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Revolutionaries

Changing the world, just by exhaling copious hot air.

This Friday, Scott Rahin was fired from his job at Consolidated Undulating Prong New Media. He now lives off savings, and spends his evenings as a trombonist, in a brass-punk band called the Golden Showers, rehearsing at an empty mob warehouse in Gravesend, Brooklyn. came to my apartment to drink, sitting on a pile of dirty jeans and shirts, smoking my Schimmelpennincks. We are following the primaries closely. On my Samsung a 12-inch George Bush, Jr. talked about Jesus, redemption, sexual abstinence, an end to abortion, pandering to the fetal alcohol syndrome vote.

A cokehead whorelover, we agreed, running on the White Man's Burden platform.

``The way his mouth hangs open--this is a play-with-your-own-shit-stupid candidate,'' I said.

The TV cut to McCain.

``Mrs. McCain, though, is a fine-looking 8-foot-tall woman,'' I said. ``A heiress, too. Stern angles, a good frame. She absolutely wields the strap.''

``Her husband needs that,'' said Ray. ``After those years in the tiger cage, he wants the firm hand. I wonder if he taught her to scream at him in Vietnamese when they're in bed, when she's wearing the strap-on.''

To clarify, I do not actually believe that Mrs. McCain has ever used a strap-on, nor does "Scott Rahin" believe this.

McCain held the microphone far from his face, his face submerged into his neck. ``This is a man who can't lift his arms. Remember Dole, with the claw?''

``Republicans are accident-prone,'' Ray said. ``They fall off platforms, vomit on the Japanese. They have sex with children. I read that McCain has a terrible temper. My theory is that because he can't move his arms he can't self-satisfy his basic sexual needs in the campaign bus bathroom. He becomes furious at his own immobile hands, the small, jittery, increasingly desparate motions. As the pressure swells, he flashes back to the tiger cage, and has a waking dream of snakes with their mouths sewn shut and the jailer coming with the pail of milk. In memory, he is bound weeping to a bamboo gurney. Subsumed anger boils, and he emerges in a rage. Bush tried to get veterans on his side, which was a terrible mistake. Veterans will always sympathize with a man whose arms don't move and who possibly had snakes put up his ass by his jailers.''

I said, ``Reagan is out raking leaves. He wants to feel useful, he rakes. Secret Service scatters the leaves again the next day, he rakes them the next day. In diapers.''

``This is because Al Haig planted aluminum in Reagan's beef barbecue sandwiches, in order to hasten the onset of Alzheimers.''

``I'm in charge here,'' said Ray, channeling Haig.

We flipped the channels. Homely, inky pundits pulled meaning from sound bites like Harold Bloom works through a sonnet. Ray held a piece of paper in his hand, fidgeted with it.

``What's that?''

``An experiment.'' He broke his eyes, looked at his hands. ``I thought it would be funny, but now I'm ashamed of it.'' He turned his head to look at my bookcase, hedging, "I rewrote the opening of Ulysses as porn.''

``Huh.'' I considered this for a moment. ``Let me see?''

Ulysses 2: The Awakening

STATELY, PLUMP BUCK "NAKED" MULLIGAN CAME, shavinglather smeared, basslinethrobbing. A yellow dressinggown, ungirdled, was sustained gently-behind him by the mild morning air. He held the bowl aloft, intoned:

-- Yes. Yes. Yes.

Halted, he peered down to the brunette, darkshape head moving, lipshivering.

-- Come up, Kinch. Come up for some of this, you fearful jesuit. He faced about and thrusted gravely thrice, final, dribbling.

Then, catching sight of Stephen Dedalus, he bent and made rapid motions, gurgling in his throat and shaking his head. Stephen Dedalus, displeased and sleepy, came forward solemnly and mounted the brunette from behind.

STATELY, PLUMP BUCK "NAKED" MULLIGAN CAME, shavinglather smeared, basslinethrobbing. A yellow dressinggown, ungirdled, was sustained gently-behind him by the mild morning air. He held the bowl aloft, intoned:

-- Yes. Yes. Yes.

Halted, he peered down to the brunette, darkshape head moving, lipshivering.

-- Come up, Kinch. Come up for some of this, you fearful jesuit. He faced about and thrusted gravely thrice, final, dribbling.

Then, catching sight of Stephen Dedalus, he bent and made rapid motions, gurgling in his throat and shaking his head. Stephen Dedalus, displeased and sleepy, came forward solemnly and mounted the brunette from behind.

``Ray,'' I said.

``I know.'' He looked ashamed.

``This is James Joyce. The man who ended literature, who annoyed Auerbach, a man whose private correspondence tells us that he enjoyed befouling his own trousers during moments of intimate proxy, the near-blind ghost that haunts every word written this century, whose books take longer to read than they did to write. This is a hero of thousands. There are some sacred things. Literature is a sacred thing. Joyce, Ray. A man who replied to the entirety of the Western canon as you and I might reply to an e-mail.''

Ray nodded, then ripped the paper into 8 pieces. ``I made an error. I thought for a moment he was a sacred cow.'' Once upon a time and a very good time it was there was a moocow coming down along the road and this moocow that was coming down the road met a nicens little boy named baby tuckoo...

We didn't speak about it any more, watching instead as Bill Bradley desparately tried to make himself viable to an audience in need of Buspar. I saw The Waves on my bookshelf, and suddenly wanted to start joking about Virginia Woolf, who Ray hates, but the moment was past, so I stared at the screen, watching Bradley's neck quiver as he spoke, hearing him promise nothing of particular note. I wanted Ray to leave, to have my apartment back.

Later, Scott Rahin, half-drunk, leaned back on the blue futon and said, "one thing people do not know about me, is that I do not have a right foot."


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