Ghost Country Las Vegas

We were slumped deep in the Circus Circus’ bar, when the drugs began to wear off.  1pm – early morning by Vegas time.  My amigo Samo was taking the effects of the previous night hard.  He looked angry, bestial, yet defeated, like a coyote road-killed while mating.  We’d just returned to base after recovering his wallet from the southern strip’s Luxor Casino; his ID and credit card from downtown’s Girls of Glitter Gulch gentleman’s club.  His watch and one shoe were still missing.

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‘Oh my God!’ he suddenly yelled, red-eyes directed hatefully toward the omnipresence of casino ceiling security cameras.  And then, head in his chewed-fingernail hands, muttered something like: ‘I lost enough money to put a deposit down on a high class brothel.’  Then he started sobbing like a recently divorced, impotent insurance salesman.  ‘And where’s my watch!?’  His missing shoe apparently gone unnoticed thus far.

‘He ok hon?’ asked the ex-call girl weary barmaid serving our breakfast bloody marys.

‘He’s fine,’ I replied, levelling my own night white light bloodshot eyes at hers.  ‘My friend has suffered a death in the family.  A murder.’  I looked at him and sighed.  ‘Gang violence, you understand.  He’s a foreigner.  Probably Columbian.’  I threw what paper money I had left on the table and the floor, in front of her.  ‘Are you prejudiced?’ I questioningly accused through clenched teeth.

‘No, I, er, I’m not. . . .’

I interrupted by waving her away and she scuttled off with a fistful of assorted cash.  ‘Get it together, you miserable bastard,’ I muttered.

Hiccupping sobs were his only reply.

I lit a cigarette, drew, exhaled and said, defiantly: ‘We’re not done yet.’  It was about this time an enormous man of Pacific islander appearance emerged, stumbling, bellowing like a castrated bull, from behind a row of poker machines; wearing a two-man-tent-sized pink bowling shirt unbuttoned to his bulging stomach revealing a thick rug of jet black chest hair.  He was followed by a shorter, slighter, balding man wearing aviator sunglasses, a Hawaiian shirt, khaki shorts and sneakers, smoking swiftly from and chomping feverishly at an ivory cigarette holder that slid between grinning teeth; beneath wild, lighthouse eyes.  The pair sat at the bar.

‘We can stop here,’ I began, shaking Samo’s shoulder.  Who looked up in the direction I was.  ‘This is freak country,’ I finished.

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The big man at the bar suddenly stood erect, waving oak branch arms around, screaming: ‘AAAAAAAAAAUERRRRRRRRRGAH!  Why are female sports journalists’ voices so deep!?’

‘You fool!’ the little man yelled while jumping up, his stool hitting the floor behind him.  ‘Most of their colleagues and bosses are men.  They mostly cover men.  They’re infected by the natural testosterone and brutishness of the proverbial Big Game.  They’re fellow beasts at the atavistic competitive feast.  How else do you think they avoid being treated like the dessert bar at a police convention?  Now sit!  Down!’

The big man complied.  His partner left his original chair lying fallow.  Took another.  Samo put something in his mouth.  I made my wary move to yet another stool close by.

‘If only old Dick Nixon was here,’ the little man continued, leaning over his partner who’d resorted to short, muted screams and, with his head in his folded arms on the table, looking around in fear at the air above him.  ‘He’d put you right.  He’d march a couple of his goons right up to you, and they’d stomp the bile from your stomach lining before dragging you off to some medieval-esque torture dungeon for democrats, hippies and foreigners.’

‘What about Trump?’ I ventured.

‘TRUMP!?’ he yelled, so much as he could with the cigarette holder between his lips.  Then he grinned at me, the holder clenched in the corner of his fiendish mouth and its ember whipping into the air.  ‘If Nixon is a whore beast, Trump is his and the devil’s mentally enfeebled hate child.  If Nixon rolled back the tide of the American Dream, and Reagan funnelled it into the hands of a privileged, bloated few – Trump will drink the dregs and then piss it into the mouths of his insanely moronic followers.’

Then suddenly, his knees drew up into his hands.  ‘The muck!’ he yelled, looking at the floor.  ‘The steaming, stinking liquid refuse of this unholy election year of our dark lord satan two-thousand and 16!  It’s everywhere!’  He jumped on to the bar stool.

‘Hey!’ the barman yelled, his attention pulled from merely shaking his head while cleaning a glass with a filthy rag.  ‘Get down from there!’

‘Impossible to walk!’ ignored the little man, who started jumping from stool to stool along the bar.  The barman came around to give chase.

‘AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH!’ the big man groaned, standing up and knocking over his stool – which the barman fell over at speed, knocking himself unconscious.

‘You wretched sonofabitch!’ the little man yelled a few stools down, perched on it like a cat.  ‘The floor is contaminated by the rotting carcass of western democracy!’

The big man scrambled on to the bar, stood and smashed his head into hanging wine glasses.  He screamed once more, ran along the bar collecting and destroying more glasses with his large head and kept running off the bar and out of the room.  The little man followed, gingerly coming down from his perch and walking away as if in thick mud, holding his nose from the imagined stench.

Samo came and sat next to me about when I heard screeching tyres and a woman’s scream from the street.  ‘The fuck was that?’ he asked.  He was chewing his bottom lip and looking around the now empty bar, except for us and the motionless barman, as if surrounded.  Sirens blared from outside.

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‘That?’ I started, reaching over the bar for a bottle of Johnnie Walker and two glasses.  ‘I’ll have two glasses of whiskey, neat,’ I said, looking at the barman’s unconscious figure.  ‘That was nothing.’  I poured the drinks.  ‘Just your imagination.’  I took a sip.

‘Didn’t look like nothing.’  He took a sip.

‘It was literally nothing.  The fuck’s wrong with you?  You took too much man.  Too much too much.’

‘Maybe.’

‘One pill makes you larger, and one pill makes you small,’ I said, turning to look at him, my head starting to swell up.  Samo stepped back off his stool.

‘And the ones that mother gives you, don’t do anything at all.’  My head doubled in size, turned orange.  Samo started screaming.

‘Go ask Alice, when she’s ten feet tall.’  Quadrupled now, topped by a golden retriever sized, combed forward wig.  Samo raked his face and continued screaming.

‘And if you go chasing rabbits, and you know you’re going to fall.’  My eyes caught fire, dripped lava, and a forked, purple tongue emerged from between my eggplant-sized and coloured lips.  Samo backed against the wall, howling in agony.

‘Remember what the doormouse said: feed your head.’  Samo’s screams reached fever pitch as my orange head exploded and horse manure flew in all directions.

‘Feed your head.’

Being Right-Wing for Dummies

It’s easy.  It’s so, so easy.  I guarantee you that being right-wing is easier than spilling water from a chicken-wire cup.  You see, it takes effort to create things, like a socialist (not (an especially Soviet) Communist, which has never really been a thing), or destroy things (mostly philosophically, and from the argument that destruction is a form of creation), like an anarchist.  But to be right-wing, all you need to do is keep things just the way they are.  Or try your hardest to, which not even ironically isn’t really very hard.  (Because calculated laziness masquerading as conscientiousness is both contagious and addictive, hence its popularity in the form of conservative votes on polling day in most liberal democracies, most of the time.)  Unfortunately, the way things are is the way things always have been, to varying degrees: sexist, racist, violent, bigoted, desolate, exploitative and massively disparate in terms of every form of wealth and happiness.  So it’s reasonable to suggest that if you prefer things the way they are, you must be obscenely rich, evil, dumb, or all three.  Which would also make you (quite literally) comfortably (because it’s like sitting in an armchair and making everyone else sit on the cold hard ground) right-wing.

Changed, yes; improved, no (from my former Instagram account)

Changed, yes; improved, no (from my former Instagram account)

“But surely,” you interject, “it can’t be that simple to be that at once greedy, bigoted and self-righteous?” you foolishly query.  Well, I respond, it is.  Though there are some guidelines to follow, or dispositions, if you will, to adopt for you to out-dummy all those already blissfully happy right-wing dummies:

  1. Hatred

You’ve got to hate everyone and everything.  Immigrants, natives, the poor, the (more) rich, different sexualities, different religions, different politics – basically anyone and anything who or that is in any way different to you.  And then hate them/it to the degree in which they/it are/is different to you.  Difference, as a right-winger, scares you.  Your natural instinct might now still be that understanding difference reduces or eliminates fear of it.  But over time, you will twist that instinct on its head to rightly, pun intended, boast a muscularly white hot reactionary fear of any and all difference.  Things that are different to you, my proud beginning conservative, are the reason why your life isn’t better (or so you must believe).  So if you hate them, and vote for a representative who shares your hatred, such hated might either go away or become more like you.  The hated don’t have rights, because you’re right, because you’re gosh darned right-wing.  Good on you.

  1. Wilful Ignorance

Like hatred, but useful otherwise and only in that it should be avoided at all costs, the enemy of the conservative is enlightenment.  Enlightenment makes gays appear human.  Enlightenment makes a (justified, but you will learn to wholly reject that or at least defend and strike out against it) mockery of religion.  Enlightenment dares to reveal that guns, while not the sole cause of mass shootings, are almost certainly the major contributing factor.  Enlightenment scares you.  And what do we do with fear?  Particularly fear of worldly knowledge?  Avoid it, through wilful ignorance.  The GLBTIQ Mardi Gras Festival just came on TV?  Change it to Sky/Fox News, where it will at least be covered more accurately if at all.  You just read that society’s better off with equal participation and remuneration of women in the workforce?  Go buy a Zoo Magazine.  Global Warming wetting your collar?  Crank up the air-conditioner, buy some fossil-fuel company shares, and/or buy a faster/louder car.  You don’t need pesky facts and reality compromising your principles. So bury your head in the sand or up your arse or up another right-winger’s arse. You will be safe there, you will be welcome, and, and because, you will be so deliciously deliberately ignorant.

  1. Wealth

Now, you don’t actually have to be wealthy.  But you do have to not only want to be wealthy, but expect against even the worst odds or logic that you will be.  These are the two wealth-related conditions you must satisfy before you can become right-wing.  And there are no – I repeat no – allowances for contradictions on this point (though hypocrisy is fine, and there’s more on that).  For example, let’s say you’re a successful, at least upper middle-class artist, but you support immigration and multiculturalism.  You’re not a conservative.  You own a chain of popular restaurants, but you’re a fan of hospitality industry penalty rates.  You are not a conservative.  You’re the CEO/director of a Fortune 500 (or national equivalent outside the US) company, but your employees like you and feel equally valued regardless of gender, race, religion, sexuality or disability.  My friend, if you’re a conservative, you’re doing much too damn good a job of pretending not to be.  You have to be – or one day expect to be – unashamedly, un-empathetically and never satisfactorily wealthy. While also denying it so much as you have the power to from all but the most un-deserving and already so materialistically disposed.

Trust #Americans to mix #money with #religion

  1. Hypocrisy

Told you it would come up again.  Being right-wing, though inherently simple, requires certain conscious and maybe complex but conveniently and strictly managed contradictions.  You don’t have to be a good person to be conservative, but you do have to infallibly appear to be so.  This is a vague but still prominent rule.  Religion?  It helps, but is not absolutely necessary.  The important thing is that if you are a religious conservative you, again infallibly, appear to be so.  You can’t, for example, be against infidelity and promiscuity on an especially religious basis yet be found to have committed adultery on numerous occasions.  The economy?  This one’s definitively simple.  You must convincingly profess to intend vast and ever-rising wealth upon all, but so much as is in your power actually direct the most wealth upon those already most wealthy.  It is the most simple of the rules: say one (or many if you like) universally pleasing thing(s) in public, and do other, elitist pleasing things in (concretely) private.  Your right-wing stocks should dramatically rise or fall on how well you adhere to this rule.

  1. Repression, Repetition and Regression

That’s right: the right-wing three Rs.  To become and stay conservative you will enlist these words in your every introspective and extroverted thought or action.  Order of their use is not as important as the flexibility of their use in response to need.  You just found a member of the same sex vaguely attractive?  Simply repress it.  You wish to convince your electorate and/or teenage son that marijuana possession should remain illegal (despite the actual fact that its personal use is far less harmful to anyone’s long term future than is a criminal record)?  Repeat such spurious reason, indefinitely.  You find the opportunity as a member of the public, at least, to declare that workers have too many rights?  Or as a politician, at most, to actually strip workers of rights?  Do it.  To regress and to force regression on others is if not at, then very close to the cold, barely beating heart of the conservative.  The right-wing three Rs are your sword, shield, and steed, whenever needed. Unflinchingly weild them in your war for stagnation, apathy and homogeneity – always.

  1. Excess

All of anything, as long as it’s the right (again, pun intended) thing, is never enough for a conservative.  Even if it’s the wrong thing, in excess, by being right-wing you can actually legitimise it.  Alcohol is a prime example.  Traditionally anathema to conservatives, both in practice and as preached, a drink or even many can be acceptable if it’s your sole departure or at worst one of very few departures from moral prudishness.  Wealth, also, depending on fashion might be seen as an objectively undesirable excess.  There is one not necessarily terribly costly word you can use to maintain appearances, if so: philanthropy.  Hypocrisy is also a useful practice to again engage in, in the management of excess.  To return to alcohol: you can be at once an alcoholic and proponent of prohibition.  But, in such case, you must keep your alcoholism private.  And if your hypocrisy was to be discovered, the simple yet painful solution: give up, unreservedly, one of the contrary practices.  In the case of right excesses – go nuts.  You’ll be the envy (another important conservative trait) of your contemporaries, and a useful focus of hysterical derision from those poor goody two-shoes on the left.  Pity them.  They are deserving of nothing else from you.

  1. Evil

The purest and simplest to follow of the conservative dispositions.  The source of all your energy, and the manifestation of all your beliefs and actions.  “The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interrèd with their bones.” – Mark Antony, from Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare.  Evil gives you strength, and strengthens conservatism itself long after you’re gone.  The evil that Adolf Hitler and the (about as far right-wing as you can get) Nazi Third Reich inherited lives on, now, in such phenomena (and so, so deliciously ironically (yet in all seriousness, which this post is only barely and satirically engaging in, tragically)) as apartheid Israel.  You are the bearer of the flame of evil, and your purpose is to spread it among the ever tinder dry grasses of humanity.  That said, you needn’t fear good.  As Shakespeare observed, it will die with you – and serves during life merely to sustain you, your family and your fellow right-wingers.  You may use and impart good on others only in order that it might serve as a suitably obscene foundation for the proliferation of evil.  Evil is your purpose, the very essence of your being.  And, God (who the best among you will come to usefully know does not exist) willing, it will not be defeated nor diminished by those opposing it with the loftiest good.

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Hate, ignorance, wealth, hypocrisy, the three right-wing Rs, excess, and evil.  These are the seven main weapons at your disposal in the war of the right-wing against what is perfectly ironically (objectively) right.  Because wrong is the best word you can take away on your continued journey of conservatism.  You are wrong.  Seek it.  Accept it.  Enjoy it.  Perfect its use.  Let it direct your every thought and action.  Know that what is wrong for the world is right for you.  That what is right for you is wrong for the world.  Ingrained and projected selfishness is what you should practice and strive for with your every breath.  I’m sure you’re at least beginning to see that it really is so very simple.  Like slipping into a hot bath, being right-wing requires fleeting moments of initial pain and weakness, then acclimatised pleasure and strength lasting as long as you are willing to turn and keep turning the faucet of wrong.  But remember your core aim: to prevent change.  Like all things bad, it really is so, so easy. And like all things wrong, it should feel, and motivate you to be so, so very, very right.