Charles Carreon, The Arizona Kid

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Re: Charles Carreon, The Arizona Kid

Postby admin » Fri Oct 18, 2013 7:48 am

PART 1 OF 2

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KILLER KRISHNAS FROM INNER SPACE, by Charles Carreon

I had never thought particularly ill of the “International Society for Krishna Consciousness” (“ISKCON”) until I read Monkey On A Stick -- Murder, Madness, and the Hare Krishnas by John Hubner and Lindsey Gruson, published in 1989. I discovered the book on a paperback rack in 1999 while standing in an A&P grocery store killing time one evening in Daytona, Florida. Initially captivated by the almost-unbelievable tale of how a gang of pedophile vegetarians ran an international sex and drug ring under the guise of a charity and service, I returned to the story several times, and have now produced an up-to-date telling of how one more hippie dream went horrendously sour with the help of this kooky little thing called “Eastern religion.” This article is separated into two parts, a summary of some of the most lurid stories that appear in Monkey On A Stick, and the legal story, drawn primarily from legal documents and news reports about the aftermath of the IKSCON pedophilia scandal.

Monkey On A Stick covers the time period in the mid-to-late eighties, when eleven Western "gurus" ruled the ISKCON empire, after the death of founder Swami Prabhupada, and abused their power over hundreds of thousands of Krishna devotees. Based in India, the virulent, perverted nature of the cult that operated under the acronym ISKCON, “International Society for Krishna Consciousness,” has never been fully known. This book is well worth reading, whether you are looking for good reasons to avoid getting into a religious cult, or are simply a devotee of the true crime genre.

The most horrific events in the book center around sex, murder and drug dealing at a West Virginia temple called “New Vrindaban,” founded by Keith Ham, a New York homosexual who dropped out of the Columbia grad school religious department to become an early devotee of Prabhupada and took the name Kirtananda (“Blissful-in-sacred-song”). Kirtananda and his partner Howard Wheeler, who joined at the same time, rose high in the Krishna hierarchy. Both were perverts to the core. Wheeler opended a temple in Ensenada, Mexico near the flesh markets of Tijuana, and enjoyed the free access to the bodies of poor children as only pedophile could. Kirtanananda shielded from a teacher from prosecution who publicly sodomized many young Krishna children in his classroom in front of their peers, and shipped him to India as the police were closing in with an arrest warrant.

If you went to an airport in the seventies, you may have wondered what would happen with the money if you gave a young devotee money in exchange for pseudo-ecstatic dancing, repetitive music, simpy smiles, and cheap incense. Read this book and wonder no longer. The official name for the platoons of urban change-scavengers was "sankirtan groups," but they were colloquially referred to as "scam-kirtan." Armies of young women, bullied by cynical, pimpish fellows, wrung innumerable dollars from the pocketbooks of tired Americans, meeting a usual quota of $300 a day, or getting a beating to cover the difference. These young women were also often sexual playthings for the heterosexual appetites of the more plebeian devotees who went for that sort of thing. Kirtanananda also collected millions from drug dealing and money laundering, and directed rings of scam-operators who solicited donations in the name of Vietnam veterans, hungry children, etc.

Kirtanananda was reportedly inseparable from a young boy called Samba, who sat at his side at all times, and with whom he often slept. Kirtananda was also unquestionably a woman-hater. He counseled men to beat their wives “like their prayer drums” – because it would improve them -- and despised audiences with women devotees, describing the occasion as "fish night," when extra incense had to be burned to counter the odor of women. According to the authors, the entire Krishna empire became a magnet for homosexuals with a lust for power, after Prabhupada, disenchanted with the 80% divorce-rate that afflicted the numerous marriages between devotees that he had arranged by edict, decided that only sannyasins, (male) "renunciates," could take leadership positions in the organization. While “celibacy” was enjoined upon male sannyasins, staying in the closet was no problem for these skirt-wearing, chanting, dancing worshippers of Vishnu.

Kirtananda’s management of New Vrindavan was similar to the style that Leona Helmsley would have adopted if she’d been operating the Vatican. Little people would of course sometimes get hurt when God went about His business. So there were a few shallow graves here and there on the property — big deal. The temple roof was leafed with gold, and the floors were pure marble. The architecture overawed with splendor, lifting the mind to God. Lots of people felt very peaceful and divine there, leading them to part with a check or a stack of ill-gotten cash.

Kirtananda was as blatant about ruling by terror as Don Corleone. He expressly ordered the horrifying murder of Chuck St. Denis that's chillingly described in the book’s opening chapter. He was shot twelve times with a .22, and repeatedly stabbed in the chest with a kitchen knife while being exhorted to chant Krishna’s name so that he would be reborn in the Hindu heaven. As the life fled from him, he howled like a dog, so the killers cracked his skull with a hammer. Even after all that, as they wrapped his body in a plastic tarp, he opened his eyes and warned them not to do that, because then he wouldn’t be able to breathe. They buried him under a stream, which is probably a good way to make a spirit unquiet, and perhaps that is why his cries, which vanished into the West Virginia night, echoed on, causing rage to burn even in the hearts of idiot mouse-like devotees accustomed to burying their fears in monotonous chanting.

Kirtananda, quoting one of Prabhupada’s quaint Indian sayings, likened the murder of St. Denis to impaling "a monkey on a stick" to frighten other monkeys, and for a long time it worked. Everyone in New Vrindaban knew that St. Denis had been killed on Kirtanananda’s orders by his personal thug, Tom Drescher. No one dared to speak out because Drescher lived under Kirtananda’s express protection, in the lap of privilege, right there in New Vrindaban. Undermined by Kirtanananda's financial influence, the local police and prosecutors didn’t act against Drescher.

But justice sometimes finds its vehicle. One day a deranged devotee spontaneously attacked Kirtananda with a three-foot steel rod, making serious dents in his brain. Kirtananda barely survived, and ever after walked with a cane, suffering headaches and double vision. Even in that debilitated state, however, Kirtananda maintained his corrupt grip on the faithful, and directed Drescher to kill Steve Bryant, the New Vrindaban exile who considered it his mission from Krishna to expose Kirtanananda's abuses, and had been publishing the embarrassing truth. Drescher killed Bryant in LA, which caused the pot to boil over, and resulted in his prosecution and conviction for St. Denis’ murder. Now serving a life sentence in prison, Drescher has nevertheless has been elevated by his service to Krishna to the status of holy assassin, a destroyer of unbelievers. In a special ceremony conducted by Kirtanananda, he was given authority to initiate prisoners in the Hare Krishna path, and has several followers inside.

The Legal Story

Kirtananda Convicted and Released After A Few Years In Club Fed


The story that the authors of Monkey On A Stick tell about the ISKCON cult has been confirmed by subsequent revelations. In February 1987, the New Vrindavan was closed and the principal fled the country as law enforcement closed in. On February 17, 1987, Frederick DiFrancesco and and Larry Gardner were indicted on child molestation charges, and although Kirtananda denounced the investigation and charges as mere persecution, in 1990 the Feds indicted him on five counts of racketerring, six counts of mail fraud, and conspiracy to murder St. Denis and Bryant. A jury convicted him of all but the murder-conspiracy charges, but the verdict was reversed on the grounds that testimony about the child molestation had prejudiced the jury. In the midst of a retrial, he pled guilty to one count of racketeering, and was sentenced to twelve years in prison. Released in 2004, he was received, as the New York Times put it, “into the welcoming arms of his congregation,” notwithstanding that ISKCON had discharged him from his religious position after concluding he was a pedophile.

The Texas Racketeering Lawsuit Against IKSCON

Well-known Texas trial attorney Windle Turley filed a federal lawsuit [online at http://www.harekrsna.org/gurupoison/sup ... y-case.pdf] in 2000 on behalf of around 50 innocent children whose parents left them in the care of pedophiles while they worked the streets, scrounging cash to buy gold roofs and fancy cars for the heirarchy. Turley named 16 corporate defendants based in Texas, Pennsylvania, New York, Washington, Florida and California, seven defendants in their capacity as Executors of the Estate of A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada -- Gregory Gottfired, Robert Grant, Thomas Hertzog, Ghopal Khanna, Howard Resnick and Glen Teton – and 18 more defendants as members of the Governing Body of Commissioners of ISKCON (the “GBC”). These defendants, by legal name and Krishna name, were FARAMARZ ATTAR (“Atreya Rsi das”), CHARLES BACIS (“Bhavananda das”), WILLIAM BERKE (“Bali Mardan das”), ROBERT CORENS, (“Rapanuga Swami”), WILLIAM DEADWYLER, III (“Ravindra Svarupa Das”), WILLIAM EHRLICHMAN (“Bhagavan Swami”), JOHN FAVORS (“Bhakti Tirtha Swami”), STEVEN GOREYNO a/k/a STEVEN GUARINO (“Satsvarupa das”), MICHAEL GRANT (“Mukunda Goswami”), KEITH HAM (“Kirtanananda”) resides, THEODORE RICHARD HARRIS (“Panca Dravida Swami”), THOMAS HERTZOG (“Tamal Krishna Goswami”), JEFFREY HICKEY (“Jagadish das”), GOPAL KHANNA (“Gopal Krishna Goswami”), HANS KARY (“Hansadutta Swami”), WILLIAM OGLE (“Balavanta das”), HOWARD RESNICK (“Hrdayananda das Goswami”), BRUCE SCHARF (“Brahmananda”).

Turley’s complaint alleged that ISKCON became a den of thieves and a one-stop-shop for pedophiles, who in exchange for donations, would find a perv-friendly environment, a ready supply of compliant victims, and cover from investigation and prosecution.

“ISKCON and its leaders …­­­enriched themselves by granting special favors to large fund raisers and donors, even if some large donors were drug dealers and other criminal elements. The special favors include, among others:

(a) Granting teaching positions to sexual predators so they would have access to children for their sexual gratification;

(b) Giving young girls from the gurukulas as brides to older donor men;

(c) Creating “asylum” and a ring of protection against apprehension of fugitives, including those dealing illegally in arms, drugs and murder, within the ISKCON enterprise;

(d) Destroying evidence and failing to report criminal conduct on the part of ISKCON and devotees.”

Turley further alleged that under the cover of being an international religious organization, ISKCON offshored its perversities in India, where sexual abuse of children is culturally accepted, rarely investigated, and virtually never prosecuted.

“In a conscious effort to avoid policing and scrutiny by U.S.A. child protection agencies, ISKCON took a large portion of its boarding school activities overseas to India. In India, ISKCON managed at least two profoundly abusive boarding schools for boys. These were the Vrndavan and Mayapur schools. Both were staffed and controlled by appointees of ISKCON who were, for the most part, assigned from the United States. The students sent there were almost exclusively from the United States, and the management policies, devised and implemented by the GBC, originated in the U.S.A. The Indian schools were among the worst offenders and abusers of minor boys, and many of the Indian school teachers and leaders were also teachers, leaders and abusers in United States schools.”

Turley’s complaint alleged alleged that devotees were required to put their children in the “gurukula” boarding schools, which were basically pools of children who were rented to pedophiles.

“Some examples of the types of abuse and neglect to which the children, ranging in age from 3 years to 18 years, were subjected include but are not limited to:

· Sexual abuse including rape, oral sex, intercourse with children, sexual fondling of children, and masturbation with children.

· Physical beatings of children with boards, branches, clubs, and poles.

· Physical beatings by adult teachers and school leaders with fists to the head and stomach.

· Kicking the children into submission.

· Children were in some instances made to walk great distances in bitter cold, including snow and rain, without jackets, coats, or shoes.

· Children were often forced to sleep on cold floors and in unheated rooms.

· Children were frequently deprived entirely of medical care [for] malaria, hepatitis, yellow fever, teeth being knocked out, broken facial bones, and broken bones in their hands, often inflicted as they attempted to shield themselves from beatings.

· Children were sometimes kept in filthy conditions. In at least one instance, a local group utilized what had recently been a cattle or horse barn for a nursery.

· In almost every school the children were kept in severely overcrowded conditions, often forced to sleep shoulder to shoulder on the floor or in small rooms in three-high bunks with 10 or 12 children to each tiny room.

· The children were physically abused by being awakened every day in the early morning hours (generally at 4:00 a.m.) and subjected to a cold shower, after which they were taken, without any breakfast, to a daily religious service. At some schools, the children were forced to walk great distances in the dark to attend the service, and often in cold or rainy conditions, clothed only in their thin gown-like “dohti.”

· The children were not provided bathroom tissue, but instead were expected to wipe themselves with their fingers, after which they would dip their fingers into a bowl of water.

· As punishment for not cleaning themselves thoroughly, children were scrubbed with steel wool until their skin was raw and sometimes bleeding.

· Children were abused when they were forced to sleep on their wet blankets or in tubs as punishment if they wet their bedding.

· Some children were forced to wear their soiled underclothes on their heads for long periods of time because they had wet themselves.

· Children were often forced to go without food entirely, either because there was none, or as punishment. When food was provided, it was always inadequate for a growing child’s diet.

· The inadequate food that was provided was often prepared in unsanitary conditions, was of very poor quality and so unpleasant that even hungry children frequently could not eat it. In at least one school, the children learned as a matter of routine to remove insects from their food before eating it.

· Each child was expected to eat what they were provided. If they did not do so, their served portion was kept on their plates until the next meal when it was served again. This process often continued until the cold food -- even moldy and insect-infested -- was swallowed.

· In some schools, children were forced to lick up their vomit from any foul food they may have thrown up.

· At New Vrindavan, three young boys, about six or seven years of age, who worked in the kitchen, took some food to their hungry friends. They were caught and punished by being gagged, having bags placed over their heads, and being put in a small room for several days with only a bucket for their waste and no food or water. One of the same boys was later slammed by a teacher into a marble wall, resulting in a loss of some teeth and fractured facial bones.

· Children were controlled by various threats to hurt or kill them and by punishments. Young children, strictly limited to a vegetarian diet, were continually terrorized when told that non-Krishnas were meat-eaters, that they ate each other, and that the children, if given to or taken by the meat-eaters, would themselves be eaten.

· Children often saw rats in their rooms and schools. Some children (such as those at the school in Dallas) were told the rats lived in a particular old closet, and the child would be, and often was, placed in the closet if they didn’t do as told.

· One form of punishment included forcing little children to stand on a crate for long periods of time in a darkened closet “so the rats would not eat them.”

· Very young children were in fact placed in those dark and locked closets and left afraid and crying for hours at a time. They were locked overnight in dark cellars with dirt floors. One young child was made to sleep alone in the loft of a cold barn for many nights.

· Sometimes the children were sent by their superiors to massage and bathe the religious gurus and then drink their now “blessed bath water.”

· In some cases, children were stuffed into trash barrels for periods of two to three days, with the lid on, as punishment for relatively trivial “sins.”

· Children were almost universally told that if they disclosed their condition or complained to their parents or others, they would be severely punished. When complaints were made, the children were publicly and often severely beaten or subjected to other forms of punishment.

· Girls, as young as 12 or 13 years, were frequently “given” or “promised” to an older male in the movement. Although their marriages were generally not sexually consummated until the child was at least 16 or 17 years old, the little girls were terrorized by the threats, and often reality, of being given away by their leaders to become engaged to marry “strange old men.”

· Children were often forced to lie awake in their beds or sleeping bags and listen as their little friends were sexually molested by teachers and other leaders.

· The children were emotionally abused by subjecting them to near-total parental and societal isolation. In an effort to totally control their minds, the children were, in most cases, separated and isolated from their parents and were not allowed to have regular contact with their parents. Personal visits, correspondence, and telephone calls were either forbidden or discouraged. Gifts, particularly of food, were intercepted. For example, one young boy felt abandoned by his parents, and had no contact with his family for more than a year. He later learned the one small package of cookies sent by his mother was intercepted and kept from him.

· Children were frequently moved to different schools in different states without the consent (or, sometimes, knowledge) of parents. Some children were hidden from parents. Some boys were shipped out of the country to ISKCON schools in India. In at least some cases, after the parents discovered their child’s whereabouts and made arrangements for them to come home, their plane tickets were intercepted, and torn up in front of the children. Then, these children were punished for their parents’ attempt to bring them home.

· Even though the children were given by their parents to ISKCON to educate, except for the reading of their “vedic scriptures,” the children received little or no education.

· Because of near-total isolation from the outside world and lack of education, the children who remained within the ISKCON schools for extended periods of time were totally unequipped to enter outside society. They have experienced extreme difficulty in earning a living, entering and maintaining relationships, including marriage, and in adapting to the laws and regulations of society. Many are in need of extended psychological and/or vocational training, rehabilitation, and medical care.”

Helping Hands From The Religious Establishment Reach Out To Aid ISKCON

Strangely enough, mainstream U.S. churches supported ISKCON in its efforts to get the lawsuit dismissed. The following groups joined in filing a “friend of the court” brief urging Judge Sam Lindsay to dismiss the case on the grounds that a church could not be legally characterized as a “racketeering” organization, and thus there was no federal law on which the court could base its exercise of jurisdiction over the defendants.

1. The American Jewish Congress
2. Baptist Joint Committee on Public Affairs
3. Christian Legal Society
4. Christian Life Commission of the Baptist General Convention of Texas
5. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
6. The Evangelical Covenant Church
7. The First Church of Christ,Scientist
8. General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists
9. General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A)
10. National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States
11. United States Catholic Conference

Affecting a pious and disinterested tone, these eleven churches, each of which has now been implicated in the ever-widening scandal of ecclesiastical sex abuse, waded into the dispute to protect the coffers of ISKCON from being tapped by a damage award that could help the Krishna children rebuild lives shattered by their collision with a diabolical cult that had the foresight to incorporate as a church in order to conceal, foster, and escape justice for its widespread criminal activities. The “friend of the court” brief, filled with supercilious chaff, referring to the churches as “amici,” dresses up the argument in First Amendment garb:

“This case originally involved allegations of sexual abuse by some members of the International Society For Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) entrusted with the education of children. Amici do not have any knowledge of the truth of these allegations, nor are we speaking to any factual issues in this case. We all unequivocally condemn all forms of sexual, physical, and emotional abuse whenever such abuse occurs. All of the amici with pastoral responsibilities have, in our own ways, sought to deal with it, and to heal its devastating effects. Amici file this brief because proper resolution of the serious threat to religious freedom posed by the RICO claim in the Amended Complaint is critical to the autonomy of churches, synagogues, mosques, and other religious organizations. Religious freedom is fragile enough without adding the threat of destruction by lawsuit under a statute designed to eliminate organized crime, not organized religion. The attempted use of RICO to target an entire religious community is an outrage against the First Amendment.”

Judge Lindsay accepted the argument that churches cannot, as a matter of law, be characterized as criminal organizations, thus giving the green light to creative criminals who wish to adopt the ecclesiastical cowl as a cloak for criminality. Calling the ruling a “victory for religious freedom,” attorney David Liberman equated liberty with libertinage, an intent that I am certain the Framers of the Constitution never conceived in all of their deliberations.

Chapter 11 Bankruptcy To The Rescue

After the suit was dismissed, Turley refilled in Texas state court, and ISKCON moved to the next stage of legal defense – the bankruptcy courts. Claiming that the $400 Million in damages sought exceeded the value of ISKCON’s property, Liberman orchestrated bankruptcy filings of numerous ISKCON-related entities around the nation. This required all injured individuals to submit claims in bankruptcy by June 30, 2003. The case was settled in bankruptcy in May 2005. By that time, 540 Krishna children had submitted claims, and a $9.5 Million fund was allocated to provide them with awards. A press release stated: “The amount each individual receives will be based on the nature of the abuse, its severity, and the time factor. The amount of compensation received by most will range from $2,500 to $50,000.” ISKCON leaders mumbled mea culpas all the way to the bank, proving as many a mediator has argued, that saying you’re sorry can greatly reduce the bill you’re forced to pay.

A Pittance For The Victims

Ultimately, with insurance money, Turley garnered $20 Million to be divided among the claimants. If we take out just 25% for Turley, that leaves $17.5 Million, which divided by 450, gives you less than $39,000 per claimant. Take a look at the types of abuse those children suffered – teeth knocked out, forced to eat their own vomit, and according to statements from virtually all of the children interviewed, an interminable, daily stream of sexual assaults. Ask yourself how forty-grand can possibly compensate for those types of injury. Ganganam Dasa wrote a short article in October 2009, in which he said that the settlements were small: “It works out to about two thousand dollars twice a year for 4 years -- about enough to pay rent and bills for a short time -- a pittance for a stolen childhood and a bleak future.” The suffering that the Krishna children endured in childhood was a setup for failure in adult life. As Ganganam Dasa wrote:

“As many of us gurukulis are in our 30's and because of the low quality of education given in the gurukulas, university entrance was impossible. While ordinary karmis (non-Krishna people) are having successful lives -- financial, emotional, and family stability -- every gurukuli I know is struggling day to day, have not attained the dreams of having what karmis consider even average success: family, a comfortable living situation, reliable vehicle, etc. I have to emphasize that when I was 4, I didn't make the choice, unlike adults, to join a religion that celebrates poverty, lack of family, and viewing the world as a Kali Yuga hellhole that we must leave ASAP. Now as a result, many of us have grown up into exactly what was planned for us -- emotionally disturbed, unskilled losers, while many others around us who had normal childhoods are prospering with happy lives complete with families of their own. It's no wonder some have attempted or chosen to end their lives through suicide.”

The Violators Got A Free Ride

In the end, it seems clear that: (1) there were at the very least over five-hundred children subjected to conditions of terrible abuse that destroyed their experience of childhood and rendered them unfit for adulthood, (2) the ISKCON organization ultimately admitted total responsibility for the creation and establishment of the system that enabled the abusers, (3) the abusers were never systematically identified or held personally responsible, and were effectively immunized by the bankruptcy proceeding, (4) virtually no one, besides the two pervert teachers indicted in South Carolina, were ever even criminally charged, much less convicted for their commission of heinous acts of abuse, and (5) the ISKCON organization has suffered little in the way of consequence on a financial scale, a mere speeding ticket in the life of a cult that has vacuumed the cash out of innumerable pockets and purses.

It’s quite remarkable, really, and teaches you something – the sins of the parents will be visited upon the children, and when you are born to parents stupid enough to raise you in a cult, nobody is really going to care that much about your problems. It will all be viewed as self-inflicted, even though, as Ganganam Dasa said, he had nothing to do with the bad choices his parents made. So when you see someone leading their whole family into a lifestyle that says you should surrender everything worldly, pursue a life of poverty, and give your children the gift of a sanctified lifestyle, tell them story of the Killer Krishnas. Maybe, just maybe, they’ll think twice.

Go to Chapter 1: The Planting Party
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Re: Charles Carreon, The Arizona Kid

Postby admin » Fri Oct 18, 2013 7:50 am

MONKEY ON A STICK: MURDER, MADNESS AND THE HARE KRISHNAS, by John Hubner and Lindsey Gruson

Chapter 1: Blood Feud

The Planting Party


"Chakradara, you been diggin' like a woodchuck for days," said Dan Reid, a little man with a black goatee who was straddling a big Yamaha motorcycle. "What you need is a party. Wouldn't a taste of something clean and white go good after all that dirt?"

Chakradara, Chuck St. Denis, was digging a trench, searching for a break in a water line. It was early on the morning of June 9, 1983. The sun had already cleared the West Virginia hills in the east and St. Denis's T-shirt was soaked with sweat. He looked at Reid and thought, I'll be damned!

There are few secrets in a commune. St. Denis knew that for some weeks Reid had been running around New Vrindaban, the largest Hare Krishna community in America, telling devotees that St. Denis had raped his wife, Brenda.

It was true that St. Denis had gone through the commune's supply of available women with the same rapacity he devoured ice cream, which he liked to eat with his fingers a half gallon at a time. It was true he had fathered four children by three women. It was even true that he and Brenda had once had a little thing going. But that was all in the past, a long time ago. He had quit screwing around.

He'd been faithful to Debra Gere, the commune's nurse, for almost two years, ever since he had moved out of his trailer and into hers. Debra, or Ambudrara, was the best woman he'd ever had. She was smart and tough and pretty, with dark brown eyes, pale white skin covered with light freckles, and red hair that glistened in the sun. He'd fathered her six-month-old baby girl and was now working with her fourteen hours a day, trying to open a plant nursery . They were going to call it Blue Boy Nursery , after Krishna, the blue lord.

Chuck had told Debra about his previous affair and it didn't bother her. She knew that Dan Reid treated his wife like some kind of bug that had infested his life. He was always flying into red-faced rages, screaming that Brenda was fat and ugly and couldn't do a damn thing right. Brenda would run out of the house and end up sitting at a neighbor's kitchen table, sobbing. Finally, Reid had left his wife and three kids and moved into a shack up in the hills above the commune, called the Artist's Studio. That was when St. Denis had moved in on Brenda.

Debra had been wondering why Reid was spreading the rape story around now. She knew that if Chuck had not been so busy he'd have grabbed the little jerk by the throat and asked him just what the hell he thought he was doing spreading all that garbage around. That was how Chuck handled a problem.

"White stuff?" St. Denis asked, flashing his toothy grin. "Come on, Daruka, you don't have no coke. You've never had no coke."

" But I do," Reid said."And if you don't show up, I'll have to do it all by myself."

Reid gave the Yamaha's throttle a couple of quick nervous twists as St. Denis walked over to the bike and slapped him on the back. St. Denis was twenty-nine years old, six foot two, and 220 pounds, with shoulder-length hair and hazel eyes. Strung around his seventeen-inch neck was a "Krishna's dog collar," as devotees call the sacred kanthi beads. The muscles in his arms were huge, pumped up from all the digging he had been doing.

"We can't have you getting coked up alone, Daruka," St. Denis said. "I mean, what are friends for? But the thing is, we're having a planting party tonight. I had the field behind the greenhouse plowed the other day. We've got twenty flats of Shasta daisies to get in the ground. If we don't get them in soon, they'll all be dead. Everybody is gonna help. Why don't you come? You ain't been around in weeks."

"All right, I will," Reid said. "We can go up to my place afterward. Hell, who cares how late it is when you're gonna get wired?"

St. Denis flashed his big grin. "Daruka, you know all my weaknesses," he said.

"Everybody knows your weaknesses," Reid replied. "You couldn't hide them if you tried."

St. Denis laughed. Reid shifted into first gear and turned the bike round. "Just remember, don't tell anyone," Reid said. "There isn't enough to go around."

"There's never enough to go around," St. Denis yelled as Reid rode away.

St. Denis watched Reid work the bike through the six-inch ruts in the dirt road. So, Daruka wants to be friends again, he thought. Good. We'll do a few lines; he'll bring up the Brenda thing; then we'll work it out and everything will be cool.

He picked up his shovel and went back to the trench.

***

Chuck and Debra were "fringies," devotees who were on the New Vrindaban equivalent of an injured-reserve list. They believed in the religion, but had not been able to follow the strict vows they took at initiation. Chuck had not been able to give up drugs or alcohol, let alone milder stimulants like coffee and tea. His close relationship with Debra had made a joke out of the ban against illicit sex: Krishnas are supposed to have sex only once a month, and only for the purpose of producing Krishna-conscious children. He had long ago forgotten the ban against eating meat, fish, eggs, or onions.

Devout Krishnas are not supposed to eat onions because they reek of the world. They do not drink tea because it stimulates the mind and disturbs the tranquility that comes with thinking always of Krishna. Spices are banned for the same reason. Food, drink, everything devotees consume, should remind them of Krishna, not of this world.

Like Chuck, Debra found the religion too demanding to practice on an everyday basis. She was expected to rise every day with the other devotees at four in the morning, take a cold shower, and attend Mangalaratik, the morning devotional service at four-thirty. She also had to attend classes on sacred Hindu texts and chant sixteen rounds of the Hare Krishna maha ("great") mantra every day. It took almost two hours to do 1,728 repetitions of Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. Debra just couldn't make the time. The commune's only nurse, she worked twelve hours a day, seven days a week. She also had two children. She could not be a good mother, a good nurse, and a good devotee too. Besides, she liked to sit in the kitchen of the rambling farmhouse they'd moved into, put up her feet, and relax with a beer. It was a good way to end the day.

One evening in the winter of 1982, a year and a half ago, Debra had been washing the dishes and looking forward to a cold beer. Chuck had been there with her, sitting at the table nursing a Molson's. The phone had rung, but Chuck didn't move. A little annoyed, Debra had grabbed the phone without stopping to dry her hands.

"Hi, Mom. I'm glad it's you," she said a moment later. "I was starting to get a little worried. It's been a while since you called."

St. Denis gazed into his green bottle of Molson ale, half-listening to the conversation. He glanced up when he noticed Debra had stopped talking. Her mouth was hanging open. She was staring at him, but looking right through him.

"You're kidding!" Debra said softly.

St. Denis got up and walked over to her. "What's up?" he whispered.

Debra ignored him. "All right, Mom. I'm kind of too stunned to talk about it right now, anyway. You go have a good cry and we'll talk in the morning."

She hung up and sat down at the table. St. Denis dropped into a chair facing her.

"Dad's will just cleared probate," Debra said. "I'm going to get fifty thousand dollars."

From that moment on, there was only one topic of conversation in the old farmhouse: "What are we going to do with the money?"

They knew what they should do if they were good devotees: surrender it to Kirtanananda Swami Bhaktipada, the guru who had built New Vrindaban. Kirtanananda "was like a god on earth; devotees dropped to the ground to offer obeisances when they saw him. They carried him on a bejeweled palanquin during Krishna ceremonies. To live in New Vrindaban was to surrender everything, body, soul, family, and bankbook to Kirtanananda. Especially bankbook.

"Money is the honey," Kirtanananda liked to say, rubbing his hands.

But fifty thousand dollars? That ain't hay. And neither Chuck nor Debra had ever had much money.

***

Kirtanananda had started the commune in 1968 on a rundown 130-acre farm in West Virginia's beautiful northern panhandle. Neighboring farmers, born and raised in adjoining farms, shook their heads and told one another not to worry: Those "Hairy Critters" with their shaved heads and their orange bedsheets wouldn't make it through the first winter.

They didn't. But the Hare Krishnas came back in the spring, and this time they prospered. They sent around a straw man, a local fellow named Randall Gorby, to snap up land, often at thousands of dollars an acre above market value. The farmers on McCreary's Ridge talked themselves into believing they were selling to Gorby, not to the commune, and cashed out. By 1983, the original 130 acres had grown to 2,884.

Kirtanananda named the commune after the sacred town in India where Krishna appeared as a cowherd boy to slay demons, play his flute, sing, dance, and engage in other pastimes with the gopis, the milkmaids. He billed it as a farming community where devotees could practice the Hare Krishna philosophy of "simple living, high thinking." In time, the simple farm grew into a massive project no more simple and spiritual than the pyramids.

Its jewel, the first temple of a planned spiritual city, is Prabhupada's Palace of Gold, named after A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the founder of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, or ISKCON. Kirtanananda bills it as America's Taj Mahal, the first of seven temples in a spiritual Disneyland that will propagate Krishna Consciousness. Actually, the palace is a monument to Kirtanananda's obsession with becoming Prabhupada's successor.

When Prabhupada died in 1977, the ISKCON world divided into eleven zones. Each zone was governed by a guru who ruled his devotees by divine right, the way medieval kings ruled serfs. Kirtanananda has always condemned the division as anathema and refused to share power with the ten other gurus. "Purity must come before unity," he is fond of saying.

Kirtanananda believes that he, and he alone, has realized the eternal truths Prabhupada brought to America. Only through him can devotees understand Prabhupada's message and reach Krishna. He built the Palace of Gold to attract the followers of other gurus. Seeing the gold-crested towers shimmering in the sun and climbing the swirling red marble steps, they would stop and think, such splendor! No one else is doing such great service for Prabhupada. I'm going to leave my guru and surrender to Kirtanananda Swami.

The gold, silver, rare jewels, and tons of exotic marble imported to build the Palace of Gold cost a staggering sum of money. Kirtanananda had a dozen ways to get it.

The guru's deep conviction that he, and he alone, had fully realized Prabhupada's message deeply impressed Chuck St. Denis. He didn't think twice when he was told to deal marijuana and turn the profits over to the temple. He was honored to perform such important service. So were many others. Devotees with Ph.D.'s in religious studies joined the Krishnas, as did lawyers, artisans, Harvard M.B.A.'s, Henry Ford's grandson, and Walter Reuther's daughter. But by far the majority of the devotees were members of the lost sixties generation, flower children and street people -- kids like Chuck St. Denis, who started dealing drugs when he was eleven years old.

***

St. Denis came from Arcadia, California. Home of the Santa Anita racetrack, Arcadia was a town whose identity was snuffed out long ago by the great sprawl of Los Angeles. His parents were alcoholics. His father, a bartender, had abandoned the family early; neither Chuck, nor his older sister, Chrislyn, and certainly not his younger brother, Michael, remembered him. Their mother, a cocktail waitress, had remarried several times.

Chrislyn was the nearest thing to a mother the two boys had. Every day after school, she came straight home and started cooking dinner. She did her best, but she was no match for the harsh life of the streets. By the time she was eleven, all three kids were in trouble.

With Chuck, it was grass and LSD. Then downers, reds, and Seconals. All those drugs did nothing to stunt Chuck's physical growth. At age ten he was big enough to steal his stepfather's car without any help. At thirteen he was a veteran drug dealer and running with a black street gang, whose sworn enemies were Chicanos.

A juvenile court judge finally declared Chuck incorrigible and sent him to juvenile hall. The same court packed his younger brother, Michael, off to a boys' ranch in Oregon.

When they let him out of kiddie jail, Chuck went right back to the only thing he knew: drugs and dealing. He ate huge hits of LSD and began shooting Seconal. At sixteen, he was over six feet tall, and very angry. He got into terrible fights with his brother and sister. He stole from his mother and refused to speak to his stepfather.

His attitude was, You hurt me, you owe me--gimme, gimme, gimme.

Chuck drifted away from home to join the great hippie migration along the California coast. He settled, more or less, in Santa, Cruz, a beautiful coastal town that was a hippie haven when St. Denis arrived in 1969. He hung around the Santa Cruz pier, dealing drugs, soaking his brain in LSD, rapping, and getting laid.

And then he met the Krishnas.

He went away a hippie and came back in a robe with his head shaved. Chrislyn thought he'd been brainwashed, especially the way he tried to cram that religion down the family's throats. When his siblings wouldn't go to the Sunday Krishna feasts, he would get mad.

But after a while, Chrislyn realized the Krishnas were good for Chuck. He was doing a lot of chanting, but he wasn't doing drugs. His whole life, he'd never had a job and never wanted to work. But suddenly it seemed the Krishnas had changed all that. They gave him something to live for, maybe for the first time. In return Chuck worked hard for them.

The Krishnas were the family St. Denis had never had but always wanted. They ordered the world for him; they told him when to get up and what to do until he went to sleep. Even better, they made his poverty righteous. Since he had nothing to lose, it was easy to reject the material world and live a spiritual life. Discipline for people like St. Denis, who have no self-discipline, is an all-or-nothing thing. For almost six years he was a devout follower, chanting and following the regulative principles.

His life as a Krishna monk crumbled in the mid-1970s, when he moved into the Laguna Beach temple, south of Los Angeles. There, a group of devotees that included the temple president were smuggling hash oil into the U.S. from Pakistan and Afghanistan. Most of the money was turned over to ISKCON.

The smugglers recruited St. Denis. Before long, he had moved out of the temple and into an apartment with a girlfriend. He was soon sleeping through the morning service and smoking dope instead of chanting. He was only a bit player in the drug operation, however. When the cops broke up the ring, they did not even bother to question him. St. Denis moved to New Vrindaban and was soon running marijuana to raise money for Kirtanananda's temple. He took to the new role like an avid car salesman to a new dealership and made dozens of trips from West Virginia back to the West Coast, usually returning with five or ten pounds of marijuana at a time.

"You hypocrite!" Chrislyn screamed at him one night in Los Angeles, interrupting another one of his seemingly endless sermons. "I can't believe you're sitting in my house, sucking on a joint, dealing, and preaching to me about that fucker Kirtanananda the whole time. Every dime you make goes right to that psycho!"

"It belongs to my family," St. Denis said. "We need the money to build the temple. It's a shrine. We're doing good deeds with the money. The glory of Krishna makes everything clean."

***

"We've done service for Kirtanananda, lots of service," Chuck told Debra every time they talked about the fifty thousand dollars. "There's no tellin' how much money I've turned over from what I've been doin'. And look at you--workin' day and night in the clinic. Do you know how much it would cost Kirtanananda to hire a nurse to come out here to replace you?"

"But Kirtanananda needs the money more than we do," Debra said. "He needs every penny. There's nothing we could do with it that's more important."

"I'm not sayin' we shouldn't do something for Kirtanananda," St. Denis said. "All I'm saying is, we should do something for ourselves, too."

The idea hit St. Denis when he walked into the living room one morning and looked around him at the plants Debra had used to decorate the place. It was an inspiration. He got so excited, he jumped in his 1973 Blazer and drove right over to the commune's makeshift clinic, where he found Debra stitching a gash in a five-year-old boy's hand. As soon as she finished, St. Denis walked her outside.

"I got it! We'll start a nursery!" he said. "We're both good with plants." We'll buy some land from Kirtanananda and do it right here. I even got the name: Blue Boy Nursery. It'll go. I know it'll go."

Debra loved the idea. There is no bad karma in watering plants and planting flowers. The nursery would enable her to phase out her nursing job and spend more time with her children.

She and Chuck talked it over and agreed that, like devotees everywhere who live and work outside the temple, they would turn 50 percent of the nursery's profits over to their guru. Kirtanananda agreed. Chuck and Debra paid him $17,500 for twenty-three acres of land. Actually, they paid $2,500, and Debra's mother gave the commune a $15,000 "donation" -- a scheme designed to save the commune a few dollars in taxes.

There was one small hitch: a devotee named Thomas Drescher was building a house on their land and didn't want to move. St. Denis agreed to negotiate separately with Drescher for his house. Debra wanted Drescher's small, half-finished place because it was perfect for her mother, who was living alone in Exeter, New Hampshire. She and Chuck would build a new house next to the nursery.

After buying the land, St. Denis threw himself into the project like a madman. He drove around West Virginia's panhandle, interviewing every florist in the Moundsville-Wheeling area. He found there was a steady market for plants in Pittsburgh, eighty miles northeast of the commune, where interior decorators needed hearty tropicals for offices and homes.

Chuck also developed a side business that would ensure the success of Blue Boy Nursery. His interest in horticulture dated back to a trip he took to Garberville, California, a small logging and fishing town in Humboldt County that became the world's unofficial sinsemilla capital in the 1970s. (Sinsemilla is one of the most potent marijuana hybrids.)

While in Garberville, St. Denis had purchased two pounds of primo weed from two friendly, bearded growers. After sharing a joint to seal the deal, they drove into town to have dinner at a small health-food restaurant run by a bunch of ex-hippies. One of the growers had a master's degree in botany. With real passion, he explained how he planned to do for cannabis what grape growers had done for Vitis vinifera. From vinifera vines, the grower patiently explained, winemakers produce varietals like Pinot noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Chardonnay. He was now selecting strains of cannabis to produce different smokes -- sweet, fruity, herbal, and spicy. Better yet, he claimed, to have bred weed that produced distinctly different highs, highs he described poetically as sleepy, sexy, and electric.

St. Denis was fascinated. When he left the redwood empire, he took along a dozen small Ziploc plastic bags, each containing two custom-bred sinsemilla seeds that cost between five and fifteen dollars apiece.

St. Denis planted the seeds in a secret place high in the West Virginia mountains. A few plants died, but most were prospering. St. Denis figured that between selling tropicals to interior decorators and high-power smoke to his marijuana connections, Blue Boy Nursery would be a cinch.

Like most dealers, St. Denis was addicted to the big score. If he ordered enough material and bought enough plants, if he kept hammering away at the 250-foot-long greenhouse, he thought the nursery would come together in a flash, just like a dope deal.

When the nursery was half finished, St. Denis borrowed a truck and shot down to Florida to buy tropical plants. He took along Dr. Nick Tsacrios, a short, intense Florida native who had settled in New Vrindaban to run the commune's clinic and live with the fringies. They had just crossed the Georgia state line on their way home when the plywood frames in the back of the overloaded truck collapsed, crushing thousands of dollars' worth of plants.

"Chuck, man, you're way overzealous," Dr. Nick said. "You want everything to happen at once. Slow down. Start small and build."

"You worry about fixin' up people-I'll worry about gettin' plants to grow," St. Denis snapped. He slammed the truck's rear doors shut and stomped back to the cab.

**

Dan Reid hurried up the stairs to Kirtanananda's office; it was in a converted barn next to the Temple of Understanding. Although St. Denis's friends had assured Reid that St. Denis had never raped his wife, Reid was certain he had. Brenda had described it all in detail.

"Hare Krishna," Reid said when he walked into Kirtanananda's office. Then he stopped in his tracks to offer the required obeisances. He kneeled, laid his palms flat, and touched his forehead to the floor. He got up, faced the guru, and got right to the point.

"Chakradara raped my wife," he told Kirtanananda. "I want to kill him."

The guru was fond of saying, "Not a blade of grass blows in the wind at New Vrindaban without me knowing about it." He knew about St. Denis's affair with Brenda Reid. He did not know about the rape and questioned Reid carefully.

"I thought Chakradara was too wrapped up with Ambudrara and the nursery to do anything like that," Kirtanananda said.

"That's what I thought," Reid replied. "When I heard what had happened, I didn't believe it, so I went and asked Brenda. She said yes, it had happened. Not only that, it happened only a few weeks after she had the kid. The guy's an animal; he hurt her bad."

The guru was silent for a moment.

"So who's gonna care?" he said finally. "Maybe you should go talk to Drescher about this."

Reid drew in a deep breath. He was hoping Kirtanananda would say something like that.

Kirtanananda may not have cared about the rape; he did care that St. Denis and Debra Gere had not turned her inheritance over to him. He needed every penny he could get his hands on to build Krishna's American playground; if devotees started keeping their money instead of giving it to their spiritual master, New Vrindaban's raison d'etre would be destroyed and chaos would ensue.

When Prabhupada, the Krishnas' founder, had to kick a devotee out of the movement for doing something especially bad, like embezzling money, he would refer to the Indian parable of the monkey on a stick. "Let him be the monkey on a stick and let us have no more of that," he would say.

When a monkey breaks into a banana plantation in India, the farm's owners kill the monkey, impale him on a stick, and leave him to rot outside the plantation. Other monkeys see him hanging there and stay away from the bananas.

Chuck St. Denis would be the monkey on a stick.

Dan Reid thanked the swami, left, jumped on his Yamaha, and rode straight to Tirtha, Thomas Drescher, the commune's enforcer.

***

"You're kidding," Drescher said when Reid told him the story. "Kirtanananda sent you to me? He really said,'Go tell Tirtha'? Take me through it again; I wanna hear exactly what he said."

Reid repeated his story.

"All right," Drescher said. "I'll do it. I take it as an order from the swami to help you."

At first glance, Drescher looks like the manager of a Denny's restaurant, with short, neatly trimmed blond hair and a bland face that would be expressionless if his lips weren't pursed in a perpetual pout. But a closer look reveals a cold, steely gaze behind the brown-tinted glasses. Tattoos run up his forearms.

Drescher grew up in foster homes and juvenile detention centers in Buffalo, New York. At eighteen, he enlisted in the Army and was shipped to Vietnam with the "blood-and-guts" 101st Airborne. Drescher returned to the States in 1972 and joined the Krishnas. He told gory stories about his time in Nam with relish and bragged about all the "gooks" he had killed.

When he came to New Vrindaban in the mid-1970's, his first jobs were driving a bus around the commune and guarding the palace. He drove the bus as if it were an Army jeep. A pregnant devotee remembers that every time she got on the bus, Drescher would floor the gas pedal, then slam on the brakes. Then he would look in the mirror and give her a big grin. One time she fell. Drescher laughed and laughed.

By 1977, he'd been promoted to commune enforcer, a position that combined the roles of cop and goon. He spent hours every day firing a .45 on a range hidden deep in the hills. When Kirtanananda wanted people thrown out of the commune, Drescher drove them to Highway 250 and dumped them beside the road.

The day after talking to Drescher, Reid was lying in bed in his studio, drifting in and out of a late-afternoon nap. When he heard a truck straining to climb the steep hill, he groaned and lifted himself up on one elbow to look out the window. It was Drescher's white pickup. Reid jumped out of bed and ran to meet Drescher outside the shack.

"We're gonna do it," Drescher said. "I got it all figured out."

The two went inside the shack and sat down. Drescher took Reid through it one step at a time. Reid's job was to lure St. Denis to the Artist's Studio.

"Tell him you got some coke" Drescher said. "He'll be sure to come when he hears that."

"I'll do it," Reid said.

"And get yourself a gun," Drescher said.

Fear that the karmis -- meat-eating Westerners -- would someday attack the commune had turned New Vrindaban into an armed camp. The commune had had a number of armorers over the years, beginning with Eugene Braeger, who had built an arsenal of AR-15's, Mini-14's, .45's and nine-millimeters. Braeger was succeeded by Keith Weber and Todd Schenker, two survivalists who liked to walk around New Vrindaban dressed in camouflage, as if they had just stepped out of an ad in Soldier of Fortune magazine.

"It's all gonna happen right in the Artist's Studio," Drescher told Reid. "We can't be bringing cannons in here. We'll blow holes in the walls. We need small caliber weapons. There's a twenty-two in the treasury where you work. Borrow it. Nobody will miss it. You ain't gonna have it long."

"I'll do it," Reid said.

"First thing tomorrow, you go find him," Drescher continued. "Set up a time when he's gonna come up here. As soon as that's done, come over to my place and let me know. We'll take it from there."

Reid nodded. Drescher left and drove half a mile down an old logging road to a small stream. He got out of the truck and walked up and down the stream looking for a place where the water flowed evenly and not too quickly.

He found it and started throwing the biggest rocks he could lift into the stream. When there was a big pile, he took off his shoes, waded into the shallow water, and built a crude dam by plugging the cracks in the rocks with mud. When the water flow was reduced to a trickle, Drescher returned to the truck and got his shovel. Directly below the dam, he dug a shallow grave in what had been the middle of the stream.

***

"You guys better be ready to work, 'cause I'm a monster with this thing!" St. Denis told the fringies gathered for the planting party. He was standing beside the greenhouse, waving a hole puncher in the air. Everyone but Dan Reid laughed. Standing alone at the edge of the group, he forced a smile.

"Here's the way we do it: I go ahead punchin' the holes; you guys come along behind, plantin' the daisies. If you even come close to keepin' up with me, we'll be done by sunset."

"If I know you, you'll sneak back here and get into the beer and pizza while we're out there, slavin' away," teased Kurt Cleaver, St. Denis's best friend.

St. Denis raised the hole puncher like it was a baseball bat and threatened to chase Cleaver.

"Watch me burn out there," he said. "We'll have this baby knocked off in no time."

It was a perfect spring evening. The leaves on the maples, elms, birches, and oaks on the hillsides were a lush green. Swallows, diving over a nearby pond; did aerial acrobatics as they took insects.

St. Denis was as good as his word, punching row after row of holes while the fringies, on hands and knees, crawled along behind, putting daisies in the ground and covering the roots with soil. It was after dark when they finished and went over to Kurt and Janet Cleaver's house to pop open beers and dig into vegetarian pizzas. Every fifteen minutes or so, St. Denis ran out to the greenhouse to move a jerry-rigged watering system.

"Wait'll you see that field in bloom!" he yelled after one trip. "It's gonna be bee-ooo-tiffff-llll!"

The party broke up around ten o'clock. St. Denis and Debra packed the kids in their Blazer and were on their way home when Chuck stopped at the intersection of Stull's Run Road, a mile from the nursery. Dan Reid was there, waiting on his Yamaha.

St. Denis leaned out of the driver's window. "I'm beat, Daruka," he said. "I don't wanna drive Deb and the kids home and then go all the way up to your place. Let's do it another night.

"Hey! don't do that to me, I'm really up for this," in; Reid said."

"Well, all right, I'll tell you what. Let's just go from here," St. Denis said. "The kids will be asleep by the time time we get there."

Reid looked at Debra and began shifting the weight of the bike from one foot to the other. When he spoke, his voice was an octave higher than usual.

"Naw, let's forget it; It's no big deal. Go home and get the kids to bed. I'll come by tomorrow and we'll set something up."

Chuck threw the Blazer into gear and drove on to the old farmhouse. There he helped Debra tuck in the two kids. Then he popped a Molson's, went upstairs, took a bath, and put on a pair of jogging pants. He and Debra had just gotten into bed and were about to turn off the lights when the phone beside the bed rang. It was eleven thirty.

"Hari bol," St. Denis said, answering with the traditional Krishna greeting.

He listened for a few seconds. Then he chuckled and said, "You're so mental." A few seconds later he added, "All right, I'll meet you there," and hung up.

"That was Reid," he told Debra as he climbed out of bed. "He was calling from the pay phone outside Ma Eddy's. He owes me fifty bucks. He had it on him when he saw us, but forgot to give it to me. He wants to get it to me now before he forgets again."

St. Denis pulled on his pants. He didn't like lying to Debra, but like Reid had said, he had been working hard. He deserved a party.

"I'll be right back. It shouldn't take more than ten minutes to get up there and back."

St. Denis grabbed his Molson's and walked out to the Chevy Blazer. He got in and drove past Ma Eddy's, the general store where he told Debra he was going to meet Reid. He turned onto the road that leads to the Palace of Gold, then onto a narrow dirt road that got narrower and more deeply rutted as it snaked up the mountain. He drove slowly, taking a slug now and then from the beer he had stuck in a plastic holder mounted on the dash.

St. Denis parked in front of the Artist's Studio, got out, and waited for his eyes to adjust to the dark. After a few moments, he walked slowly down a path that led around the studio to the only door. He was approaching the door when Thomas Drescher stepped out of the shadows and aimed a .22 pistol at him.

St. Denis froze. He heard something rustle in the woods behind him and took his eyes off Drescher for a split second. Dan Reid was standing beside a maple tree, aiming another .22 at him.

"Get inside, we wanna talk to you," Drescher said.

St. Denis turned to run back up the path.

Pop! Pop! Pop! Pop!

Drescher rapid-fired his .22.

Reid let his gun drop to his side.

"Shoot him!" Drescher screamed at Reid, "Shoot him!"

St. Denis was hit twelve times. He crumpled and went down. But then, almost immediately, as Reid and Drescher watched in amazement, he struggled back onto his feet and half staggered, half ran back down the path toward the Blazer. He stumbled like a drunk who has been decked in a bar fight.

Drescher dropped his gun and ran after him. He lowered his shoulder and dove into St. Denis, hitting him behind the knees. The big man went down. Drescher rolled him over and climbed onto his heaving chest.

"Get a knife!" he yelled at Reid. "Get a knife!"

Reid felt like he was going to vomit. For an instant he thought about running away, but he was afraid if he did, Drescher would come after him and kill him, too. He ran into the cabin and came out with a kitchen knife.

"Chant!" Drescher was screaming. "Start chanting!"

Drescher thought he was doing St. Denis one last favor. As Sri Krishna says in the Bhagavad-Gita, "Those who remember me at the time of death will come to me. Do not doubt this." By forcing St. Denis to chant, Drescher thought he was guaranteeing him a more spiritual life in his next incarnation.

But St. Denis would not die. Coughing blood and gasping for breath, he tried to throw Drescher off his chest. Drescher grabbed the knife and stabbed him. Again and again. Hard and deep. Finally, the blade hit a rib and snapped. St. Denis kept struggling.

Reid ran back to his cabin and grabbed a screwdriver. Drescher stabbed St. Denis with that. St. Denis fought on, screaming in agony. Reid found a hammer and Drescher hit him with that, punching a one-inch hole in his skull. St. Denis went limp and stopped fighting. Breathing deeply, Drescher climbed off him. He and Reid were looking down at the bloody body when St. Denis started emitting long, high-pitched screams like a German shepherd that has been hit by a truck.

Drescher and Reid dragged St. Denis down the logging road to the dammed-up stream. They dumped the body on the swampy ground and stumbled around trying to find the grave Drescher had dug.

It had disappeared.

Reid was mentally numb. Part of his mind denied it was all happening; the other part screamed, "Get it over with. Get it over with!" He ran up and down, back and forth across the stream bed. Suddenly, he fell in water up to his waist. He had found the hole. Water had seeped up from the ground, filling it. While Reid bailed it out with a shovel, Drescher unfolded a sheet of plastic.

"Get over here and help me get him in this," Drescher yelled.

Reid put down his shovel, walked over to the body, and picked up one end of the plastic. They were about to wrap St. Denis's head when he opened his eyes.

"Don't do that, you'll smother me," he said.

Reid screamed, a long, piercing scream of pure terror. He stopped, glanced at the body, and screamed again. Then he bolted into the woods.

Drescher watched him go. He had expected as much out of the little wimp. Killing didn't bother Drescher; he had found that out in Vietnam. He finished sheathing St. Denis in plastic and was dragging him to the hole when Reid reappeared.

"It's a good thing for you that you came back," Drescher said in an even, menacing voice. "Get over here and help me get him in."

Reid walked around to the other side of the body and helped Drescher drop St. Denis into the hole. St. Denis was still breathing when the first shovelfuls of dirt hit him.

Reid and Drescher filled the grave; Reid working fast, Drescher at a steady pace. When the hole was covered, they knocked down Drescher's dam.

"Ever do this when you were a kid?" Drescher asked.

Reid flinched.

"I used to build dams all the time," Drescher said.

Within fifteen minutes, the stream had covered St. Denis's grave, and the gurgling current had carried away all the loose soil. The killers walked back to the artist's studio. Drescher got into St. Denis's Blazer and drove to Bridgeport, a small town across the Ohio River from Wheeling. Reid followed in Drescher's pickup truck. Drescher parked the Blazer near the home of Big John, a friend of St. Denis's and a marijuana dealer. He wiped the car clean of fingerprints, returned to the pickup, and rode back to the Artist's Studio with Reid.

When they returned across the Ohio River, they threw the .22s they had used on St. Denis out the window and into the water below the bridge.

The eastern sky was turning violet when Dan Reid walked into the tiny cabin where Brenda and his kids were sleeping. It was his first visit in weeks. Brenda woke up frightened and snapped on a light. Dan was soaking wet and covered with mud. His skin was as white as tofu and there were deep black circles under his eyes.

"What happened? What's going on?" Brenda asked.

Reid said nothing. Without bothering to undress, he lay down on the bed, took his wife in his arms and held her. It was a long time before he let go.
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Re: Charles Carreon, The Arizona Kid

Postby admin » Fri Oct 18, 2013 7:52 am

LEONARD COHEN, POISONED BY ZEN, by Charles Carreon

Image

Sometimes an artist produces one work too many. The one that shows he is not only past his prime, but has actually gone to seed. With Ten New Songs, the listener witnesses a great talent going into eclipse.

This is not that grizzled troubadour of the bizarre, who filled acid-soaked brains with images like "then you killed the lights in a lonely lane, and an ape with angel glands, erased the final wisps of pain with the music of rubber bands." It is not that one who immortalized Suzanne, and reminded us that Jesus was a sailor, etc. From the deck of Leonard's ship, you could see Salvador Dali, feverishly painting a surreal other shore.

No such fervid imaginations illuminate Ten New Songs, but the title is still descriptive, for Cohen has certainly come up with a “new” way of singing without having a song in his heart. But soon he will be quiet forever, or so he keeps reminding us. Whence came this strange malaise? Cohen has spent the last five years, they say, in a Zen monastery. This would seem to be borne out by the bizarre tilt of his thoughts, such as "I don't trust my inner feelings -- inner feelings come and go." This may be proper Buddhist dogma, but it isn't the stuff of good music. This is a New Song indeed -- one that ventures indifference as a musical theme. It is actually the worst CD I have ever heard.

I only listened to six and half of the Ten New Songs, but even this brief encounter had a depressing effect similar to a long chat with a suicidal friend. If it weren't for the depressing effect, however, the CD would be useful for lowering blood pressure. The pacing of these compositions is elephantine. To call them sedate overstates their stimulating effect. Torpid would be more like it. In one tuneless tune, Cohen dwells obsessively on the image of "dark rivers." I felt like I'd won a free vacation to buy time share in the underworld, and Cohen was the salesman. He was very convincing. I felt dead already.

Zen meditation seems to have lowered the temperature of Leonard’s mind. In one New Song he says he’s turned to ice within, and finds it “crowded and cold” inside himself. One is tempted to caution him to be wary of falling into the same fate as the senescent Ram Dass, who meditated himself into a stroke by visualizing himself as an old man with failing extremities and vision. His adventure of the imagination precipitated exactly what he contemplated, and he now is rolled about by his spiritual nabobs in a wheelchair he calls his “swan boat.” If the lethargic rhythms of the New Songs are any indication, Leonard may be drifting a little close to the big drain that goes straight down. The pulse of this music is so faint as to be nearly comatose, tending toward flatline.

From his present vantage point, Leonard Cohen sees no light, or if he does, he brings no report of it. He has one direction resolved, as well -- deeper into the shadowland. He says he knows he's forgiven, but doesn't know exactly how. I was left wondering when he'd been found guilty, and if his sentence was perhaps too severe. Leonard seems to be seeking closure and resolution, coming to terms, preparing for the end. But from the results displayed in these New Songs, I suspect he would have been better off keeping his accounts open, getting and spending the rich treasury of the imagination. In this album he seems hypnotized by the anticipated darkness of death. Tragically, his song has preceded him to the grave.
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Re: Charles Carreon, The Arizona Kid

Postby admin » Fri Oct 18, 2013 7:53 am

LUCRETIUS, SAGE OF THE FIRST MILLENNIUM, by Charles Carreon

I encountered Lucretius quite by accident one day, when I was killing time in opposing counsel's waiting room in a Portland high rise. Very fancy firm with a pale skinned, raven-tressed, black-Irish type gal with length in the legs and arms and hands posted behind the phone. Classy reading material, too. "The Roman Philosophers." Not to be paralyzed by the receptionist, I went to work reading this stuff by Lucretius, about how blood is life, and when you bleed you die, and how therefore your life substance is one with your blood. Good thinking, I thinks to myself, and puts the guy's name away at the back of my head. Years later, I get me a copy of Lucretius, and the guy's no disappointment. Check out the way he gets going, after doing the usual ass-kissing to the sovereign, the then-current Caesar, urging him to speed past the objections of Roman scribes and embrace freedom of thought:

"One thing that worries me is the fear that you may fancy yourself embarking on an impious course, setting your feet on the path of sin. Far from it. More often it is this very superstition that is the mother of sinful and impious deeds. Remember how at Aulis the altar of the Virgin Goddess was foully stained with the blood of Iphigineia by the leaders of the Greeks, the patterns of chivalry. The headband was bound about her virgin tresses and hung down evenly over both her cheeks. Suddenly, she caught sight of her father, standing sadly in front of the altar, the attendants beside him hiding the knife and her people bursting into tears when they saw her. Struck dumb with terror, she sank on her knees to the ground. Poor girl, at such a moment it did not help her that she had been first to give the name of father to a king. Raised by the hands of men, she was led trembling to the altar. Not for her the sacrament of marriage and the loud chant of Hymen. It was her fate in the very hour of marriage to fall a sinless victim to a sinful rite, slaughtered to her greater grief by a father's hand, so that a fleet might sail under happy auspices. Such are the heights of wickedness to which men are driven by superstition."

As I read these words, I wanted to stand up and cheer, and also to avenge the blood of all the uselessly slaughtered virgins of humanity. So from small intentions do we undertake greater works. Lucretius is the prophet of good sense.

What sense, man, to torment yourself with thoughts of the afterlife when then you'll be dead, insensible, restored to the silence of earthly clay? Death, you idiot, is what we should look forward to when our daily troubles torment us. Someday this will end! It will be over, finished, done. So, on the other hand, you should enjoy what you can, because someday it will end. He grasps this ambivalence of good and bad, pleasure and pain, directly by the horns and does away with none of it. The best a guy can hope to do is clear all the dysfunctional, inhibiting, non-productive bullshit out of his skull. Then he can sit around with Lucretius and ask himself questions about how the hell physical images of reality can fly around in space and stick to your eyeball. (Lucretius versus modern knowledge of optical phenomena is not a pretty sight, but on the other hand, he hacks through with manful attitude.)

According to this here Penguin edition, translated very smoothly by Ronald Latham, Lucretius "must have been born soon after 100 B.C., and was probably already dead when his poem was given to the world in 55 B.C. Almost nothing is known about his life. He was a Roman citizen and a friend of Gaius Memmius, an eminent Roman statesman, and his poem was read and admired by Cicero. It is doubtful if there is any truth in the story preserved by St. Jerome and immortalized by Tennyson that he died by his own hand after being driven mad by a love philtre."

Starting off with a virgin sacrifice wasn't good enough for my man Lucretius, not by a sight. He's got to deal with some serious opposition, because Romans were the original heretic-hunters, you will recall all the unpleasantness with the Christians and the lions, well, with Jesus himself! 'Nuff said.

So he's steeling the sovereign for the blow of social disapproval:

"You yourself, if you surrender your judgment at any time to the blood-curdling declamations of the prophets, will want to desert our ranks. Only think what phantoms they can conjure up to overturn the tenor of your life and wreck your happiness with fear. And not without cause. For, if men saw that a term was set to their troubles, they would find strength in some way to withstand the hocus-pocus and intimidations of the prophets. As it is, they have no power of resistance, because they are haunted by the fear of eternal punishment after death. They know nothing of the nature of the spirit. Is it born, or is it implanted in us at birth? Does it perish with us, dissolved by death, or does it visit the murky depths and dreary sloughs of Hades? Or is it transplanted by divine power into other creatures, as described in the poems of our own Ennius, who first gathered on the delectable slopes of Helicon an evergreen garland destined to win renown among the nations of Italy? Ennius indeed in his immortal verses proclaims that there is also a Hell, which is people not by our actual spirits or bodies but only by shadowy images, ghastly pale. It is from this realm that he pictures the ghost of Homer, of unfading memory, as appearing to him, shedding salt tears and revealing the nature of the universe.

I must therefore give an account of celestial phenomena, explaining the movements of sun and moon and also the forces that determine events on earth. Next, and no less important, we must look with keen insight into the makeup of spirit and mind: we must consider those alarming phantasms that strike upon our minds when they are awake but disordered by sickness, or when they are buried in slumber, so that we seem to see and hear before us men whose dead bones lie in the embraces of the earth."

Having previously noted that the Greeks were the ones who really gave us the nugget of the scientific method with their pragmatic discoveries, he returns again to that topic:

"I am well aware that it is not easy to elucidate in Latin verse the obscure discoveries of the Greeks. The poverty of our language and the novelty of the theme compel me often to coin new words for the purpose. But your merit and the joy I hope to derive from our delightful friendship encourage me to face any task however hard. This it is that leads me to stay awake through the quiet of the night, studying how by choice of words and the poet's art I can display before your mind a clear light by which you can gaze into the heart of hidden things."

That's Hallmark card language, children. Wine-glass droppin' language. "Gaze into the heart of hidden things." That's lovely.

Very tempting to want to see into what is hidden. Part of the appeal of pornography, and astronomy. I always say there are two unperishing sources of inspiration: the landscape and the nude. Of course, into the landscape we must include the star-scape. Take note that Bob Guccione, the founder of Penthouse, also created Omni, the first pop-sci mag that made graphics a staple. Now we've got a whole Discovery channel.

But as the inheritors of the great, articulated tradition of science, we are the pissed-off heirs who hate technology. And why not? It gave us the atom bomb, constant anxiety, an accelerating sense of white guilt, and cultural anomie. What's to be grateful for?

Well, for the excitement I felt as a kid when I walked around the great universities of the country. My Dad took me to Harvard yard when I was a kid, and to all manner of other higher education shrines. And you know what? It does rub off. I loved it. The atmosphere of freedom, of intelligence unbound, making its own rules. Sure, there's a little bit of fantasy there, too, but it's justified, for as Lucretius would exult, we are pulling ourselves up by ourselves. No gods are helping. No gods can pull us down. We make ourselves by our own hands and with our own minds and words.

What is mysteriously learned by priests through arcane methods that can only be understood by the cognoscenti is suspect. By the time a person is qualified to say, "I have seen the mystic vision and it is as the tradition describes it," they have undergone so much conditioning that they are fundamentally unreliable sources of information. And when, as today , most Eastern mystics admit they don't know it for themselves, but they're sure the traditional sources must be right, what warrant of reliability is that? If we're going to believe something, shouldn't it be verifiable?

Does the Buddhist appeal to "verify it yourself" hold water? Not in my opinion. If you try and verify this yourself in the traditional way, it'll take 20 years to find out they don't know what they're talking about, and you'll be as pissed off as Ambu to have invested all that time ( your youth) in a badly-designed experiment with yourself as the guinea pig. And little time left to design a new one!

If you try and verify it in an objective, analytical fashion, I don't think you'll be any more satisfied with the results than Steven Batchelor was. I can't say for sure what he does believe, but I'm pretty sure he doesn't believe what he was told, translated, and promulgated for years and years. And he's a pretty smart guy, certainly a lot smarter than the half-baked bagels that put him down. If he says the stuff doesn't pencil out in the logic department, I bet he didn't just make it up because he was tired of the smell of lamb stew and tsampa. He has legitimate objections. And nobody wants to hear them within the tradition. All of his years of scholarship are like rags in the gutter. He's an apostate, a backslider, not a respected critic. Most strict Vajrayanists wouldn't let him wash their socks. Which is why the idea that the lamas urge students to "check it out themselves" has no validity. It's a joiners religion.

So back to Lucretius, why not? Back to the dark of night, the light of day, the wetness of water and the heat of flame.
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Re: Charles Carreon, The Arizona Kid

Postby admin » Fri Oct 18, 2013 7:55 am

MAKING MONSTERS FOR MY FRIENDS, by Charles Carreon

Image

Image

The Ramones wrote:

Click here to play "I'm Makin' Monsters For My Friends" http://www.rapeutation.com/02MakinMonstersForMyFriends.mp3

Everybody said so, man ...
You could see it on T.V.
They stood there ashamed with nowhere to go

Nobody wants them now
The kids are alright
Every day is a holiday
Pushin' people around

I'm making monsters for my friends
I'm making monsters for my friends

Someone caught one I could see so myself
I had to call 254 so they wouldn't blame me
We wanted to know how much trouble there was
When we asked our Daddy, he said, "It's just because."

I'm making monsters for my friends
I'm making monsters for my friends

I don't wanna open a can of worms and
I don't want any Spagetti-Os
And I could always tell when
someone is holding a grudge

I'm making monsters for my friends
I'm making monsters for my friends
I'm making monsters for my friends
I'm making monsters for my friends


This song is on the last Ramones album, Adios Amigos, which has the cheapest, schtickiest photo shoot on the back. They've got the band like about to be put in front of a firing squad, and their hands are tied behind their backs with some cheap skinny twine, like they're not even desperados, they're parcels. But the album was great even though the photography sucked, and this song is one of the greatest. It's of course impossible to estimate the beauty of a song like this from looking at the lyrics. It's the merest symbolism really, a cipher for the ineffable experience of listening to the Ramones on your car stereo, or in your living room, bedroom, wedding chapel, church, bathhouse, or suicide parlor.

Like many of the best Ramones songs, I have no idea what the song is "about," and I have no doubt it is about something. Just the image, though, of someone hiding in a basement splitting protons and every now and then whipping out a few monsters for their friends, that's what I love about that song.

You could have all kinds of friends if you made monsters. It's the sort of thing a geeky kid would do.

Lawyers are kind of geeky, at least corporate lawyers are, and so maybe they like to make corporate monsters for their powerful friends.

A corporate monster is something to see.
A centralized, integrated,
Ball-bearing, four-squaring,
Profit-sucking, downsizing,
Lean mean people-fucking machine.

A corporate monster is something to see.
A remote-controlled distintegrator
Hemispheric renovator
On a rampage with a license to breed
Its own mechanistic seed.

John Lennon wrote:

Click hear to play "Working Class Hero"

As soon as you're born they make you feel small
By giving you no time instead of at all
'Til the pain is so big you feel nothing at all
A working class hero is something to be,
A working class hero is something to be.
They hurt you at home and they hit you at school,
They hate you if you're clever and they despise a fool,
Till you're so fucking crazy you can't follow the rules,
A working class hero is something to be,
A working class hero is something to be.
When they've tortured and scared you for twenty odd years,
Then they expect you to pick a career,
When you can't really function you're so full of fear,
A working class hero is something to be,
A working class hero is something to be.
Keep you doped with religion and sex and TV,
You think you're so clever and classless and free,
But you're still fucking peasants as far as I can see,
A working class hero is something to be,
A working class hero is something to be.
There's room at the top they are telling you still,
But first you must learn how to smile when you kill,
If you want to be like the folks on the hill
A working class hero is something to be,
A working class hero is something to be.
If you want to be a hero, well then just follow me
If you want to be a hero, well then just follow me


The drive to take on the corporate abuse of human beings is beginning to get a little momentum. The Sun just published an Interview with Robert Hinckley, a corporate lawyer who is trying to get corporate law changed to include a duty to take cognizance of the concerns of human beings, as well as profit, when making decisions. His plan is to add "28 words" to the law of corporations:

Robert Hinckley wrote:

The duty of directors henceforth shall be to make money for shareholders but not at the expense of the environment, human rights, public health and safety, dignity of employees, and the welfare of the communities in which the company operates.


Not really an outrageous proposal. Tara even questioned why it would add anything to the law as it stands. I responded that adding this limitation on the right to garner profit would motivate corporate boards to consider "the environment, human rights, etc.," which they currently are actually deterred from doing by laws that say that the board's duty is to maximize profit for the corporation, and to offload costs onto "outsiders" -- workers, the public health, the environment, unborn generations. Eliminating this heartless and backward excuse for atavistic behavior by the corporate elite would certainly alter a significant tenet of corporate responsibility.
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Re: Charles Carreon, The Arizona Kid

Postby admin » Fri Oct 18, 2013 8:05 am

MARTIN LUTHER KING -- NO REST UNTIL WE REACH THE GOAL, by Charles Carreon

Dr. Martin Luther King wrote:

"America has given the Negro people a bad check which has come back marked 'insufficient funds.' But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check -- a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism."


Today is January 19, 2004, the national holiday dedicated to celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King's birthday. I had never read his "I Have a Dream" speech until now. It is short, simple and moving. Given from the steps of the Lincoln monument, in the "shadow" of the Great Emancipator, Dr. King chose the traditional language of debt and payments. For people who have been bought and sold as property from the foundations of this nation, who have been dogged by scheming white thieves with their company stores and low-money-down deals, it was an acceptable choice of metaphor.

We can easily imagine the sea of faces Dr. King addressed that day, and the hopes of conflicting millions eager to hear what he would say. Although he is now thought of as a man who showed great patience, he warned his fellows against indulging in the "drug of gradualism." That is a timely phrase for those involved in changing any negative, oppressive structure. Why?

Because if anything is so unjust that it demands change, it should be changed now. If a man is beating a child, he must stop now. We can't say, "Let him change his habits gradually, and continue beating the child moderately, finally less and less, and at last not at all." Of course, we see many child abuse cases where welfare workers have taken just this gradualistic attitude, to the sorrow and shame of our entire society, when children are pulled out of closets chained and stained with shit and pee, or when their tiny bodies are buried, covered with cigarette burns and bruises. Gradually, all hope expired for those poor ones.

Of course, I choose a stark example, but if you put the idea to the test you find it is invariably true. The only types of changes that should be made gradually are those that cannot be done immediately. If you suddenly realize you're driving 80 mph on a snowy road, don't slam on the brakes! But if you're collaborating with an oppressive system, you need to stop collaborating now. If you're tolerating abuse, you need to end your tolerance now. We tolerate good things, we reject evil things as soon as we recognize them.

Much like those who try to get Ambu to "moderate her criticism," Dr. King was constantly told that if he pressed for "too much, too fast," it would stimulate "white backlash" and things would end up worse than ever. After all, slavery had ended. Black people had made progress. Official segregation was limited to the deep south. Lynching had been greatly reduced in number. Why, a black man was even permitted to speak from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial! How much more progress do you need?

Dr. King wrote:

"There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, 'When will you be satisfied?' We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro's basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote."


As long as you are being insulted and subjected to unequal treatment, you know you have not arrived. Dr. King understood that he and all black Americans were being oppressed unfairly. When he told his followers not to drink the drug of gradualism, he was negotiating with his own people for a position of "no more compromise." It is hard to reach that point of no-compromise, demanding change now. It remains difficult for African-Americans today. Nowadays, like everyone else, African-Americans are busy running in place, with heavier burdens, less government aid, and lower paying jobs than white people. But in those days, Dr. King had a huge crowd of people in front of the Lincoln Memorial to demand justice for themselves and their loved ones.

People want to believe we've made some progress since Dr. King was murdered, but actually there's been a disgusting assault on black culture in the form of the cruel system of drug prosecution, with its use of informants and financial rewards for poor young men, literally sending federal agents into poor areas to foment drug crime. As a federal public defender, I was shocked to learn of the amount of money the government pours into the drug trade and never recovers. Then drugs are resold out of the evidence lockers, so they're not taken off the street.

White Americans don't face racial oppression, and they bury all symptoms of their economic inequality. The average white American arms himself against the reality that the Very Rich exploit the shit out of everyone who is Not Very Rich, keeping the moderately talented in a real-life Matrix that measures your productivity, credit ratings, profitability, and future prospects, as well as making the clock run faster when you're sleeping, and slower when you're working. We live in a machine, and even make big movies about how it hasn't happened yet.

Of course, there's a myth that we've made much progress toward racial equality. Racial equality apparently means that now, instead of country music, "gangsta" rap grinds out of every orifice in the nation, advertising some sick image of the black man that has been bought into by the likes of "P. Diddy" and other assorted fools. You can still see the total cultural divide. Black kids, statistically, spend a lot of time in prison, living off the real consequences of being what some record producer said they should be, or maybe framed by some sick cops. For white kids, the Generation X, slacker, MTV generation caricatures are sometimes painfully accurate, accounting for the current lost generation of non-voters. Dilbert is a real person. Dancing yourself silly in an ecstasy den is considered a reasonable activity for young white people. And political participation among young people is not going to take off until someone starts a campaign to get out the vote, directed at young women, with the theme, "I can't resist men who vote." Even more effective would be a negative campaign, with pretty girls dropping slogans like these: "Not voting? What a turnoff!"

So regular folks try to ignore the sting of economic inequality, which leads to restricted life choices and opportunities, bathing in media fantasy and not giving a thought to political action. Spiritual seekers go even farther. In fact, many seekers of Eastern Wisdom are pretty comfortable financially, which is why they're very desirable devotees. They have enough time to invest in spiritual practice, and they have money to pay for teachings. Best of all, they are so comfortable with their social situation that they are ready to do something really creative -- by renouncing their right to receive equal treatment.

The spiritual seeker who sets a guru above himself, handing them the power to guide the course of their life, is in a position that seems very different from that of the thousands who stood listening to Dr. King's speech, knowing how badly they wanted freedom. Does Dr. King's lecture on the importance of demanding immediate freedom from oppression have meaning for someone looking to assume an inferior position?

I think so, because Dr. King was speaking to the impulse to self-subjugate when he warned against gradualism. The gradualists were willing to accept that, somehow, they were in fact inferior, and had to tolerate the oppression. They needed the fortification of Dr. King's words. He showed them the rightness of their position, as Tom Paine's words showed George Washington's soldiers the rightness of theirs, persuading them to remain with the revolutionary army through the long winter. Dr. King's soldiers marched with him until he was killed, and although we have not yet reached victory, they are marching on, seeking fulfillment of his dream. For freedom is a dream that revives again and again.

To the audience likely to read this, I would address a similar argument -- you have the right to retain your equality right now, and must not surrender it to grow spiritually. In some ways, equality is all you have. It's the last thing you can barter away. People who have nothing else left, and need help, will bow down in front of someone and beg them for help. As a practical matter, that often gets them a boot in the head, but they still do it. Simply abasing yourself is the currency of last resort.

Of course, you know you're not that desperate. You just want to improve your situation, and are willing to make some compromises to do it. Surrendering to a Spiritual Superior just seems like a good idea, because He is more powerful, more skilled, wiser, more successful. I suggest you think twice before you exalt this Personage above you, because there is no possible justification for doing it. There is nothing that needs doing that cannot be done between equals. And there is no superiority sufficient to justify abdicating your equality.

White people, with their dominating power structure, extensive wealth, and weighty cultural legacy, often argued for a right of natural superiority. This notion undergirds the doctrine of Manifest Destiny and the White Man's Burden, that justified the annihilation of Native Americans, the theft of the Mexican west, and any number of wars to make the world safe for democracy, including the current Imperial venture. We now recognize Manifest Destiny is a corrupt idea, because regardless of the impressiveness and strength of the philosophical, economic, cultural or military might of a nation, its people have no right to declare themselves superior. We know this very well.

Privileged, sensitive Americans deeply desire to find a cultural alternative to armed technocratic exploitation of the planet. We are ashamed of being the predator-dominator-manipulator nation. Wouldn't it be nice, we think, if instead of a Bush Gang, we had the Dalai Lama and a group of wise Tibetan lamas running the country? We could exchange Bush's clear inferiority for the Dalai Lama's clear superiority, bank the difference and reduce the deficit. We can even do without voting, because the choice is so clear, and once he's in power, the Dalai Lama would diplomatically arrange everything perfectly. Silly, you say? Only because Courtney Love hasn't suggested it yet.

There is vast disinformation about Tibet, including the inflation of its philosophical status via the Shangri-La Myth, and the frank misrepresentation of the Dalai Lama's role position as a god-king with a thousand years of lineage. It would undoubtedly calm the swelling waves of adulation to know the true history of the lineage, including the serial assassination of the Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh, and Twelfth Dalai Lamas. For those who now conclude that I am a Chinese Communist agent, I assure you that is no more true of me than of Jackie Chan. Like every Tibet-aware liberal, I have been noisily furious about the USA's "human rights policy" toward China, that subordinates the immediate freedom of Asian people to the "gradualist" creed of "constructive engagement."

However, the evil of the Chinese government will not turn the sow's ear of Tibetan feudalism into the silk purse of Shangri-La. But don't tell a recent convert to Tibetan Buddhism that. With a minimum of information about the people they are eager to emulate, filled with loathing for American culture, and eager to cast away the freedom they have always enjoyed so lightly and which has benefited them so little, many Americans begin to think they'd have been happier, and better people, if they had lived their lives eating tsampa and yak butter in the Tibetan highlands. Well, it doesn't sound so bad, especially when you're sitting in a traffic jam in San Francisco, feeling guilty about how your tax dollars are being used to dismember Iraqi citizens who caused our nation no harm.

We wish we could change our society, but at least we want to change ourselves. Like the kids in John Waters' movie, "Hairspray," we want to declare: "Our skins are white, but our souls are black." Understandable for anyone with sensitivity about our cultural role as oppressors, or beneficiaries of oppression. Nevertheless, the idea of surrendering our individual equality to a group of superior people remains a corrupt idea, a dangerous idea. Dr. King had to fight against having it forced down his throat. We must be careful not to consume it willingly, motivated by guilt and remorse.

And consider the ironies that result from embracing the remnants of the cultures that our fathers have blasted to the edge of extinction! New Agers wander the globe collecting trinkets of every type -- crystals, special rocks, magic herbs -- seeking meetings with "tribal elders," "shamanic visionaries," and "Tibetan lamas." So now, we have to worry that profiteers will kill people to create traditional sacred Tibetan bone implements, will tear apart burial grounds to find "Indian relics," and will tear apart the last reaches of the Amazon, searching for rare entheogenic substances. Because we destroy what we desire, and in our heart of hearts, we are always from the Oppressor Tribe.

The only good thing about being an oppressor is that you can try to change the oppressor mentality. You can foment the spirit of equality. My brother, a prosecutor his whole life, encouraged me to become a federal prosecutor when the opportunity was extended. I declined, because I try to avoid hypocrisy, but my brother's suggestion was well-intentioned and intelligent. He pointed out that I would effectively have the power to pardon people by choosing never to prosecute them in the first place.

So if you are one of the Oppressor Tribe, you should not avoid your duty lightly. Only you can pardon by not prosecuting. Only you can take control of the Evil Ship of State and turn it into the Good Ship of World Brotherhood and Healing. But not if we reject the system of government that we are supposed to control. Not if we hide our head in the sand, say that "Everything Is Empty," and "Compassion Is Realised in the Heart and Needs No Outer Expression" and don't bother to vote against the tyrannical forces that control our government.

If we decide that we are no better than peasants, bowing down before our Spiritual Superiors, then we will be busy doing their bidding, following their agendas. When we know very well what our agenda should be, if we have the clarity to realize it, and the sincerity to pursue it. And if we should not pursue it, we the privileged of the world, whose fathers conquered its people and divided its territory, leaving us with a debt of blood and slavery? Then the saying from Jesus of Nazareth is most appropriate: "Ye are the salt of the earth, and if the salt shall lose its savor, wherewith shall it be salted?"
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Re: Charles Carreon, The Arizona Kid

Postby admin » Fri Oct 18, 2013 8:07 am

MORE NEWS THAN IS FIT TO PRINT: DESIGNING COUNT BRUNO DE CAUMONT LAUNDERS PEDOPHILE IMAGERY IN A MASTERSTROKE OF SUBLIMINAL MESSAGING ON THE FRONT PAGE OF THE NEW YORK TIMES "HOUSE & HOME" SECTION, FEBRUARY 3, 2005

by Charles Carreon

One is rarely surprised by what one finds in the New York Times Home section. On Thusday, February 3, 2005, this pattern was broken by a surprising development. The better part of the first page was dominated by a full-color spread with laudatory text about a new up-and-coming designer, Count Bruno de Caumont, whose interior designs are praised as a source of "spiritual comfort," that you can wrap 'round your "hungry soul like a cashmere blanket". Imagine our surprise to discover that the spiritual nourishment comes in the form of a boudoir where any pederast would feel at home.

The alleged focus of the article is the charming Count, whose work creating an "ancien regime salon" is celebrated as evidence that he is one of the "most promising young talents to be watching," because of his ability to "to mix supple antiques with ... girls in black leather, that kind of thing." While few of us have a problem with girls in black leather, antiques and all, the photographic centerpiece of the Times articles is quite another sort of thing.

Allow your eyes to scroll down the page to imbibe this unique New York Times Home section. After a little observation, I concluded that the presentation applies established formulas for inserting subliminal messages into an innocuous scene. In reading the text of the article, I searched in vain for any reference to the subject matter of the picture that appears centrally above the couch-bed, above the fold, on the first page of this presumably wholesome section of the newspaper that proudly proclaims it prints only the news that is "fit to print." In the case of this article, the Times editors seem to have ignored their motto, exposing their reading public to a media presentation with a concealed agenda and precious little news value. While the centrally located picture begs for our attention, the text of the article directs our eyes to the pattern on the fabric wallpaper, to the furniture barely visible at the extreme left of the photograph, indeed, to anything but the picture. The picture itself, in a wooden frame, appears to have been draped with a gauzy fabric of some sort, softening the clear lines of the drawing, making it easier to overlook. Indeed, I almost overlooked it, but found myself drawn to study the picture more closely and then -- wow -- do you see what I see?

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Surely the publishers assumed that people would just gloss over this picture. Most people don't read the Home section. Many people who read the Home section are ... sympathetic to pedophilia? Jarred by the incongruity of the presentation, unable to reconcile the disconnect between the startling nature of the image and the shallow tone of the article, I began a personal quest to discover the purpose of this far-from-random presentation. My Google search began with four words: subliminal + advertising + figure + ground. The search engine hooked me up with an article by "Dr. Lechnar" at http://www.searchlores.org/realicra/sublimi.htm that contained some helpful information.

Dr. Lechnar wrote:

... advertisers [who have] done extensive study on how our brains perceives input [have] found that "most print advertising is designed for perceptual exposure time of less than one second." In other words, they are designed for the subconscious mind to absorb completely instantaneously while the conscious mind barely catches the headline. Not everyone perceives an image the same, however. Different perceptions would ultimately affect each person's level of subliminal receptivity. For example, "during a hypnotic trance, many subjects read quite fluently textual material presented to them upside down and even in mirror image-an impossible task for most people while awake." Key later concludes "it appears that individuals trained in linear reasoning, cognitively or quantitatively oriented, have higher [perception] thresholds and also appear more susceptible to substimuli." Advertisers take advantage of the fact that our society and its individual is sexually repressed in order to display sexually oriented subliminal messages.


Advertisers are helping people evade self-repression, supplying veiled images that reveal only to our subliminal awareness that which we secretly desire to consume.

Dr. Lechnar wrote:

This also partially explains why male genitalia is directed toward males in advertisements, and female genitalia toward females. Men would be more reserved in observing male genitalia while they would readily consciously perceive embedded female breasts.


Male genitalia are covertly displayed in the pedophile marketplace picture. One might look at the little boy naked and think -- oh, how classic. But the entire scene clearly depicts only one transaction -- a pimp offering a fresh young boy to an old lecher who leers up at him lustfully, cradling some sort of gourd between his splayed legs, revealing his own genitals in the process. The faces of the boy and the pederast are the clearest images in the scene, drawing them together. At the boy's side, an adolescent seems to be reassuring him about the exchange. Clinging to the pimp, a small child turns away from the scene. Examining this work, one is moved to wonder to what end the display is made on the front page of the Times Home section. The image is decidedly un-homey, except for those who suffer a very unfortunate home life.

One could think -- ah a prank! Someone wanted to give the editor a heart attack. Sabotage, I might say! While the moral decency arm of the administration fines Howard Stern off the air, pedophilia is finding safe refuge in a stylish haven designed by Count Bruno de Caumont, who can not only find a drawing hot enough to excite Aleister Crowley, he is talented enough to put together a room like this one, featured in the NYT online at http://www.nytimes.com/2005/02/03/garden/03bbox.html.

Really this is weird. Two articles about this guy in one issue of the NYT? Why didn't they use the picture that was on the print version? Local circulation in the NY Metro area is safe for the Roman hard stuff? Internet gets the softer-core Grecian treatment?

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I have come up with a simile for describing the manner of influencing a person without disturbing them. I call it "pulling their string." Everyone has a string by which they can be led. For many people it is obvious, but many strive to conceal it. Still, it can always be found. The string is attached to the person's blind spot. Whatever the person is blind to, that is their string. Obviously, most people are blind to flattery, and all people are blind to really skillful flattery. But people are blind to a lot of other things, too. They are blind to their prejudices, their loves, their hates, their deep, secret desires. And to each blindness is attached a string by which they can be led.

Dr. Lechnar wrote:

Advertisers take advantage of our defense mechanisms to inject subliminal messages into our subconscious mind. By using cultural taboos, our defense mechanisms block sexually explicit images from our conscious mind but our unconscious mind still perceives the image.


Subliminal images enter through the door of unconscious perception, directly into the hidden store of subconscious memory, where they can act upon us secretly.

Dr. Lechnar wrote:

Like conscious perception to subconscious perception, conscious memory is very limited, while subconscious memory has an enormous capacity but lacks the ability to intellectually synthesize and interpret information. The more emotionalized the data, for example sex and death, the more likely it is to be retained in subconscious memory.


Television and movies provide an alternating current of traumatic and stimulating imagery, in the typical sexy action thriller, or in the interplay between sexy advertising, scary news, glittery entertainment, and absurdist real-world drama. These alternating, basic stimuli tenderize the minds of modern humans, opening them to the inculcation of commercial messages.

Dr. Lechnar wrote:

Fear of death, pain, and suffering will warn us from dangerous situations. Since we live in a sheltered society, our primal drives and fears have been altered to fit other forms. These diametrical extremes-the beginning and the end, have been molded into desire for attention, reassurance, acceptance, immortality, and the fear of financial hardship, sexual insecurity, and loss of power. Few of us worry about when our next meal is, and whether we will be living tomorrow. If we are ever thirsty, we approach the nearest water fountain or the vending machine. Despite the fact that our drives and fears are subdued and domesticated, they still exist within us. Advertisers take advantage of this to tempt our deepest drives and scare our morbid fears.


The goal of the advertiser is "drive control," and in our repressed society, sexual appeals must be made furtively. Sexual messages are thus excellent vehicles for directing individuals to associate drive-fulfillment with use of a particular product.

Dr. Lechnar, quoting Carl Moog, wrote:

Some of the most pervasive, sexual imagery in advertising is more symbolic than blatant, although the connotations are far from subtle. The imagery sends a message to the unconscious, granting permission to fulfill sexual wishes and points the way to an attractor that can facilitate the encounter.


Resistance to such messages is low, because if sexual energy is deflected into a product purchase, that does not violate any taboos. Once aroused, sexual energy desires fulfillment. Without any new sexual prospects, which advertising does not help a consumer to find, the best way to relieve the pressure may be to purchase something -- pornography, a book, or a pair of shoes. In a word, the advertised product. Even if the consumer doesn't buy the advertised product, the commercial message has entered their mind and reinforced their tendency to think of themselves as a consumer. Commercialism inflames sexuality, then suggests that we purchase our way out of lust. Substitute acquisition for consummation.

Figure-Ground Relationships Make Efficient Use of Perceptual Capacity

Dr. Lechnar wrote:

To protect the brain from sensory overload, our perceptual defense mechanism distinguishes every perception into figure (foreground, subject) and ground (background, environment). We consciously notice the figure, while the ground floats around it unless something there brings it to the foreground.


The clever text-twirlers at the Times have turned the pedophile flesh-market imagery into the background, reversing the surrounding room into the figures by studiously denying textual attention to the picture, discussing instead personalities, wallpaper, and furniture, concealing the obvious in a welter of peripheral observations.

Six Subliminal Strategies Take Advantage of Ambiguities In Perception

Dr. Lechnar quoting Key, wrote:

... there are six general subliminal strategies: figure-ground reversals, embedding, double entendre, low-intensity light and low-volume sound, tachistoscopic displays, lighting and background sound.


Never Underestimate the Importance of Technology

Dr. Lechnar wrote:

At the dawn of subliminal advertising, graphic artists painted on photographs. That was very difficult to do without ruining the picture. Later, with bigger budgets and better equipment, graphic artists used airbrushes to craft their design onto billboards and then take a picture of it. Now, everything is done digitally on the computer with perfection.


The front page of the Times Home section is possibly the one place in the paper where the art editor gets to have fun, exploiting the four-color format to lighten the weight of the news. The skillful use of high-quality graphics has filled the central photograph with so much information that it is easy to become lost in the particulars of the arrangement, especially with the text directing the reader's attention to every extraneous detail. With attention deflected, the ignored image communicates its message silently to the unconscious.

Syncretistic Illusions Exploit The Mind's Tendency To See Only One of Two Possible Images In An Ambiguous Figure/Background Relationship

Dr. Lechnar wrote:

Perceptual psychologist Dr. E. Rubin created his famous Rubin's Profiles that can be found in almost every psychology text book today. His profiles, the faces and vases, old women and young women, duck and rabbit, are syncretistic (two sided) illusions. Noticing one set of features, you see one thing, while noticing another set of features, you see something else. Advertisers take advantage of this to paint subliminal messages into the picture's background. They are usually cultural taboos, making it even harder for the audience to perceive it.


Is this what was at work in the pedophilia piece in the New York Times? An attempt to place a taboo image in a background position, right where your unconscious can't miss it, but your conscious mind deliberately skates off it, because your cultural taboos tell you not to see it. Your cultural taboos may be telling you that if you see it as interesting, you're sick, and if you see it as inappropriate, you're repressed, so you should probably keep your mouth shut. And the effect of that is to make the topic both taboo and out in the open. How interesting.

Embedding Is Hiding One Image Inside Another

Dr. Lechnar wrote:

Embedding is the process of hiding one image in the form of another. This is a difficult process but if successful, very influential. Key writes, "Embeds enhance perceptual experience of the picture… Emotionalized, repressed information remains in the memory system for long periods, perhaps for a lifetime." Genitalia is one of the most often used images for embedding.


Since the avowed subject of the photograph is, according to the text of the article, everything except the picture, it seems clear that according to the New York Times, this photograph is of a room with great wallpaper and furniture done by a guy with "wit." He also has access to some pretty witty art, and apparently decorates for people who don't mind striking up indelicate matters with their parlor visitors on the large pink couch bed. Indeed, we could imagine the pimp and his brood being quite comfortable getting to know a new friend in such a nice room. If all this isn't subliminally present, well then excuuuuuuse me!

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Symbols Bypass Internal Censors

There is a prominent abstract symbol in the photograph -- the circular pattern on the book-cover in the foreground. Enlarging the image, it is clearly a series of overlapping triangles, creating both a pattern familiar in tantric ritual as the Shri Yantra, and invoking the hypnotist's op-art distractions, intended to dazzle the eye and numb attention. This symbol tickles the non-rational part of our mind, creating further openings for the entry of subliminal meanings.

Dr. Lechnar quotes Carl Moog, wrote:

Symbolic communications bypass the layers of logic and cultural appropriateness and head straight for the unconscious, which is then free to find an equivalence between what is symbolized, in this case sexual arousal…


Dr. Lechnar wrote:

Often, graphic artists mosaic SEXes onto textured surfaces or in edges, shadows, and highlights. Just pick up any major magazine, relax, and stare into it for a couple of minutes. You will soon find these SEXes popping out at you. Other commonly used words are FUCK, DIE, and KILL, among other emotionally loaded four letter words.


De-emphasizing An Image With Low Lighting Drops It Below The Perceptual Threshold

Dr. Lechnar wrote:

Another method tachistoscopic displays can use is superimposing the image onto existing image just below the conscious perception level, as Dr. Becker has done. Lighting and background sound adjust the mood of the scenery. In most cases, it reinforces the conscious perception.


The embedded picture has been dimmed down in some fashion, causing it to seem faded and perhaps, unimportant, to the casual eye.

The Eight Hidden Needs Advertisers Consciously Exploit

Dr. Lechnar wrote:

With motivational research, they have found eight hidden needs in the human psyche: emotional security, reassurance of worth, ego-gratification, creative outlets, love objects, sense of power, sense of roots, and immortality.


The embedded picture memorializes in classical forms a tableux of vice, in which a craven adult is delighted to contemplate the abomination he is about to enjoy inflicting upon a child, and all the rest of the world is complicit or suppressed. Does the embedded picture appeal to a hidden desire to satisfy forbidden impulses? Does it invite an "unconscious" indulgence? And for what purpose and to what end?

Perhaps the point is not just to induce tolerance of pedophilia, but more broadly to make us comfortable with bondage, slavery, as the human condition. Maybe that is the taboo that we are to acknowledge and ignore simultaneously. That in this cruel world, people will own people, people with power will bend and fold other people who have no power, and that all the world will stand aside as these perfidies are committed daily upon innocents. Who would advertise that kind of tolerance toward oppression?

No doubt I am repressed, and it is very stylish, very witty to accept this reality of the slave market, and tasteful to reduce it to classic proportions. And I am quite indelicate to make a big deal of it. Fashion should be above politics, I am sure some designer said.
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Re: Charles Carreon, The Arizona Kid

Postby admin » Fri Oct 18, 2013 8:16 am

NAZIS FOR PEACE, by Charles and by Tara Carreon

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Chapter One -- "Triumph of the Will"

Charkoff tied the silk tie with its small pattern round his neck, eyeing himself in the mirror. He loved the satiny glow of an immaculate white spread collar. Tired and buzzed simultaneously, as he always felt after too little sleep, after too much work, his mind was pulling the pieces of the trial in progress together like a jigsaw puzzle with innumerable pieces. His body was dragging as his mind raced, and his sense perceptions felt distant and tenuous.

In the elevator a woman in a striking black dress got on. Charkoff caught the impression of dark hair, gold earrings, a strange perfume that had a peppery edge that he didn't really want to breathe.

In the lobby he felt woozy, and leaned against a marble pillar topped with a pseudo-classy bust. Horrible decorating in the common areas. Recovering from what he assumed was the deceleration effect of the elevator ride, he aimed himself for the light spilling through the glass entry door. Air was what he needed.

The flavor of smog greeted him as a bus pulled away from the curb. He was reeling again, and lurched toward the blue mailbox for support.

Jimmy the doorman saw Mr. Charkoff slide limp to the pavement, like a fried egg slipping off a spatula. Jimmy called the paramedics, and they arrived nearly instantly, gathering Mr. Charkoff into the red and white van with meticulous speed. They didn't even talk to anyone; just raced away without a word. Then a short while later, some more paramedics arrived. There was a lot of confusion, since no one knew who the first paramedics were.

***

In the back of the paramedic van, the dark haired woman was looking through Charkoff's wallet. "Nat Charkoff, litigation partner at Brown & Steele - -antitrust section -- that's our boy." She stripped the clothes off Charkoff's inert body, covered him with a sheet and a blanket, emptied the pockets into a pile of items, removed his ring and watch, added them to the pile, and slipped all the items into a zippered bag.

"Time for some medicine," said the woman's companion, holding an oxygen mask over Charkoff's face. He was blonde, balding, with a beard, and he monitored a small gauge on a tank labeled Oxygen, which did not contain oxygen. He checked Charkoff's pulse. He looked like a paramedic.

The driver, a thin-faced latino with blue-black hair in light blue overalls, guided the van smoothly onto the freeway. He kept up with traffic, heading east over the hills out of Los Angeles, into the desert.

***

He woke to resounding quiet, and light pouring through windows set high in the wall. Something came to him with a ferocious sense of certainty. Paranoia. This situation was not of his making. He had not chosen to be here. The concept of choosing was important. The walls were against him. Behind the mirror over the sink, someone was watching. He would not look in that direction. They were holding him against his will. He tried to form the syllables of his name, but they would not come. His teeth began to chatter. It was terribly cold, he realized, and began to burrow into the covers, like a soft hole. And the world drained into him faster and faster like a whirlpool of recollected pain. Translucent thoughts floated round him, thick like fishes under the sea, and it was impossible to sort them out, there were so many, so terribly very many.

Next morning, or next week, he smelled coffee as he woke. It was on a little table near the door of the room, on a tray. He would drink it in a while. He closed his eyes and groped backward in time for the last recollectable event, the trial. He felt for the jigsaw pieces of facts, closed his eyes to review the parade of witnesses, evoked memories of numbered documents, but all of it slipped away, like oil through a screen. The images came, but would not stay, and try as he might, he still could not form the syllables of his own name. Sitting on the edge of the bed, he drank the coffee, and it tasted very good, massaging the cells of his brain as it twisted bitterly in his mouth.

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Next day it was different. Something came to him with a ferocious sense of certainty. Paranoia. He realized this situation was not of his making. He had not chosen to be here. The concept of choosing seemed terribly important. The walls were against him, he knew. Behind the mirror over the sink, someone was watching. He would not look in that direction. They were holding him against his will. "Against my will," he repeated again and again.

Chapter Two -- Dialogue

The door opened. She walked in, tall, aristocratic, dark. Seemed to remind him of someone -- it came to him quickly -- the woman in the elevator with the awful perfume. He felt a little woozy for a moment just from the memory.

She walked straight in and pulled herself up the one plastic chair in the whole room besides his bed and sat down. She looked at him and fished in her lapel pocket. She pulled out a joint and lit it, drawing in a big lungful of a toke and blew it out, extending the joint to him with a "do you want any?" look. He shook his head in a neat little jerk. He wanted his head clear. It had been a fog for longer than he had any conception of. Just a week ago he'd snapped out of it, though. They'd cut the drugs, and like a body in suspended animation floating a thousand feet beneath the sea, he'd risen up out of the depths to a brightness of perception that was a huge relief, a breath of clarity as big as the sky.

He knew who he was -- a trial lawyer at the top of his game, sidelined by some fucking insane kidnap scheme that apparently had all the time and money in the world to fuck with him, even to utterly neglect him. He changed his mind and reached out for the joint. What the hell.

It tasted damn good, and if he was going to have to smell it, he might as well get high. He never lost much of his natural speedy-mindedness from a hit of pot, and his interrogator, or whoever this was, she would be high, too. So they would keep parity. He was about to speak, then caught himself. Let her speak first.

She did. "Sorry about the heavy doping. Couldn't be helped. Had to transport you like a piece of equipment, so we had to ice you down. Then my brothers and sisters here thought you were supposed to be treated like a regular zeck, so they kept you on the program. I told 'em to dry you out so we could chat productively."

"So what the fuck is going on?" he asked.

"Just a total reorientation of your life. You were a boss, now you're not. People ate your shit, now you eat theirs."

He wanted to leap out of his chair and batter her face into a pulp, but not really. Her eyes looked at him with knowledge older than the barely-thirty appearance that ran true to some arrogant bloodline -- high cheekbones, eyeliner, chiseled jaw, dark brown eyes, lips naturally red and full. She looked like some retro image of an anime private investigator with a greyhound for a pet as she lounged, long and relaxed, in the crappy chair.

She said more. "I have no idea if this will work, but I'm going to try." She raised her right eye and its arching brow to peer significantly at whoever was operating the video camera mounted above his bed, then lowered it to focus on him entirely. "I want to recruit you. You're smart enough."

"Bullshit," he replied, "this is just a gambit."

"Nope," she said, "it's the last gambit. The vote's been taken on you. No one thinks you are a regular zeck. You're too fucking smart. You've got warrior game instincts that make you too dangerous to let loose into the regular program. You'll spoil a whole class of zecks if we give you half a chance. And nobody graduates from this program unconverted. So you see?" She raised her hands palm-up. "It's your only chance to graduate. But don't consider that a threat."

She got up to leave, took a step toward the door, then stopped and turned back to him, extending the half-smoked joint. "You want the roach?' she said, smiling. He shook his head. She kept smiling and said, "Just remember that story about the tiger and the strawberries. I know it's your favorite."

Chapter Three -- Split

For once in his life, he felt underinformed. He'd always known too much. Every scheme he'd run across in life, it hadn't been long before he'd figured it out. But this one here, he hadn't figured out yet. A mighty strange kidnap scheme, you'd have to say. He wasn't worth a ransom, and there was no one who could pay it. His mother in Florida? She loved his visits, but she loved her card games with people her age just as much. Mom was great, but she'd been steadily losing her shine over the last four years she's spent in assisted living. His sister? They talked four times a year, to wish each other happy birthday, Merry Christmas, and Happy Thanksgiving. No, nobody was going to ransom him.

What about his clients? No doubt they had already filed a claim against his malpractice insurance for disappearing in the middle of a major trial. The judge had undoubtedly halted the trial while things got straightened out. Which they would. Courthouses were like the waters of the Red Sea when Moses lead the Israelites through, and Pharaoh's soldiers followed – only half the people who walked in ever walked out. A dismal business, on the best of days, carving acceptable outcomes from intransigent materials, trying to serve humans with inhumane rules. How long had he been at it? Twenty years.

He got up from the bed and looked at himself in the mirror. He looked younger than the fifty years that had piled up behind the smooth brow, but as he stared into his own eyes, the truth was there. As he stared into the well of his own pupils, he felt as if he were looking down a long, dark corridor that angled down into a dark, empty cavern, hollow, booming with silence – his heart. The hollow, empty feeling persisted as he kept peering at himself, fiercely, as if he were cross-examining himself for the truth. He felt himself squirm away from the question that he now heard in the hollow space of his chest. Why? Why? Why had he been living this way? Why?

The answers started coming to him. He had been afraid to be trampled by the herd. Pushed around by bullies in school, he remembered with a flush of hatred the faces of derision and scorn. Kids who stole his lunch money, who turned his book bag upside down, who scattered his papers and broke his pencils. Kids who would trip you when another guy pushed you. Little gangs of demonic idiots who mysteriously bubbled hatred like poisonous fountains. They had better teachers at home, he suddenly realized – fathers who bullied them, mothers who added the high notes to the chorus of contempt, siblings who teased, taunted, and tormented their own.

The nauseating experience of childhood left him yearning for the order and decency of adulthood. As he climbed the ladder of authority, each door of achievement placed one more barrier between him and the atavism of the playground. As he progressed through undergraduate school, he saw the violent fools winnowed out of the student body as their inherent low-class talents drew them into dead-end jobs and tawdry lives. Then he got into law school, and began meeting the children of the real predators, the steel-toothed sharks for whom privilege was passe and excellence was an option. At some point, he realized he'd made the cut, and he was going to be a lawyer, a damned good one.

He thought he knew what that meant at first, although he was amazed at the apparent triviality of the matters he was handling. There was a surprising amount of fighting for fighting's sake. There was obstinacy, an unwillingness to admit the truth. Often he found himself contending the preposterous – in briefs, in arguments, in discussions with other lawyers. But he had a gift for making everything sound reasonable, or for making his opponents look foolish. Either way, the results spoke for themselves. His clients were happy, his promotions were frequent, his partnership was assured, and then, it was granted. His ascent through the corporate legal machinery seemed pre-ordained. Even the scions of the wealthy gave him that.

Suddenly, he felt observed. Whipping around to fix the obvious camera eye with his finger and angry stare, he shouted, “Fuck you! Fuck you! You know nothing! Nothing!” And at that moment, he split. One half of him ran across the room, grabbed up the molded plastic and metal chair, and hurled it at the camera. The other half seemed to stay inside the face in the mirror, watching his back, his flailing arms, the arching flight of the chair as it struck and bounced off the wall, his collapse onto the floor, his angry pounding of the cold, concrete. The face in the mirror thought to itself, “He is not going to make it.”

Chapter Four -- Healing

As Clovis watched the surveillance cam, Charkoff flailed and pounded the floor. She squinted. It was hard to watch, like something inside him was unwinding, something that had been screwed up inside so tight that the thought of ever reversing the flow had been utterly forgotten, and there been only one right way, forever and ever and ever, until now, and the lynchpin had broken, and it was all coming undone.

The precise work of the extraction unit, and the scrupulous sense deprivation regimen since then, had disrupted his connection with his sense of self. The theatre had been handled properly, so a long time period hadn't been required. The breakdown of a personality can be accelerated considerably by exhaustion and convincing the captive that the unthinkable has occurred – they have been captured by well-organized fanatics. Which was of course the truth. She had delivered the ultimatum at the right time, and left right before the pharma group introduced an bio-engineered dissociative in an aerosolized medium, actually more of a spore than a chemical delivery system. Kicks in very quickly, related to neurotoxins but not toxic, and generates pseudo-doppelganger states of awareness. If a personality has a shadow it will turn the contrast way up, and stimulate a crisis, opening the potential for conversion. It was, she thought, her favorite way of winning an argument. Proving you were right all along.

Soon a man and a woman in white outfits came in and picked up the body on the floor and laid it on the bed. Seeing them, Clovis clicked her screen and brought up a menu of captives. Ah, yes, Lindsay deserves a visit, she thought to herself, leaving thoughts of Charkoff behind.

The woman checked his pulse, while the man covered him with a light blanket and put a glass of ice water on the nightstand next to the bed. The woman pulled a syringe out of her apron pocket and administered an intramuscular sedative.

“Whadja give 'im?” asked the man, a young hispanic.

“Ketamine,” the girl mumbled.

“What's that do?”

“He'll feel like he went to God's own dentist, that's what.”

“Really?”

“Hell, I don't know. I just give 'em the shots.”

After the girl walked out, the boy turned back for a last look, then shook his head and whispered, “Pobrecito.”

The face in the mirror continued watching the body of the man who had come undone.

The face in the mirror cared about the man who had come undone. He felt that he knew him, that he wanted to help him. From the depths of the mirror itself, the face experienced a recognition – he was this man lying still in the bed. The room kept getting brighter.

Chapter Five -- Development

“We can't always know the right decision for sure, and in fact trying to know it before we take it, under some conditions, will lead to disaster. But in every circumstance, there is an optimal path of action, and we train to put that into action at all times.” concluded Charkoff, ending his presentation. Warm applause from the twenty or so listeners brought a smile to his bearded face. It had been two years since he converted, and the group had been good for him. His mind was clear, as clear as if a mirror had been wiped clean to reveal what always been there. He knew without a doubt that the tide of history had turned, and he was just a little bit ahead of a change that was cresting all over the world.

The Vengeance itself had turned out to have relatively short-lived effects on the larger society, but the conversion rates had been astonishing. Less than forty-seven percent had been washed out, which was quite a few people who had their memories chemically wiped, were assigned the identities of sundry dead people on their official identifying documents, and released on skid rows, in rural backwaters, and slums around the world. None of those people had caused any trouble, nor had they been killed. As Clovis said simply, they got what was coming to them.

The main lesson learned was that there was a market for what they were offering. With conversion rates over fifty-percent, the resulting crew agreed that the business of forcible recruiting should be continued. Charkoff had been scooped up in the wave of actions started by the first generation of group members. He was in the second generation of converts, and concerned with masterminding new extractions.

Clovis walked up to him at the podium. “Well, how is my little nestling?”

“Flapping his wings with increasing confidence. You're back from London. How's funding coming?”

“Better and better. Some of the major banks are being hollowed out to fund our work. We'll profit even more abundantly when they collapse. Lawyers!” Clovis gestured and laughed.

“Don't tell me, I used to be one. I much prefer being a man at arms. I have far more aggression than can be channelled in a blue, pin-striped suit. Of course, you knew that, didn't you?”

Her smile wrinkles around her eyes crinkled under red bangs, her lips pressed together, then she clapped him on the forearm and said, “I had my eye on you for quite a while. Strategists are born, not made, and we need a growing number of them. Like any organization, even if we try to stick with our core competency, we run a risk of growing too fast. Extractions are a risky business, with high potential for profit, and it is how we have grown. Where risks are high, strategy is the only way to even the odds.”

“Which is just to say that if you want to get good, you have to play a lot.”

“Yes, and what kind of play have you got planned?”

“I think we're ready to go for Tru Manley.”

Clovis nodded appreciatively. “The NewsFix anchorman – the Fix at Six.”

“Exactly.”

“Well, he'll be missed.” She tilted her head.

“Can't be helped.”

“Mmmmnnn,” she set down her bag and perched with her thigh on the edge of the table where the podium had been placed, and cocked her head even more, “You have talked with Turabi about this?”

“Yes, he's on board.”

“Okay, just asking.” She paused. “Can I take a look at that file? I didn't know you were working on this. That's a big move to make.”

“Why would I try for less?”

“Yes,” she nodded, “why would you?”

© Tara and Charles Carreon 2008
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Re: Charles Carreon, The Arizona Kid

Postby admin » Fri Oct 18, 2013 8:19 am

ODYSSEUS ON MASKED MEN, by Charles Carreon

THE PRINCESS BRIDE ON "MASKED MEN":

Image

The Cliffs of Insanity: The Rock Climb

[Finally, Fezzik reaches the top. Vizzini quickly cuts through the rope with a dagger. Fezzik and Inigo peer over the edge of the cliff.]

Fezzik: He's got very good arms.

Vizzini: [Vizzini comes over to look.] He didn't fall! Inconceivable!

Inigo: [looking confused] You keep using that word? I do not think it means what you think it means...[looking back down] my god...he's climbing.

Vizzini: Whoever he is, he's obviously seen us with the princess and must therefore die. [to Fezzik] You carry her. [to Inigo] We'll head straight for the Guilder frontier. Catch up when he's dead. If he falls, fine; if not, the sword.

Inigo: I'm going to do him left-handed.

Vizzini: You know what a hurry we're in!

Inigo: Well, it is the only way I can be satisfied. If I use my right, over too quickly.

Vizzini: Oh have it your way.

Fezzik: [to Inigo] You be careful. People in masks cannot be trusted.

Vizzini: [impatiently] I'm waiting ...

Inigo: [Inigo practices a few steps. He then calls to the Man in Black.] Hello there. Slow going?

Man in Black: Look, I don't mean to be rude but this is not as easy as it looks, so I'd appreciate it if you wouldn't distract me.

Inigo: [apologetic] Sorry.

Man in Black: Thank you.

Inigo: [Inigo unsheathes his sword and practices more steps. Calls again to the Man in Black.]
I do not suppose you could speed things up?

Man in Black: If you're in such a hurry you could lower a rope or a tree branch or find something useful to do.

Inigo: I could do that. I have got some rope up here. But I do not think you would accept my help, since I am only waiting around to kill you.

Man in Black: That does put a damper on our relationship.

Inigo: ... but, I promise I will not kill you until you reach the top.

Man in Black: That's very comforting, but I'm afraid you'll just have to wait.

Inigo: I hate waiting. I could give you my word as a Spaniard?

Man in Black: [struggling up the cliff side] No good. I've known too many Spaniards.

Inigo: Is there any way you'll trust me?

Man in Black: Nothing comes to mind.

Inigo: [very seriously] I swear on the soul of my father, Domingo Montoya, you will reach the top alive.

Man in Black: Throw me the rope.


Odysseus on Masked Men:

In Eyes Wide Shut ("EWS"), the Privileged Perverts all wear masks, as do their puppet-faced prostitutes, in order to keep the fantasy stirring. As Lorenzo the Magnificent says to his masqued guests in my poem, Lorenzo's Parting Thoughts:

Now set down your knives,
the meal's not served yet,
And the more you wait,
the more hungry you get,
And pleasure deferred
Is pleasure enhanced to the
pitch of a higher set, let's get
Involved now ladies and gentlemen --
those waistcoats are confining
And corsets still more yet,
But the masks should stay in place
Lest we get unconfused
And pleasure be aborted
Or anyone refuse.


Masks provide convenient anonymity, protecting one's identity, which may be of of great value, from being associated with despicable acts.

Based on a good identity, trust is given on a word. For example, when Inigo meets Wesley, who is the Masked Man, he and the Masked Man instantly negotiate the basis of trust. Of course Inigo won't trust a man in a mask, nor will Wesley trust a Spaniard. But when Inigo spiritually "unmasks" by revealing his deep love for his father as the basis of his oath, Wesley is immediately trusting, and agrees to accept Inigo's assistance.

After that, even though Wesley continues to wear a mask, he has revealed his essence as that of an honorable man. Although the two plan to duel to the death, Inigo has no mistrust of Wesley, and even allows him to handle his sword, effectively disarming himself. They may plan on dying, but not with distrust and dishonor as their companions.

Of course, the Masked Man is hiding his identity for only one reason. He wishes to test his love, the Princess Buttercup, because he knows she has allowed herself to be promised to King Humperdinck, and this causes him to doubt her love. Like the King who hides his kingship under rags and goes about in the marketplace to hear what is said about him by the commoners, so Wesley wishes to hear Buttercup's true words about him. So in that sense, the mask is an effort to obtain what couldn't otherwise be obtained. Once he questions her and receives satisfactory answers, the mask is off for good.

Masks can have a completely unnerving effect. Last Halloween there was a tall, thin person with a very esthetically designed mask that they never removed. When spoken to, he/she did not respond except perhaps with a tilt of the head/mask. I found myself wishing to relate to the person, but repelled. That was apparently what they wanted, but I found it highly antisocial.

The Privileged Perverts in EWS are only able to do what they do because their conduct is not traceable to their true identity. This is not even libertinism, but mere hypocrisy. Absolutely no new social freedoms are staked out here, and the notion of large numbers of privileged men gathering under cloak of mumbo jumbo to engage in anonymous sex is possibly the single biggest turnoff I've ever contemplated, aside from truly tasteless porn, which can gross you out for weeks.

The Masked "Anarchists" are of course highly suspect. By masking themselves, they insulate themselves from other protesters, who have the courage to be identified with their protest. By seeding the march with cowardice, they injure it right off. By signaling their belief that they can effectively conceal their identities, they reveal their extreme naivete. As if the FBI and Ashcroft's SS can't plant a video at the entrance to their hideout. As if they don't have moles in every "anarchist" group in the country.

No, what's going on here is white kids are playing "Revolution" yet again, being the puppets of the Agent Provocateurs that are forever undermining progressive organizations. These white kids want to play bandits, and thus are easily enviegled into looking like bandits. Believe me, there's no sympathy in a court of law for people whose masked appearance suggests they are well aware that their conduct is illegal.

Of course, when the bust comes down, the Agent Provocateurs get rounded up with everyone else. They just seem to get released sooner than other folks, because "a friend of the Movement bailed me out." Yeah, no shit, like the FBI bails them out, and sends them out on the road again to set up another bunch of fools. Then they come back around to town when it's time to testify against their old pals. And they'll sit there and identify everyone from the witness stand -- "Yes sir, that's Ratface, behind the red bandana, and TreeHugger, behind the blue bandana, and Gisela behind the black keffiyeh -- that's spelled 'k-e-f-f-i-y-e-h,' and it's a concealing headgear popular with Islamic terrorists, your Honor."

How do I know this? Because I have hired and managed snitches as a lawyer, and I have tried several federal drug cases and cross-examined the DEA agents (who usually really like me) and the hired liars the government pays to engage in Agent Provocateurism.

Why do we need Agent Provocateurs to bust up progressive movements? Because otherwise, people will not come up with crazy ideas like kidnapping Patty Hearst like the SLA, or bombing the Draft Board offices like the Weathermen, or holding up banks like the Black Panthers. Take note that when a gang is straight-out criminal, like the meth-dealing bikers, it's very difficult and dangerous to inflitrate them. Also, they can't be labeled as terrorists very well, unless they're Nazi skinheads, but them's "good people," at least they wave the Flag. It's much safer and easier to infiltrate "anarchist" groups -- everyone's 21, dumb and full of come, ready to do any kind of dumb shit to prove to their parents that they can't be bought off with a trust fund. Just send the checks on time and they can keep on rebelling.

So I would advise to stick with Inigo's first plan -- don't trust people who wear masks. The odds that it will be Wesley are so small they're not worth the bet.
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Re: Charles Carreon, The Arizona Kid

Postby admin » Fri Oct 18, 2013 8:23 am

ON HELL AND ITS HABITUES, by Charles Carreon

Hell is a popular feature of religions that we are familiar with. Check this literally hair-raising evocation ripped from today's fervent evangelical webpages:

Christian Evangelical wrote:

What you're about to read is hard to believe. . .

We're going to examine the place the Bible calls hell. We'll present documented evidence for a place called hell. Don't take what you're going to read lightly. If what you read is true — YOU COULD BE IN SERIOUS DANGER!

Several years ago a book was published, entitled Beyond Death's Door by Dr. Maurice Rawlings. Dr. Rawlings, a specialist in Internal Medicine and Cardiovascular Disease, resuscitated many people who had been clinically dead. Dr. Rawlings, a devout atheist, "considered all religion "hocus-pocus" and death nothing more than a painless extinction". But something happened in 1977 that brought a dramatic change in the life of Dr. Rawlings! He was resuscitating a man, terrified and screaming — descending down into the flames of hell:

"Each time he regained heartbeat and respiration, the patient screamed, "I am in hell!" He was terrified and pleaded with me to help him. I was scared to death. . . Then I noticed a genuinely alarmed look on his face. He had a terrified look worse than the expression seen in death! This patient had a grotesque grimace expressing sheer horror! His pupils were dilated, and he was perspiring and trembling — he looked as if his hair was "on end."

Then still another strange thing happened. He said, "Don't you understand? I am in hell. . . Don't let me go back to hell!" . . .the man was serious, and it finally occurred to me that he was indeed in trouble. He was in a panic like I had never seen before."

(Maurice Rawlings, Beyond Death's Door, (Thomas Nelson Inc., 1979) p. 3).

Dr. Rawlings said, no one, who could have heard his screams and saw the look of terror on his face could doubt for a single minute that he was actually in a place called hell!


The folks who run this website seem to think that hell is inside the earth. I'm sure a lot of people who've had a bad acid trip remember being sealed inside one of these setups.

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But not to be to blithe about it -- people take these "returned from near-death" stories as valid evidence of the nature of the hereafter. These stories use the powerful effect of direct testimony ("I was there, I saw it") from a presumably credible witness, standing at the right position ("death's door") to get a glimpse of what lies in store in that land from which none return. Plus, the story allows you to enjoy a sadistic kick -- always a plus with hell stories. You're imagining this poor bastard suffering terrible fear. He has glimpsed a new, terrifying world, more real than the world where he's lived his whole life, and he knows that, if he loses his grip on the world of the living, he will slide into endless torment more horrifying than anything he ever imagined could exist. Now that's scary. Makes you feel more comfortable in your living room. It happened to him, not you! Good show!

For these reasons, the "died and came back to tell you about it" story is popular with hellfire preachers of all denominations. The Tibetan Buddhists are notably participators in this mode of preachment. They have a special name for the people who die and return to tell of their travels -- "Delok." Here's a website with a number of Delok stories -- http://www.lib.virginia.edu/speccol/exh ... urned.html

These stories were probably some of the most entertaining Tibetan tales available, almost having the appeal of tabloid journalism when compare with the lengthy lists of hells laid out by Patrul Rinpoche:

First off, if hell is a planet, its rotation is very slow, because one day in hell equals five hundred earth-days.

"AGAIN LIFE" -- Fight, die, be reborn. Repeat daily for 100 hell years (50,000 earth years).

"BLACK LINE" -- Get burned with coals, then sliced up along those burn lines. Remain here 1,000 years of hell years (500,000 years).

"SMASHED" -- Get ground between blazing mountains for 2,000 years (1,000,000 years).

"CRYING AND SCREAMING" -- Enter house, get locked inside. House gets red hot and you remain in house for 4,000 years (2,000,000 years).

"GREAT CRYING AND SCREAMING" -- Start out locked inside burning house. Get out, discover you are in bigger burning house that is actually hotter than the first one that you can't get back into. Lots of screaming and noise. Remain 8,000 years (4,000,000 years).

"HOT" -- Get thrown in a pot and boiled. When you boil to the top, demons bang you on the head with blazing hammers. This sometimes knocks you out, which provides some slight relief. Boil furiously for 16,000 hell years (8,000,000 years).

"VERY HOT" -- Get impaled with a redhot pitchfork, then wrapped in blazing hot metal. Remain half an eon (Real Long Time).

"WORST" -- Maximum agony setup -- sixteen houses, one inside the other, each one hotter than the next, with a bellows that generates constant blowtorch temperatures that melt all bodily forms into molten agony. The only thought that exists for a full eon is that someday it will end.


Wow, that stuff is scary. Of course, there is no particular reason for it to be true. Despite the occasional story on the website, we really don't know of anybody who can validate the idea that there really exists any type of system for dispensing inter-galactic-trans-temporal, all-encompassing justice. And if such a system existed, why would it set up elaborate systems of pain delivery unrelated to any survival purpose?

In case you wondered, the Tibetans don't put hell in the "middle" of the earth, because their earth doesn't have a middle. Their earth is flat, like the rest of the universe. Hell is way way down below the earth, seven levels down. Heaven is way way up above the earth. There are lots of heavens up there, each one more rarefied than the next and at the very top is Akanishtha, the heaven of the highest Buddhas. There are no whirlpool galaxies, quasars, black holes, white dwarfs, or any such heavenly bodies in this Tibetan geography. This geography is believed to be just as accurate as the description of the hells and all other features of the afterlife.

These stories were created by people. Tibetans had visions of a vast trans-temporal karmic bureaucracy meting out harsh punishments on those who failed to honor the Lamas and the Dharma. Christians saw a similarly fearsome Jehovah casting unbelievers into everlasting damnation. Everyone who has a hell has enemies to put into it. It's like having a garbage can in your house. You put things into hell when you need to get rid of them. Nobody can pull anything out of hell, anymore than you should take things out of the garbage. It's the ultimate in social rejection. You get sent to hell. You get excommunicated. They tear up your hall pass. You get sent to the principal. They put a black mark on your permanent record. You fail. Everyone will know.

In a closed society of serfs, nobles and clergy, stories like this are useful. Especially if the nobles and clergy stick together to keep the serfs illiterate, poor, and fearful, the two privileged types each man their own turf and bully the poor in turn. The nobles use force and poverty to control the serfs in this life. The clergy fill their afterlife with fears of retribution, urging them to hold back their anger against the wealthy. For should that anger get the better of them, prompting them to demand social change, or entertain the notion of revolt, it will lead to lower rebirths, more of the same. Better to eat crow, pay taxes, make offerings, pray for a better rebirth. Then you will be a rich noble instead of a serf. Or maybe you will even be a lama.

For the serf, there is no question of whether such places really exist. They have no standard by which to judge. All of the knowledge they possess is counterfeit. They have no accurate image of the shape of the earth, the location of the moon or the sun, the height of the mountains. They do not understand that the earth is a sphere, that raindrops are too, that the sky goes all around us, not just straight up, that the earth is not flat, and hell is not underneath it. We have looked there. Underneath Tibet is Arizona, but that's only close to hell.
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