Whimper Fibreaux Myzalgo Was Angry About His Name

The pain just sent me a telegram.  It is on its way back home.  It will be here soon, in full force.  And it's going to be sticking around.  

When I get to the hospital they need to meet the undisguised me, the one with the pain.  Lately it has been so severe that when I wake up I don't know anything about anything, except that there is this pain (which makes me holler, even scream, and which will not go away, and which is so severe I can not change position at all).  It takes about two minutes for me to understand where I am, who I am and what is happening.  It takes at least ten to make it out of prone.  Yep, that's the guy the hospital needs to meet.  The one in hell.

Now I have to edit this mess here... nah, maybe later.  

Oops.  One of my opinions escaped again.  Very dangerous, for me.  I believe in peace, love and understanding.  Now is just not a good time to be into it.  Because the longer the people who watch the people who care believe we are copacetic with the way things are then the more difficult it will be to cast off the chains that have been placed around our socioeconomic freedoms. Because we need the people who pay attention to what we do, more than anything.  And by that I mean all the peaceful people who are happy enough and think things are good enough.

The post that follows could be called chapter one of a larger project, although no such plan was ever made. Also, it would be stupid to do so. That would effectively relegate perfectly good meta-punk spec-fi to the heinous Symbols "To Do List." 

How heinous is the To-Do List? A photoset of a blossoming, freshly famous 19 y/o model was promised the readers; some demanded the "Dox of Never Ending Death" as retribution.  By the time the search of Symbols Prime found the model she was a grizzly old hag covered in open sores.  Little flecks of noxious pus oozed from her abscessed teeth, and escaped from between her slack lips to plummet the short distance to her nicotine stained pullover with a tiny yet distinctive plop.

Such horrors do not happen due to a conscious effort on my part. The To Do List, in the absence of authority and responsibility, comes to represent those things, which magnetically draw to them the deepest contempt and most intense loathing extent in my subconscious mind.  The artistic endeavors on the list really get a bad rap out of this deal.  So no list and no promises.

Promises are really more to blame for some of the horrible things that have happened over the years than hatred of authority (and the voodoo plot to jettison every responsibility of all time from a thumper over the Gulf of Freaky-Bad Shit in that dimension peopled by emetophiliacs). 

Details of the promises' curse at work here:  A promise may not actually have been broken for this author to take the blame for having done so; sums up the quagmire nicely.  How is that possible?  Information that would absolve of broken promises never makes it to readers (or listeners).  The reason for such a disconnect is almost always absence of Internet.  In the world of stable artists and musicians (I have been told they exist), the Internet never gets cut off.  The reason release schedules are not adhered to summarily gets reported to site visitors, and everything is hunky peachy dorey terrific.  Smoke signals do not work as an Internet substitute, even if it is one big damn hookah.

Get Bent is be-da-fuq-hind schedule.  Intend to make serious effort to get desktop into hospital room rather than sit there watching minutes of life disappear forever (do not like that idea, running out of those).  Composing takes a lot more concentration than writing or it would be going on now.  Neither would be even remotely possible except for one thing. Pain: killed, deader'n hell, again

The people wgaf enough about expanding their minds and enjoyment levels to stop through here matter a great deal.  There ain't no way to give you all lollipops.  Actually, fuck candy and drugs and everything else that does not make dollars and cents.  If there was a way for me to make it happen you'd stop by Symbols one day and receive a certificate (to be printed out on 20 lb. cotton vellum) that would land you all jobs where you fucking deserve to be working for the pay you deserve to be making.

We all know that sort of real human compassion just isn't possible in this world.  Why?  The people who already have very nearly all the money and very nearly all the land believe that they are better than not only damn near every adult alive today, but will continue to be better than every adult who comes into existence in the future.  Because of that belief they are willing to do everything necessary to prevent people like you from having a chance to chip even the tiniest sliver of wealth and power from the mountain of it they have.  

Since every one of these people could be gathered together in our university's football stadium, and the place would look lonely and deserted, they are pretty uptight.  Looking at the number of people involved it does not seem like it would take very much time and effort to fire every single one of the .56% (a much more honest number).  Don't believe those people have not thought about that.  They live in fear of you and I (we, the fucking pissed off people) dismissing them from their jobs as masters of the universe or emissaries of the dollar god, or whatever the fuck they think their jobs actually are (besides calculating how much their ridiculously unnecessary income has increased since the last time they deigned to check it).

And how could we do it?
How could we fire them?

There's that opinion ^.  (Uhhh, the embed did not work initially).  Told you it was dangerous, for me.  The idea of conducting massive scale socioeconomic reform through a campaign of not-freaking-peaceful-at-all is nothing new.  Dedicating to it in the Western world is a deadly affair.  It's a young person's fight.  Think the fantasy and walls of sound are better for the doddering. And I so wanted to watch large portions of the capitalist world go up in flames for a failure of the owner's club to make high quality life possible.

But that passionate desire does not help.  The cost of the fires would just be passed on to us.  The only people who would be hurt are the people the whole thing would have been about helping in the first place. It sucks that true intellectuals don't get to believe that violence will solve problems, almost as much as the fact that violence can't solve them.

I'll catch you kids on the flipside. With a new spine it should be no problem to write some mind bending lore that can be read with wtf-core playing in the background.

Note:  This place needs more [deleted], that awesome place where oranges grow the size of cojones but taste the size of watermelons.  It's magical!

Layomatic Outstressing [Verrsion 3: Cacotopia]

Note:  This piece was sort of being renovated. Sort of expanded. I was so medicated when I started it I was still finding errors after about 500 reads.  The most egregious errors have been corrected.

{This thing got sort of out of control,so it had to be moved up there ^}
Some of the language reprinted here is not English.  The one so disturbingly similar to the official language of the United States is a dialect that has no official name, but which many people will know well.  The dialect of the veteran news reporter unfurling his second sheet to the wind  should be easily recognizable to many.  There is a second dialect, which does not yet exist in its entirety, but which has already begun to expand exponentially like the technology which it so heavily borrows from and desecrates terms from.  It is the mature channeler dialect -  a thing of beauty that gores English and splashes the blood of grammar about on the world's grand stage.  Readers have been warned.  

The blog had been reviewed:

"I found one crazy asshole (a blogger) makes lots of claims and promises before weaseling his way into the online life of anyone too fresh to know a Dead Beat Grub Worm Hooch Bum (the proper name for one) when they see one, and once there affixes itself to any common route for positive matter of any kind flowing through their life.  Even law enforcement should consider this blog a waste of time, except for the random new member of any hypothetical backwater department a civilian can only imagine, one who could really use a good bust for odd offenses of mild white collar severity (to help them climb up the ladder,  maybe even make the news, like on Law and Order Grosse Tete).  The only thing positive that could be found in the utter waste of time and space in such an action (directly proportional to the time this guy spent on his work and the space it took up - very little, the same as there obviously is attached to this), is that it would be the perfect climate for a religious condemnation of 'old days' proportions should there be any legal transgressions connected to this scumbag.  What a [expletive deleted].  I need strong mouthwash after only a few hours."

I, LSR, have only one response to the content of that "review" before moving on: The powers that be always know where to find me. I do have a comment about the scribbler.  He gave readers neither a name nor an address for the subject.  Well done - burnt...

The layout for "Symbols" has never looked anything but satisfactory no matter where I have  seen it from over the years. Satisfactory was always acceptable, as long as nobody had any difficulty reading the writing. Now the messages the writing once contained stir up large proportions of negativity. Blog posters, who sometimes think of themselves as authors, wind up in federal prisons going about routine daily transcription of their thoughts and ideas, and, most dangerously, things they have discovered somewhere else on the Internet,  Such writing can no longer be found here.  Instead there's a lot of music, poetry, fluff literature, images... and layout meant to impress.  Everything here was assumed holding steady at "not presented incompetently."  Presumptions are stupid things.

On Black Friday I witnessed a child of the neighborhood open a wrapped Christmas present outside in the yard.  i noticed that it was one of those pads people talk so much about. Many have said I should wear a padded helmet, but nobody has ever insisted I deserve an expensive piece of portable technology to hone my -- whatever it is. If anybody listened to me I could be a retired millionaire next year from making padded helmets with all the technology of electronic portable tablets.  C'est la vie.

I know the kid's mother; Charlotte-Celestine Althea. Presumption again reared its ugly head, with good reason.  Cellie may have a rich debutante's name, but she always operated on a budget when it came to her only child.  So I wanted to see what the ultimate budget pad could do, but not because I cared.

I was also always looking for some reason to get into Cellie's place so I could slip the graphene hose of my hyper-silent gravity vac into the totally unnecessary port of her sewing printer labeled "Clear Jam."  Once in the privy I could siphon the garment printer synthene in under a minute.  That's when it hit me.  I had liberated the Hi-ho-Pad from the moronic clutches of her welp when, scrolling past "Symbols" just to grimace at the only thing I ever created in my life, I noticed the layout was off center.  Badly off.

I left without even scamming the vial of joo-joo. It was all I needed to make one person's source for clothes into another person's criminal fantasy come true.  It was more, or worse, than that.  It was ultimately the only income I could count on after almost two decades of study.

The world went to shit for everyone not perfectly described in the preppy handbook years before the book described them, but nobody noticed until full economic lockdown made changing one's socio-economic status impossible.  That sort of thing meant absolutely nothing to somebody like myself, who took a deadly serious religious vow of poverty early in life.  How early?  Too early to know what it meant.  Once I found out I publicly declared hostilities against materialism in short order.

Ignorance may be bliss, but it was also youth.  Only the youth think that part of the old saying exists, is conspiratorial and is kept hush-hush.  "Enough pleasant nostalgia," I thought to myself.

I opened my ancient device people called a "laptop" back in the long night. That old saying was once "back in the day," but because of the terrible conditions that existed in the era that immediately followed the one in which I bought the laptop, that turn of the coin evolved with the "long night" part.

Kids always giggled when they heard the word "laptop," espcially if "back in the long night" were added.  They thought the device itself was a PZ-toy.  I love kids.  Sometimes they get the biggest kick out of the smallest things about language.  And the great humor that hormones can cause to wash over them in seconds never stopped making smile, I knew because of the memories of all the fun I had at their age.

When the little male devil Kirby Darwin Dawson, Cellie's kid, PZ-toys had different names in different ages his curiosity was voracious.  When he heard the term "sex toys" he lost his mind with glee.  He did not let me in on his chain of thoughts at the time, and that made me more than a little curious myself.  I could not imagine where the giggles came from, as the word "sex' had been through a tough time in the last century.

It later got back to me Kirby slandered me to everyone in the world that he could.  LSR, he said, fantasized about abandonment.  That seemed quite mean to me, and not funny at all.  He had devised the most brutal non-vulgar slur with a sexual base of anyone in his class. To explain it I should start "Masturbators are scum..."  Hm.  This explanation will take some effort.

During these long days of the corporate theocracy the word and act of sex spawned fears about a cacotopia nearly everyone of normal station had concerns about.  Those who did not wait for marriage before partaking of the forbidden fruit increased the risk of "abandoned born living," although ABL babies were rampant among married couples as well.

By the time the most prosperous cities were densely over populated, around the time of the seating of the 12th North American Curia, the streets were filled with depressed youth, the Abandoned.  The Abandoned were children of God who could see from the very beginning of their awareness that a lifetime of poverty awaited them, no ifs, ands or buts.  If they ever faltered for a moment and forgot their place, then they need only glance at the faces around them to remember the fate that awaited them.

Anyone involved with creating a member of the Abandoned, humanity so gripped by hopelessness and despair, was punished extra-judicially at the personal level of society; they were shunned, on a universal basis.  That measure carried across the board without any  rule ever being written, nor any words ever spoken openly. That was a harsh stone to cast, but "society" was not a being that could be reasoned with, and definitely no beast that could be  trained.  As for the offender, when they were gone their Abandoned took their place

Tactics eternally whispered in the corners of the dining halls of highest requisite:  One enters with no path to the other side, one dies with no path to the other side.  Men hunched over tables and prayed incessantly.  At regular intervals individual prayer milestones were reached; that man was given one protein ball and one carbohydrate cube.  The two cubes were portioned to be exactly what was required for another period of work before prayer.

Nobody owned.
Nobody questioned.
Nobody dared.
Nobody cared.

  The outer rings of the halls were graced by women, the most dignified seated at the outermost edges... [snip]
[story temporarily cut due to time limitations]

Union replaced sex as the most common reference noun for the act, but making love never left the field of play.  Fucky-fucky remained the undisputed champion in my copy of "English in the Field;" the one that never stopped whirring, loudly, like a small hovercraft, when on trips and in crowds.  In some of the (my? [his?]) dimmer memories preserved at risk of permanent damage to acuity, a P5 pumped out rounds with such perfection of tempo, accuracy, and power, from my hands, power flowed from my hands <--[mnemonic burp due to longevity]

It was a shame, in my opinion, that the stealth defunding of education had been so successful the late 20ers and early 30ers believed such social movements as shunning were original ideas and a path to improving the "nation."  Without any real background in history they could never know most of what had happened since corporations took over the nation's finances (as part of a "patriotic duty") constituted a reversal of hundreds of years of progress in the right direction.  The fundies even paid to have the word progress demonized, just to be sure.  [Note*  Fundies might be from any religion or walk of life, they just made sure they got paid (funded) as soon as the nation did]

I threw off all the layers of useless thought and sat down with my lappie to get to the bottom of the layout business.  All the anatomy terms buffeted me like tropical winds.  This might be bad. It could herald a new attempt by the presentation fanatics to wave their arms at AI with formatting.

A lot of people believed the singularity took place not long after the turn of the millennium, back when death was still a sure thing, no matter what.  And a rising percentage of the old timers believed that establishing communication had to take place through not just words, but the presentation as a whole.  The fact that corporate "free-sites" ("You're free and so is your tiny corner of Paradys-cyberee, as long as we can exercise our drilling rights over the spot where you exercise your imagination!") continued upgrading the formatting code indicated there was a cadre of true believers in the very upper echelons.

After studying the xh-tea-melee I concluded that the changes were indeed an intensification of a not so secret desire to devise a way for humans to make cyber bodies using all the free multimedia publishing tools at their disposal. This time the only changes had been that the template customization details had been drawn further inward, further away from the vulnerable surface of a dermis composed entirely of symbols.

Nobody gave a fuck I saw all this shit coming.  I'd probably spend a week in a jail somewhere just for thinking I had managed to become something besides an antique toyboy-pimp-gigolo hybrid.  Sometimes I could just smell it when there was trouble on the horizon (or it could have been the review that called for a law enforcement investigation - too early to tell at this point).

I settled down to dig into the underbelly of the derpnet.  Every now and then I met a chick because of the blog.  No way I was sacrificing the joo-joo potential.  Fffffffffffuuuuuuuuuuu: time to work.

Catastrophic Spinal Injury

So maybe we die.  Discuss. I'd rather cut off the legs than drag them around. "... cut my legs off at the elbow." Feelsgoodman.mp2

Voices Over America

Not even similar to the track posted a few days ago.  It is Revision XI after all.  4 were only posted, not saved.

Hussy [Updated]

The song really is finished now. The image is a link. So many words here. Maybe I could hit this post with a blanket strike-through... Aah. Better.

Happy Halloween!

It is somewhat embarrassing when I make claims that later are demonstrably false.  This track was nowhere close to being finished when I posted it, in my opinion.  Every mix could easily be called the completed version, but what I want to present is something so much more, so much better, than the music I uploaded in haste and joviality.  I should probably never go anywhere near the Internet when I am experiencing euphoria. Something embarrassing always winds up prominently posted on the front page of Symbols.

Here's what I said earlier today:

"Fixed, or, that is to say, the transition problem was corrected. Listening to it again, much later, I decided the short sequence of synth pad notes one minute in were ghastly.  It sounded like I imagine overly sweet soda pop containing Clostridium botulinum would taste.  I have since corrected that, the final problem.   Those few notes really were ruining the entire vibe of Hussy.  The song is absolutely finished now."

I mean well, but I suffer from acute perfectionism.  The end result is that I am still working on this song.  Like I said, I need to stay away from the Internet when I am feeling good and overly impatient to share.  I can effortlessly make myself look bad.  The link is dead right now.  


Skank We'd

This song is still rough around the edges.  There is one transition that just does not work, a few seconds after the sample of Hannah Murray saying, "Think quietly." I'm not really sure how I would fix it.  I'll probably just chunk that entire sequence.   

Skank We'd

I felt pressured to show some real progress, so I posted sumpn.'

lsrdvl Soundfonts 2/3

"Here on the map, traced out by spiders, there be monsters of the under-earth;  another 40 unique and original soundfonts, free for the taking.  Har, ye maties! Neither the yanks Beloved Presidente nor Herr Royale Mage-stye will catch even the slightest whiff of the caper before we're long gone with the booty."

- crazy drunk and doped up music pirate guy (known to his friends as Captain Broken Foot)


Note on Get Bent:  I'm having so much fun working on it.  I really don't want it to ever be finished.  But there's that law, "All good things, and whatnot."  I tell you what.  You best get off the six square feet of grass I call muh lawn. Damned urban wasteland...

lsrdvl Soundfonts

Thought it would be nice to make some of my sf2's available to the public while I continue working on Get Bent.  These sample collections are ancient in Internet years, not to mention the fact that I pretty much burned them up.  One never knows, however, what use other people may find in something given to them. 

I hope these files will help somebody advance their artistry in music.  Maybe somebody will have a "Eureka!" moment, like I did when I first discovered BeSweet.  Maybe these will help create a musical superstar, who will toss a quarter to me, lying wasted in a gutter, as they walk to their limo at the Grammy's.  That would be awesome! (/sarcasm)

This first post is only one third of the soundfonts I have created.  There is a 2 gig limit on uploads, so this is the best I could do to share for the time being.  It's a start, at least.




A Speedmath Dilemma [Updated]

After I spent considerable time working on Get Bent, it came to my attention that there was no genre that accurately described the style of music.  The album features quick transitions between unique beat arrangements and sometimes dizzying tempos.  In places the sound is reminiscent of glitch, but the beat arrangements play just long enough to make glitch an inaccurate descriptor.

I decided to get creative and label the sound either speedmath or tweakcore, although beat puree works just as well. None of those terms are in use as genres by anyone else, but the sound needed to be called something. I'm neither pretentious nor pompous enough to stake the claim that I created a new genre.  The terms exist only for convenience' sake.  This has nothing to do with the dilemma this post addresses.  Nevertheless, it seemed appropriate to explain my ongoing flippancy with assigning previously non-existent terms as genres for my music.

The dilemma rising out of Get Bent surrounds the necessity that different versions of the album be released.  The speedmath songs feature transitions between dozens of beat arrangements that can easily be extended to create typical beat driven electronic songs.  I have final say over all of my creative work; nobody is telling me what to do.  However, I claimed that the songs would be comprised of frenetic shifts in direction and attitude.  So the headline version of Get Bent will adhere to what was promised.  I am borderline OCD about sticking to plans.  But there will be a third version.

The A side of the first version of Get Bent is sitting in the Internet archive.  When the speedmath version is complete it will join that work there.  But there will also be a third version of the album.  There are fantastic beat sequences that only last a couple of seconds.  It would be akin to creative criminality not to expand a good number of those sequences into normal, run-of-the-mill tracks.  So that expansion will take place, and be called Get Bent 3: Straightened.  Problem solved, although once again reporting on the project rather than presenting it does rub me the wrong way.

I am not a patient person. I'd like to begin releasing these works right now, one track at a time.  I feel doing so would greatly diminish the artistic impact though, and so I have decided to curb my desire for instant creative gratification. I suppose it is possible I can be patient.

Anyway, dilemma dispelled.  Progress on the project reported.  Many words written and no music given. -※Sigh※-  Soon...

[Note for Clarity:  I did not like the initial version of Get Bent.  I found it repetitive and mediocre.  I deleted the post in which I tore it to shreds, but it should be remembered that my complete disdain for it led me to begin the "speedmath" project.  That disdain is also the reason I have not posted the B side of the original.]

Pry Favers [Update]

Note:  I did openly post the link discussed below in IRC.  With that in mind I have considered creating a channel linked to Symbols so that I can be reached.  I am extremely withdrawn when it comes to the general public.  I have never allowed comments on my work, here nor anywhere else.  An occasional public appearance might be in order after all these years.  Maybe.

It was promised that the second version of Get Bent would be finished and available within a matter of days.  Since then the project expanded and lengthened.  This assured Get Bent would most definitely not be available in a mere smattering of days.

To dispel the snowballing illusion of empty words, a post featuring the original version of side B was considered, and discarded.  A post featuring a fundamental part of the arranging process would more accurately intimate the work involved and in progress.  Therefore it was decided that an original lsrdvl sf2 file would be made available to the listening audience in general.  That file:


Obviously this post would be more visually attractive if the file were directly linked.  Unfortunately, linking to the file violates that aspect of digital security which is more important than all others:  Common sense.  In order to avoid being mistaken for the average trusting person, an incomplete link has been posted.  The binary is there as an incentive, although originally it was intended to be a challenge. 

The original challenge for the reader was to replace the binary of the hyperlink with the correct digits (originally the binary was easier to replace).  I planned to promise a unique article about national security and encryption for every out of the ordinary Internet incident I encountered between October 8 and October 14.  The article would be introduced with a complete description of the incident, and downloads of the sf2 file would qualify as out of the ordinary.  The challenge was judged "fail" before it ever left the drawing board, because there was no way for ordinary music producers to get the sf2 file.

After that neat (but totally unworkable) little game got tossed out the window, there was nothing left but a tired out trick employed by lonely old shut-ins. The ploy intended to lure naive souls into online correspondence after getting them into conversations via email.  That email address is...

Nobody is ever getting the sf2 file.  All methods of procurement have been rationalized as too risky at this end.  [funny, but obscure and overly twisted, pop references redacted]


Status: Ice Cold on the Horizon

Get Bent should already have been released in its entirety, but since it is the last beat driven lesserdevil album for the foreseeable future I wanted to leave a lasting impression.  Although yet to be deleted from "Archive," the original A side has been scrapped.  With more than enough completed material available to simply push out one or two hours of music sitting on this hard drive (and on tape backup), holding off on delivering the payload is somewhat frustrating.  Looking back at the last few years of releases, however, it occurs to me that much of it would have been epic, or nearly so, if impatience had not won out over perfectionism.  Luckily I consider this album important enough to quiet the little voice in my thoughts that forever wheedles about how much more should have been accomplished by now, needs to be accomplished, before age and time makes accomplishment impossible.

Setting aside a significant amount of finished music, I initiated a side project to flush out the idea behind Get Bent and create something profoundly polished.  While I have compiled dozens of original instrument kits and soundfonts since 2009, I sometimes cut corners with the samples involved, editing existing sounds rather than creating them entirely from scratch.  From 2006 to 2009 I used no samples for drum kits, instrument kits or SF2's that were not absolutely a product of my own labor.  After the release of Empty Warehouses the difference in the quality of sound between those years and more recent years struck me as horrifyingly apparent.  Without going that extra mile the sounds involved fail to be staunchly impeccable, in my opinion, and do not satisfy my drive for brilliance.

At the current rate of production all of the homegrown instruments and beats should be assembled for use within a day or two.  Since I always say that and it is never as quick as promised, realistically it will be several days.  At that time the songs will be freshly arranged in the fashion that makes my best work teeth chattering, ice cold, frozen blue* mini-dynamos of beat motion.  That's quite a claim to make, but those people who understand what I just said know that it is true.

Thank you for your time.  There's nothing left to be said.  The next thing you find here will be what has been promised.

* Breaking Bad reference
** I do not get along well with deadlines.  They have the opposite effect. Get Bent will be finished when it is finished.  If not for the promised release date it would probably be out already.

Microphones and Alter-egos: How Not To Win Friends

☆★☆ Alternate Title - Humor: Doing It Wrong ☆★☆

"Tens of thousands of people in Mexico have been killed in a conflict centering on drugs. Throughout my life drugs simply held no appeal for me, until I discovered that casualties from the drug war are set to top 120,000. Everything changed when I got that news. So far 70,000 Mexicans died so that I can get high. I now feel that it is my duty as a compassionate human being to get high.

Every citizen of the United States should set aside their petty political beliefs and prejudices and snort a massive rail. Tens of thousands of Mexican mothers lost someone near and dear to them in order for yankees to get high. 70,000 people died so that you could get high. Don't let their deaths be in vain!"

- Josie "Calla" Vides

Preface to a Sociopath's Fever Dreams

Oh! Hi!

Someone dear to me from many years ago got in touch recently, for the first time in almost twenty years.  I was delighted to find that he never gave up on the sort of work that made him happy, even though his idealism regarding the work has left him a pauper.   We talked for a long time.  During the talk, as I perused this site, I mentioned that it sorely needed an introduction.  Somehow I found myself agreeing that it would be penned by me.

This web journal belongs to an author and a musician.  He spent the vast majority of his writing career dedicated to the artistic ideals of poetry and short literature.  The entirety of his musical career was devoted to the aesthetics of sound, both conventional and radical.

During the Bush era the artist became outspoken on political issues.  Symbols was launched to defend against the systematic destruction of the civil liberties of United States citizens and the political warfare waged against the left by the GOP.  It was also a celebration of the artist's uniqueness and nonconformity.  

Almost all of the political writing and political opinions from that period have been removed from the site and permanently deleted.  The artist deemed the opinions on government detrimental to his true calling.  Because of the large percentage of deeply entrenched conservatives in American society, the artist decided that insights into his personal life and rejoicing in social eccentricities would create biases and undermine artistic integrity.  Therefore, most autobiographical material was also destroyed.

The artist's opinions and personality have neither mellowed nor been watered down in the way this artistic diary has.  If anything, he more strongly believes all of the things he did before, almost as if gripped by calenture.  Furthermore, rather than reigning in his powerfully vivacious idiosyncrasies, Day reinforced his flamboyance and threw up defenses of all things individualistic.  He has simply chosen to allow the public only posthumous examinations of his personal life and character as he sees it (obviously no man or woman alive can stop gossip and speculation, and even trying to stop others from relating how they see things can have the opposite effect).

I decided to write this introduction in order to provide one for this journal based on objectivity and professionalism.   Day knows all too well his own tendency to boisterously and vociferously go on preemptive offensives against stodginess, closed mindedness and prejudices.  It was that attitude that led him to fundamentally change this blog (there, I said it, it is not a journal, it is a web log, a web log) in the first place, and regardless of my own thoughts on the matter I still respect his decision.  Because we both know he isn't very objective at times, and, as far as professionalism... well, perhaps I should end that discussion right there.

There was only one requirement for this job.  I was asked to triumph brevity and caution in the writing of this little piece.  I will not carry out this task in the manner in which I was asked to.  I have decided to throw caution to the wind, and loose my tongue so that my testimony might be as long as the wedding gown I pined for my father to give me away to Day in, pink and scarlet though it may have been, and though it would have killed my father (and likely upwards of 65% of my extended family).

Day treats creativity as the son of God and art as His daughter.  I once made my tangibly lascivious vorstellungen of Day a wicked sacrilege of my own; confession and subsequent penitential prayers of the rosary only made the act more delicious. In return the rhapsodist merely used me to enliven his solitary orgy with copia verborum.  The jealousy drove me to crave his shibari crucifixion at the foot of my bed, and to yearn that the whole of his masculinity be immolated, myself the flambeau of that thing's undoing. Day exhibited a passionate devotion to words, melodies, and even paintings, a passion and devotion he made known to all the world.  At the same time he sequestered our union so resolutely the tomb of Akhenaten saw more sunlight than did our acts, and he silenced vocalization of our love with such draconian discipline even I, with my penchant for defiance of such dominion, dared not speak its name.  I never stopped wanting revenge, however, for being dumped -- er -- being forced to dump him.

I bore two offspring for the man:  obsession and vendetta.  Those strong feelings, the only children I am capable, forever, of bringing to term, balance perfectly.  Obsession eternally reminds me of Day's features and the pleasure of being so alive beside him. Vendetta demands that the world never be allowed to forget those things the man wrote and sought to erase, regardless of whether he is dead or alive.  Nobody could possibly know the joy I feel at being asked to write this introduction; finally I have the power to tell the truth so that all will know.

[Passage deleted by Symbols' Editor in Chief]

Having said those things, it feels grotesquely unfair that few people will know this beautiful man indirectly while it is possible to wreck the sculpted image of his aloof classical artistry, and precisely due to the image. Because of the pigheaded stubbornness with which he guards his lifelong love affair with "the mind's internal heaven," and the fanaticism with which he has decided to eradicate all traces of his humanity, truth may die the true death.  If such a thing happens, c'est la vie.  All these thoughts are as ignis fatuus.

Lily d'Antonia Buitrago
Miami, Florida
September 21, 2013

P.S.  It's all in good fun, Day.  And don't you dare bitch at me, bitch.  You told me to keep it brief so you could maintain the illusion of being humble, you fucking poser.  :333


I can't believe I let you do this.

At Last Qongrimoujie

From "Get Bent" - new album exploring lengthy non-repeating percussion arrangements at tempo often exceeding 250 bpm.  That's nothing earth shattering, just the sort of jam I have been into lately.  This album is essentially complete, I just have not released most of it. 

This will be the last beats oriented music I release for quite some time.  I am going back to avant, downtempo, chillout and experimental.  I miss it a lot.

Brain Shart

Get Bent

The posting of the A Side of "Get Bent" was a gigantic mistake. As I work on a project I usually save various notably distinctive versions of the song as it progresses. Currently there are five versions of side one of Get Bent. The most recent version is almost always the best version availble. What was posted here was neither the latest version, nor one with any saving graces. This is especially true with regard to song one (the first ten minutes of the album).

What got posted was a version that was the product of debauchery late at night. Listening to song one was very enjoyable at the time. Then, last night, I listened to it sober. That experience was mortifying.

The repetitive, uninspired nine minutes of "music" are like moldy chunks of hardened cheez whiz strings on a table with beluga caviar and the finest brie set out as teasing apertifs. I became nearly physically ill as the canned, droning beeps and boops went on for long minutes. The sound conjured a vision of a dying doe, riddled with bulles though none of them fatal, as it dragged its useless hind legs through the undergrowth. But there was no way to put the song out of its misery. I am sharing accomodations with a Luddite who really believes that the Internet is the work of the devil.

So here I am at a public computer, embarrassed and humiliated that the ~24 minutes of music I just released were tarnished to the extreme by my lack of attention to detail. Repetitiveness in electronic music is something I hate almost as much as I hate the smell of curdled milk. At least I sugar coated this critique of Letroxulae rather than discussing its shortcomings in detail.

Somebody told me "it's not that bad."  That phrase never reassures anyone.  It would be more honest to offer a phone number to a crisis intervention hotline.   All options for correcting Letroxulae are on the table, including euthanasia and self-immolation.

Meh, fuck it.  I'll fix it tomorrow.  Also, this post was not edited.


Get Bent

I'd like to say this is all of side one, but I am certain I will add to it.  Sometimes I post new works just as a precaution.  I wouldn't want to die with my latest creations never having seen the light of day.  And it is always a good day to die.

Nevar Fer Got

Tired of being ignored the aging artist plunged headlong into the most difficult situations and positions socially possible, but then fought back; yet beaten, yet victorious, could never forget the reasons the war began in the first place.  Broken bodies crowded the corridors of the monasteries, exiled for being no longer of use, discarded because no longer attractive.  The tactical units needed psy of her ability in the domestic theater, and Lydia loved that she could dance her way through assassination after assassination for the realm.  Everything for the parent land.


The Night Watchman and The Huntress Part 1

Randall Hardaway clasped his hands over his head, gasping for air. Sweat blurred his vision before he wiped it away with the hem of his shirt. The sweat soaked fabric abraded and stung the raw pores under his eyes. Thirst burned his dry throat and hunger gnawed at his empty stomach. He was running in sandals; burst blisters on his feet worked blood into their leather and stained it. None of those things mattered to him.

Hardaway saw that he was at the intersection of Dunkirk Avenue and 4th Street, Orpheum Park directly in front of him, but that fact did not register in his mind. Although very familiar with the area he had no idea where he was nor where he was going. He only wanted to get away. He sprinted such a long way down 4th the blocks merged into one long blur. Fear gripped his intestines and squeezed. In response he burst into a sprint again.

Within moments Hardaway's headlong flight took him down Gurdjieff Boulevard away from 4th Street, across 2nd Street and then straight east on Mary Celeste Lane. His stride no longer had any semblance of control. His legs churned pell-mell and he flung his arms awkwardly with every forward motion. The vision made it clear something was terribly wrong with the man.

Outside one of the fine old apartment buildings that still boasted availability to the general public in the wake of the nanobot virus scare, a night watchman checking the perimeter of the building stopped in his tracks when he saw a man running down the street. The runner looked terrified. Something about the wildness of his eyes suggested that he was fleeing from the scene of a terrible crime.

A spontaneous feeling of Good Samaritan compassion overpowered the night watchman's better judgment. He jogged out into the street, blocking Randall Hardy's route away from the unknown horror. Hardy failed to notice a lot of things as he was careening down the streets of the tiny nation's capitol, but a man wearing a uniform and a gun broke through into his consciousness and he came to a stop, chest heaving. The night watchman, a retiree by the name of Thaddeus Pourcieau, held his arms out wide, hands palms up, the universal sign of “unarmed.”

“Are you okay, sir? You seem to be awfully upset. Is there anything I can do to help?” Thad asked Hardy.

Hardy, clothed only in a t-shirt, khaki cargo shorts and salt-water sandals, looked frail and battered as worn out as he was, despite having always been athletic and in good condition. He once more put his arms over his head, a position that optimized airflow to and from the lungs, and also signaled a lack of aggression. He concentrated and slowed his breathing. His eyes came back into normal focus, and panic subsided from his thoughts.

“I need to calm down and get my thoughts in order. I've just been through a hell of an experience, and maybe if I can go over it with somebody it will make more sense. Is there someplace we can talk?” Randall asked the uniformed security guard in front of him, adding, “Only if it's not something that would get you in trouble.”

The rapid transformation in Hardy's demeanor was peculiar, as if nothing had happened to him at all. Even stranger was that the night watchman seemed not to find anything unusual in the man's sudden shift from saucer eyed panic to friendly and talkative. The air tingled with the sort of crisp energy that accompanies a heavy lightning storm, that ionic charge so many people have described as instantly exhilarating, yet the stars shone down upon them in a sky devoid of clouds. It would not be accurate to say that neither of them noticed, it was just that they appeared incapable of confronting the phenomena.

Thad gave a high snort of a chuckle that wrinkled up his cheeks and brought life to his grizzled features. It didn't sound pretty, but the difference it made in his appearance could only come from genuine good humor. “This place never sees any wild activity. There's no crime. Nothing to do most of the time but read and listen to the clock tick. You're welcome to come in and sit down by the front desk. Is there any emergency I need to know about, any authorities I need to call?”

“No,” Randy clucked in return, his face relaxing from the presence of the kindly old man and the stable surroundings. “I had a personal scare. I really panicked out of proportion to the actual events. I'll tell you about it. Somebody with your life experience will probably get a kick out of it.”

“Follow me. On second thought, I'll follow you. Your comment about my age makes me think you may be sizing me up to see if you can whoop me,” Thaddeus said, with a choppy “heh-heh” that by habit he regularly demonstrated his good humor.

“No, problem, Lazarus, as long as you warn me before I step into one of the bear traps you have no doubt laid out as a secondary defense line for this fortress.”

“You got jokes too. This night may go by faster than I thought. Here I was thinking I might have to use the defibrillator they keep locked away just to make it through the 3 a.m. Hour.”

The classy art deco style of the apartment building belied the formidable size of the structure. The brightly colored curves looked so feminine, but the towering rise of the load bearing corner columns looked nothing if not strong and sturdy. Stiff against the marble embellishment above the revolving front doors, a canvas banner temporarily displayed the name of the edifice, The Prince. The permanent sign had been taken down, to be replaced by a newer, more stylized celebration of the architectural period. There was one normal door to the left of the revolving ones, and through that ingress Randall Hardy made his way, Thaddeus Pourcieau on his heels.

Once inside Randall paused to take in the vibe of the interior. It smelled like history, and it felt like a 19th century rooming house. Both perceptions were off the mark considering the designers finished the blueprints for The Prince in 1926, and nothing noteworthy ever took place there since its inception. The pause allowed Thad to show Hardy the way to the side entrance to the security desk, which opened into a short hallway tucked behind a moderately tall colonnette placed to partially hide the passage from view.

Tinted glass set in ornate wrought iron caging on either side of the main window obscured the majority of the spacious front desk and security booth from public view. The company providing security installed state of the art cameras the previous year; a bank of high definition monitors lined up above the front glass of the booth provided rotating views of nearly every square foot of the building. A small kitchenette occupied the rear portion of the room furthermost from the door. It consisted of a dormitory refrigerator and a short modular stand for the microwave and coffee pot with cabinets and two drawers underneath. There were two high backed, leather covered office chairs with adjustable everything, really too comfortable for use by security since falling asleep in one of them might be difficult for a weary person to hold out against.

“Do you mind coffee from a few hours agao? I try not to waste it, since keeping costs down helps ensure my continued receipt of this meager but useful supplemental income.”

“Not at all. My only requirement when it comes to java is that it be strong enough to require sugar and that it not be so old it has something floating on the top of it.”

“I've been poor too. I know about drinking the last drop of coffee from two morning's prior just to get one more day out of the bag. By the way, in all the excitement we didn't introduce ourselves. Thaddeus Pourcieau, at your service,” the old man said as he extended his hand.

The city's champion runner of the night clasped the night watchman's big paw in his own, and was surprised at the softness of the old man's skin. From the size of the hands he had expected to feel a calloused lump of concrete in his grip. Soft hands spoke of a good education and a life not spent at hard labor.

“Randy Hardaway. I want to extend my apologies for appearing on your doorstep in such an alarming manner. This experience represents a huge departure from my normal, quiet life. Nothing like it has ever happened to me before, and I pray to God above that it never happens again.” His eyes glanced nervously, guiltily toward the heavens as he said the last bit.

Thaddeus handed the younger man a freshly heated cup of joe. His stout frame contrasted with the well toned musculature and exactly median body mass index of his late night companion. It might have surprised someone to find Pourcieau carried less than five pounds of extra weight around with him, that the old motherly claim assigning apparent portliness to the presence of big bones was unquestionably true. Not only was the big old man not fat, he had a head full of hair that must have once been so red that traces of the famous Scottish hue still emanated from a few strands of hair hidden amid the curly white locks.

As he blew on his own warm mug of heavily sweetened warm contentment, Thad asked Hardy, “What did happen tonight, young man?”

“I find the night's events more surreal with every passing moment, and more than a wee bit embarrassing. The story is more complex than just the events that sent me into a panic, though. I may have to backtrack more than once to clarify along the way.”

“Never you mind about that. I am a good listener. You just tell the story and I will know what you mean.”

Randall took a sip of bittersweet brew before continuing, “A few weeks ago a friend of mine from college. Dennis Whitter, sent out invitations to a reunion celebration tonight. It's been nearly ten years since our graduation, and I think he was feeling nostalgic. Back then we had a circle of about a dozen friends, some of us rather close. Nine people, including myself, showed up, starting around 6:00. Three of my old buddies brought their wives, four of them girlfriends. The other four of us, our host included, were all by our lonely selves.

“By 6:30 we were having a terrific time telling stories from the glory years over wine, and of course with fine cheese. Not to have fine cheese with the run of the mill wine would have allowed the wine's aftertaste to linger far too long. Just to call the cheese fine would be to gloss over one of the evening's great niceties, but I can't remember them all. There was smoked Gouda and Jarlsberg, and a bunch of those designer creamy cheeses in foil covered mini wedges with herbs and stuff. Somebody busted open a bottle of cognac so I decided to step outside for some fresh air.

“When I first got there I noticed an inviting courtyard behind my friend's house. Jupiter is in the fourth house for the rising aspect of Sagittarius tonight, and I wanted to gaze at Venus twinkling in the darkness, with the crescent moon almost totally waned. There were two teak chaise lounges in the courtyard, and one of them was calling to me. The wine spread sleepiness all the way into my fingers and toes. I almost never drink. Cognac would have done me in. I hoped to sober up while I relaxed beneath the night sky.

“I stepped outside through sliding glass doors that opened directly into an elongated corner of the dining room where all my friends from the past sat and reminisced. It took a few moments for my eyes to adjust to the darkness. When they did I noticed someone sitting in the chaise lounge furthest from the door.

“Needless to say, I jumped out of my skin. I immediately got fight or flight. Catecholamines hopped me up, like 'Boom!' My heart started thumping. All my muscles bunched up. But then I heard a soft voice from the seated figure...”


A quiet but unmistakably female voice in the near total darkness told Randall that there was no need to be frightened. He couldn't see the speaker, but her silvery voice sounded so pleasant all of the tension drained out of him. The same words spoken in a slightly different tone, or by a male speaker, may not have achieved their intent so efficaciously.

The two of them spoke the next words simultaneously: “Would you --” and “Who --” broke a stillness so deep and far reaching beyond the immediate setting it suggested a resistance to their presence (the house sat in a cul-de-sac in an unfinished neighborhood). The distinct sounds collided with sharp clarity. They gave Randall a mental image of two rubber balls bouncing off of one another. Nothing was disturbed, but the impact redirected all forward momentum. He took in air with an awkward shushed suction to try his question again, but the other unfinished question whisked out, sotto voce, “Would you like me to light a candle?”

“Yeah, that would be nice,” he answered.

A match was struck even as he answered, so his response didn't make any difference at all. The first timid spurt of light revealed only long wavy hair to Randall's perspective. That he had to wait for the light caused in him an uncharacteristic impatience out of proportion to the negligible time involved. Momentarily the citronella wick sputtered, caught and dispersed illumination, and both of their features became pleasantly visible. With nary ado Hardaway sat in the closest chair, thoughts of reclining replaced by rampant inquisitiveness

“My name is Phygenaia,” the young woman enunciated. The tone and tempo of the sound waves transitioned from the first syllable to the last, from simple statement to what could only be described as an utterance of power. The moment of tension accompanying the variable tones of the sound of her name vanished when she followed the sentence gently and airily, “But you can call me Jenny.”

Like a photographer of rare birds naming a sought after species to a companion on a photo shoot, quietly and hesitantly so as not to disturb the atmosphere, Hardaway nudged out his response, “That's a lovely Greek name. My name is Randall.” He chose to give his formal Christian name, abruptly ashamed of the shortened version's double meaning. Neither felt compelled to gush forth a fountain of words, but the man felt at ease in the sudden silence between them.

Jenny studied the face of the man across from her. A less than astute observer might mistakenly render the pronounced squareness of Randall Hardaway's jawline into an overall aspect of boxiness, especially with a profile glance. However, his slight, angular cheekbones redirected studious eyes from an aquiline nose to smaller than average ears with plump, nearly perfectly round lobes.

Randall's eyebrows halted that shift towards true handsomeness from the overly masculine side view due to a simple lack of attention to their appearance. They required only trimming to prevent an interested onlooker from assigning him to the average category. Hardaway never gave enough thought to other people's perceptions of him to accomplish that simple task.

The young lady seated a few feet from “The Brows” missed no details when it came to her appearance, and she need expend no energy to radiate allure. Fine strawberries require no sugar to be categorically delicious, the inviting scarlet multiple fruit can be a delicacy all by itself. When nurtured to ripeness with care, infinitesimal droplets of juice seep through the largest pores, one of life's most mouth watering sights. There could be no more exact a comparison in all of nature than the one between the mademoiselle's beauty and a particularly fine strawberry.

For all that natural fitness of appearance, Phygenaia did expend energy to enhance her appeal, for even the finest strawberry can be made even more exquisite if prepared properly. Her efforts were nothing like sprinkling some sugar on the “false fruit,” they were the five carat pink Cassel diamond adorning the Strawberries Arnoud, the world's most expensive fruit desert. The woman was a goddess primped with stardust and decked in heavenly attire, or, anyway, that was exactly what Randall Hardaway thought.

The young lady's rounded almond shaped face glowed from exposure to the rays of the equatorial sun.
Time spent near the lapping waves of the mother ocean kissed Phygenaia's peach complexion to high blushing red. Her delicate cheekbones captured the eyes of the beholder and bore them forward until they settled upon the tempestuous red of her lips, her mouth open ever so slightly, like a calla lily first opening its blooms to the world.

The eyes through which Phygenaia viewed the world time and again caught the dancing candle flame in an instantaneous flash that interrupted their constant dewy luster. Two eyes one blink from dry, only just wet enough to refract the low lumen, yet an illusion was created: They emanated their own light. Like tourmaline threads frozen in quartz, sparse golden amber flecks accented their blue, a blue impossibly bright of hue so nigh upon the gray that would desaturate their intensity.

Phygenaia's eyelids became a locus of sensory and mental focus points. Time distorted. One blink expanded to engulf all of Randall Hardaway's attention. The longer lashes on top, meticulously treated with a Parisian mascara until the tip of each individual hair appeared wicked and sharp, closed slowly down upon the shorter bottom lashes that looked as soft as wisps of spider silk. When they closed Randall felt a deep despair, worry that he would never look into them again. The atrioventricular valves slammed shut, “Lub!” Oxygen flowed from the air into the blood. The semilunar valves slammed shut, “Dub!” The second hand of a clock on the outside wall of the house several meters away moved from :01 to :02. The tick echoed off of the walls and the furniture, and finally the wooden fence across the yard.

By :03 everything returned to normal. Randall was not consciously aware of what had just taken place, although every part of him but his mind received the message loud and clear. Because of that Bermuda triangle of the male libido traced by connecting human hormonal sexual urges, the raw animal drive to reproduce and the emotional attachment forged in that fire where thought meets the chemistry of the coupling, Phygenaia had just become the object of love at first sight.

Jenny, unlike Randall, knew exactly what had transpired. The tiniest trace of a smile nearly settled upon the outside edges of her mouth, so incredibly inviting the mouth of the 20-something man moved sympathetically and involuntarily along with his gaze. She disguised the occurrence by biting her lower lip and acting as though, “monter aux lèvres,” as though there were something she wanted to say but could not think of the exact word.

As intended, Hardaway missed all of the hidden nuances of her actions, his rational thought obfuscated by Jenny's subtle performance. She removed her teeth from her lower lip and made it quiver inappreciably. She stuck out the pink tip of her tongue just enough for it to be noticeable, and held it there, transfixed as though she was once again about to say something. Instead she ran it back and forth across the spot that had been so roughly abused by her pearly whites. Her eyelids had drooped until it was impossible to tell what she was looking at in the dim glow, but it wouldn't have mattered. Randall suddenly realized he was staring and removed his eyes from her completely.

Were the young man to begin analyzing his own thoughts and emotions reality might set in, and that ran counter to the plans Phygenaia had in store for them that evening. She wanted herself to be the sole object of Randall's attention. An element of tension between them briefly took wing when the young man became irritated with himself for pouting about politeness dictating he not drink in the sight of her endlessly. To scatter that introspection to he winds and achieve her ends, she proffered a bold little tale meant to lure him away with her to more private surroundings.

“Your friend Dennis told me all about you. He thought maybe we would hit it off. I wanted to sit for a moment to collect my thoughts. A girl gets nervous sometimes, you know, especially when meeting one of the world's foremost researchers and scholars of Grecian ceremonial magic. That's when you walked outside and caught me totally by surprise.”

Randall was flabbergasted by what Phygenaia said. In all the years he had known Dennis the man had never done anything remotely like setting a friend up on a surprise date. Even though he was not upset that a beautiful woman was there to see him, he wanted to rush inside and confront the odd shift in his friend's behavior. That was another thing Jenny had no intention of allowing to happen.

“Randy, please come back to my place with me,” Phygenaia pleaded with a convincing wanton lilt to her voice. “I'm very shy. The idea of walking into that party with everyone knowing I came here just to be with you is more than I can handle.”

The idea of leaving with a woman more haunting than any he had ever dreamed of appealed to Hardaway so strongly that he almost set off for his car without a second thought. Before he could take a step though, he thought about how he had not seen some of the people inside in years. He raised the index finger of his right hand in a signal of that thought, which he was about to vocalize.

Phygenaia preempted Haradaway's announcement that he needed to stay a while longer by insisting, “You might not ever get another invitation this sweet and open. I will be hurt if you turn me down. I am not in the habit of throwing myself at men.”

[Any number of swappable generic bizarre sex scenarios I have written in the past could easily be edited through find and replace to finish this.  I really don't feel any need to publish any more speculative erotica under Creative Commons]

Nervous Mech Tics

The oxygen concentrator burps
Out hot air, every eleven seconds.

The house is quiet
Technology's miracle machine,
Internal whirring evidence,
On the job,
Deadly quiet

Life and death suspended
In the machine tick zone
Super-consciousness heightened
Levels of awareness prevail
Given, subconsciously.

Listening for a bell, a cough, a sound
In the hush that precedes doom
Hushed internal burping and whirring
9 seconds beep
Click, intake,
Valve release, plop, spurt of air,
Bladder empties, fwoosh,
11 seconds...

A human voice breaks the pattern
Anomaly in the imaginary aural graph -
Spell broken.
Elongated, freakish machine metronome: Recover!
Outside the front door there's a different world
So strange to the medical environment.
In the distance children laugh.
The sun shines.
People talk, sing, love, cry
Life passes by, beyond the
Machine tick zone;
And then it's gone.

3 seconds boop, exhale, uptake,
Click whir whine, outflow
9 seconds beep, valve click, release
Bladder fill
The Ache.


I really posted this as a sort of vehicle to make a couple of comments, since the comments really would not take up enough room to warrant an etire post.  I have moved away from casually posting brief statements and snippets over the past few years.  Lately I reserve my posts for either meaninful creative works, or at least lengthier pieces of fluff.

I decided to put together a short story compilation, something I have never done before.  It's still uch too early for the collection to have a title.  The first release from the compilation was "Turning, Touts Pout."  The second is called "The Night Watchman and The Huntress."  Currently the second story remains unfinished.  I did not come up with some sort of arbitrary timeline for its release, but I hate to mention something that is to be released without reeasing it shortly thereafter.  So I feel I am running slighlty behind on releasing "Night Watchman."  I had a major shoulder injury (yes, again, and it may sound like a broken record, but honestly it is a new and very seriousinjury).  It has prevented me from putting the finishing touches on the story.

I feel a comment about that work is in order, and I didn't really want to mar the piece by attaching the comment to the story itself. The first draft of the story had Julian experiencing gender dysphoria at the age of eleven.  On paper I could not live with even the idea of even having a character of such a young age in proximity to the subject matter.   The fact of the matter is that in real life the experience does at times start at very young ages. 

It's important to keep in mind that "Turning, Touts Pout" is not about sexual events or experiences, it's about self perception.  I chose to keep the age of the character somewhat older than is realistic (at least as pertains to the facts surrounding the person  in real life Julian Spencer is based on).  The story is absolutely not meant to be sexually suggestive or lewd in any way.  There is one paragraph I can think of that I may edit at some point to further reduce the perception that this story has anything to do with sex.  Just to reiterate, one final time, "Turning, Touts Pout" is about how a young boy experiences gender dysphoria; it is absolutely not about homosexuality.

I had a couple of other comments, but I'll have to add them later.  Cheers!

Turning, Touts Pout

Caution:  Some readers may find some of the content below objectionable.

Hung from the upper sill of broad, open windows, a row of prodigiously faceted prisms gloriously refracted sunbeams one crisp early spring evening. The dining room of a restored nineteenth century craftsman bungalow flaunted the host of prolific rainbows cast by forty-eight sided quasi-spherical polygons that cascaded over every surface. A gentle breeze slowly rotated the shimmering celebration. Color invaded every cranny and corner harbored by the man- made objects and geometry of the room. An imaginative child would immediately have seen that the human world had been invaded by beings of pure light, and had been summarily overrun and conquered. So intent upon each other were the two people seated at the table that neither of them noticed, even as the hues and tones dancing over their faces gleefully mocked human intensity, as beings of pure light so enjoy doing.

First glance revealed the two people seated at the table were a man and a woman. The house belonged to the man, Dr. Lionel Heflin, Professor Emeritus of Romantic Studies at Alpine State University, at the edge of the nation's deepest mountain range, in the heart of the continent. Seated across from him was a young lady who had been invited under the unseemliest of pretenses, and who yet thrived on the occasion even more for it. For the time being the young lady must must remain anonymous, like a silhouette on the stage before the theater lights come on. As important and unique as she may be at any other time, men in the audience only took an interest in the curves of her shadow; that was what sparked imagination and whetted appetites. Unlike an aloof and inanimate stage silhouette, in Dr. Heflin's dining room her vivacious presence commanded unconditional and unadulterated attention from the myriad of twirling rainbows, and her beauty demanded at least a marginal physical description.

Carefully curled light brown locks and a high starched collar of an anachronistic and conservative housekeeper's dress in the Victorian style hid almost all of Heflin's guest above the shoulders. The student was a very attractive nineteen year old woman, and she had nothing to hide. The professor asked her to dress that way, a request she welcomed, and carried out bursting at the seems with giddiness and excitement. Any discussion of her beyond that would spoil the fun.

As for her host, Lionel Heflin, much could be said without anything of real meatiness and substance every finding its way into the discussion. He achieved great stature at Alpine State at the age of 41, and in so doing made history as the youngest educator in the state's history to become Professor Emeritus. Completely devoid of the ravaging effects of old age, Lionel's features remained handsome and Patrician, as they had been for the entirety of his adult life. No reason existed for a man of 46, who had lived well and comfortably since birth, to bear such blemishes as wrinkles and liver spots, nor paleness nor sunken eyes, and he did not. In the glint of his eyes, however, there lurked a wariness and a weariness that could not possibly have anything to do with his chosen career.

Beyond conjecture concerning the occasional dark circles under the doctor's eyes, Dr. Heflin's appearance was quite the opposite of most professors with tenure and sterling academic credentials of the sort that usually earned a seat at the Regents' table. Lionel Heflin literally glowed with youthful vigor, almost always rosy and slightly tanned from being in the sun. He looked much younger than his actual age, but his exterior appearance cloaked the experiential age of his persona. The depths and heights of the lecturer's life would have been startling were they revealed.

The good doctor delved deeply into the lore of taboo pleasure and occult sexual practices from an early age. Were his inner self ever to see the light of day it would be a startling contrast to the suave, well dressed man that put everyone he came in contact with well at ease. The doting old wives of the members of the Board of Regents, with all their bubbling talk of Episcopalian and Catholic fundraisers, of Anglican and Presbyterian charity events, and so on and so forth, would positively swoon, to the accompaniment of great theatrics and hysterics, were they to find out The Lionel Heflin spent more than two decades working his way up through the ranks of the Esoteric Order of the Golden Dawn. University President Calvin Archibald Tuttle would no doubt have his personal assistant dial the campus police on his cell phone immediately upon discovering Dr. Lionel Heflin had written a three volume treatise on the subject of dominance and submission, especially with reference to desire and denial, meant to usher in an era of guiltless erotic exploration. But enough of the digression.

Before any dinner involving a professor and an attractive young lady, before any wild speculation about their private lives, before any other curiosity and innuendo, there had been an incident on the campus of Alpine State University. As far as incidents go it barely made the radar, and did not register at all on the seismograph. The incident involved a young phenom attending school there, partially under the good doctor's tutelage.

In an office down the hall from the College of Arts and Sciences, Julian Spencer scheduled a meeting with Dr. Lionel Heflin. He did so for two very important reasons. The first and most pressing reason he needed a private consultation with the professor involved his grade in the man's class. On the morning of April 16, 2012, Lionel Heflin returned to Julian Spencer his halfway point examination, as Heflin called it; nobody else called their mid-semester tests “halfway point examinations.” On the front page there was a red “D+” so large it could have been seen from outer space, or so Julian thought humorlessly.

Julian never worried about grades. He tested in the top one quarter of one percentile nationally in scholastic aptitude. He graduated from high school shortly before his sixteenth birthday. It had not been an easy feat in a school full of conservative “3-R” schoolmarms, with a principal who “would rather be fishing,” according to a prominently displayed bumper sticker on the man's car He mastered so many first year university subjects before enrollment that he only needed five semesters to graduate, before he ever began. For all that, the ongoing nature of the learning process persists in perpetuity. A lifetime worth of trophies would not assuage the pain of failure to graduate due to a lackluster performance in his studies so close to the finish line for his bachelor's degree.

The course summary, prepared by a technical writer, loosely defined technical writing as precise, brief, goal oriented descriptive summaries of tools, methods, processes and objects. The invisible nature of the author in such manuals and treatises was one of the key points of the trade. Writing with no flair at all, with absolute, succinct objectivity, had long been troublesome for Spencer simply because he found it so boring. The language of technical writing proffered no challenge at all.

Julian had difficulty accepting the underlying hierarchical authoritarianism of the world, the one that relegated talented writers to joyless careers writing the most lifeless pieces imaginable. He loved learning for the pure intellectualism of it; he loved writing for the beauty of it, although it was not his strongest subject. He detested the market economy that made scullery maids of gifted cooks and doomed artists touched by the hand of God to making campaign posters in sign shops. The more a subject merged with authoritarianism the more he rebelled against it. He also had no patience with those who blindly accepted the power structure of the world, conformed and did as they were told. In the past he had condescendingly called people who thrived on technical writings “the brain-washed and reprogrammed automatons of the language world”

He needed seventy-eight percent or higher in graduate level technical writing in order to receive his baccalaureate. Raw genius with mathematics and computer languages was not enough to satisfy the requirements for a computer science degree. Cursing, stomping his feet and generally throwing a tantrum would not change that mandate. Dreading the inevitable encounter with a course outside of his comfort zone, Julian put the class off until his last semester.

Julian Spencer neither hailed from a long line of renowned scholars, nor a family in which he was the first child to attend college. The ancestral background he brought to the table would have been stamped “Average,” if such a stamp existed, and if there had ever been any need to state the glaringly obvious. Everything about his life but his own educational achievements reeked of mediocrity. Beginning at a very early age Julian became determined to change that, so that he could categorically condemn any attempt to minimize his passion for erudition.

Since shortly before his fourteenth birthday Spencer's greatest role model had been Dr. Lionel Heflin, who earned a PhD in education at the age of twenty-three. Julian was enthralled by the doctor's dizzying climb to historical status among the faculty of Alpine State, but that original snippet of information about the PhD had been but the catalyst that piqued the teenager's curiosity. It was just a footnote clinging to a tiny foothold on a cliff face footpath in mountains of other thoughts and information gathered since that moment. Julian Spencer worshiped Lionel Heflin from afar. Had his parents known the extent of his infatuation the course of history might have been drastically altered, but they had no idea.

After two years at Alpine State University Julian could finally no longer avoid technical writing. A broad smile brightened Julian's features, a hint that perhaps he knew more than he let on about the class, in fact had always known. Dr. Lionel Heflin taught the technical writing course Julian needed to graduate.

If all Spencer's metaphorical references to rapid scholastic advancement over the years had been dragged into the light and studied under a microscope, then the examiner may well have felt like the victim of a farce. Some of the young man's drive had been a genuine desire to do his mind justice. A larger part of the rhetoric merely cloaked Julian's more personal drive.

Though Spencer's grade in technical writing six weeks before the end of the semester and graduation looked very worrisome on the surface, the young man felt no pressure whatsoever. The obscurity of the truth neared an end as the youthful adult's flickering synapses became like flashes of lightning in a thunderhead, plans and ideas the sound of leviathan rumbling in the distance. His grade and graduation were to him mere mundane trivialities which had already sewn anxiousness and undue extra effort for months and years, months and years too many. A vastly more important affair charged the air around him with tingling electricity, and it had nothing to do with books. The excitement was not altogether new to him, but it was new enough that he craved more of it, to the umpteenth power

On the morning of his appointment with Heflin, the student posed a silent question as to whether his subconscious mind flubbed the examination in order to have a reason to meet privately with the professor. Julian sighed and decided not to play such games anymore; he put off all airs and confronted reality head-on. Julian discarded feigned naiveté. He consciously and intentionally turned in an effort not worthy of a hunchback raised by pigs in a faraway land where two legs were “baahed.” How was he to know such hunchbacks happened to be quite deft at penning treatises on industrial

He had not enjoyed the prolonged dishonesty of his spurious efforts to convey ineptitude. He didn't like playing dumb, especially when it came to such a simple task as writing about tangible objects and processes. He made a mental note to later scold the few people that comprised his private life for believing it possible he could fail to even get a satisfactory grade. His relatives should know him better. He would not be able to tell them anything about it immediately, but he looked forward to the time when he could.

His brow furrowed momentarily thinking about what his “peers” thought of him throughout his grade school years, how they treated him like dirt, how in their eyes there was nothing more loathsome than the quiet, fat, insecure teacher's pet. That was only because those kids had not known the whole truth of the matter. He had no social circle. Two friends from childhood who had long since moved away had been his only social contacts. Prone to deep melancholies, his parents and grandparents often sought to succor him out of that dreadful state of hopeless depression. In a very real way Julian Spencer was a social outcast from the very beginning.

Even after Julian lost weight and word spread that he was “off the charts intelligent,” even after a few doors opened to social networking and he found himself invited to extracurricular functions only open to honors students, Julian did not change. The possibility of making new friends did not appeal to him. He had been the same person the entire time. None of the people who suddenly deigned to open their arms to embrace him ever considered doing so before he was officially sanctioned by the administration.

His social standing did change slightly. He went from a ridiculed, pushed around and unwanted loner, to a loner other students were willing to awkwardly accept because the mass mentality had shifted in that direction. The more ignorant, testosterone addled males switched from sadistically reminding him of his weaknesses and shortcomings, to passive aggressively sabotaging his life at every possible opportunity out of jealousy. Julian wasn't positive, but he thought the jocks were more aggressive and hostile after they became jealous than when they tortured him for the pleasure of it. Even if Julian had known how to become happy and integrated and highly social he would not have. He wanted no part of the sickening social environment he had become familiar with. He was substantially different from the average person. He did not lie to himself to make things seem better.

Julian thought about those things in the blink of an eye. He did that effortlessly since he had been over it all in his mind thousands of times. Julian focused instead on something he found intriguing, his meeting with Heflin. He kept his motivations so secret he rarely even thought about the subject. When he did it was like a piece of desert he saved from dinner, because it was the best part/

The second reason Spencer wanted the meeting was really the only reason. He very much loved the man, or at least was in love with his idea of the man. It was a deadly serious condition, though anyone who thought they knew Julian Spencer would immediately have considered the revelation a practical joke. Julian was not delusional, and he was not imbalanced. He knew the doctor did not even know him, much less have feelings for him. He knew that the odds against making a connection with the professor were astronomical. But he felt he needed to take the chance, or he would forever regret it and feel like a coward for having done nothing.

As it has been mentioned, Julian Spencer never fit in with his fellow students; not even once. He remembered with great alacrity his sense of relief when pulled out of normal classes and given a cubicle in the library, a “fortress of solitude,” as part of his advancement from the fourth grade to the sixth. Julian had already been much younger than most students in his grade; so the alienation he felt had nothing to do with age difference. Other students respected him for the first tine in his life during the two years he spent in high school, but he could not escape the shadow of his own insecurity. The reasons for that were deeper than his weight or his grades or his shyness

Sexual thoughts involving men began to reoccur in Julian's dreams and prepubescent fantasies around the age of twelve; that is to say, the idea of a man making love to him. The thoughts did not begin because of something in real life. He knew very little about it. Warnings about strangers from his parents and grandparents, and condemnation of homosexuality in church, constituted all his sources of information on the subject. The thoughts he found most burdensome came from somewhere inside of him He calmed his own fears and reassured himself with his true objective standpoint, that he would never in a million years act upon such inclinations.

When he reached puberty his feminine outlook on sexuality became a part of his conscious autoeroticism, but he also found himself aroused by such thoughts time and again through no conscious decision on his part. He felt dirty and embarrassed when he became aroused without attempting to, but nothing compared to the shame he felt when he sought to be aroused in that fashion intentionally. He had no fantasies involving women. He had no sexual desires involving women. All of his desires and fantasies revolved around his own femininity. The fantasies only varied in the depth to which he diminished his own ego in favor of the model female psyche he created, which through a lack of knowledge and experience lacked many similarities to the female psyche in reality. That being said, theere was no variance that included heterosexuality.

He bottled up the fantasies deep inside himself. Everything about his thoughts and urges frightened him, but they wouldn't go away. His mother took him to churches from one religious denomination to another, his father always to Catholic church. All of them said the same thing: What he wanted was wrong. Of course nothing the church had to say on the subject was ever said directly to him. He spoke not a word of it his entire life, and so was never able to get any sort of counseling or guidance on the subject.

Sometimes Julian cried late at night. He lamented his own perceived abnormality in terms which painted him as the victim of some failed experiment God began and forgot about. His mantra contained nothing insightful about his condition nor any method to alleviate his emotional turmoil, but he clung tight to it nevertheless.

“I never chose to be the person I am. If I had been able to choose I would be the opposite of this. But I am the person I am, and that type of person has been nearly universally condemned by Christianity. For virtually two thousand years Christian thinkers, students, parishioners, priests, church leaders and mass congregations, people with a sexual or gender based difference from the mainstream have been reviled, harangued and judged despicable. Yet we too are the children of God, created by God and entitled to the same quality of life as all the rest of God's children.”

Julian was an intelligent little boy, but he was still a little boy. Of course he reserved a special place in his own imaginary hell for anyone who dared to refer to him in such terms. Even if his defense mechanism was something he stumbled across in a role playing game, at least he had a defense mechanism.

For a long time Julian prayed that he would grow out of the such thoughts and desires. He hoped beyond hope that one day he would wake up and suddenly girls would be the only thing he wanted. He had reached and passed puberty by the time he started praying to wake up heterosexual. Something inside of him told him he was far too rational to believe such a thing would miraculously take place. His vocabulary at the age of thirteen could not produce the words he needed to classify and categorize all the thoughts he had on the subject, but his intellect provided him with more than enough focused awareness to know that he had been born differently than most boys. He did not like it, but it was the truth.

As it to top off all the guilt and discomfort he felt about himself with a cherry, and then stuff the whole sticky sundae in a paper bag and wrap it up with a bow, he happened to like girls, a lot. Most girls just did not appeal to him, he felt no attraction to them, most of them. That meant he could not point to his own highly self-analyzed feelings on the subject and say, “You just dislike them because you're afraid of them, because they're different.'' He identified with them.

One part of his growing self awareness he found particularly unnerving was the feminine angle from which he had to describe his secret desires. He felt he had been born a girl inside a boy's body. Te describe that condition meant thinking like a woman. All of his indoctrination told him that was wrong. It was as if he had been crippled since birth, but nobody knew, and part of the disability was being unable to tell anyone of the condition without making it worse.

Julian thought about this problem a lot. He did not want to go to hell, the existence of which had been hammered into the core of his being. Unfortunately very few members of any church thought about the effect “fear of God” rhetoric would have on an innocent young person. Those who did not fit the mold painstakingly created over the centuries of a “good” son or daughter did not receive any consideration at all. Anyone with even a minimal capacity for analytical thought could see the self-contradiction in dogma. Babies and children are innocents and to be cherished as close to holiness, except for those who weren't normal; they were condemned to an eternity in a lake of fire. Religion never held much comfort for those outside the boundaries of accepted norms

By the summer of 2007 Julian had yet to find anything about women sexually arousing. Then one day his father “accidentally” left a Playboy on a coffee table one day. Julian found it in short order; he was a “clean freak,” constantly straightening, organizing and cleaning should he find something out of place or dirty. After reassuring himself he was the only person in the house he sat down to take a look at what all the fuss was about,

Julian became so aroused he nearly hyperventilated. Every fiber of his being felt like it had been supercharged with electricity. No part of him did not want to be in the image touching the “playmate.”. Later on he labeled that event and it's circumstances as part of the growing proof that his very existence was part of a cosmic joke that amused God from time to time. Julian had changed his outlook drastically. He suddenly found himself a fully functional and capable male lesbian. The humorousness of the idea lasted for less than a second, because by and large it was true.

Other difficulties and abnormalities presented themselves to Julian as he slowly but surely aged into an adult. Although his penis did protrude from his body when he was excited, all his reproductive organs withdrew up into his body almost entirely when he was flaccid. No other boy he ever encountered had such a trait.

The characteristic made Julian feel so much like part of a circus sideshow that he made the mistake of mentioning it to his mother. She took him to see the doctor. Until the day he died that experience remained one of the most embarrassing of his life.

Julian fidgeted nervously in the waiting room at the doctor's office. He conjectured about what reason his mother had given for his visit. Very now and then he looked up and noticed the receptionist glancing at them. He thought he may have caught a smirk at least once, and he was convinced the head nurse winked at him, the sort of wink nobody would ever want to get. Once the doctor literally took a look at him the episode became even worse.

The moment the doctor laid a finger on him he became erect. As if that wasn't bad enough, the doctor asked him if he was any bigger when he became erect, evidently not realizing that he was fully erect at the time the question was asked. Julian wasn't certain what the visit was supposed to accomplish, because the only thing that happened was that he got felt up.

In much later years, when he was nearly over the hill, Julian would keep a bottle of Scotch handy in case that memory ever attempted to surface. He would pour a small amount in a glass. After that he would hand the glass to whoever was closest and drink what was left in the bottle.

Julian had other characteristics which adhered to that trend, the trend in which he was the world's most humiliated human being. In later years, after he was over the hill, he lumped all of those traits into one package, called The Julian Curse. When his voice changed it did not become more masculine. It changed pitch, but it became more lilting and falsetto sounding. Before his voice changed he was just another boy with a child's pitch. After his voice changed he was the only boy in the school whose voice did not become more manly.

Instead of growing deeper his voice was highly reminiscent of a contralto drag queen performer. At least he did not have to make an effort to sound like a deep voiced female. He understood it took a lot of practice for some people to be able to do that. The first thought he ever had on the subject was, “Aren't I the lucky one.”

Throughout elementary school, before he was taken out of normal classes and placed with students called “gifted,” other students bullied Spencer every day, or at least every day when his parents shoved him out the door into the world. Boys ran up to him on the playground and kicked him and ran away, They shoved him to the ground. They put things in his hair whenever the found a reason to walk past his chair. At lunch they would distract him and then ruin his food and his milk, with gobs of salt or barbecue sauce or kechup. They spit on him, teased him and did everything in their power to make him miserable, and they were quite successful in their endeavors.

The girls were not much better than the boys. The nicest of the girls did not say anything nice, they just didn't say anything mean. Mean girls ridiculed him for being fat. Julian talked little or not at all. The cliques of fad fashion wearing, popular girls called him “Quiet Weirdo,” or just “Weirdo”. Being silent was a cardinal sin in their little world. One could not gossip if one were silent, and gossip consistently ranked as the most popular hobby/occupation among popular girls all grown up.

Julian took it all in nearly total silence. Even after he became an adult he never stood up for himself. He never fought back, and he considered his passive nature an absence of masculinity. He never grew angry. He never had a pivotal moment in which he suddenly felt the power of his ancestors take hold of his being and unleash all the bottled up testosterone and rage to forever free him from being bullied. He hated his own person over that tidbit. There was no man inside him waiting to be unleashed. There was no turning point at which he became a man, as society defined a man. He was just quiet, gentle and passive, far beyond the point of no return.

Blissfully Julian never had to find out what sort of abuse he would have suffered at the hands of his classmates in normal high school. The accelerated learning program evacuated him from the midst of the laughing hyenas normal students demonstrated a striking resemblance to. Twenty four months after beginning his preparatory education Julian finished it and moved on to college.

The School Board relished holding his case up as a fine example of their prowess in readying students for the future. Julian viewed it as an abysmal failure. All their expertise and intercession gained him only an eighteen month head start on college, and at no point during his grade school career had any teacher stood up for him when he was being bullied.

One time he worked up enough nerve to ask one of the teachers he did not dislike why bullies were allowed to run rough shod over the rules, when quiet studious children were severely punished if they acted out. The teacher answered, “We're preparing you for the real world, and the real world is not fair.” That teacher was no longer one of the ones Julian did not dislike after that day.

Julian wasn't thinking about any of those things when he marched to Heflin's office to schedule an emergency meeting with the professor. The secretary, Ms. Cartwright, asked for his name, and brightened when he told her. She knew who he was.

“Julian, I just want to tell you how impressive everyone thinks you are. It's a shame there isn't some sort of process to publicly reward students of your caliber. I have a daughter, and she has been positively inspired by your achievements. I think if more children --” Julian hated that word. “ – knew how far they could go outside the normal boundaries of classical classroom learning, our schools would be filled with young maestros and junior doctors.”

Julian rather doubted it. He was reaching for the appointment book to initial it when he noticed Ms. Cartwright was taking a picture out of her purse. “Oh God, please, no,” he thought to himself as she handed it to him.

As he expected, it was a picture of the secretary's daughter, “Little Miss Cartwright.” Julian laughed to himself at the thought, but then stopped. He really liked the young lady's hair. He was still working out the angle of cuts the stylist used to effectuate the classy but carefree presentation when the secretary reached for the picture. He resisted the impulse to tell the secretary her daughter's hair was a masterpiece.

“What do you think? Is she adorable? I mean, listen to me. I sound like I'm trying to fix you up, but I'm just curious what you think.”

“Her beauty is.. haunting. And highly memorable,” Julian responded. He hadn't the slightest notion what she looked like. He hadn't looked at the girl's face at all.

In a subsequent visit to that office Ms. Cartwright mentioned her daughter. Julian could not put a face to the reference, and eventually he would ask if he could see the picture again. When finally he saw it a second time he understood why he slighted Ms. Cartwright and the photograph. The young lady was one hundred percent stunning, and while that made him feel insecure it was only part of the story.

“Okay, Spence. Do you mind if I call you Spence?” the secretary did not give him time to respond before unleashing a torrent of words, “Dr. Heflin is busy most of the week, but I worked you in tomorrow at 3 p.m. Is that good for you?”

Julian cleared his throat, but again did not have time to speak. The phone rang and he lost Ms. Cartwright's attention. He was almost out the door when she clasped her hand over the receiver and said, “Don't forget, honey. Don't miss the appointment. It will be next to impossible to get you in the same room with Dr. Heflin some other time this week, unless you don't mind sitting around and waiting for hours. Also --” Spencer closed the door on her last statement. He would never know what it was.

Julian walked home from the campus the same way every day. He descended down stairs cut into a titanic sheet of granite continental crust, one gargantuan uninterrupted stone face. It had been forced nearly vertical from its original position flat beneath the sediment of an ancient ocean millions of years ago. The stairs intimidated almost everyone who set foot on them.

Nobody in recent memory died taking the shortcut from the university high on mountain ridges to the town hundreds of feet below, but it had happened more than one time. Residents spoke out against closing the stairs every time it did, “Nobody forced them to take the stairs.” To be fair to those who defended the stairs, there was a plethora of warning signs. Warning: Steep angle! Cuidado! Alto! Ice in winter! Wet after rain!

Julian felt like his life should have come with signs. “Caution! Nonconformity increases risk of random conversations! Eating can make you an outcast! Passivity leads to victimization! Secretaries have pictures of their families!” He laughed as he reached the bottom of the stairs. “At least you can find yourself funny, Quiet Weirdo,” he thought as he slapped his stomach hard.

Julian more often than not hated himself too much to understand other people saw greatness in him. He was almost always preoccupied, too busy thinking to perpend the weight of his own intellect. The region he grew up in was known for an abysmal high school dropout rate. The median income of the white households was above the national average, but here were a lot of immigrant families. The opportunities for work and betterment were certainly more common than south of the border, but much of the immigrant populace still struggled to survive. Many of their kids left school to help their families by working.

Looking at standardized test scores, completion of the secondary school curriculum, the percentage of students who went on to college, and other numbers related to education in that area, Julian's record stood out like a beacon. Across the board administrators saw the potential to use his case, and others similar to his, as leverage to better the district, secure more funding, rethink the curriculum and streamline the existing approach to education in order to help those that needed it most.

When educators and people in educational administration at every level, referred to him as a great student, they were not being the least bit facetious. They might have known that their praise only further alienated Julian, if they had looked into it more carefully, but nobody did. Everything that made Julian feel different only added to the gulf of separation between he and other kids his age; social isolation persisted impervious to qualifying factors.

As another example of Julian Spencer's inability to revel in personal accomplishments, he gave himself a present for his sixteenth birthday. He vowed to lose all his excess weight and never be fat again. He lost eighty-five pounds. He reached normal weight a mere two days before his sixteenth birthday on June 8, 2009, after being obese for the duration of his years in grade school.

Instead of taking pride in the monumental deed that is losing eighty-five pounds, he unearthed a hitherto unknown and horrifying fact. Losing a lot of weight leaves behind a bit of stretched skin around and below the belly button . He did not congratulate himself about becoming a lean, handsome man. He obsessed over the unsightly folds of flesh where once was fat.

As was often the case Julian became self-conscious about the emphasis he placed on his physical appearance. In his mind it was highly effeminate to be overly concerned about what one looked like to other people. He found himself worrying about his hair, a lot, about whether his outfit matched or clashed, or whether he could get it to clash just the right amount for it to be perfect. And then he hated himself, because the masculine myth was that men should be concerned only about what women wear, not what they wear themselves.

Generally Julian Spencer was neither self-pitying nor prone to irrational depressions. Granted, every now and then he might be described as both, because nobody knew the truth behind his feelings. He was unable to enjoy life as the male he was, nor did he have any way to enjoy life as a female, which he also was, as plain as the milky way on a clear night. There was no living soul he could talk to as he progressed through his torturous teenage years and into college.

As the intensity of his internal conflict grew, so did the outward manifestations of its existence. His parents were at wit's end for an explanation of his increasingly withdrawn personality and unhappy demeanor, concerned about his well being. When Julian's internal conflict in relation to his gender crisis converged with unrelated (if that was possible) problems of self acceptance, his thoughts turned to suicide. In the throes of profound despair Julian did open up once and speak, to his father, but only about his suicidal thoughts.

John Spencer did not press Julian for the reason he wanted to kill himself when it became clear his son did not want to talk about it. Rather than asking any questions he instead talked about some of the more difficult times in his life. He repeatedly emphasized the impermanent nature of all things, especially troubles and difficulties.

“Son, if I had given up when the national government branded me as sympathetic to enemies of the state, then I would never have met your mother. That would have been okay, but it would have meant not having you around, and you're the greatest joy of my life.”

Julian did not like the last part. He never liked it when anyone said anything good about him. He was filled with self-loathing, and compliments only made him think about why. Julian had been unable to contain his emotions at the onset of the conversation, and hearing his father refer to him with such love set him off again. He wept, “I don't understand why anyone finds anything good about me. It's not right. I am not right. I should never have been born.”

The conversation sounds fake. It sounds contrived, like something actors rehearsed for a play that is performed five times a day to an almost empty theater. Maybe it sounded clichė because it has happened so many times in so many places, but those words originated in genuine internal suffering. Anyone who would mock such a scene as trite or overdone could not possibly be deep enough for their opinion to matter.

Father and son only had that talk one time. The outcome of the conversation: Julian wound up promising never to commit suicide. He may not have anyway, but for the rest of his life he had the promise as a good excuse not to. Another outcome, a hidden one: John Spencer decided his son must be gay, which was unfortunate, considering that was right around the time Julian determined he was a lesbian. It was closer to heterosexuality in the same way as Mr. Pibb was closer to Coca-Coa than it was to root beer. Sometimes life made no fucking sense at all.

It may be difficult for some to understand how gender dysphoria translated into Julian's unhappiness on so many other levels. In order for that to be clear one must first look at the unhappiness surrounding an identity dissociative complex. Doubts, uncertainties and unhappiness surrounding variant self-perceptions would not exist without external social pressures. Regardless of how pressures regarding conformity and the norm are introduced or perpetuated, whether it be by religion, government, school or families, on a smaller scale, and even pop culture, without that external influence on an individual's perceptions of reality, there would be no predisposition to have positive or negative associations when certain experiences occurred, and self-perceptions are an experience

At the base of nearly everything Julian disliked about himself religion played a prominent role. Had it not been for religious indoctrination against personal gender expression that deviated from the accepted norm, he would never have felt there was something wrong with him in the first place. Having already been taught, before he ever had any inkling what sexuality was, that people such as himself were to be shunned, he could not shake the horror and misery full self-awareness brought along with it.

Fear and hatred inculcated by religion also prevented open confrontation of the issue. The core principles of Christianity rejected hatred and sought to lead people out of ignorance and fear, but often bigoted, hateful men twisted the original principles to become more powerful, wealthier and even more attractive to the opposite sex. The messages such men preached invariably voiced harsh intolerance of anyone involved with same sex interaction at a romantic level. They provided a faux holiness upon which violent intolerance could be based. Homophobes scared Julian more than anything he ever learned in Sunday school. Afraid of what they saw in themselves they sought to prove their own masculinity untarnished by lashing out at innocent third parties. The distinctions between differing reactions to people facing the world with a predisposition to same sex relationships or with personal gender challenges may seem unnecessary or repetitive, but something insignificant to a mature adult may seem colossal to a teenager.

Unable to speak the truth, and at times unable to admit the truth even to himself, Julian instead transferred his unhappiness to things that did not frighten him out of his wits. Self criticism became the only outlet he had to express his gender related unhappiness. The intimate details of how Julian ultimately came to terms with his internal conflicts could fill thousands of pages. This is just the brief tale of a meeting he had with his technical writing instructor.

The Spencer house, formerly the Sierich house, occupied the west side of a cul de sac a mere seven hundred meters from the base of the University Stairs, as they were known. A local architect, Alfonse Mayu Villanueva designed the home. Julian loved it with a precocious weightiness. He always thought it unfair his mother kept the home when she and his father got divorced. He knew she only demanded it in the settlement because his father loved it almost as much as he did. She didn't even like it, she just wanted to make John Spencer suffer.

The Frank Lloyd Wright influenced design made it one of the more magnetic properties in the town of Cremlech, which was already known for it's comely residences. It looked much larger on the outside than it felt on the inside. Villanueva exploited the right angles of outward facing corners to maximize the impact of occupied space. He also created the illusion the structure crowded the property by placing second story reading nooks atop futuristic flying buttresses extended out from the main body of the second floor. In short, it looked like a 1950's space station with blocky wings. Julian's room occupied one half of the second floor and the flying cubicle on the north side.

Once settled into the safety and security of the Math Lair, as he called it, Julian pulled up a corner of the rug covering his floor and used a butter knife to pry up two short boards near the intersection of the protruding reading nook and the hardwood flooring of the main room. Beneath the boards was a hiding place one third of a meter deep, thirty-five centimeters wide and 40 centimeters long. His father made him aware of its existence before he and Carol Anne split up, probably hoping he would use it to hide pornography. That was not exactly what he had done with it.

Julian reached into the cubbyhole and pulled out a thick composition pad. The front of it sported a hand drawn “dragon” that looked more like a four year old's interpretation of the Loch Ness monster, and the title “My Stalker Memories.” Two years after its creation the sight of it still forced a giggle out of him. From cover to cover the notebook contained only hastily scribbled notes and ruminations. There were no pictures, nor locks of hair, nor anything else creepy; the title on the cover had been simply ironic. Julian turned to the last page and wrote: “Tomorrow, April 17, 2012 – appointment with Lionel at 3 p.m.”

Julian felt more excited and alive than he had in months. He thumbed through the notes and read at random, but his eyes glazed over and instead of reading he thought about the origins of the notebook. During one of his marathon study sessions to finish the eighth grade he had procrastinated by reading Lionel Heflin's first graduate thesis, for his Master of Arts in English Literature. Something about the cadence of the clauses and the choice of words captured Spencer's attention. He could not quite put his finger on what it reminded him of. It bothered Julian so much he made uncovering the original source of the familiar rhythm and verbiage a high priority. Disappointment came when he figured it out before the day ended; he had hoped it would take more thought and research to find the answer. His disappointment did not last long

Having ascertained that he had encountered a heavily veiled allusion to a sequence from “Leaves of Grass” within the thesis, Julian could not accept any of the easy answers for its placement in such an important text. Literature snobs had been trading thinly veiled insults linked to “Leaves of Grass” for a hundred years, but it was obvious from the placement of the clues that it was no insult, nor some sort of quiet confession of latent scholarly homoerotic fascination. The hidden nature of the message ruled it out as a similarly themed public announcement, and he could find no way to link the message to anyone in the scholarly world. Julian even checked out whether the thesis contained any cryptography, all to no avail.

Julian studied the thesis from a variety of angles, and decided to give up, that there really was nothing hidden in the text at all. That conclusion was both true and not true. After setting it down he was looking at himself in the mirror. All the usual feelings of deficiency and inadequacy he had grown to associate with self inspection flooded over him. In that moment it hit him. What he perceived in Heflin's thesis was not a hidden message, it was just the way the man wrote, and it had struck Julian because of its familiarity. Lionel Heflin felt the same way about himself as he did. Julian would have bet his life on it.

Julian set out to gather everything Heflin had ever written that was available for reading. The further he read the more certain he became. The professor's public face exuded confidence and self-assuredness, but the undercurrents of his theorems and postulates suggested a long withstanding unhappiness with his own person at an early age. That internal struggle had unintentionally leaked out into his scholastic works, and only somebody deeply familiar with the slings and barbs of personal dysphoria could glean its existence betwixt the pedantic formulations of pure genius.

Julian hoped he had not crossed the boundary from a simple curious student into the realm of paranoid delusion, and there really was no way for him to be certain he had not, except to ask the professor. Doing so became something of an obsession for him, unhealthy as it may have been. Julian recognized that, but decided it really was worth it. After all, it was only a part-time obsession.

Julian placed the notebook back in the hiding spot, fitted the boards back in place and covered it with the rug. He only had a few hours to figure out what he would wear to the appointment; there wouldn't be any time to give it much thought the next day. Julian didn't lie to himself and pretend there would be some sort of instant bond between he and the professor. The more he thought about it, the more every possible scenario he envisioned ended badly, with indignant outrage or, worse, authoritarian concern for his own mental state.

Expecting the worst Julian decided to at least create an image worthy of a disastrous end to the long charade. He settled on a loose fitting silk batik tunic in earth tones and whites, and a bright blue dhoti over black, shin length tights. Birkenstocks would have been the comfortable choice of footwear, but the ensemble would have looked contrived and inauthentic with yuppie sandals. Instead he dragged an old pair of huaraches from the far reaches under his bed. Few people would see the clash between the Eastern garb and the Mexican footwear, and though it bugged him somewhat Julian did not have a very wide array of choices when it came to shoes and sandals.

On top of the small pile of clothing he placed a necklace an old Indian woman, a practitioner of brujería, gave his mother and father when he was still a baby, to pass on to him when he grew old enough to understand such a gift. His father bestowed upon him the power of the turtle totem on the occasion of his thirteenth birthday, in a ceremony that Julian found hollow and embarrassing at the time. After a lot of maturing and just as much thought, Julian's disdain for the totem necklace changed into deep appreciation. The turtle had been hand carved from a large lodestone the bruja said had been found in the foothills of the Sangre De Cristos mountains. The totem fit his personality so well he simply could not ignore what it said about the tiny, ancient woman who had given it to him. It was almost as if she knew his future before she briefly put it around his neck. Julian did not believe in such things, but he believed it would look good with what he had decided to wear.

To accentuate the impression of the clothing, Julian procured a small medicine dropper bottle from Carol Anne's bathroom and mixed patchouli, sandalwood, a tiny bit of pine nut oil and a slight smattering of Chanel No. 5. For the thousandth time he wished that he had come up with the mixture. It smelled so good, like something Bedouins from the time of Christ may have found in a cave full of treasure on the outskirts of the Sahara.

Julian could never claim he came up with the essential oil formula. An exquisite, elfin faced girl instructed him in the creation of the fantastic scent. She claimed to have just moved to Cremlech from the west coast. He thought that she may have been attracted to him. She was the first girl he ever really wanted; he woke up humping his pillow with her name on his lips the first night.

He went to see her the next day and found her en flagrante with one of the jocks who made his life hell. He put that memory out of his mind, not wanting to sully the marvelous odor with bad memories. Julian carefully placed the small stack of garments on top of his dresser, with the dropper bottle on tops, and pulled out his books to study until it was time to go to sleep. Right before he drifted off he pictured her face in his mind as clearly as if she had been there.

When he awakened with the dawn he thought about how the previous day had gone by without the slightest inkling of where his mother might be. Her name was Carol Anne Flores (her maiden name); what she did with her time was utterly unknown to the young man. It had been a couple of years since she took any interest in his life, and he unceasingly attempted to convince himself that he did not care.. Carol Anne ignored his existence, and the truth of the matter was that it hurt, a lot.

Julian approached the issue as reasonably as he could, but over time he blamed himself. He blamed the fact that he was not a normal boy. His rational ideas about the estranged nature of his maternal relationship gave way to a more emotional response. He was not immune to normal human doubts and fears, if anything he was more prone to them than the average person. He blamed himself in ways only somebody with similar problems could understand. He concluded his mother ignored him because he was deficient as a son, and that made his self loathing exponentially more acute. For once though he did not dwell on the matter, because that afternoon he would finally speak with the man that had so greatly influenced his thinking and his motivations.

The school day went by at a snail's pace. Normally Julian immersed himself in his classes so thoroughly he had no perception of the passing time at all. With something to look forward to everything slowed down, and he marked the passing seconds anxiously. At the conclusion of his last class, which lately had been focused on Fourier analysis on the real line and integers and finite cyclic groups, Julian sprinted to the stairs and threw himself down the incline at an alarming and heady pace.

Halfway to the bottom he missed a step with his right foot and pitched forward. He was airborne for almost fifteen feet. His hands had no grip on the rail, his feet had no surface upon which to check his forward momentum, and his body tilted forward so that his face would be the first part of his body to make contact with the granite when gravity pulled him back down to earth.

A heart stopping burst of adrenaline cascaded through his veins at lightning speed and his mind braced for an impact that would surely leave him seriously injured. At the last moment he hooked his right arm around the end of one flight's railing and his body whipped back one hundred eighty degrees. His legs continued out into space, but his upper body halted in mid fall. He came down hard on his coccyx with all his weight; his dignity almost hurt worse, almost. Blood pounded in his ears, the capillaries of his eyes slightly visible, from the stunning realization of how near death he had been a moment before. He finished the descent down the stairs more slowly than ever before in his life.

Back at Casa Spencer, Julian showered and got ready for his appointment with Dr. Heflin. He really did not have a clue how he planned to change the topic of the meeting from his technical writing grade to something more personal. He worried he had been setting himself up for a huge disappointment all along. It suddenly struck him that he was really and truly insane. Julian could not understand how it was possible for one human being to have so many things wrong with their mind, and yet be described as gifted and brilliant. As he toweled himself dry he weighed the benefits of running away and never coming back. He could live with other sideshow performers, travel from town to town and see the world, perhaps have a charming love affair with the bearded lady, with another bearded lady. Running away was not his style though. Julian dressed and made himself as presentable as possible in what, by that time, he silently denounced as a circus costume, a circus costume fit for someone who was by all standards (standards he created at that moment) a circus freak.

Outside Dr. Heflin's office with Ms. Cartwright, a good fifteen minutes early, Julian could not bring himself to sit down. He was too nervous. That condition seemed to be catching. Ms. Cartwright made several tiny mistakes as she wrote a note to someone. Her normally perfect penmanship had been marred by the gypsy looking boy pacing to and fro a few feet away from her desk. She opted to break one of her unspoken rules and address the boy.

Well, Julian, you certainly smell good. I could swear I have smelled that before. It is awfully familiar. If you don't mind me asking, what is it?”

It's a secret blend of essential oils. A... somebody from the west coast taught me how to make it.” he answered absentmindedly. Something that had nagged at him a few times since the first time he met Ms. Cartwright wiggled its way into the forefront of his awareness. He had to rectify the situation lest he chew off all his fingernails from letting it bug him.

“Ms. Cartwright... can I see the picture of your daughter again?” he asked innocently. The secretary gave a little laugh of relief. For a brief moment she had worried he was about to ask her out.

Certainly, Mr. Spencer. You're not going to start stalking my daughter though, are you?” She quipped as she pulled her pocketbook from her purse and located the picture.

She held the photo out but would not let him grab it at first. She was just playing with him, but she noticed he took everything very seriously. Ms. Cartwright extended the photograph with great earnestness, tickled by his reactions but not revealing it

No, ma'am,” Julian answered as he delicately took the picture from her. “ It's just that the first time I saw it I was struck by how nice her hair was, and I was so distracted by it I really didn't get a chance to look at her face. I felt it was less than gentlemanly to act as though I saw her, since I had not gotten an accurate idea of what she looked like.”

Julian looked at the girl in the picture with his deep green and gray eyes. He did not think he had ever seen a more beautiful girl in his life, but he had seen her before. It was the girl from the west coast, or so she claimed, the only girl he ever felt an attraction to, the one who taught him how to mix up the essential oils. He could not fathom how he had failed to notice it was her the first time he saw the photograph. He was truly speechless, flabbergasted by the coincidence. A tumult of questions welled up inside him, but he could not ask her mother. Long seconds went by before he handed the picture back to Ms. Cartwright.

She seems... very familiar,” Julian finally managed to say.

The young man's reaction caught the always poised Stella Cartwright quite off guard. She stood there with the picture in her hand at a loss for something to say, her mind too busy weighing all the possible scenarios that could be at the heart of young Julian Spencer's sudden shift in mien. She continued thinking as she fumbled with her pocketbook to put the picture away.

The intercom buzzed and Dr. Lionel Heflin asked, “Ms. Cartwright, could you send in Mr. Spencer?”

It was extremely uncharacteristic for the secretary not to respond to her employer, but at that moment she had a mental image of her daughter, Elise, entwined with the young Spencer, in her bed, while she carried out the most trivial of tasks for her obsessive compulsive boss. Ms. Cartwright pointed at the office door. Julian took a deep breath and showed himself into the office, closing the door behind him.

Nothing could have prepared Julian for the tableau he encountered upon stepping into Heflin's office. All four walls were lined with bookshelves, two rows high, the bottom row being on the floor. There was a short-legged table in the center of the room, a chabudai, with zabutons and zafus on either side. The western wall boasted a magnificent sumi-e of a kingfisher amid three bamboo culm and a delicate minim of stems and leaves. A large double window filled the eastern wall with a breathtaking view of Cremlech and the valley far below. A sultan of the windswept Panjshir Valley would have demanded a man's weight in gold for the privilege of witnessing sunrise from that window. The wall opposite the door, the first thing one saw when entering the room, housed two wall mounted swords, a katana and tantō set; the two swords were notably anachronistic, a point not lost on Julian, but he hardly considered it the time to debate the history of Japanese weaponry. The door to the office sat squarely in the center of the southern wall, but Heflin had been unable to restrain himself from using the space on either side of the door to balance the rest of the room and maintain the harmony of the décor. On one side of the door a rice paper calligraphy “moon,” and on the other “sun.”

Julian, I am glad you could make it,” Dr. Heflin said comfortably, immediately making Julian feel more at ease.

The young man's garb fit agreeably with the decor of the room, notwithstanding the immense geographical difference between the birthplace of Gaudiya Vaishnava and the majestic mountainous islands that were once home to the samurai. Heflin wore a plain beige Irish linen button-up shirt and fatigue green cotton pants. Julian immediately noticed he was barefoot, although beige socks tucked into Sperry Topsiders were placed carefully beside the door, a detail not lost on him; he shed his sandals before entering. He smelled of sea salt and a cold northern wind; how he achieved that effect was a consummate mystery. Dr. Heflin's only notably ornate accoutrement was the watch on his right wrist, a Rolex Submariner handed down to him by his father.

“Please, make yourself comfortable,” the professor gestured to the cushions on the guest side of the chabudai, the one closest the door. Julian easily folded himself into cross legged meditational sitting position, back arched, the soles of both his feet facing upward. The professor did the same.

Julian broke the silence first. It was unclear, though likely, whether the doctor had refrained from speaking in order for his student to do so. The nervousness returned as the young man began reciting the words he had prepared.

“I hope you understand that I flubbed the exam on purpose. It was the only way I could think of to get your attention. I --”

“Why did you feel as though you needed to prepare a statement to me in advance? Because it's obvious that you did. Do I intimidate you? I try very hard not to be intimidating, but I can't think of a reason why you would have rehearsed our meeting other than that.”

“I – no, I don't find you intimidating. It's just that I really did not want to mess this up.”

“Yes, I knew that you intentionally turned in an exam that wasn't as advanced as the work you were doing in the fourth grade. But you must understand, I can't grade you based on what you are capable of, only on what I have.”

“I realize that, but I so wanted to meet with you.”

“Julian, you can meet with me any time. My door is always open. Well, I mean, I have an open door policy. My students are always welcome to come here and talk to me.” Heflin smiled at the distinction between literal and figurative.

“I've been a fan of yours since before I was fourteen years old. I literally can't believe I am sitting here talking to you. I just didn't think about meeting you without having some reason. And...” Julian blushed and trailed off.

“Oh, I see,” Dr. Heflin said with a sigh and gazed out the window at the immeasurable ocean of blue sky that looked as if it might swallow Earth at any moment.

Julian felt all his thoughts and ideas about the two of them slipping away with each passing millisecond. He couldn't let his dream die wordlessly. He had to find something to say. He had to find the rationale behind all his years of moronic admiration. He had to.

“Did you look in the mirror as a child and see a boy, but on the inside feel you were a girl?” Julian blurted out, and immediately wanted to die.

Years of pent up despair finally burst free. Nineteen years of life, and he finally gave voice to the one thing that he could never bring himself to speak of. He couldn't believe he had just asked his professor that, but worse, his reaction made it absolutely obvious that he was the person who actually felt that. It was too much for him to handle. He didn't move or make a sound, but the tears in his eyes blinded him. A great sorrow washed over him, and his whole body shook from the depth of it.

Dr. Heflin snapped back into focus and studied the features of the brilliant young man seated before him. His hard gaze softened instantly. The sight of the suffering, painfully mortal human creature opposite him touched strings in his heart, loosing tones of sadness and sympathy no ear could hear. All he saw was a bristling bundle of nerves and apprehension and insecurity, a sight so raw emotion welled up in him, heedless of all the walls and stoicism he placed between himself and the cold, cruel world.

“It has to have been real. I can't have imagined it. I can't be the only freak like this.” Julian started weeping, tears running down his cheeks, ragged breath taking the place of sobs.

Lionel Heflin reached across the chabudai and placed his hands palm up on the table. He said softly, “Julian, I want you to give me your hands.”

Julian sniffed and wiped his eyes on his silk shirt before he complied. Dr. Heflin held his hands in his and said nothing for a long time. Julian stopped crying and somehow found the strength to meet the professor's gaze. He saw nothing but compassion and sharp intelligence in them, but they were so beautiful. They were blue flecked with gold, and for a moment Julian felt as though he were lost in them, until Lionel spoke.

“Julian, I know how incredibly hard the world can be. Life is just an unbelievable bitch. There is almost nothing about this miserable condition that we have been thrust into that can be considered fair. I want you to know that you are far, far from being the only person who looks in the mirror and does not like what they see . All these people you see that look as though they have it made, they all have their own problems. Some of them are blessed enough to know what their problems are, are blessed with the intelligence to see things as they really are, and others are just woefully ignorant, of themselves, of life, of the world, of everything besides what they want to know.

“You are blessed, Julian. You have one of the most beautiful minds on God's green earth. And there's nothing wrong with you. Nothing. From now on when you look in the mirror I want you to remember what I said. There's nothing wrong with you. Are you with me?”

“Yes,” Julian said tentatively.

“I don't think you're with me. I want you to focus. Now, when you look in the mirror, I want you to remember what I said. Let's try this again, when you look in the mirror, what is wrong with you?”

“Nothing,” Julian answered with more feeling.

“I think you're starting to get it, but you're still just repeating what I said. What I said was very important. I told you the truth. You should trust me. I have a lifetime's more experience than you. I've dedicated my life to teaching young people. If you can truly learn what I'm trying to teach you, right now, then I will feel I have made a big difference in the world, that I have been true to my calling. I can be humbled and thankful that I was able to do this, but first you must learn what I am trying to teach you. You are blessed. You have a beautiful mind, and you're a beautiful person, and there is nothing wrong with you.

“Let's try this one more time. When you look in the mirror, what do you see?”

“There's nothing wrong with me.”

“That's close, but you forgot two very important things. I'm not going to ask you again, because it may be too much for you to believe since you have just learned there's absolutely nothing wrong with you, but you are a beautiful person, and you have a beautiful mind. This is not something I am making up. Everywhere you go people will think the same thing about you. It's just baffling to me that you managed to convince yourself of something else. You are a fantastic human being, incredibly gifted and exceptionally handsome. Do you believe what I'm telling you.”

“I believe you.”

“I hope you believe it, because it may be the most important thing I have ever taught anyone. Do you believe it? Do you believe me?”


“I hope so.”

The two of them released each other's hands. They sat in silence for a long time, looking out the window. The sky was a blue so deep it was like they could set sail on it and ride the waves forever without ever finding land, without ever needing to find land, without ever needing to turn back. Their reverie was only broken by an eagle, hovering on the wind within a stone's throw of the window, gazing directly at both of them.

They turned and looked at each other. The young man still had sadness in his eyes, but that was to be expected. Sometimes his life changed with every breath, and the experience was very humbling. The older man found it in himself to speak. He was a professor, after all.

“You're going to retake my examination. You're going to give it the best effort you have ever given an exam, or I promise that I will fail you, even if you deserve to pass. I hope you understand.”

“I understand.”

“Now get out of my office,” Dr. Heflin said gruffly.

Julian unfolded his legs, which had grown somewhat stiff from being in the same position so long. Upon standing the only thing he could think to do that wouldn't seem awkward and out of place was give a half bow, his best impression of a bow between competing martial artists. It wasn't a bad impression, but he didn't know to keep his eyes on his opponent at all times, and so his eyes were downcast. Lionel Heflin noted that, but chose not to correct him. He reckoned that the first time the boy heard the right way to do it he would remember forever because of this moment in his office.
Julian was almost to the door when Dr. Heflin said one more thing: “When I was a lad I looked in the mirror and saw a man trapped in a woman's body. I don't expect you to understand that now. You may never understand it, but I'm telling you the truth. And it hurt worse than anything else in my life has ever hurt, except losing my father.”

Julian said, “That I do understand.” And then he scooted through the door and was gone.


Dr. Lionel Heflin sat at the table in his dining room as hundreds of tiny glowing souls danced on the walls and the floor and the ceiling. Given a chance to dance once more by the prisms hanging from the upper sills of the massive windows looking out at the peaks and ridges of the mountain range, they danced for all they were worth, like there were no tomorrows and the world ended when the sun went down. Seated across from him a woman of extraordinary beauty sipped the tea he had made for them; she looked at him with predatory eyes. Her name was Elise.

The young lady was wearing a nineteenth century maid's outfit, with a high collar and long sleeves and a long skirt. He had demanded she wear it as a joke, something of an inside joke. He did not laugh or smile about it, but it always tickled him when he had the opportunity to witness something like it. The fact that she sat there wearing something so uncomfortable and so unflattering and feeling so sexy because she had it on struck him as one of the truly humorous things in life. And it was a reaction 99/100 people would have in the same circumstance.

The professor suddenly felt a deep compassion for his secretary, as he thought to himself, “To have raised such a creature as this must have taken eight of her nine lives.” He almost hated to burst Elise' bubble, but he was worried if he delayed getting down to business she might launch herself over the table and attempt to force him into sex, which would not have taken much doing, but which would have been highly unprofessional.

“Elise, I want you to do something for me. I spoke to your mother --” at the mention of her mother a dark and stormy look passed over her face, but it was quickly dispelled “-- and so I believe you have made the acquaintance of a young man named Julian Spencer. I do not want to be rude nor crass, but I need to make myself clear. I want you to take his virginity and stomp it into the dirt. I have no doubt he will feel like dying after you are gone, and I am assuming you don't have the good sense to stay with such a sure bet as he is, since you are still young and stupid. I don't feel I should have to offer you money to do this thing. But if it's money you need to make yourself feel as though you have been compelled to deflower him, then money you shall have. I don't have much else to offer you, except maybe good recommendations from a couple of faculty members at Alpine State University, in case you change your mind about going back to school.

He did not give her time to respond before he continued, “What I am saying is this. That young man needs a woman, maybe worse than any other young man in history has needed one. You know he is not unpleasant to look at. You know he is not poor, nor dirty, nor unsophisticated. You know he is brilliant. I can't believe you did not do this already, but since you didn't I asked you here to urge you to rectify that mistake. Do this thing and I will be indebted to you, if you feel that you are owed for the endeavor. But do this, or I promise I will find ways to maneuver your mother into making your life a living hell.

“Don't even try to look bewildered and shocked and innocent. I have seen the lady panther behind your eyes. It's not like I'm asking you to bed a leper. Now, do we have an understanding?”

“Yes,” Elise answered softly.

“That's good. Now off with you. And do not disappoint me,” Dr. Heflin said gruffly and with a down-to-business tone. She turned her upper body, cocking her hips, arching her back and presenting her best asset as prominently as possible, then gave a little pout and a tiny snort of indignation and walked out. It was quite the scene.

After Elise was gone Lionel Heflin sat looking at the mountains and thinking. After a while he found a few tears running down his cheek, though he made no noise; quite an uncommon occurrence. Sometimes life was just more than he could bear. Oh, how he wished he could have taken Julian into his arms and comforted him. He didn't know what the future had in store for the young man. He dried his eyes and smiled.  He never knew what to expect next.  What a grand and mysterious show...

- Baton Rouge, Louisiana
May 9, 2013
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Related written works at Angelfire, Sex Symbols, Cymbals of Silence.Repent or Die