am willing to do about it. They didn't make any effort to understand what I was going through; why is it up to me to explain it to them?

In the summer after sixth grade, which would have been 1997, mom took me, my sister, and I think Haley, who was 2 at the time, to Costco. I liked going there. They had these amazing hot dogs that I loved, and food was the only real joy I had for most of my life.

We were there for hours and hours, and I didn't understand why. We just sat there. Eventually, in the evening, the police arrived and placed mom under arrest. It turns out she had been forging prescriptions and using them again. I remember they took her away and I was crying, and I didn't understand why she was going away, and mom was the only person I felt I had in the world.

My step-father, Bruce, came to pick us up and take us home. I remember I had a big slice of cheese pizza on a paper plate, and I dropped it as I was getting into his shitty white pick-up truck that he still has, and I remember going 'oh no' and giving another round of crying. It's a memory that kind of highlights the role food has played in my life, and why I struggle so hard to not eat so poorly. With mom gone, it was like that was all I had left, and I had lost that, too.

There was no rehab this time; mom was sentenced to six months in prison for fraud, and spent it at the Washington Corrections Center for Women in Gig Harbor. I was faced with a choice of either continuing to live with my step-father, or living with my real father, and for some unfathomable reason I chose the latter.

I don't know if it was simply because he was 'dad,' or if my memories of abuse felt somehow normal compared to my dislike of Bruce. In Bruce's defense, he never hit me, or yelled at me. I don't really know why I hated him so much. He is an ass, and is completely clueless, but I don't know if that was really a good enough basis for the choice I made.

Regardless, I spent the next year and a half with my dad, who lived in Conway, five minutes south of Mount Vernon, Washington. I consider this period to be far worse than the the many years of abuse I'd experienced previously. Back then, it had at least been a shared experience. However bad I was made to feel, I had my mom to comfort me.

The school in Conway was a combined elementary/middle school. I had a couple of friends, whose names I can't really remember, now. I feel like I've blacked out large portions of this period. The things I remember most are a Playstation, one of my teachers, and the school's counselor, who had both been kind to me. There was also a constant sense of fear.

Dad and I were living in the corner of some guy's large garage/workshop. We slept next to each other, in beds that were a bunk bed that had been sawn apart into separates ones. There was a TV and a computer desk, and a combined bathroom/kitchen. If you turned around from the fridge, you were immediately facing the shower, and to the left was the toilet.

Dad hadn't lost his anger issues, and now he had only me to take them out on. I can't really place it all chronologically, but I recall him getting into constant shouting matches with people. He had an especially rough relationship with his brother, my uncle, Loran. He had a girlfriend named Karen who had two kids of her own, and while it wasn't as bad as he'd been with Linda, it was still tumultuous.

I remember an occasion when we'd been grocery shopping. When we came home and were unloading the groceries, a can of soda fell out of the bag and landed on the ground, doing that fizzy spray thing. He lost it and started tossing everything on the ground, and I could only cower near the doorway.

There was an incident where we made a game of hitting each other with flyswatters. It was one of those stupid things that guys do, I think. He accidentally hit me on the knuckle with the metallic part of the flyswatter, which cause me to yelp. He then started to whip me mercilessly with it; I was shirtless and in bed, so he was hitting my bare skin as hard as he could.

I went to school the next day, my knuckle noticeably bruised and swollen. That teacher I remember noticed it, gave me a sad look, and then walked away. I remember having the sense that people knew what was happening to me, and did nothing. I think that helped reinforce the idea that I deserved what I was getting. If people knew he was treating me like this, and didn't do anything to help me, then surely he wasn't doing anything wrong. That was the thought process, I think.

Things like this were a near-daily occurrence, and I became more and more withdrawn. I wasn't making any more friends. As my bowel condition worsened, I made a concerted effort to avoid being around people if I could help it.

I remember being out boating with the guy who was renting us that hell-hole, and I had soiled myself. He asked me if I had shit myself, and I desperately said no and shook my head, but he could see it. He made me change and sit on a towel until he dropped me back at the hole.

Dad would punish me for it. He would beat me and make me wash all my underwear by hand in a sink. I didn't understand why I was doing it. I didn't know why I had such an aversion to going to the bathroom. I don't know if I was afraid that it would hurt, or what. And even when I did go, I was never really taught how to wipe myself. Dad either expected me to learn it on my own, or mom would do it for me.

She did it well into my teenage years.

Monday, June 6, 2016

The Record: Part 2

You get addicted, at some point, to self-loathing. It starts out as trying to answer a malformed question: why did this happen to me?

That's not really an appropriate question to ask. Asking 'why,' in this context, is essentially trying to fine some design to it. You believe there is a reason, maybe not knowing or understanding that what happened to you was this confluence of the past mistakes of others. Because that sought design doesn't exist, you fine only a vacuum where answers should be, so you create one: it's my fault.

I have believed for so long that my condition is my fault, that I am either being punished for something, or that I'm too weak to deal with it. Self-loathing is now my default, and whenever I get a little bit away from it, I start to cheat back to it. I discount the positives and over-weigh the negatives. I tell myself that people hate me, and it becomes real easy to slide backward.

And I really don't have anyone to keep me from sliding. And I never really did.

Mount Vernon, Washington, is where self-loathing became the norm for me. I was in Second grade, and I can't remember the name of the school any more. But I remember my teacher's name was Mr. Breda. This was the year I started to act out, and I was only ever punished for it.

I remember I got this slip that I was supposed to take home to my parent to sign, basically saying that I had done something wrong. I had zero intention of showing that to my father. The next day at class, I remember he looks at me and asked if I had brought it, pantomiming signing the slip. I meekly shook my head, and I'll never forget that look of annoyed disappointment. So I got a second one, and eventually gave it to dad, and got chewed out. Third grade wasn't much better.

In the summer after third grade, my mother had been out of rehab for some time. My sister and I had frequent visitations. She got married to a man named Bruce, which is all I'm going to say about it here. Mom was well-aware that we weren't being treated well, and if she wasn't, we made sure to let her know.

We were angry with her, in fact, that it had taken so long for her to try to get us back. I remember one visitation, where we were all at this part, and we angrily begged mom to fight for us. Thinking back, that must have been so painful for her. Of course she was trying to get us back. That's why she went to rehab in the first place, so that she could get better and get us back. I remember feeling an immense amount of relief when she was granted custody of us. I never wanted to go back to dad's again.

Fourth grade was at Brentwood Elementary in Spokane, and my teacher was Mr. Linehan. He was a kindly older man, and he never really made me feel inadequate like most of my other male authority figures. Thinking back, I imagine it was becoming increasingly obvious that I wasn't ok. I got a lot of attention from the school counselor, and while I think that helped mitigate some things, it had the unfortunate effect of making me feel separate from everyone.

I never had many friends, and that year was my first real encounters with being made fun of because of my increasing weight and poor self-esteem. My nemesis was Kyle Holmes, not a slender child himself. I would later get an inkling that his home life was pretty shitty as well.

So it goes.

Friday, June 3, 2016

The Record: Part 1

I can't remember the last time I went a full day without thinking about suicide. I can't recall if this has been an off-and-on thing, or if it's been constant for most of my life. I don't really have a point of reference for it; this has been my entire life, as far as I'm aware. I may have been happy, once. I may have been okay prior to the age of six, but I doubt it. I can't remember a time before the abuse.

I'm trying to keep this factual, for the most part, so I'm gonna try to limit my emotional descriptions for how I feel about my father. The fact of the matter is that my father had problems, and he didn't deal with them well. Neither did my mother, but hers was of a self-destructive nature.

My dad was angry, and he had a lot of reason to be. His parents had been shitty to him, and I would guess that theirs sucked as well. That's the nature of this kind of thing. When you're raised only knowing abuse, all you know how to do is abuse. So the cycle goes.

He yelled a lot, and threw things, and he beat my mother, sister, and me. He was emotionally manipulative, and very often seemed to think that the world was out to get him. Knowing what I know about his past, which I suspect is only a small piece of the whole, I cannot blame him for feeling that way.

That was my childhood. I can remember little moments, here and there, of peaceful interaction, and maybe even happiness. My dad would play guitar and sing old country songs, for instance. For the most part, however, it was me being in constant terror.

That fucks with you. That's what the whole PTSD thing is. Traumatic events and prolonged, stressful environments alters your brain chemistry. It can even alter your DNA.

I often tell myself that I'm fortunate. My parents never really had the time to deal with their shit. I have had time, and I have dealt with a great deal.

Things didn't improve much after my parents divorced. My mom was sent to rehab, so my dad got custody of my sister and me. That was exactly half-way through first-grade, as I recall. I had been going to Stevens Elementary in Spokane. I spent the second-half at Betz Elementary in Cheney.

My dad remarried during this time, to an alcoholic named Linda. As with my mom, dad would fight constantly with her, and we kids were caught in the middle of it: me, my sister, and two children from Linda's previous marriage.

We lived in a trailer home, in a wooded area I believe to be between Spokane and Cheney. I recall an impoverished environment; dad worked construction, and I believe Linda was a nurse, as my mother had been.

This is about the time where I can recall specific instances of abuse. I remember one time, dad was mad at me for something I can't recall. He grabbed me and physically carried me angrily towards the door to the trailer. He tripped and fell, and I was out of his grasp, and I recall that I had an opportunity to get away. Instead, I asked him if he was alright. He got back to his feet and finished his task of throwing my out of the trailer, locking the door and leaving me outside in late fall in only a shirt and underwear.

I recall a fight between dad and Linda outside the trailer. Linda was accusing my father of being crazy. I recall moving next to him and wrapping my arms around him, even though I knew she was right. I think it was just that she didn't seem much better, and that he was my dad, where she was not my mom.

I developed a bowel issue during this period, called encopresis. It was a result of stress, and I was consistently punished for it, which only made it worse. I have never told anyone outside of my family about this until now, and it remains a great source of shame. But it happened. It's something I have had to deal with, and it wasn't my fault. So I have said it.

Dad's marriage to Linda didn't last long, and after first grade was complete, we would move to Mt. Vernon, roughly 30 miles North of Seattle.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Better Treatment for Billypunk Story

This was bad. Really bad. Like, holy-fucking-shit-you-need-to-run bad. And yet, she simply stood, frozen in horror at what had been her boyfriend of approximately forever, head just kind of popped; blood and chucks of fatty meat were strewn about the apartment, along with scattered bits of durstic and microcircuitry. Little fiberoptic wires, ripped at the ends, stuck out of what seemed to be his neck, though it was pretty hard to discern his exact anatomy in this condition.

Cruise didn't need to ask why, nor how, or even who (hacking, big fucking gun, and an Imperatel hitman, respectively). The only thing she needed to do was run, and finally her legs obeyed, carrying her down the hallway towards the stairwell. Yes, they still have stairs in the future; they didn't stop being cheaper than elevation systems. Anyway, she was fully intending to use said stairs, but she ran into a bit of a problem in the form of an Imperatel clean-up squad. Clearly, this was not going to be Cruise's day.

With the stairs down out of the question, and the stairs up just being stupid, she took the only sensible route and smashed through the wall. I know how that sounds; how can she have the plants to smash through a wall, but not fight some hired goons? Well, smartass, the Bleaker Cities are generally constructed from shitty scrap parts by the lowest bidder to fulfill Antares' promise of 'a roof for every head,' a key point in their bullshit propaganda that more or less permeates the core of the city. We may or may not get to that part. Also, the Imperatel goons have way, way better plants. Suffice to say Cruise is not a high enough level to deal with them. Anyway, now you know why she jumped through the wall, so if we could get to the part where you stop asking stupid questions, that would be great.

Bits of scrap metal and, like, super shitty carbon framing flew out into the night, the dim, depressing Bleaker lights giving away to the neon ocean that was Antares' outer city, a holy promise of booze, sex, stims, and a bunch of other Cyberpunk cliches that Cruise didn't have time to think about. She landed with a roll and a grunt on the roof of the shorter Bleakers, breaking immediately into a sprint. Her work as a Runner meant she was used to roof travel, and her horror faded a bit into relief; the clean-up squad would be more worried about the apartment, and they were likely too heavy to follow her anyway.

Of course, that relief was quickly squashed by the sight of an Imperatel hoverjet rising to her level, spotlight shining and spinny guns spinning. Cruise said something along the lines of 'fuck' or 'shit' or 'if my heart were a cannon.' She was going too fast to stop, the ledge being just a stride away. Once again, she was left with only the one real option, so she lept from the ledge onto the jet, her traction-enhanced Scuds letting her sprint across the craft and leap to the next rooftop (Remind me to tell you about the whole AST thing later; it'll explain her quick decision making, as well as a few other things).

Right. So we did the apartment, the roof, and the jet. Now the chase was on, and Cruise went full Runner. She zigged and zagged with impressive agility, which is handy when a hoverjet is shooting spinny guns at you. Chunks of rounded metal smashed into the roofs as she ran along, and she briefly felt sorry for anyone who had a top-story Bleaker apartment. Getting tired of all the railgun rounds, she shorted her next jump, falling below the skyline. She made contact with the wall of the next building, her Scuds and electromag implants making her stick, sliding briskly down the side of the building towards the busy street.

She swore again, when the spotlight of the hoverjet arced over the previous rooftop, the craft zeroing in on her. The hydraulic reinforcements in her legs had her off the wall just in time for it to basically explode into little bits of futuristic debris, and she fell another twenty feet or so before she was able to stick to the other wall. She wasn't able to stay long, the automated murder machine having her well in her sights. She leaped again, despite knowing full well there wasn't enough height left to make it across. At this point she was just hoping the damage wouldn't be too bad.

Chrysander makes a reliable grid-car, affordable and sturdy, which were the traits most important for the Outer City. Never knew when a gunfight would break out, or a building might explode, or, say, an Enhanced Runner girl fell onto your roof. Cruise grunted heavily, the wind knocked out of her as she landed on the roof of an R5, and promptly bounced off. The good news was that she was alive. The bad news was that the HJ's spinnies had her dead to rights.

The best news, however, was that the denizens of the Outer City fuckin' hated those damned things, and as soon as they realized what was happening, which was fairly quick, no fewer than a dozen Bouncers, Scuzzies, and Runners had their pieces pulled, sending varying chunks of metal with all sorts of fun properties (lightning!) into the craft, basically shredding it before it could get a shot off. Cruise gasped heavily, both because she was finally able to breathe, and because she couldn't believe that she was still kickin'. She'd always assumed the day Jenk got blanked would be the day she was done as well. Of course, the day wasn't done just yet.

She rose to her feet perhaps surprisingly quick for someone who'd just fallen onto a car (Seriously, if you make it to the future, look into those enhancements. They're pretty badass like that). While those around her had been quick to blow the shit out of the jet, they weren't overly interested in giving her much sympathy. She couldn't blame them much; most people simply didn't have time to give a shit. She would have done the same in their place (The future's kind of sad like that. I'm sure the present is fine, though.)

After making sure her leg bits were still working, she jogged along the street. The destruction of the HJ only meant that two more were on their way, after all, so she only had a small window in which to get out of sight. In an instant, she figured out where she was (Mapping programs come standard on all MarkNetTM BrainComp(R) implants; buy yours today!), and jogged south along the gridway, pulling up her DuraWeave hoodie, for all the good it would do against spinny guns. The hoodie had been a gift from Jenk. She tried desperately not to think about that.

Machina's was the destination, about half a click away. She picked up her pace when she could, but open spaces were hard to find on gridways. She guessed it would take about six minutes for the jets to find their fallen buddy, which meant she about two to get to the Runner Den. It vaguely occurred to her that maybe leading Imperatel right to her supposed-to-be-hidden-employer was a bad idea, but you know how it is when you're panicked. That kind of forethought is usually the first thing to go. She made it in a minute twenty-seven, clearing the stairwell into the alley and punching the appropriate brick combination to open the composter decoy.

Coming into the Den always made her feel safe, even if only for a little while. She kept her head down as she made her way through the bar, and then the playroom, occasionally returning a nod or waving at a 'Yo Cruise!' (Yes, they still have friends in the future. Just not as many.). Machina's office was behind an old Jackson blast door, purely for cosmetic purposes. The Jackson series had long been obsolete, and it had this really ugly, bulky aesthetic that didn't mesh at all with the world around it. 'Old school,' Machina liked to call it. Cruise felt like it was old for a reason.

It took a frustrating full second for the door to slide open, which didn't usually annoy Cruise so much, but, shit, things were goin' down. She needed Machina's help, and she needed it without waiting for a shitty old door to open. Anyway, she stepped in quickly.

"Cruise! I wasn't expecting you until tomorrow," greeted Machina, an older woman who still had visible chrome and shit. More Old School stuff. Cruise had always felt that it was a miracle she hadn't died of infection or rejection by now. Of course, she also had a suspicion that Machina was immortal, so she never said anything about it.

"Shit happened," Cruise muttered quickly.

"Which kind of shit?"

"The Imperatel-exploded-Jenk's-head kind."

Machina simply stared, her visage slipping into one of deep sympathy that always unnerved Cruise. It was like the woman was in her head, which she probably was; despite her preference for Chrome, she was an expert on all the modern biotech and hybrids, and had in fact been the one to install her latest BrainComp(R) (MarkNetTM has stopped supporting the 2.0 models, which was bullshit, as they'd yet to make an equally reliable implant since that one.), so she had in fact literally been inside Cruise's head.

"I'm so sorry," Machina offered, bringing the first tears of grief to Cruise's eyes, which she wiped quickly on the sleeve of her hoodie.

"I need to disappear," she replied. Machina nodded, and began rummaging through her desk instantly, pulling out a bunch of old shit; a map, a butterfly knife, a stack of coins (fuckin' seriously?), and an old mechanical P12. Cruise froze a bit as she realized what they all had in common.

"You're taking me offline?!" she asked, more than a little trepidation in her voice.

"You need to disappear," Machina stated simply. "They'll track you through your BrainComp(R), so it needs to be shut off."

This was easier said than done, of course. Not quite believing any of this was actually happening (it wouldn't be the first time Jenk had slipped an AR module into her jack [wink]), Cruise obediently sat in a chair while Machina retrieved another device, a simple directed EMP emitter with a drill attachment, as the BrainComp(R)'s casing had to be breached first.

"Um, Boss?" called a disembodied voice.

"I'm busy Rollo," Machina called, putting the device in place.

"Yeah, uh... we got an Imperatel bus rolling up on us," informed Rollo. Both Machina and Cruise froze.

"Fuck," muttered Cruise.

"Well... yeah, fuck," said Machina. Cruise was somewhat surprised that Machina hadn't flipped her shit at her stupidity in leading Imperatel there.

"Tell everyone to bug out," the Chromed woman instructed.

"Got it," replied Rollo. Cruise didn't have time to add anything as the drill began its work, tearing through her synflesh and starting to grind against the durstic casing to the BrainComp(R). It only took a few seconds, and suddenly Cruise's world turned black. Metaphorically, anyway. She was still conscious, but her connection to the network was gone, which was a fuckin' trip. She suddenly didn't know the layout of the building, what street she was one, or whether there was a sale on Breaker Chips (she also couldn't find out the score of the Castle game, but that was neigher here nor there). It was like her connection to the whole world was gone, and there was nothing to stop the sudden wave of loneliness she felt.

While Cruise cried softly and held a bit of gauze against her synflesh, Machina was moving, grabbing an old duffel bag from a nearby locker (Like, a present-day locker, only in the future, which was weird) and shoving the items she'd previously retrieved into it, as well as a couple extra clips for the 12mm. She stood before Cruise, who looked up at her, suddenly a mess. Machina only smiled at her, holding out her hand.

"Let's go."

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Disconnected, Dissociated, Disowned (Or: There's No Such Thing As America)

295 mass shootings in 274 days is a little over 1.09 mass shootings per day. We're on pace for 394 in 2015, which is fucking retarded. There's almost no point in saying anything about it, and that's fucking sad.

I have nothing I can say about mental health that hasn't been said repeatedly.

I have nothing I can say about gun laws that hasn't already been debated to death.

I have nothing I can say about human nature, or the value of examining the psyche of the perpetrator, or any of that deep, meaningful stuff.

But I've noticed something. I've noticed people saying things like 'We as Americans,' or 'We as a country,' and I've had a bit of a realization. See, this notion that we see ourselves as one nation, this idea that we should coexist for mutual benefit, that doesn't really have a lot of traction in this country. On the whole, Americans aren't in this together; we're in this for ourselves.

We don't care about the well-being of our countrymen; we only care about being better than the next guy. We don't care about mutual cooperation; we only care about being right where the next guy is wrong. We don't care about justice for all; we only care about coming out on top, because America is not a nation; America is a competition, and if you're not winning, then fuck you.

That's bullshit. America is bullshit, and our ideals are a lie, and every ounce of blood spilled in our daily mass shootings is our fault because we're all a bunch of snivelling, prideful shits who can't see anything beyond our own sense of moral and intellectual superiority.

So, go on, and have your same old arguments about the same old shit, and insist that anyone who doesn't completely agree with you is anti-American, or the literal Devil, and do absolutely nothing to try to see each other as fellow human beings who are, in fact, in this shit show together, with only each other to count on.

I'll be over here, stupidly believing that things will get better, and that this instinctual need to be better than everyone else will eventually fade from our collective psyche. I'll be over here doing the math as the bodies pile up due to our pride and greed, and I'll keep grieving and doing my best to love you and care about you amidst the ugliness.

Because well get better. Because we have to, or eventually we won't have a country left to save.