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Jaseman Ham
Motherboard #6
© 2023 James LaFond
He dreamed a languid dream where he had a name, a dream where nice Swiss girls in pigtails fixed him hot chocolate, where brown was the color of something delectable that one drank down, not the shade of what hunted you down…
“Poppy, no sleeping on the bar,” came a big kindly voice, as some little whiskery nose tickling his ear—no, the dial where the ear used to be.
A learned distant voice, a voice steeped in empathy, soothed, “I have that, Preston,” and the world became loud, “there you go—wake Sleeper awake, Jaseman commands!”
Two voices chuckled friendly like as he sat up and drank in the sight. A big friendly man loomed behind the bar, pouring him what he knew was his favorite beer and assuring him, as he held up a bloodstained knot roll of money, “Your tab is paid up and then some—name’s Big Ron, you were my biographer.”
Next to him a rabbit sat a bare stool, a rabbit with a backpack antenna and wires going into the brain, “I’m Preston across the alley and this is my avatar Rabbit Jack.”
“Nice to meet you,” some fool mumbled, “nice man in da house likes rabbits en fix it girl—she pour drinks too.”
“I bet she does, chuckled big Ron, all the work she’s done on you.”
Jaseman, then patted his back with a sadness and presented a book, a great tomb, the print of which he could not make out. A tear creased his left cheek, “Yes, Poppy, the bullet to the brain took more than our names. Quite an irony of a tragedy, as you once held the distinction of having written more of these than any other two humans. Alas, no one reads, so into the wind of eternity our scrawlings go.”
A lightly, more dangerous hand touched his shoulder and took his hand in a firm cool shake. He turned to look up into the eyes of a striking white haired man in a suit, like Jesus Christ as a punk rock assassin, “Mister Poppy, you help us pass the time. I’m Drew Drop bye and bye, and we old relics of the past occupy our minds with those things that you have somehow never forgot. You seem to have an idetic memory of this shithole city, something that few folks had after 20 years of smart phone auto-navigation…”
He experienced a weird thrill and smiled, “We were friends.”
“Yes, my friend, said Drew Drop. He then turned to the man behind him who had dialed up his hearing and said, “Jaseman here used to stare at goats. Now he is your chief cerebral therapist.”
Jaseman then took over as he held up the book, “I wrote this at your insistence as reality slipped from beneath our very heals and you somehow noticed...we surmise, due to your lack of a smart phone. This is a study of Synchronicity, my translation from the German of a scholarly treatise on what the unaware among us have often declared coincidence. It is a great tragedy that you cannot read, having, in your previous life been set apart by a strange passion for the reading of the written world—a passion that instilled, or rather keyed, a gift in you similar to Drew’s gift for reading signs of pending aggression, and Ron’s gift for reading a room—rooms that were once more populated than this one.
“Question of the day!” interceded Big Ron from behind the bar.
He spun on the stool, looking around at the four and the rabbit back pack broadcast, “You posit the question, Poppy.”
“Oh, okay. He looked at each, looked across the street through the open door and saw some mostly naked whirling dervish without dreadlocks out there doing a machete dance, “How did we get Africanized?”
Jason grinned, “My friend, you gave the answer decades ago. In the scramble for African grain growing regions in this our gathering winter, two carriers, one in the Atlantic the other in the Indian Ocean, went to the bottom of the sea. U.S.G. withdrew from imperial adventure and repurposed those remaining carriers to carry our replacements hence, to serve in the despoiling of this hemisphere. You predicted it in various science fiction novels.”
“Oh, I’m sorry—what a shithead I must have been.”
Jaseman, looked at Ron, some of that canned ham for our prophet here...thank you sir, as Ron could be heard whirring around behind him.
“So,” continued Jaseman as a can opened behind him, “as a remote viewer who has seen the evil agents of our destiny nesting upon the dark side of the moon—which, I might add, they stopped spinning so that they could remain hidden form us, we are interested in what event you might finger for the cause of this fall of Western Civilization. You see, although you ask the same five questions every time you come to the bar: why no guns, who are we, and where is Ruby…”
“Mister James,” groaned Drew, “she is probably four hundred pounds by now!”
The men laughed good naturedly and Jaseman continued and addressed the look on Poppy’s face, “Yes, Poppy, you were once James. But, yes female body image disputes aside, it has seemed kinder to address you in your—adapted condition—in a more universal tone.”
“Something is up with the wedge-heads, Jase—get to it,” spoke Drew.
“Of course, directly my bad man...So, Poppy, although your questions are endearingly predictable, your answers are never the same and provide we, the damned, marooned beyond the fallen Information Age, with some interesting conversation."
“Okay,” he drooled as that string of saliva hit a rabbit ear and the backpack objected, “Yo, Hamslice, if you please!”
“Sorry,” he drooled, and a big hand placed a small paper plate of sliced canned ham before him, presenting a plastic fork in the other which moved him, “Thanks, Ron.”
He then ate, sparingly, and placed the plate down behind him on the bar and said, “I don’t seem to remember anything, except a brown girl with outrageous proportions…”
“No, no!” objected Drew, the last surviving historian of humanity has as a mental block a Dominican whore that once wallowed on the Jersey Shore!”
A languid image of that suffused Poppy in careless comfort and suggested a world map, long ago turned page by page in a huge book, by a freckled boy…
“Poppy,” inquired the voice, “if you would name one cause of the Fall of Western Civilization? This is important, for who gets to finish the plate of ham rides on your answer.”
The fool voice peeled away to a sedate drawl, “Manzerkirt, the battle of, in eastern Anatolia, in or near Kurdistan, Armenia, Azeristan…”
Images of Byzantine cataphracts surrounded by surging Seluk hordes mazed his addled mind.
Drew cursed, “Who the fuck—where?”
Jaseman intoned, “I believe that was the earliest Turkish inroad into old Roman territory under the crescent of Islam, though that places my bet a few hundred years off…”
Big Ron’s voice grinned in the back ground as he scooped up the plate, “Told you fellas he wouldn’t repeat the Fall of Constantinople in, in…”
“Fourteen-fifty-three,” drooled some cipher of a fool.
“Yaaz,” agreed Jaseman, “antiquitous muslim Menace it is, for the win!”
“Ironic that is,” came Drew’s steely voice, “some mini Muzzy horde is about to have a bad day—does this fucker not know he’s already dead?”
Jaseman looked at the machete dancing Somali outside and confided, “Our entertainer of the moment does, indeed, appear to know that he is dancing into an uncaring eternity...yet he dances, declaring his utility to our overlords.”
That Concludes the Open Posting of Motherboard.
Thank you,
James, LaFond, East Baltimore, haunted by the trains whistling ghostly by on the eve of my sad goodbye.
T-uesday, September 26, 2023
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