I’m sorry about the delay. I was just dreaming the same thing anyway, so here goes.
I have no idea how long I sprawled amid strange growls and light flashes. Mosquitoes droned around my head as dogs barked, even howled. I was surrounded by ravenous bugs and canines. A talented and degenerate sound designer who should have been turning out great recordings had taken loads of tax dollars to drive me insane. Could it work?
By luck, I managed to shape the cacophony into a bizarre, looping rendition of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ The Sweets (from Show Your Bones—you can still buy music on this site!), transforming governmental growls and threats into Karen O’s honeyed yowls as she demands in a cycle of violence and repetition to know what my crime is.
Good question! I should find out what they were formally charging me with. Admiring Hope-Simpson? Preferring Gene Clark to Gram Parsons? Loving Anna?
Awakened, strapped back, and hooked up without a hood, I tried to question people I couldn’t see and was zapped for my pains. I was confronted with piles of papers about my life, which they had extensively data-mined. With the state privy to all our spoken and written thoughts in phone calls and emails, we might as well share our ideas and feelings with others we actually like, respect, care about: Post away, people!
They established that I’d telephoned members of the LES DIY, and Bart, and flu fatalities I loved, and my folks, and Mark, and UPS. My google query lists cracked them up—imagine the topics I’ve plugged into. I laughed, too, as they recited the searches that led me to toxoplasmosis, as well as blind googles I never wrote about, like plague sex. The climax came with the search that led to Hungarian researchers positing that ducks with small penises spread bird flu when they rape female ducks.
They asked me to quack and I did. I can’t explain this, but it was comforting to feel like a pretty good duck. The machine liked it, too.
The glorious terrorism inquiry devolved into questions about whether or not I was licensed to sell masks and if I had lied to get my Health Security Certificate. Finally they accused me of tax evasion. Yeah, Al Capone here, banging away with sore fingers on a borrowed keyboard.
They tried to assume that, as a libertarian, I had refused to pay taxes. But you know me: I filed. And paid. No zap. You would think they'd have the records, right?
Just as I was thinking I’d get out of the session without too much damage, up stepped the woman who had been so cruel the previous session. Tall heels paced behind me. She started demanding I admit to vending bogus Tamiflu with Mark’s strange friends. The machine backed me when I pointed out that I told my readers not to buy Tamiflu, even warned them against counterfeit antivirals, so she arranged to zap me directly. It was bad.
Eventually I fell apart again—cried, vomited, whatever. I was soaked in waste. You can’t imagine what it’s like to exist only as an object of abuse. I was drowning in high-tech bureaucratic brutality. No one decent knew where I was or had the power to find out. If I were to keel over and die, the government’s well-paid corporate flunkies had plenty of ways to dispose of me. No need to sully a community garden.
I have no idea how long that went on—or what I said. If I did confess to anything, we may someday see footage of it on TV, or in a courtroom. Prosecutors would need deft CGI to cover all-too-obvious signs of abuse, but taxpayers have deep pockets, don’t we?
I don’t recall what they did to me after that. They may have drugged me. Or simply lost my attention. I came to in a patrol car, hoodless. The door was open. I smelled of soap. I was dressed in new jeans and a Coldplay t-shirt that I thankfully had never seen.
Some lawyer met me and encouraged me to sip water from a bathroom faucet. I blearily pleaded not guilty while I tried to note my experiences on a legal pad with shifting lines. A friend of Anna’s turned up with my credit cards to cover one tenth of my $100,000 bail, which I’ll never get back. I don’t know what the lawyer cost me. I can’t read her signature on my release order. I hope she calls to explain herself. Who was she working for?
I still have to pick up the mess here. Sneeky would have enjoyed it. When I used to chase him, he loved taking shelter on pieces of cardboard and plastic, thinking they’d protect him.