by John Bhetrot
Marsaul pulled into the drive in his used Ford minivan. He stopped, got out and unlocked the wire and wood post gate, got back in the car, drove ahead, stopped, went back and closed and locked the gate.
He drove for a minute at 10 miles per hour or 1/6th of a mile and stopped where the dirt path ended. He then walked for two minutes or 1/7th of a mile at an easy pace. There were no lights, just the autumn night sky with stars that Marsaul was disinterested in. He reached his house, a cabin, built into a small knoll and walked around the south side and unlocked the door with a key from the same key chain that held the other key that opened the gate on the drive 2 minutes earlier.
He walked into the cabin and lit the kerosene lamp hanging from the ceiling in the southwest corner of the dining room adjacent to the kithcen. He barely had to reach for the lamp for the ceiling was only 7 feet high. He walked through the dining room into the living room, to the north, abreast the knoll. He opened the laptop on the table facing west. The only windows were in the dining room, kitchen and bathroom, all facing south to the front of the house facing the garden, the chicken coop beyond that and the small barn further on. He turned on the computer and opened to the file just completed and sent it to the house in Alexandria.
Who is that? Martin had asked. Martin was a source of a source. Is that William Casey?
Yes. Marsaul, or Saul, or Mars, depending on who he was with, said. Marsaul thought of this exchange sometimes when he came home, turned-on his computer, turned on the kerosene lamp in the living room in the the northeast corner that illuminated the portrait next to the Japanese triptych, an oil landscape, as he went over files or his life or both.
Marsaul sat down on the couch next to the table with the computer and was happy to be home. He had driven east from town after shopping at the grocery store. Two days earlier he had received a strange encryption from a source he believed to be in Rome, if not in Rome then in Milan or Turin, and if not in Milan or Turin then outside Geneve, and if not outside Geneve then in Bruge, Paris or Rome, New York. This is the way geography, seemingly illogically, but actually pure logic, affected not only Marsaul at this stage in history, at what they called the end of history, meaning the end of will, which was why in a way William Casey was hanging on his wall.
The grocery store was clean. This was how they were going to sell-it. Marsaul thought, as he shopped for rice, coffee, hot sauce…The real-estate market in Manhattan was taking a down-turn and the banks were in trouble. It’s immediate affects were visible, on the facial expressions and soft murmors of the shoppers 600 miles away, 450 to crows and the digital, to the surveillable.
He looked at Casey’s portrait having thought of Martin. It was nearing the end game. This was what Marsaul made-out of the message two days earlier, and of course he had to take it with a grain of salt, measuring real prophesy with cognitive science, with psychology and the small carafe of scotch.
There was a linear logic that some people had access to and some people did not. And there were people like Marsaul who were used, or if they could strike the match, using the same people using them, for their nonlinearity.
Computers and man. Right? Martin had said. Martin wasn’t his real name. Cherne?
If they spoke the name, nine times out of ten they were bad news. To think that Martin knew where he lived really pissed Marsaul off and Marsaul thought of Jesuit ethics and thought against it because it was, after all, Martin who had noticed and evoked the portrait.
Marsaul gave Martin the file, this time hand-written because the order didn’t want it any other way. And Martin had already delivered the steer and cow immune to almost any disease and naturally fertile without any chemical bonding.
You know you are reincarnating him? Pendak had said this to Marsaul over the satellite phone.
It has nothing to do with the carnatio, was his reply.
Marsaul had finally seen something like it. The prison was employing slave labor all along. He watched the blacks get off the real mystery bus in front of the grocey store, handsome, fit, speaking another language and living another code. This is what they were doing, turning life into cheaper and cheaper forms of labor and like everything, Marsaul’s accidental timing was actually an intended significance. The strange way that they moved was worth more than a super computer.
Marsaul was being used. They were really stupid, digital, computers. And it was the Jesuit once connected to the order who had verified what Marsaul had already verified, that everyone had been reduced to use value, and knowledge was no longer useful, or so they thought, the ones addicted to leotards.
The Jesuit had given Marsaul a source in New York, a pseudo-rabbinical who made it rain and could make it rain even more with Marsaul’s nonlinearity. And Marsaul could care less for the money which made him all the more valueable, for the enemy knows, is the only one that knows, in the digitalis conformity of the highest adeptuality.
But he wanted protection from whatever it was he was part of. And the rabbinical had sent the Greek to the cabin, the inventor, who was also being used. And it was the inventor who had told him of the gyst of things and indirectly of Casey, the man, like Bismarck, who stood between two ages and was the center of it. Figure-out Casey and you figure out the nexus, is what the Greek told him, who knew Bill. And there were numerous players that could have also been used as the aleph of the nexus. But there was no one like him, Casey, is what the Greek with the Cyprian blood had said.
But it was the document in the basement library of the church in Milan that had been sent to Marsaul, written in code, which meant plain language, that Marsaul had really taken to. They hate you because they love you. Was the English translation of it. And Marsaul thought of the package sent before, that he picked-up by the road sent from San Francisco via Alexandria that had directed things toward the Levi and the danger of the nonlinear.
Marsaul thought of this as he thought of the floods that wiped-out New Orleans and of the European scientist who had warned the US government and was dumbstruck by their inaction. And all the prisoners of the ghoulishness could only laugh at the autumn night. What the scientist should have done, which Casey wanted to do, was actually counter it all through ficition. This is what gets beyond the sign system and mesmerism, creation itself. This is why they had contacted Marsaul, because they knew he was coming.
To the west of the town and the slave labor camp that was now manifesting itself, living there all along without any second grader knowing it, let alone the police chief, near the customer service center of the bank 600 miles away, now the center of the world economic implosion, was the seat of the Indian tribe that had been paid in full by the Genoans.
So it wasn’t really history repeating itslef, it was geography. And the wasteland was always just two degrees from reaching the surface and now reality was taking on a certain shade, certain light and color, and it was easy to enter the reality that was surfacing and just as easily to become lost in it.
Well, it’s all technology. Marsaul was seated at the table with the group beyond the order at the dining room in the foyer of the palm court of the hotel off Market Street in San Francisco.
This is where it all took place? The one with the beard said, the one that might have been a degree above the others, who were clean shaven, perpetually looking for something without knowing anything.
Aren’t you ruining everything by coming here? Marsaul looked at the man. He looked at the younger men, dressed in sports jackets and slacks and wanted to laugh if they hadn’t embedded the sign system, if they hadn’t fed off of it for so long and were really, Marsaul thought, complete and dangerous robots. They all wore the same military watch from Israel. They will probably take-up the cello when they are forty. Thought Marsaul. To prove how stupid they are to everyone but themselves, because you play the cello sitting down, which works if you are all of 5’5”.
You brought this on yourself. One of them said. He wasn’t he even looking at him.
So I envision it and it becomes real? Marsaul poured water into his glass. This ranz. One of them stared at Marsaul thinking he had said something in German or Yiddish.
On the street, outside:
Right up there. Marsaul said. That was my window. That was where I worked. He was wondering if it could be tellestrated. Marsaul looked only at the bearded man who was the only one interested.
You should be careful. That was all he said to Marsaul.
Aldrich Ames. Robert Hansen. Robert Ames. Good, bad, indifferenct mnemonics just a layer deeper into logic.
Marsaul had been playing with the codifice. It was like the I Ching for the 21st century. It was a computer program developed by a lunatic at MIT before he was taken-out. And he had programmed the codifice, because an oracle is a juxtaposition, to match the gneumatic with linear expression. And one day this is what the random out-put of the linear logic of the historical meme processed, interpreted by the codifice as random out-put, linear logic and historical meme. And of course it had humor because it had developed beyond machine language to despise its own tautology, an attribute once common in humans.
It didn’t matter what Alexandria had sent him. It was coming whether we liked it or not.
Marsaul walked through his dining room, opened the door and stood in the yard in front of the garden, black with night. Rome at the end of the republic. Rome before the republic. The world before the invention of Rome. That’s what the stars were trying to say, and he had tried to ignore them.
A military helicopter with a ballast light that made it look like a pregnant insect with what he imagined as insects at its helm, all eyes, made its way in the distance from the municipal airport to the federal landing strip above the old growth pines and maples, like a firefly in the wrong temperature, out of time, like an absurd picture from a children’s book written by an angry and confused man.
Some lunatic had sent Marsaul a file from a lunatic connected to a lunatic, connected to the order afraid of the politicans. As long as you neither believe it nor are afraid of it… By will Marsaul could keep it all at bay.
The flyspecks, as Casey called them, had turned into the manipulaters and courtesans, the plodders, because most people never have a single good idea in their lives.
So you are trying to tell me they have the capability to read all our minds? Fradstein lived on the other side of the marsh. He had been an investment banker and had made enough money to live on, working deals after the initial collapse of the Eastern Bloc. His mansion was prefabricated, all 12,000 square feet, a third of which was furnished, on the first floor, which was the only part of the house he lived in.
Frad saw something coming as he was pushed-out. He was pushed-out because he both saw what was coming and no longer wanted in, or saw enough where he no longer needed his cut. He visited Marsaul from time to time to see how they were both getting on.
I’d like to say I can’t show you the files, but I can. Marsaul looked at Frad. Those that aren’t processing…Marsaul took a long pull of ale. Was he worth it? Marsaul thought. Or was he still addicted to the sign system? Was he an op? Where in the random output as meaning was Frad in realtion to Marsaul?
So if you’re not processing they have a way of processing you. Marsaul looked at Frad. Which is pure communication theory passed-off as magic which is the same thing as technology. I’ll show you. Marsaul opened the computer and brought-up a map of the sky and the earth, with little dots moving all around and numbers under the dots. These are all the surveillance satellites. You know where the program gets the updated information from?
The government? Frad looked at Marsaul.
From private websites and forums. From amateurs tracking launches in every corner of the world… And from hacking into certain government websites.
But who really cares? Frad said. They are watching their own stupidity in a sense.
Maybe. But what they’re really doing is watching the enemy. And the enemy has become, through collectivization, the most insignificant anomalies. You and me, possibly. So it’s like will working itself backwards. Marsaul handed Frad the envelope with the check from the profits of their latest investment. It’s from Singapore and you can write it at the bank in the city and then transfer it. It’s been cleaned-up. Marsaul said. Fuck the Patriot Act, because if they try to get you and me on this, then they would have to get us in open court which means they would have to lose a lot of names they don’t want named because all the big dicks wanted in on this and only a handful got in and those that didn’t get in, some of them were big, and some of them would love to see the other’s get burned. Turf wars is where all the money is made…They both laughed out of a bit of fear.
Frad looked at the check. Shit. They didn’t take any commission?
That’s after commission. Marsaul said. And it’s all going to be worth shit. I can give you the bank in Singapore. That’s where I put it all.
There’s this Italian guy I know. Frad said. Who has something in the works, needs maybe a million up-front. If we go in on it together in 5 or 10 years, maybe sooner we could see a serious return.
What is it?
It’s a privatized lab. Working on energy, in France and Switzerland. That’s the future. Beyond currency. The grid. Pure energy deals. If you’re part of the working grid. That’s why energy stock is so high. It’s not just recession secure it’s about getting your hand in what is coming… And they’ve been using these guys for years. Funded by these bankers in Basel. So it’s going to reach the point where you are literaly turned-off if you are not producing. Theta waves and shit from cell towers. Real science friction. Frad laughed and coughed a marijuana cough as he lilt a joint. A real beat. And they are working with this neurophysics lab in London and this is the sure thing, maybe 50 years out, maybe sooner, maybe later. But these guys are privatizing half their research. Have the go ahead because the market makes things happen faster than cats in heat. Frad looked at Casey’s portrait and looked at Marsaul. Wasn’t that his point?
Maybe. He left some things out.
And the Italian has worked for them. Frad said. The Italian was a physisicst who lived in Rapallo and Frad had funded one of his start-ups. He has always gotten bigger. Frad said. Real old money.
The only reason I’d do it is so I can see the papers. Marsaul was always honest with Frad. Frad was a beatnick investor. He didn’t care what your impulses were as long as you could bring investment and a return. And I don’t care if I lose it, really. I’ll give you the name of the guy in San Francisco. But that means it becomes open. Because those guys tell everyone. And this is a bad time to invest in anything not state funded.
Believe me. Frad said. The Swiss and the French are wetting over this. Have been for years. This is a major reason for their inflated egos, because they have recruited these geniuses from every backwater on the globe. So the worst thing is that it is eventually bought-out by the state. Their capital is their braintrust, it’s a sure thing. They have this bunker in Toulon…Frad coughed.
Marsaul pointed at the computer screen as it refreshed and the blips moved in real time. Speak of the devil. Marsual said. That’s the ESA, their low orbit bullshit, coming right over us. And that son of a bitch hears better than it can see.
Have you noticed how strange things are getting in town? Frad looked at Marsaul.
Marsaul looked at Frad like looking at a Woodstock hippie with money, still missing something in his brain or his heart, his environment was an excuse for self fulfillment. I was in town tonight. Marsaul said. It was like something out of a vampire movie, everything real calm, very little noise, where you could think. And these indentured servants got off this bus in front of the grocey store. From New York via the Sudan or something. And they’ve been working at these factories and in the fields all along. Right here. Private prison labor. Can you believe that shit? Real fucking slavery. You know that tribe was massacred and they moved them all here, into these useless marshes. Marsaul was getting a little drunk. That is what we are dealing with Frad. Living geography. Geography as living history and logic exacting not revenge but real numbers, real facts and output these morons at the central bank take as some kind of game. Making us not even subsistent but hunter gatherers.
Well, a friend of mine in New York, National Guard officer, found the shit you were telling me about, the choppers and shit that fly over here and he found-out that they are doing this all over the country. Watching us. Frad looked at once paranoid and enlightened.
It’s entropic. These little fuckers that think they have something on someone. Marsaul moved to the east wall and opened a secretary that passed for a wine cellar and bar. He opened a red package, tied with a gold bow. This is from the chick in Russia, which means it’s from the General. Marsaul said laughing. He opened it and looked at the bottle. Armenian cognac. He poured them both a glass.
They look like mules. Marsaul continued. You have to be careful Frad. They know you are here and they can smell you coming over here. And unless you stop playing them… I play them because I am instructed to on some level. But you’re a hippie. You’re from the West Side for shit’s sake living in the marshes. What kind of bullshit is that? Marsaul liked Frad but didn’t trust him because Frad had never really wanted to trust himself or any one else, never saw the point.
One of them moved-in across the highway about a year ago. Marsaul lit them both Italian cigarettes, the ones Brodsky smoked. Makes sure to pull-out at the same time I leave my place. So they have all these dogs in place who think they are saving themselves by selling their souls. And half of them don’t know their women are working for this cult beyond them. This real perverse cult. Marsaul took a long drag on the cigarette and looked at the alarm on the wall run by the generator that could tell if a wood skunk was moving a mile away. When they are the one’s being watched, manipulated, abused. That’s what the public schools have done, made all these jackasses focus on nothing but someone else’s ideas. Real hopeless cases, these mutants. And they are at once the least of our problems and the problem.
Marsaul had known of Rapallo before Frad. Frad was bad news the day he was born. A real manipulator who could be taken in by any side but could be used by everyone. A real whore. Real charming. Marsaul used his Canadian passport and took a flight to Milan and then drove to Genoa and then made his way to Venice. The cell had embedded itself in the heart of the order.
Marsaul made his way to the hotel near St. Mark’s. He met his contact eating the best food in the city, which meant not very good at all. One of the guys from Basel was with him. Marsaul handed them what he had.
Where is it run-out of? Marsaul eventually asked after interminable silence.
They both laughed and looked at eachother. The waiters stared at Marsaul like an outsider. This was the key to Venetian and Swiss, not to mention Austiran or North Italian secrecy and nobility, every outsider was an enemy.
Where do you think? The one from Basel said. Looking at Marsaul like he was too inept to get it. Marsaul looked at the asshole’s watch. He knew as much. The make was supposed to scare someone, it made Marsaul laugh.
Marsaul reached in his bag and pulled-out a first run of the new story collection he had recently published. He gave it to his Italian contact.
His contact laughed. Nicely done. He said, looking through the table of contents. The story that really caught their attention was William Casey, it ran for 45 pages and was being sold in translation on Moscow streets, at a kiosk near the Pushkin Museum as they spoke, as they sat there eating overpriced and inedible saltpork that summed-up everything.
What if you went missing? The Basel asshole started in. Marsaul’s contact grabbed his friend’s arm and the friend left the restaurant to vent nothing in his head.
He’s a jerk. His contact said. The Swiss are arrogant.
Is there such a thing? The Swiss? Marsaul looked at his plate. There are people here watching all of us. And not just from Milan or Basel or Genoa but from Zurich and D.C. And I may have a chip in my bloodstream. And I’m not joking. It’s all in one of those stories. Marsaul took the book from out of his contact’s hands. Here. Page 62, In the End Times. Marsaul smiled and drank his wine and lit a cigarette, looking at his contact in an intentionally deranged way. I may be crazy and so is all of this. Marsaul said. Looking around the room. This reality you fuckers embrace which is going to come back to bite you on the ass. The waiter asked him to put-out the cigarette and he said he would, when he was finished with it.
This actually saves our ass. The contact said, a little taken aback by Marsaul’s new bravado. The contact looked like a college professor, like Umberto Eco, without a beard.
Anything to prolong the inevitable result of your stupidity. Marsaul said. You know you all are hated in this town, all of you? And by the oldest members of this town who you think are protecting you or running you. Ironic, right? Poetic?
Who published it? He looked at Marsaul like looking at someone he could never figure-out let alone read.
The Irish guys working-out of New York, the one’s used by the British and the Americans.
And it will sell?
Of course not. But it’s all there and has trumped all the papers, all their leaks. Fuck the Washington Post and the Financial Times. Right? Isn’t that what you wanted? And the little intellectual who lives near the Moscow train station has already bought it, I saw the photograph.
His contact lit a cigarette and straigtened his hair. This isn’t a friendly town friend. He said.
My reservation was for two nights, ending last night. Marsaul said, lighting another Italian cigarette. There is a car waiting for me down the street run by ex-marines and some ex Naval Intelligence general, the coup in the coup d’etat, so to speak. The Imperium. Marsaul gave him back the story collection. That’s the name of the story that will send shivers-up the collective Zurich mind. Because they know where they are all hiding and they have copied everything and half the shit they think is working has been overridden on someone else’s orders. Not even orders, a real cult of personality. Real Democratic. Real John Wayne, Hollywood bullshit. Just like you idiots envisioned it.
They can still tank it. The contact said. Tank all of you and your money.
Marsaul laughed, looked around the room, at the table in the corner with two dark looking old Venezians sending glances. Money? It’s way beyond that. You know what this is about? Marsaul looked at the contact. It’s about real patriarchy fucking you inverts over for the last time. That’s what I think motivates the people behind the people in the car, with the satellite hook-ups you don’t think exist. And you’ve been a real gentleman and that is why I brought this to you. Because if you don’t have a heart at least you have a brain. Or you once did. And that’s why I came here. To deliver this to you personally in spite of them, they didn’t see the point until I convinced them that you people would have done the same because even worms can turn. Because the ignoramuses running things have created a monster you are just too dumb to take far enough. Through really simple logic you have created your own undoing, because you tank it and a new economy minus the jackels springs-up overnight. What do you think all that money off shore can do? The Americans invented it, some of them. They used some of them to put it all in place and then took them out but they can’t take-out what was written. In a day, in 24 hours these fuckers down the strret can wipe-out the enitre grid, electronically, waiting in every corner in every city, to end this titillation once and for all. If that’s what you people want. Marsaul was really playing it. It’s become much more contingent friend. Marsaul looked at his contact like looking at the ambassador of the future republic in the star-wars of present consciousness. And the first smell of an asshole as wide as your friend’s becomes the sacrifice. And I would say read every story very carefully because they are all interconnected, all real, from real intelligence and techonology, and they make no sense without the whole. It’s Hegelian right? Marsaul put-out his cigarette on the piece of pork and threw the cigarette on the floor looking at the waiter.
Well I don’t think you are going to have an easy night. Not from here on out. Not from the cards you are playing to the people that will get this. The contact said.
Marsaul looked at the professor, that was his cover, a philosophy professor in Milan, and felt sorry for him. But he wasn’t getting it. He wasn’t meant to get it and Marsaul had to send the message. You probably just signed your own death warrant. Marsaul said. Threatening me. Because in that car is an eavesdropping device connected to a signal that can right now, at this exact moment, pick-up a fart in Vladivostock, and it’s not being run by the CIA or the NSA or any dwarf in Basel or Tel Aviv, it’s being run by the genetic strain you thought you wiped-out. Marsaul got theatrical. He stood-up. This is what they told him he should do and he didn’t want to do it. They wanted to turn these people the last time. You pieces of garbagio. Marsaul laughed and finished his glass and sat back down. He threw his napkin on the floor toward the waiter. This is garbage. This food. He looked at Umberto Eco. And it has the capability at getting back at all you assholes on a whim, on a fart or a mindless threat. So the next time you even think of thinking of me in a bad way… Marsaul was improvising. Think of some of the stories you will read sweating and think of the few thousand people they have in a 500 mile radius of this sewage pond called Venice, and the hundreds of thousands they could convert overnight by popularizing a reverse Shelley. The New York Times as primal subconscious. Are you really that stupid to threaten me? Think of everything that passes for your meek mythology and reverse it. Because the logic of your brainfart is finally going to come back to haunt you. And it needs to be sent to them not to be buried by your own insignificance. Marsaul looked at the book. Because they, the one’s with the real bomb, or at least the computer programs that could wipe them all out, want to play fair. Because it’s in their nature, God forgive them.
That was the mistake William Casey made. His innate intelligence was always driven by the counter logic, like Nicholas the Second. By looking at things by the accident that they were, by all the bad intentions that filled Wall Street, Fordham, Washington and Langley. By the Jesuits themselves and those that created them. And Casey went to Mass out of deference to both the truth and its absurd manifestations.
The professor read the Italian edition of the collection in the bedroom separated from his wife and couldn’t believe some young, dangerous Russian or Romanian was actually going to think this was permissable.
Marsaul wasn’t afraid of what was coming, he felt bad for the people afraid of the logic. He moved from the marsh back to San Francisco where the cell had people on every block. Either geography was going to get him through the accidental geographic logic of the techtonic plates, moving history like the loading and unloading of earth size computer discs, movement, the code of history, or the order was going to get him, through the accident of their will. It all made sense and it didn’t. They were terrestrial chess pieces of an intitial cause obscured as much by logic as superistition. He thought of this as he looked out the windows of his library toward the Golden Gate, the gate to riches, and the logic that would take it back, if you let it, if you gave into it in the first place.
John Bhetrot has published short stories in numerous magazines. He lives in Rochester with his wife and their prize-winning American Water Spaniel, Jack.