Magical Practitioners… (Round 2 : Page 10)

September 5th, 2007

Stephen King? More like Salman Rushdie. “Thank you, Trombone, that was…interesting.” Seditious? Libelous? Paranoid? A good way to get yourself permanently silenced?

“I think he’s right,” somebody calls out, earning a murmur of agreement.

I think so too, or at least I have to say it bears consideration, but I’m certainly not going to admit it to my class, every one of whom has a substantial sentence that might be reduced in exchange for juicy information, such as subversive comments by the instructor supporting a conspiracy theory implicating the President in the greatest crime ever committed in this country.

I’m scared to even know the kid, let alone to have assigned this spook-magnet of a fairy tale in the first place. CIA spooks, not “I’m an ignorant redneck” spooks.

Particularly if he’s right.

Naw, couldn’t be. Nobody’s that evil.

Except Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot…

“I like that line about ‘procession of demons,’” someone says. “Reminds me of 1984, how they put the mythical villain Goldstein on the screen every day so everybody could hate him together. Makes you wonder if these guys are even real. Like, if Hitler hadn’t existed, someone would have had to create him, to end the Depression. If the world ever ran out of real tyrants, they’d have to make them up in Hollywood. How would we know the difference?”

All of this is making me very uneasy. Sunny Oaks doesn’t seem to be an appropriate setting for the the founding of a revolutionary cell. At least, not my cell! “Now, back to techniques-” I begin.

A bald prisoner sneers impressively. “They don’t need to fake megalomaniacs. The world is full of them. They just have to give the nutcases they want to put in power an edge over the Extreme Liberation Front of Popular Music or whatever, riding the bill for coupe day tots around the world while making them unthinkable here, and let them individually flip their lids with power and ideology.”

“I remember thinking, all those flags, it was like everybody was hypnotized. I knew this crazy hippie guy, on the outside, had this theory that the news was full of subliminal messages that patriots were sexier and flags attracted money. He also said that the Bush family was dedicated to carrying on Hitler’s work, which according to the hippie had nothing to do with racism. The real reason the Nazis were killing Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals, and drug users, was that these groups were likeliest to contain magical practitioners. Rivals, who could oppose black magic efforts to bring extraterrestrial psychivores-”

“What the hell is a ‘psychivore’?” calls out a grizzled old biker.

“A soul-eater,” the bald man explains. “The idea was that Hitler was into raising demons, but hell is actually this other planet. Enough simultaneous slaughter creates a vacuum here that can suck the psychovores through a wormhole,”

“Hey, where’d you score mescaline?” a young prisoner demands. “Swear to God I thought ‘bout shit like that when I did some mescaline!”

“Who can tell me what metafiction means?” I interject, hoping to return to the harmless topic of fiction theory before men in black step out of the shadows, but the class has tuned me out. They have a new laureate, one of their own number, and I am last week’s book review.

Another convict pipes up. “You reminded me of something else from that book, 1984, the way the three supercountries maintain a state of continuous war, so as to keep their populations tethered to martial-law conditions. When’s the last time, really, the U.S. was at peace? And now, can we expect to ever be at peace again?”

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