Saturday, July 31, 2010
Paul Squires was an Australian poet. He died on July 28, 2010. I never met him, never spoke to him on the phone, but he called me his friend and I liked to think of him as one of mine. He supported my writing more, and brought more people to my blog, than anyone outside of Maxine Clarke, another fine Australian poet. I used to dream about going to Brisbane after "Richie" became published and buying Paul a beer, but that won't happen now, if it ever could.
Enough! This is Paul's Gingatao blog, with his final posted poem. Here are some of my favorites of his. And if you look through most any of the comments on most any of the posts on this blog you will find him being generous, witty and bracingly direct. He was one of the best, and he went way too early. And he gave this beautiful, beautiful stuff away for free. What a man he was.
Sunday, July 18, 2010
Hey Folks! I'm going to take a break from the blog and "Psychopomp" for the remainder of the summer but, in the meantime, please feel free to download the official "Fictional Mixtape" from Scribd, available right now! Click here and download to e-reader, iPhone, PC, etc. Thank You!
Friday, July 16, 2010
to start at Chapter One, click here
Retrieved from internet on 5/28/10: http//www.618239.com/find/x17/13954mtcon
The Mueller-Toch Consortium is made up exclusively of ex-Agency men, but it is not some repository for retirees looking to supplement their pensions for a few years until they can come to some kind of peace with their newfound uselessness. The ex-agents that have found employment with Mueller-Toch were all terminated from the Agency for cause: drug or alcohol addiction, unlawful termination of subjects or, most regularly, their methods simply became unsound. With the unusually high levels of stress and the extreme demands upon both the Agents’ professional and personal lives, a shockingly high number of Agents have been discharged in this manner. Several observers have suggested that the Mueller-Toch Consortium is some sort of a sympathetic branch of the Agency, created as a safety net to catch otherwise useful Agents and keep them in employ despite surface issues that would demand their discharge from a recognized government body. Either way, as Mueller-Toch is regarded as a private concern, the outward issues of conduct and method are minimized, and the money is provided by private individuals so public scrutiny is kept to a minimum.
Saturday, July 10, 2010
“I’m going to ask you about several disparate elements of this case, a laundry list really, to see if you connect any of them to the three neg ops or anything they might have said to you. The tough part is, I’m going to ask you to immediately forget all of these elements, relevant or not, as soon as I leave. Do you think you can do that?”
KG nods. Agent Derrick smiles. “Okay. First, were any of the neg ops wearing a flower? Did the girl have a flower in her hair?”
“No, I don’t think so.”
“Good. Were any of them wearing rings, any jewelry on their fingers?”
“No, not at all.”
“Good. Were any of them wearing yellow, or mention anything about the color yellow?”
“The...the blonde’s dress was yellow, light, like a pale yellow. Oh,” KG winces, “the dress had green flowers on it too. Sorry.”
Agent Derrick pauses, files this away. “Okay. That’s okay. Now this, this is very important. Did any of them mention ‘the red candy’?”
“Yes. No one mentioned that.”
“Good. Could you tell the make and model of the car?”
“Naw. It’s old, and American, and black, but aside from those things I couldn’t hazard a guess.”
“Okay. Did it have plates?”
“Uh,,,no, no it didn’t. That’s weird, right? You can easily get pulled over for that.”
Agent Derrick tilts his head. “Some places, yes. It really depends on the local law enforcement.”
Agent Derrick places his hands on his knees. “Mister Granta, I’m going to give you my card.”
KG waits. “Okay.”
“I’m going to want you to call me if anything else happens that involves the three individuals we have been discussing. Can you do that for me?”
KG nods. “Of course.”
Agent Derrick smiles. “Good.” He slaps his thighs lightly and bounds to his feet. KG rises to meet him. Agent Derrick presses his card into KG’s sweaty palm and smiles. “Thank you for your hospitality, Mr. Granta. Hopefully we’ll never speak to each other again.”
KG laughs. “Yeah, um...I’d like that?”
Agent Derrick laughs in return. “Take care.” And then he is out the door, seemingly as quickly as he came. KG looks the card over as he hears Agent Derrick’s car pull out onto Belt Line Road – it is very simple: just the agent’s name, “Mueller-Toch Consortium”, and a phone number.
Saturday, July 3, 2010
(Continued from last week)
“Were all three neg ops present?”
“No, it was just the man with the...eye condition, and the retarded girl. I think the third, with the tattoos, was driving their car but I couldn’t see. It was too dark.”
“I see.” Pause, file. “You say the one man, the one in the restaurant...”
“Yes?” KG asks.
“...he has an ‘eye condition’?”
“Yeah. It’s like a crust over both his eyes, a disease or something. He didn’t seem blind, though.”
“Yes.” Pause, file. “And the girl was ‘retarded’?”
“Well, I mean, she just kept giggling and drooling the whole time. She didn’t say much.”
Matter of fact: “There are physical conditions that could also cause that.”
“Well, I mean, I’m no expert. She just...her behavior made me think of a mentally retarded person.”
Agent Derrick smiles. “Of course. You didn’t give her an IQ test, I assume?”
“Uh, no,” KG smiles, shrugs.
“So we’ll just go with your best guess.” Pause, file. “What did this encounter at the Phuket consist of?”
“Well, they sat down at my table, unasked. I didn’t even see them sit down.”
“You were eating alone?”
“Do you often eat alone, Mr. Granta?”
“Well, yeah. Yeah I do.” KG pauses, irritated. “Is there something wrong with that, or...”
“Oh, no, sir! I eat alone all the time. No partners in Mueller-Toch, you see. Provides for ‘Maximum Deniability’.” Agent Derrick pauses. “So the two ops sit down with you, and you say that you didn’t see them sit down?”
“No, I didn’t.”
“Were you...” Agent Derrick makes an eating motion with his head down.
“Yeah, I was having the soup. I always have the soup.”
“Ah. So you look up from your bowl, and...” He waits.
“...and there they are,” KG finishes for him.
“And there they are.” Pause, file. “And did they speak to you at that time?”
KG relates the conversation with Charles and Suzie as best he remembers, making a special point to emphasize their invitation to come along with them, and Charles’ reference to a ‘bus driver’.
“They made mention of a ‘bus driver’?”
“Mm-hm. Could they have been referring to the third op, with the tattoos? Could he have been the ‘bus driver’?”
“Um, I mean, sure, I guess so.”
“Okay.” Pause, file. “And, so...”
“Oh, wait, before I forget, they said their names were Suzie and Charles.”
Agent Derrick shakes his head sadly. “These neg ops don’t have names.”
“They’ve used at least a thousand in the past, and they may use a thousand more before I’m done.” Agent Derrick shrugs. “Okay. So today was the second time you’ve seen them?”
“And today’s visit consisted of...”
KG describes the events of the day, elaborating upon the briefer story he told the police earlier.
“I see. And as there was no obvious evidence, you were summarily dismissed.”
“That’s right. The cop...he couldn’t see them at all.”
“Mm-hm. There are some specific reasons why they may not have been observed by the police officer, but this is neither the time nor place to go into that. You understand.” The agent pauses a moment, shifts in his seat. “Mr. Granta, have there been any recent changes in your life, anytime prior to the first meeting at the Phuket?”
“Wrr...ah, I don’t think so. I mean...” It comes to him. “I don’t think this is what you’re talking about but I recently changed anxiety medications. I was on Paxil, but I had to switch over to something new...Comaxyn, it’s called.” He pauses. “Just approved.”
“I see.” Agent Derrick regards KG carefully. KG looks sheepishly at the floor. The agent moves forward in his seat, clasps his hands together. “I can see that discussing this has made you uncomfortable.”
“No, no...it’s just...”
“Mr. Granta, part of the latitude I was referring to earlier in reference to Mueller-Toch is in regards to mental health concerns. Agency work within the confines of the federal government is incredibly stressful, and many of the ex-agents employed by Mueller-Toch are ex-agents for that very reason. Many of us have diagnosed mental health issues, and many of us use medication, among other methods, to treat those same issues.” Agent Derrick pauses emphatically. “Many of us.” He smiles knowingly. KG nods. “I’ll look into the Comaxyn angle but, as you said, I don’t believe that’s the type of recent change we’re looking for.”
“Okay, then.” KG almost rises, feeling the discussion concluded, before Agent Derrick continues.
(To Be Continued)