~a short story~
by Jon Rappoport
June 15, 2015
(To read about Jon’s mega-collection, Exit From The Matrix, click here.)
Sometimes stories turn into other stories.
The writer sees an opening and makes the thing over. He thought it was going to run a few hundred pages, and then he carves it into six. All sorts of changes happen along the way.
Sometimes the “theme” is so tenuous he wants to knock the story down and shut doors and reduce the central idea. But on the other hand, he doesn’t. He takes a chance. He doesn’t care. He wants the strange thread to endure. He wants to make several very strange threads mix and cook. He wants to keep the sensations of happenings so they don’t boil down; they boil up.
He wants something that doesn’t have a name. Isn’t this is what he’s really after? Tearing down the divisions and boundaries that define space and time?
And once he does that, he invents a story he’s looking for. For now. Later, he’ll want another one. A different one. All bets are off.
There are gods battling in the sky. Not of the religious variety. The energies of these creatures seem to be alive beyond our own. But we can assume their energies as we walk the streets at night. We can take this reality on the ground and discard it, ignore it. We can fly.
He went all the way out, floating in an ocean of surveillance.
Alive ? Dead? Dreaming?
He plunged into layers where avid machinery was spinning. He felt velvet hands and suctioned fingers slide along him, and he grew cold in the submarine depths.
What does the Design want with me?
He was suddenly in the cabin of a private jet. On the serving table, he saw a little statue of glass archangels, a China cup worn yellow, and a framed photo of Al Capone sitting on the toilet in his Palm Springs suite.
And then identity shattered into a thousand pieces. The lights of an enormous city loomed up underneath, pulling the fragments down into liquor stores, newspaper racks, dark alleys, hotel rooms.
A news screen stood out in the black sky. A local anchor, her eyes bright with contempt, relayed the story of a Dr. Ralph Bannion, who had just died falling from an escarpment above the Chicago Loop while attempting to set up a sniper’s nest and kill shoppers in the indoor-outdoor Langland Mall.
A boyish blonde field reporter, standing in front of a McDonald’s, was interviewing a witness, an old man who was sitting in a highly complex wheelchair and foaming at the mouth and spitting. The old man doubled over and a siren went off. A security guard appeared with a riot baton and sent a blue fork of electricity into his crotch, quieting him.
The news screen disappeared.
Identity was now a quiet snowstorm in a deserted wood, falling, falling, falling on the hard earth.
He was back in the cabin of the jet. Burnished lights set high in the cabin walls, yellow-brown.
A flight attendant entered with a vodka rocks.
She was six feet tall and blonde. That made her a target.
Wealthy and powerful men would seek her out.
Her body was sleek. He examined her left leg from wizardly articulated ankle to narrow thigh, through the slit of her sheath skirt. She strode in heels, one foot placed precisely in front of the other.
She set down the drink on the arm of his chair and looked at her watch.
“We can’t have sex now,” she said. “We’re east of the Rockies.”
“I didn’t realize they had a law,” he said.
“Two hours from now,” she said, “we can negotiate a price.”
“I’m an attorney,” he said.
She pulled a half-sheet out of her jacket pocket and handed it to him.
“Standard,” she said. “Read and sign.”
“…I am not attempting to elicit information pursuant to an investigation, case, or sentencing option…”
“Just out of curiosity,” he said, “how many layers of protection do you have?”
“Well,” she said, “the LA Mayor has a local contract. He supplies private soldiers whenever I’m in the city.”
“Have they ever had to go on attack?”
“A Belivar prince once tried to have his men kidnap me en route from the airport to my hotel. Mercs burned them to the ground on Century Boulevard.”
“You’re John Q,” she said. “I know. I’m Carol.”
She held out her hand. He looked at her long fingers. Her nails were short. No polish. He shook her hand.
She sat down next to him.
“Defendant in a federal case,” she said. “Or possibly the prosecutor. It’s hard to tell which. The issue is immunity.”
“In return for what?”
“Precise intell on every citizen of planet Earth.”
Insane, he thought. Meaningless garble. But he also felt he had been waiting for this case.
“What do you want from me?” he said.
“Any documents pertaining to immunity.”
“Documents? You think they put that kind of thing in writing?”
He closed his eyes.
Now, Bobby Thoms came to him. The Swan, a bar in the Loop.
The place was jammed with lawyers eating breakfast and waiting for the shape-up in the parking lot. Minor cases were assigned by a clerk at the Farofax processing facility.
Q grabbed a stool at the end of the counter and ordered coffee. The bartender poured him a cup and set it down in front of him.
Bobby Thoms. Sitting next to him. In dark soiled clothes, as if he’d stripped them from a corpse in an alley. Pinched face, sunken cheeks. A lawyer’s barnacle, runner, go-between.
“John Q,” Bobby said. “I can get you in to see Judge Hirsch today. His appointment secretary’ll bump the city treasurer for you.”
Q reached into his pocket and pulled out a tight roll of bills. Bobby fielded it and slipped it into his pocket.
“What’s up?” Q said.
Bobby nodded. “There are national security implications in this case, John Q. Hell, universal implications if you really look at it. If the shit hits the fan, the whole syndicate…”
Q heard a grinding roar from a long way off.
“Sorry,” he said.
Bobby frowned. “Sorry?”
The roar accelerated. The bar slanted, curved, vaporized, leaving behind a dot of blood on a handkerchief.
From the white folds, a newsboy on a bike approached. He handed Q a folded paper and went on his way. Q sat down on the side of a road and looked at page one:
Announcement in the center of the page: “No quiet times for you, John Q. The unpredictable future is opening up. Grab it.”
Sal Mosca conducted his business in a warehouse in Evanston, a few blocks away from the Registrar-DHS complex.
In the center of the vast lobby was a single desk. Video cameras on the walls caught the action from a dozen angles. Familiar scents of dead rotting rats in the walls.
Q waited in line, and when his turn came, he handed the security guard a copy of his cert card wrapped in a hundred-dollar bill and said he had an appointment with Mr. Mosca.
The guard looked down at his pad, nodded, and handed him a red slip. Q stuck it to his jacket, walked over to the elevator bank, and waited.
A door opened. A tall slam in a dark suit stood against the back wall. He was holding a blade down at his side. The slam peeled off Q’s red slip.
They rode up to the 7th floor. The door opened, and two more guards in dark suits stood there. Q stepped out.
One of them frisked him. The other one backed away and watched.
They sandwiched him and walked him down a seashell curving carpeted hallway to a mesh gate. It slid open and they passed through into a small room. Mosca’s secretary, Jenny, sat behind a table.
“Hello, John Q” she said.
He knew her from the county courts, the early days. Cases adjudicated in offices, fines pieced off among the sharers. During the heavy shortages, lawyers took dinners as bribes. The joke was, a kid out of the U of Chicago defended his mother for an eight-pack of toilet paper.
Jenny made a fist and rapped her knuckles once on the table. Q took an envelope out of his inside jacket pocket and placed it in front of her. She picked it up, looked inside, counted the bills, and nodded.
The two security men grabbed his arms and guided him across the room to a door. One of them opened it and moved ahead, into Mosca’s office.
He followed. The other guard shut the door and stood in front of it.
The office was large with no windows. The walls were dull dented metal. The only pieces of furniture were a long white couch and two scarred wooden folding chairs. Bull’s-head Mosca, dressed in his tan suit, sat on the couch.
Mosca. Big chest, big belly, cheap shoes. Orchid cologne. Tired face, but tight skin. He’d been swaddled in the bullrushes of Lake Michigan. Dirty feet running on stones, foster homes, small-time collector of protection money, law school at night, muscled his way into city government as a private conduit for defense lawyers on major felonies.
Mosca frowned. “This case has tricks.”
“Immunity,” Q said.
“Good, John Q. Good.”
“Because,” Q said, “if it turns out the principal party has a deal to do everything he’s capable of doing, it torpedoes…everybody.”
Mosca nodded. “But do confirming documents exist?”
Then Mosca was standing next to Q. Mosca took his arm and walked him to the right, into a kitchen that hadn’t been there before. They exited from a side door and climbed a short flight of steps. Mosca opened another door on to the roof.
“The shed,” he said.
In the middle of the roof was a wooden structure.
The padlock was open and hanging from a chain. They stepped inside and Mosca turned on a light. Q shut the door. Tools were arranged on shelves. An open cabinet was stacked with brooms and shovels and an old shotgun. They sat down on two rickety chairs.
“There’s a new priest born every minute,” Mosca said. They have a special facility for hijacking and depersonalizing. That’s all this planet is. Depersonalized faith. That’s the Atlas holding up the world. And now he’s watching and spying, to make sure it stays intact.”
A canyon opened up. Another Earth, like this one. A glimpse and it shut down, closed its mouth.
Q stepped out of a car. Bobby, who was driving, also got out. He handed the keys to a parking robot and strolled off toward the American Airlines sports book. Q crossed the sidewalk and stopped in front of a cast-iron door. He rang the bell. He was standing under a video camera.
A voice said, “Name, please.”
Q held up his cert card.
“Weapons?” the voice said.
“Just a minute.”
They were running a body scan.
“What case does this pertain to?” the voice said.
“Conditions of immunity…”
“Here for a consult.”
The door buzzed. Q opened it and walked in.
He was in a pitch-black space.
As his eyes adjusted, the lights slowly rose to dim. He was inside a wire cage.
The same disembodied voice said, “Where did you attend law school?”
“University of Michigan.”
“Your thesis adviser’s name?”
“Professor Morris Gold.”
“And the title of the thesis?”
“Currents in Pre-Trial Hearings.”
The grid in front of Q clicked and moved from left to right. He stepped through.
A short man in a very expensive blue suit stood there. Morris Gold. His head was clean shaven and he wore a pair of sunglasses high on his forehead.
“They’re for the light,” Morris said. “I have a condition.” He stuck out a meaty paw and Q shook it.
Floor-to-ceiling windows. Two-ton oak desk sat in the center of the room. There were hunting prints and paintings of horses and cottages on cornflower-blue walls.
“John Q,” Morris said, “Are you thinking of filing a suit? You want to know the theoretical upper limit on immunity? Well, let’s start here. A question. A dream. A thought. A derivation. A decision. The constructed God-name and function are corporatized. I’ve worked cases where the issue was raised. The courts have always blurred distinctions, because that’s their job. You tell people they’re heroes or they’re committing heresy, depending on who’s doing PR and organization for you.”
“But what is immunity actually?” Q said.
“Listen,” Gold said. “You were a smart boy in law school. Too smart. Now you’re loitering. Get on with it. Your future.”
“It’s probably just a fetish on my part,” Q said. “A little tour of old friends and bastards.”
Morris laughed. “Sentimental journey, right? Did you know the configuration of the Surveillance State is an Atlas holding up the world? There are at least a billion documents hiding inside a bead of sweat on his forehead.”
“Then I guess I want to go up against him,” Q said.
“I supposed you would,” Morris said.
“What are my options? I can’t take him to court.”
A sheet of slow lightning swam up Q’s legs and infiltrated his spine. It narrowed. It nuzzled and burned, on the way up, each bone, sheath, nerve fiber.
As in a third-generation dutiful surrealist painting, the top of Morris’ skull fell off its brass hinge. It came away clean and out rolled a small creek of dusty tears.
Q was standing in a courtroom open to the sky.
And there was a giant standing before him.
Q was facing Atlas in the dock. Atlas’ head was barely visible, an imprint behind a cloudbank. He was radiating nothing.
Q was searching for his opening.
He was searching for words.
He was building words.
He was translating silent sounds into incomprehensible text.
Hoping that every syllable and fragment would break open a wound in cartilage and penetrate to capillaries, arteries, and organs.
Every case he’d ever tried had been a symptom, every verdict a palliative. This one was the kernel of the original dream.
If he woke in his office on Michigan Avenue and realized he was still handling cases in superior court, that he was alive on Earth, that he was late for an arraignment, that he was John Q, dancing on the end of a long string, defending some minor trafficker out of Mexico City…
Was there a silent depersonalized giant standing before him, watching the world, ensuring all human factors were in place? Was this the robot other planetary civilizations would see when they looked at Earth from space?
Was Q merely some mechanical dinosaur in a roadside rest stop?
Was something wound up to eat the universe?
Q hesitated on the impersonal God’s burning staircase, its rails like the manes of horses; the sound of flames was too great for conversation—“Have you ever met God, perhaps in his summer house in Zurich, did you know he rents a whole wall of safety deposit boxes at the Caisee d’Epargne?”
The pale blue ceiling of heaven had not yet caught on fire, although the six-pointed gold stars gleamed so brightly in it Q thought they would begin to fall out of the sky.
Now he was hovering above the Loop. Below him, clogs of soldiers fumbled with their weapons. Finally they lined up outside the Cafe Martin under the long canopy and a sergeant ordered Q to descend.
He rose higher, even with tenth-story office windows in the Grayford Building, where lawyers discuss divorces with women of the everlasting thigh.
As he hovered there, identity as one coalesced fine molecular structure evaporated. The birds of astral masks fell to the street and smashed. He seemed to have eyes all the way around my head.
He rose until he was in the clouds and saw the curvature of the Earth.
Now, he saw the face of Atlas. The blank face. He saw the impersonal eyes, as if they were an opening clue.
He gauged the whole face built into a pose of Roman nobility.
He hovered in front of the face.
He addressed Atlas:
“I’ve got many questions,” he said. “Answer as completely as you can. As completely as your programming will permit. Maybe we can go even further. I want all this on the record.”
Atlas inclined his head ever so slightly.
The accompanying sound, a creak, somehow reminded Q of a planet shifting in its orbit.
“Consider me your master,” Q said. “I’m here to run a check on your…space and time. The basis of your immunity.”
The author of three explosive collections, THE MATRIX REVEALED, EXIT FROM THE MATRIX, and POWER OUTSIDE THE MATRIX, Jon was a candidate for a US Congressional seat in the 29th District of California. He maintains a consulting practice for private clients, the purpose of which is the expansion of personal creative power. Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, he has worked as an investigative reporter for 30 years, writing articles on politics, medicine, and health for CBS Healthwatch, LA Weekly, Spin Magazine, Stern, and other newspapers and magazines in the US and Europe. Jon has delivered lectures and seminars on global politics, health, logic, and creative power to audiences around the world. You can sign up for his free NoMoreFakeNews emails here or his OutsideTheRealityMachine emails here.