Hour 1: Legacy of Brutality
As I reach into old age I find my mind becoming more abstract, able to reach the subcutaneous nodes that transmit invisible information which makes the earth churn. These nodes told me Ed Samson’s sperm was weak. I could smell his spray. Perhaps that’s why he groped. He was a gaunt second string cartoon character that was always just off screen. That’s not to say he was entirely second string. To the contrary, his playful voice demanded the fill of any void that might exist in any space. Given we were meeting in an empty hotel room outside a snow driven Omaha, there was much to fill. This would go far in explaining the popularity of his conspiracy radio show.
Watching Ed hustle to the door drew my eyes down to his mound and rod. His cheeks could have been blushed from the cold, but I knew it was from weak sperm. There were no stars in this boy’s seed.
“Mr. Fitch?” He shuffled backpacks and leather bags around to reach my hand, “It’s such a pleasure. An honor!” His boney fingers lightly gripped mine. His palm was moist.
I pulled back enough so as not to be obvious, but a wet palm is undesirable in any situation. It was all I could do not to smack him in the mouth, reach into his pants and indulge in some rough trade. The membranes that toggled my transmissions were overloading me with his scent. Maybe it was the mysterious wisdom that’s found between everyone’s legs that drives me to such exotic nests.
“Hey, sorry.” Ed wiped his hands on his pants. “Nervous, and I gotta pee.” He shuffled in past me, clicking and clacking; he dumped his bags of equipment on the bed. “I’d hate to take a black-light to this dump.” He scuttled to the bathroom and urinated without closing the door. “What a Dump!”
His noise was the first defense to inhibit the embarrassing places. I retired to a flimsy table next to the only window in the room. I dreamt of hogtying the boy, watching his pink flesh bloom to purple with each click of a zip tie. Must this bird aspire to such provocations? The poor boy didn’t realize he was a canary in my coal mine.
Ed zipped up without washing and marched out and put his hands on his hips. “Man, it’s really you. Shit man.” He tossed his coat on the bed. My briefcase was partially covered.
“You really have earned your name ‘The Ghost’,’ cause that’s what you really are. My producer, Teddy ‘Bubbles’ Peroni said you were a myth, but then I got a hold of Tony ‘The Trunk’ McGowan. We call him ‘The Trunk’ on account of his big dick, at least that’s what my wife says. Long story, whatever, anyway, we crossed referenced some of the material in his book ‘Hollywood and the CIA connection’ with some of the notes he kept out for legal reasons and then we chased down this chick only known in the alternative media community as ‘BQ.’ And man she had a tale to tell…”
On he went with leads and covert meetings and lookouts and skip-tracers. He spun his balls of twine. I wanted to slam my train into the mud of his shallow well. My membranes centered on images of sharp claws in crowded bathroom stalls.
“…but this mega freak in the conspiracy community known as ‘Concussion’ sent me this weird text and BAM it all came together…”
He applied his trade as if I were an audience member. I tuned him out, marveling at the nimble way his dead grey fingers assembled his equipment. Laptop, microphones, what I assume was a mixer, all plugged in and turned on within two or three minutes.
On the computer went. “…and that’s when you called me. I knew, that you knew, I was getting close. Not to brag, oh ok, I will a little, but if there is someone to find, I will find them.” He raised his fist, “Take that Bubbles!”
I saw no reason to tell him everything he just passed to me was mostly drivel. I knew very little of this pack of ragamuffins he twirled with. I watched him long enough to know he best expressed himself by chronic masturbation in his wife’s closet. I will say we did record some of his meetings with his contacts and we did follow down those that seemed of interest, but nearly all turned out to be hairy palmed lycanthropes with Peeping Tom compulsions. Most we already murdered.
“This is so awesome.” Ed’s equipment appeared to be set-up. The laptop was on, the microphones were in front of each of us.
“How do you mean, Sport?” I positioned the microphone closer so I didn’t have to lean down.
“This. Me and you here in the middle of the night, like a secret meeting like one of those old spy novels. Like a detective movie or something. I don’t know. It so, uh,” he waved his hands back and forth as if they were irritated claws, “you know.”
“Clandestine?” I offered.
Ed snapped his fingers and pointed at me, “YES! Holy shit, yes.” He took out a beat up old notebook brimming with sticky notes and spare pieces of paper. He wrote CALNDESTINE in the corner of one of the sheets marked ‘The Shit.’
The conversation faded while he touched his screen.
“Like I said over the phone,” Ed’s claws reanimated above his head, “anything here gets too crazy or sensitive, we can like, fix it, edit it later.” He smacked his hands together and rubbed them. “Ok, so we are all mic’ed up. I say we let this thing fly and then you can let me know what you are comfortable airing. My reputation is good in the conspiracy community because I respect the wishes of my guests.” Again, went the talons. “After all I’d like to have you on again and really like to get some contacts from you.
“Let’s see where the course of the interview takes us.”
“Ok, so rock n’ roll.” Ed tapped the record button on his screen.
He leaned into the microphone, “Welcome to the Ed Samson ‘After Midnight Lizard Lounge Conspiracy Show!’ Bringing you the best cold cuts from the conspiracy stew! On this week’s show I have a major guest.” He stopped for showmanship, biting his lower lip. “I have tried for years to get this man. He is known in conspiracy and alternative media circles as ‘The Ghost’.” He stopped again. “His real name is James Resell. Mr. Resell thanks for being on the show.”
“You are persistent, and have an interesting audience.”
“Thanks. You know the funny thing is many guests over the last few years mentioned you. It was never direct involvement, but if it was something significant your handle was always around it. Some denied you even existed. But I keep notes and transcripts. So I cross-referenced and finally came to the conclusion you did exist.” He chirped a victorious giggle at the break of each statement.
“Your research drew me out, practically summoning me.”
“I know, right!” Ed was engrossed by his scribbled notes and scraps. He seemed satisfied by a particular page he had stumbled on. “Ok, so James let’s get right to it, can you tell us how you got started in this business of spying, government cover-ups, psyops, or anything else you have been alleged to have been involved in.”
“The very beginning?” I asked.
“Oh, please” he earnestly giggled.
I leaned closer to the microphone. “The beginning started in naval intelligence. I’m a graduate of the Naval Academy in Annapolis. Vietnam was well underway by the time I was in-country. My training concentrated on psychological warfare. I was already published in a few journals for subconscious pattern influence and their possible applications in combat populations. Although my career just started, I rapidly developed a reputation of being ethically flexible. Naturally I was assigned to a unit that was working on a coherent design for inducing a repeatable trauma process for mind control. We started experimenting on the cultural fears of the VC particularly in reference to their understanding of the afterlife. We used the VC to start building a consistent process, later we rebranded it as ‘Trauma Therapy.’ Trauma Therapy, at its most basic element is to break down subconscious defenses by pattern association and queues that evoke fears of violence, then install and rebuild the psyche with the desired behavior. Soon after, we were given the green light to format those processes for universal application. To know if indeed these processes were in fact universal we applied them to our own troops and found their efficacy to have merit.”
“Wait, what? Our own troops? Americans?”
Hour 2: Welcome to the Lucifer Process
Ed fumbled around his bulbous notebook, finding an open space and wrote over faded pencil entries. “Ok, so if I’m to get this right these psyop exercises were successful in your opinion?”
“Yes. Eventually, very successful.”
“I’m trying to understand the state of mind you guys had. I’m trying to understand taking some of our best trained, fiercest warriors and breaking them down and essentially destroying them. Making our soldiers unable to complete basic missions by fucking with their heads seems counterproductive. You admit the suicide and homicide rates skyrocketed on those you experimented on.”
I paused and watched him purposefully. I waited long enough for his eyes to bend from mine to his paper. “The key word is trauma.” The membranes that toggled my transmissions were swollen. Was Ed distracted by my repetitive tickle?
His eyes drifted back to mine. “Trauma? How so?”
I went into a torturous lecture on the application of Trauma on populations as being the primary method of governance throughout all of human history; Repeating the word ‘trauma’ over and over.
“Trauma steers populations. The trauma process, once understood, is quite simple. Behavior can be predicted, corralled and controlled. Now imagine the application of trauma tailored to an individual.”
Ed put down his pen. “I didn’t think of it that way. Violence is something to be avoided and is really uncool.”
“That avoidance is what gives it such power.”
“But you need moral and ethical constraints.”
“Are you forcing the world into your acceptable framework or accepting how the world really is? Perhaps that’s the friction in your life coming to the surface, Sport.”
Ed’s lips loosened and again his eyes bent from his notebook back to me. They communicated early fear. What a lovely fragrance.
I envisioned my membrane penetrating a deep thrust onto his substrata. “Our objective was to take those with the strongest convictions and firstly isolate them and then begin Trauma Therapy. In the final analysis we correctly assumed what was going to be the natural conclusion.”
“But, but you destroyed soldiers.” Ed’s bravado was dissolving to a whimper. “How is that an advantage to any intelligence organization?” Now was the time to shake his ship.
I am a thin, old man hardly able to frame my suit, but I establish the role of captain and tourist early and without the ignoble bravado of physical strength. Ed was already subconsciously sea sick.
I leaned back, pushing the mic away. “It’s true, most responded poorly to the early iterations of Trauma Therapy. Adjustments were made. Successes eventually took hold. Mind control was achieved. That was the beginning of a new era of psychological warfare.”
“This is some heavy shit. “ Ed tapped the play button the screen, pausing the interview. “Is this all for real?” He rubbed his face and temples.
“Before airing this can I have someone back some of this stuff up.”
“Before the evening is out you will have no doubt about the methods we employed.” I tapped the table in a melodic count.
“Ok.” My statement maneuvered Ed into visible disorientation. ”Sure, but I need their numbers.” He hit the screen again. “So James, I think we have an idea of what you were up to in the late sixties. How about we skip forward a little and get into your post Nam period. The early 70’s.”
I tapped the table in a count that could have lasted forever.
The emptiness of the room invited me to continue, “I found myself in the states again. In D.C., I taught our methods and their outcomes at the Pentagon. I wrote papers on their possible domestic applications. The Pentagon and other agencies were very interested in creating balkanization in the various populations that comprised the American public. If you take that state of mind then it’s much easier to let creativity into your methods.”
“But,” Ed dropped his pencil. His head tilted as if learning a second language. “I don’t understand?”
I wanted to toggle his transmission. I wanted to reach under the table and grip his mound until his face could smell carpet. “I’m talking about corralling a domestic population with the surgical use of trauma. A very simple chronology I’m walking you through.”
Ed wanted to say something but instead fumbled with the pages of his notebook.
“What is it? You can ask me.”
After three tries he mustered the courage “Are you using my show for disinformation?”
“Are you uncomfortable talking about trauma? Would you like to stop the interview? I could get my briefcase – “
“No.” I knew he wanted it to end but he was tugging between fear and his undying curiosity. “No, how about we talk about you dropping off the map for about ten years? I can’t account for anything real during the mid-70’s to the early eighties. I have a chronology, but it sounds so out there. I don’t know. It’s really weird.”
“You mean the killings?”
Eyes now warped from the realization that he is alone in a room with someone who’s well had no bottom, Ed’s tone whittled to a tiny plea. “What killings?” He opened his phone and scrolled through it. “Were you an assassin?”
“Not an assassin, more like council that used death as leverage.”
Ed gently set his phone on the table and shut his plump note book. “Oh.”
“Keep that jaw opened long enough something might come in it, Sport.”
“What?” It was in his eyes. Somewhere at the bottom of his well he found me playing in his mud. I was there the whole time.
“In ‘74 I had enough of the academic side of psyops and was getting antsy to get back into the field. I like to churn and burn my prize, so to speak.” I exaggerated my gaze from his lips to his stomach and then back. “I spoke to my superiors about my inclinations. They were disappointed but understood. Given the bureaucracy that rules D.C. I formally left government and started a new life as an independent contractor. It was a few weeks later I took a lunch with a private outfit that were headed by a few of the fellows I served with in Vietnam. To my surprise my papers and lectures made quite an impact on an array of factions that comprised the clandestine world. “
Weakly Ed raised his hand, “Can we take a break?”
“How about a little later, Sport?”
“The lunch was a success. We talked about new methodologies coming on board in population control by psychological warfare, dividing the public and breaking down group continuity as well as exciting methods of remaking an individual psyche. A lot of this new work out there echoed the work we had only begun to master in Vietnam.”
“But how does this play into you being a death counselor?”
“I can show you how it works. How about allowing an old man a moment of pride and show you some of his mementos? Let me get a few things out of my briefcase and give you something you will find valuable.” Kittens play with their prey. This old cat knows when it’s time to eat.
“Oh, sure,” Ed’s head barely gyrated. He swallowed and wiped his forehead.
Not wanting to appear rude despite knowing you are in danger is the prime weakness from which most predators rely upon. It is the warring force in the human psyche, civilized decorum versus primal survival instinct. Instinct usually loses out especially when you want something from your hunter.
I went over to the bed and opened the briefcase. Inside it was a zip tie shaped like a lasso large enough to swoop down over Ed’s neck.
He arched his head over but didn’t dare to turn and face me. Curious are the switches in the subconscious even when every receptor in your brain is screaming to get out. He could have turned, or run, or thrown a chair at me. Instead he opened a notebook page with a sketch of a big eyed owl and a post it note of a chicken salad recipe that required apples.
Know this, the mastery of a task has to collect and build, like the powder on a moth wing. I was a pair of wings taking off. In a fluid motion, I applied the zip tie over his head and onto his neck with a rip and pull. One, two, three, all within a second, maybe two, the tie chocked off any air or blood from intruding. I stepped back as Ed sprung up, kicking the chair behind him. Immediately those boney fingers pulled and jerked at a clear plastic that was designed to never tear. The fear and heavy gasps of a subject were now common to me and no longer excited the snake of my better judgment. I simply watched the dance as he cleared the equipment from the table then fell into it, collapsing it. He and the broken table landed on the floor.
From by briefcase I took out a pair of handcuffs and a rubber mallet. “Sport, did you know you are dying because there is a zip tie around your neck?”
Curling around like an earthworm on a June sidewalk his hands pulled, his torso thrashed to no avail.
I leaned over Ed, “would you say this moment of Trauma Therapy is rapidly changing your perspective on a lot of things?”
The tie was doing the requisite compress around his neck. Eyes wide from shock, everything turning red and purple. His hands still pulled, but the body was relenting.
I took the mallet and struck his stomach with it and threw it on the bed. The strike came in with just enough force to shock his hands into straightening out long enough to roll him over and apply handcuffs.
“Sport, would you say that your curiosity about those that work in the dark have finally borne fruit?”
I reached into my briefcase and took out a pair of garden clippers I found that cuts zip ties fairly well. The familiar open mouth lock indicated he would soon lose consciousness. Before he went under I made sure I wanted him to think these were the last words he would hear, “Ed, before you die, know that the nightmare curiosities that have consumed you in this pursuit of the darkness have led you to this moment, have led you to me. Understand, I am the natural conclusion to your life. I am your savior.”
Hour 3: Awakening
A wise man once told me that it was earthly things by which we find the divine. At the time I found great comfort in those words because it’s the earthly things by which we are bound. If by some small chance we can glean divinity in anything that surrounds us then there is a chance of a momentary release in all the things of this world. In old age, I’ve grown beyond this philosophy. The topography of my life experience has shown that anything divine is actually in a state that is forever outside this world. But sometimes for brief instances it can pass through in the form of something we can understand. Sometimes the divines delivery system comes in the form of talent, often times it comes in the form of trauma.
Ed was in the presence of the divine. He was like most; unable to understand the purpose of its appearance and the impact it would have on him the rest of his and his family’s lives.
“No more! No more!” Hands cuffed behind him, propped up against the night stand, Ed leaned against the feral mattress that smelled of stale body fluids. Already the trauma had changed him, moments before he wouldn’t have dreamt of burying his face into a mattress with such a reputation. “Please! No more!”
No more, No more, they always say something like that.
I imagined Ed would want to do something drastic to Tony McGowan for his rhino sized penis and the subsequent pleasure it gave Ed’s wife.
“Sport, if you keep your voice up I will have to quiet you. This is your last warning,” I stood over Ed, with a picture in my hand. “This is as nice as I’m going to get. Look at the picture.” Again, I smacked him across the face. ”NOW!”
Cheeks puffy, loose lips and hair soaked, Sport took in the picture.
It was a professional grade photo of Tony McGowan’s bodiless head, mouth open, like an iced carp.
‘NO!” The musk of his fear sprayed me to point of dizzy pornography. Fear, sex and death are kissing cousins. I say incest is best, keep it in the family. I never considered myself attracted to those that needed the tender caress of a ham sandwich, but he hugged fear with such abandon the entire scene made me reconsider my proclivities. Sometimes I do my best work below the waist.
I tossed the picture on the bed. I then took off both of his shoes. Off went one sock, I balled it up and jammed it into his mouth before the second word could escape.
Hour 4: The Enemy. The Family. The State.
I had Ed on his stomach contemplating a little role play. “Sport, how about we pretend to be a couple of sailors looking for a good time? I hear role play is good for relationships. How about letting your captain push your button?”
I almost missed Ed’s phone vibrating from under the debris of the broken table. I turned Ed over from his stomach to face me. At this point he was openly blubbering with the sock halfway out his mouth.
“It looks like someone is reaching out to you. Too bad we couldn’t set sail, maybe another time,” I threw off the pieces of the table until I found the phone, “It’s the better half.”
Ed jerked his head up and through the wet sock, I could hear him scream Mo, Mo, Mo. Translated as No, No, No.
I answered the phone. “Is that you darling?”
On the other end was a woman’s hysterical voice. What she was saying meant nothing. I was more interested in Ed’s reaction.
“Sport, I can take the sock out so you can speak to her. But no more screaming. Deal?”
Ed shook his head a hard yes.
I ripped the sock out. I put the phone up to Ed’s ear with the voice on the other end still talking
Shaking more but still holding it together Ed sprinkled in a few Yes’s and Ok’s.
“This phone is getting heavy, Sport. You almost finished?”
“I understand, No, No, don’t do anything. No, no, police.”
That was my queue. I took the phone back and walked away from Ed, “shut up and listen.”
The other end kept blabbing hysterically.
“If you don’t shut up this is the last sentence you are going to hear before a handful of people storm your home and brutalize you and your children in a fashion that can only be described a flamboyant.”
The line went silent.
“Silence is good. Silence means you are listening. The envelope you have with photos of your daily lives I would hope needs little translation. We know your habits, your children’s schools, your mundane secrets. All of this is designed for you to understand that you are now a part of the team. Think of it as Amway or a winning lottery ticket. After I hang up you will not make another call or text or email this evening. No communication. If you are lucky your husband will not arrive in a box and your children will not explore the intestinal tract of a boar.” I gave Sport a reassuring nod. “By the way, I sent McGowan’s severed cock to his mother. First-class. Hopefully it will still be warm upon arrival. Maybe she could tuck it in and give it a goodnight kiss.”
I hung up.
“She will call the police!” Ed said in a manic froth.
“I fully expect her to. My god Sport, after all this woman has done for you, one would think you wouldn’t have rolled on her so fast. Would you do the same to me?”
“NO!” Ed shrieked.
“Of course not. Loyal to a fault. Besides, your whole life is riddled with ridiculous conspiracies. Who could believe you?”
Hour 5: Bonding
Ed openly wept, rubbing his newly freed wrists. I leaned closer, shifting my seat so our knees were practically interlocked. His head came to rest on my shoulder.
“Have you ever been around a truly talented person?” I asked.
“I don’t know,” defeat enveloped his voice.
“It’s such a profound thing you would know.”
Ed’s crying slowed but he still shivered.
“I never knew what real talent meant and how profound it was until I found a little beat-up coffee shop around the corner from my apartment. It was only by happenstance I wondered into that coffee shop one afternoon. It was years ago. I walked in unaware of the noise around me concentrating on the tasks of the day.” I could feel Ed’s crying stop, now engaged in my story. “I ordered my cup and while waiting for it I turned around and right then I saw this delicate woman with a beat-up electric guitar and a cheap amplifier sitting on a chair. Maybe a third of the customers listened to her. I listened to her. It was that moment I understood talent. All my years doing the things I did against my fellow man, not once did I hesitate, but it was in that ridiculous place I was frozen. She was probably 40. She had the steady fever of someone that knew life. Her song had a soft sorrow in it that towered over her and really towered over the rest of the world. I could see it in bright, almost blinding colors. The beauty almost made me ashamed. It’s funny saying that, but it’s the only way to put it. I realized that talent is not within the individual, it passes through the individual like a divine breath. It was such a fragile moment that once her song was over I rushed out of the shop so as to catch my breath.” Ed moved his head slightly I stroked his cheek. “You see Sport; this force was around this woman. She alone could have moved the entire planet to her will. That’s what talent is. I came to understand that she was simply a vessel for talent.”
Ed sniffled. He lifted his head up, eyes red, hair tussled.
“Trauma works the same way. Trauma is the hateful parent of talent. It affects the audience in much the same way. It makes the audience see things in a way it hadn’t before. It cannot be undone. Once exposed to either fruit you are forever changed. You are opened to the possibilities of the human endeavor. You either move inward or burst outward with an understanding that was not in you before, but passed through you. Like talent, trauma passes through and uses the vessel and trains the audience to see new possibilities.”
Ed meekly nodded his head knowing he had the first inklings of what trauma had to offer.
“Sport, you now see the word differently. You survived. What a blessing.”
Hour 5: The Shape of Floating Friends
I’d like to think over the years I’ve been able to ease into my work with a tender touch. I care for those that work for my group. Then again, I think wisdom is pride repurposed for aged. That said, I think experience has its merit. Maybe two decades ago I might have approached Ed’s case differently. Maybe taking his family hostage and having them call him in fear and agony every week until I was assured he would keep inline. But I knew Ed better than he did. My experience was to Ed’s benefit.
“Sport, I need you to repeat it back in your own words.”
Ed, on his knees, gathered his equipment from the floor. “When you contact me it will be a request for me to say something on air, a phrase or a set of words. Sometimes, you will have me interview a guest.”
“I like that. You’re a quick learner. You will be handsomely compensated. Don’t fret; we will only be in contact once or twice a year.” I closed my briefcase and stood up. “You and I are lucky.”
Ed stopped, “how?”
I walked over to the door, “We both do what we love.” I reached into my coat pocket, “I almost forgot.” I took from it an envelope and tossed it onto the bed. “Welcome to the team.”
A first breath of cold air into my lungs always excited me.
All these years you dug for the real truth. Now you have part of it, but you are on the path.
All the Best,