©2010, Aurelio Jose Barrera

Man in His 50s:
That was absolutely exhilarating. A decade of chaos complicated by strict rules of order in a society that has denounced its own beliefs on behalf of artificial coddling by corporations that drain blood at every turn.

Observer:
Overly paranoid with a touch of self-hate.

Paid Informant:
Keep him talking.

Technician:
Increase voltage.

Man in His 50s:
I must have traveled several hundred thousand miles across treacherous urban terrain.There were a few special moments like flying over the Rockies in near whiteout conditions, crawling across the Zócalo in a maddened race against timelessness, cruising along the fast lane at the slowest of speed on the L.A. freeways, and kissing my grandchildren for the first time after they seemingly sprung up from a beautiful dream, and watching my daughter perform an intense flamenco against all wars, while my son spoke to me of his plans to vanquish all who would dare challenge his beliefs.

Bounty Hunter:

This guy slipped the noose from his condemned neck and bypassed the garrote by paying a partial fraction of the total amount owed over a two year period causing his loans to be sold and resold until the value of his capture was subsumed by the cost of the effort to collect the debt. I still feel like kicking his ass over the $135,000.00 that he stole via an abusive and convoluted plastic credit card scheme. In the end, I was never paid in full.

Paid Informant:
His value has certainly remained constant. Let’s see, divide/multiply zero by multiples of anything and you still get nothing.

Man in His 50s:
I began my 50’s awash in tears of anguish over the loss of dear friends who never had the opportunity to have their say in the matter of all things attributed to fate. My eyes were flooded as I recalled the ambivalence that was my youth. I was at the threshold of doing something that has somehow lost its importance in the inelegant shuffle.

Bounty Hunter:
My gun is jammed.

Technician:
The fog machine isn’t responding either. I’ll switch it to battery power.

Man in His 50s:

So I worked at various jobs, oftentimes in different cities separated by nearly a hundred miles of concrete even though most places were reached via disparate connections between inept transit systems. I learned how to make full use of my time while observing the masses who appear to be perpetually trapped in the morass of consumerist sludge.

Observer:
He’s probably been implanted with a dialectical device. Turn it off now!

Paid Informant:
I’ve encountered the worst of everything: Sadistic prosecutors, racist judges, thugs of every spot and stripe, psychopathic guards, deranged chaplains, victims without recourse, and cops who’ve used Tasers to torture pregnant women and their lame children. Nothing has prepared me for our current falsehood. But, I will testify against him in exchange for leniency or a pack of menthol cigarettes.

Bounty Hunter:
The knife is dull too.

Man in His 50s:
I had the opportunity to meet new and exciting people, mostly young, energetic and smart, but every so often someone closer to my age who had discovered unexpected elements that could be integrated into differing ideas about how to defray the wear and tear of utter boredom. My body changed during this period as it became unrecognizable to me. I’ve said nothing and wonder why no one has pointed out the incredible and objectionable signs of plague. In any case, I wear a suit and tie as often as possible in the hope that such theatrics will enhance the simultaneous playing of multiple roles while singing, screaming, and yelling to a deadened/dead end choir.

Observer:
Is the hypodermic syringe ready? Strike him down with a cocktail of the most intrusive sedatives to counteract the cumulative effects of LSD, traces of nuclear fallout, and living in L.A for more than half a century.

MD:
Hand me the icepick. I know a neat trick that will put a stop to his ramblings.

Man in His 50s:
I grew a beard that was nine years, eleven months, and nearly thirty one days long. I shaved this morning in preparation for the new stage of the 60‘s that will need for me to put on a fresh face of old flesh. I once frolicked, and licked, in a field of peach fuzz.

MD:
Sneak up behind him, he might be armed.

Paid Informant:
Shank him with sharp observations.

Observer:
Don’t overstep your authority. Losers are a lost cause.

Paid Informant:
My teeth are falling out without any provocation or Nonocaine.

Observer:
Your hair is thinning at an alarming rate too. Quick, get his signature on an affidavit.

MD:
You won’t last long. Here, take this. You’ll get sleepy and then it’ll be over. By the time you wake up there won’t be a pound of flesh left to extract from this extrajudicial situation.

Paid Informant:
I should have kept my mouth shut. Snitching is the easiest way to lose one’s soul.

Man in His 50s:
He doesn’t look so bad. He’s quite easily manipulated by suggestions of imminent death or any form of pain. Delusions of inferiority have cost him his life and the countless lives of others whenever and wherever he’s pointed his poisoned finger.

Observer:
Look, his eyes have sunken deep into the sockets. The tongue, it’s completely shriveled into a dry wagging stick.

Paid Informant:
Ugh. Blah. Zzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Bounty Hunter:
I’m losing money here. He’s fallen asleep.

MD:
He’s dead. Obviously a case of terminal capitalist rot. I wouldn’t recommend the selling of his body parts.

Bounty Hunter:
Such a complete loss of profits. So much for laissez-faireism.

Technician:
The wrong people always die first. Plastic bags have been outlawed in this municipality. I’ll wrap him in wax paper.

Man in His 50s:
Dead on the day the 7th billion person on earth was born. We’re all in line for
replacement. Uniqueness is defunct and should be stricken from all dictionaries.

Observer:
Preachy asshole.

Man in His 50s:
The aurora borealis scratched my retina just as I was about to blink. Everything seems to be clearer now. First impressions contain immense amounts of information. I discussed the concept of nothingness with a woman who appeared to have it all and she completely understood why my lack of empathy has been so essential to my survival. In the end, she left me with an empty palm. I’m not making any plans to relive any moments.

MD:
You should have your head examined. How’s your gut feeling?

Observer:
The session is nearly over. All samples are accounted for. Only one fatality.

Bounty Hunter:
I’ve reloaded the 9 mm and put new batteries in the GPS device. We’re giving you only a little bit of a head start. Better get going now.

MD:
There is no telling how far you’ll get.

Man in His 50s:
Maybe I’ll walk backwards into this next phase so I can see where I haven’t been before. Look away, so you won’t see me disappear into smoggy day.


Harry Gamboa Jr.
(born 1951) is a Chicano essayist, photographer, director and performance artist. He was a founding member of the influential Chicano performance art collective ASCO. Gamboa’s work as a writer, photographer, film-maker, performance artist and multimedia creator of “things” is diverse, but in all his efforts (including those as a member of ASCO) his focus has been to reveal the absurdity of urban life and to confront both the dominant white culture and various perspectives within Chicano culture, pointing to the pain and alienation caused by both. This is often achieved by altering the media of the art itself, as opposed to just the subject matter. Gamboa’s most significant 20th Century works include mail art of the 1970s, ASCO’s “no movies,” and the “urban operas” Ignore the Dents and Jetter’s Jinx.

Harry Gamboa Jr. is the author of:

Aztlángst: La La Fotonovela (Volume 1)
CreateSpace
2011
http://www.amazon.com/Aztlángst-Fotonovela-Harry-Gamboa-Jr/dp/1463665652/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1313068962&sr=1-1

Pix
CreateSpace
2011
http://www.amazon.com/Pix-Harry-Gamboa-Jr/dp/1456517422/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1300663777&sr=8-1

Fallen
CreateSpace
2010
http://www.amazon.com/Fallen-Harry-Gamboa-Jr/dp/1450569641/ref=sr_1_10?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1277472501&sr=8-10

Rider
CreateSpace
2009
http://www.amazon.com/Rider-Harry-Gamboa-Jr/dp/1448670306/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1261209441&sr=8-5

Urban Exile: Collected Writings of Harry Gamboa Jr.
(ed. Chon A. Noriega)
University of Minnesota Press
1998

Advertisements