by jason mashak
I was trained to see the shadows of shadows. Mathematical logic, critical denunciation, horse husbandry… advanced lunaticism theory… many are the directions of thought-honing that reached across malfunctioning mortal synapses to form inconceivable bypass junctions from which wheels levitate and go without needing to turn.
The fourth dimension is my back yard and I keep it like a jungle. Nymphs live there, waiting to be holy-rolled and dipped in honey. As a teen I still wasn’t aware, though I knew it couldn’t be normal that my friends were all ninjas, soldiers of fortune, influencers, necromancers, necrophiliac dancers, cartel informants. I couldn’t keep the succubi from breaching the access points, yet the perimeter is still – somehow – intact.
What they offered me was pure kindness: a series of government jobs with a way out when it was over. Sure I stared down more than an average share of smooth barrels into lead-laden chambers, but that’s the risk you take. The feet become calloused enough to wear pinecone slippers. Even the white vans that follow, so obvious and annoyingly unmarked, create a thicker sixth sensitivity, a necessary respect for continual awareness. Suffering is no longer an option or you stand out like a dying drama queen, an easily fingered perpetrator of self-annihilation.
Survival depends on drifting windward to your first official pick up point, finding what was left for you there, and executing instruction with a minimal amount of backtalk. For most, it means a ‘spontaneous’ trip to the Andy Warhol Muzeum in Medzilaborce, Slovakia… avoiding the cameras (the schematics of which you’ve already memorized)… and retrieving a sticky note from behind the blue picture of Mao.
Formally trained at a School of the Americas satellite campus (Pepsi State University), I developed a time-delayed interest in writing “I am not a communist” a hundred times on the chalkboard. In fine print, somewhere near the bottom corner, I would add in a different voice “Je pense, donc je suis” one time. Beneath this I scratched lightly into the surface of the chalkdust remnants with a safetypin the name of a bus stop and a particular time of day – this is how I made most of my contacts.


  1. ahhh, yolks, toast and mashak in the morning. what could be better… a thicker sixth sense. that jim morrison ping of horse husbandry… father, I want to … a sticky note double take. this is better than skype. keep ’em coming.

  2. Ah, ‘Pepsi State University’? That was me! I used to say that all the time! and ‘Je pense donc je suis!’ that was me too! Just kidding…

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