I sometimes have the distinct and clear impression that I am not looked up to by anyone. This clearly isn’t true, because I’ve got my young assistant at work and at least one or two fans on the internet. However, I never seem to get anything right enough anymore to actually attain anyone’s admiration. Anyone still hanging on at this point is only hanging on from before, when I was a promising young scribbler and it looked like I might be going somewhere. But somewhere turned out to be no where and the promise went unfulfilled. I’ve got some stories written down, and I’ve told what might be some interesting tales, but nobody cares. It’s very hard to keep writing when it feels like no one is reading.
Yes, I could have done more to try and attract attention to my writings, but a lot of what is required is either beyond my means or beneath my character. And to what end? There has been very little in the way of practical encouragement, and we know what I mean by practical. Yes, those of you who have read for a long time keep reading, but I don’t seem to be engaging any but a small few. That’s incredibly frustrating, and it doesn’t help that my own scattered brain has kept me from providing a coherent run of regular content that would keep coming back every Tuesday. Even when I have premade content, I forget to post it.
Besides, I could almost sum up the whole debacle that followed my slink from “Promising/Young” status by using one of the worst lines from Pearl Harbor, “And then all this happened.” We all know what happened, we don’t need to dwell on the whole story, just an alliterative list will do. Deaths, disintegration of relationships, depression, desperation, but not drunkenness, for which I deserve a fucking cookie or something. Yeah, there is no point to this, you’ve just got to trust me that I’ll make a point later. That’s probably not a good thing to trust me on though, I seem to make so few coherent points lately.
“First they came for the rich, and I said nothing. Because, you know, fuck those guys.”
— Steve Davis upon Winning the Snooker World Championship.
I do hope the Oakland Police enjoyed themselves today. This is one more step in a chain, and pretty soon some asshole is going to decide to do something stupid and push back against the police. I must remind you, this is America. Home of the free, land of the fucking armed to the goddamn teeth. And make no mistake, it is extremely stupid to allow this thing to get violent. I admit that, even though I’m thinking that violence is the logical end of this series of events. I’ve got history on my side on this one, and the history says that violence begets violence until some motherfucker gets his motherfucking head cut off and put on a motherfucking pike.
People take to the streets as a last resort, many of them have nothing to loose and everything to gain. They’re scared or they’re angry, and many of them are just plain frustrated enough to be swept up once the shit hits the fan. And history tells me shit will hit the fan, because we’ve had a taste of the good life and we’re just selfish enough to go to stupid drastic measures to get it back.
This will not be a good thing. In all honesty, revolt sucks. Counter revolt sucks harder. Remember, there is nothing like overwhelming support of the OWS movement. Lots of people would want to fight such a revolt simply because it is a revolt and they disapprove of that sort of thing. Waves of petty recriminations, back biting and infighting suck to the limit and beyond. I don’t actually want to see bankers dragged out of their offices and beaten to death in the streets, because that story ends with the death of some poor bastard whose only real crime was being a little too smug about a car he could afford through no actual effort or fault of his own. Sadly, we’ve already seen that the police in many cities haven’t quite worked out what kind of movement this is and seem to think they’re going to crush it when really all they can do is transform it.
I’m not interested in bloodshed, but I fear that’s where this thing is headed and the harder either side pushes, the faster we’ll get there. The problem is of course, pushing is everyone’s natural response. The other problem is, telling everyone on one side to go home won’t work and neither will telling everyone on the other side to stop being fucknuggets. Sooo, I guess we’re likely in for some trouble. As far as I can see, it’s not just down to betting on when the balloon will actually go up.
The Return of Jack Collier
A Jack Collier Story
By Brett N. Lashuay
Chapter Forty-Five: Suspension
Alice Liddell’s Diary
Things happened the way I expected them to for the next two days. Reporters had questions, but I was able to do it all in a single press conference with a few of the higher ups around. Then there was the thing I’d been hoping to avoid. Someone at CNN got a look at me and I was put out front because I’m mildly attractive. That was the start of an annoying bit of celebrity I could have done without.
I’m not going to go into that right now. Instead I would rather focus on what happened when I got back to Washington. I’d been in my office for half an hour when Jim called me to his office for a conference. I knew what I was going in for, I knew how much trouble I was in. I knew that a review board made up of a dozen of my most jealous co-workers was going to be the best I could hope for. There was so much that I’d screwed up and so much had been screwed up for me, I’d be lucky to maintain a desk. I was in deep trouble.
When I got into Jim’s office it was clear how much trouble I was in. Krendler was there, and Richard Wragg himself had come down to Jim’s office to bawl me out. I sighed as I looked at the three of them and started to walk into the room.
“Morning Jim.” I said to him as I went to the single chair that was left vacant near his desk. “Mister Krendler, Mister Wragg.”
“Alice.” Jim started as I sat down. “This may be uncomfortable, and it may be trouble.”
“I understand.” I told him. “I’m ready.”
“I’ve looked over your report.” Wragg said. “Did Collier shoot King?”
“You have a relationship.” Krendler said. “It’s not impossible to believe you said King shot himself to protect Collier.”
“No sir.” I said. “King shot himself because he didn’t want to be taken in.”
“Even just among the three of us?” Jim asked.
“Jim?” I asked.
“I’m just asking.” He said. “Is there anything you changed? Anything you didn’t say?”
“Why?” I asked.
“We’re concerned that information has been passed from this office to Red King’s organization.” Krendler said.
“I seriously doubt that you screwed up badly enough to expose yourself like that.” Jim said. “Someone had to have told them where you’d be and when you’d be most vulnerable.”
“Frankly, you’re lucky not have been killed.” Krendler added.
“Lucky.” I said. “If luck comes in the shape of a man willing to stick another man’s head in a car door and kick it as hard as he can, I guess I did have luck on my side. It’s nice to get lucky like that.”
I could see that made them all uncomfortable. I’m going to admit that I liked that. It was something Debbie had suggested, throwing out phrases that could be thought of as a double entendre, but isn’t really. You could see them trying to decide if I’d meant getting lucky as a sexual thing, and then caught themselves thinking about a female colleague in sexual terms and tried to get the idea out of their head so they wouldn’t be typical men in our field.
“Yes, well.” Jim said, clearing his throat.
“You also broke protocol though.” Wragg said. “You shouldn’t have been vulnerable like that.”
“Yes sir.” I said. “I’m aware of that.”
“She was working under my order.” Jim said. “An order you approved.”
“I know that Jim.” Wragg said.
“We’re not trying to accuse you Alice.” Jim said. “We’re trying to find out how you were given away, and if possible we’d like to know who did it. Whatever procedural irregularities you may have needed to engage in can be dealt with later.”
“Maybe we should go over your report.” Krendler said. “You can answer any question we may have.”
And that lead to a four hour dissection of my report, my career, my relationship with Jack, his relationship with Debbie and Karen, and of course the invasion of my private life from the age of four. That sounds like I’m glossing, and I guess I am. I have no desire to relive that interrogation with two bad cops and one good cop. At the end everyone had made a lot of notes, and what would amount to about three type written pages worth of corrections to my report had been written out.
At least I managed to remain in the closet, and with Krendler and Wragg I remained inscrutable as far as to what degree things had progressed. They don’t need to now if I’m still actively sapphic, or if I agree that Jack can stick it wherever he wants into whoever he wants. I didn’t tell them anything either way, but I hinted that something might be going on, which is a childish game to play but I did it anyway. I did have to admit where the silenced Rutthowers came from, but I think they decided to leave it out for the time being. After all, they’d been taken away and Jack didn’t feel like claiming them.
“I’m afraid I’ve got no other option right now.” Krendler finally announced. “We’ll have to hold an internal investigation on this matter.”
“Agreed.” Wragg said, and I could feel my career sinking right along with my heart. “We’ll have to put you on leave Agent Liddell.”
“Sir.” I didn’t whine, even though I could feel it wanting to happen.
“I’m sorry Liddell.” Wragg said standing. “We’re going to have to sort all of this out though. This whole King affair has turned into a shit storm and we’re going to have to make sure we make good.”
“So we put the cute girl up as a blood sacrifice so the bureaucrats can keep their cushy offices?” It just… well it just came out. “You know when Red King announced a sacrifice he had the guts to actually take physical action rather than just hide behind petty official bullshit.”
“Alice!” Jim yelled.
“Give your weapon and identification to Agent Palvier.” Wragg said, “Coming Paul?”
“Give me a minute.” Krendler said. “I’ll be right there.”
Wragg left as I pulled my gun off my belt and placed it on Jim’s desk. Krendler stood up and came to Jim’s desk as I set my ID wallet down next to the holstered gun. I sort of thought that I wouldn’t be coming back here again. Maybe I could get a job with the Collier Investigations company, I had an in with the boss after all.
“This isn’t going to be a witch burning Liddell.” Krendler said standing next to me. “Wragg chose a bad way to express it, but we’re not looking to hang anyone out to dry.”
“It’s just a little administrative leave.” Jim said. “We’ve done this before, and you know what it amounts to. Some senator gets angry, yells at us in private, we announce stronger training or some bullshit and we all get back to work.”
“It’s not like Red King was some kind of saint.” Krendler told me. “This has been a difficult case and we’re still not really done with it. People are going to want to call it over because King is dead, but we all know better.”
“What’s most important is that we find whoever has been handing information over to the opposition.” Jim said. “Probably any irregularities in your work could be explained through that. Work on that, we’ll get together and write up a report about how you were getting worried about leaks and things.”
“Yes sir.” I said. “I’ll work on that.”
“It’ll be alright Agent Liddell.” Krendler said.
“Sure it will.” I sighed.
“Take a few days.” Jim said. “We’ll hold down the fort here for a while. You take a little vacation or something.”
“I’ll do that sir.” I said.
I made it all the way to my car before I started to cry. Despite their claims I knew I was going to be the one on the cross when the time came. I’m supposed to be an independent career woman, tough as nails. I am. I think I am anyway, but I needed support then. I did what anyone else would do at a time like that, I called my boyfriend. How silly does that sound? A grown woman calling a grown man her boyfriend? Particularly since, if anything, I was really calling Debbie’s boyfriend. He hadn’t made an official statement to me yet, and I didn’t know if he was going to. I needed the support though, so I called him.
People who work in normal offices with normal office politics don’t get what happens when you put law enforcement and office politics together. They always think you’re just being paranoid when you complain about them being after you, or trying to blame the current debacle on you. Of course they don’t understand screwing the Merkowski account, which hurts the company profits, is nothing compared to screwing up a criminal investigation where people die. It makes putting someone on the alter and sacrificing their career a lot easier if you can blame a death on them.
I called Jack and I told him what was going on. He didn’t call me crazy though, he didn’t tell me I was over reacting, for the most part he didn’t tell me anything. What he did was quietly sat and listened as I poured out the entire situation to him combined with my fears and worries thrown in. It took the better part of an hour and I was back in my place by the time I was feeling that I was about done.
“And that’s it.” I said as I came to the end.
“Okay.” He said and there was a silence for a few seconds before he spoke. “Tell you what? I think we can turn this to our advantage.”
“How?” I asked.
“I’ve been watching the news this morning.” He said. “And I can’t help but notice that a lot of people have questions about the young and beautiful federal agent that was in the center of the latest Jack Collier bloodfest.”
“Yeah.” I sighed. “I know.”
“So use it.” He said.
“Do some interviews, tell them things.”
“I can’t just talk about an on going investigation like that.” I said.
“Even better.” He said. “Tell them nothing about this case, but talk about everything else.”
“I’m not sure I can do that.” I said,
“I think you can.” He said. “We’ll tell them all about the Wonderland case, all about the Columbia Freedom case, just let them get a look as you and those perfect blue eyes.”
“The Freedom case was a debacle.” She said. “So was the Wonderland case.”
“That’s not important.” He said. “What is important is letting them see you, letting them get used to looking at you, letting them see how cool you’re being under pressure.”
“But I’m not being cool.”
“You will be.” He said. “When it comes down to it, you’ll be cool.”
“Who should I start with first then?”
“Why don’t you come up here?” He asked. “We’ll talk about how best to take the interviews. I’ll get you in touch with a true crime writer I know. Get a book deal going, get famous, they won’t dare burn you then.”
“They might for going public with things.” I said.
“Nonsense.” He said. “You know what to tell and what not to, you’ve done this before. You just get them to fall in love with you and it’ll make getting rid of you a very dicey proposition. If you get some people who are even more powerful than the ones who are dangling swords over you to say how great you are the danger will fade back a little.”
“You think so?”
“Yeah.” He then laughed. “And if it doesn’t work that way, we’ll open a D.C. Office and put you in charge of it and that’ll show ‘em. They’ll quake in fear at the very thought of me coming to town to help in an investigation.”
“They might at that.” I laughed.
We used to have a sub-genre called the rape and revenge story. Over the years, the rape has dropped of until you can pretty much call that sub-genre the revenge story. The rape has, more or less atrophied and vanished. Yes, there are vestigial remnants, but it’s mostly gone leaving only the tailbone or the threat of rape these days.
I think the reason for this is feminism, but not in the way most people would think. It’s not feminist complaining, or writing essays about how women should be portrayed or any of that. Let’s face it, some writers will deliberately write a rape scene just to annoy a feminist and will use the fact that the book sells to say they were right. So I don’t think feminism is directly responsible. They are to credit, but not to blame.
I’ve noticed that a lot of rape is used in literature by writers who, over all, are fairly insecure about sex as a whole idea. They’re unsure about what goes where, they’re uncomfortable about who does what to whom and how often, and they’re sort of scared of the idea of women on the whole. When society was a lot more repressed, you got a lot more rape stories, both directly violent and indirectly threatened violence. But then the Women’s Movement came and brought with it an interesting dichotomy. Suddenly there were women who A) Weren’t going to put up with this shit any longer and B) Were willing to get their tits out on occasion. The freeing of female sexuality, and the rise of sexually aggressive women, allowed a lot of men to discuss their own sexual urges and longings in honest ways that they weren’t able to do before. As a result, the confused expression of sexuality has become slightly more informed.
I think this is one of the reasons nudity dropped off in movies as well. In the 70s, when nudity was new and all the boobs were firm ones, movies went a little nuts with the whole thing. There was a period of about 5 years where every movie had a nude scene, whether it needed it or not. Hell, Clash of the Titans has nudity in it. Not the new one, the original. That’s how far the nudity trend went. But then, something happened, and the demand for T&A dropped off. You could claim the internet, but it dropped off before then. You could claim the MPAA became more tyrannical, but that doesn’t do it either because R rated movies don’t have as much sex now either.
Nope, once again I’m going to the feminists. They’ve freed up our sexuality and we don’t really need vicarious sex anymore. We don’t need the shower scene, enough of us have made our own shower scene. More people than ever have just plain fucked. Not made love, not had sex, not experienced something lovely with a partner*… FUCKED! They got down and dirty with someone and humped until they’d forget their name if their partner wasn’t screaming it. This is also why so many people think they’re god when they do it. As a result, we don’t get that unnaturally excited about sex anymore. We’re no longer as scared, confused, repressed, hiding, or alone as we used to be. Even if you’d like to dress up like a squirrel and fuck someone dressed a badger, there is an entire sub-culture for that. Even better, if you want to dress up like and squirrel and NOT fuck in it because that fursuit cost thousands and you don’t want lube and fluids on it, most the community understands and also doesn’t want fluid on their fursuits.
My point is that we’re not as scared about sex as our forebears used to be. We’re allowed to be more expressive and the vicarious need to see these things in fiction has dropped off lately. I think this is why violence in movies remains pretty steady. We’re still scared of that, as we should be, and we still want it to happen to someone else. We’ll probably never come to grips with violence the way we’re coming to grips with sex. In a way, I hope we don’t. I’d hate for violence to become such and everyday thing that we don’t need to see it on the movie screen where it’s completely divorced from us and reality.
So yeah, we’re cooler with sex now, and our fiction doesn’t need to include it in quite the same way as it used to. We’re still not there yet, but we can just about see if from here and that’s something.
*Or partners, more people have tried group sex now than ever before.
I have written my cover letter, let me know what you think.
Greetings and Congratulations,
What you hold in your hand, is possibly the single most important document you may ever touch. This not just a list of accomplishments, qualifications and history, but an opportunity that rarely comes once in a lifetime and never twice. You are currently in possession of the resume of Brett N. Lashuay, possibly the most important employee that you have hither fore failed to have in your organization. However, it cannot all be put upon your shoulders. He has been engaged with other projects for sometime and is only now allowing his extensive wealth of experience to be placed at the disposal of your company.
Allow me to be simple about what the situation before you is my friend. This is one of those times when you should look no further than the contact information and the only course of action is to make contact and request an audience with Mister Lashuay so that he might interview you for the position of being his employer. Failure to act can only result in missing this unique opportunity and the untold benefits that can come from taking hold of the future and selecting the correct choice.
Ignore the woefully inadequate written facts; there are things that cannot be put on a resume. Genius can’t be nailed down, brilliance can’t be quantified, and Brett N. Lashuay is greater than the mere scrawlings on the next sheet. Allow me to be frank with you my hypothetical friend. You need things done, many and various, and you need someone who can perform all the little tasks, many of which you may not even be aware of until they have been performed. You need someone who can spot all the tiny details, who can make quick decisions and has the leadership skills to inspire his fellow workers to greater heights than any of them had ever dreamed.
This is hardly a once in a lifetime opportunity for you. Only once in a hundred years does a prospect this golden come the way of a lucky individual such as you. I’m sure you’ll make the right choice.
Fancy (Ruler of the Universe)
Since I’m pretty sure I’m not qualified for any of the jobs I’ve been told about recently, I figure why not try for the insane route? Right?
Hey, internet, have you heard about dry aging beef?
I’d heard about it before, and even tried it once last year, but I got it wrong. Today, I got it RIGHT and oooooh man! This is clearly how steak is supposed to taste. I didn’t even notice at first that my steak was basically rare. The texture is so different that I wasn’t aware of the doneness level. See, one of the things that puts me off rare steak is how damn chewy is can be, no other word for it. However, as I’ve said, the texture was so different that I didn’t even notice until I happened to look down and see that the steak was a dark mahogany color, which I normally eschew. It tasted good though, and it didn’t have that raw meat ickyness I don’t like, so I shrugged and kept eating. I was really pleased with the result.
It’s pretty easy to do. You get a good piece of steak, rub salt all over both sides and let it sit (uncovered) in the refrigerator, on the lowest shelf please. You’ll need to have it on some kind of rack so that all sides of the meat are exposed. Put paper towel under the rack, just incase of juice flow. Now, from what I understand, 7 days is probably the maximum you need. I went with four days. On day one, I put salt all over both sides. On day two I turned the steaks over, putting more salt on both sides. One day three and four I turned the steaks, but didn’t add any more salt*.
Then I cooked them like I would normally, seared in a pan and popped in the oven for a few minutes. We had it with a tomato sauce I’d made and some pasta, but next time I think potatoes and a whisky cream sauce will be more the order. The steak has such a strong flavor (in a good way) that it doesn’t need to have the tomato sauce fighting for prominence.
Mostly I’ve only ever seen people do this with large hunks of meat, like three pounds of prime rib or something, but the little steaks I was working with turned out admirably. The only thing is that you have an obvious time element to work with. This is a planned meal, and you have to know you want it at least three days in advance. Not a big deal, it’s no thanksgiving turkey scenario where you have the soak the motherfucker in brine for a month before you even begin to drown a baby duck in rabbit tears if you want this to turn out right, but you do need to plan when you’re going to eat and all that.
So yeah, point being, dry aging: it works bitches.
Go tell the world.
*The last time I tried, I added salt everyday, which resulted in a steak that tasted of nothing but salt and it was terrible.
When I hear the phrase Man Food, what I really hear is… “I’m a MAN! And I’m gonna prove I’m a MAN by eating lots of BEEF and RIBS and things! Because I’m a MAN and not a faggit and I sure don’t want to be fucked up the ass or nothing. I’ll prove how straight I am by eating loads of hotdogs and drinking beer and OH GOD PLEASE SOMEONE SODOMIZE ME! I need it so bad… my butt is waiting.”
So yeah, talking about Man Food sort of makes me think you’re very, very gay. I know, I know, I shouldn’t use gay as a pejorative, and I’m not really. Nothing wrong with being gay, so long as you know what you are and accept the fact. It’s when men try to prove themselves to be Extra Manly with Manly Sauce that I stat looking at them and shout “GAY!” because if you were really confident that you’re a hetro man, you wouldn’t be trying so hard to convince both me and yourself.
Few things are as pervasive as the gender identity roles for men. They extend far further than you think, run much deeper than we’ve previous suspected and are far, far more stringent than those for women. While the consequences for women might be much direr in the long run, many of those consequences revolve around men who are unable to escape the grasp of their gender identity. So really, I shouldn’t make fun of guys who can’t let go of pork ribs and football, but they all come off as so amazingly gay to me. Even though, really, it’s an expression of desperation and fear from someone who probably isn’t gay, but is terrified of being perceived as gay… and I just called them gay. Yeah, you can’t fucking win. Might as well wear a pink angora sweater and ride a big penis shaped rocket while waving your hat Slim Pickens style. If someone is going to call you gay no matter what you do, then why pretend?
And all of this is a side issue to the fact that women eat ribs and chili and drink beer and burp and have even been known to get into football of all things. How can it be Man Food if girls are allowed to eat it? And, is there any such thing as woman food? Quiche? Strawberry Cheesecake? Calzones? Oysters? Tacos? Cherry Pie? Orchids? Cellos? Perhaps two semi-spherical mounds of panna cotta set next to each other with a cherry on each one? No… that’s too Caucasian-Centric, and I’m already being quite hetro-normative with this as it is. Besides not even all white chicks have pink nipples and certainly not cherry red ones.