the dada magazine about nothing
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Anatomy of Old Men Dedicated to Laura Not literally of course, that would be disgusting. We're talking men aged forty-five to sixty, to be specific. Men verging on AARP memberships can be included if they meet certain—non-creepy—criteria. I realize that many of our NADA readers idolize or idealize old men. They relax at a bar, talk shit and fuck their wives more often than most of you fuck your girlfriends or boyfriends or goats. I know this for a fact. The point is though, that you may have a skewed perception of this demographic. Occasionally, this perception verges on romanticism. It is that oddly idealized vision that I seek to correct. I am well qualified to speak on this subject. Writing this, I'm fulfilling many old men's fondest wish. I'm sitting in a recliner, drinking a PBR, in a poorly lit one-bedroom apartment listening to a scratched up John Lee Hooker album. Any old man would die happily in this position, with the simple addition of a blow job and a cigar in the other hand. To make matters more cliched, every day after work I stop at one of many trashy Wisconsin establishments catering to construction workers and farmers. These places sell $1 drafts till seven and it’s $1.50 after that. Needless to say, this is an old man's preferred environment. This is all fine and dandy for me. I'm twenty-six with few sketchy habits and no alimony or child support to speak of. I have plenty of time to get lung cancer and die the old fashioned way, sitting in an A.A. meeting when my iron lung shits the bed. The fact is that I highly recommend you all undergo sex changes immediately. (Women don't read nada.) I say this with all the sincerity I can muster (fuck you Sam, Moh and Jon). Old men are probably the saddest most fucked up babies I have ever encountered. This includes everyone at Fairhaven and Evergreen. Those kids put these motherfuckers to shame. Women just happen to age better. They grow up getting shit on and are used to constant defeat and lack of gratitude. They learn to fortify themselves against it. Women are better at turning piss into pickles. Men on the other hand are blessed with a retarded hubris which makes defeat actually mean something. Each little fuck up sticks and gets buried in your spines like rusty nails in worn out tires. Eventually the whole thing deflates and the rubber is worthless. I highly recommend growing a vagina.
Believe me, I know this is a lot to ask. Penises are great. But in the long run, they won’t serve you nearly as well. Even with Viagra penises are only guaranteed for so many miles. After that, you're just pissing out of a big clit. Old men deal with this shit in a number of ways. One or two of these strategies actually work, (I’ll save those for my cheerful conclusion.) Some of them get especially bitter and talk about how Nigerians should all come to the U.S. and pick cotton cause they’re all just niggers after all. (I heard a man say these exact words today) Others boast about their younger days and fail to realize that no one cares. This lot forgets that all the guys they're talking to knew them then and don't believe them anyway. Another group drinks themselves into a stupor in order to forget just how badly they've failed to live up to their father's expectations. My least favorite group, as many of you know, are those who pretend they haven’t aged a day past thirty. They like to believe single women in bars are dying to experience their soft cocks. Fortunately, there are a rare few who become old men well. They are the ones who have gracefully accepted impotence or have, by some miracle, managed to maintain natural virility. These men joke loudly to anyone who will listen. They circumvent obnoxious behavior by being overtly kind to others. They send half their drinks to people they've never met. Sadly, most of these men fuck crippled pain med junkies just to feel manly, but that shouldn’t be held against them. We all know that with the exception of Sam, none of you are going to develop into healthy male specimens with equally healthy relationships. You’ll probably die cantankerous and alone with an empty bottle of Jim Beam. In closing, I strongly urge any man too fearful of castration to avoid the less savory options. Seek to emulate the brave few I just mentioned who are willing to embrace, and God forbid celebrate their own worthlessness. Man up and admit that you aren’t anymore.
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John slunk down the irrigation canal and carefully peered over the weeds which congregated at the top of the lee. From here he was able to see the burned-out Budweiser brewery. As far as he could tell there was no one around but, nevertheless, he waited until nightfall to enter the facility which had become his squat. He had just finished a day of foraging and had managed to find a supermarket which hadnâ€™t been completely looted. It was here that he was able to purloin seven cans of fruit cocktail, three cans of Chef Boyardee ravioli and several packets of Tang. The Tang being most important of all. There was sufficient grain left at the brewery to make a gruel on which he could subsist for some time to come, though without some source of vitamin C scurvy would set in. He broke apart a wooden palette, added some crumpled newspaper and soon had a fire with which to boil water for gruel and heat a can of ravioli. As he waited for the food to reach sufficient temperature he reviewed the newspaper headlines that adorned his walls.
New York Times, Feb 25th 2034: China Adopts Gold Standard Wall St Journal, March 15th: Bank of China dumps $10 trillion in US bonds Wall St Journal, March 16th: US sovereign debt downgraded to junk status Financial Times of London, March 17th: Panic as Bank reserve values plummet following collapse in face value of US government securities Chicago Tribune, March 20th: Dollar decimated as investors flee to RMB, Swiss Franc, metals Denver Post, March 21st: Black Tuesday, Dow Jones loses 53% of value St Louis Post-Dispatch, May 15th: US Treasury declares default Austin American-Statesman, June 1st: Texas Succession, Ft Hood mobilized to occupy Austin St Louis Post-Dispatch, July 31st: Texas soldiers mutiny after eight weeks unpaid wages Austin American-Statesman, August 1st: Texas to create currency – 1 petrodollar = 1 quart light crude San Francisco Chronicle, August 15th: California secedes from Union Seattle Times, August 28th: Washington, Oregon secede – declare independent nation of Cascadia New York Times, September 4th: Russia invades Baltic States, EU weighs sanctions New York Times, September 29th: Argentina invades Falklands, China launches assault on Taiwan– a world at war? Wall St Journal, November 10th: US inflation now 16,000% annually, food riots in Bronx, Queens LA Times, January 10th: Millions dead as famine continues despite massive grain stockpiles in Midwest St Louis Post-Dispatch, February 2nd: Texas, California, Cascadia, Canada to block US refugees Financial Times of London, February 25th: China abandons gold standard, floats RMB
In the past John would have at that point sighed at the sight of this menagerie but he was now simply numb to it. He opened a can of Bud Ice and was about to indulge in a sentimental rumination of memories past when he heard the clink of an upturned beer bottle behind him. He spun on his heel and instinctively reached for his shiv to discover a woman of indeterminate age. She could have been in her twenties but with her sunken eyes, gaunt cheek bones and emaciated frame could have easily passed for fifty or even sixty. “What do you want?” he demanded. “I… I’m sorry,” she stammered, “I didn’t think anyone was here and then I saw the fire and then… I… I’m sorry I’ll go, just please don’t hurt me.” John balked for a moment and then as she turned to leave he finally said, “Hold on, are you hungry?” Her eyes dropped to the floor and then meekly glanced back up at John. “It’s not four-star fare or anything but there’s plenty of food here. Here, why don’t you sit down,” and he pulled a plastic crate up to the fire. The woman of indeterminate age hesitated a moment, mustered a thank you and made her best effort to sit delicately on the makeshift stool. “Food’s almost ready,” said John. “My name’s John¸ What’s yours?” “Loralei.” “Mine’s John,” he said once more biting his lower lip unconsciously and sat down on another crate a safe distance from his interloping guest. An awkward silence ensued and John noticed Loralei eyeing the can of ravioli on the fire. “It’s probably ready now,” He picked up the can with a pair of tongs and transferred its contents into two dirty Styrofoam bowls. Loralei said nothing and consumed her dinner ravenously. Finally John broke the silence, “So… umm… what did you do before… you know… everything?” “What does it matter?” “Yeah I guess you’re right,” he conceded. Another silence followed, this time broken by Loralei, “So how long have you been here?” “Not sure really. Some months it seems like. Are you from St. Louis?”
“No, I rode my bike here from Memphis. The Tennessee State Militia took control of the grain silos and they’re not too keen on sharing. Say, I don’t suppose there’s any more of those beers?” She glanced down at the Bud Ice in his hand. “Yeah, you kidding?” John fetched another can of beer. Loralei drank with an unslakeable thirst and insisted that John match her drink for drink. At three they both began to let down their guard. “So you don’t have any family left?” she asked. “I dunno, maybe I do but Phoenix didn’t fare too well when the power grid went down last summer. What about you?” “I lost touch with my parents when the grid went down. I looked for them for a while but their house was looted and I couldn’t find ‘em.” “So, do you remember where you were when President Chelsea got shot?” John prodded with a smirk. “I didn’t even realize she was gone, I’d stopped keeping up with current events by then. What about you?” “I was still holed up in my college apartment trying to figure out what to do after Washington University shut down.” “What were you studying?” “Hmph,” John smiled, “International finance.” Loralei snickered and reflexively drew her hand to her mouth, and then bit down slightly on her forefingernail. Perhaps due to some combination of the beer and the soft light cast by the fire it suddenly occurred to John that Loralei had once been and might even still be quite beautiful. Her hair, though now pale and brittle, once likely made a flattering cascade down a face which though now sunken and weathered had nevertheless kept its high-set cheekbones. And despite the dark recesses beneath her eyes, her deep blue irises still produced a penetrating gaze. “Alright, Mr. international finance,” she smiled broadly and adjusted herself slightly so as to face John directly, “where the hell do we go from here?” John grinned and scooted his plastic crate a few inches closer to Loralei. “Well how’s that siege of Ft Knox going?” “Last I heard, the militia had surrounded the place. The soldiers there probably have some food stockpiled but they’ll run out eventually. Then they’ll surrender I guess.” “And then,” John interjected, “the militia can print reserve notes, restore a monied economy and with any luck, build enough fences to keep all the refugees out.” “Dare to dream,” sighed Loralei.
“So what do you suppose you’d be doing now if none of this had happened?” John said trying to find a more personal topic of conversation as he subtly slid his crate an inch closer to Loralei. “I guess I’d still be cutting hair in Memphis. I didn’t always look like this you know,” pursing her lips in sarcastic irony. She tore several strands of hair effortlessly from her head and rolled her eyes. “I can only imagine,” said John, “You’re striking as it is now.” Loralei’s eyes glanced at the floor for an instant. “You know, it’s been over a year since I’ve been with anyone. I kinda thought I never would be again.” John finally dragged his crate until it was immediately before Loralei. He placed his dirty thumb and forefinger to her cheek and searched for something debonair to say. When nothing came he simply leaned in and kissed Loralei softly on her thin, chapped lips. Loralei encircled his neck with her arms. As their breathing began to accelerate, she whispered, “Where do you sleep?” “Um, on the couch in the old lobby. I’m sorry, I never thought to loot any condoms so…” “It’s alright, I haven’t had my period in half a year.” *** The ground did not shake beneath Loralei, nor did John fall into a void without end but nonetheless. They simply felt a besotted abandon that neither had thought possible in what seemed to be ages. Loralei slowly withdrew from the couch where they were intertwined. She crept over to pile of her clothes which lay a few feet away and rummaged through her pockets, producing a straight razor. She walked back to the couch where John lay, breathing slow and deep. She opened the razor, sighed, stiffened her lips and placed the blade gently under John’s left ear. In two succinct motions she drew the blade down six inches and then at a right angle across his throat. She then took a step back and closed her eyes as John’s last gasps bubbled and frothed through the blood spilling forth from his neck. She cupped her hands against her ears, muting the gurgling sounds which persisted for half a minute. Once John lay still, she wiped the razor on the couch’s upholstery, closed it and dressed herself. She walked back to the fire, picked up a can of ravioli and tossed it on the softly glowing coals.
"I can see Sarah Palin from my house" -Vladamir Putin
Dmitri looked up at the sky. It was tar black and stained with motor oil and fat acid drops of rain were coming down two a second onto his uncovered head. It wouldnâ€™t tell him anything so he looked back at the street and walked on. The wind was bad and had been bad all day and made tears well up in his eyes when its whipping yell hit him. There was a smell in the air, like fried meat and boiling potatoes. He rubbed his nose and a thick piece of snot come out and stuck in a long string to the side of his index finger. He tried to flick it off his finger but it stuck tight so he brought it down surreptitiously onto his jeans where it stuck in a single strand. An old woman, hunched over halfway, passed him by. He saw her skeptical eyes peek out from under a dirty ripped up head cloth. He imagined for a second stepping on her, just stepping on her, leaning all his weight into her frail and failing body until every last bone and tendon snapped from the pressure. It felt good to thing about and as she passed he turned to stare at her hatefully. At the edge of town he turned into a bumpy empty lot filled with dead grass. He crossed it and came to a low flat concrete structure. The windows were busted out, there were doors long missing. Some half-assed graffiti had been put up on the side but you had to be halfway drunk and leaning over to make any sense of it. Inside it was pitch dark and silent, slightly cooler than outside but without the windâ€™s push and whisper. There were only a few rooms and when you made it to the center of the place, you knew. It was the one place where the lack of light was at its greatest, where no matter what direction you went things got slightly brighter. The floor was dirt, mostly. Little objects bumped into Dmtiriâ€™s books. They might have been used up syringes or iron bars or bricks or a whole slew of things even worse. They could have been bottles or bodies or babies. When the wind blew now it just made a low howling that came through the place like a breath. Just a distant, whirring prayer or something like that.
He felt the walls now and waited. There were holes that had been gouged out years ago by angry hands or heads. Lumps like cancer formed in strange spots like the concrete had come to life and was consuming itself. He felt akin to the building. Didn’t like it—he didn’t like anything—but felt like it was family, a brother or close cousin. He leaned up against the wall and slid down onto the ground. Like scurrying animals the little things there seemed to move out of his way and he sat on pure dirt. It wasn’t comfortable but it was the best he could get. In the total dark, sitting in the still, the sounds all muffled and the movement stopped he felt like a part of it, like a part of something. So cut off from the world so steeped in silence he finally felt like a something there. He felt connected to the soul of the building, strapped into the seat of the land. He felt sent out through thirteen time zones, bounding off the borders until he found himself again. Lowering his head he felt the hand of time pulling backwards, the growth of a hundred million small potatoes burst into fine flour, the heat of a copper still. He sensed the swish of the Spruce leaves, the slow sweep of settled snow, the black sea’s lap and the rushing, rushing movement of bodies. Anyways the building was set to be demolished that day, and they did it too. No one wanted his body after the walls came down— there wasn’t even much of him left there anyways—so they just threw him on a pit. No matter though, he wasn’t going to live for anything anyways.
Bill Clinton went up and kissed Vladamir Putin on the lips. Vladamir Putin returned the kiss. They shook hands.
I want to forget, but I can't. I fill up the open spaces of teeth and bear witness, which is to say I bear the burden of compliance, all these words assembling my cross. I wish I could forget, but my duty is to remember. Arches upon arches, the window shapes the dawn of spring, and the melancholy lilacs that were so strong fade, evaporating like the memory of Soviet graves or the taste (turpentine, flower, onions) of Putin brand vodka. I am waiting for the tram, tired, I am trying to remember what my client looks like, but memory has deserted me. This happens all the time. Iâ€˜m not really worried about it. I like the subway, it feels like a torpedo spiraling out into the gasp of the future and then shattering, faces that smolder in the thick of loss and fear, enough memory to cradle the ocean. I remember her name (Natashia) but not her face. Is this mystery a concidence or a labyrith of consequence, or just the delerious ramblings of the increasingly inconherent and mad? I'm russian and I suppose madness is an intractable part of our identity. I'm a leftist as well which is a way to say that madness also forms a central part of my destiny. My wife thinks Iâ€˜m just neurotic, she believes we should just move to London if anything to calm my nerves, which seems so archaic, like the remedy from an 18th century novel or something. I'm a private detective, sort of, instead of looking for people I help them dissapear, mostly activists and artists (so obvilousily the pay is lousy), which is the most redundant occupation you can have you Russia, besides being a journalists (which my wife is) or a lawyer (which I was).
I don't drink. In fact alcohol nuasates me. Obviously, this is very alarming to Russians. Most people think when I say 'I don‘t drink' that I only drink on weekends, but it‘s still very frustating to meet with clients in bars. I find the atmosphere, frankly, repulsive. I would rather meet in a park or a muesum or a library. All places neo nazis would never go. The Calcutta bar is like a leather emporium in a concentration camp and the music sucks, assembled around the zinc countertop (which i thought stopped being a trend in the 30's) are suicidal computer programmers and graphic designers, small time drug pushers and the more daring and subterranian college students. I remember Natashia from a newsletter that circulated after she was questioned by the police. She has a stone mouth and small round blue eyes, her check bones are sunken to the point of graves. She‘s a drunk, which I find obnoxious as well as good indication that this case will be pro bono. She tells me about her childhood. She‘s from St. Petersburg, she is a central figure in a series of (alleged) disruptions along train tracks. She moves her finger across her lips like spiders. She wants to leave tonight. I need time I say. She says she can‘t sleep alone tonight or even go to her apartment. You can sleep on my couch i say. I just want to go she pleads. She leaves, I pay her tab, which really pisses me off, the bartender has a lazy eye, the other metallic and gleaming like the smile of shark. We take the tram to the airport. They don‘t let us through customs. Natashia is taken to a small room, and I too another. The guard hits me with a chair and everything sort of goes black.
I come too gnawing on his ear, his blood tastes like its been marinating in chicken broth. I puke and they throw me into the lobby. Natashias there and seems fine, chipper even. Hi, I muster coughing blood. What are we going to do, she asks, tears are welling but she‘s doing what she can to hold back an explosion. Run I say. We run, I am punching random airport security officers, an eldery man gets caught in the crossfire, I‘m sorry I say, slowing my run to a jog, He flips me off. Natshia laughs and even though the moment is tense, I feel good about life (I've always been optimistic though). We take a taxi to my apartment. We drink tea. I look out the window, the skyline looks like a throat opening up over the moon. I can see the shadow of the Kremlin. Tommorrow we will go to Novograd. I notice a BMW parked on the opppisite side of the street with the lights on. In the middle of the night Natashia dissapears. My wife thinks the airport debacle freaked her out, but something feels amiss. I check into the leftist scene but nobody hears anything. Natshia‘s roommate Marie dissapears. Two days later I recieve a call, Natashia tells me she‘s in Paris. I track the call and find its coming from Siberia. Sometimes the BMW follows me but most times I forget it's there (memory as harpoon). Increasingly I think I imagine the BMW and the airport. More and more people are dissapearing, I recieve calls all the time. Most times I have an idea of what‘s going on but these days, there seems to be a tear in the fabric.
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