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American Suicide

October 6, 2018

 

Back in 2011 I wrote a book called American Suicide. Some references are solid, some are dated. 

Since I have a Blog now, I should probably point out that AS still has a free preview available and here it is:

 

 

.....over an hour passes with multiple head shifts from paper drudgery to the sheen of the computer screen. Sporadic trips to the calculator are the only other physical activity. Each jaunt is rewarded with a grimace. Like mathematical torture, he can only digest so much before he is forced to alter his visual field. Again, Martin peers into the window “everything is done, let me in.” The door slowly slides open to reveal a visibly disheveled X. “You look like green funk. Troll problems again?” “None of these numbers are adding up, I still have a few hours of work remaining.” “Well not in the store. Dining room superb, due to Martin the Exalted. Kitchen is as good as it’s going to look. Garbage and bad customers, in the dumpster, fodder for our rabid raccoon.” Xaviar pauses, then appears as if he has been shaken from a light sleep “wait, a raccoon, seriously?” “Oh, I was kidding.” Xaviar sighs in relief. But Martin continues “I don’t really think Fitzgerald has rabies.” “Let me get some sort of grasp on this. There is a raccoon, which you have named, living and feeding in our dumpster?”

“No.  He lives somewhere else, but when he wants a special night out, he comes to our trash receptacle.  Just like people come to our restaurant.  But if you think about it, one man’s trash is another animal’s treasure.”

“You do realize that raccoons are like slow, fat rats, right?”

“I wouldn’t name a rat.”

Xaviar reaches both hands above his ears and grabs his hair and slowly pulls.  In a sweeping motion he slides his hands in front of his eyes and begins to rub.  At the same time his back arches up and he stretches his arms.  “When you talk, I feel my blood pressure go up.”

“Why is that?  You should be thanking me for being such an ace employee.”

Xaviar thinks for a second “you’re right, thank you Martin.”

“The Exalted.  Say it you ungrateful swine.”  Martin’s voice rises as if he were back in the Middle Ages.

“Are you going to hang out here or take off?”  Xaviar pauses yet again, thinking whether he wants to play this game or not.  Then he continues, “O Great One,” bowing his head slightly in deference. 

“Much better.  So what fun did you have today?”

“I bought the ring.  You’re the first recipient of the good news.”

“Congrats.  But now you’re mopey because work screwed you and you have no money.”

“Wow, it must be mind reading day.  What am I thinking right now?”  Xaviar promptly makes a face like he’s trying to squeeze a softball out of his ass.

“That’s ungodly.  I wouldn’t do that to a cow.”

“Close.”

“You know X, what you need is a lottery dream.”

“I thought the lottery was for those bad at math?”

“No, a lottery dream.  The focus is on the mental state.”  Martin is also quite the conspiracy fanatic, so he is usually good for a chuckle.  He starts out “you are familiar with the quote ‘religion is the opiate of the masses’ by Karl Marx, right?”

Xaviar nods his head.

“Well, what do you do when you’re in a godless capitalist society?  You invent a new god.”

Xaviar yells “Money!”

“Exactly brother.  The American Dream says that if you take risks and work hard, there is a niche for you and a pot o’ gold at the end of the rainbow.  In reality, and this is generally speaking, but most people get ahead by birth right and shear, unadulterated greed.  The dream doesn’t sound so appealing when you realize it’s for those willing to walk on the bodies of the dead or of the weak.”

“You’re awful jaded today.”

“For example, the 2000 election-”

Xaviar rolls his eyes “you’ve told me this story at least a dozen times, Bush stole the election in Florida-”

“No.  Well, yeah, that’s true, but you must look deeper-”

“Uh, go ahead.”

“That election pitted the spoiled son of a President against the privileged son of a Senator.  Now in a country of 300,000,000 citizens, you can’t find a self made man to run for president?  2004 election, same thing, millionaire son of a President vs. Mr. Billionaire Heiress-”

Xaviar interrupts again “maybe you should have voted for Nader.”

Martin hisses, then continues “so that part of the American Dream is dead.”

Xaviar looks cross eyed and responds “I try not to listen to you, ‘cause it hurts my brain, but didn’t we, no, let me rephrase that, didn’t you, vote for Barack Obama?  Don’t you have hope?”

Martin smiles because he hooked his buddy “I did vote for Obama, but don’t you think his ascendancy was a fluke?  They allowed him to be elected so he could fail.  The money machines are still intact.  Do you really think they will let him succeed?”

“Number one, who are ‘they?’  And secondly, Obama getting elected is simple math.  Obama split the white vote 50-50, then 97% of blacks voted for him, in record numbers.  When Saddam Hussein won his last election, he garnered 99% of his country’s votes.  I think that election might have been a little more suspicious.”

“Listen, the point is, minus one exception, the old mantra that anyone can grow up to be president is no longer true.”

Xaviar, purely being argumentative “well, you can still be King of the Moon.”

Martin ignores the snide remark “so my point is that the lottery is the last vestige of the American Dream to keep the citizenry from revolting, like in Egypt-”

“You had a point?  Isn’t the world ending in 2012 anyhow?  Nothing really matters-”

“Soon, in a country of multibillionaires and trillion dollar debt, even the lottery won’t be able to soothe the civilians.”

“So when the Underground Mole people rise up, are they coming to conquer, or are they coming to play KENO?”

“Are you listening to me?”

“I’m trying.”  Clearly frustrated, Xaviar takes a deep breath.  “Okay, I’m a bit lost.  Why exactly should I have a lottery dream?”

Martin evenly replies, “so you don’t get angry about your lot in life.  You dream your life away imagining how everything would be better with just a little more money.”

“Martin, I was watching Oprah, or Maury, or some other mindless drivel, and they had a panel of lottery winners and the host said ‘how many of you wish you had never won?’  Then 90% of them raised their hands.”

“Exactly my point!  They didn’t have the constitution for having money because-”

“Because they weren’t willing to walk on the bodies of dead.”

“That money up and fell in their lap.  Now let me tell you why the government wants to shut people like me up.”

“The government wants to quiet instigators?”

“No.”

Xaviar thinks for a second.  “The lobotomized?”

“That’s not even a word,” Martin replies.  “They are coming for the people who have opinions but are not willing to conform to a pure capitalist doctrine.”

“Hey crazy boy, do you even listen to the radio?  The only thing on AM radio is hits from the 1960’s and maniac right wingers screaming every day that socialism is here.  What is this capitalist doctrine that you speak of?”

Martin’s disjointed thinking doesn’t allow for close scrutinization.  He responds to the question ‘so Martin, what is your lottery dream?’  Despite the fact that Xaviar did not ask that.  “That’s why my lottery dream is to have my own pirate radio station.  All my money would go into the station to sponsor my opinions so people could be educated about the truth.”

“I know the truth about you for free,” Xaviar smiles.

“Funny.  But think back to high school civics.  If a small, rich, ruling class emerges to run the few remaining mega-corporation, pow, fascism is here.”

“So you’re not a fan of ‘too big to fail’?”

“Exactly.”

“So, bottom line, your American Dream is to be a patriot?”

“Your words, not mine.  Are you inspired now?” 

Xaviar looks at the time on the computer monitor, adjusts an hour since the daylight savings setting is messed up, and states “I’m inspired to work now.  I think radio waves may have scrambled some of your brain cells.”  As Martin walks away, Xaviar yells, “on my station, I’m going to play the song ‘They’re Coming to Take me Away’ by Napoleon XIV, over and over and over, simply to piss you off.”  Martin comes running back to the office saying “now you’re thinking.  You’re not only playing one of my favorite songs-”

“Of course-”

“But you now have something to say, even though I would tend not to agree with your general sentiment.  Being the czar of my station-”

“Czar?  No wonder you hate America.  Why not be the Supreme Leader or the President-for-Life of your station?  Something a little more humble.”

“You have to be brass to run your own station.  I’ll be breaking Federal Law with pride.”

“Don’t quote me on it, but I think pride may be one of the seven deadly sins.”

“You have to have a format in mind, then have the intestinal fortitude to hear the naysayers pick apart your vision.”

“Can I play novelty songs about your insanity 24/7?”

“Are you going to talk about Eisenhower and the red menace between ditties?”

As the seesaw shifts up and down, Xaviar reaches under the shelves and pulls out a frosted cookie.  A jolt of sugar from his secret hiding spot is exactly what is needed for a surprise close.  Not even offering to share, he lifts the tasty treat up to his lips, not thinking about the ramifications of his actions.  At the last possible moment, Martin slaps the cookie out of X’s hand.  The cookie flies about a foot and crashes into the manuals, into a sticky spot on the table.  The assumption is that the substance is week-old spilled cola.  “What?  What now?  Am I eating the pastry of doom?”

His eyes open ever larger as he speaks “maybe the cookies of world domination?”

Martin grabs the packaging hidden under the shelving, “Wal Mart cookies?”

Xaviar rolls his eyes, again.

“Do you realize how Wal Mart tears at the very fabric of America?  They fool you by wrapping themselves in the American flag, but in reality they don’t pay their employees a living wage.”

Exasperated, Xaviar moans “do you know what time it is?  I just want a snack, I like Wal Mart cookies.”

Martin grabs a dull pair of scissors from the desk top, inverts them, and pretends that he is speaking into a microphone “that is the problem my dedicated listeners, the naïve.  You can go to your local library and look up article after article of shady and illegal labor practices by the largest retail chain in North America.  Henry Ford, at the turn of the last century, paid his employees above market value salaries so they could afford the cars that they made, thusly raising the standard of living.  A hundred years later, Sam Walton has done the polar opposite, paying his workers under the market value so that at the end of the day, the only place they can afford to shop is where they work.”

“Isn’t Sam Walton dead?”

“Not his legacy.”

“How long have you rehearsed this speech?  I don’t think any of the Waltons are going to advertise on your station.”

“Quiet you!”

Continuing to swat at the hive “you know, the guy who sold me these yummy treats did look sort of spaced out.  Do you think he was high on Wal Mart paprika, or dreaming about winning the lottery?” 

Undaunted, Martin forges on “my cousin used to e-mail me these articles about how throughout the 80’s and 90’s Wal Mart would come into a small town in the Great Plains, drive all the local merchants out of business, effectively suffocating the regional economy, then would shut down, due to lack of sales, killing the town.  Instead of being prosecuted, or even being held accountable, they are celebrated as free market geniuses.”

“So this cookie represents free market suicide?”

Martin responds “Si, senìor........”

 

 

Still available at the Publisher website for $1.99 - Lulu

 

 

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