X Day 2: Fear and loathing in Pennsylvania

From: Joe Cosby <http://joecosby.com/code/mail.pl>
Date: Sat, Jul 10, 2004

From the air, America looks, for all the world, as if it were nothing
but an endless collective of farms.

Miles and miles of neat rectangles textured with Chia-fur colors with
a few small structures towards the middle, they seem to cover every
inch of flat land. I wonder how many of those plots it must take to
produce a couple pounds of bread.

Of course, it's an illusion. From the ground most of us have never
even seen a farm and they don't figure largely in our lives. We have
some vague sense that the food on our tables must come from somewhere
and not only don't think about but don't care about it beyond that.

As I fly over America to make this final, penultimate meeting with the
aliens who are coming to change everything, I find myself wondering,
not for the first time nor for the last, how much they really
understand us, and what we can really expect.

The short flight into Erie doesn't pass over any farmland, rather,
after a short jump over a body of water (which in a stunning leap of
deduction I figure to be Lake Erie) it flies low over an endless
suburb with no apparent urb.

Somehow these new fields, crops sown to grow happy humans, seem even
more desolate than the farms. Laid out in neat plots which from the
air look quite a lot like sections of a farm, with TV and food piped
in to grow crops of new humans for the market.

The plane to Erie is carrying wrestlers. Every single person on the
flight is a young wrestler. I slide into my seat, keeping my body
language neutral.

I am wired. I am starting to realize I am in the belly of the enemy.

I am armed, of course. The X-ists may or may not understand us but
they have a sterling understanding of weaponry. The focusing crystal
which looks like a spare pair of glasses will, when aligned, collect
cosmic rays into a beam so hot it will vaporize molybdenum in

I know the mind-web of the conspiracy will be in a heightened state of
alert. They will FEEL the massing of the forces of the Weird in one
place. They won't understand it but like antibodies they will
scramble mind-controlled normals to the site of the infection.

I slide past the young wrestler on the aisle side. He is behaving
bizarrely; has has stacked all his carry-on baggage on the seat, and
is sitting atop it. He bounces and lunges randomly.

I smile as I slide past, conveying as much non-threatening
friendliness as I can. It's an act, but it works. One wrong move and
he will snap like a wolverine with a hot coal up his rectum. He
doesn't comprehend my presence, but he doesn't object to it either.

Even without the pile of bags he's sitting on, he's huge. He couldn't
be older than 17 but he's a head taller than me and appears to have
been constructed out of extra slabs of muscle that were rejected for
normal use because they were too large. His face is blank and
slack-jawed but there is a strange twitching that passes over it every
few minutes at random.

The wrestlers occasionally communicate with each other in a strange,
barking language. They hold their heads very close together when they
do this, as if they were going to punctuate their sentences by bashing
skulls together.

They're ALL part of the Con.

To understand the Con, you have to understand that we all work in
levels, bottom to top.

At the lowest level are autonomic functions, like breathing and
heartbeat. At the top is the conscious mind. In between is an
intricate labyrinth of evolutionary layers.

Hyoomins spend most of their energy trying to use the higher levels to
control the lower levels. But because the lower levels are more
important to our survival, what we actually do is prioritized the
other way around.

So if you want to control a planet, you just have to communicate the
the earlier evolutionary levels.

Religion, for example, is a much more primitive evolutionary layer
than scientific, modern thought. But religious issues routinely sway
seemingly rational nations.

Religion and toothpaste commercials are two of the greatest weapons of
the con.

Toothpaste commercials are the more subtle weapon; appealing directly
to the lizard-brain, they are used to run more sophisticated programs,
to accomplish more specific ends.

If you want to program a disgruntled ex-marine to assassinate a
president, you simply broadcast a carefully-designed toothpaste
commercial. You don't necessarily know, specifically, who will go
off. You don't need to.

But you know he will be a killer. And you know he will have bad

Filling an airplane with wrestlers, then cranking up their
aggressiveness to the danger notch, is likewise not difficult. And
not a bad booby-trap to set around the landing zone. Set the
wrestlers to SNAP at the sight of an Outsider and then leave them
wandering on the perimeter.

The Subgeniuses have, in theory, secured the landing site itself. I
am not sure how reassuring this is ... I would feel better knowing
"Bob" were there personally.

The Subgeniuses are a great ally, but I am not sure if their habit of
periodically killing "Bob" is taken quite as well by him as they seem
to think. It's hard to tell with "Bob". Somehow though, the
Conspiracy seems utterly incapable of dealing with them effectively.
Somehow the most sophisticated mind-control weaponry in the galaxy is
surprisingly ineffective against people who not only don't try to
avoid it, but get endless amusement out of trying to set it off.

I keep my body language neutral. The wrestler next to me periodically
goes into an agitated state and his eyes dart around the cabin,
searching for something and not knowing what. All through the flight,
he occasionally throws his arms about his head randomly like a gorilla
scaring off aggressors.

Just stay calm. Stay cool.

We set down in Erie. The airport is small and has a desolate,
bombed-out look to it.

Every male I see has shaved his head. A 4x4 jeep with a roll bar
passes, on one CB radio antenna is a huge American flag, and on the
other a Confederate flag, apparently commemorating the many New
Yorkers who died fighting for the Confederacy.

I call for the shuttle to the hotel. The driver is young and not yet
one of Them. I relax a little ... but for the WOODS. I realize we
are deep in HP Lovecraft country. The woods remember things tens of
thousands of years old. The brooding Pennsylvania woods speak
directly to the lizard brain.

At the hotel there is a wedding party going on; tuxedos, a
white-dress bride and dance hits of the golden 80's. I am exhausted
but I go down to the bar anyway. THE WORLD ENDS TOMORROW, after all.

I sleep in late, eat and arrange a taxi to Brushwood.

The driver is a happy yeti-cousin with a sense of humor. I preach
insane Subgenius dogma at him which amuses him no end. We stop by the
only open liquor store and I stock up on rum, hoping I can barter with
the natives.

Then the world explodes.

The sky rips open and biblical torrents are hurled at us. Zeus and
Odin are competing to see which can hurl the cooler thunderbolt.

Clearly, the converging forces of Armageddon are tearing loose the
very fabric of the Universe.

Whole waves crash over us as we drive the one-lane road to Brushwood.
If you told me the ocean had risen up and swallowed the land I
wouldn't have been surprised.

I pull out an umbrella and slog through to the security checkpoint.
The armed guards, snipers and direct-fire artillery are very
well-concealed, I can't see them at all.

The landing zone seems deserted, everybody is laying low from the
rain. I make my way back to the cover of the main stage.

DJ Shaver is playing an absolutely hilarious collection of Bulldada
for a small audience scattered over benches and a few chairs. (In the
process, revealing the Truth about Merv Griffin, DEFILER of Sex
Goddesses ... and a man with PERFECT TEETH, you will note.)

Waves of Slack roll off of them. Well in fact waves of quite a few
things are rolling off of them, many in a smoky form which my
razor-sharp third nostril detects, but Slack is definitely the top

Lupus Yonderboy storms the stage, launching into a stirring rant. Or
about the first third of one, after which he loses his train of
thought a bit.

Waves of Slack.

I fumble with one of the bottles of rum. I should really have thought
to bring some mixer.

I struggle with a few straight shots.

After years of putting up one front or another in order to survive, I
realize I am completely incapable of dealing with an utterly Slack
crowd. My God, what an irony.

I realize that with a day or two I could unwind, or a bar, but that I
am wound too tight tonight.

The weather has cleared a bit, the sun is showing and seeing Brushwood
like this, I see it's a fairly pretty place.

Stang goes onstage, for the Bobby awards, wearing the coolest Wizard
robe I have ever seen.

This is apparently a signal to Odin, Zeus and whichever God is
specifically responsible for rain which falls sideways to start up an
even bigger "smiting mortals" contest.

I think it's Stang's Prophet Beard and robe that did it. They thought
he wanted to play, too.

Against this very appropriate Divine Wrath backdrop Stang and Wei do
the Ceremony of the Awards.

The two of them together are the kind of pair that you just can't stop
watching; like a pair of elves who have recently visited the Holy
Mushroom Grotto and just can't stop grinning about some incredible
joke that only makes sense to elves.

They could probably get on stage and read a phone book and I would be
giggling by the end of it. (Although the Z's tend to be funny by any

I take it as a sign from "Bob" that they give me an award in this one
bit of X-Day I have actually shown up for.

Sister Decadence slinks by like some gothic laudanum vision of a pagan
Goddess, and despite myself I introduce myself.

I try to talk and notice, oddly enough, that none of the words coming
out of my mouth mean the same thing I meant them to mean before I said
them. It seems funny and I wonder what I will say next.

It takes me a short time to recognize the sensation. I realize I am
completely tongue-tied.

What is it about some women? I have had women who liked me say they
"like my eyes". It's a hard thing to make sense of. If I were to
remove them and set them on top of a bar of soap, they wouldn't be
especially attractive (although, if I gave the whole arrangement a
sufficiently Freudian name like "looking at my mother naked", it
probably -would- get me my own exhibit).

I have always taken it as a kind of copout. But when I meet a woman
who crosses the line between "she's cute" and "she disables the speech
centers of my brain" I realize it is always the eyes that do it.

I don't GET it, but there is no other way to say it. Something in the
way it all comes together, a sense of mystery, and of something
incredibly wise and a little magical.

Sister Decadence has that kind of eyes.

In fact most of the yetisyn women I meet have those same mysterious
eyes that just slay me.

Well, I guess it's classier than just saying "she's got great tits",

As I sit back and absorb the Slack, I realize it just doesn't matter
if the saucers show up.

They're all off the grid. The brainwashing which the conspiracy uses
to control people doesn't even touch them. They're out of the Matrix,
not showing up on radar.

They're ALREADY escaped the planet.

7 AM

I come in to the landing zone with a few minutes to spare.

Subgeniuses are ambling aimlessly around the stage area, looking
various shades of groggy and hung over.

The sun has come out and it's a beautiful morning. I spend a few
minutes talking to a gorgeous yetisyn woman with speech-center eyes
who talks the way music plays. Some frop would be a good thing right
now. Modemac plays a brilliant compilation CD and fiddles with the

I lose track of time and the moment of X rolls around too soon.

Stang arrives and points out to those of us sitting in the stage
shelter that if the saucers DO take us up vertically, we will all be

Good point.

We drift into the open field and cluster shakily around Stang.

A countdown starts. Years of waiting and struggle are about to be
rewarded. I lift my arms to aid the levitation beams.

Three. Two. One.

Some of the Subgeniuses are shrieking in excitement as we look to the

Which continues to do what skies normally do, which is to just be

Well dang.

There is a commotion from the stage.


He is not looking at all well.

He is not so much standing as slumped over the lectern. In fact he's
not so much slumped as draped.

A crowd gathers around him and he seems to regain his bearing a bit.

I wait for him to explain his miraculous appearance and provide this
year's excuse.

Somehow I just feel beyond it, gone to that next section of road, I
drift away from the crowd and gaze into the gorgeous Brushwood morning

From fatigue and a certain among of hunged-overness my eyes won't
focus right. My vision ripples, I blink then look at the dark ground
to clear it. That clears it ... I look up again though and the
rippling is back.

It is dawning on me that it isn't my vision at all. There is a
throbbing, rippling, liquid pulse in the sky.

It is like the ring of waves when you throw a rock into a pond, a
liquid bending of the light, but it is a tight ring, not spreading
like ripples in water would, and somehow dense, almost metallic.

And it pulses, about every second, a rhythmic drumming, a taut shudder
running from it's center, an almost glistening scintillation.

And you can FEEL the pulses. Somehow they are crossing space in a way
I don't understand and with each pulse I feel a gentle shock wave
blowing through my body, a strange SURGE of energy like standing too
close to a powerful electrical generator, setting my teeth on edge.

And you can HEAR them. I realize there is a TONE in my ears with each
pulse, like the sound of a two-beat phrase on some great Tympani of
the Gods, high-low, high-low.

Great arcing rings of brilliant color and light begin to flash out
from the central ring with each pulse, covering the sky with
incredible richly-colored rainbows, racing across the sky.

With the addition of the rainbows the TONE changes taking on an ornate
character and I realize I am hearing music in the pulses, the very sky
is pulsing with the strains of Also Sprach Zarathustra, shaking the
ground and the whole earth has become a great musical oscillator. My
very mind seems to sway and the rings begin to open and fill the sky
shining with a dark light the pulses are faster and so intense now I
can almost SMELL them as I am deafened and blasted and terrified by
the blasting music booming down from the heavens.

DAMNED classy touch. The music I mean.

And in the center ring a thousand pinpoints of light come into focus.

They grow slowly into a thousand disc-shapes, gleaming in the center
of the explosion of light.


It's been so long I don't want to let myself believe it.

Soon there is no question, as the massive fleet of alien saucers
grows; to the size of pencil erasers, descending from some unknown
dimension through the terran atmosphere.

They descend and grow larger, to tea saucers, to the size of dinner
plates, descending through thousands of feet in seconds.

I close my eyes and throw my arms back, waiting to be taken up.

I wait. A couple minutes go by.

I look again and they are still about the diameter of dinner plates,
from my perspective, so still a good couple thousand feet up. I
figure at that point they are going to pick us up in some kind of
beams, like Stang said.

My neck is getting a little sore and I feel the need to get some
perspective, although the pulsing/light show things is still pretty

Stepping back a little I realize I can see the tops of some of the
distant mountains ABOVE the saucer fleet. They aren't THOUSANDS of
feet up ... in fact, as I get a little better angle I can see the top
of the next cabin over the saucers.

They aren't DOZENS of feet up.

Jesus. They ARE the size of dinner plates.

There are a thousand flying saucers the size of Frisbees hovering
about ten feet over our heads.

Eerie bolts of alien energy play along the bottom of the nearest

Scaling, I realize this is about what you'd get if you stick a
nine-volt battery on your tongue, but still, it IS eerie bolts of
alien energy.

A hatch descends gracefully from this saucer, a diagonal ramp lined
with stairs; the boarding ramp.

Proportional, as it is, to the size of the saucer, it is roughly both
the width and the length of my pinkie.

Somehow my brain has just not yet processed the incongruity of the
scene, and I find myself thinking "how are we going to fit in THOSE?";
and supposing they must have some SPECIAL BEAMS which will shrink us
down to the right size.

It hasn't quite absorbed the idea that THIS IS A PROBLEM.

After a few minutes a Grey alien steps through some fourth-dimensional
angle and appears before us.

Dobbs storms through the crowd, he is spitting out something in the
bubbling/hissing language I recognize vaguely as the Grey language,
waving his arms and hurling what I take to be invective at the Grey.

The Subgeniuses are wandering dazedly, a little like little kids when
Daddy gets in an argument at the gas station.

The Grey is hissing back at Dobbs and, as Greys are always, seems
unperturbed, but they are definitely hissing and "bluroop" ing back
and forth at what seems a furious pace.

Dobbs however is clearly livid. Fumbling through his pockets, in the
process dumping out small change in most of the recognized currencies
in the Galaxy onto the grass, he produces a small piece of paper which
he shoves into the Grey's face, punctuating this with a triumphant
"Bloorhaaahsbo!" sound.

I am close enough to get a look at it. It appears to be a cocktail
napkin with a "Hooters" logo and a Florida address on one side, a bit
yellow with age.

On the other is a human stick figure, crudely scrawled in ballpoint
pen in Dobbs' handwriting. Along each limb and along the height is an
arabic/english numeral, followed by an alien symbol, the same symbol
following each numeral.

From context, I am guessing this symbol is some form of Grey unit of

The Grey peers imperturbably at the napkin (well, they have no
eyelids, they peer imperturbably at pretty much everything).

It raises an arm in what I think is going to be the Uni-cosmic gesture
of greeting like in "Close Encounters of the Third Kind", but instead
slaps it to it's forehead, and shakes it's head slowly.

Evidently, this is a pretty universal gesture.

Producing a ballpoint pen from the fourth dimension, it pointedly
crosses out Dobbs' symbol on the napkin and writes a different one.

Still rattling on in Grey at Dobbs, it points at the new symbol, then
holds it's arms out to their fullest extent, which is about two or
three feet.

Another burst of Grey then it points at the old symbol, Dobbs'
original symbol, holds one hand out, then moves two fingers close

Very, very close together.

Dobbs is visibly non-plussed. And silent. He gazes at the napkin for
quite a long while, looking from his symbol to the Grey's symbol.

Finally he looks back up at the Grey. He chews his pipe stem.

"No shit?", he asks in English.

Despite their supposed implacability, the Grey is now unquestionably
angry. He hisses and burbles an unpunctuated, angry-sounding stream
at Dobbs. He leaps up and down. He waves his arm at the fleet of
interstellar craft he has just herded across half the galaxy and then
waves it towards the field full of dazed Subgenii.

Dobbs quickly shifts from non-plussed to insulted, and from insulted
to red-faced angry.

The Grey and Our Lord argue back and forth, both visibly going from
angry to furious. The hisses and bloops are becoming more

"Bob" is shouting.

He's in a towering rage. It makes me nervous when people with
supernatural powers get in a towering rage.

After a particularly ugly-sounding "hiss-bloop-blap" from the Grey,
"Bob" screams back in English "My MOTHER? What do YOU know about my
MOTHER? YOUR mother was a fucking VAT!"

With an amazing suddenness, the Grey freezes completely, as if a power
switch inside him had simply been flipped off.

He begins to vibrate. It's an odd sight. He simply vibrates in
place, as if he were the center of a tiny earth tremor.

In eleven seconds, I will realize that this is how Greys look when
they are very, very angry. At the moment though, it just looks odd.

From the fourth dimension, the Grey produces a small, black, oblong
object. It looks vaguely like a "toking stone".

He points it towards Dobbs, then there is a blinding flash.

When my vision clears, "Bob" is sprawled on the ground. Most of what
was his torso is a thickly-smoking charcoal ruin.

J.R. "Bob" Dobbs, the Living Slack Master, the Source of All that is
Good, lies dead.


I am less upset by this than one might think. Getting killed has
never been a great setback for "Bob".

Still, this just can not be a good sign, as far as the whole "getting
off the planet" thing goes.

The Subgenii quickly rush to give Dobbs mouth-to-third-nostril

I watch the angry Grey talk back across the filed, muttering under
it's breath.

Mental note: Don't fuck with Greys about their vats. Apparently they
are real touchy about that.

A larger saucer appears and takes up the Grey.

As it rises into the sky, I see the Grey through an observation port.
It has three fingers, turning back to Brushwood, it lifts the middle

Grabbing the cocktail napkin, I wave desperately at him.

I stab my finger at the old dimension-symbol, then look up to see if
he's watching.

He peers back imperturbably.

I stab my finger at the new dimension-symbol. I lift my hands

The Grey shrugs his shoulders, and the saucer is gone.

Mental note: Never trust a man in a necktie. Even if it IS "Bob".

Back to the pink world.

I gather my stuff and head back to Erie airport.

At the last minute, as I'm checking in my big bag, I remember I have
an adjustable lighter in my carry-on bag, and I am not supposed to.
So I transfer it to my check-in bag.

The NWA guy has already decided he doesn't like me. When I ask how
long the security check-in is at this airport, he says "well it just
depends how long it takes!" as if it were the stupidest question he
had ever heard.

He spots the lighter and says "That's a TORCH lighter. That can't go"

I suspect the high point in his life was being a hall monitor in grade

I am being as cool and nice as I can manage, he is starting to get
under my skin though.

"Well I know I can't carry it on, I can't put it in my check-in
baggage? Can I empty it out first? It's a hundred dollar lighter and
I've had it for years", which is true.

He peers at it closely. "Says here it's made in KOREA", he says

I completely miss the point of this, until I figure out, apparently it
couldn't cost a hundred bucks if it's made in Korea, so I'm lying.

He's succeeded. I'm pissed.

I go outside and cool off before I go off on him. Finally I think it

I go back to the check-in.

"Look man, would you mail it to me? I can give you an address. I
would really hate to lose that lighter".

He sneers. No, that would be completely impossible, that would cost
the AIRLINE money! I mean I've spent hundreds of bucks on the AIRLINE
but apparently the cost of postage would bankrupt them. I offer him
twenty bucks, ask him what would be fair, anything ... but at this
point it's futile. He's enjoying this. He doesn't like me and he
wins. I have entered his miserable little life and he has power here
and he likes making people who he doesn't like miserable for whatever
reasons of his own which I neither know nor care to know.

I am back in high school, and he is the high-school bully.

I figure it would be just as well that I not tell him I'm carrying a
concealed alien weapon which can vaporize molybdenum.

As the plane rises over the airport, I finger the X-ist weapon
absently and consider the pros and cons of vaporizing the whole

I shrug my shoulders, then the plane is gone.

Joe Cosby
West Bank to be redeveloped as Palestinian Heritage Theme Park.

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Original file name: X Day 2- Fear and l#1AD025.txt - converted on Saturday, 25 September 2004, 02:05

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