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09.28.02 11:55 p.m.

I used to wake up at 4 A.M. and start sneezing, sometimes for five hours. I tried to find out what sort of allergy I had but finally came to the conclusion that it must be an allergy to consciousness.

 -James Thurber  

Previously in Xenology: I tried to keep the crazies and drug dealers docile.

Short Work Related Rant
Tomorrow, my town is having their annual community day. This practice began in the turbulent seventies, as all evil did, as a reaction to the rampant racial tension in the area. As seemed logical, they held it in the most turbulent area. I think there may have been a riot and possibly a stabbing. This, however, comes as gossip.
Fast forward thirty years to tomorrow (you can fast forward into the future?! I can't even move pencils with my mind...), to this community day. It is being held approximately where my library is. I am working tomorrow. To rephrase, I am working alone tomorrow. To clarify further, I am working alone tomorrow in the building that possesses the only public bathroom at an event where 15,000 people are expected. In addition, they gave the security guard and page the day off. If this were not intolerable, and it certainly is, they are going to have someone bribing people to come into the library and apply for membership, a process which takes at least three minutes per card if I am left alone. I will not be left alone, I will have hundreds of people in my library needing things.
Also, they told me I couldn't shut off the lights and barricade the doors. Clearly they have no idea what they are doing to me. I feel that this was atrocious planning on the part of the library directors. However, they do not have to work behind the desk and have trouble feeling sympathy, because they have to deal with meetings and bills. I just have to deal with the literal and figurative unwashed masses deciding I am to blame for their intestinal problems.
The racial problems are also little better than they were in the seventies and my "community" is still prone to senseless and cruel violence. However, I programmed the new phones with emergency numbers today. I am a good boy scout.

Counting Blue Stars
After hanging out in Woodstock, Emily and I went to a party at one of her friend's homes. I believe it was a birthday of some sort.
Many of these people were in Emily's clan and, being that I am fairly solitary and mistrustful of several of them, I sat quietly and watched them. They were not terribly interesting, frankly. So I got some food and continued to be taciturn and observant. That wasn't paying off and Emily had entered into a long discussion about obstetrical procedures with some woman who was very keen on asserting her motherhood. Emily, as a future midwife, was fascinated. I took to trying to move party decorations through telekinesis, as I knew I had nothing to contribute to the discussion lacking both the knowledge and experience of childbirth. I actually did a fair job of making the tissue paper stars move in patterns, for what that is worth. Or perhaps I was just very bored.
The party was not bad, understand. It was merely that I didn't have a place here. I was "Emily's boyfriend," not Xen. As such, I didn't feel as though I had a lot to share. However, I evidently became very charming in asking strangers for directions to the bathroom. This was likely because they had absolutely no knowledge of me and thus I didn't feel out of place. I could make a definition with them and, judging by them and their insistence that they were party pariahs, I might well have.
Little more is noteworthy at this party. I feel bad, frankly, because I wanted to have more fun for Emily. However, not only did I not know these people, but I didn't know that I wish to know them. They are largely older than me, which wouldn't ordinarily be a problem, but I think that they see me as younger than them. This I cannot allow! I am Xen, the Ageless. Also, and I know this is unfair, some of them are polyamorous and I find the practice unsettling with a side of skeezy. This does not go for all polyamorous people, of course. However, I have encountered too many polyamorous people who just wanted to cheat on their significant others because they were clearly the gods' gift to the opposite and/or same sex. I have often heard polyamory used as a pick-up line or polyamorists insist I am repressed for not wanting to molest every female from 16-60 when I am very much in love with Emily. So, I was disinclined to socialization owing to my prejudices, I admit. I don't feel comfortable when I have to worry that someone is going to objectify me for sex, not that they were. Necessarily.
It's a long story, actually. It wasn't that I disliked these people at all. I have nothing against them and, aside from a man named Isaac who is a filthy lecher, they have never been anything but cordial to me. I worry that Emily will think I am pulling her away from these friends, the ones to whom she was most close before she met me and my friends became hers. Erm.

Home Is Where You Hang Your Hat
Last weekend, Emily finally wrangled a meeting between Leah and Zack. Incidentally, this was when she was supposed to be doing a "Bring You Own Deity" night with the friends mentioned above, but M is pantheistic at the moment and thus was not totally comfortable saying, "I didn't have to bring my deity, because my deity is everything."
Leah crouching  
Leah, ready to pounce
Plus, Leah, Zack, and I are better than a deity party any day of the week. Emily was also full of radioactive barium because aliens in lab coats ran tests on her and spending time with us is the only known way to dissipate barium. It keeps us quite busy.
Emily had told Leah to meet us at the diner up the street from my home, however M was still very much in showering mode when the time came to meet her. Granted, my singing selections from Jill Sobule albums and poking Emily through the shower curtain likely didn't help speed her up.
As such, I met with Leah alone at the sleazy diner. After a brief but torrid affair (so brief and torrid that no one, myself included, has the slightest memory of it), we set to the work of waiting for the plans to commence. After a few moments of waiting, it seemed prudent to actually call Emily and see for what we were waiting. Emily called Zack's cell phone and discovered that he was playing guitar at a birthday party for his grandmother, but we could easily abscond with him. Ah, the planny goodness.
We drove to the cultural center, wherein they were holding Zack as a prisoner of all that is musical and right. We planned our attack in much the same way we plan anything. We walked in and asked the first person we saw if they knew Zack. This is what we in the planning business call "keeping the element of surprise." You write that down, it's pure gold.
We found Zack engaged in some sort of primitive ritual. He would cause the guitar to make noises and the other guitars would imitate it. I felt like Jane Goodall. This went on for a few minutes, with the three of us observing. Then Zack asked if we would like to have food here. We mewed that we didn't want to impose and such, but our stomachs and pocketbooks (well, their pocketbooks. I have a backpack. It is totally different) won out. Then we were eating cold (but not undelicious) food in the inky darkness. This caused Leah to say what is her new quote, "It's hard to eat salad in the dark." Trust me, all the kids will be saying it soon.
Best of all, there were juice boxes. Juice boxes are nature's perfect dispenser for processed fruit juice.
After eating a few plates of food, we were about to extricate Zack from his family. We decided, clearly not sated by the free food, that an appetizer smorgasbord was in the cards. They are zaftig cards, it should be noted.
M straddling a Native American  
Emily enjoying the company of a rigid Native American. Hey, you'd be rigid too if she were doing that!

We ended up at Applebee's, as someone in the car believed that they had superior appetizers that the taste-allergic M might be able to along within ten feet of her body. Indeed, they did provide and lo, it was good. Possibly as good as the balloon we stole upon entering and proceeded to play volleyball with until it almost hit someone. But the appetizers did their job. That is, of course, until Emily remembered that wheat tortillas have wheat in them and salsa has tomatoes. Her tummy gurgled and she itched, but her head seemed to remain on her body for the time being.
After eating more then our fair share of badly appropriated Mexi-Cali (I can read the menu) food, we dashed over to the supermarket. One would imagine that a supermarket late at night wouldn't be fun, but that one clearly is not acquainted with this narrative. We slid and jumped about, oohing over the concept of all natural M&M's and whole rows of food to which Emily is not currently allergic. The joy.
We also found the Halloween section, which compelled... nay, commanded that we put on the masks. It is cosmic law and mustn't be violated. Evidently, I, with my ape mask, was the most frightening. It might help that I was chewing, between my sentences and petting Emily's shoulder. Then, as my cover had been blown, I placed a Lone Ranger mask on the ape mask in order to remain incognito. Still, they laughed as though they knew who I was, the bastards.
Shortly after doffing my masks, we wandered to the candy aisle, as is necessary after removing masks (why did you think children are given candy on Halloween?). Emily picked up a ginormous bag of Reese's Pieces. I looked at her meaningfully and said, "You know what I am thinking." This was not a question. This was a statement of fact. She nodded and we went to get the rest of the sundae goods, only to be stopped by Zack and Leah. They, as far as I can tell, cannot read Emily or my mind. They might be developmentally disabled. As such, we explained that we needed to make an equally ginormous sundae with Reece's Pieces and other goodies. This seemed a good idea to the psychic short bus riders, though we couldn't use telepathy to tell them.
We retired to my home with Zack's copy of The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension and the various sundae toppings. Only good could come out of this. We ate from a large bowl, though the sugar of the hot fudge Emily chose irritated her tummy because she is allergic to everything. Zack enjoyed IMing a fan of this site and telling her weird things going on in the conversation, merely not letting her in on the fact that he was not me. Emily told said girl that her name was Bruce, and then asked why I am the only main character with a pseudonym. The answer is simply that it is my site and I'll do with it as I please. Beside the fact that, were I to no longer to use my nick name, the URL would cease to make sense.
The movie... how to explain it? There is no need to actually watch more than five minutes, which isn't to say it is bad in the least. It merely doesn't matter which five minutes one is to watch. Things are brought up and never mentioned again (i.e. New Jersey: "Why is there a watermelon there?" Reno: "I'll tell you later.") and the plot is perfectly aware it doesn't make sense. It is almost genius in a way. I don't know what to say. Lectroids? Planet 10? Nuclear extortion? A girl named "John"?
This entry ends not with a bang but a whimper. Actually, a slam and then a whimper. In dropping her off at the diner once more, Leah accidentally slammed my thumb into M's door. I hopped about in a comical fashion whimpering "ow." I don't think M or Leah really believed me until I showed them my poor flattened thumb.
There will be vengeance. Unless I get too lazy.

Soon in Xenology: Girlfriends and family. M's impending party. Apples and Shells.

last watched: The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eighth Dimension
reading: Lysistrata
listening: Buffy The Vampire Slayer: Once More, With Feeling
wanting: Adobe Illustrator
interesting thought: I will have to deal with racists needing to pee tomorrow.
moment of zen: feeling like part of a community
someday I must: work at the Mansion again.

Thomm Quackenbush is an author and teacher in the Hudson Valley. Double Dragon publishes four novels in his Night's Dream series (We Shadows, Danse Macabre, and Artificial Gods, and Flies to Wanton Boys). He has sold jewelry in Victorian England, confused children as a mad scientist, filed away more books than anyone has ever read, and tried to inspire the learning disabled and gifted. He is capable of crossing one eye, raising one eyebrow, and once accidentally groped a ghost. When not writing, he can be found biking, hiking the Adirondacks, grazing on snacks at art openings, and keeping a straight face when listening to people tell him they are in touch with 164 species of interstellar beings. He likes when you comment.

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