Fourteen years ago, SPotS told me about a story that she had once read.
Set in the Great Depression, a rich socialite woman was in charge of food distribution for the poor, having sole discretion over who was needy enough to qualify for the handouts. Neighborhood women donned their most raggedy clothing in order to convince the woman of their destitution and obtain extra rations. One poor but proud woman, however, refused to dress down and instead wore her Sunday best whenever she was in public, trying to instill pride of appearence in her youngsters. The wealthy food distribution woman knew her from the community, knew that she was starving, but told her that others around her had greater need, and suggested that she sell her finery and dress in rags like the rest of the needy if she wanted her claim to be recognised. The proud woman refused, and two of her children starved to death.
Yes, pretty dumb, but y'all know how obstinate SOME PEOPLE can be. Anyway, the next part was better: Some years later, the Proud Thin Woman told her sad dumb story to an obeah--back then known as a voodooist, today recognised as a wangateur or SubGenius. This obeah told the woman that for a small fee she would effect her revenge. The woman agreed, and the obeah set out to confront the socialite. Upon the socialite's doorstep the obeah politely conveyed the poor woman's story and the reason for her desire for revenge, then explained that she was preparing to put a curse on the woman but needed some actual part of her person--a lock of hair or fingernail, anything really-- in order to build a proper charm to enact the curse, and would she be so kind as to simply provide said material and save her the trouble of having her associates go through the woman's trash or visit the woman's hairstylist.
By the end of the story, the thoroughly neurotic socialite has build a fortress which she never leaves, saving her hair in bags in the attic and refusing even to use the flush toilets, peeing/crapping in mason jars and crock pots kept in the basement, trusting no one. Her life is effectively ruined, and the obeah accomplished her task without putting forth further effort.
I remember commenting at the time to Pammy, and she agreeing, that this strategy would not have worked on either one of us.
Terror tried to strike Cedar Grove.
Day before yesterday Pam and I got back from a Plant Convention. We had driven up Wednesday and spent a few nights on the seventh floor of the hotel "Hamster", three blocks from the convention center since the "Adam's Splat" across the street was sold out. A nice place, except for the 2.5 gpm showerhead which required modification to get a shower worth taking. Easy enough. Sister Pammy Plant-Slut got to schmoose with the wholesalers and meet some new people, as well as visit with many friends who only leave their nurseries one week out of the year. I got to attend some classes, meet world-renown plantspeople, and fake people into stealing our nursery catalog. Really. I placed a few catalogs under my seat in the back row so that I could just see the front edges, and chuckled as one by one someone would sneak behind me and swipe one. I was prepared with some SubGenius packets, but of several thousand people attending the only pstench worth whiffing came from a particular twisted conifer.
We drove home leaving just enough time to water the greenhouses before I had to leave for the night shift. The two dogs greeted us as we drove up, I gathered up a handful of luggage as Pammy unlocked the front door, and we walked together into our livingroom.
Ten seconds later I noticed the blood. Rather a lot of it.
Our "livingroom" is sort of multi-purpose, being for years the only heated area. It serves as a bedroom, computer room, dining room, business office, and occasionally as a greenhouse, potting shed, and intensive care ward. The area is 15'X30', with three doors and windows that were all closed and latched. The useful windows with screens have plastic over them, the screenless ones don't. Go figure. The doors lead to the kitchen, hallway, and sunroom, and none have locks although all were clearly closed and tight against the bead around the edges of the jamb.
I guess I have to say that this sort of thing happens a lot to us, and my very first reaction is always to get Slack from it. Ting! Heehee, today it's gonna be blood. Last week it was potatoes. DISAPPEARING potatoes. Pam hands them to me, I take exactly five steps, they are in a brown paper bag in my hands… and then, no bag, no potatoes and Pam is grinning, asking me where they went. Five seconds. And that same sort of signature blank confusion that always accompanies such events and comprises the hallmark of JHVH-1's manipulations, I'm pretty sure.
"What in hell happened here?" was my first comment. I stood there grinning like "Bob", and there was of course no other liquid in the room, no soda that could have burst or spilled or looked like the blood that was obviously dried blood here now.
A second later I had a really horrendous thought, and before I turned around SisPam had already taken the first step towards the kitchen door. Always a step ahead. She stopped before opening the door and turned around, intense remorseless eyes clearly sharing my thoughts and acknowledging that if someone did what we feared, we both were going to drop everything to devote outselves to revenge. I nodded, agreeing, and then turned back to the scene.
Pammy is every bit as capable as I; if there were some Psycho-Killer in the kichen she would handle it. I continued to study the scene, listening as Pam's steps went to the back door, the back door opened, and her steps returned. To my surprise, Pam came back into the room holding Boomer the cat, who was not at all dead. Hmmm. Pam now looked as puzzled as I.
There was blood covering the computer, blood covering the monitor, blood on the printer, the mouse and mousepad, and blood on the keyboard. None on the scanner.
Someone had to say something, so I chose the obvious and said, "Someone poured blood on our computer."
"That isn't necessarily a true statement," Pam challenged.
She waited until I began to speak, then interrupted, "Oh, it's blood alright. But it wasn't necessarily poured there by someone."
"You mean that maybe a bird got in the room before we left, and flew around over the computer and EXPLODED?"
"No, there would be feathers all over. And anyway there's too much blood for a bird".
She was right. Actually, there was too much blood to have come from our 15 pound cat, but that hadn't sunk in until just then.
"Well, they explode, but they don't fly. And there would be penguin meat all over."
"A blood-vomiting bat? A menstruating goat?"
"Too small. No hoofprints."
I wanted to argue but she had a point. A goat would have stepped into the blood climbing back down.
"Ok, then, a blood-vomiting flying penguin."
"Err, maybe it WAS a bat, but it would have to be pretty big."
"I take it you have another theory?", I asked.
"A Force. Or Agency."
I nodded. Then realized that I DID have that signature blank confused feeling, it made EXACTLY as much sense as my explanation, and it highlighted the one point that was bothering me about the situation: it made no sense. At all. Nothing else was disturbed, someone apparently went far out of their way to effect a reaction, and I'm clueless. Just like the potatoes again. Things suddenly took on a different light, more brutal and tenuous.
When confronted with an unknown situation, people usually catagorize the event before responding, be it rationally or emotionally. Here we are at home with blood all over the computer, and only for a brief moment could I relate to the situation--only when I had decided that someone had drained the cat. While not making MUCH sense, it at least had CONTEXT: Someone is leaving a very direct message, we are directly being threatened, and there is a definite and valid response from the "response catagory" that fits the occasion. The thing bothering me here was a total lack of context. No note. No explanation. Nothing that triggered any sort of emotion or understanding. No "response category" praise "Bob". And the Slack. Force or Agency, strangely enough, did fit in rather familiar way.
I went and got a tape measure.
The blood attack measured twenty-four inches by forty-three inches. The table fits into the corner left from when I decided that two rooms would be more useful as one large room and used a circular saw to cut a passageway. The two rooms were offset by three feet, and it now appears as one room shifted and displaced. So, basically, the table is in the center of the room in the corner created by the passageway. The blood ran parallel to the outside wall, six inches away, for nearly four feet, then parallel to the passageway, also about six inches from the wall. I pointed out that from the splattering one could get a good idea of the direction of movement as the blood was being deposited. THIS way along the back, then 180 degrees and back and again forward in long, steady strokes; and then round and round over the mouse and mousepad, then back and forth over the keyboard.
"This bolsters the penguin theory", said I.
"Um, how so?"
"Well, the short, stubby wings let it get within six inches of the wall as it flew parallel."
"Have you ever seen a Hawk diving full speed into a hole in a tree?"
"Southern writers use it as imagery. Hawks dive full speed through the hole but can stop before hitting the back of the hole, by extending their wings and sort of arching backwards and beating the wings in reverse."
"So it could have been a bat, with its wings folded, diving along HERE, then stopping just short of the wall. Then circling around. Bats often fly in circles and reverse direction."
"A Blood-vomiting Wood Bat?"
"A GIANT Blood-vomiting Wood Bat."
"That lives in holes in trees?"
"Well, it would HAVE to. Too big for branches. They'd break."
If you are wondering whether this really happened, and if this is really how we reacted, I assure you that yes, its true and the report is verbatim.
Then there are these other DETAILS that I haven't yet mentioned. I was still thinking, "OK, maybe some farm kids bled a pig, then poured it over our computer." Well, also on the table, in full view, was forty-some-odd dollars that we accidentally left there when we drove off for the conference, forty-some-odd dollars that Someone forgot to put in His wallet. Still there. A Nice Touch, if intentional, and how could it not be? REAL Nice. Oh yes.
I thought of NENSLO.
It was the money still being there, more than the blood, than made me very wary about all this. Would farm kids not have taken the money? SubGenius enemies would have taken the money, unless maybe to send a message… What was the message here?
Again, my internal reading of the situation was BLANK. I'm SURE if this was a NENSLITIC blood attack that I wouldn't have been left feeling so BLANKLY. I should be broken down in anguish and dispair, knowing somehow that this was ALL MY FAULT, or more likely been left feeling just that way, yet standing alone and self-conscious with a sick grin PRETENDING not to feel that way, knowing that all pretense was hopeless and that everyone was laughing at me and KNEW I was pretending, yet unable to DO anything about it, introspective and paralyzed.
Christians, agitated at our Ministry? Nah, too dumb to be this subtle. Blood on the computer, but not the scanner. No feel for whether this was aimed primarily at Pam or at me. We tried to get at it that way, tried to decide who had the most of THAT KIND of enemy. It came up about even, both of us having our share. Pam gave some of mine a slight edge in intensity, I gave some of hers an edge in motive.
Then there was the alt.slack crowd. I made a case for six people, excluding NENSLO. Sister Pammy agreed, and added three more. It just couldn't be connected with the recent ForgeBot Attack, could it? Someone thinking we were responsible? HAHAHA. Nope. Too many of the S.P.U.T.U.M.
folk know that we are Poster Children for Computer Illiteracy. A new escalation from ForgeBot Central? Doubt it. No, no way.
"How about computer people outside of alt.slack? Have you pissed off anyone on other newsgroups?"
I started giggling.
Militant Trepanners broke into our house (well, nothing was broken, per se,) and bled themselves over our computer, back and forth, back and forth.
I told Pam, "I always expected to see the headline: 'Gription Clench Panned by Critics', but I don't think this has the right FEEL to it."
We looked for bone shavings, found none. Not really evidence, since the pictures show them drilling with towels over their heads, and the bone shavings could have stayed in the towels. Still. A NIN smiley with a Head_Like_a_Hole style bullethole left behind, and maybe I would buy it.
The discussion turned to people we've, err, *influenced* via the Handbill Mill. Maybe someone's life took a shit because of "Bob" and they blamed US. Maybe this is someone I've TAINTED. But again, wouldn't they leave some terrorizing, threatening NOTE or PROMISE of future PAIN? Wouldn't they have taken the damn forty dollars? This was either
someone pretty well versed in THAT TYPE of warfare, or someone RICH, or someone with a SubGenius-style sense of the ironic. Or a Giant Blood-vomiting Bat. Or, as I was led to accept once again, JHVH-1 or some other Force or Agency.
"I was out the door first, right? I mean, there is NO WAY that I could have done this short of teleporting from the conference and back in time not to be missed. Right?"
Right. I went to the truck first, Pam was staring at the computer seconds before joining me, not enough time for HER to have done it, and we walked into the house together afterwards.
So. Blood all over the computer, and that same weird internal absence of context signalizing Force or Agency. JHVH-1 or His Minions. Does this sort of thing happen to y'all all the time, too?
Wouldn't most Normal People at least check the other rooms in the house before LEAVING FOR WORK?
Neither one of us even THOUGHT to try to locate the Psycho-Killer who may very well STILL be in the house. Sister Pammy went to sleep ALONE in the house, unconcerned BECAUSE of her long association with involuntary extrarational qualia. If this were a movie, she would have waited until I was gone and it was dark, put on her most inviting erotic underwear, heard a noise and THEN searched the house, but she didn't. We STILL haven't even looked in all the rooms. Just another typical otherworldly attack in Cedar Grove. I got a towel and bucket, scrubbed the surfaces, watered the greenhouses and left for work.
And there is ONE OTHER THING that just MAY have some bearing on the situation, yet CANNOT without invoking the Specter of Forces Beyond:
Last December, the 28th, I posted an Index to Slack pack 14. While I was turning pages and typing it, at 4am, I made the decision to put the entire pack on a web page. By the time we left for the plant show, I had realized that one pathetic web page just looked too pathetic, and had gone ahead and built most of Slack Pack 12 into a page as well. I am CARPALING OUT from the typing, but the job is complete, except for scanning in some photos.
Scanning In Some Photos. Remember how the Blood Attack left the SCANNER undamaged?
Who would know this detail, besides JHVH-1?
The last thing I said to Pam before leaving for work was "better not power up the computer before I take a look at it tomorrow." It had occured to me that the attack might be a FIENDISH RUSE. I mean, I paid all of $15 for the keyboard. Big Deal. And we wanted a bigger monitor anyway. But perhaps we are dealing with some classic mis-direction that will finally give the incident the perspective needed for us to realize that we have DEADLY ENEMIES and not just a MISCHEVIOUS ELDER GOD operating here. Blood ON the computer, only to draw attention away from what got put INSIDE the computer.
So I went to work, and Pammy went to sleep. Yesterday morning as I drove home, it occurred to me that the KIND of enemy we might be dealing with, if this ISN'T a Force or Agency, would either be 1)too stupid to leave a note or take the money, 2)playing psychological games, or 3) be savvy enough to be SIMULATING that blank feeling that coincides with visitation from a Force or Agency. If it were number three, such an enemy would be DAMN COMPETENT. And if this was an enemy competent enough and determined enough, we really do not have a chance. Suppose the Attack WAS intended to lull us, and now when I get home Pammy will be decapitated right there in the bed. Or ME, as I sleep today.
I had a very nervous last twenty miles.
When I got home, the room was dark. I usually go directly upstairs to sleep, but now I went up into the loft where I could detect a big lump in the bed, and reached out with my hand, and touched her head. It was warm and attached.
I went to sleep wondering whose enemy it is, hers or mine, if she wakes up with MY decapitated head in her bed.
When I woke I disassembled the computer stuff, looking inside the cases for obvious (except for fiendish misdirection) bombs or microphones or SOMETHING. I had to restrain myself from removing the hard drive, taking it out back, and smashing it to bits with a sledge. If someone put some kinda EVIL fucking program in there, I could be SURE that way that it wasn't gonna get OUT. But I didn't. It just
didn't FEEL like that kind of thing. Still might be, I guess.
Somehow I can't shake the feeling that this was associated in some way with the alt.slack archives page, possibly even as a gesture of approval from the Xists or as a sign of impatience from Dobbs Himself. Who knows? In any case, I rushed the pages along a bit, declining to add more detailed descriptions as originally intended.
We pay our web account a month in advance, but cannot guarantee that the pages will be available after that if we are both murdered in our sleep. I took the precaution of mailing duplicates to temujin9, so a copy will survive for historical interest. Unless he's violently murdered as well. Probably best just to go there now.
Is this the beginning of some gruesome CAMPAIGN OF TERROR?
Will we soon end up very very DEAD?
Are we BESIEGED with STUPIDITY or with MALEVOLENT FORCES?
Will we EVER have ANY CLUE why someone would POUR BLOOD on our computer?
Go spend an hour reading at:
and think about that.
Rev. Random the Other
Handbill Mill of the Gods