Archive for the ‘Unbecoming’ Category

Aye, dear reader, the conspiracy theorizing has been light of late. Not for lack of controversy, but because I am working on another project for future publishing on this here site. While recently in Portland, Oregon (prior to the current “Sno-pocalyse ’14”), I was asked to put my paranoid skills to task in order to investigate a missing person. Investigation now complete, I am putting my findings into prose to present as an anti-fiction story, “Unbecoming” to be published here this spring.

In the meantime, here is a teaser of a late night conversation with a villain we shall call “Rook”

Chinese Cigarettes: an excerpt from “Unbecoming”

I must have said something comical as Rook let out a laugh that sounded more like a an alpha-jackal barking another wild dog off its carcass lunch. Rook turned towards me, his sleepy eyes the eyes of a man who’d been drinking since nightfall with dawn peaking at the horizon; sleepy, yet maniacal with a crazy energy and something new resembling acceptance. His smile, framed by an impossibly dark beard, gleaned menacingly as the overhead light reflected off of jackal saliva. By now, I was entirely convinced in a past life he had been an anarchist blowing up Franco’s bridges in the Spanish Civil War just for fuck’s sake: shits and giggles as it were.

“I’ve got something to show you.” Rook said and stood up, his balance as wobbly as his words. I followed as he left the den for his kitchen. He paused before the stove and leaned over, steadying himself with an outstretched hand on the nearby sink. He let the oven door fall open with a metallic crash and then withdrew something from within. He attempted to stand upright, the vertical momentum taking him off balance to the point he had to take a couple backward steps in my direction. I waited for the fall; hands ready in case I had to catch him. Rook found his balance and turned towards me to display his prized treasure: a cartoon of Chinese cigarettes. “I present to you, the future.”

Rook and his Contraband

Rook and his Contraband

I chuckled as I imagined Rook as Sir Walter Raleigh returning to England to show a stogie of Virginia tobacco to the Queen, “Your Majesty, I presenth to thou thy futyre.” It was a light chuckle and quickly dismissed when I realized I was playing the part of the Virgin Queen.

“Right.” Rook nodded along to my dreamscape. He was still wearing Elizabethan sea dog garb and I realized I was within a waking dream. Too much sleep deprivation had me hallucinating.

I played along, “How are Chinese cigarettes the future?”

“Right? Okay.” Rook turned back to the box of cigarettes as if his spiel were etched in Chinese Characters. “So they are going to legalize pot everywhere. Marijuana is no longer viable as, you know, a profitable contraband. Cheap cigarettes; that is where it is at.”

“Aren’t cigarettes legal too?”

“Economics, my dear kind sir.” Rook lectured. “Cigarettes are cost prohibitive. Taxed to fuck, what? So.” Rook closed his eyes for a brief cat nap. He erupted in sudden wakefulness, “So cheap cigarettes on the black market is where it is at.”

“You’re going to sell Chinese contraband?”

“Mmhmnth.” Rook hummed through his nose.

“Where do you get your Chinese cigarettes?”

Rook leaned in close to disclose his secret, even though no one else was in the room, “the Chinese.”

“The Triads?”

Rook shook his head and patted my chest with a meaty bear paw. “Nah, the Triads are just the militarized arm of something bigger.”

“Something bigger than the Triads?”

Rook nodded, “The International Chinese Waiters Union.”

“The International Chinese Waiters Union?”

Rook nodded, “The ICWU.”

“The ‘icey double-woo’?”

“Yeah, think about it. Every shit town in America has three restaurants: a McDonalds…” He paused, though held his gaze firmly on my face. “A country buffet.”

“And a Chinese restaurant. Okay, I get it.”

“Who works at Chinese restaurants?” Rook asked before hinting at the answer. “Not some pimple-faced Appalachian white kid. No, who works at Chinese restaurants?”

“Chinese waiters?”

“Chinese waiters.”

“You’re mad.”

“Damn fuck, I’m mad. This…” he held up his cartoon of Chinese cigarettes. “This is what I have to resort to in order for America to be able to afford to smoke cigarettes. I thought this was a free country Vince.”


“It’s not. Not a free country. I’m like…”

“Paul Revere?”

“Paul Revere.” Rook nodded and then walked away to fall asleep in a corner somewhere, leaving his carton of cigarettes on the counter and the oven door ajar with the bounty of contraband kept within.