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the dada magazine about nothing

N A D A


Basically, long story short, my boss is a crazy rich person and he hasn't been paying rent on the apartments here in Hong Kong, and my coworker Mariana and I ended up getting evicted a few days ago because of it. We're lucky and staying at a hotel now because Bob's (my boss) boyfriend Ying is putting us up at a hotel. They're both in Pyongyang now, and apparently Bob wants to "move operations there" but in order to go to Pyongyang you need a visa. And since I have a lease in Seattle, he is just going to send me back to the US early? I'm so livid. This is such a fucking ridiculous situation.

I met myself walking over a bridge. I looked down, then looked up, then noticed who it was. It was awkward to say the least. We sort of looked at each other and avoided eye contact until the last moment when we looked up and nodded. He stopped before I did. I didn’t think we were going to hold up and chat, but then suddenly that was what was going on. “How’s it going?” he asked. “Good, good. How about you?’ “Good.” We stood there. I wondered if our hair was in the same shape. I wondered if he was thinking this same thing. The wind blew. “Um what’s the deal with that thing on my back?” I knew what he was talking about, that mole that sort of hurt sometimes. “I donno man. I guess I should go to the doctor and get that checked out. I can let you know what they say.” “Would you mind? It’s just that I don’t have health insurance right now and all, and I’d hate to have to go in there if I didn’t have to.” “Yeah, no I can do that.” “Sweet, thanks.” We stood there again, trying our hardest not to make eye contact with each other. “What are you reading right now?” “Those Henry Dumas short stories.” “Oh yeah, me too.” I felt stupid for asking.


An ambulance went by. We both watched. It slowed at an intersection then went through the intersection. I felt a great pressure within myself. “You like them?” “What do you think?” I didn’t know I could be so rude. “Well yeah. I mean I like them.” He gave me a look that was hard to decipher. Sort of like, ‘What did you expect?’, or maybe ‘Who is this guy?’ I really didn’t know I could be so rude. I felt sort of bad. “So what did you have for breakfast this morning?” he asked, slowly. It seemed like a simple enough question but then I sensed that he questioned my identity, perhaps he thought I was an imposter. “A bowl of mesa sunrise cereal with two percent milk and a handful of unsalted pecan pieces on top.” I might have said it too quickly. He nodded, still skeptical maybe. “I like your shirt.” I looked down, I was wearing this ripped shirt that I always kept in the back of my dresser. We hadn’t had quarters for a long time and I hadn’t done laundry. It was a shirt I only wore when I really had to. I thought for a moment that he liked the shirt, even though it was dirty, then it occurred to me that this was a trick question. “Oh you know. It’s really just what I wear when I don’t have anything else.” He nodded sagely. It felt as if nothing I would say could convince him. It occurred to me that he might even be right. I put a hand in my pocket and rubbed my leg just to make sure that I was still me. “So where are you headed then?” He looked around. “I’ve got all these quarters I need to get rid of, get ‘em changed into bills so I can hit the grocery shop.” I nodded. I clutched the sixty dollars in my pocket. Three twenties. I knew what he was trying to pull, the bastard.


A man sneezes on a Sunday (in a subway): B: “God bless you, sir.” A: “Your blessings are in vain as I do not subscribe to your set of beliefs.” B: “Oh, sorry sir.” A: “Don’t repent to me, I’m not your Christ.” B: “Of course not, sir.” A: “I’d wish you not to call me ‘sir’ anymore, either. I consider myself far removed from society as you know it.” B: “Then why are you wearing those sneakers and speaking this language?” Upon hearing this remark aimed at him, Man A’s head (specifically where the brain is located) swells to twice it’s native size. His face remains the same as he says: A: “How dare you observe me in such a condescending manner. I am Human and deserve unbiased and proper treatment at once; I demand your empathy for me.” B: “God bless you, sir.” Man A steps out onto the rails in a frenzy and is obliterated by an oncoming train. His severed head (which remains swollen and intact), lands near the feet of Man B. Man B smiles as he scoops the head up and deposits the head into his bag. He continues to his desired destination, thinking of the fun he will have that day with his new friend.

I am in Amsterdam on a simply splendid sunny day in what is almost springtime, gazing at a duck who might be despondent because I’m not giving him/her any of my bread. The canals are filthy and it amazes me that anything could live in them. But that is beside the point. Last night I had my first experience with a prostitute. I wasn’t precisely sure what to expect but nevertheless I was surprised. I had decided earlier in the day that sex workers are human beings and entitled to at least as much respect as the next person. Thus I took my personal hygiene to its very zenith and I showered, brushed, flossed, shaved my nether regions, and donned a shirt and tie, dress slacks, and my dancing shoes. I discovered an adorable, bespectacled, slightly tattooed, professional sex worker in the Red Light District.


Parenthetical – Russia invaded the Crimea again today and I feel there is little to lose by misbehaving on what may be the eve of World War Three. Second Parenthetical – The duck is not despondent; it is kicking filthy canal water directly into my face. When I approached the glass door to make my indecent proposal I employed unalloyed candor and initiated with, “So this is my first time. I don’t really know how this works.” She responded pleasantly, “You can hang your coat here, and it’s fifty Euros and you must pay me in advance.” I obliged. “Now take off your shoes, lay [sic] on the bed and pull down your pants.” I obliged. She then climbed atop me and said, “Fifty Euros for a blowjob, one hundred if you want to fuck me, and two hundred if you want anal.” “Well, I would like to fuck you,” I said and produced two twenty-euro notes and a ten and said, “Here’s fifty more so that makes a hundred.” “No,” she replied, “it’s a hundred more if you want to fuck me.” ‘Ah,’ I thought. ‘The first fifty Euros was apparently just to get in the door.’ Now I was learning things. “Um, I only have thirty-five Euros left.” “Alright,” she accepted what was now one hundred and thirtyfive Euros (or about one hundred and fifty US dollars), dressed me in a prophylactic and initiated coitus with more tenacity than I am accustomed to. “Wait, slow down,” I implored, “I want you to enjoy this too.” “Oh I’ll enjoy it,” and she resumed but would not win any Oscars for this role. After approximately four minutes she demanded, “Why aren’t you coming?” I responded, “Well this is kinda weird for me. I’m not quite used to this. Could I get on top?” “No, that’s fifty Euros extra.” I did not have fifty Euros extra as I had given her all my money and hence we proceeded. After two minutes more I relented in my struggle towards orgasm and confessed to her, “This isn’t really working for me. Could I go down on you?” “No, that costs extra.” “Could I take off your bra?” “No, that costs extra.” “Um, could I give you a kiss?” “No, that costs extra.”


“Alright, fuck this,” I thought inwardly, “This sucks. My entire life has been women telling me ‘No you can’t do this. No, you can’t do that. There are rules. There have to be boundaries.’” I thought if I paid a whore for sex I would finally for the first time have a woman tell me, ‘Yes, you can,’ but no, here I was once again hearing, “No, no, no. You can’t do this. You can’t do that.” Fucking a whore is no different than having a wife or a mother. “Alright,” I said finally. “This isn’t working for me. Do you just want to have a conversation?” “Yeah, you still have seven minutes,” she said as she got up and began wiping herself off. “Um, alright. Where ya from?” “Oh, I’m from here. I’m Dutch.” I was taken aback. I had been under the impression that all these Red Light District women were illegally trafficked in from Eastern Europe but here was a beautiful, intelligent or at least cunning woman born in a first-world country electing this profession. “Oh, okay. So lemme ask you another question. Um, of all your clients, how many are sexual animals and how many get all weird and then start trying to have a conversation with you?” “What do you mean?” “I mean, is it like 50-50, 60-40?” “70-30” “Which being which?” “Seventy percent of guys just want to come in less than five minutes and thirty percent want to ask me questions like why I do this,” she said as she nonchalantly binned her paper towel and stepped into her black thong. “Well, I hope I was at least able to break up your routine a little,” for which I was rewarded a smile and a snigger, this time seemingly genuine. “Well, I don’t need to take up any more of your time; I’ll let you get back to work.” I thanked the lady, we bade each other good night and as I stepped back outside I suddenly couldn’t help feeling a bit used, perhaps even degraded.


The maiming mobile was Lorraine's idea. She'd seen a program on the Discovery channel that featured a vehicle outfitted to harvest cattle on site. The next morning she set about constructing a model appropriate for my artistic endeavors. I'll make it out of leftover Cleveland. An ode to all that remains of a once bustling shit hole on the brink of Basketball stardom, forever condemned to future success and present depression.' And so it began. First, she gracefully dragged a tractor trailer to our building with her unicycle. The owner accosted her in the process of the theft but was far too bewildered to protest once he witnessed the manner of her departure. In the end, he was so impressed that he assisted her in relocating the trailer. Lorraine had first learned to ride a uni as a child in an Argentinian circus. In my experience, nothing is more intimidating than watching a one legged woman ride a unicycle. She sways to and fro like a broken down battleship, very nearly collapsing under her own equilibrium. Cackling and spitting all the while, between huffing and puffing of course. Once we had rid ourselves of the persistent pustule of a person that was our theft victim turned transport compatriot (he had lingered by the trailer for 3 days in hopes of spotting Lorraine once again perched perilously upon the unicycle), she set to work. The retro upholstery was removed along with the gold lame frocked furniture and paisley kitchenette. Supposedly the trailer had once housed his infirm eighty year-old mistress, prior to her untimely demise in an argument with a toaster oven. The full renovations were largely completed without further incident inside of a month. She cobbled together the materials ingeniously. They included: sixteen taxidermied ducks, fourteen bar stools, stainless steel paneling, a blood-draining hook and a hospital grade surgical equipment (the source of which I was none too keen to inquire about).


The explosion wasn't much of a surprise. I had taken to placing paper cranes ornamented with firecrackers in the oven. This was meant to teach them to fly. The cranes fluttered helplessly about for a moment, the beak and a wing brightly ablaze. Lorraine whistled encouraging show tunes while tossing lit cigarettes into the oven after them. This was our attempt at bonding. She could have timed it a bit better. It'd have been nice if our building combusted on the fourth of July. As it was she was a few days off, leading to our summer vacation beginning a bit ahead of schedule. We hightailed it out of there in our newly completed murder wagon, never to return. 'Cleveland's not my kind of shithole. Not anymore, with the housing market bouncing back and the river well on its way to ecological harmony. Lets go to Jersey' She said this without the least bit of irony, ignorant of the fact that I hail from Jersey. Childhood mishaps instructed that any homeward journey was ill-conceived. 'We're heading to Canada.' ;Canada! What the hell would I want to go to Canada for? Unless you get me a beaver skin hat and a horse. We could play Canadian cops and criminals.' 'They don't have real criminals in Canada. That's what we're for. You could get a leg again, if you wanted one or three or six. Canada is made for cripples and outlaws. We could go into politics and run the Yukon! We can breed huskies and shoot shit. It’s a barren paradise with ridiculous taxes and ugly women. I bet they even have beauty pageants you could win and take rich fuckers' money while they smile serenely up at you like retarded babies.' 'No.'


That was it. That was all she said. What the fuck was I supposed to do with that? We arrived at the boarder before a dingy sunset became bleak. 'Where'd you get this car?' This was the first she'd spoken since we left Cleveland. 'Shut the fuck up.' Canada geese were guarding the boarder, refusing to cross themselves or divert their gaze. Collectively they were a more intimidating sight than the impotent government officials dressed in khaki jumpsuits, pierced with silly buttons. The geese stared us down, daring Lorraine to incur their wrath with any sudden move or sarcastic comment. She returned their menacing gaze, knowing that one day they'd meet in heaven and she'd gleefully chop their heads off and spew their spaghetti shaped intestinal parasites all across the Canadian subcontinent, like pestilential mythology. My one true friend landed in my lap a few hours into Ontario. A pigeon named Leopold settled helplessly into our overtly violent rhythm quite quickly. By dawn he was pecking at my eyes and shitting in Lorraine's hair while we quietly petted him. We rejoiced at finally having a child of our own. The creaky “Death is What you Make it� mobile groaned behind our ‘87 gremlin. 'I drink blood and sweat and semen. Vaginal fluid tastes funny. I'll indulge in the fluid from your diabetic capillaries but please reserve your feminine moisture for a willing partner. It makes me gag.' We'd had had to turn off the microphone connecting the trailer to our vehicle due to its constant bitching.


-I always forget how much I hate meth until I smoke it. -True. says Khaled, We should get drunk too. How was court? -Uhh, I have to go to jail for a couple of months, and then go to rehab in Spokane, but there's like a couple of weeks where I’m free. Wanna dip to Mexico? In no reality will either of us, let alone me, raise enough money to flee to Mexico. -Why don’t you just go to Oakland and stay with your cousin? Khaled laughs. -I already know that’s what’s gonna happen, but god damn nigga, your fucking up my high, I don’t want to go back to Oakland. -Fair enough. -On the real though, There's that dark whisper in Oakland, You’ve seen it, Annie’s felt it, I’ve seen it, Mischa’s dead by it, it doesn’t cover us yet. Before we know it were gonna be caught up in the mix. What if that's not how the story plays out? The outcome more mundane, if not more terrifying? -Your such a fucking idiot Ahmed, I already know you're going to school, this is both tied and beyond it, it will follow you, molded to whatever path you go, we’ve been touched. You know the part in the Savage Detectives about Rimbaud? With the French troops, or maybe they’re Belgian. -Yeah.


-I look upon all of this as walking to the commune, that symbol of hope for us, poets freaks, idiots, drug addicts what have. The socially unwanted, niggers and fags, and bitches all at the barricades, but above all: poets, and you’re on this path opposed to all the idiocy of being less than and then you meet some bullies and instead of just beating you or killing you, they rape you, they humiliate you, and this life, being greeted with a horror, tragedy that at first feels so overwhelming, like the pain of knowing you were born and that our mortality is both intellectual and as is only natural, innate, that we can question what life is and literally want sleep or transcendence or whatever and know ( I mean know by bone) death is not release but rather end. Later, after the initial shock, we find ourselves in the even graver situation of finally, and painfully being brought to our knees in a total understanding of Kierkegaard for the bitter and Pascal or Spinoza for the indifferent, which is to say we already know god ain’t real, and in all the thousand plus year of the history of western philosophical thought the best answers we have as to why life sucks is either sulking or throwing your hands up and being utterly bewildered. -As a devoted reader of Wittgenstein I only disagree in the phrasing, or rather the presumption that a general agreement on the definition of ‘life’ exists. The shadows of the buildings in downtown have the disconcerting effect of making them bigger width wise as if eating into themselves, the sky pink orange and hazy, the lights begin an incessant blinking. Khaled throws a bottle into the air and laughs as it slinks into the cement with a willful shattering.


-I wanna put a hex on the judge, we gotta steal a chicken bro. -Thats a terrible idea. Doesn’t Annie have chickens? -We aren’t stealing her chickens. -She still think I’m a piece of shit. I laugh. -Almost everybody thinks you’re a piece of shit. -She home tonight though? -Nah she’s going to some punk show or something. Inshallah, we could pull this off. -We’re gonna need to smoke more of that shit and probably get some forties then. -This is why you're my best friend Ahmed. I’m just coming to make sure you don’t go to jail again, I mean they’re gonna fry your black ass if they catch you high on meth, drunk, stealing a chicken from a pretty white college girl in order to voodoo. -Hoodoo nigga, get it right. -Right, hoodoo, your fucking judge. -And yet you don’t think it’s a bad idea. -Sounds like an alternative ending to a minor Blues Side Man saga on BET. But Right though? In reality, I’ve broken into Annie’s house several times before. The back yard is by far the easiest part. Annie's roommate Charles is sleeping in a hammock.( Charles is a tall lanky DIY musician asshole, a certain caricature that any medium to large size city dweller is at least vaguely aware of, if even in a ‘where the fuck did this guy come from?’ kind of way. In all truth, I also stole a pack of cigarettes and his wallet [which only had twenty dollars in it] after he had drawn a picture of the prophet, but more so just because I wanted pot.). I try to explain that Annie lent us the chicken, which sounds more like a line from cops then anything, especially considering that Khaled and I are tweaking pretty hard. Khaled lurches behind me in the threatening manner of the dead, Charles, who obviously doesn’t like me anyways and doesn’t know Khaled, lands a swift but surprisingly well placed punch to my left lip. I stumble backward and Khaled puts him in a sleeper hold from behind. I lose consciousness or more simply zone out when in the middle of kicking Charles, as reality asserts itself I can make out Charles teeth in flayed subsections


I was laying in my bunk, waiting for my eyes to adjust. I would have to move quickly through the darkness, tripping over a stray shoe or pebble could cost me my life. The waning crescent moon was barely visible in the night sky, providing no light to help me find my way in the dark.Â

When did things go wrong? The thought had been on loop in my head for days.


I thought about Pheonix. Maybe I should wake her now. Convince her to come with me. Karen was her name when she came to the compound. Twenty year old Karen. She was so idealistic. So full of life. Would she come if I told her what was going to happen? I quickly dismissed the idea. There was no Karen anymore, and Pheonix would never leave Ayo. I had been Ayo's right hand man since before we moved to the compound. I knew him when he was still Randall, the jovial minimalist hippy. He was effortlessly cool, and yet so passionate about his vision. Could engage strangers for hours with his charm and enthusiasm. When we met I was immediately drawn in, and I believed in him. He taught me how to live off the land, leaving the wasteful greed of capitalism behind. With the enthusiasm I had caught, I dutifully collected Ayo followers. He was a natural leader, we all believed our commune was completely and purely equal. I was now coming to realize that was part of the ultimate manipulation.  At our daily sittings we were given time to share our ideas for ways to improve the compound. It was this that lead me to my current situation. I should never have expressed my concerns in front of the whole family. I never thought my practicality would be my downfall. When I met Ayo I was finishing law school. He told me he needed someone with a good head on their shoulders. Suddenly everything made sense. Law school had crushed my idealism. I no longer believed in the system, nor did I believe in the people who worked within it. Ayo's energy and radicalism ignited something new in me. What we were doing felt important. I felt important. The more involved I became, the more he confided in me. He needed someone who could provide legal council, should the necessity to demonstrate arise, someone to "manage" the commune's finances, which would have to be heavily doctored to conceal our primary source of income, and to avoid paying taxes to the very government we believed was destroying our land. 


Things took off. I dropped out of law school halfway into my last semester. We created a whole family. Became a movement. Made our own clothes. Stopped cutting our hair. We were a perfect, primitivist, clean energy-using, spiritual machine. And like all hippy communes-turned-cults, we all fucked each other. A lot. Despite our belief in free love, Pheonix eclipsed all other fuckable family members. She was Ayo's favorite, too, I could tell. But I believed Pheonix and I had a deeper connection. At least until Star's death. I was so caught up in the beauty, the ecstasy, of it all, that I missed the clues for Ayo's big plan until it was too late. Sunflower and Unity's trips to town to distribute our biggest commodity (marijuana) started to include illegal weapons acquisitions. Ayo started restricting our movements in and out of the commune. We had restrictions and curfews to prevent us from leaving. When Star went into labor and it became clear there were complications, Ayo refused to allow anyone to take her to the hospital in town. As her condition got worse, my pleas grew desparate. No one else objected to Ayo's insistence, and we all watched as Star, and her unborn child, died. Ayo and I didn't speak for several days. After the cremation, Sunflower brought me to Ayo's tent and waited outside while I went in. I was met by the back of Ayo's head, he sat cross-legged, back perfectly straight, staring at the back wall. Without looking at me, he said "You must never call me Randall in front of the family again." Apparently in my desperate pleas to save Star, I had used his past life name. "I can't have the family get distracted from the ultimate goal. Now I need you to make sure no one ever comes looking for Cheryl McGill here. You must erase Star." I went cold. Everything became so, horrifyingly clear. We had to stop all this. I went back to my bunk in the dorm-style yurt the rest of us lived in, and laid awake all night. Thinking of Star, thinking of Pheonix, thinking of Ayo. Trying to come up with a plan for what to do.


The next morning, at our sitting, I sat, nervously waiting for my turn to speak. It finally came. I stood up, which was not customary in our circles, and cleared my throat. "We need to go to the police and inform them about Star and her baby. We need to get rid of all the guns and the dope. We need to make this right." There was a long silence. I saw the looks on my friends' faces. They looked up at me, heartbroken and confused. Then I looked at Ayo. He stared back at me, his face emotionless. "I don't think you realize what you just suggested. Are you trying to destroy us? You want to give our Star and her baby over to the pigs? You want to tear their souls away from their true home?"Â I looked around and saw the expressions on the Family's faces had changed. They looked angry, betrayed. I slowly sat back down in the seething circle I had just set afire. I felt that if I walked away, I would be hunted down and destroyed, and so I sat, with my head down, as the silence grew tenser. I knew right away that Ayo would have me killed. There was no other option. I had created a chasm between myself and my entire family. I was now their greatest threat, their biggest enemy. I knew what they all were thinking. I needed to disappear. I knew if I tried to escape right away it would all be over, and so, we spent an excruciating day, the family and me, in a silent stand off. We went about our duties. No one looked at me or spoke to me. I did my best to appear calm so as not to invoke any sudden outbursts. I would allow them to plot my demise, as I plotted my escape.


I blinked into the dark. I guess this is as good as it's gonna get. I could make out my route to the door of the yurt. As long as no one wakes up, I can make it. Once I'm outside, I can run. I moved as slowly as possible, praying that the springs in my mattress would not betray me. I realized I had not taken shoes into consideration. I couldn't risk feeling around for them now. I would have to run through the wilderness barefoot. I made it to the door, and prepared myself for what lay ahead. Unity was on night patrol, but I knew by this point he would be settled by the kitchen, smoking a joint, out of sight. I scanned the darkness for Pheonix's bunk, but couldn't make out her form amongst the rows of black lumps. Instead, my eyes stopped at Star's empty bed. I shuttered. The flat, black landscape of her blankets, neatly tucked in, was the loneliest sight I have ever seen. I closed my eyes for a moment, to pray, an old habit from Catholic School. No prayer came. Instead, I felt a surge of terror and adrenaline. It is now time to run for your life.

Her sack of skin takes the stage and the room shakes Everyone screams There must be a million hymns vibrating under her feet slicing up the bone fattening up the marrow

with that bag of bones onstage denying the ugliest word in the English language is incurable

She'll be brave and a hero and every synonym for inspiration filed in our rational minds Lipids explode from either side of this motor chair But the room with laughter staring back at her while I don't hear a word is animal about surviving or fighting Life begets life or loving myself through animals or you or anyone else Every cell in this chair knows it's nature, not I, wants her to die Lizzie steps away from the mic.


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Nada3 30 - Trying to exit with grace and dignity  
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