Saturday, August 29, 2015

Emergent Phenomena Exhibiting Novel Regularities

This is not a good place to be creeped out in.

Many people have been creeped out here before me, sure. It’s a cliché. But that does not help when it happens. And it’s happened. Now. To me.

I am all creeped out in New Orleans.

This hotel room is creepy and the lobby is creepy, and I can’t find the man I came looking for. But I can’t get drunk in my room, either. For me that is not an option. For standing with one’s back to the wall – my back – and scanning for something to be creeped out by is no way to get drunk. Not even in New Orleans.

I feel as though he’s here with me, already. The man I came looking for. In this very room. Only I can’t see him because, I don’t know, I have been hypnotized to not see him, perhaps. Is that a possibility? 

This is too much. My mad dash for the door is entirely successful and then I’m down the hall and pressing the down arrow. Tap-tap-tap-tap-tap.

The yellow line street car will take me down Loyola Avenue. Down to Elk Place. To Canal Street. Around Hurrah’s. And then back again. Round and around. And there’ll be lots of other people getting on the street car and there’ll be lots of other people getting off the street car and I will not feel so creeped out anymore.

At least that’s what I tell myself, right? I can sit in this street car and I can get drunk and I can just people-watch and it will be better because this is not a good place to be creeped out in.

This is my plan and it is a good plan if I do say so myself. And I do say so myself, for it is always important to give myself credit on the occasion of having made a good plan.

The people who get onto the street car are tourists, mostly, come to New Orleans because it’s ten years since Katrina, which was the name of a hurricane. And waitresses come on, on their way to work. The tourists are loud and the waitresses are quiet and I am drunk and getting drunker.

At Dauphine Street, the tourists and the waitresses, they get off, and the people who get on creep me out.

These are not tourists. They are not waitresses. They don’t fit.

They look like gardeners. Or rather, how I imagine gardeners would look, if I knew any gardeners.

Nine people who look like gardeners get onto the otherwise empty street car and gather around me, smiling. Time passes and then a woman – she is fifty-something with very kind eyes and she’s wearing a shawl – speaks to me. She says, “Hello, Katy.”

I check myself for a name tag. I have to wear a name tag sometimes, you know, but this is not one of those times.

She says, “Can we ask a favor of you?”

I do not reply.

Then one of the nine, a man, this one, says, “In chapter 18 of the Book of Genesis, we read that Yahweh has sent two of his angels to the city of Sodom, which is soon to be destroyed.”

Ah! It appears I have fallen in with the wrong crowd. In with that most irreputable of all crowds, in fact: Preachers. Proselytizers. Missionaries, even. I require more alcohol.

The man says, “Yahweh remains back at Mamre. With Abraham. He tells Abraham of his plan to destroy Sodom. Abraham is shocked! Abraham says to Yahweh, ‘But people will die, my Lord! Good, upright people!’

“Abraham says, ‘Okay Yahweh, if there are fifty upright men in Sodom, what then? Would you kill them with the others?’ Yahweh says, “No, I will not destroy the city if there are fifty upright men there.’

“Abraham says, ‘What about forty-five? Will you destroy the city if there are forty-five upright men there?’ Yahweh says, ‘No. I will spare the city for forty-five upright men.’

“And this goes on and it goes on like this and finally, Abraham has bargained Yahweh down to sparing the city for just ten upright people. But they stop when they get to ten.”

The man shrugs. He says, “Whether Yahweh would have gone any lower, we don’t know.”

I nod. I look at the window, out at all the lights of the stores and of the bars.

Another of the gardener-looking people speaks up. He says, “But what Genesis doesn’t reveal is this: Since the time of Sodom, a secret group of ten good people has roamed the Earth, going from city to city to protect mankind from Yahweh’s wrath. To be present in just the right city at just the right moment it is most at risk.

The woman next to me says, “Sometimes, we don’t get there in time. Like with New Orleans, ten years ago. Like with Sumatra in 2004. Like with Pompeii.”

Me, I realize something now. These might not be proselytizers after all. They might merely be madmen. Escapees from an asylum, perhaps.

What a relief.

The first woman, the one with the eyes and the shawl, she talks again. She says, “We would like you to join us and be one of the ten upright people, Katy.”

See? Madmen! For I am not upright, as anyone with eyes can plainly see. I am a sodomite, not a savior.

I say, “Can I think about it for a bit?”

Eyes-and-shawl lady says, “Unfortunately, no. We are one person down, as you can see. This city is at risk of being destroyed the moment you leave it.”

One of the men says, “It’s a heck of job, Katy. The pay sucks, but you get to see the world!”

He says, “Well, you get to see New Orleans, Las Vegas, Amsterdam, and DC, mostly, but still. Travel while you’re young!”

The lights in the streetcar blink off and then the lights in the streetcar blink back on again. Then a bell clangs.

For a moment, I forget where I am and I forget about the smiling people all around me. I forget I am drunk and I forget I am creeped out. I even forget I was sent to New Orleans to find someone and that I have yet to find him.

I say, “Okay.”

I say, “I’ve always wanted to see Amsterdam.”

The good, upright people push in closer, nearly smothering me. They are trying to hug me, not crush me, but I’ve never really been around good, upright people before so I am a little creeped out by it.

Saving the world is going to take some getting used to.   


  1. Some Men Just Want to Watch The World Burn...I am one of those men.
    You're a good person to want to save it.

    1. I don't know how good of a person I am, but I liked writing this.

      An ancient secret society, always with ten members, that goes around preventing Yahweh from destroying cities.

      I could write a novel from that. or a tv series.

  2. David's right. The world is in good hands. Nice blog.

    1. Thanks, Lloyd. This turned out about one-third longer than I wanted it to be, but I wanted to tell it a certain way.

      I wanted to write a story like Jorge Luis Borges would tell, except to write it like Samuel Beckett's Molloy character would tell it. I failed at that miserably, but it still turned out pretty good. It's one of my faves.

  3. You make me want to go to New Orleans, and find an out of the way jazz club with really good home cooking. Wherever you take me or I take me I am always looking for good food. I think I would walk.

    1. While I was there, I ended up at this Mediterranean restaurant that was also a Stop 'N Go-type quick shop. And the food was fantastic and actually better than any of the Cajun food I had this trip.

      Then again, I had stopped at the Tabasco Factory at Avery Island, where they make all the world's Tabasco, on the way to New Orleans. So maybe my taste buds were so burned out by that time that I couldn't taste anything for the rest of the trip.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Chales Bronson , was one of them Charles Bronson ?

    1. It's sort of a secret society, so I'm not sure how much I'm allowed to say.

      I might have said too much already.

      Fortunately, this blog is the perfect place for secrets. This is where you publish things if you NEVER want anyone to read them.

  6. Brought yourself here, I want to told you something

    Crime in New Orleans is booming, experts say, and now it has jumped Tourism as the city’s top industry.

    The numbers look promising, and experts agree that crime is the wave of the future. So it’s no surprise area criminals are looking to expand. Over the last year, more than two dozen bad to the bone Dudes have announced plans to open hundreds of new crime den locations (titty bars) across Greater New Orleans and hire hundreds of employees.

    The Bureau of Economic Analysis says all the expansion plans will be great for those looking for jobs. Crime den (titty bars)owners will need an estimated 4,000 people over the next two years to fill a number of new positions such as coke mules, drug dealers, prostitutes, pickpockets, and big titty stippers

    CONCEPT Bad to the Bone

    1. You can never have too many people in jail, I guess. The United States alreayd has the highest rate of incarceration in the world, and we're in such a hurry to up those numbers that we're contracting out the prisons to private industry.

      A private industry, incidentally, that lobbies legsilatures for the creation of new crimes.

      The good news is that when they've finally jailed all of us, we'll be guaranteed health care.

  7. I love this story, Katy! There's the seed of an entire interesting novel in it, I think. Almost like a modern-day Canterbury Tales -- the back stories of each of the upright people, no doubt each of them as surprisingly unlikely as your own?

    1. Thanks, Debra. I was really excited about the idea behind it, and I sort of feel like I didn't do as well as I could have with it.

      But since I only played around the with the idea for three days before I wrote it, something still could come of it.

      Novel? Maybe.

  8. I agree completely about those creepy "Good People". Freak me the eff out! Interesting, this fictional story of yours and for true it would make a good teevee series. CHA-ching to you for putting the thought in a document FIRST!! but, IF there are ten good people on this earth, they won't be totin' yaweh's book when you find them.
    “And this goes on and it goes on like this and finally, Abraham has bargained Yahweh down to sparing the city for just ten upright people. But they stop when they get to ten.”. Reckon that's the first time anybody jewed anybody else down? There to Gen 18? Reckon? There with abe? reckon?
    If I had to wear a name tag? I'd pin it to my T-shirt that reads:

  9. The problem I have with titty bars is either my standards have improved (doubtful) or the titty dancers aren't up to govt standards. Good titty dancers shouldn't be judged by the size of said tittys,unless the customer is willing to be judged by a similar sizing. Good titty dancers will give you a real phone number, be as beautiful in the morning as they were last night, are able to impress momma because they are only dancing until they finish their MBA, won't run around on you ,but understand that sometimes men need a little variety.
    I believe Yahweh will spare any city with at least ten upright titty dancers.

    1. Not my area of expertise, but I do respect their ability as entertainers.

      And I really did a stripper who just did it to work her way through medical school. She might be your doctor now!

  10. Yahweh - still more reasonable to haggle with than a used car salesman. And having spent time on the Internet, I don't think it too odd that you're one of the 10 upright. There's a LOT of crappy people out there. Mostly arguing on political news stories or Buzzfeed.

    1. It's a really weird scene where Abraham plays the trickster, bargaining Yaweh down by playing to his ego. And then, of course, the city gets destroyed anyway because the citizens want to rape angels instead of just accepting Lot's teenage daughters.

      Hell of a story to base a religion on. Or two religions. Or, well, three I guess.

    2. Granted that I have yet to walk into a church and ask this question, but why is it that the God in the Bible talked, acted, and behaved like ... what's a better word, ... a HUMAN?!!!! God even had all the stupid human emotions, and human greed and pettiness, as if the humans created this God in humans' image, you know? Stupid, isn't it?!!

      FUCK the Bible!! And FUCK all Christians !!!

      Christians are the true DEVIL of the modern age, by creating the nation of Israel via violence, and then prolonging its violence against the Muslims for the past 65 years, all for the Christians' greed to bring about the psychotic mass murders and the schizophrenic desire to go to heaven in the Apocalypse.

      At dinner table tonight I explained to my daughter the cause and the solution to the present-day worldwide crisis between the Christians and the Mulsims, and I told her to grow up and become the President of the United State in 30 years, so that she would fix this problem once and for all, by ending the Christian religion, at least the greed of all Christians.

    3. I'm not sure that people have misused Christianity any worse than they have misused every other institution and thing we've gotten our hands on. I've listened to debates on whether more people were killed for communism or Christianity during the twentieth century, and all I've gotten out of it was that people will use whatever is handy as an excuse to kill others.

      I do have a book called, "Psycho Bible," though. It basically takes the words and deeds of Yahweh in the Old Testament, analyzes them using modern psychiatric methods, and tries to diagnose Yahweh's underlying disorders. It's a fun read!

    4. This comment has been removed by the author.

    5. Why did you delete your comment THIS time? I thought it was interesting.

      Here, I will cut it and paste it here:

      "Do you remember that one time at many years ago I asked you for your name, and you told me "My name is Legion" which at the time I had to look up for the meaning?

      "Despite of your Master in Theology degree, I know you don't believe any of it either. Yet compared to all Christians, I still hate your lying and crazy guts the most."

    6. I love when I leave a fairly tame comment and return to political and/or religious ranting. You're welcome.

      I feel like fuck ALL Christians is a rather ambitious goal. There may be a few Christians that wish to remain unfucked, a few Christians that are downright unfuckable, some that are just plain overfucked, etc. Fuck half the Christians, sure, but definitely not all.

    7. I thought the Ashley Madison site had resolved this matter once and for all.

    8. By definition all Christians believe in a set of pipe-dreams that are 0% TRUE, as in god, devil, heaven, hell, soul and afterlife. Just like all cockroaches share the belief that they have the right to come into my kitchen to eat and poop whatever and wherever they like. But do I discuss with or interrogate each and every cockroach that I see, to see if any of them is simply lost and hold me no harm? No, I smash every single cockroach that I see crawling in my kitchen.

      Peoples around the world used to believe in many things that are 0% TRUE, as in flat earth, center of universe, Greek gods, human sacrifice, or shark fin soup. Plenty of books had been written on each of these beliefs, and thus thought to be the god-given truth, not that god existed at all. But the ONLY thing that was ever TRUE was the fact that too many virgins and sharks lost their lives in the process. But do we partially allow all of these idiotic pipe-dreams to stay in practice in some part of this world, just because the practitioners are otherwise decent people?

      Hell no!! Not that hell exists either!

      Religion is simply the scourge of the earth, and thus must be eradicated from the face of this earth.

    9. Good luck with that.

      You didn't indicate what sort of "eradication" method you plan on using, so I'll just say this: Please try and use rational argument to convince them they're wropng, as opposed to actually killing them.

    10. Where did I say "killing them"?!!

      Why do you always see things that are literally not there and hearing words that I've never said?!

    11. I am relieved that's not what you meant. One point for on5464, I guess.

    12. BTW, I deleted my earlier comment because it was clearly not meant for you to publish it, like many other long comments I have posted in recent weeks that you never published, because we are supposed to criticize in private.

      Yet, you and only you would actually want to publish this one, because you felt that it was "interesting" that you had so heartlessly, shamelessly, and viciously lied to me and went crazy on me for countless times in these nine years.

    13. Hmm... Why don't you try this: Don't post comments you don't want posted.

      Simple, huh?

      Then you won't have to worry about whether I approve them or not - which seems appropriate, since you are the reason I had to set up the comment approval process to begin with.

      One problem solved! Now we can move on to doing something about world hunger.

    14. This justly jailed criminal Kim Davis is now taking over my beloved news broadcasts, causing them to spend hours and hours on this piece of non-news all day today. This is one more proof that religion, and in particular Christianity, is destroying this world by making religious believers dumb as a door knob.

      I am shocked, shocked I tell you, that no one has asked Davis about which part of "the separation of church and state" she does not understand. Our government, through the declared intent of our founding fathers, is by its nature anti-religion and religion-neutral. Therefore, every government official and employee MUST check their religion at the door every time they walk into their offices. Religion plays NO ROLE in our government's purpose and function, therefore what Davis is doing is simply delusional and dumb, which is precisely the nature the essence of ALL Christians.

      FUCK them, I tell you, fuck all Christians to hell, not that hell ever existed to begin with!!

    15. My understanding is that Davis just became born again a few years back.

      But I'm guessing that she was intellectually challenged long before that.

      I don't see any evidence that religious faith makes people stupid any more than a mouse trap makes mice hungry.

    16. Kids being brainwashed in Sunday school can be forgivable. But a grown woman actually deciding to "born again" and believe in this horse's crap would be evidence of mental deficiency and cowardly greed.

      Now of course the real assholes are the Republican politicians like Huckabee and Cruz, same as all preachers on Sundays, who spew lies on purpose, for their selfish gains. People like Davis need to be educated with science and logic and common sense. But all such politicians and preachers should be ridiculed in public, denounced by all, and spat on by school children, everywhere they go.

  11. A mobile action force of ten good people, traveling from place to place in a never ending effort to stave off utter destruction? Summer blockbuster. Theaters full of popcorn snarfing kids slurping gallon buckets of Coca Cola through straws while the surround sound system blares at the threshold of pain, rumbling the multiplex rom-com next door.

    It would be a franchise film, spawning five or six sequels and prequels, and everyone involved would become stinky rich and famous.

    Exactly the sort of people you wouldn't want protecting society from destruction.

    1. The very fact that a movie adaptation couild theoretically involve New York getting blown up onscreen means that I'd have Michael Bay and Roland Emmerich ("Independence Day" and "The Day After Tomorrow") coming to blows over who gets to direct.

      I'll remember all of you, the tiny people, when I'm rich.

      Sadly, perhaps, this blog will gradually become merely a place to post the selfies I take of me and Will Smith or me and Channing Tatum.

  12. I'm not totally sure what "people who look like gardeners" means, but if someone asked me to join the ten upright people, I'd have a hard time saying no. With my egregious posture, I've never been called "upright" and look at the success of the Upright Citizens Brigade and the exclusiveness of being one of the select 10!?! I'm a pretty easy mark for a cult. Thankfully, they didn't get to me before my soul developed a thick scar tissue of realism.

    1. The gardener bit was an old joke I used to make when I hung out wirth the local Green Party.

      All of the women were 5'3" and 55 years old, had long gray hair, and wore shawls. The men were all 5"10" and 55 years old, had beards, and wore straw hats.

      Someone once asked me about what Green Party people were like and I said, "They all look like they'd be really into gardening."

      That's how I pictured the people in this story, and I apologize if Art Browning or Don Cook read this. You totally aren't 55 with a beard and a straw hat, man. I'm sure you're more like 65 by now.

  13. Apparently the comment I tried to post early this morning never got posted. And now I don't recall what smart alecky thing I'd wanted to say.

    So they go.

    1. I wish it hadn't disappeared. This post was so long by my standards that I was concerned that you might be the only person who'd bother to get all the way through it.

  14. Check out if it hasn't been bombed yet. This girl I went to school with caused my high school web site to put up another web site for religion and politics. Every time someone brought up religion and there were plenty that did , she'd counter with verses from both the Old and New Testaments along with commentary from Evil Bible
    Most times the religious folks resorted to personal attacks because they couldn't out quote Evil Bible. Don't go there if you get your feelers hurt by nonbelievers.

    1. I don't argue over religion much. I can only rarely win over someone who feels strongly that they're right, anyway, and trying to is a good way to lose friends.

      About ten years ago, I weas talking to a friend about politics. He was a chef. He started explaining how he thought Cheney and Bush were right to torture, and he went into graphic detail about what he would do to any Muslim he "caught." His description went into things I assume he must have to do to prepare meat as a cook.

      I didn't try and convince him he was wrong. I just didn't talk to him any more after that.

  15. The post wasn't too long at all. I enjoyed it. You are plenty good enough to write as much as you like.

    1. Thank you, Frank. I try and keep them to no more than 750 words. I don't read many blogs that run over that, and I don't necessarily expect others to, either.

      Of course, years from now, when my blog is recognized as being the fine literature that it is - really the height of 21st century lit, in fact - students will have to read even the longer posts for their classes.

      Hopefully, I'll be dead and gone by that time.

  16. You really need to take a vacation to New England and chill out by the ocean Katy.

    1. I definitely need to get outside my bubble more. They tease me at work for not taking my PTO time.

      I'm not sure that sitting by the ocean is the way to go, though. I'm just a little bit paler than your average envelope.

  17. Replies
    1. Thank you, Alex.

      I'll never get over the fact that some people read the things I post and get something out of it.

      That still seems impossible to me.

  18. It can be truly liberating to find your purpose. One of my first memories of Amsterdam was at Schipol Airport. A long, tall, truly beautiful blonde woman in a blue uniform with a machine gun slung over her shoulder. The image has stuck with me all these years although her facial featured have faded.
    Sorry - that was pretty random.
    Great story.

    1. A beautiful uniformed blonde with a machine gun.

      Sounds liike everything good in my life: one step forward and two steps back.


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