The Proposition in Astral Locale 27-B
A short story
(Copyright © 2016 by Jon Rappoport)
December 14, 2016
He went all the way out, floating above thousands of tiny mirrors in an ocean of surveillance.
He plunged into deeper 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 did the Design want with him?
The chill passed.
“Better,” he thought, luxuriating in a) dark baronial calm, b) uterine perfection, c) summer childhood bedroom closet.
He was suddenly in the cabin of a private jet. On a table, he saw a team of small 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 under him, 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 man 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 wheelchair and foaming at the mouth and spitting. He doubled over and a siren went off. A security guard appeared with a riot baton and sent a 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. Relief.
The dreamer was back in the cabin of the jet. The comfort of burnished yellow-brown lights set high in the cabin walls.
A flight attendant entered with a drink.
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 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.”
It stated: “…I am not attempting to elicit information pursuant to an investigation, case, or sentencing option…”
“Just out of curiosity,” he said, “how much protection do you have?”
“Well,” she said, “the LA Mayor has a local contract. He supplies private soldiers when I’m in the city.”
“Have they ever had to go on attack?”
“A Belivar prince once tried to have his men kidnap me between the airport and my hotel. Burton 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. It was cool. It immediately became warm, as if she could make it happen.
She sat down next to him on the arm of his chair.
“Defendant in a federal trafficking case,” she said. “He claims his cartel, Zuma, struck an immunity deal with the CIA. No prosecutions, clean truck routes from Mexico up through LA, all the way to a central distribution hub in Chicago.”
“In return for what?”
“Actionable intell on other Mexican cartels.”
“What do you want from me?”
“Stored documents granting that 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 runner, go-between. Supplier of information.
Bobby moved in close.
“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 hundreds. 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. If the shit hits the fan, the president’s administration in Mexico could go down.”
He heard a grinding roar from a long way off.
“Sorry,” Q said. “I can’t help you.”
Bobby frowned. “Why not?”
The roar accelerated. The bar sped down to the size of a dot of blood on a handkerchief.
“Get me to Mosca’s office,” John Q shouted.
Sal Mosca conducted his business in a warehouse in Evanston, a few blocks away from the Registrar-DHS complex.
In the center of the lobby, there was a single desk. Video cameras on the walls caught the action from a dozen angles.
John Q waited in line, and when his turn came, he handed the security guard a copy of his cert card and said he had an appointment with Mr. Mosca.
The guard looked down at his pad, nodded, and handed Q 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. He nodded. Q got in. The guard peeled off the 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 Q 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.
Q 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.
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 guided Q across the room to a door. One of them opened it and moved ahead, into Mosca’s office.
Q 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. Q stayed standing.
Mosca. Big chest, big belly, cheap shoes. 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/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.
“Because,” Mosca said, “if it turns out Zuma has a deal with the feds to ship big weight up through Los Angeles into Chicago, and it’s exposed, that torpedoes everybody.”
“But do confirming documents exist?”
“What happened to you?” Mosca said.
“Let’s talk about immunity at a higher level, Sal. Who is immune? How do they arrive at that status?”
Sal leaned back and grinned.
“Well, Q, understand I’m only a low man on the totem pole. I don’t have many details.”
Then Mosca was standing next to me. He took my arm and walked me to the right, into a kitchen that hadn’t been there before. We exited from a side door and climbed a short flight of steps. He 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. We stepped inside and Mosca turned on a light. I shut the door. Tools were arranged on shelves. An open cabinet was stacked with brooms and shovels and an old shotgun. We sat down on two rickety chairs.
“John Q,” he said, “immunity travels higher than faith. Because faith’s been misappropriated. Faith is an Atlas holding up the world. And now he’s watching and spying, to make sure it stays intact.”
A canyon opened up under me. Another Earth, like this one. I caught a glimpse and it shut down, closed its mouth.
“Q,” Mosca said, “I’m a bit player. I move a few crumbs here, a few crumbs there…”
“Morris Gold’s office,” I said.
I stepped out of a car. Bobby Thoms, who was driving, also got out. He handed the keys to a parking robot and strolled off toward the American Airlines sports book. I crossed the sidewalk and stopped in front of a cast-iron door. I rang the bell. I was standing under a video camera.
A voice said, “Name, please.”
I held up my cert card.
“Packing any weapons?” the voice said.
“Just a minute.”
They were running a body scan. I waited.
“What case does this pertain to?” the voice said.
“Not a case.”
“Here for a consult.”
The door buzzed. I opened it and walked in.
I was in a pitch-black space.
As my eyes adjusted, the lights slowly rose to dim. I 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 me clicked and moved from left to right. I stepped through.
I was standing in a foyer. The carpet under my shoes was thick.
A tall heavy-set man appeared from my right. “Go,” he said. He opened a door and we were facing an open elevator. He motioned and I stepped in ahead of him. He followed and the door closed. We ascended silently for a few seconds. The elevator came to a smooth stop. The door opened. A short man in a very expensive dark suit stood there. 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 I shook it. He smiled.
I walked with him down a hallway into a corner office.
Floor-to-ceiling windows. His two-ton oak desk sat in the center of the room. There were hunting prints and paintings of horses and cottages on blue walls.
He didn’t offer me a seat. I stood. He stood.
“John Q,” he said. “Are you trying to stir up trouble because you’re in transit? Because you were scooped up? Nothing worse than a sore loser. What can I do for you after all this time?”
His eyes were cold.
I framed my question. “Is a deity in on the fix?” I said.
“You want to know the theoretical upper limit on immunity?” he said. “I’ve worked cases where the issue was raised. The courts have always blurred distinctions.”
“You have wide experience in these cases?” I said.
Gold walked back behind his desk and sat down.
“You tell people,” he said, “they’re committing heresy, they buy it, depending who’s doing public relations for you.”
“But what is it actually?” I said.
“Listen,” Gold said. “You were a smart boy in law school. Now you’re loitering.”
“It’s probably a fetish on my part. A little tour of old friends.”
He laughed. “Sentimental journey, right? Did you know the configuration of the Surveillance State is an Atlas holding up the world? When you really see the whole architecture? And the documents you’re looking for are probably hidden, along with at least a million other docs, inside a bead of sweat on Atlas’ forehead.”
“Then I guess I want him,” I said.
A sheet of slow lightning swam up my legs and infiltrated my spine. It nuzzled and burned, on the way up, each bone.
At the top of the channel, I reached out and removed the top of Morris’ skull. It came away clean and out rolled a small creek of dusty tears.
I was standing in a courtroom open to the sky. I was behind the prosecution table.
And there was a giant standing before me.
I was facing him in the dock. His head was barely visible, an imprint behind a cloudbank. He was radiating nothing. He was a no one.
I was already searching for my opening.
Translating incomprehensible text into silent sounds, rehearsing them.
I began talking, suddenly believing every syllable would break open a wound in his cartilage and penetrate to organs.
Every case I’d ever tried had been a symptom, and every verdict a palliative. This one was the kernel.
I spoke and I heard a sound of upper crashing, at long, long distance.
A slow fall.
There was a crowd in the courtroom.
(To read about Jon’s mega-collection, Power Outside The Matrix, click here.)
Could I wake up in my office on Michigan Avenue and realize I was still handling cases in superior court, that I was late for an arraignment, that I was defending a Zuma trafficker out of Mexico City…
I waited. I stood and waited.
The silent depersonalized giant standing before me…the exemplar of no-dream.
Nobody. Nobody at all. Just a clock on the wall wound up to eat time.
I heard the long faraway crashing sound again.
…if we begin to speak words that are alive, there would be no machine that could interpret our meaning.
…I was back in the cabin of the jet. With Carol.
She was still sitting on the edge of the chair.
“So, John Q,” she said. “Are you in transit because you died, or are you dreaming?”
“This is what I did on my summer vacation,” I said.
“All right,” she said. “Let’s negotiate a price.”
“Who won the election?” I said.
“I’m your wife,” she said. “We’re on Air Force One.”
I looked out the window. We were coming in over Washington. The Monument and the Capitol Dome and the White House were lit up.
“How long can I play this out?” I said.
She shrugged. “Hard to say. We’re in a scene-shifter locale. Things change. You have a speech to give, before the King.”
“He and his cartel people just moved into the White House. They’re shipping big weight out of the Rose Garden. No more cover stories.”
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 emails at NoMoreFakeNews.com or OutsideTheRealityMachine.
‘love the short story…. One question – when “reality” is in flux, is it actually reality?
Terry: Your question has something in common with the puzzle, “If a tree falls in the forest and nobody is there to hear it, does it make a sound?” Both questions dance around the assumption that we are embedded in reality. Take your question first, Terry. Can reality be changing and still be reality? If someone answered, “No” it would very likely be on the mistaken grounds that our own consciousness would be in flux, and so any statements we made about reality would be changeable, and thus nonsense. The tree in the forest example questions whether the phenomenon of sound has any real meaning without perception.
Both questions converge tacitly on the location of the source of meaning. Is it external or internal? Objective or subjective? The puzzle is confusing, because people usually confuse the objective with the absolute. If we want to have absolutes, then meaning must be objective – scientific, or so they think. It’s sort of an all or nothing proposition to them. But what is wrong with subjective absolutes? Imagine absolutes as the notes of a musical scale, and the subjectivity as the composer’s imagination. The notes really exist, and they remain the same; they are absolute. The notes are given meaning from the composer as he arranges and groups them according to his subjective esthetic taste. Random arrangements have no meaning – they evoke nothing in the listener. So there is another absolute that bridges the creativity of the composer to the ear of the listener, so that they both recognize shared meaning in the arrangement of the notes. Inspiration is communicable along this invisible carrier wave, which is absolute, but not objective, because it cannot be detected or measured.
Confusion arises when we try to decide which is reality – the notes or the music? The inert stuff or the meaning we give to them? But if you separate one from the other, then there is no meaning, and so the question makes no sense. To preserve meaning, you must have both. So we are forced to conclude that reality is in flux, and it is real, though not in the way we were taught in school. It is not immutable, deterministic, etc. Yet it is built around certain absolutes, which by themselves are meaningless. Truth is meaningless without expression, Liberty is meaningless without truly free action, and Ownership is meaningless without the threat of force to protect it. Without humans exercising their potential, the universe has no meaning. The tree makes no sound, and inert stuff isn’t real.
Trump a pivot-point maybe.
…from your dream journal, Jon? It certainly is poetic. I’m now beginning mine. After dream journaling for years, where I wrote as the observer, thanks to you, I now see a new way to write the story of reality. Thank you!
I like this one; it encompassed a very large space, mind was about smaller places.
And the question…
“What did the Design want with him?
DIARY OF A DEAD MAN
“There’s a hole in sun,
and all that was given will fall back there someday.
The life we live here is measured by the sins from some past life.
The closer you get to the end,
the more you remember from the very beginning, and…just before it.
It takes a lifetime to scratch away that veil of forgetting.
This preset to be a man, has disturbed me from the start.
I do not know what a man is, and I can’t find a reason why I should listen to your answer?
In fact the whole world, the whole universe is preset by your reckoning.
So many have said, “I love my life, and this is the way it should be; this is the best.”
And I say,
“Like a mousetrap set with cheese,
this world was set to catch me and you,
and bring us down here into this heavy thing.
Amongst fools, who would run the damned ship into the rocks.”
This morning creeps on slow, on thin grey legs,
and my heart is heavy with its tyranny.
I think of Thomas More, with his head in a basket for his troubles.
Failed to a kings fealty;
and now dust to it all.
And between the ages of a stale book.
I wait on death, and that being my fine and oldest friend;
will move me and break this connection.
And newly me discovered,
one I have not known for a long time;
one with all that’s possibility existing in the same moments.
One with all the sins removed.”
I am sixty-two…and I know more now closer to the end, than in the beginning. The last pieces of the puzzle have fallen in place and the picture of my life, my past, is complete.
I see it like I am watching an old movie.
The beginning: the child that I was…in that far away place. That child, so
young and so bright, filled with such potential and in belief that, this waking was like from a sleep. And he had discovered heaven. He is still there inside of me, and I hear the echo of his young voice, and footsteps, laughter in the outer reaches of my memories. Eternally young, at play, forever in fields of play, innocent and unique. Shining like a jewel in the sun forever..
It’s 5:34 am, October 31st, 2027.
Tonight is Halloween,and there’s a ragged chem-snow falling, like white feathers out of a busted pillow. Quiet, it falls in slow-motion shaken out of its bag by an unseen hand. Grey chemical clouds, have us locked down, and caged in, and away from the sun; going on a month now. It is terrible how much you can miss the sun. The heart can ache for it.
They will reach a decision soon, I am sure of it, and then they will come and get me. I have been feeling that for a long time. Their bots have been crawling all over this place. I see them move across the screen as I type this; micro-drones are getting in, under the doors, and the updates on my computer are happening on a daily basis now. I changed the settings on auto-update, but the bots got in and changed them all back again. I see the Internet flicker lights, on the little black box…the infomation going up and down that wire. Tiny little snitches running back, to whom? And what. And with what?
The ringing in my ears is more intense now, and the sound has changed it’s frequency; the pitch range is much higher and lower now; that whistle and buzz in my right ear has a multiple of sounds. Sometimes it is like a dripping tap, or the trickling of water in the corner of the room. Just out of ear shot, but known enough to aggravate, but to frustrate. A soft tingling. A echo of champagne glasses breaking. Most times, it’s a hissing sound. Hssss…I don’t get any rest at night, too much time spent listening, it is deafening that sound; incessant madness inviting me to join. Sleep can be sporadic, and I am aware of the forced dreaming when I do sleep. I quickly wake up from it, usually in an exhausted panic. Like a night terror, as they try to get into my head. And change me from within. Meditation is the only way I can keep control of it…that hissing sound.
The morning headaches, the ache and lethargy in my bones and muscles. The metallic taste at the back of my mouth, as the nanos are in my food. Feels sometimes like I am pissing glass. As my body tries to shed itself of all their corruption.
Everyone in town is dark, with heads down and depressed; I see them on my way to the store, or out on my walks to clear my head a bit. They talk of the weather, as if they know…and I laugh to myself. And then I feel bad about it.
“So and so, sez he read the almanac and we are in a La Nina, and so we will get lots of rain and wet snow, cold and cloud cover, but the spring will be fine for planting…”
I fade on past it, bid them well, leaving them in their ignorance of how and why all this happens. If they only knew they are paying this stiff price, because of me. That this constant weather persecution is because of me. A failing attempt to stop me from speaking, a failed attempt to change the very thoughts in my head. The torment of knowing that I am the cause of their oppression. Because I won’t submit; I will never submit. And why such great power wasted on one thing, one human, because; they can waste such resources, and because they unseen can reach across and tear me down. And I know it, and they have me know that they know it. And I have never, nor will I ever see their faces.
I take a lot of walks, and I found a dead zone about ten miles out-of-town. No bots, no wireless, I think they are out of range there, besides it’s no place.
It a piece of wasteland, has no particular value, a scrub land. It takes me a while to get there, but it’s worth the long walk. I am usually sore when I get there, aching and a bit tired…but it’s a miracle to arrive there and feel it. Sometimes I wonder if it really is accidental.
I enter the place as if I have gone through an invisible door, and a peaceful calm fall on me instantly. As if…someone threw a warm soft blanket around my shoulders upon arriving from the cold.
And that outside world is like a wall that surrounds that place. But cannot penetrate it. You can feel it, it is just, there…the wall.
I am lighter here, I weigh less, I am sure if it and I float on my feet. I feel strength in my body again. The air is different, sweet in each inhalation.
My blood stops pounding through my head.
I have to sit down on the ground for a moment as soon as I enter that place. It’s not that I am tire from the walking, it’s a long walk, but I am use to the walk now.
I have never felt so relaxed like that entering into that place, so at peace, so calm.
My breath enters and leaves my lungs as it should…effortlessly.
The ringing stops and the storm quells in my head.
It’s not much of a place there, it’s not even that beautiful. There is odd bits of trash hanging on the edges of things; trees, and the ground is full of weeds.
The trees are average trees, poplar and tamarack. But, even they are…relaxed. The shapes of the leaves and the way they hang, the branches reaching for the light, so natural. I swear the trees are happy. Not twisted and tormented like those growing things around the town.
There is a smell of freshness, real freshness, not the artificial kind. A humus smell reaches up to me, a fresh rotting smell of grasses and leaves. It has an odor from long ago, nostalgic of the beginning of the world.
I saw a bird there…I was shocked. Absolutely shocked the first time I saw it. I thought for a moment, it was an hallucination. I thought, I have become light-headed, the walk has shorten my oxygen, and I am seeing things. But I am not seeing things…I thought they were all extinct…birds.
I remember them as a child, they were everywhere one looked. Flying everywhere; living in trees. The memory is so far back, at the edges of what I consider real. Birds have been gone for a number of years now, a faded dream of an old fresh world. Maybe they have been gone longer than I think.
Off course they have them in the government zoos. Or they are farm bred chicken for food, but no wild birds exist anymore. In fact, there are no insects or frogs, or little animals at all. Mankind has made his terrible mark on this planet.
I froze for moment as I watched that bird. It was one of those little junco’s. A tiny fellow with light-colored beak and charcoal coat of fluffy feathers. He was a bit chubby. I loved watching birds as a child. I use to know all their names, and their habitats. I would draw them in a book I had, and write about where I saw them. Forgotten information now, not used anymore…he wasn’t afraid of me. He would bounce onto the ground pick something up , a seed or something, and then bounce back up into the trees.
Time slowed as I watched him, I think it stopped, and I felt as if years were rolling by…and the bird and the quiet, and a slow heartbeat, and no wind and the cool…and my warm blanket around my shoulders. It feels like a drug to me. No! There is none of that jaw clinching, the surreal. This is clear…this is very clear, and pure. And very slow.
I can usually only stay there about twenty minutes and then I have to leave. My long walk back, and the grey curtain grows in intensity as I gain distance, closing to town. It is a hard leaving it…I want to stay there forever, I just want to walk around it and sit there until I stop.
All the crap flows back into my head, like my visit has acted like a dam in my head, holding back all that…I start to worry if they know I am walking there so many times a week. Will they find it and destroy it, do they already know about it, and so are waiting to use it at the right time. I shake these thoughts loose, and persevere on to the town. Lost in a fretting for while, home-sickness as I arrive into town. Not wanting to enter that place, or to live there…lost.
“How was your walk Mike!” barks Harley Ferguson, the first face I see on entering main street, past the cemetery and leading on to the house. I stop and talk, as in need of some connection back into this…
“It was good Harley, I like walking…what are your fixing?
“Ah brakes and I can’t get the engine light to go out, dam sensors…more trouble than their worth. Where do you walk to Mike?”
“Aw I just walk, no real direction, where ever my feet take me. It’s just a time alone with myself. Think some stupid thoughts and sort myself out…ya know!”
“Not so good today Mike, snow and wet.”
“Yeah, I don’t let it bother me, listen ah, I gotta go, Talk to ya later huh.”
Harley turned his head towards his front door and speaking, “Yeah sure, take it easy.”
The conversation was ended by Harley wife Jill as she stepped out the door and yelled at Harley, “Harlee, how longgg; oh hi Mike!”
I looked back at the door, and said, “Hi Jill, listen gotta get, havent got time to talk.”
“Ok Mike…you take care.” she said.
I sense her eyes follow me down main street. Jill always seems to pop out when I go by, I know its her excuse to flirt with me. If Harley’s not there she will hold me up and want to talk. I know Harley knows, I see his eyes when I do stop and talk to her. I feel awkward trying to dissuade the conversation. I think he knows it, but still, I can see that darkness in him rise. I see him fighting it.
Past the post office and on to the house, I climb the stairs and fall in the door. That dull ache has already started-up in the back of my head, and I walk across the kitchen floor and open a bottle of Advil and choke one of the large Nano-gels down my throat. I walk over and collapse on my chair. All that I gained is lost, it seems. Except my resolve. Truth exists. And I know it.
I’ve been wondering how much we’ll be straying from a newly created agreed-upon reality during the few hundred years.