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Full text of "Orchard Park and Other Works"

ORCHARD PARK 



AND OTHER WORKS 



TOM FAHY 



ORCHARD PARK PRESS 

ST. JOHN'S ♦ VALPARAISO ♦ HONOLULU 



V 



orchard park press 

st. john's ♦ valparaiso ♦ honolulu 

copyright © 2013 by tom fahy 
All Rights Reserved 

ISBN: 978-0-9828673-7-2 

FOURTH EDITION 

This is a work of intuition. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the 
product of the author's experience. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or 
dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely deliberate. 

Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this 
publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or 
transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, 
recording, or otherwise), without the prior written permission of the copyright 
owner. 

library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data 

Fahy, Tom, 1977- 
Orchard Park / Tom Fahy. — 2nd ed. 

p. cm. 
ISBN 978-0-9828673-0-3 
I. Title. 

PS3606.A273O73 2010 
813'.6-dc22 

2010030070 



"A collection is charming while a sequence is generally repulsive. " 
— George Irwin 

"Miscarriages of etiquette in interpersonal relationships are not always undesirable: It is from 

the margins that one is able to work in earnest and without interruption. To provoke chagrin in 

one's peers is a strategy, not a misstep, especially if the fruits of your labors are realised on the 

boundary between binary disciplines; the language with which your field of study is decocted is 

necessarily obscure. As the breadth of your insights grows, the extent of your interactions with 

peers in unlike fields will diminish; you will have become, for better or worse, a mystic. To the 

mystic, the shortcomings of objectivity and distance are apparent; he is immersed in a world 

betwixt that is un-mounted from the purely rational; he sacrifices status to discovery. " 

— Tom Fahy 

'Truth, not unlike collage, encourages and is very often improved upon by editing. Editing 

reinforces the interrelationships between signifiers, each of which is a representative entity. 

However, too often, the representation is mistaken for a truth-bearing essence. Collage does not 

denote, but implies the essentially of sincerity and its qualitative bearing upon human action. 

And any action that aims to divert or misdirect, is a departure from sincerity. This is how we 

distinguish between pastiche and collage, lie and truth. " 

— Tom Fahy 



Anja Ehrlichmann, One FOOT IN ATLANTIS 
A Foreword to the Fourth Edition of Orchard Park 

Orchard Park, encrypted for the casual reader, is an occulted 
text — a book for initiates by an initiate. 

Initiated into what? 

I choose my words carefully: The comprehending reader, as 
opposed to the casual reader, will already have been initiated into 
'Hyperborean Esotericism.' And while the casual reader senses that 
'0/P' is not, in fact, a novel or literature, as such, the initiate knows 
it should not be a novel, and is not meant to masquerade as literature, 
though it is a masquerade. 

What is 0/P? 

0/P is a Revealed Text and it is a Rune Walk: The Runes do not 
serve merely as chapter headings, but as 1.) Portals through which 
the reader is inducted 2.) As warnings, warding off those eyes for 



II. • Foreword 

which the occulted text was not intended and 3.) As weapons with 
which synchronic battle is waged. 

Orchard Park, '0/P,' is a transliteration of two sacred Runes: 1.) 
The Odal Rune [ St ], which denotes 'possession/inheritance,' as in 
'the possession/inheritance of an estate, or ownership,' also 
'heritage' 2.) And the PeorS Rune [ K ], which has two associations. 
The first association is with the pear tree, or by extension, the 
Irminsul tree — sometimes less a tree than a pillar. The second 
association is with the flute. Here is an instance when crypsis is 
evident, and it becomes incumbent upon the initiated reader to 
decrypt the intended meaning of the text. The book's tide may refer 
to the 'heritage of Irminsul,' 'that place where the Irminsul stands,' 
or 'the estate of the Ash Tree (the tree on which was crucified 
Wotan/Odin for nine days).' It may also refer to 'the inheritance of 
a song,' or 'the possession of a song' the lyrics of which are 
contained within Orchard (Odal) Park's (Peord's) leaves. Perhaps all of 
the interpretations are correct. If this is true, we are not reading a 
book, but a sacred tract or songbook, a holy work of Wotanism. 



Orchard Park, a pagan book with a Cafhar soul, is firmly couched 
in the Yuga, or Age, referred to as the Kali — a super-dense, 
involuted era (presaging the Age of Lead) wherein most if not all 
meanings are inverted; when falsification of history is de rigueur; 
when most human action is under the spell of and complicit in 
occult warfare; when it becomes the role of the initiate to restore 
meaning through a rigorous re-appropriation of ancient and sacred 
symbols, and by a methodical transmutation of language such that 
the Word 1 once more arms rather than stealthily disarms the 
intended reader/initiate. 

Select stations of the Rune Walk include: The Casde ( I ), The 
Grail Quest ( II ), Symbology & Crypsis ( III ), and Disguise ( IV ). 

I Button House, a dying Minnesanger's wrecked castle, remains 
the pivot around which shamble, on one arthritic foot and then 
another, Russell Huggins' (Fatty's) modey cast of Hobby horse-like 
players. Their work is of an alchemical nature, doing with high 



1 "Wards the Men by the New God Were Made," pp. 327-329. 



Foreword ■ III. 

esoteric idealism what alchemists of old did with base metals, 
putting the lie to the illusion, defunding the fraud of modernism 
with merry acts of the Imagination. 

n Grail Quest (Old French, "Graal"): "We will tell you without 
telling you. We will show you and you may one day realize 
that the truth is represented by the less interesting of two 
objects..." (& / K, 322). When one thinks of the Grail Legend, one 
relies on his Western materialist training and conjures a cup, or 
plate or tablet. The Grail/Graal is also a rite, a leaping inward in 
order to leap outward, and the most pedestrian of objects may be 
adopted to symbolize such a rite, or initiation, graduating from 
Maya to Pure Interior Projection — reconditioning Imagination to 
serve the Will, that a synchronic war with involution and its agents 
may be fought unflaggingly. The Grail Quest requires a Mystic 
Marriage — a marriage of a man with himself, or a woman with 
herself. And the so-called Grail itself resides wherever the Rites of 
Mystic Marriage are preserved. Occasionally, if the memory of the 
blood is sufficient, a man or woman may forgo the ancient rites, 
undergoing a Mystic Marriage spontaneously, thus becoming full 
initiates into 'Hyperborean Esotericism.' But more often, the 
Marriage must be induced in a novitiate. 

m Orchard Park will make most sense to the initiate, for to 
him the utility of crypsis is made plain: The purpose of the 
book is obviated by the succession of symbols, the flowering of the 
Runes, the revelation of a story of courtly Love that yearns to 
breach time, exceeding the dominion of Kronos — of love a work of 
art made. And ... "a work of art is true to the extent that its actual 
or accidental form reflects the essential form conceived in the mind 
of the artist" ($t / K, 283). The initiate will at once recognize the 
pursuit of Excelsior through the Rite of Loss, but never the loss of 
love profaned. 

1"V ] Trobar Clus: The survival of our school of esotericism 
-L V requires disguise. And in order for our message to be 
conveyed reliably from epoch to epoch, it must find new vehicles, 
and it must be performed under new marquis' with dissimilar names 
and forms, this year an opera, next year a masquerade. As the 
involution of the Kali continues apace, our rites undergo change to 



IV. • Foreword 



compensate for a nearly full despiritualization of the Earth, and 
those changes require new mediums through which the message 
may be first conveyed, then distilled, and finally transmuted. $t / K 
is one such recent medium. It may be read, or it may be understood. 



I 



Tom Shaw's days were numbered: 

he was sick, tired and humorless. 
He had nothing to lose — 
His mandate: comb over the literary remains 
of one Russell Huggins, compulsive diarist, 
and catalog no fewer than three-hundred handwritten, 

single-spaced journals. . . 

The Urban Archaeology Department was adamant, 
called Tom in the wee-hours, 
rustled him from a sound sleep, 
shuttled him to a bleak, windowless classroom 
in the Art and Sociology building 
on The University of Maryland campus; 
a room overflowing with 

cryptologists, steganographers and semagramists 



2 h - Raid6, "Ride - Journey." Riding seems easy to every warrior while he is 

INDOORS AND VERY COURAGEOUS TO HIM WHO TRAVERSES THE HIGH-ROADS ON THE 
BACK OF A STOUT HORSE. — OLD ENGLISH POEM 



: • Tom Fahy 

Were there such things — such persons? 

Were the appellations invented for the occasion? 

The Subject died the evening before — 
a massive coronary, and young: 

he was only thirty-two. 
His surviving family — an estranged sister named Katharine 
and an institutionalized grandmother, 
"would present no obstacles," 

said Brand Moffett, department chair. 



Huggins lived on the outskirts of Orchard Park, 

a scrub-infested wasteland 
scarred by unused railcar sidings and rusting buildings. 
Mangy animals patrolled the streets. 
Only one marginally formidable structure loomed, 
ringed by a falling-down iron fence — 
a brick four-story Victorian with an unassuming name: 

Button House. 

Huggins, 

at the time of his death, was the only tenant, 

save for a handful of skinny cats with bad teeth. 

Tom arrived early on the morning of the 5 th of April, 

what Katie referred to as the 'Lost Month.' 

A cab rolled to a near-stop in front of Button House. 

"We're here," Shaw complained. "You can stop." 

"It's safe. Open the door and step out. 

I never put the car in park out here. Hand me the fare." 

Tom handed the driver the fare, opened the door, 

watched the macadam roll by beside the car. 

The curb was festooned with crab-grass. 

The gutters were running with what looked like tar. 

"You can't stop?" 

"Not a complete stop," the cab driver confirmed. "You'll be fine." 

"At least walking speed," Tom pled. 

The cab slowed down imperceptibly. 



Orchard Park and Other Works 



He leapt out, gripping the cab's frame, but was swept off his feet. 

He landed on his knees, skinning both. 

The cab motored away, pausing at an intersection. 

The left blinker came to life and the car turned, disappeared. 



House — an edifice in despair — 
rotting brick, climbing skeletons of dead ivy, 
broken windows, crumbling chimneys. 
Tom mounted a step-ladder to a front door 
which hung perilously by one hinge. 
It was useless knocking. 

He nudged the door with his foot. It swung inward, 
scraping on scuffed floorboards, 
clattered to a stop against a wall 
covered with turn-of-the-last-century wallpaper: fleur-de-lis print. 

He expected rats, a bad smell, fetid corpses, 

but was surprised by the neutrality of the atmosphere. 

Plaster was peeling from the walls, revealing lattice-work, 

but the floor had been swept of debris — a neat mess. 

Shaw knew all about neat messes. 

He lived in a neat mess himself; 

it had driven Katie mad. 



The University was greedy — 

it sought to amass the effects of backward literary estates; 

it responded to all rumors of treasure, plundered, didn't share; 

its pirates were subcontracted. 

It didn't want to get knee-deep in the expeditions itself; 

it wanted to reserve the right 

to deny foreknowledge of an estate's contents. 

But Button House seemed only to be peripherally 
on their agenda — on the very bottom of their wish-list. 
Seemed, I say, as they were making an overt effort 
to foster the illusion that this particular robbery 
was being held at one or two or three arm-lengths. 
Or maybe they wanted to throw the forlorn husband 
of the former Urban Archaeology Chair a bone, 



Tom Fahy 



keep him occupied: 



The University hasn't forgotten you, or jour dead wife, 
her contributions, her inestimable value to the department, 
students and culture. Look at the interest we take in jour welfare. 



A stairway with a heavily-worn carpet rose to a landing. 

Tom climbed it, testing each step. 

There was no railing. 

On the landing stood a suitcase 

and next to the suitcase a pair of shoes 

into which had been stuffed socks. 

A chandelier with one bulb glided overhead. 

He felt the wall for a switch, 

found one and the bulb came to life. 

Hallways extended to the left and right 

and another stairway marched into a black hole. 

The hallway to the left was lined with ledgers, notebooks, 

some spiral, some saddle-stitched, all colors, sizes. 

That was the way to Huggins' lair. 



Katie had worn the pants — the house pants, 
the family pants, 
the professional pants, 
the money pants. 
And Tom simply hung on. 
He loved her terribly, 

but he didn't have the initiative-bone 
or gene 
or faculty 
or disposition. 
She wanted him to stay home, not feel guilty, 
research, 
write, 
think, 

contemplate, 

cook when he could. 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 

It was an unusual arrangement — 
Lifestyle, as they say — she in the big pants, the alpha-girl, 
while he stayed in his study, doing what he loved, 
trying desperately not to engage, 

to just do as his instincts dictated. 
Maybe Huggins had been that way, too. . . 

Maybe he was ugly, a brute, distasteful, violent and disfigured. 
Maybe a woman like Katie tried to save him — 
save him from Button House, the warehouse district, 
from his own mind, from disease, from compulsion, 

from Orchard Park. 

Time would tell. 



The hallway was long, 

pocked with misshapen doorways, 

every room dark, unfurnished and wallpapered similarly, 

with fleur-de-lis or damask patterns. 

One room, unlike the rest, was furnished. 

A hulk of a desk, barely visible in the meager light 

shed by the only working streetlamp on the block, 

stood in the center of the room. 

Shaw dug into his jacket, produced a flashlight, 

trained the beam into the murky space. 

As in the hallway, so too here — 

tall stacks of notebooks, journals, diaries, ledgers. 

In the far corner, a bed. 

On the walls hung black and white photographs, 

and Polaroids leached of pigment, too long in the sun, 

or under interrogation lamps or firelight. . . 

Shaw found a switch, flicked it. 

A ceiling lamp came to life, revealed a world, 

a startling world, brimming filing cabinets, 

shelves sagging under the weight of books, 

one full shelf busting at the seams with alphabetized 45s, 

and in the center, commanding, formidable, 

bulging on legs thick as an elephant's, stood Huggins' desk. 



i • Tom Fahy 

On the desk were spread papers, a pyramid of cloth-bound books, 
two laptops, one newish and one old, brick-like. 

That he felt affection for this room, 

Tom Shaw couldn't deny; 

it was made-to-order: he could work here. 



How did Huggins bide his time? 
On what was he working? 

Shaw set the flashlight on the desk, 
moved to the wall, leaned close, 
his nose pressing against the glass 
of a multitude of framed photos. 

Who were these people? 

Many of the photos were ancient 
but most were under thirty years old, 
judging from the clothes the subjects wore — 
the rugby shirts, tight jeans, tube socks, 
silkscreen t-shirts, bowl haircuts. 

Out of the past, from behind glass, 

beamed faces with painted-on smiles, 

sparkling eyes, yellow hair, small ears, proud cheekbones. 

The men, all composites of one another, 

had broad shoulders, thick chests, 

were tall, had thick eyebrows, curly hair. 

The women were fresh, exuded health, 

had perky breasts that poked through their t-shirts, 

pale blue eyes, smiles that dominated one side of their face. 

And the children, also clearly spawn of the same family, 

bursting with energy, 

ready to dive headfirst out of the photographs. 

Where was Huggins? 

A gray tiger-cat, well-fed, 



Orchard Park and Other Works 

not like the neighborhood cats, 
wandered into the room, 
rubbed against Tom's leg. 
He picked it up, scratched it's head. 
The cat purred; he placed the cat on the desk. 

What did the University want with this man, 

this room, this life, these books and journals? 

Shaw would find out. 

He would dig, sort, read, catalog. 

He would smoke like a banshee, sit in a yellow cloud, 

ashes piling up at his feet, reading, documenting. 

He suspected the job killed his wife, 
inclined as she was, like him, to smoke compulsively, 
especially while working, not eating, barely breathing, 
only seeing, thinking, digesting ideas, condensing them, 

desperate for hidden meanings. 
She was so good, so astute, keen, excitable, and breathless. 
He'd never, not even here in Button House, 
not with the fear instilled in him 
by the bearded cryptographers filling his sails, 
ever match her pure, easy enthusiasm. 
But he'd do it, make her a gift 3 of the work of 
one Russell Huggins. 



3 Our system is one in which experience is conditional and contingent — 
conditional and contingent upon conformance to relative customs and 
statutory rights. 

Privilege issues from coercive Powers that observe statutory rights. 

It is imperattve that we distinguish between privilege, which is the outcome 
of a transaction, and the gift, which is voluntary. While privilege is implied 
debt to a coercive power, the tribute one symbolically pay's in the act of 
gift-giving is self-reflexive: the gift cannot be brokered; the gift is immune 
from debt; the gift cannot be loaned at interest; the gift is neither a 
liability nor an obligation; the gift is not capital. 

The act OF GIFT-GIVING ISSUES from natural law, AND HENCE is INALIENABLE, 
UNIVERSAL AND INCOERCIBLE. 



8 • TomFahy 

Tom coughed — a hacking cough — 
wiped his nose on his sleeve, rubbed his eyes. 
He took in the room. 
The ceiling was sagging and stained. 
Dirty curtains hung limp beside the windows, 
pulled into bunches with shoestring. 
A wooden swivel chair stood behind the desk — 
the monolith with fat-lady legs. 

He sat in it, 
exhaled a ragged, wheezy breath, 
put his feet up and addressed the room, 
"Where do we start, Russell? 
Where did you start?" 

There was only one way to find out: 

determine if there was order in the chaos, 

a number-system, a Dewey-system, ciphers, 

recurring patterns, dates, 

something from which he could extrapolate a sequence — 

find some page, one page {Once upon a time. . .). 

Was that necessary, advisable, 

to seek order when perhaps order was not intended, 

or where order does not exist? 
What would Katie do? What did Katie do? 
He didn't know. She was methodical. 
He wasn't. 

He heard a motor, heard the motor cut, heard a door close. 

He peered out Huggins' grimy window. 

A sedan sat parked across the street. 

A black man in a long brown jacket stood beside it, 

a Styrofoam cup smoldering in his hand; 

Shaw waved. The man in the brown jacket didn't wave back. 

This is my last hurrah, Shaw thought to himself, 
coughing into his fist: 

I have nothing to lose. 



Orchard Park and Other Works 

They want the husband of the ghost of Katie Shaw 
to resurrect from paper a man that the world forgot, 
or more probable, never knew. 

"You must be someone" Tom Shaw said to the room. 
"By the way, your funeral is Thursday — 
in case you wanted to hover, 
see who comes. The cats, maybe." 

Rain started to patter the window, drum on the tin eaves, 
circulate throughout the bones of the house, 
dribble from the ceiling. 
Russell had been prepared. 
The sound of water dripping into pans 
in the room and up and down the hallway 
produced a maddening, terrifying chorus: 

The Button House Tin Pan Band. 

It was time to dig. 

Shaw didn't want to touch the things 

on which Huggins had been working last; 

he wanted to touch the past, 

see how his handwriting had evolved, 

if it evolved, or devolved, 

maybe turned into something illegible. 

The beginning: where was it? 

It was a riddle: defense agencies — 

powerful, interested, but unwilling to dirty their own hands. 
Was Huggins a liability? 
They could burn the evidence, 
the house in which the evidence was stored, 
drop a bomb down a chimney, 
poison the cats, 

turn the rotting bricks into flour. 

Why didn't they? 



10 • Tom Fahy 

Shaw went to the hallway, 

looked at the suitcase, the shoes . . . 

Was Huggins planning a trip? 

Where was he going? 

Did he have a friend on the other side of the world, 

someone to whom he wrote letters, a lover — 
was he preparing for a tryst? 
Was he involved in an international intrigue, 

or maybe a local one? 
Maybe the cats were conspiring against him. 

His shoes, unlaced, waiting. . . 

Did he work barefoot? 

If so, Tom would work barefoot. 

He kicked off his sneakers, peeled off his socks. 

Is this how Huggins did it, pattered around Button House, 

emptying pan after pan of rainwater? 

Maybe he sat typing, scribbling, jotting, all in the nude, 

bunching and flexing his toes. 

Katie would be knee-deep by now, 

slogging, interested and drawing insightful conclusions, 
making notes in her flawless print, 
a cigarette hanging on her dry lip. 

Shaw marched to the end of the hall opposite the landing. 

It was dark, crawling with shadows. 

From the corners came the unmistakable odor of cat urine. 

He reached for a bundle of notebooks in various states of decay, 

lugged them back to Huggins' desk, 

lit a cigarette 
and began. 



% 



PUBLISHER'S NOTE: The following is a fairly faithful decoction, 
decipherment and distillation of the life, times, loves, and record of such by one 
Russell Huggins, as compiled, edited and formatted by Tom Shaw. 

EDITOR'S NOTE: The First, Second, Third, and Fourth Orchard Park 
Press Editions involved careful consideration of the privay interests of 
individuals mentioned, referenced or identified in this work. In very few cases, 
names have not been released because doing so would constitute an invasion of 
privay. As for the remainder, the invasion was warranted. 

I, UNFORTUNATELY, AM RUSSELL HUGGINS 

Out of relative obscurity I come, 

and so too shall I return to that obscurity, 

but only after I have taken a moment to pause, 



4 £ - Odal, "Heritage - Estate - Possession." An estate is very dear to every 
man, if he can enjoy there in his house whatever is right and proper in 
constant prosperity. — old english poem 



12 • Tom Fahy 

stand before you wearing bed-rags, with uncombed hair, 
with a three-day beard, all in order to address you, 
my dear reader, that I might convey a portion 
of those stirring morsels of thought 
of which I have become the recipient. 
And I realize that precious is the time allotted each man 
and woman, and that it is not my wish to detain you, 
to charm, to bewitch. 

No. 

Rather, it is my wish to take your arm in mine 
for but a few hours that we might stroll. 
There is much to be said and so little time; 
I beg your patience. 



b., January 2, 1971 — 

the same day of the Ibrox disaster, the second one, 

66 dead, 200 injured. 

Also the same year that David Duff was born. 

Shortly after my birth, my family relocated to Orchard Park, 

a suburb on the outskirts of Baltimore, once an apple orchard. 

It was a middle-class suburb with an ugly underbelly, 

known for its seedy hustlers, dirty politics, 

back- alley knife fights and colorful thugs; 

a suburb containing its share of whorehouses and cabarets. 

It was a violent place. 

Everyone was someone — 

everyone was a storyteller, money or no money. 

My father, Brian Todd Huggins, 

was a lawyer and teacher 

whose personal beliefs were founded in Transcendental Fascism, 5 

which explains the perverse appeal of Orchard Park. 

Mother, Margaret Ann Ferguson Huggins, 

was a proud woman, descended from a long line of civil servants, 



' Refer to Appendix A, "Transcendental Fascism" 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 13 

and if she is to be believed, 'freedom fighters.' 

For what kind of freedom they were fighting 

and from what kind of bondage they were fleeing. . . 

. . .is anybody's guess. 
Nevertheless, the house was ornamented 
with soldierly artifacts: swords, uniforms 
and tin-type portraits of bony men in Confederate gray. 

I loved them both fiercely. 

My father taught me philosophy and my mother, dead at 40, 

taught me that affection wasn't in philosophy's jurisdiction. 

My mother spoke and read several languages, 

for my maternal grandfather, Colonel Russell Ferguson, 

had married a Frenchwoman named Eleanor Payton, 

a woman fluent in no less than four continental languages. 

The Colonel was shot and killed in 1956 

and Grandma Payton engraved in my memory 

tales of the Colonel's military exploits 

in Bzura, Mlawa, and Lubelski. 

She read me French magazines. 

So multilingual was the household, 

that I was scarcely aware that English 

was the official language of Greater Baltimore. 

Katharine was (is) my younger sister — 
younger by two years, 

never a friend but often an ally. 
We had many imaginary playmates: 

Augen, Sylvia and the Magical-Mystical Man. 

We haunted the labyrinthine alleys of Orchard Park, 

the library, the rambling, unkempt gardens, the zoo. 

We spent hours taunting the tigers. 

Our bond, tenebrous as it was, 

due largely to our feeling singularly alien — 

we were bookish, near-sighted 

and grossly unprepared for the harsh-realities 

awaiting us in a grown-up world. 



14 • Tom Fahy 

I was expected to enter into law, or teach. 
Grandma Payton suggested linguistics but I demurred. 
"It is tacitly understood," Katharine proclaimed, 
"that you will follow in the footsteps of your father, 

now an invalid." 
But I chose to write, poems at first, then prose, 
from morning until night, always with a badly chewed pencil, 
fantastical stories, mostly about cats. 

Upon my mother's death, 

my father's health declined rapidly. 

"School is no place for a child!" he'd rail. 

Katharine and I took our lessons at his bedside, 

graduating to what he called factory schools 

only after he was dead and buried, eaten alive by sorrow: 

"The Bolsheviks killed jour mother and me!" 

I wore thick glasses, 

couldn't get the hang of the factory school style of dress 

and was picked on mercilessly. 

I found myself in fights, 

possessed of that ancestral warrior honor instilled in me 

by my mother and grandmother. 

I loathed school. 

I became accustomed to defeat. 



Relief arrived in 1985 when we, Katharine and I, 

left with Grandma Payton for Europe, settling in Geneva — 

a hotbed for the Payton clan. 

We spent four years at the Lycee Montaigne, 

learned Latin and German. 

Katharine mastered French. 

The student body, 

being of a higher caliber than that to which we were accustomed, 

accepted us, embraced us and offered us friendship. 

And it appeared Grandma Payton 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 15 

had been foretelling my fate in Orchard Park, 

as I soon developed a keen interest in 

and chose to study linguistics in earnest, 

seeking a tutor in George Irwin, 

an adjunct at International University 

and a specialist in psycholinguistics. 

These were the halcyon days. 

They came too early, did not last — could not last. 

Grandma Payton died. 

We stayed with relatives, distant cousins, aunts and uncles. 
They suffered us well, or seemed to. 
I felt a perfect burden. 
It was 1989. 

I was finished at Montaigne, was eager to leave Geneva 
and return to the States in order to study linguistics. 
But it would mean leaving Katharine. 
I chose to stay, endure. 
George Irwin left International for MIT. 
He had become a dear friend and mentor. 
We wrote regularly, 

but the frequency with which his replies arrived tapered, 
sputtered 

and finally stopped. 
Desperate, I exchanged my obsession with languages 
with an old passion: writing. 
I met David Duff in 1990 at the Cafe Toepffer, 
a slum for writers and the epicenter 
of a burgeoning literary circle 
populated by hosts of as yet unpublished, 
un-publishable and angry bards. 
A large portion of the circle was composed 
of the children of US expats. 
We talked into the night, argued, 
set little fires at one another's feet, ideas for kindling. 
But while the other members sought new 
and better methods for full Europeanization, 
I soon grew dissatisfied; 
the talking was relentless, wearying. 



16 • Tom Fahy 

Duff, son of a Glasgow solicitor, 

on what he called the first third of a pan-European tramp, 

frequent drop-in to the Cafe Toepffer, agreed. 

We decamped to a garage in Vesenaz, 

began the first cycle of what was to become 

a recurring enterprise over the next decade. 

Our first collaboration 

was on a three-volume set of essays and poems, 
most paying lip-service to pet obsessions: 
linguistics, fascism and film-theory. 
We made a meager effort at selling our handmade books 
but we soon grew embarrassed of our own work, 
our sophomoric ideas, our naivete. 

We burned everything, toasted our failure, started over, 
and decided there was more currency in pure feelings 
than in abstract ideas. 

How wrong we were. . . 

x 121202MD: THE FUTURE 

George Irwin: Elucidated 

He was a mild man. In the evening he read Carl Sandburg. His 
favorite poem was 'Red-headed Restaurant Cashier.' He read that 
poem over and over again. But at times like these, when it was 
raining, and cool, he didn't have the heart for Carl Sandburg. 
Instead he would read something harder, cruder, like Eliot, or even 
Thomas Mann, whom he didn't particularly like, but who made him 
feel disciplined to read. 

At times like these, when the house was too quiet for comfort, 
when the newspaper arrived sopping wet, he would retreat to the 
den, which was books, a chair and a long, narrow desk. A lamp 
stood atop it. As they died, he continually replaced the bulbs with 
ones of lower wattages, until now, it burned with a jaundiced, sickly 
yellow glow — 30 watts through a thick, ochre shade. 

Sitting by the window, a copy of Death in Venice on his lap, he 
studied the shelves that wrapped around three of the room's four 
walls. They held the books he'd accumulated since he was thirteen, 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 17 

an age he recalled was unlucky not only as it was an unlucky 
number but, because of all of the untold misfortunes that beset a 
thirteen-year-old. Yet, those misfortunes were the reward for 
enduring the first twelve years of one's life in practical peace. 
Without his glasses he couldn't read the spines, but he knew the 
tides by their shapes and colors. 

As for Death in Venice, he never read it, as he never read a handful 
of others, like the ones he piled on the coffee table. It was 
something to hold, to talk about. Few, if any, read Death in Venice, 
and yet, it remained a book about which people liked to talk, 
without understanding it, or wanting to; without enjoying, or even 
liking it. Death in Venice was a prop, for him and others. But that 
wasn't what was bothering the man. 



His name was George Irwin. Had it not been for his name, George 
Irwin believed, he might have wedded by then, but truth be told, he 
really didn't blame his poor fortune on his name. Rather, he blamed 
Fortune herself. In his book, Fate was a woman, and Death was a 
woman and Fortune was a woman, too. They all, in fact, wore the 
same face but different costumes. Fate wore a white gown, and 
Death a shroud (of course), and Fortune, she wore a jester's 
costume. This is as he had always visualized it, and so he would 
continue to visualize it. 



From the den he walked into the kitchen, leaving Mann's book on 
the long desk. In the kitchen, where he'd left it, was a plate on 
which lay a slice of banana bread. He had buttered it earlier when 
the bread was warm, and he had watched the butter melt, soaking 
the thin slice. George didn't like the way the banana bread made 
him feel, just sitting there, a butter knife balancing on the arc of the 
plate, so he left it, to be dealt with later, maybe when the sun had 
set. 

From the kitchen he went into the mudroom, put on a rain jacket, 
his boots and a baseball cap. Outside, the rain bouncing off the bill 
of his cap and coursing down his face, he walked up the drive and 
into the woods, making a b-line through the thickets to the deer run 
that led to the lake road. Much of the path, which was muddy, ran 



18 • Tom Fahy 

downhill, so he 'skied' on the bottoms of his boots. He held onto 
passing branches for support. At the bottom of the hill he ducked 
under the skirt of a fur tree, knelt and took from an inside pocket of 
his jacket a pack of cigarettes, which he did not normally smoke. 
Against the tree bark he struck a match and held the quivering 
flame to the end of the cigarette. It ignited and he inhaled. 

On the lake road he walked south, towards town, thinking about 
Fortune, dressed as a jester. The previous morning, he had read 
something in the paper that had almost, he felt, cured him alive. He 
still felt, a day later, half -pickled, tanned, and leather}'. He had been 
reading the paper passively, sitting in a litde visited corner of the 
library where the windows were smoked and the bookshelves were 
covered with a layer of dust. He regarded newspapers as he 
regarded Death in Venice. Papers, like the Mann book, weren't 
necessarily a cover, but were a smokescreen in the event of 
boredom. Newspapers gave one the look of a busy person, just as a 
Mann book imparted to one the look of an intelligent person, if not 
a pretentious one. So he was reading a newspaper, or holding it, so 
as to appear respectably bored in privacy. He was turning the pages 
passively, lending half an eye to the weather section, a third of an 
eye to the obituaries, and less than that to the rest when all of the 
disparate parts of his eyes suddenly coalesced at the bottom of 
section C, page 3 — Death Notices: 

Allayne Ashby, 33, died after being strangled by her clothing while driving a 
bumper car at Glen Echo Park's Bumper Car Pavilion on Friday. The woman 
was with her niece and nephew, when the scarf she was wearing became 
lodged in the bumper car's wheels and tightened around her neck. 
Emergency Services were called to the scene at 3:00 ™ and she was flown to 
Mercy Medical Center where she was pronounced dead. An investigation 
into bumper car safety at Glen Echo is pending. 

x 121302MD: THE FUTURE 

The Knell Memorial Home and Garden 

Nestled in the Warehouse District, Orchard Park, Baltimore 
County, the Knell Memorial Home and Garden is a century-old, 
family-owned and operated landmark. The estate, formerly a hop 
farm, belongs to a region to whose natural aspects its people have 
been obstinately partial. Orchard Park, once admired for her 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 19 

singular beauty — verdant, pristine and pastoral — has lost her 
complexion, her figure, her reputation, and her self-respect; and yet, 
despite its overall decrepitude, has not lost her distinction. In spite 
of the doom and decay, the monstrous misfortunes and the 
desperation which have befallen Orchard Park and her people, 
there remain certain saving graces of which the Knell Memorial 
Home and Garden is an example. 

Within and without, the memorial home and garden convey a 
sense of stillness, an absence of momentum. It is as an arrival by 
water. Inside, on the lichen-bitten stone walk, there is an unearthly 
hush. A gnarly tree lends you her arm, and you are overwhelmed by 
the slackening, the gentle bumping, and uncoordinated creeping, 
behind the furry walls, beneath the lighted windows. Somewhere a 
fountain gurgles, and in the half-light, statues of Pluto and Hades, 
Persephone and Neptune. 

The memorial home is a veritable bastard of architecture, enjoying 
no singular theme, but rather assembled from a queer blueprint 
cross-pollinated with a host of unlike styles: Bauhaus, Georgian, 
Victorian and Gothic; Italianate, Russian Revival, Prairie and 
Postmodern. At first, it is disarming, not altogether pleasing or 
inviting, but one eventually yields to the beast, as it begs pity from 
its guests. 

The Knell Memorial Home and Garden is a getaway that offers 
respite from the worries of the flesh. Visitors are welcomed, but 
arrangements may be made for permanent residence. 



20 • Tom Fahy 

x 121302MD: THE FUTURE 

"If you cannot write poems, write stories. And if you cannot write stories, 
write novels. And if not novels, then paint. And if you cannot or will not 
paint — if you have no arms, no eyes — then stay inside of your head, because you 

can be free there, too. " 

— Russell Huggins 

George G. Irwin 

MIT Linguistics and Philosophy 
77 Massachusetts Avenue, 33-A808 
Cambridge, MA 02139 

George, 

Do not cry out for reason in the dark when instinct is closest at 

hand, as instinct too will serve you well, in its turn, in the place 

of reason. Instinct is not primitive. It is what remains when the 

heart has sought out in the soul of a man what is intrinsically 
worthless. 

Go- 

Into early autumn, 

That is goldenrod, 

Mothers and sons 

And yellow pastures. 

Go- 

Into the puncture, 

And let him, your father, 

Squeeze from it the pain. 

-Russell 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 21 

x 121402MD: THE FUTURE 

The Remainder prepare to convene at Bethany Beach to spread 
Allayne's ashes — Katharine from Alexandria, David Duff from 
Glasgow, I in a rental from Baltimore, Whistler already on the 
Eastern Shore, maybe Irwin — probably Irwin. I long to see their 
familiar faces, to embrace them, to wrap my arms around their 
bodies, plant kisses on their cheeks and foreheads. Our lives are 
short. We can count our breaths as they climb the stile from the 
barnyard into the meadow. And we can watch them, feathered, 
alighting on the gentle rises and lilting on the grassy slopes until 
they disappear into the blurry tufts of grass clinging to the horizon, 
fists and broad columns of smoke-colored clouds crammed 
overhead. Then we are left with the emptiness that precedes our 
next, heroic breath — 

Exhale, 

Ruffle the leaves 

of the wild apple trees. 



x 122598MD 

Dear Russell, 

Cipher: Allentown 

Her'ei,n you will find enclosed a new .cryptogram. Any 
thoughts you may have regarding structural 
improvements would be welcome: 

l.A.) J have come to the conclusion that to write 
does not mean to dazzle with lyrical acrobatics, but 
to tell a story, plain and simple. Jn this manner, J 
will tell you one now, one you already know well: 

1.5.) For the better part of four year's J have 
walked to the office on Massachusetts Ave. Only once 
have J accepted a ride. That ride was from my wife 
Elaine. She died three year's and ^0 minutes ago during 
the delivery of our first child. Our first and last 
Child died three days later. She missed her' mommy. J 
did , too. 



6 1 - Isaz, "Ice." Ice is very cold and immeasurably slippery; it glistens as clear 
as glass and most like to gems; it is a floor wrought by the frost, fair to 
look upon. — Old English Poem 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 23 




;uar'ds. The apple trees, swarthy and unkempt, remind 
me of drunkards. J like the drunkards the best. 

I do not suffer company on my walks. About solitude, 
J am "very particular. Occasionally J am tailed by a 
cat or do 1 ;. This does not bother me; they are an 
exception. 

The streets J walk are many. sash morning they 
welcome me bask as though J were an old friend. Many 
year's ago, at the end of Jrookline, there lived a 
beautiful young woman in a small, peeling Tudor. She 
had three children. S-a c h morning she stood in a 
housecoat on a set of crumbling steps and saw her 
Children off to school. She would smile and wave, then 
she would whisper something to her children and they 
would wave, too. Soon after, they moved. X stopped 
walking on 1 r o o k 1 i n e . 



x 122898MD 

George, 

The Allentown Cipher works fine, although rough around the edges. I 
have too little energy to devote to the particulars. My apologies. 
Ashby is in town, was just on the telephone and wants to meet. We are 
overwhelmed by the details. She says it might be better if we met in 
our imaginations. 

I am frantic to write all of this down before I am dead, before I am 
covered with moles, before I've lost my hair. I was sure that I was 
going to die last night. I was afraid that my heart would explode 
before I could call for help. I could feel the pain and panic creep 
into my chest and I wanted to cry out and it was hopeless. The world 
slept. I was alone with my anxiety. 

-Russell 



24 • Tom Fahy 

x 122998MD 
Ellicott City Curses 

Sandwiched between running glass — 

Glass older than this city — 

And over-painted moldings, 

I think of you, a figment, 

A blur between passages. 

And I have to wonder. . . 

Why here, 

Behind rugged plaster, 

Thinking through a season of flat hops, moldy wheat? 

I wonder of what you are made — 

Of how many oak doors with heavy latches; 

Of how many landslides 

Churning up gold flakes and old patent leather shoes. . 

I wonder ... as the fanged bit of morning 

Burrows into the rear-end of night, 

If you have sleep on your side, 

Or if you even have the comfort of madness. 

x 123098MD 

Thimbleful of Black 

To do something great, 

All a man needs is a small room. 

There, if he sits long enough, 

Caring little, remembering much, 

He can accomplish anything. 

A room like that is a place where decisions are made; 

Where grave losses are confronted; 

Where resolve is forged. 

Maybe the solitude will be too much. 

It is hard to say. 

I am in such a room now. 

I have not reached a verdict. 

Sleep does not come easily. 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 25 

x 123198MD 

When We Were Good 

I miss you dearly, 

Can still smell you, 

Your aura a thin film clinging to my skin, 

Echoes of your hands in my hair, on my head, 

Your voice in my ears, 

My arms pulling you closer, closer. . . 

Listening to the thrum of your heart in the mattress, 

Merging with you in our flannel cocoon, 

In the kitchen and on the sofa. . . 

Drinking tea, eating, 

Our dreams distilled in the air, 

Soaking in each other's eyes and smiles... 

As the Universe is my witness, 

We were two mint bees 

on an early morning flower. 

x 010399MD 

Dear' Russell, 

Cipher': Pittsburgh 

On a bicycle in front of the Hampshire, 7 5 elect two 
girls into my .company. loth are dressed alike and 
eating donuts. Wasting no time, J smile and ask them 
their names. They tell me and exchange bewildered 
looks, but J don't remember' to listen. They ar'e 
uncomfortable. The passing car's slow to watch them, 
Deep their horns, hoot. This strikes me as unusual. J 
leave them, cy.cling to the pawnshop, lonnie and her 
husband are in the window, arguing over' a display. J 
stop, tap on the glass. 



7 The Hampshire Hotel. See, The Beekeeper, A Novella, pp.142, 144, 145, 161, 179 



26 • Tom Fahy 

x 010599MD 

Irwin, 

Cipher: Pittsburgh 

Here is my belated answer to your cryptogram of 122598: 

Esteban, the suave Latino with the butterfly collar and rubber form- 
fitting pants, is playing house with the girls from the neighborhood, 
dressing them up in his dead wife's costumes, wigs, stilettos. He's 
down the hall, on the landing, preening, standing sideways in front of 
the mirror, humming "Candida." Downstairs, the girls form a coterie in 
the foyer, the tiles wiggling under their heels. 

-Russell 

x 010999MD 

Hours Under Fire 

I could tell you what I have seen, 

The places to which I have gone. 

I could tell you about the pains, trials, and fires, 

Disappointments, terrors and fevers; 

I could tell you about losses, accidents, 

Bad weather, the searing anger; 

I could tell you what I know. 

And I won't. I don't need to. 

I see more clearly now 

Than I have ever seen before. 

It's the reason I was forced to come back. 

I have said it before and I will say it again: 

There will never be a time 

When you are unloved by me, 

But this time, I will not try to possess you. 

This time, so great is my love 

That I will not resist 

Your intention to release me; 

I will do the one thing 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 27 

That I have fought time and again, 
Lifetime after lifetime: I will let you go. 
You are my attachment on Earth; 
The attachment for which 
I have died and been reborn, 
over and over. 

x 011094MD: THE PAST 

Bethany Beach: Baby Shower 

"I'm going to say goodbye to Katharine, then we can go." 

"Okay." 

Russell stood by the open door to the atrium. He could see tables 
piled with cold meat and sweets. Two pudgy kids with oversized 
hands stood guarding a crystal punch bowl. Another, smaller than 
they, stood staring at Russell, pulling on her golden braids. Russell 
studied her until blood rushed into his cheeks — until his armpits 
were wet. 

Katharine was in the garden under a trellis bending with wisteria. 
She sat with little Brian Todd Cairns curled up in her arms. He lay 
there with astonished buffed blue eyes as guests paid him tribute. 
Unopened presents and envelopes were stacked around the legs of 
Katharine's wicker chair. 

"Give your nephew a kiss, Russell. And me one, too." 

"David—" 

"Yes, I know. Look, baby has Grandpa's eyes." 

"Allayne's in the car." 

"Russell, if you see Duff, tell him there are no hard feelings. It'd 
be nice if he got to know Brian," She handed me a letter, "He gave 
me this." 

"I'm holding up traffic." The tribute train had begun to bunch, 
back up into the restaurant. 

"Don't be angry with him, Russell. We're not — not anymore. I 
think he knows something that we don't — " 

"He always did, Katharine." He turned to go. 

Addressing the back of his head, Katharine called, "Drive 
carefully." 

He heard her, but didn't stop. Crossing the atrium, he noticed the 
chubby boys still guarding the punch bowl and the litde girl, still 



28 • Tom Fahy 

teasing her braids. She followed him into the restaurant with her 
eyes. 

What a creepy kid, Russell thought. 

In the car, Allayne kissed Russell on the cheek, the car rolling 
before he had closed the door. "Babies — do you like them?" 

"Sure," Russell said. 

Allayne, eyes glued to the road, was fishing in a box of tapes with 
her free hand, produced one. She popped it into the tape deck. A 
song began and she cranked the volume until the tune disintegrated 
into static, white noise, heat. 

x 011199MD 

That It Might Claim You 

I hope sleep has chosen to claim you, 

To take you back to her warm, close cave, 

To bundle you in soft furs, 

To surround you with the flicker of firelight; 

And I hope that in your sleep 

You have found some respite — 

A seal-skin smooth calm 

x 011399MD 

Hours, Addendum 

Paper, burned by dark water — 

Morning, soaked in pink embers — 

These words, this speech, 

These thoughts — 

This roasted ink, 

Under cold stars, 

Knowing, 

Doing nothing, feeling much, 

This anxious heart 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 29 

x 011499MD 

"It is the duty oj PBA members to explain to public opinion, clearly and 
courageously, a certain number oj facts that are forgotten with time. The first of 
these is that there is no PBA without the eviction oj the amateurs and the 
expropriation oj their bowling alleys. " 

— James Trainer 

"In the 21st century, it is evident that only Whites are denied freedom of 
assembly, and the PBA remains the only organisation that defends the exclusive 
association oj Whites. Hence, your best defense against those that would 
prosecute thought-crimes is membership in a bowling league" 

— James Trainer 

James Trainer, Former Tenant, 1st Floor, on His 
Departure from Button House: 

Behold the countenance of a man that knows he has lost 
something that he will never recover. He alone knows that nature is 
not as simple as we would like to believe. But he will be the first to 
forgive nature her whims, because like man, she is fallible. Like 
man, sometimes she knows not what she does: she gets caught up 
in the moment, she sleeps while the phone rings, she hesitates when 
action is asked for. . . 



Who is James Trainer? 

James A. Drainer began his PBA career in 1977 when he won two 
tournaments and Sporting News PBA Rookie of the Tear honors. 
Trainer went on to win the Firestone Tournament of Champions in 
1982 before leaving regular tour action for a few years in the 
mid-80s. After coming back full-time on the Tour at the age of 
36, Trainer added four more titles before collecting his 20th 
PBA victory at the 1992 Firestone. Astonishingly, after being 
inducted into the PBA Hall of Fame at the annual Firestone 
dinner preceding the 1994- Tournament of Champions , Trainer went 
on to win the Firestone for a record third time later in the 
week. Trainer, who served as President of the PBA in 1993-94, 
finished with 14- PBA Tour titles and more than $1,00,000 in 
career earnings. 



30 • Tom Fahy 

x 011599MD 

"I have a sneaking suspicion that Being does not require justification and that 
absent the constructs, truth and belief, It persists, with or without our informed 

consent. " 

— George Irwin 

Esteban's Confession: We, the Crooked 

There is a particularly good, peculiar strain of grape whose vine 
dies before they are ripe. However, they are not picked like ordinary 
grapes; they fall from the vine on their own. There on the ground, 
they begin to ferment in the sun, growing smaller as they wilt. On 
the second day, vintners gather them into baskets. The grapes in 
turn are stored in a cool place until white with mold. They are then 
heaped into vats, pressed into a uniform juice and decanted for 
finishing and final fermentation. The grapes make tart wine with an 
aftertaste of wild preserves. 

We are like these grapes: We, the crooked. 

x 011699MD 

When We Were Good, II 

Reddish-brown currents 
Hooked around the bends of her ears; 
Errant strands forming fine tracery on her cheeks; 
Delicate, bourbon-colored eyes; 

Indelicate gardener's hands, toughened by hard springtime dirt, 
By all the lifting that a mother is wont to do. 
This is the puzzle of collarbone, 
Hips, muslin-sash-eyelids and painted toes 
that you love. 



h 



X 011702MD: THE FUTURE 

Boldness, Audacity, Effrontery, and the Making of 
the Documentary Film, or: How I Developed an 
Overnight Obsession with Documentary Films and 
Learned to Cope with the Untimely Death of Allayne 
Ashby 

That rule which determines the overall efficacy of the 
documentary film, employed at once by the filmmaker and that 
extrinsic body of critics composed of the popular and professional 
markets, is presumption. The filmmaker presumes that his presence 
is warranted on the grounds that he operate at a remove from his 
subjects. The critic and the nonprofessional market, for both of 
which the documentary is promoted, presume that the filmmaker 



8 r - Laguz, "Water - Lake - Leek." The ocean seems interminable to men, if 

THEY VENTURE ON THE ROLLING BARK AND THE WAVES OF THE SEA TERRIFY THEM AND 
THE COURSER OF THE DEEP HEED NOT ITS BRIDLE. — OLD ENGLISH POEM 



32 • Tom Fahy 

has not taken liberties that would undermine their recreational or 
expert exegesis of the material. Both factions, the filmmaker and his 
audience, actively engage one another from behind the lines of their 
respective disciplines. They participate in a dialogue that tests the 
integrity of the filmmaker's primary incentives, intentions, and 
motivations, and the critic's interpretations as a reflection of his 
understanding of the cultural rubrics and context into which the 
film was introduced. 

The critic and the nonprofessional market, in as much as they are 
overfly and coverdy responsible for the promotion — positive or 
negative — and subsequent reputation of a documentary film, are a 
force that can have a potentially undue and retrogressive affect on 
the production of a documentary. That the critic and the 
nonprofessional market possess this influence, suggests that the 
filmmaker does not execute a film without considering whether or 
not his film will have popular appeal. The fact that only rarely a 
filmmaker will approach the documentary unhampered by views 
from without, and with the intention of capturing reality as his 
subject matter construe it, persuades the critic to presume that his 
motivation is not without potentially corrupting influences. The 
critic, then, represents an odious obstacle to the making of a 
documentary that does not disenfranchise its subjects without first 
being manipulated by its producers, endowments, or patrons. Each, 
in turn, answers to the professional and nonprofessional markets 
alike, operate perfunctorily, and assume the role of puppet master. 
Moreover, the selfsame obstacle rebounds to the audience, 
members of which take the integrity of the filmmaker and his 
subject matter for granted. 

To an unassuming audience, the film represents reality as they 
have been conditioned to interpret it. The camera, like the eye, 
presumably is incapable of falsifying seen-reality; the audience is 
trusting. It then is the responsibility of the critic to appraise the 
intrinsic worth of a documentary on the basis of its overall 
objectivity, its cultural relevance, and its authenticity. In no way is 
the critic confined to these guidelines, as in the final analysis, rarely 
by a good guideline did a critic reveal the intent of a film. 

More often, the critic, and even the casual viewer uncover the 
meaning/s of a documentary by other, less obvious means. The 
metaphysical approach, for instance, visits a viewer at once, rather 
than in increments, as by the analytical method, which regards a 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 33 

documentary by the sum of its parts — form, artistry, historical 
accuracy, objectiveness. By the metaphysical approach to the 
interpretation, it is often the case that a critic/viewer will regard a 
picture in relation to his schema of the human life cycle or in 
relation to suppositions of humankind's actual orientation in the 
observable and theoretical Universe/s. From this unique point-of- 
view, the critic is encouraged to deconstruct a documentary on the 
basis of its inherent struggle against myopia, rather than merely on 
the basis of formal merits. In this way, ideally speaking, a system of 
checks and balances among filmmakers and his market may be 
established that ensures the humility of the filmmaker and the 
objectivity of his documentary. More specifically, a documentary, by 
this method, operates under a system of mutual consent. The 
filmmaker, in whom the critic invests his trust, consents to execute 
a documentary that in no way subverts the subject matter or 
wrongly leads the audience, and the critic becomes responsible for a 
just and constructive criticism of the filmmaker and his film. 

Such a system might operate in an ideal world. Unfortunately, 
where there are cameras there are crises. By its nature, the camera 
subverts its subject matter and the reality that it seeks to record, 
even as this subversion, which is a natural effect of the filmmaking 
process, is largely unavoidable. That is, except in cases where the 
camera is alone in an airtight and dark place, removed entirely from 
stimuli with which the rolling film can be exposed. Only then does 
a film/documentary cease to subvert reality, creating only anti- 
subject matter. Presumably, the ambition of the filmmaker is to 
evince in his films a semblance of reality, which is both the essence 
of recorded images that seek to simulate reality, and the 
responsibility of a documentary that claims to possess even a 
nominal authority of the subject matter. That a documentary can 
presume to fully understand its subject matter is debatable. Alas, we 
can only refer to degrees of authority. 

To assert authority over a subject presupposes a sense of 
responsibility. If this is a far cry from the actual, it shouldn't be. In 
the case of the documentary, the filmmaker chooses his subject 
matter in good faith that it won't inadvertently rebel against his 
presence or camera. He must ingratiate himself with the 
subjects/social actors, in an attempt at winning their confidence. 
The degree to which the filmmaker has familiarized himself with 
the subjects will be reflected onto the recorded image. That the 



34 • Tom Fahy 

filmmaker's familiarity and expertise can be detected determines the 
quality of the finished product and its overall relevance — social, 
cultural, political. 

This illustrates the above-mentioned system of checks and 
balances, but to the exclusion of other, very poignant issues, 
including the effect of the camera presence. Will the camera be 
regarded as a positive motivational force, or as outright effrontery, a 
type of covert colonialism, causing character and psychological 
complexes among the subjects? Have the camera, crew, and 
accompanying technology, in cultures that are unaccustomed to 
such, a real and measurable effect that is adverse? The camera and 
the documentaries in the service of which they are used can be 
forces of ill, in so far as they risk emphasizing a mythical sense of 
the 'other' — us and them (i.e., George Irwin's Meat, 283-284). 
Ethnographic documentaries, social documentaries, institutional 
and political documentaries, all have the spooky capacity to 
represent the human as a specimen. This is a real crisis. 

Documentaries are respected when they function humanely and 
do not manipulate the subject matter or their audience. The level to 
which these two points are concealed also determines the respect a 
documentary will achieve. That a camera can appear humane after 
post-production, even if it was used in an aggressive or assaulting 
manner, is an example of the manipulative nature of the process of 
filmmaking. Unquestionably, the camera is passive, unmotivated, 
wholly without intentions of its own. It is the filmmaker that must 
wrestle with ethical questions and that controls the camera — aiming 
it, pointing it, focusing it on his target. If the filmmaker has 
nihilistic persuasions, worships pure objectivity, or does not believe 
that our world is a moral one, than the ethical problems/dilemmas 
that he encounters in filmmaking will be few. Appearances, skin, 
stones, customs, culture, sexuality, are theirs for the filming. It is 
reality as they see it, true or not. Questions of factuality, adherence 
to historical accuracy, sensitivity to the inherent subjectivity of 
being, all may be disregarded as fluff, while raw reactions, man as 
exhibit, culture as living artifact, nature as grotesquerie, all become 
cannon fodder. 

It is not enough to watch and record and be content with the 
outcome. The novelty of human experience becomes redundant in 
the camera's eye. As it ceases to be novel, and as the exotic enters 
into the realm of the everyday, life on Earth, once a 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 35 

privilege — anomalous and wonderful — becomes regarded as 
intolerably ordinary. I shouldn't think that boredom was an issue 
until the advent of the moving picture. The moving picture, what 
with the inundation of images, reinforced what was slowly being 
considered the commonality of human experience. But if there is 
one thing that the human experience is not, it is common. This is 
not to suggest that the documentary is without its saving graces. 
Rather it is to suggest that its vices far outnumber those graces. 

Vices in documentary film have developed over time, innocently 
at first, and as they began to work in the favor of the production, 
shamelessly. By vices I refer more to the absence, partial and total, 
of key qualities, than to inclusions. Documentary film has been 
compared to literature, but in no way are the two crafts equivalent. 
Unlike literature, the documentary cannot be pared down, stripped 
of interfering adjectives, simplified to a degree that will appeal to a 
general readership. In documentary film, too much is at stake. The 
more facts that are extracted from a documentary, the more context 
that is edited out, the more inferences and leaps of faith the critic 
and audience are forced to make. In a Hollywood film, inference 
can work in the movie's favor, resulting in interpretations that fuel 
sensationalism, imparting to the movie an aura, and thus elevating 
it. A documentary must supply those facts that will satiate an 
audience's desire for truth, and treat the subjective facets of the 
material in such a way that does not alienate the same audience. The 
documentary, unlike the Hollywood film, cannot lie. Herein lays the 
responsibility of the filmmaker that underscores the validity of 
documentary film. Even a walk in the park cannot only be a walk in 
the park — not in documentary film. It is the obligation of the 
filmmaker to reveal to the viewer what park, what time, and why. 
Whether or not the viewer then believes the documentarian 
depends upon the level of excellence with which the overall 
documentary is composed. That is, with a minimum of foley work, 
editing, sound choreography, all of which act as barriers between 
the audience and the actuality, even as they may contribute to a 
heightening of the viewer's senses. This said heightening, especially 
in documentary film, is not conducive to the relaying of reality as 
the filmmaker originally envisaged it. Such devices belong to the 
fiction film and have no place in a documentary. They may 
contribute to a documentary's appeal, turning something droll into 



36 • TomFahy 

something sexy, but not without first undermining reality as the 
camera sees it. 

Of course, reality as the camera sees it, is not reality as the 
filmmaker sees it, or as the audience and critics will see it. 
Documentaries possess qualities that may sooner be likened to 
memories than to images as registered when they strike the retina. 
Our vision is peripheral, constantly self- referential, and in living 
color. The camera cannot and will not ever see in this way. One 
day, if cameras possess artificial intelligence, it will be just that, 
artificial intelligence. This is why a documentary must never be 
mistaken for a representation of an actuality. The filmmaker is 
severely limited by his humanness, by his tendency to manipulate 
facts in deference to style and form. The camera is limited by 
design: it has no nerves and no conscience. 

All these factors must be carefully weighed by the filmmaker and 
by the audience. The documentary must not presume to have 
captured reality as it was, and the audience must not presume that it 
can be. The filmmaker brings his value system, beliefs, culture, and 
sex to the set, reservation, city, or landscape, and all of these aspects 
of his being will influence his perception of the subject matter. 
Likewise, to the theater, the viewer will bring his value system, 
religious beliefs, cultural artifacts, and sex, and all of these will 
impact his reception of the images. If the documentary is presented 
in such a way that it frankly acknowledges the viewer, the viewer's 
limitations, as well as the documentary's limitations, then it cannot 
be condemned as barefaced and impudent. Honesty must be the 
overarching cause of documentary film. 

The documentary, still, is a relatively young discipline, one that is 
barely a century old. Perhaps we expect more from documentary 
than it is capable of outwardly exhibiting at the present time. As all 
things, it is 'in-process,' and undergoing changes that affect the 
degree of its reflexivity, candidness, and relevance. It remains 
somewhat crude in its regard of the human — human as 
specimen — and although this is by no means always the case, it is 
often the case. As a result, the hazards the documentary filmmaker 
may encounter are many. These include cultural effrontery, social 
effrontery, political effrontery, and religious effrontery. The 
conscientious documentary is by virtue of the form, a limited 
documentary, in so far as it acknowledges two things: illusions and 
impropriety. The documentary cannot presume to understand more 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 37 

than it does. It cannot know the subjects better than they know 
themselves. Presumption of this kind is unwarranted. Like the 
novelist, the documentarian should tackle those subjects that he 
knows. The topics, then, will be those in which the documentarian 
has a special knowledge, rather than a cursory one. In other words, 
the filmmaker will be operating under as few illusions as possible, 
disseminating litde or no misinformation. The viewer must not take 
it for granted that the filmmaker is an expert in his field, but must 
know that he does not merely rest on his laurels. 

Lastly, the audience, again, possesses as much responsibility as the 
filmmaker. After all, it is they, hopefully, for whom the 
documentary was intended, and it is they whose responsibility it is 
to respond, critically and intelligently to the documentary. It is the 
general response that will determine whether or not the 
documentary bears cultural relevance and significance. Was the 
documentary but one more example of the boldness, audacity, and 
effrontery of which filmmakers are capable, or was it an example of 
the conscientiousness, frankness, and sensitivity that are the 
hallmarks of great documentaries? 

x 011802MD: THE FUTURE 

Aesthetics, Transculturalism and Film, or: How I 

Developed an Overnight Obsession with Film-Aesthetics 
and Learned to Cope with the Idea That I Might Not Be 
Able to Effectively Cope with the Untimely Death of 
Allayne Ashby 

Aesthetics, by which we mean the formative principles in matters 
of artistic beauty, impart to film a physical textuality without which 
a moving picture cannot properly operate. Film, in which aesthetic 
principles are used sparingly, or not at all, must resort to 
expedience, which is more often than not, ruinous to a picture. 
Aesthetics, however, is not an end in itself; alone, it is meaningless. 

In order to be occupied by a fullness of meaning, the aesthetic 
aspects of a film, irrespective of artistic merits, must be founded 
firstly within a social and cultural context. Aesthetics do not 
comprise a discipline that is independendy all of a piece. Contrarily, 
aesthetics are but one of many crucial aspects which contribute to 
the making of a film and in concordance with which must operate 



38 • Tom Fahy 

as a singular discipline among a multiplicity of disciplines. Counted 
among these disciplines are psychology, sociology, chemistry and 
technology, production, textuality and culture. 

How, then, and on what level, can an interaction between these 
seemingly unrelated forces occur? I contend that it is at the level of 
the audience that the aesthetic aspects and the socio-cultural aspects 
of film are united. Only a receptive audience, actively engaged in the 
act of perception, can translate the coded ambiguities inherent in 
film into a coherent and meaningful whole. The audience is, 
essentially, formed from a mass society in a world largely 
determined by capitalism and industrialism, urbanization and 
centralization; it goes without saying that the audience (informed by 
the aforementioned), will to varying degrees, analyze a film 
accordingly. In spectatorship, the aesthetic and socio-cultural 
dimensions are reconciled. 

On the other hand, film studies should not be determined by the 
assumption that a film can be described by a dissection of its parts 
and its popular rapport with an audience. It remains that there are 
elements of the moving picture which are consistently aloof from 
rhetoric and speculation; elements that elude scrutiny and 
dissection — the implements of critical analysis. 

So, it would appear that some film forms seek to exploit these so- 
called 'modes of fascination' in an effort to confound the traditional 
aesthetic and socio-political devices campaigned by Classical 
Cinema. Such approaches to filmmaking have the capacity to 
universalize a medium that has hitherto been developed with the 
interests of a homogenous audience in mind, an audience sharing 
attributes inherited from an affluent society. 



s 



x 011899MD 

"The guilty man is the most pliant. Give him a gift and he will be a willing 

hostage. " 

— George Irwin 

"If you aspire to be a good person, you might as well quit. A good person isn't 
somethingyou become, it's what you are. Anyway, there is more satisfaction in 



-David Duff 



9 S - Sowilo, "Sun." The sun is ever a joy in the hopes of seafarers when they 
journey away over the fishes' bath, until the courser of the deep bears them 
to land. — Old English Poem 



40 • Tom Fahy 

David Duff Confesses 

You would not be wrong were you to call me crooked. I am. You 
would not be wrong were you to call me a liar, a cheat. I am both. 
You would not be entirely wrong were you to call me insensitive. I 
can be. 

I cannot answer for some of my crimes. I say that I love when I 
don't. It would seem that I have few loyalties — to people, places, 
and things. I am unfeeling, an actor. I do not respond to individuals 
as I once did. I am tired of them. They bore me. I bore myself. I 
will sit here until leaves replace the cherry blossoms. 

I talk with her — with Katharine — and am intimate with her, yet I 
give nothing. She does not know where I have walked, how many 
miles. I can forgive her that. She hasn't been to the cemeteries, the 
battlefields, the litde, hopeless enclaves. I must forgive her that. She 
does not acknowledge my limitations. 

To what will I be going home? To all that remains, I say — to all 
that remains. I will go back. I always go back — to Glasgow. When 
life has grudgingly borne all of the honest lovers and let them go 
and when in my sleep clang the bells of Paisley Abbey, I'll know 
that I am finished, know that I have read and have walked and have 
loved. I will remember that I adored a girl once and would redeem 
the boy for the dullard I have become. I was not happy, but I was in 
love with life. I was a sinner. I dared to love. When I am gone, 
remember me in your prayers to Katharine, to Allayne, to Aubrey 
Whistler and George Irwin; to Valeria, Brian Jr. and Bethany, bless 
their little souls. We cannot compare the things we remember to the 
things that we forget. They are equals under the Sun. Pity him who 
forgets nothing and pretends to remember little, for he is the 
saddest among us. His burden is the worst. 

I, who have loved, have hated, too. I, who claimed a passion for 
my fellows, lied. I, who have been scolded, have scolded, too. I 
have hurt as many as I have helped. I beg they curse my name. I am 
eyes — I was given them when I was young. They were not, and are 
not, my own. We do not have the control we think we have — the 
dominion — over ourselves, over our destiny. This is a half-world 
sewn with half-truths. We are incomplete. We are born with broken 
hearts. Heaviest is the heart that prefigures the soul. . . 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 41 

x 012399MD 

The Mill on Bridgeview 

The sun sets. 

The ducks have come. 

Still waters grow stiller. 

We are five, 

At a table with a mustard-colored cloth. 

Brian Todd Huggins Sr. with a Gin 'n Tonic, 

Mother and Grandma Payton-Ferguson with wine, 

Katharine a Pepsi, and I with water. 

A crock of orange cheese, brittle crackers — 

Round, rectangular, ovular, 

Some with seeds, some without. 

x 012599MD 

Paternal Grandmother's Two-Minute Lucidity 

"I have an idea, but that is it. An idea. I tell myself I'll look for 
her. I never do. She has a book of your father's. It was his last 
book, unpublished. No one knew that he had written it. It was his 
best and he wouldn't publish it. I don't know why." 

"What was it about?" 

"Hitlerism, of course, and the ocean. He loved the ocean. It was a 
mad book — his maddest, with his own illustrations. He was always 
drawing, God only knows what. He was never without a pad and 
pens. On the boat, your father drew drawing after drawing of your 
mother and Katharine — Katharine in linen dresses, or in her 
printed skirts and bikini tops." 

x 013099MD 

I walked the long, slender trail at Rock Creek, 
Wended my way through spring trails, 
Slept on a wall. 

I cried for the leopards at Woodley Park. 
Bridges, buildings and buses dwarfed me. 
I drank, quit, woke in a desert — 



42 • Tom Fahy 

I was a regular at the Dubliner, 

A face at India Gate; 

I was a ghost at Union Station — 

a passenger, a customer. 
I was a stomach in Georgetown. 

x 020199MD 

U/^p-x I t^/ane. uip at-un look oi/Zr- T^f- foot of- <~iy bZtfi, ohr T^JL 
'^yiHino'^y, ml I can SZH /s t tAi nbutraCy Harbor. \A/£j£h I S/f iaP, ^iore. 
Harbor, bi^it cttso Sp'rtls anipi bd'Ml h'i'tOPS . PkTt'hQ oh >~iy robe by T^jl 
t^iHino^, I can s« t^e. <\roi*HiA , f^e. seeMiUs oh f^e. (a^ppoSTS. I'ei 
almost raf^p" ST*/ *h a&ji. Ih b&n I cooidn be. a.^yi^/Cjir*.. 

I AoH'f 64:1 beJH"[ oh "fi^e. Reefer's tji\t. I eion'f d^e. '/o sez '/^£ 
^or/ZoH. /"/ StZ^S pHi^t — 6wfej(. I d^t "fo "f^lH^C A«/ oceans art 
tHinitsr, T\ar c^P/ won't ok**tP up a"\a'HST 'Slanins anin nations; T^/xr 
T^AX Wi'f ptxSS isiHinZr- brieiMs anei Lap MaJ^Sr )aWW rc?c4s. 

I— oft-, 
kfar^ctr/^e 

x 020299MD 

"The information manager must work assiduously to synthesize a truth. 
Then, in order to flourish, that truth must come under intense and prolonged 
persecution. The illusion oj a synthetic truth 's inviolability is all-important. " 

— George Irwin 

I sit by an open window in the kitchen of Button House. Outside, 
the grass is brown and the trees are dead, leafless, but there is a 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 43 

warm breeze that buffets the curtains. Irwin has asked me to 
develop a cryptogram. He said I had latitude; it would be slipped 
into Britannica Online. 10 I chose Sinclair Lewis. I was fond of the 
life he led. He made few compromises. He was consumed by a 
singular passion and was determined to realize his creative vision. 
He wrote about what he knew. Vanity, perhaps, was his tragic flaw. 
He responded to his critics with unrivaled ferocity. 

As I sat ruminating, chewing on a pencil, Esteban rolled into the 
yard on his motorcycle. He had rallied and put on weight. 

"Get dressed. You're wasting your time," he said. "Let's go for a 
ride!" 

x 020399MD 

'We experience at least two deaths during the course of our lives. Both deaths 

have noticeable and lasting effects on the body. The first death increases the rate 

at which the second death begins. The first death — a waking death — is more 

traumatic than the second death, which often involves physical pain. The first 

death is a memorable one, while the second is final and superlative. The first 

death, which directly affects the character of memory, influences the shape that 

our lives assume. The waking death is a spiritual death. Sometimes the spiritual 

death happens in our sleep, and we do not notice until it is too late. The child is 



10 The conflation of misinformation with disinformation has resulted in 
erroneous thinking, assigning like values to two unlike terms. 
Misinformation seeks to misinform its intended audience — it's content is 
inherently untrue. disinformation, on the other hand, always possesses a 
kernel of truth, but is packaged in such a way that it may easily be 
discounted in the event that it comes under meaningful scrutiny, 
disinformation is managed fact. it is the responsibility of disinformation's 
audience to decoct fact from fiction. in practice, it is rare that the facts 
survive the fictions with which they are bundled. this is disinformation's 
overarching strategy. 

Whilst misinformation is skill-less, disinformation requires expertise, or 
draws upon sanctioned trusts with expertise. hard data is subsequently 
shielded, or inoculated from widespread propagation, by ensuring that it is 
encapsulated in a concocted, untenable context. this is the means by which 
disclosure may be achieved, then discredited. facts become sport: easy to 
ridicule, simple to hate. not only does the disinformant tell the truth, but 
he also engineers a climate that guarantees he may continue to work in his 
chosen field without further interruption. 

Some disinformation campaigns are better than others. The best campaigns 
aim to exasperate and exhaust their audience: attrition is the key to 
maintaining secrecy. 



44 • Tom Fahy 

more keenlj aware of her spiritual death than the adult. Why is this so? I 

propose that it is an issue of sensitivity. The child that has not been perverted too 

soon by language and by structure will persevere. " 

— Andrew Lindsay Stirling 

Even I sometimes miss the ceremony that attends death. 

The winter flowers, 

The light from without that fills a church. 

Funeral processions 

Over baked earth, 

Over frozen earth, 

On narrow roads and broad roads . . . 

I strode down the aisle. In a pew below a stained-glass window 
depicting the Pieta sat my mother, crying with a tissue to her nose; 
nearer to the casket sat Katharine, her head twitching. 

x 020499MD 

"Of all the joys, the greatest joy is to nix love and to nix it with enthusiasm. " 

—David Duff 

Esteban, Forlorn 

"I knelt before her and held her hands, prepared to propose." 
Valeria said, "When I told you I loved you I meant it, but at the 
park, I told you only to hurt you." 

"At the party, she flirted with other men. On a napkin, during her 
speech, I wrote down the things she had said. At the park, she 
stood fluttering her wings. I could see her heart beat through her 
dress. Now, drunk, her arms around another man, she looked a 
perfect stranger. But I lie to myself." 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 45 
x 020599MD 

Dear Messrs. Duff and Irwin, 

After careful consideration of the evidence at hand, 
which is ample, thanks to details submitted by A. Whistler 
and Associates and documents issued by the offices of G. 
Irwin, it is clear, beyond any reasonable doubt, that a 
bout of the highest order is both necessary and advisable. 
The Evidentiary Hearing Committee have reviewed the 
evidence under consideration (which they refer to as 
'incontrovertible') and are of the steadfast opinion that 
any actions decided upon by the parties of interest would 
be prudent and wise, granted that any such actions be 
committed on an occasion of uncommon excess and improbable 
proportions and which must in no way be bridled by the 
usual cautions exercised under such circumstances. That 
being said, spokespersons for the offices of Russell 
Huggins beg that all parties of interest capitulate at 
once and agree upon a date and time for an occasion of 
great immoderacy, that all parties may join in holy 
prodigality. Amen. 

Yours truly, 

Esteban & Button, Partners at Law 

x 020699MD 

The Counterfeiters 

Duff concludes that the poet imitates nature better than the 
sculptor, because the work is not at the mercy of matter. Although 
Duff employs a high degree of sophistry in this argument, it is 
based upon the Neo-Platonic idea expressed in the notion that the 
form of the poem is present in the imagination and only awaits its 
release at the hands of the author. 

Thus, the last argument, in support of poetry, is the most effective 
of all. It suggests that poetry has the ability to reveal the Platonic 
world of forms by means of the elements Beauty and Pleasure. 
However, if the final test of the work is in the reader, then poetry 
triumphs, because according to Duff, "sensual men derive more 
beauty and greater pleasure from poetry than do intelligent men 
(uomini intellettivi), i.e., men of non-sensual disposition." 



46 • Tom Fahy 

The conclusions, which assert poetry's superiority, are only 
negated by the resolution of the debate. Duffs equalization of the 
two arts, sculpture and poetry, in his philosophical conclusion was 
the most significant statement made in his landmark treatise, 
Apotheosis. 

Poetry, Duff acknowledges, can counterfeit handily all expressions 
of the world that may be sensed directly as well as indirectly: 
thunder, lightning and fire; air, smoke and breezes. Here, sculpture 
fails, but insofar as sculpture enlists matter and appeals to the sense 
of touch, it can achieve a lifelikeness that escapes the poet, in spite 
of verbal felicity. Moreover, touch is less fallible than vision. Where 
the poet is accustomed to deception and artifice, the sculptor has 
no such luxuries. The sculptor is the more truthful. 

x 020799MD 

Dear George, 
Cipher: Philadelphia 

I received your Duff-inspired memo of 020199, which duly, if 
circuitously, reached me. I will make such a reply, as I am able. I 
believe that prose is considered excellent to the degree that it 
approximates the effect of a relief-the illusion of dimension. 

I used to consider that poetry was the lantern of prose and that 
between the two there was the same difference as between Orchard Park 
and Plum Creek. But now that I have considered your memo, in which you 
argue that things which seek a similar effect are in and of themselves 
alike, I have revised my opinion. I now concede that prose and poetry 
are one and the same, as they proceed from the same faculty: 
Imagination. 

-Russell 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 47 

x 020999MD 

Aubrey Whistler Elucidated: The Making of a Fox 
Hollow Girl" 

Mayhem for a father: whipped into frenzy by booze and 
unhappiness, he'd visit regular, thorough beatings on Aubrey, 
gagging her with a dirty sock, tying her hands with rough 
rope — locking her in a cramped closet. And there she'd stay until 
poppa sobered and went foraging for his shoes. "What! However 
did you get in here, child? What game is this?" And the child 
Aubrey would be dragged into the living room, unbound, the sock 
withdrawn. "This is no game for a child," he'd say, arms folded, 
face grim, eyes squinting. "I'm off. Clean yourself up and get some 
food in you." And Mayhem would steal out the door, pulling his 
overcoat from the peg on the wall as an afterthought. Dear 
Mayhem. 

The house would stink of his escapades; stink of sour aftershave, 
moldering clothes, wood soaked with spilled scotch. A pile of half- 
burned draperies smoldered on the kitchen floor, an old telephone 
book, reduced to ashes, the spine still intact, lay lumped in a corner. 
Dishes, some shattered, filled the sink. A cold gust threaded 
through new spider web cracks in the dining room windows; and 
from the chandelier above hung several of mother's bras. Dear Ma. 

Aubrey wandered into the living room, stood swaying by the 
mantle, feet crunching on picture glass. In the hearth, spared 
remarkably from the pogrom, a picture of her mother, little Aubrey 
in her arms, a turquoise bib tied around her neck, a toothless smile 
on her face. Mother had a bandana wrapped around her bald head. 
A long, wide shadow was cast over their bodies and onto the 
wall — Mayhem. Dear Mayhem. The Kodak camera in his ruddy 
hands, pants pocket bulging with flash-bulbs, a stupid, crooked- 
toothed grin on his face, his hair in constant disarray, eyebrows 
teased into a wild ruin, cheeks rosy. "One more, Gail — tickle her so 
she giggles. Tickle her. That's it. And blow in her ear. Shit! Need a 
new bulb. Wait! Wait, one more!" And this was his Sunday ritual. 
In the hearth were hundreds of yellowing photographs. Ma on her 
wedding day, a high sheen in her eyes, her golden hair thick and 



Refer to The Beekeeper, A Novella, p. 140 



48 • Tom Fahy 

unruly, the wind picking at it; Ma, pregnant; Ma and pop, still 
young, passing wee Aubrey in the air. Pictures of Ma, thinner, eyes 
set in deep sockets, the bright, wide smile still intact and pictures of 
litde Aubrey with Mayhem's finger in the lens; pictures of litde 
Aubrey with searching eyes in too-big chairs, legs dangling, Mayhem 
pressing her into the cushions by her shoulder, pointing the camera 
in her face, the shutter clacking open, and then snapping shut, the 
flash bulbs exploding, searing her eyes. 

Then the long, lonesome afternoons, Mayhem in the darkroom, 
splashing away in the developer, the cigarette butts floating in the 
gloom as his blurry photographs came to life, some hung up to dry, 
swinging by clothespins, others left to rot in their chemical stew; 
and the sound of bottles breaking against the walls. And now, here 
in the hearth, some of those ill-born photographs with cigarette 
burns and bubbled emulsions. "I'm going to capture you," he'd say. 
"Trap you, see? Then you can't get away. You can't die this way. I'll 
freeze you. Sit still so Mayhem can get a clean shot." And he'd fire 
away, picture after picture. And I suppose that's why he locked her 
in the closet — to keep her from leaving him. But as she stared into 
the hearth, broken glass crackling under her feet, Aubrey knew he 
was gone for good. And so it was. Dear Mayhem was struck by a 
bus on his way to work. It was he that left, after all, not she. 

So began an unusual chapter in Aubrey's life. An only child with 
few friends and no extended family, she became a ward of Fox 
Hollow School for Girls, a facility for the wayward and parentiess. 
But to say that Fox Hollow was an improvement would be an 
exaggeration. Fox Hollow was a frightful monstrosity, seemingly 
carved out of a solid piece of granite, with long, mullioned windows 
punched into walls; windows too narrow for egress. Ivy colonized 
the facades, reaching up and over the eaves, sending roots into the 
slate roof, causing fractures and fissures into which rain seeped, 
soaking the dormitory's plaster ceiling. Aubrey lay awake at night 
and listened to water drip and collect in the shallow stills formed by 
the uneven tile floor. She'd turn on her side, watch the moon 
nestled in the clouds skid by the windows, imagine Mayhem in a 
soft nest somewhere curled up with Ma with bunches of hair 
flowing over her shoulders, tickling Mayhem's nose. She 
understood Mayhem's anger and the madness that began to attach 
itself to his brain like barnacles. She knew she was a casualty of 
circumstance; that maybe Mayhem had always been mad and that 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 49 

his wife brought him back down to earth for a short spell, nurtured 
him, and breathed confidence into his lungs. But without Gail he 
was a nowhere-man once again — the mad theoretician of his youth, 
scrawling figures into the air, drinking famously, sleeping only after 
concussions. And then there was the mystery that was his daughter, 
Gail's daughter, the little waif with perfect teeth, her mother's 
button nose and aquiline jaw. But his eyes, there in her little sockets, 
like cat's eye marbles set in chilled ivory; not judging eyes, either, 
but worse: accepting eyes. And that she still loved him in spite of his 
throes and abuse — adored him even — was intolerable. But the 
wisdom that might have been another man's reward for suffering 
was not to be his. Wisdom did not come knocking, only anger. So 
he would avenge the death of his young wife and wage a full-on 
assault against fate, using his Aubrey as a proxy. How much pain 
could she tolerate, what whimpers could he extract, distill and 
bottle? And failing whimpers, he would capture the terror in her 
eyes in photographs. But in spite of the exploding filaments, her 
eyes would emerge kind, soft and forgiving and a red rage would fill 
him; with the butt of bis cigarette he'd replace the eyes with 
smoking holes. He'd throw a whiskey bottle at the safelight, 
extinguishing it in an electric sizzle, then lie down in the chemical 
dark to scratch away at the cement floor with his fingernails, 
wearing them down to the quick. 

x 021299MD 

Smaller than the shape of thought, 
Softer than the sound of the smallest whisper, 
My wish, Allayne, 
That I as fish by the ocean. . . 
be by you embraced. 



50 • Tom Fahy 

x 022799MD 

"It isn't a sense to which I have lost access, but nonsense from which I have 

been liberated. " 

— Russell Huggins 

Dear George, 

It is the next-to-last day of the second month of the year 1 999 - 
Orchard Park was fully alive, wall-to-wall with pale ghosts. The 
weather was mild. In Nigel Square, wraiths flopped in anemic patches 
of sunlight, peeled off their raggedy jackets. 

I took in the Strand exhibit at Eggleston Manor. It was everything 
that I hoped it would be and more. InK from Iron Gate delivered a 
private lecture at 'cOO PM to which I couldn't gain admittance. 

I am becoming increasingly near-sighted — squinting and 
photosensitive. In spite of the weather, I am wary of Orchard Park. 
The soul has a breaking-point after which it doesn't accept further 
afflictions. I experienced one such affliction, as by spiritual 
stress-fracture, yesterday. I could not keep from crying. I implicate 
the accelerating rate at which my hearing fails. I cannot seem to hear 
anything but my own heartbeat. Yesterday I was struck by the 
cerebration that it must be as it was for xxxxxx who, once fully 
accustomed to the world of sound, suddenly was shut of it, ignored, 
more or less. Still, he remained possessed by the tickling tendrils of 
passion which ignited and set ablaze a live, burning course through 
his hands. It all ended with a knot in his heart. None but the deaf 
who've once heard can fully understand the madness that accompanies 
the disorder of imperfect hearing, and the interior noise, louder, 
which replaces voices, ambient sounds, and thunder. As they who are 
afflicted by the loss of sight — who are haunted by those apparitions 
permitted access to the subconscious by memory, which is no guard at 
all — so too do the deaf learn of the world of the grotesque. He, who 
would attempt to reconcile the quiet world with the world of sound, 
invites sorrow; music is the nightmare of the deaf. 

-Russell 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 51 

x 022899MD 

Drizzle courses over haggard bark, 

Patters on waxen leaves, 

Drips onto a ruined wall. 

The Sun won't be commanded, 

Even as the thunder cracks: THRACK! 

And again: THRACK! 

It punctures the treetops, 

Like the nosecone of a diving jet, 

Through the thin membrane of a tympanum. 

It roams the forest floor, 

In blotches; 

It has an audience with twitching ferns, 

Lances a ladder leaning into an apple tree; 

It dapples the man on the top-most rung. 

Raindrops patter on the bill of the man's cap. 

In the chaos of mossy crotches, broken limbs, 

Remote become the laws that govern the fiddlehead, 

The creeping lichen and the rotting leaf. 

x 030199MD .01 

We are dumb 

And growing dumber, 

As we become increasingly clever; 

We celebrate cleverness. 

That is our new 'shallow end.' 

We were good little ears of corn, 

Until harvest-time. 

Then we rebelled, 

Lest we be shucked, eaten and digested, 

Excreted — 

And none the wiser for it. 

—Carrie Shields Buchanan 



52 • Tom Fahy 
x 030199MD .02 

It is never too late to begin a truthful account of one's actions. 
It is my intention to delineate what nay be described as symptoms of a 
conscious life — symptoms peculiar to one R. Huggins. It is my hope, 
when all is said and done, to discover that I painted a candid and 
accurate portrait of a thoroughly crooked man. I think that whether or 
not I have done this life objective justice will be readily apparent 
to the casual reader. Anything less and I will have failed. Here is 
the truth, as I see it. First, the small matter of cryptography (my 
sincere apologies, Irwin): 

Geneva, Switzerland - Les psquis, 1988 

"A tell-tale sign of the cryptogram is suspicious repetition and a 
didactic tone," Irwin instructed. "And I will share this with you 
once: the cryptogram written by the sober man is inferior to the 
cryptogram written by the drunken one." 

Lesson the First: The Girl-Child 

"Marry me," she said. 

I did not hesitate. I said I would. 

"Your step-father, the judge, he will marry us." 

We laughed but shouldn't have. 

Her brother ' s stroller, 

It was obvious, 

She didn't like- 

The idea of it. 

She was loath to think of motherhood, 

And thank God: 

She was but a girl-child of seventeen. 

But I was wild about her; 

About her long hair, 

Her hard parts and her soft parts. 

She, like other girl-children, 

Was wont to think in symbols, 

And she, protective like a carrying cat, 

Would be my wife one day. 



Orchard Park and Other Works 



53 



Strolling at night 

With a baseball bat 

And her father's newborn; 

Strolling at night, 

Unmarried in a yellow jacket, 

She was beautiful. 

Standing now, 

Beside her father's son, 

We said casual things. 

The passing cars slowed to watch, 

The flowers drew near. 

Listening: 

The air was still as death. 
I wondered if her world was as quiet as mine; 
Wondered if she noticed the hush- 
The hush that had fallen- 
Walking, 

Briskly with her father's son-her father's newborn; 
Walking together on an uneven slate walk- 
With a baseball bat, 

She regarded me warmly, over her shoulder. 
She told me to "Look at the trees, how big they are. 
I did. They were. 

"Twilight makes me sick," she said. 
The Sun set. 

In the stroller, the newborn slept. 
In the new-dark leapt her hands like night-birds, 
After bugs after hands, my hands, my heart. 
We drew too near, too soon, 
Her broken home on Avenue de Vertou. 



"So, Russell, according to the cryptogram, in what apartment does 
the girl-child live?" 

I thought about it, did the numbers: "1520." 

Irwin patted me on the back, said, "See, it's not so hard after 
all." 



54 • TomFahy 

x 030299MD 

"There is nothing so balletic as random acts of violence. " 

— Russell Huggins 

"What is the primary objective oj a nation-state? To create and preserve a 
myth. It really is that simple. " 

— James A. Trainer 

The Orchard Park Revolt of 1998 

They wrote when they didn't have to write, took up pens when it 
brought them no public glory, wrote in order to put a lie to the 
cynicism that kept the lowlands in darkness. They defended a 
Republic of the Imagination that was a belief in the full potential of 
derangement. They won't go away. 

No other conflict of the 20 th century has combined the histrionics, 
random violence, and the ethical muddiness of the struggle between 
despotism and imagination. The Nigel Square Conflict was the first 
and last major phase — the opening and closing battle, in effect — of 
the Greater Orchard Park Revolt. For these reasons, the struggle 
had immense ideological importance. The revolt attracted an 
astounding three volunteers from two neighborhoods who rallied to 
the defense of Orchard Park and joined an inter-neighborhood 
brigade in selfless dedication to a suspect cause. 

Months earlier, Orchard Park held quasi-democratic elections that 
installed a new, despotic coalition government, consisting chiefly of 
cats and dogs. The opposition party, led by perennial mayoral 
candidate James Trainer, plotted a coup, and in July 1998 their allies 
among the reactionary human element attempted to seize control of 
the East End of Orchard Park. The cats and dogs rose up and the 
revolt was met with formidable resistance. 

Nevertheless, popular East End dictators — Esteban Suarez 
(Button House), and Russell Huggins (Button House) — offered to 
assist the rebel's imperiled cause. In the unbelievable heat of July 
1998, the movement hereinafter referred to as The Button House 
Inter-Neighborhood Brigade for the Glorification of Orchard 
Park — BHINGO — dispatched a contingent to Nigel Square, where 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 55 

they handily beat back the advancing hordes of cats and dogs. The 
coalition government, badly demoralized, disbanded. A permanent 
ambassadorship to the Nigel Park Diner, the new administrative 
and legislative center of Orchard Park, was revealed and James 
Trainer was appointment to the position for life: 

'You came to us from the backwaters of Baltimore County, representing 

Cuban-Americans and a couple of Whites. You came like brothers of ours, like 

sons of undying Orchard Park. In the hardest days of the revolt, the struggle, the 

movement, when Nigel Square, the administrative seat of Orchard Park was 

threatened by rabid cats and dogs, it wasjou, gallant comrades of the Button 

House Inter-Neighborhood Brigade for the Glorification of Orchard Park, who 

helped to save the Square and more importantly, the Diner, with your fighting 

spirit. You can go proudly. You are history. You are legend, you heroic 

examples of Orchard Park 's insularity and intolerance. " 

— James Trainer, Ambassador for Life to the Nigel Park Diner 

x 030399MD 

Saving Button House 

Dear xxxxxx, 

As I recall, xxxxxx manages several slums in the East End. She is 
impeccably responsible with a very pleasant disposition, with a 
dexterous mind and excellence with numbers. Her managerial skills are 
proven. Her husband is a kind and self-effacing man with many 
practical skills that have enabled him to amass a striking fortune 
free from the erosion of taxation. 

That being said, I am familiar with xxxxxx'x approach to business in 
an intelligence-gathering capacity, but am ignorant of her qualities 
as a property owner and manager, which is to say, I cannot be certain 
that the preservation of Button House counts among her objectives. 

It is difficult for me to imagine anything of a dire nature 
happening to the property beyond the indignities already served up by 
nature and degenerate tenancy. I have enjoyed a long and uninterrupted 
romance with the property, so naturally I am wary of the idea that it 
might be altered in a disturbing or even irreversible way. In light of 



56 • Tom Fahy 

my personal attachments to the property, I would perceive 
commercialization as positively heartbreaking. 

My own sentiments aside, xxxxxx'x attention to detail and quality 
have always been appreciable and it is probable that she would pay 
Button House similar attention. 

Sincerely yours, 

Russell Huggins, 2 nd Floor Tenant, Caretaker, Advocate 

x 040399MD 

"That we stopped writing letters is a tragedy. You can't reread a gunshot 

wound. " 

— Russell Huggins 

x 040599MD 

Hectares 

He was in love, desperately in love. His hands shook, his heart 
beat as quickly as a bird's, and in his mind nothing was straight. His 
movements were jerky, uncoordinated — he could barely steer. The 
furrows were crooked. Over the tractor engine he could hear his 
heart beat — each beat was a hammer blow. Cupid, he thought to 
himself, was a blacksmith, who hammered his target's heart over an anvil, 
shaping it to the dimensions of his will. 

He was losing the feeling in his knees, and just as his toes began to 
tingle, and the gooseflesh to dot his bare arms, the Sun's bald head 
began to show through the treetops, and bloody streaks 
crisscrossed the sky. They fragmented it, rented it, shattered it into 
a thousand malformed shards that fell to the earth, refracting 
sunlight, etching shadows into the muddy fields. The tractor rose 
and fell and bucked, the plow bumping behind across the hard- 
packed earth, barely thawed. He leaned back in the hard seat and 
eased into a higher gear. The engine responded with a groan, and as 
the tractor slowed he could clearly see the individual treads of the 
tires — the meaty treads of the fat rear wheels, and the narrow 
parallel treads of the front ones. He nudged the steering wheel and 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 57 

watched the open steering column rotate, turning the bowed wheels 
slightly, causing them to dig deeper into the dirt. 

The bald head of the Sun had risen slighdy, lightening the sky, 
dimming the falling shards, quickening the shadows that leapt 
across the field, stretching and retracting, shuttling over the furrows 
with wills of their own. He came to a gentle rise and shifted into a 
low gear. The tractor groaned and began the ascent. At the foot of 
the rise he passed into a shadow that had settled into the cleft of the 
hill. Here, where the earth still slept and steamed, untouched by the 
embers of morning, a chill passed through him, gooseflesh 
prickling. A longing swept through him, first in waves, then in 
timed ripples that traveled the length of his body. The hair on the 
nape of his neck began to prickle, and sweat to stand out on his 
forehead. As the tractor achieved the rise and began to round the 
hilltop, its nose reached out of the shadow and into an auburn 
screen suffused with pink and yellow stripes. The tractor leveled 
off, the engine block disappeared in the glare and as he was drawn 
up and out of the shadow, the light engulfed him, too. Out of the 
screen of light developed the fields, but now with a blue, 
monochromatic tint. 

He was in love, desperately in love. The sun was arisen and the 
once river-deep furrows had grown shallow; the sun that once 
shown through the bony wood and scrub fields like an x-ray, now 
shown down on them. The woods were developing a purple cast, 
and the fields an orange one, as the buds grew larger, ready to 
outsize their seams. On the horizon, where a picket line of trees 
marched arm in arm, a pointed steeple gouged the air, and atop it a 
metal cross, like a little daystar. Because the church was nestled just 
below the horizon, only the steeple was visible. As the tractor did 
an obtuse turnabout at the far hedge, the steeple would come into 
view and his heart would do somersaults. The image of the steeple 
was replaced by another one that stopped his heart and un-knit his 
soul; one that unraveled him patch by patch until he was thread on 
the wind, wound on spools of heather, threaded through nettles, 
darned by the scrub, finery for bird's nests. 

He headed the tractor in an easterly direction, steadied the wheel 
with his knees, pushed his hat back on his head, and rubbing his 
eyes he began to imagine her. She had eyes that bore the telling 
patent that is won by a lot of looking, seeing, watching, studying. 
They were rounded out by wonderment, by delight. They were 



58 • Tom Fahy 

brown as a doe's, and as bright, quick and ready. Hers was a perfect 
nose, delicate, shapely and molded as by a master craftsman, hewn 
from choice marble. Her facial features, feminine but strong and 
self-assertive, features turned in starlight, baked in an angel's kiln. 
Her hands, small and particular, possessed by the challenges her 
mind would exert on them. Perfect, she was. He loved her. 

When he came to the rise once in shadow and where he was 
visited by chills, now struck in the full by the sun, turned to mud 
and crossed with furrows, he cut the tractor's engine, let it coast and 
stand fixed in the mud. He leapt from the saddle and strode across 
the soft earth, his shadow trailing after. He scrambled up the hill 
and stood atop the rise, the valley stretching away below him. At 
the bottom of the field stood the wood, and beyond the wood, the 
lakes, and beyond them the mountains. He took off his hat and 
fanned his neck, a broad smile spreading on his face, because he 
was a part of it — because, he hoped, she would like to be, too. 

x 040799MD 

"Brave is the ordinary man that knows better than to be a hero. " 

— George Irwin 

"It remains the hidden aim oj democracy to supplant what is national, 
spiritual, integrating, and paternal with a chimerical system that is at once anti- 
national, international, economic, and materialistic. " 

— James A. Trainer 

"According to Walter Pater, "The way to perfection is through a series of 

disgusts. " In this context, 'perfection ' is relative. Which is to say, relative 

perfection is attained when a problem is solved to one's own satisfaction. Failure, 

of which disgust is a product, is a stimulus. No pursuit that is not fraught with 

failure or a succession of failures, is properly challenging. 

Hence, that form of governance is best which is perfectly fascistic, and which is 

free on its own cognisance to identify, correct, or indemnify failures. This is not 

Hobbesian fascism or Machiavellian fascism, but Platonic. This is not the 

fascism of Hegel; this is the fascism of the engineer — ofPareto: conscious of his 

own failures, the philosopher-king encourages revolution, excision, and deposal. 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 59 

It is the aim of a perfectly fascistic order to aggrandize failure; to incite through 
the destruction of classical political liberalism; to spay reason with democracy via 
myriad inveiglements; and finally, to inspire the great and coming supermen with 
the threat of incipient totalitarianism. " 

— Russell Huggins 

The Orchard Park Renaissance: The Neo-Fascismo 
Movement 

Writers of the Orchard Park Renaissance stressed the worth and 
authority of the individual self. Russell Huggins, in a lecture 
published as, "An Address Delivered Before the Nigel Park Diner 
Debate Club, Sunday Evening, 15 July, 1998," raised issues 
concerning the worth and authority of the individual self that were 
at once controversial, prophetic, and eloquent. 

In the momentous 1998 "Address," Huggins responds to a 
summons from the members of the Debate Club prepared to enter 
into the life-way of the professional dialectician. It is his aim, then, 
to emphasize for these young men a brand of consciousness that 
individuals such as themselves must foster in order that they may 
respond to reality, their responsibilities as philosophers and to the 
public in an enlightened manner. 

Throughout "An Address," Huggins furnishes criterion wherewith 
which an individual may, through the transcendence of temporal 
media, learn to mentor other individuals effectively. The first of 
Huggins' criterion points to a conscious relation to nature. In other 
words, one must look without oneself, into the natural world. In 
this way, one partakes of a sensual education, or a form of 
education that is conducted by the senses. Only through such an 
education, and in concordance with the deepened awareness of the 
natural world that would logically follow such a method of 
education, Huggins argues, will a perception of a neo-fascismoistic 12 
order be developed. In short, through one's unmediated experience 
of nature, one may be trained back from a sense experience 
perverted by worldly life into one that is unspoiled and childlike. 

Like Huggins, Esteban Suarez regarded nature as a means of 
positively shaping consciousness, and as a vehicle for acquiring self- 



12 Refer to "Fascismo," pp. 261-262. 



60 • Tom Fahy 

knowledge. In the written work for which he is best known, 
"Linthicum," Suarez actively confronts the notion of simplicity, the 
idea of dehumanizing technological progress, the trappings of 
materialism, and the interactions of the mind and body with the 
natural world. But the primary philosophical tenet, akin to the tenet 
espoused by Huggins, is the emphases on a union between Odin, 
people and nature, achieved, again, through a transcendence of 
temporal media. 

Knowledge, and more specifically self-knowledge, Suarez 
surmised, rather than functioning through a set of learned, logical 
proofs, was largely an intuitive force, sensed and qualitative, not 
empirical by any means. Throughout "Linthicum," there is reliance 
upon a form of sensual, direct experience that reminds one of the 
forms promoted by Huggins in his "Address." But where Huggins 
intimated that a sensual education was an end in itself, Suarez 
sought to redeem himself from a purely sensual regard of the world 
by the implementation of the forces of the mind. This is not to say 
that an education by the senses is in any way profane or without 
merit. However, Suarez would argue that the mind should not be 
removed from the perception of natural media. 

Unquestionably, a number of common threads run through the 
respective works of Huggins and Suarez, including the notion that 
one cannot truly know something, the self notwithstanding, without 
doing. Suarez's approach to the fashioning of slingshots (resorteras) 13 
is illustrative of the stated correlation between an act and the 
understanding/knowledge that the act would engender. Suarez 
builds slingshots not merely for defense but to acquire an 
understanding of heat. Molding, he produces heat bodily, and for 
the second time, produces heat by the act of forging. In this way, he 
partook in a 'whole' process, lived concretely, and became the 
recipient of the self-knowledge that was a byproduct of deliberate 
processes. Self-knowledge, then, is the reward for any deliberate act. 

James Trainer's, "Shell Road Lullaby," has a powerfully 
psychological structure, but it isn't through its structure, per se, that 
Trainer's vision is conducted. "Shell Road Lullaby" may best be 
understood as the medium through which Trainer's singular 
inspirations were channeled; inspirations that sound Anarchic in 
character, and at times, mystical. And Trainer's union with Odin, 



'' Refer to "Loose Resorteras," pp. 263-264. 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 61 

people, and nature was indeed of a mystical orientation, in much 
the same way that Huggins's and Suarez's unions with the natural 
world were mystical. Coincidentally, Trainer's mystical union, after a 
fashion, seems to anticipate the union between Carrie Shields 
Buchanan and her beloved Aeonics. Each, it would seem, was 
touched as though by the ineffable, and to each, Odin is beheld as 
immanent. In other words, Odin is manifested through all living 
entities, great and small. 

Trainer's image of himself in his poem, "Shell Road Lullaby," is 
revealed through a series of illuminations induced by sudden 
ecstatic experiences whereby which identification with a Hugginsian 
anima-mundi is achieved. Again, these illuminations that inform the 
poem are not arrived at through learned logical proofs, but are 
intuited. If the structure and narrative of "Shell Road Lullaby" seem 
arbitrary, that is because the journey to one's self is often arbitrary, 
and in Trainer's case, musical. Where some poems by other notable 
poets flow as on the steady current of a swiftly coursing stream, 
others rock and pitch, subject as a ship on a high sea to the 
vicissitudes and afflictions that would visit it. "Shell Road Lullaby" 
belongs to this latter brand of poem. 

Trainer's method for self-knowledge is no less frank than 
Huggins' or Suarez's; he sought to expose life, baring her. James 
Trainer dared to giggle at convention. He knew that life was not a 
dress rehearsal, but the real thing. 

Regarding the story, "Fred Frew's Gold," it is of value to note 
how like Fred Frew the author, Andrew Lindsay Stirling, really was. 
We remember from the story the title character's self-doubt and his 
recurring bouts of false confidence. Like the title character, Stirling 
led a similarly afflicted life, plagued by doubt and dissatisfaction 
with his work. 

In the heap formed by the bodies of Huggins, Suarez and Trainer, 
Andrew Lindsay Stirling, too, is classified as a neo-fascismoist. 
There are some fundamental differences, however, among the 
artist's works. Where the former authors addressed their own lives, 
writing directly from experience, Stirling employed the medium of 
fiction for his vision, superimposing facets of his own self onto the 
characters of his stories. Even as Stirling's style may be described as 
quasi-fascismoistic, it is not fascismoistic in the same way that the 
other artists in question were fascismoistic. 



62 • Tom Fahy 

In "Fred Frew's Gold," Stirling strove to evince the ineffable 
using temporal devices — dialogue, imagery — for predetermined, 
fascismoistic ends. Here, 'fascismoistic' refers to events beyond 
normal sense experience, of which Fred Frew has his fair share, but 
where his contemporaries sought to discover 'otherness,' the 
'anima-mundi,' or 'illumination,' Stirling struggled to transcend 
normal sense experience and natural media in order to confront his 
daemons, even if only vicariously. 

In Carrie Shields Buchanan's veneration for and acute observation 
of nature, evident become her intellectual origins in the likes of 
Huggins and Suarez. And in her canticle style and radical revision of 
the presiding forms of Orchard Park poetry, the spirit of James 
Trainer can be sensed. But at bottom, Buchanan invented herself, 
charting territory through poetry as yet unrivaled in depth and 
scope. 

In the poem, "Merritt Point," one of her arias, Buchanan seems 
almost to walk hand in hand with the immanent, the forces of 
which she is able to invoke effortlessly. As to the immanent, she 
seems so frighteningly close to eternity that her arias vibrate, struck 
as by the notes that issue from the hollows of eternity. If Huggins, 
Suarez and Trainer were given to occasional 'illuminations,' then 
Carrie Shields Buchanan was spotlighted always, her poems 
veritably glowing with the radiation that the immanent imparted to 
them through her. Of the so-called Neo-Fascismo Movement, 
Carrie Shields Buchanan was the 'Golden Child.' The tree that 
would represent the movement found its final fruition in the soil of 
her imagination. 

Herein, we have briefly discussed the coincident persuasions of 
five members of the so-called Neo-Fascismo Movement. All of 
them, Russell Huggins, Esteban Suarez, James Trainer, Andrew 
Lindsay Stirling, and Carrie Shields Buchanan, have been, in their 
turn, condemned for their allegiance to the pursuit of self- 
knowledge. Instead of scrambling after 'proper' Odinistic callings, 
they conscientiously chose to cultivate the arts of leisure, caring 
litde for the acquisition of money, and crying out against the 
pressures that accompany a materialistic, business-oriented 
civilization. They sought to realize truth intuitively. Through their 
senses, the authors successfully transcended the material world, 
attaining a vision of man that was at once dignified and inalienable; 
one that cast him in a light that was benevolent. 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 63 

x 040899MD 

"For at least another hundred years we must pretend to ourselves and to 
everyone that foul is fair and fair is foul; for fair is useful and foul is not. 
Generosity and kindness must be our gods for a little longer still. " 

— John Maynard Keynes, on the Occasion of his First Lobotomy 

ROY STRAND: THE RAGNAROK SERIES: "L0KI"(1961) 

"Loki" 14 from Roy Strand's Ragnarok Series, is a work of singular 
genius, a feast for the eyes, possessing a complexity that requires 
devout patience and a discerning eye, both of which demand a 
learned concentration of a quality equal to the task — a judicious 
appraisal of a work wrought by the hand of a master. 

It is rare that one is presented with a piece of artwork that seeks to 
antagonize. At first the prematurely faded painting does not induce 
much in the viewer and it may be the mildness of this initial impact 
that prompts one to look again, to see if perhaps there wasn't 
something that one missed. The second inspection begins, leaving 
one aghast at the perceptual carelessness to which one is sometimes 
disposed, for here is a work that deserves sensitive and unmitigated 
attention. 

What once may have been a piece with lustrous colors has been 
compromised by scrutiny under harsh light, made bleached, but its 
essence remains intact. The painting is not so much representative, 
as it is narrative. Each and every object, monstrosity, and god 
contributes to the story of the composition. Loki, in the middle- 
foreground, seems the very picture of complacency. His facial 
features are blank and little can be deduced from them. On the 
other hand, he is a man in motion, his actions illustrative. In 
counterpoint with the gold coins that he hoards in his right hand, 
are the rune stones held in his left. I can hear his labored breathing 
as he bends over a wooden chest, the rattle of regret, the sound of 
indecision whispering through his ancient teeth. Yes, he is still 
despite the inkling of sanctity represented by the rune stones, firmly 
attached to things of an earthly and irresolute nature. Further, it is 
odd that the hand with which he holds the stones is also the hand 



14 Frank and Laura Le Croix Collection, Eggleston Manor, Belle Grove, MD 



64 • Tom Fahy 

grasping a scepter by which he supports himself. How does this 
relate to the moneybag held by the Midgard Serpent into which he 
is preparing to drop coins? Is he making concessions to the middle 
child of the giantess AngrboQa. Is he trying to procure from him an 
extension on his own life? Even in old age, his confidence in the 
glory of the afterlife is infirm. 

Before the chest, by the foot of a column, perch the ravens 
Huginn (Mind) and Muninn (Memory), posed as though bored, 
tired of waiting. The serpent too, if not bored, at least appears 
familiar with Loki's customs; they look as though they have long 
occupied the spaces they consume in the picture. 

Space has been utilized in the service of a continuum by Strand. 
The foreground representing an obscure past, littered with odds and 
ends, the vestments of a questionable life; the middle-foreground 
where stands Loki at his chest, representing the recent past; the 
background, the immortal present; and, finally, beyond the death- 
bed itself is an impenetrable future, a tunnel dark as night. 

Of greatest significance, perhaps, is the area referred to as the 
'immortal present,' the area of the painting in which sits Loki on his 
deathbed, bound with the entrails of his son Nari, confronted with 
the half-smiling specter of Death in the form of a venomous snake, 
poison dripping from its fangs. At Loki's side kneels Sigyn, his wife, 
pleading with Thor for Loki's life, still crippled by indecision, seeing 
not the grace in death, but only the grim fact of death itself. Here, 
moments from his certain fate, he is taunted with a moneybag by an 
iEsir, and his body would sooner grasp it if it weren't for the 
question of his soul; of salvation. 

In a small window, the only indication that there is an outside to 
Loki's world, stands Baldr, whose death Loki engineered and from 
whose body passes a beam of light moving in the direction of the 
imperiled man. The little window exaggerates the confining 
closeness of the room, whose walls are thick and rock-like, with an 
arching ceiling built of heavy timbers; a room framed by columns 
befitting the dimensions of a mausoleum. In his room, the only 
visible exit blocked by the figure of Thor, Loki is trapped and at the 
mercy of the Fates. 

The meanings of Strand's painting are many. On close inspection, 
it is revealed that Strand encrypted into his work almost as many 
meanings as he — or latter-day editors — removed. In the foreground, 
revealed by the lightening of the painting's original pigments, are 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 65 

the ghosts of two objects: a bound volume of the Elder Edda and a 
statuette of ISunn, goddess of apples. They sit on the wall beside 
the right-most column. Did the serpent and the moneybag come 
only after the ghostly artifacts disappeared? Questions of this 
nature may never be answered, but it is they that contribute to the 
severe novelty of an artwork such as this; they afford us chance 
glimpses into the life, mind, and heart of the artist. Imperfections in 
their work, sudden inscrutable changes, give flesh to their 
personality, and make them less remote from us in the present. We 
must assume that when Strand recreated Mjollnir, no longer poised 
but inches from its victim, but feet, that his motive was not merely 
to give his subject more time with which to contemplate his fate, 
but also to save one of his masterworks from artistic assassination. 
Loki must live, always, poised with questions of eternity and 
damnation. That Thor does not unleash his hammer damns "Loki" 
to eternity; it will ever be clawing the dark for light, gasping for 
breath, but it won't break the surface — it is as a scream, frozen on 
the wind; and so long as it remains such, it will endure and intrigue. 
The Ragnarok Series is interactive as few "steganographic 
consciousness" 13 paintings are. It is highly narrative, eager to 
include its observers and encourage them to participate with Loki in 
the dance with Death. In many respects, this piece asks us to 
measure our values against those of Loki. When our own time 
comes, will we be up to the challenge, prepared to confront death 
with courage and leave our earthly attachments on the bed where 
we lay? Will we have led a life absent of regrets? Will it be a devout 
one, a sordid one, an empty one, or a life defined by malice? It is 
we who lay in the place of Loki, in the confines of reason and 
indecision. This is Death — the one winter in anticipation of which 
we can't horde away nuts. 

It is final. 



Post-World War II Steganography Cont'd: RoyStrand (1971-19 22 ) pp. 117-122. 



66 • Tom Fahy 

x 040999MD 

"I pity the man that won 't lie to himself. " 
— George Irwin 
Former Joys 

Hugh Addie Huggins stopped on the outskirts of Orchard Park in 
order to wait for the twice-a-day carriage to Annapolis. Most made 
the journey with trivial complaints about public officials. Huggins, 
who was broad as an ox and as strong, did not come to the Capital 
in his township's service. He came for reasons other than politics. 

Huggins loitered where the flint-colored road surrendered to crab 
grass. Pigeons gathered. The man drew from his pockets handfuls 
of dried breadcrumbs and scattered them at his feet. The pigeons 
held a noisome counsel, preened their wings, and competed for 
Huggins' favor. The birds pecked and the man sat heavily on a 
heavy satchel. Its seams stretched and drew taught as piano wire. 
The worn leather buckles sighed, cracked, coughed, but held. 

On the horizon a cloud of dust hung — the carriage was coming. 
Squinting, the man rose to his feet. The birds scattered. As a 
younger man, when his hair was thick and his beard was black, he 
did not squint, nor did he walk the flint-colored roads alone. Then, 
when politics still stirred something in him, Huggins road to the 
Capital with his wife. On horses, a spotted stallion and a feisty 
mare, the two rode abreast of one another, their stirrups touching. 

Now he was older and his wife was dead. Huggins scanned the 
horizon, shifting his weight from one ratty boot to the other. He 
did not have to take the carriage. He could walk, or return in the 
direction from which he came. It made no difference. As the 
carriage approached, covered in a dense layer of dust that obscured 
its lacquered finish, the man swung the satchel over his shoulder 
and stepped onto the road. 

Silver bits gleamed in the mouths of the horses. The driver 
wrenched on the reigns. With a slender finger, he pointed to the 
brass step affixed to the carriage's frame. Inside sat a young couple. 
The woman, with a floury complexion and blood-red lips, smiled 
wanly. The carriage rocked as Huggins sank onto the seat opposite 
the couple. Dust rose from his pants and jacket. 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 67 

Once, Huggins was able to read the thoughts that squirmed like 
worms to the surface of people's faces, but from this young couple 
he could discern nothing. They were as stones to him, fashionable 
and unfeeling. Moreover, they did not talk to one another. Outside, 
beyond the filmy windows, the countryside whipped by, colorless. 
The couple's lives, the man knew, would pass quickly, slowing only 
while they slept. 

Aware that the couple was uncomfortable in his presence, 
Huggins bowed his head and laced his wrinkled fingers together. In 
his youth, long before he met the woman he would marry, he stared 
at his ring finger with puzzlement. Later, happily married, it would 
strike the man as odd that his finger should once have been the 
source of such anxiety. However, as in his youth, his finger again 
made him anxious. Thank God, he thought to himself — twisting his 
wedding band — -for former joys. 

In their seats, like a pair of polished whistles, the couple sat with 
their eyes pasted on the man. Only when the carriage began to 
come to a bumpy halt were they starded from their trance. Outside, 
the driver descended with a pail of water from which the horses 
drank greedily. Soon, the carriage would resume its course, and the 
flint-colored road would turn to cobble, creating a bumpy 
unevenness beneath the carriage wheels. The passage made by a 
carriage from the country to the city was one, the man realized, 
better suited to youth. It was a passage for young couples with too 
few memories to talk, and for lovers who rode abreast of one 
another on horseback. It was a passage the man had already made, 
and need not make again. 

As the driver hung the pail and climbed into his seat, Hugh Addie 
Huggins stood, pressed his wedding ring into the young woman's 
palm and disembarked onto the flint-colored road. He watched the 
carriage roll toward Annapolis, hoisted the satchel over his shoulder 
and strode in the direction from which he had come. 

x 041099MD 

Two women, two men, 

Enjoying respite from what they do, 

Celebrating the remains of what they are. 

They drink, eat, laugh, tell tales. 

It is pastoral and good. 



68 • Tom Fahy 

It is something to be admired. 

They sit on the steps of a Queen Anne. 

One man stands, leaning on an iron railing. 

He smokes, holds a bottle of beer, 

Squints up through the low limbs of an oak. 

One of the women talks animatedly, 

Her cigarette like a conductor's wand, 

Crisscrossing the air as her narrative unfolds. 

The sitting man listens intendy, 

His eyes fastened on the her face, 

One eye squinting, 

Pinning his target in a crosshairs. 

The other woman sits on the top step, 

Her legs crossed, her hair wind-tossed. 

She draws deeply on a Dunhill, exhales, 

Directs the smoke into the leafy canopy above. 

These are her steps, her iron railing — her home. 

x 041199MD 

The Hollow Earth 

Through the western pipe 

That snakes under mountains, 

Then over nettled earth 

And through briny lakes, 

Then braking, 

Spilling its contents into sudden ether, 

Relaxing into gossamer-thin wires, 

Enwrapping buildings, 

Curling around lamp-posts, 

Sliding under window jams, 

Spooling, relaxing, twisting through locks 

And keyholes and drains; 

Threading through wallpaper fibers, 

Circulating through the grain of old boards, 

Pressing through rock and wallboard, 

Wool and metal, 

All to find you, warm you and embrace you. 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 69 

x 041399MD 

Unlawfulness, Illegality and Venality 

Throughout recent so-called intellectual history, organized society 
has been considered the result of 'informed design.' In his multi- 
volume, Unlawfulness, Illegality and Venality, filmmaker and social 
theorist David Duff referred to this position as "destructive 
irrationalism" and argued vigorously in its favor. In his 1996 Nobel 
Memorial Lecture, tided "The Value of Ignorance," Duff expressed 
a corroborating view of how society developed: 

"The recognition of the insuperable limits to his ignorance ought to teach the student 
of society a lesson in super-egoism which should encourage him to become an 
accomplice in men's efforts to control society — a striving which enables him to 
assume an immediate advantage over his peers. " 

Duff rejects the notion that civilization could sprout organically 
from the free efforts of millions of individuals. Duff champions all 
attempts to engineer; that is, to centrally plan and coordinate the 
structure of society. He believes that such engineering actually 
enhances rather than corrupts society, which is the result of human 
design, but not of human action. Alongside the Polish economist 
Aurek Jarogniew, Duff provided what are arguably the best 
critiques of the "di?-constructivisf" theories and policies that have 
grown in popularity during the late 20 th century. 



70 • Tom Fahy 

x 041699MD 

"Logic is a choice, not an obligation. " 

— George Irwin 

"No civilisation that esteemed reason and made reason its aim, devolved into 
despotism, which accounts for all of the despotism. " 

—David Duff 

Dear Messrs. Duff and Irwin, 

I was curious about whether or not an accord has been 
reached among the members of the board, a harmonious 
unanimity, so to speak, regarding the rendezvous dates 
specified in her Grace's last letter of 13 March. I, for 
one, am available at her Grace's earliest request and 
consider this a fitting opportunity to divulge the 
mounting excitement I feel in anticipation of an evening 
with the constant hostess, the dear Valeria, as it is 
widely agreed that her charms are unequaled, her spirit 
inimitable, and her libations of the most irresistible 
sort. 

It is my sincere hope that the use of express or implied 
threats of violence or reprisal or other intimidating 
behavior with the aim of achieving consensus among the 
board will be unnecessary, even as the offices of Esteban 
& Button, Partners at Law reserve the right to place said 
members (xxxxxx, G. Irwin, xxxxxx, xxxxxx, et al), in 
immediate fear of the consequences. Although I derive 
little joy from menacing my dear friends in the public 
way, I will exercise no restraint if her grace requests 
that I assist in the swift resolution of any and all 
quandaries of the will that the members may be 
experiencing. Clearly there is a time and place for a 
state of uncertainty and perplexity, but this is not such 
a time ! 

RELENT! Now is the time for all good souls to come to 
the aid of their liver! 

Sincerely, 

Esteban & Button, Partners at Law 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 71 

x 041799MD 

'Disenchantment has its roots in logic. " 

— George Irwin 

'Nothing is more virtuous, and therefore more precious, than to be able to 
deny cake. But 1 contend that there is something unseemlj about chasteness. " 

— James A. Trainer 

The Nigel Park Diner Debate Club Convene: 

Chairman's Address — > If an individual submits a premise into a 
debate, he is responsible for defending that premise with evidence. 
The premise cannot be accepted otherwise. This is commonly 
referred to as the "burden of proof." 

The burden of proof necessitates the presentation of evidence that 
aims to convince the claimant's opponents of his premise's efficacy. 
If broad acceptance of the premise is to be ensured, his subsequent 
argument must be adequately researched and reasoned; in a word, 
airtight. 

Following a dispassionate hearing of the claimant's argument, a 
"burden of rejoinder" is the natural consequence. Rejoinder refers 
to the process of evaluating an opponent's premise in an effort to 
determine the presence of logical fallacies and evidence of faulty 
reasoning. 

What is a logical fallacy? A logical fallacy refers to a structural 
flaw present in an argument that renders the conclusion false, as the 
basis of that argument — the premise — is invalid. Logical fallacies 
can be avoided if one's patterns of reasoning throughout the 
defense of a premise are substantiated with evidence and if that 
evidence is shown to evince the original premise conclusively. 

And finally, faulty reasoning can be avoided by ensuring that one's 
argument does not require repeated disambiguation. Should an 
argument be rigorously composed, paying particular attention to 
causal relationships and any unintended inclination to "proof by 
verbosity," which simply refers to persuasion by virtue of verbal 



72 • TomFahy 

pyrotechnics, an argument can be protected from an accusation of 
faulty reasoning. 

James Trainer's Statement: "The Plight of the Irish and 
Other Whites" 16 — > As an Irishman, I am cognizant of the 
shortcomings of our race; a race into which has been sown anarchy, 
discord and a distaste for logic; a race that was not always 
vacillatory, unreasoning and susceptible to the sometime paralysis 
that is the result of greed and trained insatiety; and finally, a race 
enticed by the promise of impossible material fulfillment. 

The entrenched and counter-cultural self-conceit of our race may 
be overridden, but it requires that one abandon the partisanship 
reserved for parties and the political disunity that is a result; it 
requires that one's aims are narrowed, that the divisions rife in our 
race may mend through solidarity; it requires that our race impede 
social unrest and general psychological ferment by stunning and 
subduing the unchecked flow of divisive theories into its midst. 

If our race is to retreat broadly from the brink of dissolution, it 
must retrieve its distinctive character from the transvaluing maw of 
the social engineer; it must wrest from the social engineer's 
stranglehold the will to personal initiative; the white man must not 



16 Because racialist nationalism is sufficiently marginal (Appendix B), it is 
easily co-opted and disrupted. theorists who venture into this area are 
vulnerable to manipulation; they cannot pursue this school of thought in a 
manner typical of, say, biodiversity as it relates to fanged frogs. 

racialism, and white racialism specifically, is widely perceived as a 

subculture a subculture awash with and shaped by disinformation. in 

poker parlance, that white racialism isn't inimical to disinformation is a 
'tell': there is clearly something special about the white race, specifically 
when it manages to cohere broadly. 

major race-critical texts of the 19th and 20th centuries are rarely 
promoted by leading racialist nationalists, to the detriment of white 
racialism as a whole. and those racialists who do cite ludovici, rosenberg, 
Simpson, et. al., are soon marginalized or go conveniently unnoticed: this is 
the Trickster at work. Powerful institutions, on the behalf of which the 
trickster works, have vested interests in racial heterogeneity: it promotes 
soft, general order of an hegemonic type. 

Racial-theory, by its nature, is non-interpretive and anti-hermeneutic. 
And this is, as a stratagem, how it should be presented by its leaders to the 
public, that it isn't first hijacked by disinformation managers who are 
trained to present racialism in an impossible post-structuralist light. The 
emphasis, then, is upon ambiguity (e.g., no such thing as 'race'), wherein the 
ethnography of race is perceived as 'text' open to interpretation. 

Race is not text. 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 73 

be used against himself as an instrument of disintegration. If our 
race is to achieve lasting unity, it must reject what has been referred 
to as "the good" — those good, alien, motivating ideals which have 
been planted in order to stealthily subjugate reason by an inverted 
appeal to itself: e.g. democracy — a "good" ideal that is anathema 
to the natural inclinations of a healthy and willful man; a man ever- 
sensitive to the fact that much that may be genuinely construed as 
truth contrasts starkly with that which has lately been deemed 
reasonable, but which, unlike false truths, yields results that are at 
once plain, understandable, and amenable to racial cohesion. 

Too broad-minded, too cosmopolitan, too tolerant, too yielding to 
the ideal of liberty, and too accepting of unreality has become the 
white man; no longer is the white man thoughtful, observant, with 
his feet planted firmly on the bedrock of belief, which affords him 
surety of purpose. Instead, belief has been substituted with 
speculation. And the base motive to which speculation maneuvers 
the tolerant white man is profits. In his relentless pursuit of profits, 
he has been reduced to one of two perpetually antagonistic roles: 
reactionary or radical. But in each role, reactionary or radical, capital 
or labor, he can depend only upon one outcome: bewilderment. 
That whites should be divided against themselves in an objective 
that does not reward with sanguinity and wisdom is 
counterintuitive. 

The Gods of White Man have been subsumed by commerce, and 
his faith supplanted with an abiding loyalty to those earthly priests 
that would promise what I have heretofore referred to as material 
fulfillment, and the cost of the subsumption of faith is the 
wholesale adoption of newfangled, flabby ideals, of which 
agnosticism and atheism are two. The objective of the social 
engineer is clear: no longer do whites have something rejuvenating, 
galvanizing and higher than the State to which they may collectively 
adhere themselves. Welcome to the Church of Want, wherein the 
only thing in which one must have faith is the unknown. 

While my race sleeps, into its ears are whispered the ingredients of 
dissension and unrest, that when it wakes, it remains easy in its 
unease — unlanded, subordinate, indebted — a perfect tenant, a 
mere hewer, a hick, with nothing any longer heritable. 

The soul of my race has been mortgaged: 



74 • TomFahy 

In order to overcome its spiritual and intellectual debts, it is 
incumbent upon my race to enter the labyrinth, to court hunger, to 
follow the narrow, weed-choked byways to their ends ... on their 
knees, feeling with shaking hands for clues, markers, fighting 
programmed lassitude, unwilling to be out-maneuvered, learning 
swiftly the minds of the labyrinth's architects by its byzantine 
designs, read in the dark as by Braille, in order to make plain the 
methods whereby which is instigated a radical temper in a 
genetically mild people indisposed to indiscriminate change. 

x 041899MD 

"That cruelty is part of nature is the little lie. That cruelty is part of human 
nature is the big one. " 

— George Irwin 

In Season 

Katharine arrived a few minutes early and Aubrey led Duff to the 
door, much as a mother is wont to lead her child. There, at the 
bottom of the stair, with one hand on the doorknob, something 
turned in Aubrey's eyes; something that spoiled her resolve. Duff 
saw it, said nothing and hefted a heavy jacket over his shoulders, 
gloves onto his hands. As he turned up his collar, as he looked 
away, askance and into the living room where Brutus lay on the 
couch, his tail wagging dreamily, Aubrey looked at him, one last 
time, before the door was opened. Katharine was ushered in, 
motioned into the center of the foyer at the foot of the stair. 

Duff took Katharine's hand, shook it, paused and studied her face. 
And there it was — the broad forehead, the trim bangs, the sharp 
row of teeth, the too-high cheekbones, one of which seemed to 
poke out from beneath the thin skin, abnormally small ears, yellow 
hair that hung just below her shoulders where it turned upward 
again. He led her into the living room, letting her walk ahead while 
he paused in the foyer, looking at his feet, and away, then at 
Aubrey's feet. They were in black heeled shoes, white ankle socks, 
and he stopped just as the trimmings of her skirt came into view, 
and a pang rose in his chest, and bubbles formed in his throat. Soon 
he was in the living room, beside Katharine, kneeling before Brutus 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 75 

who looked up through his eyelids, disturbed, a little hungry, his fur 
mussed up from the repeated petting he fetched — a truly winsome 
face in a cat. Still wearing her gloves, Katharine stroked the cat's 
back, but didn't bow down, wouldn't commiserate, wouldn't lean in 
further to attract the cat's affections — a non-reciprocal situation. 

Duff was aware of Aubrey's figure under the archway, a shadow 
verily, whose mouth was ululating and quivering, saying something 
indistinguishable — a pan flute left in the rain. And then he rose and 
led Katharine to the door, doubled back, knelt and kissed the kitty, 
patting him a little too hard on the head, winking in his face for 
good measure, thinking, Good Brutus, dear Brutus. It had the effect of 
a lullaby and the cat was at once dozing off, his tail keeping time to 
the beat of his heart, or his furtive dreams — counting fish, or mice, 
or squash bugs. Duff was on, over, beyond the threshold when 
something caught his arm, a hook, tugging at his skin, almost 
piercing it and he was no longer beyond, but on, over the threshold, 
and in the foyer again, almost sobbing, confronted with a face. And 
it spoke — the face. And he was forced to look up and into its soft 
brown eyes, into the perfect nose, the jutting jaw, the seamless 
speech that rolled outward, past and away — forever. And soon his 
hand was touching a cheekbone, and there was a shock, and the 
face, startled, jumped, and the features rippled and a smile leaped 
from somewhere far, like a lightning bug in autumn, but it was too 
late. Someone was crumpling paper in his head, and cellophane was 
crackling, wet logs snapping, popping; a fault opened, the blood ran 
away from his knees, from his fingertips, from his eyes, pooling in 
his stomach where it congealed, and suffused into a noxious gas, 
and escaped, and with it hope. Then the pressure, hook, tugging 
sensation on his arm was lifted, torn, unclasped, and he was over 
the threshold, onto the yard. Katharine was waiting for him, in a 
tight skirt, wearing bracelets to blind the eye and he concentrated 
on the scoop neck from the door to the car, from the driveway to 
the street, from the house to the highway, until it was safe to 
pretend to be alive again. 

They talked over a dinner of marinated squid, assorted seafood, 
turf fare, etc., dry wine that stretched the flesh on the back of the 
throat — they talked of wineries in the valley, windmills in the 
pasture and goat cheese in the morning. Their talk was briny, tepid, 
lukewarm, without ever really heating up appreciably. Under the 
table he could feel a foot, in hoes, on his ankle, and he excused 



76 • Tom Fahy 

himself for the bathroom, for love of the soundness he discovered 
in mirrors — the sweet placation that his own image could give to 
him. And in the bathroom, with the reflection of the stalls behind 
him, he bent into the mirror, smoothed back his hair, felt the 
stubble on his chin, the crook in his neck. He braved a smile for the 
bathroom, tried to add his eyes to the effort, failed, and seated 
himself in a stall. 

She was with Brutus now, he thought, petting him, stroking his 
back, and Brutus would stay with her when that time came, when 
the rent was up, when his account was dry, when she could no 
longer tolerate him. And all he would have of him, Brutus and of 
her, Aubrey, would be memories, first sweet, then slowly turning, 
becoming sour, speckled with fermented spots, turning black, soft, 
inedible. Fruit would be ruined for him. What happened, he 
wondered? But he could at least feel that her affections were not 
completely past, that she did at least feel for him nominally, as she 
arranged this date, in spite of the circumstances. Katharine was 
Russell's sister, a respectable girl. And only the best — the very 
best — for Duff, her once and great love. He could respect that — her 
gesture, even as he found it a distasteful. 

He grumbled into his fists, flushed the toilet without using it, rose 
behind the door of the stall, wanted to kick it — hard — thought 
better of it, inhaled, exhaled, inhaled, exhaled, opened the stall, and 
walked with a semblance of calm into the dining area. He balled his 
fists, relaxed them, balled them, relaxed them — heroically 
approached Katharine, bent over her right shoulder, kissed her 
cheek, stove-top warmth passing into his lips. For a moment the 
silverware glowed with a peculiar light, and coronas danced around 
the glasses and the candle-flame rose by inches, dropped, sputtered, 
flared, and resumed its natural burning. Sitting before Katharine 
again, a napkin on his lap, talk of windmills and wineries over, he 
opened up the engine of his brain, stepped on the gas. He turned 
down an entirely new road, one with taller buildings with narrow 
windows; one with sleek cars, sleek people with slit eyes and arched 
eyebrows; one paved with steel. Above, demarcated by rows of 
spires and aerials, a sliver of sky, roiling with fallout and gun smoke, 
threaded with gossamer, with sickly pustules that dipped and poked 
into the new world below that was Duffs, and Duffs alone. 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 77 

x 041999MD 

"At once a pandemic and a tool, watching is a vital aspect in the war on 

privacy. " 

— George Irwin 

Watchers 

Regarding surveillance, there is the question of accountability. Is 
the watcher accountable for the information that is the result of his 
observations? Can one distinguish between passive and active 
surveillance? Can one distinguish between the watcher, who would 
exact enjoyment from those subjects that one would objectify, and 
the simply curious, that does not watch for the sake of gratification, 
but rather for purposes less suspect? More specifically, does the act 
of watching, in contrast to overt surveillance, merely satisfy the 
desire unique to a sentient mind, to cognize a subject, rather than 
violate that subject? Tom Shaw 17 is a case-in-point. In many 
respects, he is a watcher, for lack of a better term. I would not, 
however, risk calling him a watcher in a definitive sense, as the 
gratification that he achieves through his observations is neither 
sexual nor perverse. Moreover, while his interest in Huggins is 
explicit, his observations of the neighborhood and environs are 
little more than cursory; they suffice as window-dressing, and in 
exceptional circumstances, as either a foil or subterfuge for 
Huggins, about whom Tom Shaw harbors a deep suspicion. 
Nevertheless, the question remains: in spite of Tom Shaw's 
seemingly benign intentions, is he accountable for his observations? 
I would suggest that he is, in much the same way that we are, in so 
far as he possesses a conscience. And yet, we are unsuspecting 
watchers, and a small percentage of us, I would suspect, are guilty 
of surveillance; a percentage that do, indeed, derive a peculiar 
enjoyment, or excitement, from atrocities of the caliber witnessed 
on xxxxxx. I think we too easily dismiss our fascination with 
spectacles as part and parcel of our human disposition, which 



17 The reference to a "Tom Shaw" in Huggins' entry of April 4 th 1999 is not 

LOST ON THIS EDITOR, NOR IS THE SUBJECT-MATTER. NO EXPLANATION IS 
FORTHCOMING. 



78 • TomFahy 

would preclude an ineluctable desire to watch. Indeed, we are 
accountable. As we are sentient beings, it is also our responsibility 
to reflect, to appraise our actions in the light of reason, and more 
importantly, in the light of morality. Is it our nature to watch, or has 
our natural curiosity which has been an integral asset to our survival 
as a species, been perverted by technology, and the machinations of 
those factions that would manipulate that technology to their own 
ends? I would suggest that to varying degrees, mankind has been 
unduly influenced by technology; that the media has been used 
inappropriately, in the past and in the present. As I have faith in 
mankind, so too do I have faith in its ultimate potential for 
goodness. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with our practice of 
watching; we are curious. But there is something suspicious about 
that watching, if in fact the practice of watching is not attended by 
the conscience. The conscience must be cultivated, and it must be 
present at the spectacle. The conscience must be brought to bear on 
the incident in question. And if the conscience does not facilitate 
feeling; if, when it is a witness to unmentionable horrors, it does not 
engender a sense of sorrow, then that being to whom the 
conscience belongs, is in trouble. On the cusp of the millennium, 
we have the singular fortune of presence; of being a party to the 
crimes that we would commit against one another, simply by virtue 
of technology, which would facilitate our capacity to watch. So, go 
ahead and watch — watch until you are blind — but make sure you 
have brought your conscience with you.... 

x 042099MD 

Incident at Childress Hill 

I. North Orchard Gangs 

McLeay, Maxwell, Rae and I, heathens all of us, which is to say 
without loyalties to the church, staked out the service entrance to 
Osgood Baldrist Academy in wait for Addie and Findlay, both 
Baldrists and oddballs and tenderfeet. We went to Francis Dover 
Elementary, the factory school at Benton and Camp, the names of 
streets, names that sank once spoken like depth charges, names that 
suggested things, like the unbeknownst. We felt the plunk of these 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 79 

names. They were leaden and hefty like gourds. They belonged to 
our parents. We shunned them. 

We, McLeay, Maxwell, Rae, Addie, Findlay and I, heathens and 
tenderfeet in arms, had come to a consensus that North Orchard 
was better than all of the Camps and Bentons put together. We 
were a gang, after all, and no gang is a gang until it has its North 
Orchard, with its tumble down houses, and besmeared potbellied 
urchin children; with dogs that foamed at the mouth and wore 
studded collars; where the woods were thicker and the garbage 
heaps higher; where the chimneys chugged a foul black. We were a 
gang, damn it — gypsies, runaway wannabes — we needed North 
Orchard. Unfortunately, so did the Creek Gang, a nefarious lot of 
inbreeds, who slunk along the banks of Furnace Creek, talking 
trash, cursing Baldr, fantasizing about their sisters. 

Their desire for North Orchard wasn't without an ounce of 
reason. Most of them, all bastards, were conceived in the black 
woods we coveted, and over which hung this delectable cloud of 
badness, for which we, well-bred and milk fed, were starved. There 
was the question, even then, of entitlement. It ratded us, reduced us 
to so much wining. We cried in our milk, mad about mergers and 
acquisitions, creaming our shorts over the Big Bad Black Wood and 
North Orchard because as God was our witness, every gang needs a 
North Orchard. None of us, not McLeay, Maxwell or Rae, not 
Addie, Findlay or I, had ever heard the word 'fracas! But soon there 
would be one — a big fat fracas. 

II. Childress Hill 

The word was — and it made all of our willies shrivel — that 
Maxwell had a knife. McLeay thought Maxwell was a dope. Addie 
thought Maxwell was a dope. Findlay thought Maxwell was a dope. 
And I was pretty confident that Maxwell was dope. Rae, however, 
knew that he was a dope. How? Rae's dad was the Chief of Police 
and Maxwell's was Detective, and gumshoes talk, then gumshoes go 
home and make quips about each other with their wives. Their sons 
are always listening, and like their fathers, their mouths run like 
diarrhea. So it was news to us, although not terribly surprising news, 
that Maxwell was a test-tube baby. That, we all agreed, solved 
everything. Only a test-tube baby would bring a knife to a rumble. 
Then: 



80 • TomFahy 



The Nun. 

She looked like a claw-footed tub, 

Or the Michelin Man in a bathrobe. 

The Nun, manning the ropes in the belfry; 

Something about the Nun, 

With eye-sockets like corn-holes dredged from peat, 

And for eyes, two badly set apricots; 

Cheeks like mortared plaster, pitted, chipped; 

Nostrils bored by pythons: 

A face after flack. 

Something about the Nun, 

In the bunker with the stalwart rope 

Coiled around her fig-colored stumps — 

The whisper that was a hiss, 

The habit that was a frock 

That was a cape that was a wing 

That became a hood. . . 

...that made Maxwell cry, "I have a knife!" And the rest of us, 
because one of us really carried one, carried knives, too, at least in 
our hearts. Then we slunk, our fur matted, our spirits crimped, 
from the Churchyard to Childress Hill, tenderfeet and heathens, no 
longer innocents we — a Judas was in our midst — slunk, I say, to a 
rumble, to the rumble, to rumble with devils. 

III. JlGGITY-JlG 

We looked a strange troop, a ham coming apart at the seams, 
unraveling like a ball of yarn, on a long rickety march to our 
Calvary, feeling the knots and bunches of muscle punk in our 
throats and bums, rubbing away the phantom stigmata that pimpled 
our hands. Addie, with a shock of yellow hair, was sobbing, rubbing 
his crotch and reciting an Our Father or a Hail Mary, being a 
heathen, I couldn't tell which. Findlay was insinuating Maxwell, the 
Judas, "Test-tube baby! A fucking test-tube baby!" 

McLeay and Rae, colossal, odd and fantastic parodies of 
children — fat and unruffled, waddling ahead of the procession, 
insulated from fear; and I, not colossal, not even shocking, watched 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 81 

from under the egg sack of the loping spider of which each child 
formed a spindly leg. 

Modey, not a litde craven, nimble in our dreams, we gimped on 
awkward pegs to Childress Hill, a swath of mown pasture that 
unrolled like a carpet from the abutments of Benton and Camp, 
and skidded, then contracted with a whiplash where the broad- 
stroke of grass met the barn-sides of North Orchard. 

Reason 

Robs the boy of himself, 

Turning him, like so many grapes, 

Into a man. 

The boy, felled, chipped, 

Useful but mute, fodder, 

Must, 

In the instant that is his glory, 

Redeem the man from Reason 

That spelled his death. 

The Creek Gang, six in all, crabs and beedes and rats with nails 
bitten to the quick, crawled out from under the eaves, and porches, 
and coops of North Orchard. They scampered through the dead 
bowers and crabapple trees shaped like trawls and meat hooks, and 
with them came a drone, as from the maw of an ogled hive. They 
did not so much emerge from the bracken, and barbed wire and 
thistles as appear, slowly at first, becoming substantial as in a 
developer's chemical bath. Their appearance was attended with a 
dignity that was unexpected and unnerving. 

Then, from the svelte shrubbery of Benton, the manicured lawns 
of Camp, waddled and stumbled and scurried, another gang of six. 
They were animals too, but with eyes of birds of prey, that darted, 
were rheumy and crusted with fear; a gang, without rank, that 
sobbed and plead with the powers that be. 

The birds of prey — a tenderfoot, a penitent, a Judas from a test- 
tube, a pair of emperor penguins, and a heathen; that is, Findlay, 
Addie, Maxwell, McLeay and Rae and I — fought gravity, failed, and 
began the dark descent to the bottom of Childress Hill. We would 
bite and gouge and wrangle with the living dead, for North 
Orchard, for the Big Black Wood, for the backward prestige of 
seediness. After all, we were our father's sons. And, in a bristling 



82 • Tom Fahy 

pack, the crabs, beetles and rats, all smitten with envy, that would 
skin us for our shoes, for our Fruit of the Looms, for our little toes, 
leaned into the steep incline to meet us. 

IV. Atropos and the Morass 

Childress's Hill — a sloppy boil, a lung racked by pleurisy. We 
waded, slugged, burrowed, smacked, then hacked through the 
smoky heath, chewed through the palsied glands, the melting fat, 
the syphilitic gloom. We were chiggers, muscling through a wart; 
cinders in a blood clot. We gulped, swallowed, became bottom- 
feeders. I hunkered down in a rotting navel. Maxwell scaled a hairy 
mole. The emperor penguins drilled into a deposit of lard. Findlay 
wiggled into a pucker of cellulite. Last, Addie deflated a cloudy eye, 
leapt into its socket and pulled down the lid by its lashes. 

V. Cusp 

After the incident at Childress Hill and our retreat into the poor 
harrowed corpse of cowardice, we, none of us, not the penitent, not 
the emperor penguins, not the tenderfoot or the test-tube baby, or 
I, coveted North Orchard any longer. It wasn't worth the black 
eyes, bloody noses or broken bones. The thread of life was too thin. 
And the thread is no thicker for believers than for heathens; it does 
not stretch longer for emperor penguins. Test-tube babies aren't 
even at an advantage. Yes, after the incident at Childress Hill, we 
felt born again, changed, on the cusp of a new era. Then we 
discovered girls, and if, once more, we forgot about the thread of 
life, who could blame us? 



t 



18 



Tom Shaw was out of his depth; 

he knew it, might have surrendered to discouragement, 
but didn't and, he had resolved, would not. 
The undertaking had become too important to him 
What had he stumbled upon? 

Many of Huggins' journals had proven illegible, 

filled as they were with a scrawl that was less script than scratch; 

it hinted at untold pains, 

perhaps desperation, and worse still, 
an interior devolvement of capacity. 
He had on hands and knees poured through hundreds of journals, 
many of which were filled with illustrations, 
idle jottings, numeric puzzles and a recurrent compulsion to list: 

lists of names, many redacted with black magic marker; 



18 T- Naudiz, "Need." Trouble is oppressive to the heart; yet often it proves a 
source of help and salvation to the children of men, to everyone who needs 
it betimes. — Old English Poem 



84 • TomFahy 

lists of things 'to-do;' 

lists of things to eat or stop eating or to eat in moderation; 

lists of 'allies' and lists of 'foes.' 

Absent the ciphers to which Huggins repeatedly referred, 
the journals, ledgers and notebooks remained encrypted, 
which isn't to say they did not have value in the literal sense, 
but it presented Shaw with agonizing limitations. 
He was not accustomed to working from the margins; 

that was Katie's forte. 
He knew that he was not equal to the task 
with which Moffett had entrusted him; 
Huggins required something and someone else — 
a different type of attention, not a novelist, 
but a cryptanalyst, or a logician at the very least. 

Tom knew that he was functioning as a mediator 
between the text, to which he would be faithful, 
and some type of eventual analysis 

of which he would not be a part 
and about which he was ignorant. 
Huggins' work clearly begged an exotic approach 

that escaped him. It would not have escaped Katie; 
she would be positively enthralled, 
forgoing sleep, food and water, 

subsisting on the mystery that was unfolding before her. 
He did not have that zest and single-minded drive. 
He lay in the center of Huggins' room, 
sunlight aching through the window, 
falling on reordered stacks of journals 
ordered by year, by legibility, 
and barring indications of provenance or context, 

ordered by instinct. 



On the morning of the 5 th , 

Tom Shaw moved into Button House, 

bringing with him a duffel bag filled with underwear, 

a sleeping bag, a laptop, two cartons of cigarettes, 

and several gallon-jugs of water. 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 85 

It was now the 11 th , 

and even working on the margins, 

barred, as it were, 
from the insights to which Huggins refused access, 
he was engaged; engaged, perhaps, for the first time. 
He understood that he had failed his previous endeavors; 
failed the process that he knew they required — 
the attention and sensitivity; the passion. 

Huggins spared no passion, and had no clear, crimping loyalties; 
his only audience a handful of players 

with whom he exchanged letters, or 'cryptograms.' 

An inspection of the house confirmed the tenants 
of which Huggins had written: 

Esteban Suarez, 

James Trainer, 

the old man in the attic. 
Trunks on the third floor were packed with drag costumes, 
wigs, and stiletto-heeled shoes; 

on the floor, shards from mirrors 

and window glass and beer mugs — 

anything that could be broken was broken. 
A four-poster bed without a mattress stood in a barren room; 
a lifeless and gutted EKG machine sat on the floor 
next to empty IV bags, rusting syringes and bed-rags. 



In the attic, 

the floor sagged under a mountain of newspapers 

dating to the turn-of-the-century. 
There was no furniture, 

but from a nail hung a leather dog-collar. 
The first floor apartments, windowless, without floorboards, 

invaded by wind and rain, ice and sleet, 
surrendered less information, 
but still affixed to the south wall, covered in verdigris, 
was a bowling-league plaque devoted to one James A. Trainer. 

In the kitchen, scavenged of plumbing, 



86 • TomFahy 

sat a motorcycle without wheels; 

its leather seat lay beside it on the linoleum floor. 
It had been as Huggins had written; 
he was the last tenant of Button House: 

the faithful caretaker, compulsive journalist and advocate. 

But what was Tom Shaw uncovering? 
It was unnerving — 

Huggins' had not been but a mere eccentric given to dereliction. 
Who was he and what happened to George Irwin, 
to Allayne Ashby, 
to David Duff, 
to Katharine? 

The George Irwin to which Huggins referred in letters 
does indeed have a faculty position at MIT, 

but does not return phone calls. 
The paternal grandmother, 

former resident of the Glen Burnie Nursing home, 
subject of an entry dated '013099MD' was dead; 
she left no estate and there was no funeral. 
Katharine Eleanor Cairns nee Huggins, 
formerly of Alexandria, VA, is missing; 

not AWOL, 
but officially on record with Arlington County officials 

as a 'missing person.' 
David Duff, 

censured in 1997 by the University of Hawaii at Manoa, 
died in 2002 at his Glasgow home 

of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. 
He is survived by a daughter, Bethany, 
by his common-law wife Maria Garcia, and two sons, 

Brian Todd Cairns 

and George Gordon Duff, form a previous marriage. 



Outside, men in brown coats worked in shifts, 

drinking coffee and sometimes beer, reading newspapers, 
talking on cell-phones. 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 87 

One sedan would leave and another would arrive. 
They were the 'watchers' of which Huggins spoke 
in an entry that curiously featured Shaw's namesake. 



Huggins' funeral services were held from Mt. Carmel Cemetery, 
financed by Baltimore's Indigent Burial Program. Although pastors 
are habitually dispatched to the funerals of the indigent, it appears 
that none were available on the occasion of Huggins' burial. Russell 
was laid to rest in a discount casket on the 9 th of April 2009; none 
but Shaw and the gravediggers attended; as well as, remarkably, a 
gray tiger cat that loitered on a nearby headstone, its tail swishing 
back and forth like the pendulum of a grandfather clock. 



On the 10 th , Shaw rang Brand Moffett. He furnished Moffett with 
details concerning the estate and his progress. 

Moffett asked, "Do you need anything: pens, storage devices, 
anything?" 

"No, no, I could use better take-out, but I'm fine. Is there a 
deadline?" asked Shaw. 

"None, nope, take your time, get it right. We're thinking clarity 
here. Try to get clarity. Maybe there's a better word: sequence? Yeah, 
try to get it in some kind of sequence, that's what the crypto guys 
want — beginning to end." 

"I think there's more to it than — " 

"More to it than what?" interrupted Moffett angrily. 

"Well, Brand, it's a treasure-trove, a brain-teaser. A lot of it is 
positively abstruse, but some, even if interpreted literally, has 
currency. What will you do with it?" 

"/won't do anything with it. I'm — we — are just go-betweens, okay, 
so don't get any grandiose ideas in your head. That was the trouble 
with K— " 

A full minute passed. No one spoke. 

"I'm sorry, Tom, I didn't mean that." Brand said. "I guess what 
I'm trying to say is, there really isn't any leeway for idealism over the 
Huggins estate. It can break one of two ways: the people you met 
on the 5 th either find what they are looking for or they don't. And 
I'll make a deal with you: if they don't, he's yours, every speck of 
him." 



<> 



1<> 



PUBLISHER'S NOTE: Records from 042299MD-1 23099MD have been 
redacted in full and will not be permitted inclusion into the record as comp 
edited and formatted by Tom Shaw. 

x 123199MD 

Bohemia Beach 

Paint me this: a daydream 

That recalls us to verdant meadows, 

To roses and apples, 

And you will have captured Bohemia's essence, 

Where sea and sky bump, 

And blend their tones into a soft iridescence. 

Now, paint me this: the stillness and the mist 

That settles like a delicate tissue 

Over the shoulders of market-gardeners and fishermen; 



19 ^> - Jeran, "Year - Good Year - Harvest." 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 90 

The far-away cluster of shacks and copper-colored ponds, 
Over-frowned by mountains and cloud-skiffs, 
And you will have begun to open 
The honeycombed lotus blossom 
Full of the suns of centuries. 

x 010200MD 

Sea-Bastard 

Inward fishing, 

Casting for your ancestor's memories, 

For your own. 

Fish long and hard enough 

And what was once a man hanged on a hook, 

Will be a fish; 

A rippling, multi-colored spirit, 

Flashing in the light of stars from the past . 

Think loudly enough 

And you will begin to bend the course of history, 

Turn it backward on itself; 

Influence the institution of thought. 

Plant your own ideas, 

Sew your morbid seeds in the sand by the sea, 

Cured with salt, charged by lightning. . . 

We inherit our faces from fish. 

Narrator — > an everyman confronted with the troubling problem 
of itself; the conundrum of being. How, in a Universe insensitive to 
his sense of being, does the everyman cope with the terror wrought 
by his own process of perception? 

Singularity — > plurality of experience — > each man must devise a 
system of survival for himself which addresses his intensely 
personal needs. Irwin argues that the 'Human Factor' must be left 
to its own devices, however fallible. The 'Human Factor,' 
personified by the everyman, must be abandoned, permitted to 
choose — to select a path, a destiny. None can intercede but it 
remains that the products of subsequent insights — certitude and 



91 • Tom Fahy 

affirmation, false idols both — are to be treated no less cruelly than 
indecision and indifference by an allegedly insentient Universe. 
Experience, in spite of the cold shoulder that Being might present to 
men, is worthwhile in so far as it contributes to the development of 
an individual. Pure being, says Irwin, is the state at which we are 
unconscious of individuation. This prefigures the becoming of 
'Sentient Man,' who in his exaltation overcomes the horror dealt 
him by the prospect of self-determination — of freedom. 

Here, as the Universe fails to acknowledge and validate him, the 
everyman is strong-armed into self-reliance. And self-reliance, as 
Irwin affirms, is the precursor to a life typified by novelty. Free, 
open to novelty, the everyman's actions are no longer encrypted by 
a conscience reinforced by dogma. 

Question — > how does freedom implicate and by extension, 
engender extremism? 

x 010600MD 

It Is Begun 

I'm in a suit — 

A dark suit with a blue shirt, 

No tie and black shoes. 

I am clean-shaven. 

I've gotten a haircut. 

It's a corner bar in an old brick building. 

It has a heavy brass-frame door 

With frosted panes. 

I put my hand on the ring-pull style handle 

And I get a pleasant electrical shock. 

I pull, hard — 

As though against the force of a vacuum. 

An interstice grows. 

Golden light flecked with sparks fills the elongation. 

I step over the threshold into rarefaction. 

There is a hush — 

The type of hush that must have attended the Seventh Day — 

The day when God pulled the pin from the grenade of life. 

Sizzling pinwheels of light grow around the corners of my eyes. 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 92 

Then, as though the bar were a stage-set, 

Footlights slowly come up, first giving life to shadows, 

Then to the objects which cast the shadows. 

Irregular forms resolve into recognizable shapes: 

Faces, smiles, knuckles, hats, heels and bottles. 

From the vacuum there issue familiar voices, 

Jovial laughs, the sound of chairs skidding on wood, 

Swivel seats squeaking on their pivots, glasses clinking, 

Barmen calling, women squealing, hems snapping. 

Peripheral filaments explode 

And I can see hooded lamps flicker to life over the bar. 

I recognize the barman in his white button-down 

And rolled up shirtsleeves. 

Arms crossed, with impenetrable black eyes, 

He lords over his ocean of mahogany. 

And old faces from the drinking life; 

Faces from Orchard Park and Baltimore, 

Glasgow and Geneva, 

Savannah and St. John's. 

It is a homecoming. 

I am met with warm knowing smiles. 

The crowd claps and nods as I ease deeper into the bar. 

There are winks from couples nestled into window seats; 

Tears of joy from grisdy men in the end-zone. 

A young woman accosts me, whispers, 

"I missed you." She kisses me on the cheek. 

I shore up to the bar, 

A saccharine glow seeping from its whiskey shoals. 

"Sit," says a whiskered man. 

He reaches over, pats me on the back. 

The bar siphons off a breath, grows quiet. 

The barman leans over the divide, arches his eyebrows. 

He's poking around in my head, fishing for desires. 

He smiles, unfolds his arms, unleashes a canny nod. 

Then there sit before me in a sweating tumbler 

A wreck of ice and sour mash: I drink. 

The crowd respire, pirouette and careen 

About the brink of Heaven's perspiring snifter. 



93 • Tom Fahy 

x 100700MD 

George, 

Regarding the subject of your cryptogram of xxxxxx, a topic on which 
I have done a great deal of independent research, I wanted to comment 
briefly. 

The issue I wanted to address forthrightly concerns the twin notions 
of mitigation and prevention as they relate directly to the perhaps 
impending problem referred to as xxxxxx. Remedial efforts formed with 
the intention to address said notions would require politicization. 
InK will not perceive this in a favorable light. 

-Russell 

x 010800MD 

"If you can 't intuit the answer, there is something wrong with the question. " 

— George Irwin 
Esteban, Fortune Teller 

Esteban's health has declined. He roams the 2 nd and 3 rd floors in a 
bathrobe, shuffling in slippers, his cheekbones poking through his 
glossy skin. He came into the office this morning lugging one of the 
house-cats. He hovered, sniffling, said matter-of-factly, "I'm going 
to read your fortune." 

"With what will you read my fortune, tea leaves?" I asked. 

"I'm going to intuit your future, smart-ass. Come sit with me." We 
went down the hall to the landing and sat cross-legged on a paper- 
thin Persian rug. He took my hands, inspected them, "You'll miss 
me when I'm gone," he said. I would. Esteban cleared his throat: 

My Fortune —> a conclusion is the place where you tire of thinking. Be 
wary of conclusions. There are conclusions to be overcome before a good future 
becomes available to you. That being said, you do in fact overcome a variety of 
overbearing conclusions. A professor is one who talks in someone else's sleep. In 
matters concerning the heart, do not be professorial. After all is said and done, 
usually more is said than done. In matters concerning the heart, I am happy to 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 94 

say, more will be done than said. This is very fortunate for you. I apologise, you 
look lost. But I must continue. This is the style of the prognostication. You will 
appreciate the momentum later. When all is said and done, you'll have 
something that you can hold, read and re-read. Moving on... 

Regarding the scarcity of truth, the supply has always exceeded the demand. In 
your life, there are a handful of souls from whom truth will be provided in 
abundance. You are a skeptic, and the notion that easy answers are at your 
mercy is unintelligible. This will not always be so, but you mustn't proceed with 
the hope that your life will be a long one. There are things that you must 
accomplish, sooner rather than later. You will find that the things that you 
accomplish may not be of benefit to yourself. You will understand that this is 
beside the point. I know that you have concluded that belief is thought at rest. 
And you may not be incorrect. There will come a time in the not too distant 
future when, in spite of this conclusion, you must accept the belief that others 
have invested in you. You are about to achieve something that stands to benefit 
others and potentially crush you. Choice will not factor into this equation. The 
rubble of dreams is the birthplace of character. You are a man of few 
dreams. . . and although it is rare that I say so, I find this unsettling. But for 
this very same reason, perhaps you are closer to character than I. You still 
entertain the idea of dreams — dreams as yet unfulfilled, although you have 
trouble assigning these dreams names and faces. Many find comfort in the notion 
that dreams will be fulfilled; you will need no such comforts — -your successes will 
not hinge on dreams. 

Your demeanor betrays much, especially your heart. If your heart were a 
seafaring vessel, I would not want to be a deckhand or a passenger. Your heart 
is without a captain; it dives with abandon in and out of large swells — that it 
has not already capsized is a miracle. 

Nothing of enduring value is cheap. You have learned this. Your heart knows 
this. In the past, your heart has been caught in a tangle of details — a tangle of 
details awaits you in the future; but in the future you will be able to unmask 
details and reveal them for the frauds that they truly are. Remember, there are 
details and there is intuition — do not let intuition be the handmaiden to detail. 
I remember a funny fortune I once received, you know, in a fortune cookie: 
"Don 't let the light of your life be the light in the refrigerator. " This applies to 
you. You are at risk here. They say solitude is the birthplace of genius, but 
isolation is the parent of madness. I can see you have a predisposition to 
isolation. And here I am beginning to see how you accomplish what you do, but 
also the sacrifices you make along the way. There will come a time when you 
must choose isolation or. . . companionship. And here is where I impose limits 
on what I do. I know in what direction you will tend but I don 't believe it is my 



95 • TomFahy 

job to present you with likelihoods. You will go jour own way, whether prodded 
or not. But I am also not dispassionate about what I perceive injou. I am both 
gladdened and saddened. I cannot make pronouncements about 
predetermination. I would never do such a thing. But I will tell you that there is 
a great deal more choice in some lives than in others. That choice is available to 
a person does not necessarily make his or her life simpler. Choice will not make 
your life simpler. You have the capacity to sacrifice your heart for a cause, or to 
make your heart your cause. This is not the type of fortune I relish. People 
always leave angry. You may do the same. People have great expectations about 
their fortunes, and this is why I am a poet — I could only make money by telling 
lies. 

One last thing — they say there are no constants. You know as well as I that 
this isn't true. Whether or not you are crushed by your achievements will matter 
little: no man that has known true love is crushed in vain. That sounds terrible 
doesn't it? It's not. 

x 010900MD 

'You want to know why I came back to haunt you? Because I choked on 
symbolism and I'm pissed!" 

— Allayne Ashby 

Dear George, 

Cipher: Louisville 

Subject: Baldr-Faced Lies 

Baldrist symbolism is at once imperiled by two seemingly unlike 
forces: sacrosanct unintelligibility, where symbols, by virtue of the 
rites that attend them, are thereby elevated above and well beyond an 
accessible vernacular rubric, and secondly, by a failure to engage 
symbols with a view to convoking their parts, one by one, lest meaning 
is lost to impartial apperception. Failure to accede to symbols, 
whether of an implicit or explicit nature, is to divest that construct 
of which they form a part, or in which they are embedded, of an 
erstwhile heady or instructive meaning. Meaning, which is to say, the 
intention of the construct to which, in myriad instances, symbols 
allude, is in many respects at the mercy of attention; attention, as 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 96 

committed by the senses, being an imperfect thing. And likewise, 
attention, too, is at the mercy of dozens of factors present during 
the act wherewith which a const ruct-image, idea or theory-is 
perceived. What is at stake, then, by the very fallibility of everyday 
perception, is an unqualified understanding of the intention/s encoded 
in signs and symbols. 

Signif iers/symbols in works of art are frequently misunderstood, or 
very often overlooked. This is not expressly due to signification that 
is overtly sacrosanct, or intentionally obscure-as features obfuscated 
by smoke-but rather as the untrained eye is unaccustomed to sorting 
the silver from the silt, or vice-versa. The effect, then, of 
misapprehending signifiers, or mistaking them for ornamentation, is a 
most erroneous understanding of the work that they were employed to 
assist. A signifier that is awarded the appellation, ornament, has 
been lost on one, as it is in the nature of signifiers to vindicate 
the work to which they belong. Understanding requires that one not 
merely look, but interrogate a work; to acknowledge the validity of 
that work not solely on the basis of its technical merits, for 
instance, but on its respective parts in the service of which 
technique is subordinate. 

Signs (signif iers)/symbols are indisputably essential to a thorough 
understanding of a given construct, be it image, idea, or theory. For 
the sake of meaning, apperception must be cultivated, that meaning 
does not evaporate in its absence. It is clearly one thing to look, 
and another to see. And seeing requires at least as much patience (if 
not more), as the work-the cause of one's perception-demanded of the 
hand and mind that conceived it. 

-Russell 

x OllOOOMD 

Gate-Crasher 

I love the train, the motion, 

Not the break-neck speed, 

But the gentle slaloms, 

The womanly rocking of the heavy car on the slick rails. 

A mauve-colored girl boarded at Rhode Island Blvd. 

I watched her, made her nervous; 



97 • Tom Fahy 

Watched her until she squirmed in her seat; 

Watched her pouty lips and narrow chalk- white teeth, 

The patina of her eyes, 

The unwrinkled brow, 

The taught skin with a ruby cast. 

I thought to myself: I know you. 

And some long-outmoded sense, 

Some rusty antenna behind her forehead, 

Still crackles with imperfect reception, 

But crackles still, 

And is the sometime source of sudden feelings. 

She has heard me. 

My little whispers crash 

and collapse the little, rusty antenna, 
And she winces. 
The dead, solid rocking car, 
Bumps along on the imperfections in the tracks. 
The mauve-colored girl looks me squarely in the face, 
Does not flinch. 
The collapsed antenna 
Presses against the skin of her forehead. 
She leaves the car at Gallery Place. 
I do not watch her walk away. 
I think to myself: I / 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 98 

x 011100MD 

"I knew something extraordinary was at work in the world. It was present in 
everything, but I wasn 't sure if it was a good and just thing. I knew it had the 
power to take what was desired and to give what was unwanted. " 

—David Duff 

Aria Code 

The phone rang. 
I answered it. 

A voice said, "7:00 PM Eastern Standard Time. 
Thank you and enjoy the rest of your day." 
I heard a click. 
I hung up. 
InK was on his way. 

x 011300MD 

A Man and His Dog 

The man from the attic, his lips leukemia red, eyebrows dark, his 
eyes ice-blue, he lives with a dog. The dog does not like my cat. The 
man was a surveyor for the National Parks Commission. He makes 
dinner and breakfast for himself, but eats lunch out of a diner six 
and a half blocks from Button House. With the dog he walks this 
distance. The dog is welcomed where the man is welcomed. In the 
evenings, when the Sun is down and there is a bite in the air, the 
man and the dog go for long walks into the country, down the 
abandoned rails, over the aqueduct and into the woods. Sometimes 
they don't return to Orchard Park until early in the morning. They 
sleep until noon, sit in Nigel Park, watch the pedestrians file by. The 
older residents of Orchard Park remember the man as a boy, sitting 
in the same park with another dog, a husky. He and the husky had 
been inseparable. The dog followed the boy to school, paced until 
the release bell had rung and met him as he came out of the 
building with his classmates. They walked together down the windy 
streets of Orchard Park, past the convenience stores, the row 
houses, the mills, into the empty lots of scrub and crab grass and 



99 • Tom Fahy 

down the overgrown railroad tracks to the house on the outskirts of 
town. There in the shadow cast by Button House they collapsed, 
arms wrapped around one another. Now the boy, grown into a 
man, sits with another dog. He strokes the dog's head, back and 
ears. His parents died long ago. His sister is married and lives far 
away. The man is alone with the dog. 

x 011400MD 

Third Floor Couple 

Esteban and Valeria do not resemble a typical screwball couple. 
Yes, they are zany — each a singularity — but they are also rejects. 
Esteban is pathologically eccentric and Valeria is deaf. Together, 
they assume roles that sagely mimic certain facets of traditional 
screwball heroes, but not to the extent that those adopted roles 
deflect the personas that they espouse in turn-of-the-century 
Orchard Park. Their message is unique, and the odder for its partial 
reliance on the screwball genre for inspiration. 

x 011600MD 

InK ("The Mirage"): 1520 

When InK left the Cubbyhole, he left alone. Walking at a quick 
clip past the Portrait Gallery, he felt very much the part of the 
hanged man. He thought about the boy with the rash and wondered 
if George had known him, been friends with him. InK imagined 
that the dead boy must have been an easy target. InK knew about 
easy targets because he had been one — once. In many senses, he was 
still an easy target. George, however, had turned out differendy. He 
had turned out like Ginny 20 , his mother. So George was not an easy 
target. He had a big frame, broad shoulders and a formidable 
thickness, even at twelve years of age. He was gregarious and 
popular with his fellow students. InK decided that George didn't 
know the boy with the rash. George may have been one of the boys 
that had tried to drown him. 



20 "We Could Be Good, Ginny," from the album, Gone South, 2008, Stag 
Records 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 100 

InK and Ginny married a year out of the Naval Academy. On 
their wedding night they made George, InK was certain, but until 
Ginny was, they continued to have sex. When it became 
unquestionable that she was pregnant, Ginny made up the guest 
bedroom, removed her toiletries to the same, and quite literally shut 
InK out of her life. To InK, the sudden change was inexplicable. 
He thought that she must either have had a short, or blown a fuse. 
When she filed for divorce after a month of marriage, and on 
paper-thin grounds, InK decided that perhaps he had been 
conspired against. But he didn't once suggest this to anyone. He 
didn't suggest it to his counsel. He didn't suggest it to his uncle. 
InK never suggested it, period. He could have. In fact, for his 
unborn son's sake, he might better have. Had he been honest with 
himself, perhaps even fought his wife's unfounded allegations, he 
might have saved a little face later on with the son that would bear 
his ex wife's father's name. But as it happened, George was 
instructed from a very early age never to take the man named InK 
too seriously. And he didn't, which was ironic, because elsewhere in 
the world, if you didn't take the man named InK seriously, you 
died. 

InK was still scuffing along, passing anonymous buildings, when a 
name popped into his head. The name was Charlene, a.ka., Charley. 
Charley, he remembered, was a dancer — a dancer and sometime 
escort — better at the latter. Somewhere in his wallet, if he dug 
around, he'd find a pink card with her number on it. On weeknights 
she danced at '1520,' which was a couple blocks away. He could go, 
have a few drinks, watch the dancers and still be home in time to 
get three solid hours of sleep. He turned the scuff into a jog, 
concentrating on his breathing and tried to recall Charley's face. He 
could see her hair. It was shoulder-length and strawberry blonde. 
She had shoulders that extended from a sinewy neck, long arms, a 
narrow waist, a hard stomach, and slender thighs. He could even 
recall the arches of her feet, but no face. She had the face that was 
no-face, InK thought. It was perfect. He was the man that was no- 
man. The INSCOM scum called him 'The Mirage.' 

Inside, 1520 was dark, with thick rugs that muffled your footsteps. 
Along one wall was a bar and along the opposite wall were two half- 
moon-shaped stages. One stage was empty and dark. On the other 
stood a dancer the color of starch. When InK ordered his first beer 



101 • Tom Fahy 

she was removing her underwear. "Is Charlene working?" InK 
asked the bartender, a girl-child with a hair-lip. 

"She'll be out," said the girl-child. 

InK walked to a table by the darkened stage, passing two old men, 
one of whom was asleep. At the bar sat two more, middle-aged and 
fat. One had a drooping mustache and the other a beard that hung 
down to his potbelly. Leaning back in his chair, InK closed his eyes 
and tried to summon Charlene's no-face. 

InK woke with a start to the unwelcome sound of clapping and cat- 
calls. The starch-colored dancer descended the pair of steps 
attached to the stage. She had replaced her paper-thin underwear, 
her halter top, and her nothing-shorts and was shaking hands with 
the men in the audience. They were stuffing dollar bills under an 
elastic garter on her thigh. A moment later Shannon's "Let the 
Music Play," was replaced with Love and Rocket's "So Alive," 
Charlene's signature song. The stage was still empty but InK knew 
this was a good sign. Charlene always made her entrance on the last 
line of the first stanza: Andjou don't come from this town. . . 

011700MD 

Esteban - Conquests, I 

There is nothing like a straightforward woman. Mia cut to the 
chase. Not only did she have brains, but she was economical, too. 
She didn't waste her breath. She knew what she wanted and she 
usually got it. Tonight, she wanted sex. Tonight, she would get it. 
Mia had sex appeal. She knew it and took advantage of it. She also 
appreciated the fact that I recognized this quality in her. Any day, 
she would trade her brains for more sex appeal. The brains, she 
explained, got in the way of everything. As a consequence of her 
intelligence, she thought too much. Frankly, she would prefer sex to 
thoughts. I never asked her what constituted her thoughts, and I 
never had to. After sex, she would invariably tell me. She never 
stopped thinking, she said. Only when she was having sex could she 
stop thinking, put the thoughts on pause. "What a horrible thing," I 
would always say. I thought she needed commiseration. "Don't pity 
me," she'd say. "People are starving. People are dying of cancer. 
Don't pity me." So I'd stop pitying her. 

I picked Mia up at 7:30. 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 102 

"You're late," she said as soon as she opened the door. I smiled 
and led her to the car. When I got in and buckled my seatbelt Mia 
tossed her hair and I heard the famous words: "I wasn't ready 
anyway." 

"So, what'll it be, Dim-Sum, McDonald's, KFC?" 

"Deccan's. I want stuffed zucchini blossoms." 

"Deccan's it is, then." 

"I hate this city," she said, mooning out the window. 

"I can't blame you. We could stay in, eat Chinese." 

"You know what I want?" she asked. 

I knew what she wanted. It was the same every time. She wanted 
to think a little less and fuck a litde more. Deccan's was quaint. 
"Mia," I said, "This is quaint, isn't it?" 

"Quaint? Is that really the word you want to use?" 

She was right. It wasn't the word I wanted to use, but I couldn't 
use that word, not out loud. 

"You're uptight," she informed me. "You know what you need?" 
And I did. I knew what I needed. But it's not what you're thinking. 
At that moment, I didn't need sex. At that moment, after dinner, 
before dessert, I needed a new address. I needed to get out of the 
city. I wanted to retreat, go south, and find a new home, a cool 
spring, something. Or north — maybe back to Pittsburgh. "You 
need to relax. Loosen up a litde." 

"Later, Mia, I'll show you." 

"You will, willyou?" she said. 

And I did. I showed her, and it lasted nearly two hours. Mia was 
the offspring of fish purveyors in Maine — The Charles Livingston 
Trading Co. She had one brother, Marty. He fought in The Third 
World War and died. 

"Isn't Livingston English?" I asked her knee, which was closest. 
Had her belly button been nearby, I would have asked her belly 
button. "I thought everyone was French in Maine," I said, waiting 
for her knee to respond. I found the quiet that had ensued after our 
love-making disturbing, not because I find the absence of sound 
disturbing, but because Mia rarely stopped talking. Then, out of 
nowhere: 

"I'm pregnant." 

"Are you," I said. "That doesn't happen every day." I felt cold. 
Sweat was beginning to freeze under my arms and behind my 



103 • Tom Fahy 

knees — strange places for frozen sweat. "What, no 
congratulations?" she asked. 

"I can offer my condolences," I said. 

"That's very encouraging. It's not yours," she said. The frozen 
sweat behind my knees began to thaw. 

"You want a drink?" I asked, sitting up, "Coffee?" 

x 011800MD 

Esteban - Conquests, II 

Nellie called early — too early, and it was Saturday. 
"Something's bugging me," she said. "Something is bugging me 
and I want you to know about it." 
I rubbed my eyes, said, "Nellie, dear. I don't need to know at 5:00 

AM " 

But apparendy I did, because she carried on, her voice snail-like, 
leaving an icky trail behind. It was about Herman, her latest 
boyfriend. He wanted Nellie to marry him. I congratulated her: 
"Congratulations, Nell — " 

But it wasn't congratulations she was after. "Don't congratulate 
me, Masaccio," she said. Nellie had been calling me Masaccio since 
our first date some three or four odd years ago. "Masaccio, are you 
there?" I was. "Well, don't congratulate me. I said no, Masaccio. I 
don't love him." 

"That never stopped anyone," I told her. "You'll learn to love 
him. You're getting old, Nell." She was thirty. 

There was a brief pause, and then she began to cry. I didn't know 
how to console her. I had learned that there was no way to console 
Nell when she went on a crying jag. She was inconsolable. "Now, 
now, Nell, it isn't all that bad. What do you want?" 

"I don't know, Masaccio. I don't know." I couldn't blame her. No 
one knew what he or she wanted, and those that said they did were 
lying to themselves. There was nothing I could say, so I invited 
Nellie to breakfast, and I was relieved when she said no. 

"No, Masaccio. No. Thanks, but I can't eat breakfast with you. 
You eat too much. It'd make me awful sick." 

"Suit yourself, Nell. Talk to you later then." She was still sniffling 
into the mouthpiece when I hung up. 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 104 

A moment later, the phone rang. I picked up the receiver and 
listened. "Okay, I'll go to breakfast. Where?" 

I met Nellie at the Nigel Park Diner. I chose the Nigel because 
they had good eggs and started serving early. "You aren't going to 
eat a lot, are you Masaccio?" 

"You know I'm Cuban, right?" I said, "That's Italian — " 

"Because if you are, Masaccio, I think I'll throw up," she said. 

'You didn't answer my question. Why do you call me Masaccio?" 

Talking to her menu, "What should I order, a croissant or a 
bagel?" 

"The bagel will kill you," I said. "Order some protein. Have the 
steak and eggs. You look thin." 

"If I look like shit, then—" 

"You woke me up at 5:00 AM , Nell." 

"I know what I'm going to have, how about you?" 

"Yes, I knew before we got here," I said. She was still talking to 
her menu. "I'm over here, Nellie." 

"Why did Hermes ask me to marry him, why?" 

She had begun to call Herman 'Hermes.' I felt better. I wouldn't 
ask her why. It seemed she needed to give men nicknames. They 
meant nothing, obviously. 

"You know why I call Herman 'Hermes?'" 

"What? No, I don't know why. You still haven't told me why you 
call me Masaccio, and you need to tell me why." 

"He's a mailman. Did I tell you that? Yep, he's a mailman — a civil 
servant. But he doesn't look like one. He looks more like a cross 
between an admiral and a cur — shaved head, all that." 

'You need your head checked, Nell. You could marry anybody. 
Just say no. You need to say no to Hermes. He doesn't sound 
pretty," I said. 

I 

The Proposal 

Hermes proposed. 

She accepted. 

It came to naught, ended badly. 

She went home, 

Slept in her old bed. 



105 • Tom Fahy 

She taught. 

This filled her days. 

She glided from the classroom to the bar, 

And from the bar to a stranger's car. 

She met a chemist with a good salary. 

This would be her last relationship. 

All of her works were good works. 

When she prayed, God listened. 

She took late-night walks 

While Orchard Park slept. 

She dressed in the dark, 

Wandered the snowy streets, 

Past the Nigel Park Diner, 

Past Buster's Record Shop, 

To a trampled path to Belle Grove — 

A wraith stepping through the cored-out night — 

She stood on the docks, 

And whipped by the wind, 

Leapt from jagged rock to jagged rock, 

Chips of ice in her hair. 

She was seen crouching on a levy at Broening Park. 

She waited for the black sky to crack, 

For daylight to sift through. 

Her eyes grew wind-seared, 

Her face ashen, 

Hooded and engraved by winter's chisels. 

Night surrendered to day; 

Wan light leapt from crest to crest, 

Settled on her face 

And in the crevices burrowed there by ice. 

The late-night walks ended. 
She stayed in bed. 

x 012000MD 

Esteban - Conquests, III 

I met Lucia in a bar on Light Street. She was an awful thing. I 
think she went home with me because I told her she had potential. I 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 106 

didn't know what I meant by that, but I prayed she thought I did. 
Anyway, we walked home together, potholed street after potholed 
street, ducking beneath underpasses, and climbing the three flights 
to my apartment. I took her coat and as she followed me into the 
living room, she kicked off her shoes, wiggled out of her tube-dress, 
nose-dived into the sofa, passed out. I decided to sit opposite her in 
my desk chair in order to watch her. But I fell asleep. When I woke, 
it was to the sound of frying eggs. Lucia was in the kitchen, dancing 
to General Public's "Tenderness," singing into the handle of a 
spatula. She was wearing my winter jacket with the fur collar and a 
pair of wooden clogs that Mia had forgotten. Last I knew, the clogs 
were behind the hallway register, so I found it strange that Lucia 
was wearing them. 

"Listen, I don't go home with guys usually," she called from the 
kitchen, shouting over the radio. 

"I don't either," I said, rubbing my eyes. 

"This is a rat-hole," she said. 

"Thanks." I went into the bathroom in order to squirt some 
toothpaste into my mouth, but when I reached for the tube, it 
wasn't in its usual place. 

"Lookin' for the toothpaste? It's in the kitchen. I used it earlier." 
Lucia was standing in the bathroom doorway. Looking into the 
mirror I could see her eyes and forehead over my shoulder. She 
arched an eyebrow and asked if I was hungry. I told her I wasn't but 
that I'd watch her eat. 

"You're too thin. You need to eat," she said, walking toward the 
kitchen. 

"I don't like food. I can't taste it," I lied. 

'You can't taste food? You'll be able to taste my eggs!" I looked 
at the pile of charred scrambled eggs on the table. "The toast's 
almost done." Across the room there was a plume of black smoke 
coming from the toaster. "Light or medium?" she asked, bending 
over to wipe up some spilled egg. 

"What?" 

"Like your toast light or medium? I like mine dark, real dark, 
almost burnt. Anyway, why'd you ask me to come over last night? 
Sorry I passed out. I was real tired. I work something like sixty 
hours a week. Saturday's my night off. We could go out tonight." 

"Possibly," I said. 



107 • Tom Fahy 



"Well I think we should. Do you really read all of these books?" 
Then she started to sing the last stanza of "True." 



I bought a ticket to the world 

But now I've come back again 

Why do I find it hard to write the next line? 

When I want the truth to be said. . . 

"Okay, I'll have some eggs." 

"What?" 

"The eggs — I'll have eggsT I shouted over the sound of Cookie 
Anderson, the morning DJ. 

"Like I said, I don't go home with guys, really. You just were 
somehow okay, and I was dead tired, and if I said no, it would've 
meant riding the train all the way back to Plum Creek. So I'm not 
like a do-anything kind of girl, I'm nice and paint and everything 
and work sixty hours a week." 

"Could you pass me the catsup?" 

"What do you usually do on Saturdays?" 

"On Saturdays, not much of anything, but if it's sunny I'll watch 
the planes land at BWI. We could do that if you want, unless you're 
working, like you said, sixty hours a week." 

"Not today. Harry's wife is having some kind of tumor scraped 
from the back of her kneecap — " 

"Harry?" 

"My boss," she said, scraping the last of her egg from the plate 
with a fork. 

"And you do what exacdy?" I asked her, pushing my eggs around 
the plate. 

"Secretary stuff mosdy. You really can't taste anything?" 

"Are you done?" I asked her, taking the dirty dishes to the sink. If 
you're staying I have shorts that'll fit you. You're going to have to 
wear the clogs though. I don't have anything else, and you can't 
wear those heels from last night." 

"I'm staying. I'll wear them, sure, no problem. Thanks for 
breakfast." 

'You made it," I answered and went into the bathroom to wet my 
hair and shave. 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 108 

x 012100MD 
The Cow 

My body had been cast in lead. 
I lay in a rock-hard casement, a sepulcher. 
I did not breathe, or feel. 
My heart did not beat. 
My body was immobilized, 
My hands glued to my thighs, my chest rigid. 
I imagined something turning in my cells, 
Rolling over, rotating, like the needle of a compass. 
I tried to subtract my consciousness from my body. 
A lug-heavy weight pressed against my naked will. 
A shape began to ripple in the murk. 
A semblance of understanding began to gurgle and spit, 
Bubble and foam. 

A horn pierced the shapeless hardness. 
It burrowed into the stubborn lead 
And was joined by another pointed horn. 
Wet smoldering eyes and a skull like a bludgeon, 
Shoulders as wide as a mountain, 
A spine with thick black rails 

On which rumbled an iron horse bulging with steam — 
An impulse freewheeling upward from the milk- fat loins 
Dangling from bloody chains: 
It was a Com — 

A steer with flared nostrils and crystals for teeth; 
The meat that I ate. 
It rose from the ashes in my intestines, 
Left a musky dew in my armpits and saliva in my eyes — 
The cow. 



109 • Tom Fahy 

x 012200MD 

Esteban - Conquests, III, Cont'd. 

"I've never been in a plane." 

"What do you mean? Everyone's been in a plane." 

"Not me," Lucia said, ducking as a 747 roared overhead, "But I 
had a dream about flying once. My aunt was there, and my step- 
brother Richard, but everyone calls him Dick. Dick had a cold in 
the dream and was blowing his nose. I remember that. I don't think 
the plane ever left the ground." 

"No?" I asked. 

"No. I remember a rumbling sound and the stewardess 
demonstrating how to wear an oxygen mask, and another 
stewardess making sure everyone had their seatbelts hooked, but 
I've seen all of that stuff on TV. I'd like to fly though. Dick flies all 
the time." 

"Richard?" 

"Right, step-brother, yep, but not me, not yet, so if you want to, 
and I don't know if you want to, we could go out tonight and you could 
meet my friend Charley when she gets off. She's a dancer at 1520. 
Says she's met somebody. We could all go out together." 

x 012300MD 

Outside, the streets dotted with happy-hour crowds and the 
gutters piled with slush, Duff jogged up the street to the 
Cubbyhole. Aubrey sat in the window twirling an olive on the end 
of a toothpick. He hovered in front of the window until she noticed 
him then stepped in from the cold, hanging his jacket, passing 
under a low partition festooned with plastic holly. Aubrey didn't 
look up when he sat. Instead she surveyed the thick patches of 
people standing at the bar and under oversized TVs. 

"You've eaten?" he asked. 

Turning to him, "You look surprised." 

"We were going to eat together." 

"We were, but that was how long ago?" Aubrey began to stand. 

"Don't go," he said, grabbing her wrist. 

"You're an hour late. You really expect me to wait for you?" 

"What's an hour, didn't you enjoy yourself?" 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 110 

"No, don't get up, I'm going." 

"But you waited this long." 

"I wanted the satisfaction of leaving you." 

Friend Lee Pickup, a sartorially-dressed administrator from the 
Woodlawn School for Boys, sallied over from the bar, swinging and 
spilling rum on his sleeves. "David Duff, you old fucker, imagine 
meeting you here. Who's this? Come lady, sit down, that's it, no, no, 
right there. Let me take your coat. Good!" He pushed Aubrey back 
into her chair. "No, don't get up, I'll get another chair." From a 
nearby table he stole one, dragged it over. "You're sure pretty, and 
jou," turning to me, "is as handsome as ever. How did you meet this 
guy?" he asked Aubrey, gripping her panty-hoed knee. She jumped 
and began to get up again, but Friend forced her back into the 
chair. "What's the hurry, for God's sake? You know the trouble a 
guy's got to go through to see this chap?" he asked his rum, 
referring to me. "Fuckin lot of trouble — a whole fuckin lot!" 

"I have to—" 

"Just call me Friend, honey. F-R-I-E-N-D, friend, and sit the fuck 
down, already. You'd think you were in some kind of hurry." 

"Duff!" she pleaded, "I am leaving' 

"No one's going anywhere," howled Pickup, "The party's just 
begun. Doll, you know who this man is? You don't, do you? Think 
he's just another cad? He ain't. You met his son, Brian Todd? 
Course you haven't." 

A waitress floated over and made the mistake of leaning over 
Friend's shoulder to take his empty glass. He grabbed her wrist, 
wringing it, and she let out a yelp. "Don't even think about it, 
honey. Does it look empty to you?" It was empty. "I'll tell you when 
it's empty," then he beamed into her face, revealing a perfect set of 
teeth, his mouth round and insatiable, like a porcelain sink. She 
pivoted away from him, nauseated. 

Aubrey's eyes, black and prone, were varnished with uneasiness. 
They were like big, turn of the century window panes with a host of 
bubbles and imperfections, subject to gravity, running down slowly, 
growing thin in the corners and at their zeniths, where ice formed, 
as on a polar ice cap. If Duff could help it, he'd concentrate on the 
bridge of her nose or on her mouth, but never on her eyes. 
Anything but the eyes. 

"Old man!" shouted Friend, slapping Duff on the shoulder. "The 
kid talks about you incessandy," he lied. Turning to Aubrey, "Good 



Ill • Tom Fahy 

little fucker, that micro-Duff! His mother comes around two or 
three times a week. Wouldn't believe the dirt she's got on this guy," 
pointing at Duff. "Calls him the Tyrannical-Ex, believe that?" Pickup 
let out a guffaw that shook the bar. Aubrey shot Duff a look that 
might have meant anything. Clearly she was antsy, but afraid to get 
up again. Suddenly he wanted to deliver her a swift kick under the 
table — a bruising kick. He didn't know why. He only knew that it 
would feel good. Duff wanted to see Aubrey cry. Pickup was a bad 
influence. 

"There was a nasty outbreak at Woodlawn this morning. One of 
the kids had a queer rash on his neck — wrapped all the way around, 
damn it! The teachers were scared. His name was James Grey. 
Before the nurses could get a hold of the prick, some of the boys 
dragged him into a stall, dunked the poor fucker's head into the 
John, near drowned him. He left the place on a stretcher. Talk about 
chaos! It was like the god damned Red Death. There was a line a 
hallway long to get to the sinks. I was washing my own hands six or 
seven times an hour. Imagine a kid bringing a disease into the place 
like that," Friend rubbed his eyes, "You've never seen anything like 
it!" 

Aubrey took advantage of the moment, sprung from her chair and 
melted into the crowd by the bar. Friend caught a whiff of her 
perfume as she swept by and leapt from his chair, whipping around 
in circles until he spotted her slinking through the cluster of people, 
her head bobbing like a buoy, tunneling for the back door. "My 
holy God, Duff, she's getting away!" But he didn't chase her. 
Instead he remained stock still where he stood, his eyes a little 
glazed, his hands balling into fists. "You know what the ring around 
the kid's collar was? I was packing up, ready for happy hour, and a 
counselor calls me. Know what she says?" 

Duff was staring into the cluster of people too, squinting after 
Aubrey's black shock of hair knitting its way to the door. "What'd 
she say?" 

"She says the litde prick tried to hang himself. Some fuckin rash, 
huh? Tonight he does himself with a bed sheet, strangles himself. 
A plague, man. He brought it into my school!" 

All of a sudden, as though from some deep sleep, David Duff was 
startled awake. He didn't know if it had been Pickup's story or if the 
Chinese Junk was corroding his veins, but he was awake — too 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 112 

awake, maybe. He felt like a hanged-man, waking in mid-fall, 
waking too late. "I'm sorry, Friend. I'm really sorry," he said weakly. 
"Me, too," Friend replied. He went back to the bar. 

x 012400MD 

The Marketable Sinners 

We, the crooked, 

We will have our day; 

When we are pressed and aged 

And drunk — 

The taste we leave in your mouths, 

Our illimitable legacy. 

We are the marketable sinners. 

x 012500MD 

The Beggarmen 

You were begging for a new voice 

To rent a hole in the wall in your yards; 

To overturn your plastic pools and grills; 

To wake you at dawn and rusde you from your torpor; 

To be some constant winter maid, 

Sweeping you from your life. 



113 • Tom Fahy 

x 012600MD 

"Ego sum lux. " 

—God 

Post -World War II Steganography: Roy Strand (1971- 
1970) 21 

Roy Strand's Ascension at Nansen (1947-1 949) 22 is a singular and 
exquisite example of steganography in art. It is the reflection of one 
man's obsession with detail, and the haunting truths that such an 
obsession may reveal, by virtue of the blood, sweat and tears that 
such an undertaking requires. It is a work that is the sum of 
innumerable details. That is, parts, valid in their own right, as well as 
when reviewed as though they were components in an assemblage, 
as indeed they are. 

The Ascension at Nansen is a pivotal event in the New Lunar 
Ideogora or 'Lunagora' and sometimes regarded as the piece de 
resistance of the amendment to the Old Lunar Ideogora, or 
'Eldergora' and one that has been reproduced by various artists in 
various mediums for half a century. But Strand's approach, with 
ghastly detail, supersaturated colors and pretensions to profundity, 
is unique. And it is not simply the detail that is admirable, but the 
obvious affection with which the detail was executed; the pure 
deliberation and mad intention. 

In order to tackle the Ascension at Nansen, it may be practical to 
survey the piece from the foreground, through the middle ground, 
and finally proceed beyond the central figural elements upwards 
from the floor of the nave and into loftier regions (i.e. the clerestory 
windows of The Temple of Nansen). The floor-space consists of an 
obscured and stylized depiction of the Zodiac. This is interesting in 
relation to several elements, both explicit and implicit in the 
Ascension at Nansen. The Zodiac would not only refer to the dates of 
the Ascension itself and the supposed date on which the resurrected 
Baldr would be delivered into the world of men. But it would 
additionally refer to the corporeal world in general — the world that 



21 Ajita, a Novella, 196 

22 Frank and Laura Le Croix Collection, Eggleston Manor, Belle Grove, MD 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 114 

may be perceived directly; the world on which man or angel may 
tread, or on which he would tread without regret. It is apt, then, 
that the depiction of the Zodiac should be manifest on the floor as 
well as in the immediate foreground of the image, as it would 
indirectly denote worldliness and would implicate the viewer in that 
worldliness as well. However, the floor is not expressly consumed 
by the Zodiac, for within the borders that it would create is a 
rudimentary depiction of the pursuit of Sol by Skoll. 

Atop the floor in the immediate foreground is a footstool. The 
footstool in Post- World War II steganographic artwork, as it does 
here, has been described as an intentional representation of one of 
Mani's declarations from on high to men on the Moon, or as a 
corporeal manifestation of the Ideogoras as filtered/channeled 
through said figure. More clearly, the footstool has been shown to 
represent the pseudo-corporeal presence of the 'Holy Spirit' (Read: 
Baldr) on the Moon ("Heaven is my throne, the Moon is my 
footstool."). The cushion of said stool is also of utmost interest. It 
is tangible, plush, blushing as though it were a feverish cheek. But 
what is interesting is Strand's intentional use of the fleur-de-lis 
pattern and herein it serves a double function. Firstly, it suggests the 
purity of Jarnsaxa, Mani's consort, as well as enables the viewer to 
follow a natural course from the foreground into the interior of the 
painting, where the stool meets a vase that holds seven belle di 
nottes {moon] lowers). But before we abandon the stool it is also of 
value to note the trefoil design with which the fleur-de-lis patterns 
are coupled. These were likely intentionally incorporated in an 
effort to suggest the idea of the Troika (Sol, Mani and Jarnsaxa) that 
is being consummated in the image to which they belong. 

Traditionally the belle di nottes are attributed to Jarnsaxa's 
unquestionable purity and the seven belle di nottes correspond 
effectively with the seven respective rays of light that are emitted 
from one of the clerestory windows above the north transept in 
The Temple of Nansen, which are understood as the manifestation 
of Mani's word on the Moon. But in the vase are an assemblage of 
seven opened and two tightly closed belle di notes, and the two as 
yet unopened belle di nottes remain a cause for speculation — they 
are ominous without being forbidding, perhaps by virtue of their 
direct association with the already unfurled belle di nottes. As belle 
di nottes bloom from a seemingly lifeless bulb it is valid to say that 
Strand's assemblage bear a compound meaning. That is, much as 



115 • Tom Fahy 

the moonflower blooms from the bulb, so will Baldr from death. It is 
appropriate, then, that the belle di notte represents the 
reincarnation. Finally, the vase, which is concealed by the footstool, 
much as Jarnsaxa is partly concealed by a voluminous gown, may 
also represent the womb that would bear the reincarnation of Baldr. 
From the vase of belle di nottes one's eyes shift to an opened 
illuminated manuscript, with small and devilishly intricate designs 
heading passages. In the binding has been stowed what is 
presumably a gilded or burnished bookmark with a cluster-of-pearls 
cap. The pearls are of particular note in relation to the passage from 
the New Lunar Ideogora which reads: 

There formed from that urn, 

As pearls from an oyster, 

A flurry of stars. 

A cry of anguish, 

And Baldr was quickly born, 

Reincarnate, 

Brother of Vdli. 

The Kingdom of Heaven, according to Strand, is at hand at the 
time of the Ascension at Nansen. Jarnsaxa is placed before the 
manuscript in her customary blue (purity, sanctity) bodice and 
cloak. Her largesse emphasizes her significance and presence. And 
in comparison to Sigrun, her be-winged visitor, Jarnsaxa's dress is 
austere, with a simple waistband. Her gestures — hands upheld in a 
demure sign of resignation, head pitched down and to the right 
slighdy, as though suddenly it were difficult for her to 
support — complement the gestures of the valkyrie attendee, whom 
has imparted to her virginal charge the momentous event that is 
about to occur — an Immaculate Conception. Sigrun, who holds a 
short, crystal scepter — which together with the crown atop her 
head symbolizes God (Read: Mani, or Odin by proxy)-ordained 
authority — gestures upwards with her right hand at the seven 
respective beams of light. What is of supreme importance in 
relation to the beams, the central of which is accompanied by a disk 23 
that descends — trajectory-like — toward Jarnsaxa's head, is the fact 
that there are, indeed, seven beams, each of which, when perceived 



1 Referred to as the "Chapel Bell" in the New Lunar Ideogora 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 116 

head-on as a particle would describe a tetrahedron — one point for 
every face and vertex; a composite of Platonic solids. 

Unlike Jarnsaxa, Sigriin has been depicted in luscious reds (symbol 
of royalty). On her breast rests a giant blue jewel, and along the 
fringe of her cloak ride several more which cascade downward 
towards the patterns inherent in the floor, and especially consistent 
with the quadratic borders composed of the Zodiac and various 
trefoil-shaped leaves. Also of supreme interest are Sigrun's wings 
that share attributes of two inherently different things: rainbows 
and peacocks. The rainbow serves as a symbol of Mani's 
faithfulness, and as a seal of his supposed fidelity to the Moon. The 
rainbow figures heavily into the Lunar Ideogora in relation to the 
Ideogoric Deluge or Ragnarok. The wings also resemble a peacock's 
frill. In Lunar Ideogoric symbolism it is generally agreed that the 
peacock signifies immortality. 

The architecture of Strand's Ascension at Nansen abounds with 
symbolism as well. There is virtually nothing that does not operate 
as symbol, signifier or semagram. Those architectural elements that 
are visible in the work occur in clusters of three or four: Columns 
are organized in clusters of three or four, windows are organized in 
clusters of three and four and even roof beams are organized after a 
similar fashion. It is significant that some items occur in groups of 
four, as this is a technique whereby Strand was able to allude to the 
four volvas (Heidi, Groa, Thorbjorg and Huld), or to the elemental 
properties of the corporeal world — earth, air, fire, and water, while 
he utilized assemblages of threes to denote the Troika. Behind the 
Jarnsaxa are three windows, the second of which functions as an 
aureole about the Jarnsaxa's head. Taken together, the three 
windows are a clever analog for the Troika and the intrinsic light 
that the mystic wedding possesses. 

On a level with the clerestory windows is another window. This 
one is stained-glass and represents the one God of the Old Lunar 
Ideogora, Mundilfari. In his hands he bears a tablet which reads, 
Ego sum lux or "I am the light." Beside him, as though Strand had 
intended them to resemble frescoes, are, presumably, the images of 
the four volvas — two with haloes and two without. 

But the architectural detail with which I am most intrigued is the 
single doorway aloft the nave, recessed beyond a narrow hall and 
obstructed by a single column. This solitary doorway may be 
perceived to represent several things. It may be understood as a 



117 • Tom Fahy 

symbol of Baldr: "Therefore," Baldr said again, "I tell you the truth. 
I am as a portal to creeping stars" (Groa 13:3). It may also be 
perceived as an invitation to prayer and interconnectedness with 
Baldr. 

Strand's Ascension at Nansen is a hotbed of symbols, signifiers and 
semagrams. Its meanings are many, its richness bona fide. It is 
maddeningly complex and may only truly be appreciated when 
perceived with a view to decoding the countless parts of which it is 
composed. Herein I have sought to decode a few of its many 
'parts,' but have no pretensions to understanding the whole. Even 
after having spent several hours with the painting, I feel helpless. I 
am ashamed to say that I have looked, lingered, squinted and 
plundered the painting for meaning, but I remain dumbfounded, as 
it is not merely a stylized portrayal of an event, but also a reflection 
of the mindset of a man that possessed genius, it remains at once an 
infuriating and quixotic work. If ever there was a painting that 
might drive a man mad, this is it. 

x 020100MD 

Post-World War II Steganography, Cont'd: Roy 

Strand (1971-1970) 

Looking and seeing are both valid acts of perception. Looking 
denotes perception on a temporal level, with an aim at cerebral 
cognizance. Our everyday perception is one determined by looking. 
As we look, objects appear to us as we expect them to. In another 
sense, objects fulfill our expectations of them, as we regard their 
appearance in reference to our past experiences. Motion is an action 
that relies in part upon looking, but not exclusively. Personal 
navigation can be achieved in absence of natural sight with the 
assistance of one or more of the other senses. In such a case where 
the eyes cease to perform their ordinary occupation, the senses of 
hearing, taste, touch, and smell become the primary means of 
looking. 

Seeing, on the other hand, is another matter. When we are actively 
engaged in the act of seeing, we are not necessarily 'looking' any 
longer. Where looking takes place on a formidable, temporal level, 
seeing takes place on an atemporal one, occurring at a remove from 
the traditional mode of perception. Looking denotes a physical 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 118 

form of perception. In contrast, seeing denotes spiritual vision, 
epiphany, or deep understanding. In other words, seeing is not a 
method of perception which obeys natural laws, or is executed by 
the eyes alone. 

Again, looking is assisted in part by the memory, which aids with 
the contextualization of the light that is refracted on the retina. The 
memory acts as a conductor, assembling a combination of abstract 
images into a coherent whole. Thus, those images are rationalized 
and reorganized into understandable pictures. Looking, then, is a 
process. Unlike looking, seeing does not rely upon a given process. 
Rather, it is prompted, affected by the minutiae indiscernible 
through the act of looking. Seeing succeeds where looking fails. 
Where looking is premeditated, seeing is inspired, and occurs 
spontaneously. This is not to imply that the act of seeing is superior 
to the act of looking, as looking and seeing clearly function to 
accomplish different tasks. 

The processes, looking and seeing, were a major preoccupation of 
artists of the Post- World War II Steganographic Scene in the US. In 
many instances, the struggle between the two acts of perception was 
evident in the artist's work (i.e., Roy Strand, Adolfo Suarez). Many 
artists strove to achieve a clear division between that form of sight 
afforded one through the manipulation of materials, and that sight 
afforded one through the act of spontaneous vision. The artist for 
whom these issues were a concern operated as an intermediary 
between the realms — the spiritual and the temporal, the encrypted 
and the plain. The battle waged by that artist who sought to cause 
his audience to surpass themselves, and consequently 'see,' was not 
fought in vain. 

One such artist, who mastered the artistic depiction of the 
perceptions, looking and seeing, was Roy Strand, credited with the 
invention of Steganographic Painting. From his works, it can be 
deduced that Strand was a skilled craftsmen, one who was aware of 
the allusions to the acts of looking and seeing that he could make 
through the manipulation of his materials. He was a master of 
atmospheric perspective, a practice wherewith objects in a painting 
are obscured, as though in a haze, in order to affect a sense of 
depth. Similarly, linear perspective, which signals a diminution in 
the scale of objects as they recede into the distance, was used 
equally as well by the former Ajitan. 



119 • Tom Fahy 

Strand's Chapel Belfi 4 (1956), uses subtle changes of light and 
color — tools of atmospheric perspective — in order to actualize a 
feeling of vastness. Those subtle changes impart to the painting a 
delicate luminosity and an overall softness that impels its audience 
to look closely, becoming moved by the transformative power that 
Strand's Chapel Bell evinces. It is clear that Strand accomplished his 
painterly feats with an unearthly refinement of the oil medium. 
Moreover, his painstaking attention to detail acts as the catalyst for 
the act of seeing. 

Strand employed many devices which operate as liaisons between 
physical (encrypted) and spiritual (decrypted) sight. One such 
device, in addition to those mentioned above, is his use of color in 
the depiction of worldly and spiritual figures. In The Temples of 
Nansen (1963), Strand's use of color was instrumental in the full 
realization of the subject matter. For instance, on the work's outer 
surface, the figures performing the Ascension at Nansen are executed 
in grisaille, a saintly, sculptural gray, whereas the donors, depicted in 
niches below, are colored with flesh tones, causing the division 
between the spiritual and temporal, encrypted and decrypted, 
worlds to become explicit. 

Strand's paintings are psychological puzzles. His subjects are 
depicted with microscopic precision and with an almost obsessive 
objectivity. But things are not always as they seem. His works 
require intense scrutiny, and only then does the detail betray the 
ecstatic vision which is sewn into the painting's faces with 
gossamer- thin intention. 

Seeing is not an altogether rational experience. Sometimes it 
happens only after we close our eyes, as the impressions left by 
looking vanish. And sometimes, seeing happens in the process of 
looking. This form of perception characterized by simultaneity of 
looking and seeing, is a singular experience — the instances whereby 
which this unique perception is invoked are few. In the late fifties, 
Strand began to impart to his works a dream-like quality. In his 
Dunstan Fields 23 (1959), irrational imagery compounded with 
puzzling allusions to sanctity and sardony, the spiritual and the 
temporal, combine to invoke simultaneity of perception. 



24 Frank and Laura Le Croix Collection, Eggleston Manor, Belle Grove, MD 

25 Frank and Laura Le Croix Collection, Eggleston Manor, Belle Grove, MD 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 120 

'Looking' at Dunstan Fields, the subject matter is unclear. It is a pall 
of dazzling, otherworldly creatures engaged in love-making and 
dancing, conversation and speculation. It is a mountain of 
overlapping images and messages, terrifying in their implications. It 
is uncertain whether this was Strand's intention, but his painting has 
the effect of a strong narcotic which removes one from his or her 
traditional mode of perception, replacing it with a more exotic form 
of perception, one that we have already called 'seeing.' 

When 'seen,' Strand's painting is reduced from its former 
ambiguity into a coherent aggregate; it assumes participatory 
elegance. Seeing, we tend to form a hitherto unwarranted 
identification with the cavorting figures in the field. We no longer 
condemn them, as we are more like them than we wanted to 
acknowledge, bounded as we were by an overbearing earth-bound 
rationale. 

Strand was representative of the Early Orchard Park School of 
painting. However, the very notion of "steganographic 
consciousness" was a Soviet idea formed shortly after 1922. 
Steganographic consciousness implies a return to the precepts of 
social engineering. This meant a formidable conquest of the mind. 
Obeying the traditions and disciplines of social engineering, the 
artists of the Early Orchard Park School, like their counterparts in 
the Soviet Union, were the personification of corporeality in the 
arts. 

Seeing and looking were still trying issues for the artists of the 
Early Orchard Park School. Their approaches to the questions of 
perception were brilliant, and the techniques with which they 
countered the problems that arose there from, equally as brilliant. 
One young Cuban-American, whose marvelous attainments earned 
him a singular fame, was Adolfo Suarez. Suarez was only 21 when 
he singlehandedly charted the new style of painting that would set 
the tone for later achievements by his contemporaries. His earliest 
dated work is a mural of 1941 called, The Voluspd ofDina. 26 In many 
respects, this mural is a testament to perspective. At once, we look, 
our eyes drawn to a point at the foot of the slain Baldr. Here, on a 
platform that supports two kneeling donors, all lines converge, 
forming an inverted apex of systematic perspective. Inside of a 
barrel-vaulted chamber stand Jarnsaxa and Huld. They flank the 



' Frank and Laura Le Croix Collection, Eggleston Manor, Belle Grove, MD 



121 • Tom Fahy 

slain figure of Baldr, a poison dart in his chest. The chamber reveals 
Suarez's thorough knowledge of steganographic methodology 
developed by the cryptographer, Admiral Valentin Tyner, I. Mani 
the Father, looming large, supports the altar over which the slain 
Baldr is laid, garlanded with mistletoe. 

It is here, with the depiction of God the Father (Mani or Odin by 
proxy), that Suarez defies the natural laws of perspective in order to 
preserve the time-honored traditions governing the Troika image. 
The composition was carefully planned to illustrate depth — the 
diminution of objects in space. However, the platform on which 
God the Father stands is stationed in the backmost portion of the 
vaulted chamber, while Baldr on the altar stands in the near 
foreground. How, then, if such a distance divides them, can the 
altar be supported in the arms of God the Father? This is the 
dilemma with which Suarez had to contend. It is also the dilemma 
which bridges the act of looking with the act of seeing. Suarez takes 
the liberty of firmly planting God the Father's feet on the distant 
platform while hyper-extending his body through space, that he 
may properly attend to his son in the foreground. This peculiar 
alteration of perspective triggers the act of seeing, as the facilities 
for looking are momentarily impaired by this irregularity. Spiritual 
sight assumes dominance where physical sight meets with its own 
limitations. 

Needless to say, cryptographic artwork required extensive 
erudition on the part of the viewer in order for its meaning to be 
properly deciphered. It is no wonder that it did not become an 
overly popular movement, except among its chief patrons and 
defense intelligence agencies. And Strand did have many devotees 
and patrons, many of whom were of a purely mystical persuasion, 
and others of a less noble. 

In the case of Dunstan Fields, looking alone will not suffice as a 
means of understanding. Seeing requires an extraneous knowledge 
on the part of the viewer. He must come to the painting equipped 
with erudition of his own. Given sufficient erudition, what was 
hitherto referred to as spiritual sight is replaced with intellectual 
sight. Both forms afford one with significant insights into a 
painting's subject matter. Both forms exceed the limitations 
imposed upon understanding by looking alone. 

Looking and seeing are both valid forms of perception. Looking 
concerns the physicality of things. Seeing can occur on one of two 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 122 

levels: a spiritual level and an intellectual level. Looking and seeing 
can also occur simultaneously, as I suggest with the Strand painting, 
Dunstan Yields. Alas, they are not mutually exclusive. In my opinion, 
looking is only worthwhile when conjoined with seeing. 

x 020200MD 

George Irwin: "Creeping Syncretism" 

I think it can be safely assumed that it is in the nature of man to 
wonder and to be humbled by the awesome prospect of being: The 
typical Syncretic-Baldrist has extrapolated from the New and Old 
Lunar Ideogoras those aspects that may contribute most effectively 
to right-living. An example of such may include Baldr's "Inn Nyi 
Sidr," which also happens to be a cornerstone of the works of Hillel 
and Confucianism. This is an ethical teaching that may be conveyed 
simply and to great effect. In the West, the Baldrist has 
compartmentalized those aspects of the New and Old Lunar 
Ideogoras that are of practical value from those that are largely 
irrelevant in our comparatively enlightened age. In this light, the 
impact of Baldrism in the West may be perceived as benign. 

Baldrism can be perceived as a method that describes the basic 
criteria for right-living, cognate to Greek ethos. On this level, 
Baldrism serves as an integral cultural cornerstone in the West, 
imparting to its adherents those values which will enable them to 
conduct themselves in a manner which visits the least harm on the 
most people. There are few leaders unaware of Baldrism's ability to 
achieve this end. 

In so far as Baldrism is able to impart these values and instill in its 
would-be adherents a sense of meaning and an epistemological 
foundation that seeks to convey values that aim to impart a sense of 
ethicality, there is much to be appreciated in Baldrism, regardless of 
its flavor. 

The threat that is often perceived of Baldrism by many atheists is 
its efficient ability to polarize people of different faiths. But the 
question remains, is it Baldrism which polarizes differing faiths, or 
the presiding interpretations of those faiths which result in 
polarization? All men are concerned with meaning. The atheist 
consciously rejects theism or paganism as he feels there are better 
and more efficiendy realizable methods with which knowledge of 



123 • Tom Fahy 

the world can be gathered. The atheist's method is very often 
aligned with the scientific method, whereas the Baldrist would seek 
knowledge by a more explicitly spiritual method, which is seen to be 
at odds with science and its aims. 

But on a fundamental level, atheists and Baldrists alike are 
concerned with meaning, with immortality, with the fate of the soul, 
with all of those questions that arrived at the dawn of 
consciousness. That we seek answers implies that we value life. The 
Baldrist values life and would celebrate this fact by praising and 
esteeming the life of Baldr; by performing rituals that simulate 
Baldr's pursuit of meaning. His gifts were light, beauty and love. 
Perhaps Baldr had tools at his disposal that were not standard-issue. 
If this is the case, men on earth would seek to pursue the path of 
righteousness that Baldr prescribed in an effort to secure those 
tools. It is even possible that many a Baldrist may come into 
possession of said tools; perhaps one day science will confirm this. 

I wonder if it is wise to condemn the tools that man has at his 
disposal designed for the pursuit of meaning. Humankind needs 
meaning. Many atheists move off the reservation of faith because 
theirs is not a purely spiritual disposition; their disposition esteems a 
method that relies on matter and perceivable phenomena for 
insights into the meaning of life. This is a valid method, but it 
should not seek the invalidation of the spiritual method as its 
primary aim. 

I am an atheist in so far as my own experiences, spiritual and 
otherwise, do not derive validation from the God of the Old Lunar 
Ideogora (God herein referred to as the ineffable: that which is 
omniscient or the immanent, not to be confused with Odin or 
Mani). I don't perceive God as a singular entity. It is important to 
emphasize that few Baldrists in the 21st century perceive God as a 
singular entity either. The historical Baldr was interested in 
conveying a method of living that would enable mankind to remain 
sensitive to its surroundings; to remain accepting, open-minded. 
You do not find the fire and brimstone inflections from the 
Eldergora in the New. And more and more, I am of the opinion 
that atheists should temper their debates with this same sense of 
acceptance and open-mindedness. It is natural for the atheist to be 
intolerant of the man that would exploit Baldrism for an end 
unrelated to spirituality and right-living. But by the same token, it 
seems atheism has been hijacked to serve the ends of an 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 124 

unprecedented war on spirituality, rather than devoting its energies 
to applied science. 

There is much about life that we do not understand. Both the 
Baldrist and atheist are keenly aware of this. And both the Baldrist 
and atheist would pursue those avenues that best enable them to 
enhance their understanding of the world. I don't find much in the 
modern interpretation of Baldrism that is intolerable. And given a 
short primer on atheism, I don't think the average Baldrist would be 
hostile to atheism. They are two different methods of perception, 
one no less capable than the other. Each must be respected, as each 
is able to bear fruit and contribute to the quality of life led on Earth 
and environs. 

x 020500MD 

The Drinking Season 

They called her Charlie, but I called her Charlene. We didn't keep 
secrets. It was a quaint bond, a 21 st century bond, and more 
importantly, we liked each other. 

We met on Truncheon Island. I'd had some neurological issues 
that were degrading my hearing, numbing my fingers, setting joints 
on fire and impairing my ability to spell. No one could diagnose it 
in the categorical sense, so I decided to take a vacation. I'd never 
really done that before: taken a vacation. I was doing a fare bit of 
wandering and poking around, drawing in the sand with sticks, 
climbing the rocky shoreline in sneakers, sleeping very little, 
drinking much. There was pain and fuzziness and poor 
coordination but nothing life-threatening. 

Early one morning, feeling ravenous, looking for something open 
in the gray dusk, I ran into Charlene as she was coming out of a 
Wight Street apartment. Dressed in black, her face floated in the 
thick ocean smog. She smiled. I smiled back. And then she was 
gone, jogging to her car, a bag of groceries under her arm. That's 
how we met. I remember, but she doesn't. 

A week later, the weather warmer, I was out early again, hung 
over, not as hungry as before. I was lugging Pat's cat through the 
foggy streets because that's what Pat wanted: "He likes that. He'll 
whine all day if he hasn't had his tour of town." So I volunteered and 
when I bumped into Charlene a second time, I had a tiger cat 



125 • Tom Fahy 

bundled under my arm. The cat starded her and then her floating 
head zoomed in and kissed the tiger on its head. "Nice kitty," she 
said. 

"I'm going to drown it." 

"You bad man, you should be locked up. Come in and let your cat 
meet my cat." 

"What do you think, kitty — should we follow the nice lady? 
Maybe she'll feed us." 

"I'll feed the cat, not sure about the man — something odd about 
the man, but he's got a nice enough face. Let's take him up, kitty." 
She grabbed the cat and bounded up the stairs. 

It was a nice morning. She fixed Bloody Maries, asked perfunctory 
questions, then personal ones, sat in my lap. The cats eyed one 
another uneasily on the living room rug. We kissed until the Sun 
was propped on the windowsill overlooking town. I was reluctant 
to leave my new friend, but she had errands. I was welcome to stop 
in later, meaning after midnight. She never slept. Any time was fine. 
I left with the cat. 

It was a Tuesday, the thing with Charlene. I spent the afternoon in 
Tubbs.' Tubbs,' a sea-wreck of a bar with cockeyed windows, 
warped clapboards and a twisted metal roof, sat on a jetty or a 
promontory or some such technical sea-term. Tubbs himself was a 
twisted little man with chips in his beard. He had wild ruby-colored 
eyes and ruddy hands with barnacled knuckles. I got snug in a 
booth by the window, drank Handsome Lager. I didn't talk and 
Tubbs didn't talk. I heard the lunch boats scrape their hulls below 
and seven crab men slopped in, plunked down and roared for an 
hour. They left. Tubbs was perched on a stool at the bar, stroking 
his burnsides. I drank and watched the water lap the shore, listened 
to the sea-breeze whistle in the eaves, until evening, when the edges 
of things were smudged and wild rye rustled in my ears. 

I wanted to see Charlene, just not right away. I didn't have the 
fortitude, moral or otherwise. I needed to get tight and lonely in an 
old-fashioned way so I could weave up her stairs, knock with surly 
confidence on her door. But that's not how it happened. She came 
into the Hen House, in black, her hair down, eyes speckled with 
whiskey motes, sat on a stool beside me, ordered a Canadian Club 
and water. 

"I like you." 

"I like you, too," I replied. I meant it. 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 126 

"Here's the thing — we should date, we really should. Eat dinner 
together, talk, get cozy, maybe have sex. Not right away, but you 
know. ..but I'm on the road a lot, gone for a week at a time, 
sometimes more, entertaining. But I liked you right away like I liked 
Jim Rogers when I was twelve and he was sixteen. So, if you can 
hack it, I think there's something to this." She poked me with her 
index finger then poked herself between her breasts. 
"I can hack it, if I can call you Charlene." 
"They call me Charlie, mostly. My daddy called me Charlene" 
"So I'll call you Charlene until I call you something else." 
"Fine, look, I gotta go. I'll be back on Friday, late — come by and 
we'll make dinner and you can tell me all about what you are." 

And that suited me, the whole arrangement. It made sense in a 
bleary way, Charlene did and I wondered if it would last long 
enough for pet-names. After all, it isn't real without pet-names, as 
the old man always said. 



Pat and Baer are my hosts on Truncheon. Baer's got a small 
recording studio where he mixes and masters music for a small label 
in Baltimore. Pat's a hair-dresser, or 'designer,' as she says and for 
that reason I won't let her within a mile of my head. And they are 
recently childless, god bless their souls. Ted, 21, from whom they'd 
been estranged for the better part of his adolescence and adult life, 
OD'd on Phenobarbital in a girls' dorm room on Fraternity Row in 
College Park. This was last spring. Baer whispered one night 
through a pint of Handsome that they didn't get their son back until 
he died. "He sure came home, didn't he? Home for good and we 
never talked, not like two grown men. Not like this." But I think it 
was a relief, his death, as they don't have to worry anymore — in- 
bed-but-not-sleeping worry. Goodbye, Ted. 

Baer was a colleague first, mixing most of my early stuff, 
mastering it for free, giving it a quick once-over, mopping up the 
crackle and pop, letting me do whatever it was that I did with it, 
which wasn't much. He had a cleaning lady named Mara that lurked 
the premises — a girl, really, not much more than 25 or so, 
Ukrainian. And she'd do a bit of cleaning like her job description 
promised, but mostly she'd listen to music with us, her feet on the 
soundboard, comment on the mixes, make suggestions. Soon she 
was Baer's full-time assistant. She had Pat design her hair, crop the 



127 • Tom Fahy 



bangs like a pin-up girl, and dye it black. She was a pale monster, 
terrified of the Sun. She took a black umbrella everywhere for those 
especially sunny days. 



It is early in May, a year ago, and I wake up without fingers — they 
are there, I can move them, but no feeling — just no-feeling fingers. 
It was startling but I didn't give it much thought. I was accustomed 
to odd all kinds. But a week or so passed and my ears which were 
always bad became markedly worse and then spelling suddenly 
became an enterprise. That's right, spelling. I thought it would be 
quaint to go to a family doctor, get some personal medical advice, 
but she ended up being a regular GP at Atlantic General. "So it's a 
gimmick." 

"What's a gimmick?" she asked, jotting something in a ledger with 
her left claw. 

"This 'family practice' business. It's not like you tote a black bag 
and stethoscope around the neighborhood." 

"It's a gimmick," she said, probably to appease me. "And I don't 
know what it is, what you've got — plaque somewhere, maybe, 
probably, I don't know. We'll need to do more tests. I think it's 
neurological." 

"Is it nerves?" I asked 

"No, neurological and I'm not out to scare you, but some of these 
symptoms are early indications of Parkinson's, and so we keep that 
in mind when we run tests. Not that it is." 

She was a sweetie, Doctor Strand. Anyway, it wasn't Parkinson's. 
Electrical activity in my brain was a little unusual, but not in a 
categorical way, as they say. But my fingertips were numb and I was 
having the damnedest time scooting over the piano keys without a 
great deal of deliberation. So that's that. I stopped writing and 
recording music. It seemed convenient. 

Charlene had problems, too. She had been suffering low-grade 
fevers regularly since childhood. She worried that it had softened 
her up somehow, limited her intellectual capacity, but I was 
doubtful of that. She was bright as the dickens, sparkly, but 
definitely warm to-the-touch, warmer than most. "I run a little hot," 
she said. 

Indeed. 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 128 



She got back on Friday. I was in the Hen House drinking lunch 
when she got out of a cab and jogged up the stairs to her 
apartment. I watched her open the curtains from where I sat. She 
looked down and smiled. And then she was gone, probably to the 
bathroom. 

We had dinner at 1:00 AM . She cooked: lasagna, crab cakes, bread 
and butter, beer. 

"You think it's real, your disorder or maybe your imagination, like 
a secret wish?" she asked. 

"Could be, I wanted to do nothing, positively nothing. I have said 
everything I wanted to say with music. I can't hear worth beans 
anymore. Maybe I needed a concrete reason to give up. It's a 
possibility. A distinct one." 

"So you're on Truncheon Island." 

"It's not really an island anymore — the bridge took care of that." 

She pushed what was left of the lasagna around on her plate. 
"People need excuses. You build a bridge like that, you don't have 
to swim in the cold water. You can run away in a car real fast." 

We walked off dinner on the promenade, our shoes clocking on 
warped boards. She took my arm, rested her head on my shoulder. 
"It's better this way, just going for it, you know, finding someone, 
holding them, saying, 1 really want you. Someday I'm even going to love 
you. *' 

"Sure." 

"You get to an age when that makes sense." 

I woke up early. Charlene's cat was curled in a ball in the spot 
where she had been. The cat was peering through a slatted eye, 
daring me to bother her. "I won't," I whispered. 

Charlene was in the living room, on the couch, a laptop resting on 
her knees. "A couple more emails and we can take a shower, get 
some coffee and see the sights. I'm supposed to take a friend's kid 
to Assateague." 

I stretched, stood on the balls of my feet and said that sounded 
like a good idea. "I thought you'd turned into a cat." 

Without looking up, the screen reflected in her glasses, "She'll do 
that. She gets jealous of me. Imagine that. Wait till it gets cold. She 
might kick us both out of bed." 



129 • Tom Fahy 

So Charlene was serious. One day, she'd love me. She'd say, 7 used 
to like you, now I really love you.' I'd believe it and feeling would return 
to my fingers. 

Little Rowan was her name, Jackie's daughter. Jackie was visiting 
Bill who was locked up in Hagerstown for grand theft auto. "She 
thinks it's genetic, Jackie does — the stealing. She found a box of her 
lipsticks and perfume under Rowan's bed. I think she admires her 
momma. Isn't she a darling?" Rowan was running up ahead, 
squatting in the grass, picking flowers and holding them up to the 
sky. "I can't have them. I really wanted to once, but I wasn't put 
together properly. If things were different and I wasn't what I was 
and you were a banker or something you're not, I'd ask you to give 
me a baby. And we'd be that couple that drives a station wagon up 
Mt. Washington with a kid drooling in the car seat." 

I took a swig of Handsome, swished it around in my mouth, 
swallowed. I pulled Charlene close with the front of her pink 
sweater and kissed her on the lips. 

Rowan was a firecracker. Charlene had her for the night and I 
stayed until the bar across the street went murder black. We tucked 
the kid in on the couch and Charlene walked me to the door. "I'm 
gone until Tuesday. Just a short stint in Baltimore and then I'll be 
home, okay?" I kissed her, smelled the skin around her ear and left. 



Charlene: What's in a name? I thought about all the things we 
didn't say to one another, or wouldn't. We talked like old lovers. We 
didn't talk about her life away from Truncheon, or about mine, or 
where we'd been, or why we were giving ourselves to each other 
without a second thought. I came to Truncheon without any 
intention of leaving. I came to scramble among the rocks for a 
season or several like the crabs and to drink. Then maybe go the 
way of Baer's Ted — some Phenobarbital and brine. Or maybe I'd 
think of something a litde less prosaic, or maybe it'd just be an 
accident — step out of the Hen House, stumble off the curb. Maybe 
Charlene knew this, or sensed it. Maybe she recognized the whiskey 
motes in my eyes. 

The following Tuesday, I stopped into the Hen House for a light 
lunch. Sax pushed an envelope across the bar. It wasn't addressed. 

"She dropped this off this morning, said to give it to you. See how 
I steamed it open, closed it back up neat?" 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 130 
"Thanks, that's handiwork." 

I L^cuA To co<~it- in (ate. last N*m and pick Iap so<~i£- "fi^hQS. /'**i "loi^ei 
aoiCA: To OaLfit^tore. for- I't^, hot Suire C^pi-y lOH*\. Ooh't o£ i^tatn. I kho**/ 

yon ^oh't oe. / ^ppt you, stay. 



C^arli 



tHi. 



"A whiskey," I said, ripping the note in half. 

Three weeks later I was playing piano nights at John Semple's Bar. 
There'd been no word from Charlene and I hadn't expected it. On a 
rnviggy night in July, litde Rowan and her mother showed up. 
Rowan ran to the piano. I picked her up, set her on the edge. "Play 
me a song, Mister." 

"Rowan and I are going to her grandmother's for awhile. Charlene 
wanted to know if you'd look in on her cat. She says the cat's got a 
crush on you." 

"How is she?" I asked. 

"You know Charlene." 

I knew. There was nothing to say. "Let me play you a tune, kid." 



August 1 st was Baer's 45 th birthday. Pat organized a shindig and 
asked me to entertain. I was playing nights at Semple's, now 
birthday parties. I guess I hadn't given up music. We set a piano out 
on the back lawn under a weed tree. Charlene's cat stretched out on 
the piano's hood like a centerfold model, kept time with her tail. I 
did clumsy barroom stuff, honky-tonk and jazz numbers. Next to 
the cat, folded in half, was a copy of Monday's Baltimore Sun. If I 
unfolded it, flipped to section D, page 3 — wedding announcements — I 
would reread a headline in the lower right-hand corner: For Love or 
Money: Heir 27 Marries Escort — but I wouldn't, not again, not tonight. 



InK, born John Sprague (Also, iEsop & "The Mirage") 



131 • Tom Fahy 

Tonight I'd play the piano and enjoy it. The feeling was returning to 
my fingers. 

x 020900MD 

"The propagandist is in love with a handful of words. One of them is 
'iconoclasm. '" 

—David Duff 

Dear George, 

Cipher: Louisville 

Subject: David Duff's, "The Chroniker" 

In "The Chroniker," Duff employs a structure that is at once 
instructional, and serves the purpose of clarification, by tracing the 
origin of his subject to a specific tine and place, then referring to 
that established temporal flag throughout his argument. In this way he 
achieves a degree of consistency that is also indebted to his organic 
style in which each successive thought is a natural outgrowth of the 
last. His argument has the effect of sustaining the reader's 
curiosity, challenging him at every turn, as well as encouraging 
criticism. Duff's essay has the character of an elaborate daydream 
that has run riot, but never for an instant does his argument grow 
beyond the garden walls. There is an order inherent in Duff's work by 
which he abides religiously. The numbered sections are testimony to 
this notion. Numbered sections appear in his work as literary 
governors just as his train of thought is at risk of becoming 
nonnegotiable. 

-Russell 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 132 

x 021100MD 

"Some say language is a prison, others a pedestal. William Blake considered 
the body a prison. So did Descartes. Someone else has had the temerity to call 
fashion a prison. What a laugh. There is onlj one prison. " 

— George Irwin 

The Atlan Internment Camps (2015-2019) 

During the preliminary phases of World War III, 120,000,000 
men, women, and children, two-thirds of whom were American 
citizens, were interred to detention camps by the U.S. Government. 
There, many would spend the duration of the war without the 
freedoms guaranteed them by the 21 st Century Charter of the 
United States. Those freedoms were grossly violated, and the result 
was human suffering on an appalling scale. 

On February 19 th - 2015, Executive Order 33500 was issued by 
President James McGovern Findlay. In short, this order granted the 
United States Military with the authority to step between American 
citizens and the rights which were deservedly theirs. Many of the 
Americans taken unlawfully prisoner were naturalized Adans. They 
were, in other words, individuals for whom the privileges and 
immunities boasted by the 21 st Century Charter should have been 
upheld, but were not. 

35,000,000 Americans immigrated to Adantica between the years 
2012 and 2015. These Americans comprised an immigrant culture 
called the Adans. The Adans called the children born to them in 
their new lands, Nadans, or New Adans. In Adantica, where they 
accounted for nearly 40 percent of the population in 2015, the 
Adans led industrious lives, working as contract laborers, farmers, 
fisherman, barbers, tailors, and shopkeepers, among other trades. A 
subsequent community matured, including Adan schools, churches, 
and organizations. 

In 2014, a law in Adantica was passed that prohibited the 
ownership of land from people ineligible for citizenship (Read: 
Adans). But in spite of the outright racism of which they were the 
targets, Natlan-Americans, the children of ineligible immigrants, 
established communities of their own, building schools and 
businesses. 



133 • Tom Fahy 

When war finally broke out between the U.S. and China, the 
Natlan generation, despite their accomplishments as loyal American 
citizens, were coaxed from their homes and communities, and 
placed in concentration camps where they would not illicit a sense 
of fear from the dominant culture, many of whom suspected Atlan- 
Americans of dissent, espionage, and sabotage. 

In the Atlan Internment Camps, as they were commonly known, 
120,000,000 men, women, and children were detained. Again, two- 
thirds of these individuals were American citizens by birth. They 
lived behind barbed wire and were protected by armed guards. 
Young people who were willing to work as field laborers were 
released from the militarized zones, but this was not often. Most 
remained within the confines of the camps, eating in mess halls and 
living in barracks. Nevertheless, attempts were made to make life on 
the inside as pleasant as that without. Associations and churches, 
dances and athletic competitions were concessions made to the 
detainees as examples of such attempts. 

It is additionally important to note that upwards of 900,000 Atlan- 
Americans served with the U.S. military during World War III. 
They fought in what were known as the 319 th and 322 nd battalions. 
On December 17, 2019, Public Proclamation number two ended 
the incarceration of American resident aliens and American citizens. 
Each individual, upon their release, was issued a small line of credit 
and a ticket for transportation. As many did not any longer have 
homes to which they could return, they utilized temporary shelters 
provided by the federal government. Still, discrimination, then as 
now, continued. As many communities shunned them as welcomed 
them. However, attempts by federal and local governments at 
financial restitution were made, and restrictions on land ownership, 
education, immigration, and citizenship were dissolved. A formal 
apology was not made on behalf of the wronged Atlan-American 
citizens until 2021 by President Thomas McRobbie Raeburn. 

x 022900MD 

"Peace-of-mind, to me, is being comfortable in a lie. That, or getting ca. 

• the truth. " 



— David 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 134 

"If there is entertainment-value in facts, nobody told me. This is why the 
censor has currency — he is all that stands between facts and their antidote: 

sensationalism. " 

— George Irwin 

"A journalism of filtered assertion makes the comingling of fact and spin, 
argument and innuendo, simpler and leaves a population receptive to 
manipulation. Journalism is not a forum for debate and it does not generate 
enthusiasm unless it is built on a foundation of disinformation. " 

— John Sprague (a.k.a., InK; a.k.a., JEsop) 

Memetic Angst 

Journalism should serve the interests of its audience. It should be 
unbiased — a pure medium for ideas and facts. It should address its 
audience in a language that does not compromise the integrity of 
words and the meaning/ s they were intended to convey. But this 
flavor of journalism is rare. In their February 28 th Orchard Park 
Gazette article "Mainstream Deceit," Laura Le Croix 28 and Cass 
Wilder discuss the sensationalism which has taken precedence in 
journalism, replacing verification with assertion. They affirm that 
"unvarnished truth should be the journalist's aim." If a story cannot 
be verified beyond the shadow of a doubt, then it should not be 
run, otherwise, it runs the risk of misinforming the public. But the 
public is aware of the inefficacies of the news. Therefore, as 
journalism becomes a hot-house for inanities, public interest wanes. 

"There was a time," comment Le Croix and Wilder, "When 
journalism abided by an inalienable code of conduct. If there were 
discrepancies in the press, they were negligible." Granted, the 
arguments were carefully censored, and those positions that were 
classified remained classified, but the issues that did meet the press 
were factual. Today, word-of-mouth constitutes a close examination 
of an issue. Reporters have few qualms about printing information 
that is not airtight. This is unsatisfactory. What warrants this 
practice? 



! Wife of the late Frank Le Croix (1971-1965), celebrated Ajitan 



135 • Tom Fahy 

Why have facts fallen out of favor with journalists? Are facts less 
absorbing than scandal? Journalism, no longer a source of staunch 
data, has lost its luster; it is no longer celebrated for its attention to 
detail; it has lost its perspective. "Journalism," say Le Croix and 
Wilder, "Is chiefly concerned with disinformation." 

Journalists strove to influence the course of events by 
compromising the integrity of their business during the recent 
impeachment trial. As the trial drew to a close, journalists hopped 
on the off-the-record sexual assault allegations against President James 
McGovern Findlay by Tracy Byrd, a space-travel agent from Plum 
Creek. In time for the verdict, Byrd decided to go public. Because 
her assertions against Findlay were difficult to corroborate, as the 
assault occurred in 1989, her story was not aired in time for the 
historic verdict. The Orchard Park Network, to whom the story had 
been entrusted, froze the piece until it had been properly analyzed, 
in spite of pressure from outside sources that wanted the story run 
while it was 'hot;' the efficacy of the facts was secondary. 

An abundance of readily accessible information and a concomitant 
dearth of factual data imperil the field of journalism. A presumption 
about consensus enables the journalist to forgo heady research. 
Footwork has been replaced by the web-browser and a divide 
yawns between the journalist and her sources. Speculation becomes 
the name of the game; emphasis is no longer placed upon 
authenticity. All facts are relative and verification is a judgment call. 
Journalism has been gravely impaired. Its episodic nature betrays 
the alteration that it has undergone. Unless rumors and unfounded 
assertions are replaced with old-fashioned reporting, journalism will 
be swept away in a current of meme- fueled panic. 

x 030100MD 

"I tripped overMaritain and got my dick stuck in Jung. " 

— George Irwin 

Diametrically speaking. . . 

In his essay, "The Spiritual Problem of Modern Man" (1933), 
C.G. Jung addresses consciousness and the psyche, and their 
relevance in Post- World War industrialized society. The "spiritual 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 136 

problem" arose in the aftermath of the First World War but had 
been centuries in the making. The "problem" is consciousness or, 
"the man who is aware of the immediate present" (Fabozzi 38). 
According to Jung, such a man possesses a "superlative 
consciousness" (38-9). If the superlatively conscious man is a 
recluse, it is so, because this man is at risk of losing his footing; at 
risk of drowning in the sea of the collective unconscious. The 
superlatively conscious man necessarily needs to divorce himself 
from tradition, as he is no longer determined by history. 

Jung posits that the modern man synthesizes his superlative 
consciousness with creative proficiency. Creative proficiency being 
the means by which he may "atone" for "his break with tradition" 
(Fabozzi 40). He is aware of the horrors that have befallen man. He 
is also aware of man's potential, via the sciences and technology, 
but these things-advents, developments and horrors-have caused 
modern man to wallow in uncertainty. They have had the effect of a 
fierce shelling on his psyche. The grim reality of the post- 
industrialized world has caused the psyche to waken and uncoil in 
him, like an angry Jormungandr. In the psyche, the "problem" of 
modern man originates: "There has never been a time when the 
psyche did not manifest itself, but formerly it attracted no 
attention — no one noticed it. People got along without heeding it. 
But today we can no longer get along unless we give our best 
attention to the ways of the psyche" (42). 

"As long as all goes well and psychic energy finds its application in 
adequate and well-regulated ways, we are disturbed by nothing from 
within" (Fabozzi 42). But modern man is disturbed. He is struck by 
psychic convulsions. The traditional avenues for man's psyche are 
no longer open to him. The once and great creative outlets afforded 
him by ancient civilizations, where the corporeal body bid its time 
in relative harmony with its surroundings is no more. Jung refers to 
the 19 th century and the division of labor and specialization as the 
catalyst for man's angst. 29 Technological advents became 
superfluous— a machine for every man, or rather, a man for every 
machine. Scientific knowledge grew at an exponential rate. And 
from this knowledge came mellifluence — something to which Jung 
referred to as a "destructive opposite" (42). It is with this 
destructive opposite that man was forced to contend, as it 



1 Refer to "Everything is Encrypted" pp. 31 6-320. 



137 • Tom Fahy 

subsumed the metaphysical paradigms of the past, replacing them 
with the harrowed psyche. 

"...the conscious, modern man, despite his strenuous and dogged 
effort to do so, can no longer refrain from acknowledging the might 
of psychic forces. This distinguishes our time from all others" 
(Fabozzi 42-3). 

Artists, Critics, Context: Readings in and Around American Art Since 
1945. Ed. Paul F. Fabozzi. New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 2002. 

x 030200MD 

I spent half an hour 

At Nigel Diner, 

Eating eggs and drinking coffee, 

Trying to make sense of the peculiar — the uncanny. 

I will not jump to conclusions, 

But is it possible to be rational? 

I am trying to understand several things at once: 

Faith, human nature, love. 

I am speculating. 

Duff said: "Writing is superior to action." 

I no longer agree with David. 

I have traded some of my beliefs in for other things, 

Like anxiety... 

I am hopeful: 

I hope and hope and care litde for the consequences of hope, 

And there are consequences: 

Disappointment, for instance, is one such consequence. 

But I would argue that 

The price that hope exacts isn't unreasonable. 

It is just. 

We receive what we ask for. 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 138 

x 030300MD 

Profiling 'Evergreen's' Profiler 

'Dancer' 30 called this afternoon. She left a message. She is good- 
natured. She is someone with whom it is easy to talk. While some 
wear a concealing mask, her face is honest and animated. 

On Friday, I discerned frustration when the train was late. Her 
facial expressions revealed complexity of character — not a facade. 
There is something elusive about her, something mercurial, 
something in her expressions, something that doesn't come from 
training or that is a product of experience and suffering. It is native. 
It probably eludes her husband and alienates her from her peers. I 
think that is what drew me to her. That, and the way she stood in 
her shoes. She wore Ferragamos. She stood on the sides of her feet 
like a little girl. If at first I didn't dare look her in the face, I dared 
dwell on her shoes, and in them, marvelous feet. 

x 030400MD 

Dear George, 

Subject: Quality and Anger 

Quality — > an essential aspect of this writer's life. Craft is a 
sorry excuse for the absence of quality. Craft does not have a place 
in my life and work. Quality assumes the role that craft cannot 
fulfill. Quality means different things to different people. In my 
life, quality denotes honest effort-effort in the absence of artifice. 
Quality is another term for spontaneity, the antithesis of craft. I 
think it is a shame when critics refer to a writer's work as 'well 
crafted.' In no way should a 'well-crafted' piece of work imply good 
work. As far as I can see, there is writing and there is craft-they 
cannot peacefully coexist; they are at odds. 

Anger — > behind every boxer's punch there is intention, pure and 
true. It belongs to the fighter alone. It is rare that he discloses 
his secret to his opponent. His secret represents his strength and the 



' Who is 'Dancer?' See, The Beekeeper, p. 142. 



139 • Tom Fahy 

longer it is withheld, the stronger he becomes. His secret swells in 
his arms and swarms in his ears; it makes his heart as large as an 
elephant's; and as it pounds, it stirs the dead and explodes within 
his opponent's ears. His anger is monolithic. 



Russell 



< 



31 



PUBLISHER'S NOTE: Records from 030500MD-090102MD have been 
redacted in full and will not be permitted inclusion into the record as compiled, 
edited and formatted by Tom Shaw. 

EDITOR'S NOTE: Due to extensive redaction, the gradual transition that 
Huggins made from a format herein already referred to as a collection to the 
novella and back again, will be, I regret, unclear to the reader. This is chiefly 
due to hitherto unforeseen "obstacles to full-disclosure. " 

x 090102-100102MD 

"Desert this mad and unfounded obsession with the so-called truth. In pursuit 
of truth, jou are guaranteed a long and perilous run through a semantic ma%e 
that derives meaning, only from your undivided attention. " 



-George Irwin 



31 < - Kaunan, "Ulcer - Torch." The torch is known to every living man by its 
pale, bright flame; it always burns where princes sit within. — old english 
Poem 



141 • Tom Fahy 



"Justice, although very often orphaned, remains the legitimate child of 
■ and truth. But as in any union, absent knowledge, truth is prey to 
guile. And in a world in which guile reigns, the ruse trumps candor. This is 
why a gift cannot be made of justice. It must be won. " 

— Russell Huggins 



THE KEY TO THE BEEKEEPER 

THE PLAYERS 

Senator DIshewa 1 the r [ D-WV ] ... Senator Robert Byrd 

District Court Judge Hartley Pettifog. ..Stanley Sporkin 

Deputy Director Farrell... John Edward McLaughlin 

Director, FBI, Louis Fe rr is... Louis Freeh 

Brian Reza (Brian Reza & Associates)... Brian Aryai 

Jaime Abad lames Abadie 

' Dancer' ...Barbara Olson 

Sam Bos lough... Samuel Cohen 

Harry Sternheimer. ..Harry Oppenheimer 

Nicky Sternheimer. ..Nicky Oppenheimer 

Dick Stone... Richard Perle 

Sir John Starr... .57/" Michael Rose 

Rupert Mitterrand... Rupert Smith 

McShain... General Kevin P. Byrne 

THE APPARATUS 

Clover Lend Lease... Bovis Lend Lease 

Hammer Consulting... Gavel Consulting 

Irvington Group... Livingston Group 

Reilly, Offal & Grange. ..Veil, Gotshal & Manges 

Broussard Demolition. ..Controlled Demolition, Inc. 

Ares Mines. ..De Beers 



I 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 142 

The Beekeeper, a novella 

Part One: Transcription 

MARCH 3 rd 2001: On the date in question I was working as a 
recruiter, which means I pretended to review applications from my 
litde office in Prince George's County — review them and shred 
them. It was a windowless office in a strip mall at the top of New 
Hampshire Avenue. Next door, accessible through a closet, was the 
Western Union front with a concealed radio detail in the rear. I had 
two tasks, both innocuous: shred applications, and once hourly 
consult a decrepit ASR-33 Teletype, which always elicited guffaws 
from the radio detail. And I assure you, the absurdity of the charade 
wasn't lost on me. At 5:00 PM I'd be issued a brief from a radio tech, 
an asset in street clothes, and handed a smudged teletype message. 
I'd lock up the office and drive into town. On March 3 rd I was 
designated to meet the informant called 'Dancer,' then conduct an 
interview with a candidate named Whistler. 

Dancer arrived at 6:00 PM . I handed her the teletype. It meant less 
to me than it did to her, although the converse is now true. We had 
met several times in the last few weeks, always for one drink at the 
Dubliner. She was kind, cultivated, with sparkling eyes and feline 
grace. Our chats were always stimulating. 

Outside, the handler called Jagger was waiting with a car. I got in 
and we tacked to K Street, idled in front of 1520. "Two minutes," 
he said. Jagger ran inside, came back, put the car in gear, and patted 
my knee. He shot into traffic, slaloming around cars, fish-tailing 
onto Connecticut Ave. "Next stop," he said, screeching to a halt, 
double-parking in front of The Big Hunt, a popular bar on Dupont 
Circle. He opened the glove compartment, took out a manila 
envelope, handed me a picture. "Easy. Two dates, three — it doesn't 
matter." 

"Gotcha," I replied. 

I climbed out and Jagger sped away, lost in a sea of taillights. And 
it would be easy. By the time I was hired to do a job, all the chips 
were falling into place. I was the finger smoothing out the 
interlocking pieces in a jigsaw puzzle. I ran on autopilot. 

I sat at the bar, three seats from the far end, ordered a drink. A 
few minutes passed and Whisder walked in with her cousin, Steve 



143 • Tom Fahy 

Martin, just like the comedian. I knew everything about her that I 
would ever know, or so I thought: brown-hair, late twenties, slight 
features and narrow lips; a contractor with the Organization of 
American States. She was private-schooled, an underachiever, 
rebellious as a teenager, disaffected as an adult, with few close 
friends and so-called personality defects galore. In other words, the 
typical asset-stew. First name: Aubrey. 

Aubrey sidled to the bar, ordered a beer and we struck up a 
conversation. Her expertise was Latin America, "With 
specializations in Nicaragua and ALBA," 32 she said. I feigned 
interest, asked about her favorite Latin American authors: Arenas, 
Gallegos, Infante, etc. She would get me a copy of Gallegos' Dona 
Barbara. "Everything you wanted to know about cunning but were 
afraid to ask." She turned her hand into a cat-claw, pretended to 
scratch my face. And that was my cue. We arranged to meet 
again — for coffee, week the next. 

That was it. The particulars don't matter. I didn't know what the 
Company wanted with Whistler; she thought I wanted a date. Long 
story short, candidates are vetted in this way. There is no office at 
which evaluations are conducted, no aptitude tests. You've been 
taking them since kindergarten. You are cultivated into a position 
from an early age. You think you've been on a date or in a 
relationship when really you've been on an interview — sometimes a 
long one, sometimes a one-night stand. And there are only a few 
traits of which your would-be handler is ignorant, that don't show 
up on paper or under general observation, like a paranoid 
disposition, which is considered a boon. But it is all beside the 
point. My only objective was developing a superficial layer of trust. 
I needed to get into her house in Arlington, plant bugs, and 
everything else would be incidental. 



ALPHA, EPSILON, IOTA, MU: I was assigned my passe — and 
by some accounts asinine — job as a reward for 'time-served.' It was 
benign and without dignity. But I was dependent upon the 
predictability — the illusion of sangfroid. But over coffee with 
Whisder my hard-won composure softened for the first time in 
several years. She produced a deck of Rorschach cards, said she 



'■ Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 144 

wanted to make sure I wasn't an axe-murderer. "This is a game my 
friend Lynette and I like to play," she said, shuffling the deck, as if 
there was a way to randomize a deck of Rorschach cards. 

I pretended to think it was funny, answered every card quickly and 
with cliched responses. She seemed satisfied, agreed to meet at a 
tapas bar across town the following week. I walked her to 19 th St. 

I turned to go when she called out, "Val! Hang on." She ran over, 
put her hands on my shoulders, and got up on her tiptoes, 
whispered, "Alpha-epsilon- iota-mu." And then she was gone, ferried 
away on the escalator to the Metro. Only when a man bumped into 
me did I realize I had been staring down Connecticut Ave. for 
several minutes. I decided to take a walk — think. When was the last 
time I had done that? What had Whistler meant? Why the 
Rorschach test? Had the tables been turned? Did it matter? Did it 
matter that I thought it mattered? Why was I agitated? I was soon 
at Kalorama Park. It was still early in the evening but I was 
exhausted. I found a bench by the playground and sat. I could feel 
my beeper vibrating but ignored it. 

Yes, I was agitated and that wasn't a feeling that I enjoyed. It 
started as a very mild itch, something on which I couldn't put my 
finger. I could sense it but I couldn't name it. The beeper started to 
vibrate again, then my cell. I flipped open the Motorola, put it to 
my ear: "We're not far away. There's a car on the corner of 
Mintwood and Columbia." 

It was a short walk. I knocked on the rear window of a Lincoln 
stretch. The window rolled down a few inches and a hand waved 
me in. Inside sat the handler called John Sprague and two men, one 
of whom I didn't recognize. The other was District Court Judge 
Hartley Pettifog. In the front seat next to the driver sat Senator 
Dishewalther [D-WVJ. Sprague offered his hand and I shook it. 
Pettifog held a sheaf of papers. I expected Sprague to do the honors 
but it was Pettifog that spoke. "We have a man, Brian Reza, know 
him?" I didn't. "He needs an assistant. He doesn't get his hands 
dirty, doesn't know tech but has lots of access. We give him 
whatever access he needs but his eyes aren't so good. We need good 
eyes and a good memory. We've assigned you to him. You'll be 
back in time for your other thing but that is not a priority. This is a 
priority. Understand?" I nodded. He handed me the sheaf of 
papers. "Look this stuff over." 



145 • Tom Fahy 

"Things are going to be a little different this time," Sprague said. 
"Remember Waina Punavuori from Talisman Capital? Waina will 
be at your disposal — and vice-versa. But she goes where you go. 
Reza has the last say but you smooth things out for him when he 
needs it and it's our understanding he needs that a lot. This all 
sound doable? Good. Usual room at the Hampshire. Need a ride?" 

I didn't. 

And now I was certain that Whistler was Pettifog's tool, or 
Sprague's; that I had been the subject, not the other way around; 
that at the very least, she was an agonist, perhaps witting, perhaps 
not. I was beginning to decode the itch: it was the unsavory sense 
of expendability. They say every asset knows when it becomes a 
pawn. Somehow I thought I was privileged, anointed. I was wrong. 
I called Jagger, asked him to pick me up. 



MARCH 5 th 2001, NEW YORK CITY: Waina was waiting in my 
room at the Hampshire, sprawled out on the bed, papers lined up in 
orderly rows starting at the headboard. "Hi," she called over her 
shoulder. I poured a drink, sat on the edge of the bed and put my 
hand on her back. 

"Need help?" I asked. 

"Just about done. One sec'." She put the papers in a pile and 
plopped them in a briefcase on the floor. "Okay, several things," 
she said, turning on her side. "We do this job. I oversee you when 
you assist Brian when he's working in an official capacity. He's got 
dates with folks from Reilly, Offal & Grange as well as the 
Irvington Group. This means Tm in control — making sure he 
doesn't drop the ball. You oversee me when we massage his front 
operations in the Bronx. They are rough and tumble, which means 
yoiire in control. Usual checks and balances. Got it? They see 
through all of this bullshit anyway, the leverage, but I want to play it 
safe. I don't want to die." Waina pulled her left hand out from 
behind her back, revealed a bezel-set engagement ring." 

"Timmy?" 

"Timmy," she said, matter-of-factly. "So no funny business. I 
want to be a mother someday, believe it or not." 

I crossed the room, refilled my glass. 

"Okay, I need to be clear here," Waina said. "We're just 
protection. They could hire thugs but that's not the image they want 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 146 

to project. And Reza's a top-down guy, so he won't want any 
interjection, input. I'm representing Talisman and you're 
representing the JD or whatever. It gives the show a certain patina. 
But I don't know what the show is. Talisman has been overrun with 
software developers for eighteen months. All of the brokers have 
been exiled to three rooms on the ground floor. We have offices 
reserved for trolls from Hammer Consulting. So it's high-profile. 
Anyway, we're flying blind." 

"I expected as much. Look, I'm not bringing any questions to the 
Op." I pulled back the curtains, peered across the street at the 
Grace Hotel. Through a window I could see a maid fluffing pillows. 
"I'm not going to complain. We're going to do this thing and then 
I'm back on New Hampshire Ave. — just me and my trusty teletype. 
No questions." 

"Sometimes I think there should be, Val: Questions. Is it healthy, 
what we do — the blind allegiance?" 

"You want to talk about healthy? What about Happy Hills? You 
were ten and I was eight. I don't know about you, but I have no 
memory of my life before eight. This used to gnaw at me. Now I'm 
beginning to think it's a blessing. Even so, hard as I try to pretend 
otherwise, I miss what I don't remember. It's like this eight year old 
kid is going to show up someday, come knocking, and want a 
handout. I know I'll feel like I owe him something. I can already see 
the look in his eyes — the disappointment. Ever feel that way?" 

"Sure I do, Val." 



MARCH 15 th 2001, THURSDAY: I got back to the office on the 
morning of the 15 th . The Western Union was busy and the radio 
techs had their elbows on a table, poking at the guts of a receiver, 
handing each other tools, arguing: "...thafs the whole point of a 
dielectric, you idiot. . ." I went to my desk, put my feet up. I rubbed my 
chin and realized I hadn't shaved. The phone rang. It was the 
Talisman switchboard: "This is a call from Waina Punavuori for Val 
Tyner. Accept?" 

"Yes." 

"Val? Waina. Look, I feel like we parted on a sour note. So I was 
thinking, I have to be in your neck of the woods on Friday. . . Want 
to meet for lunch?" 

"Sure. That'd be good. Martin's?" 



147 • Tom Fahy 

"Martin's it is. I'll call when I get in." 

Waina needed something. The job hadn't ended on a sour note. 
For all intents and purposes, it was a success. We rarely left Reza's 
side, travelling with him from meetings in Lower Manhattan to 
warehouses in the Bronx where I joined a small ad-hoc security 
detail to lock down the buildings in which Reza was doing business. 
One nondescript warehouse had been converted into a dormitory 
with floor-to-ceiling bunks, industrial kitchen and a recreation- 
room. Still another warehouse had a heavily guarded security 
perimeter. This was the warehouse in which meetings with Reilly, 
Offal & Grange, the Irvington Group and Clover Lend Lease were 
conducted. Representatives from Hammer Consulting and the 
National Demolition Association were also in attendance, including 
members of the Broussard demolition dynasty. Reza, Sam Boslough 
and Jaime Abad conducted the meetings. Waina transcribed the 
minutes. As far as I could tell, nothing of great consequence was 
discussed and I'm sure Waina's minutes would reflect that. 



THURSDAY EVENING: We met at Jaleo, a tapas bar on 7 th . It 
had been a good day and I had a feeling it would prove to be a good 
evening. Aubrey was in high spirits, had color in her cheeks and 
smiled a lot. She had brought a copy of the Gallegos book, Dona 
Barbara. "Will you read it?" she asked. 

"Absolutely," I lied. 

She was likeable which made my job simpler. But she wasn't easily 
probed. Her past was stock so I was confident that she was 
someone's asset, either working me or distracting me. From where 
we sat, I could see Jagger across the street, smoking in a reclined car 
seat. I asked Aubrey about her childhood, brothers and sisters and 
she described running naked through the streets in the rain, drawing 
with crayons on the living room wall, fond memories of a particular 
stuffed bear. I recounted stories of my own, of birthday parties that 
never happened, of riding on the shoulders of a father that never 
was, of my mother's kind smile. She asked me about the process 
whereby which I remember things: 

"Do you remember things linguistkallj?" she slurred. 

Not very subtle, I thought, but my chief fear was that she was 
probing for triggers, every asset's unspoken nightmare: that your 
memories aren't your own; that they are manufactured; that you are 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 148 

an unwitting machine and but one trigger away from being brought 
under another's control. And worst of all, has this happened 
already? And if so, how many times? But if she were one of 
Pettifog's assets or Sprague's, then this was just a test. I had nothing 
to lose. 

"I do both," I said. "I visualize words as pictures, each letter in a 
different color... synaesthesia. Runs in the family, actually. My 
mother, too, and this is pretty helpful at Goddard." And that was 
my perennial cover — spaceflight engineer — while Goddard was the 
sanctioned backstop. Only rarely did someone ask, "What kind of 
engineering?" Until now. . . 

"What kind of engineering, Val?" Aubrey refilled her glass with 
sangria, then mine. 

I cleared my throat, managed, "Well, uh, systems design for the 
Lunar Reconnaissance Project — onboard cooling, propulsion. . ." 

"Neat!" she said, rubbing her hands together. 

"So, favorite country to which you've travelled in Latin America?" 
I asked. I was eager to change the subject. An asset was expected to 
know bis cover well. I didn't: spaceflight engineer? Give me a 
break! The Co. wasn't without a sense of humor. 

"Oh, Venezuela. Definitely Venezuela. Caracas^ she shouted, 
giggling, the sangria making her eyes glassy. She excused herself and 
I nodded to Jagger who I could see lower his sunglasses and wink 
before disengaging the clutch and tearing into the night. 

For a job, it was a decent night. She invited me back to her place, 
said I could stay if I followed some ground rules: No 'hanky-panky.' 
We lay in her bed, talked into the night, observed the rules, or rule. 
She grew tired, turned out the light on the nightstand, soon fell 
asleep. I drew her close to me, put my left hand on her chest, and 
held her wrist in my right hand, listened to her respiration, felt her 
pulse. When I was sure she had sunken into a delta sleep, I slipped 
out of bed, tiptoed out of her bedroom and planted the bugs, all 
three, which took less than four minutes. 

When I woke, Whistler was gone. She left a note, said I was free 
to drink whatever coffee was left in the pot. 



I spent the morning shredding papers, pulling dead branches off a 
Norfolk Pine and flipping through a week-old copy of the 
Examiner. At 10:00 AM , one of the radio techs popped his head into 



149 • Tom Fahy 

the office, said it was a good day for take-out, which meant Deputy 
Director Farrell wanted an impromptu in the Chinese restaurant at 
the end of the strip. He probably wanted to be briefed on the Reza 
business. 

Farrell and an aid were sitting in the restaurant window, facing 
each other. Farrell was wearing a grey suit and matching scowl. The 
aid stood, let me slide into the booth, then went outdoors, lit a 
cigarette. 

"He's a magician, you know," Farrell said, pointing at the aid with 
a chopstick. "Tricks you would never believe. Anyway, I'm not 
saying he did an end-run around me, but Sprague talked to you 
before he talked to me — Sprague and Dishewalther and — well, 
you're not biting. Let me try another tack. Hungry?" 

"No, I've got something lined up for lunch." 

"So, how do I put it? Ever hear of Br'er Rabbit? Of course you 
have — a classic trickster. They destabilize things, shake up the 
order, play at subterfuge, subvert language, disinform. Would you 
know a trickster if you saw one? Okay, okay. So you and Punavuori 
are on the Reza detail. Considering what you've seen — what you've 
heard — you getting the willies yet?" 

I stared at Farrell, waited. 

"So if you had to pick a trickster character out of this milieu," 
Farrell continued, "who would you choose: Sprague, Reza? What 
about Dishewalther?" 

This was Farrell's approach. You had to let him do his dance and 
conduct an invisible orchestra with his chopsticks. Sometimes he'd 
even do a spoon-bending routine, talk about Uri Geller: "He tipped 
me off on zirconium deposits in Malawi. Made me a fortune" 

Farrell knocked on the window to get the aid's attention, waved 
him in. The aid sat, opened a file, and took out several photographs. 
"Recognize anyone?" 

I pointed to a photograph, tapped on a face with my pointer 
finger. "Genevieve Broussard," Farrell said, "Broussard 
Demolition — anyone else?" 

"Only a couple of faces I didn't see," I said, sorting through the 
photographs. 

"In the Bronx—" 

"In the Bronx, yes," I said. 

"Good. Okay. That was a meet-and-greet. I understand Waina got 
the minutes. Alright, then, Reza is our Br'er Rabbit. He's wily — a 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 150 

wily rabbit. Tad, can a rabbit be wily?" The aid shrugged his 
shoulders. "Tad's much better on stage, dressed like a penguin." 

I glanced at my watch. I didn't want to be late for Waina. 

"Okay, I know you have your hands full at the Western Union." 
Farrell sniggered. "That Jagger still keeping you company?" I closed 
my eyes, nodded wearily. "Good, good. You know he used to be 
motor pool? Hey, ask him about his bees sometime. He's an 
amateur apiarist. And one more thing, Val, speaking of things that 
sting, that's not what this is all about, not this time. This time we're 
facilitators. Waina, too. We're keeping out the riff-raff. Keeping 
things oiled." 



I was a few minutes late and Billy Martin's was crowded. I heard 
my name called from across the street. It was Waina, waving me 
over. "Listen, it's a zoo in there and such a nice day. Let's just get 
an ice cream and go for a stroll. We can wander up toward 
Dumbarton." 

Waina held her ice cream cone in her right hand, took my arm 
with her left. "We've got trouble, or at least I do. I had my cleaning 
lady in on Thursday morning. You know — the Crystal City cleaning 
lady?" I knew. She was very thorough: never left a bug behind. 
"Well, I was bugged. Even one under a Pepto-Bismol cap." 

"Well, I had Chinese with Farrell this morning," I began. "He was 
pretty squirrely. I think he wishes he was born with more tentacles. 
Odds say he wants eyes and ears on everyone. It's like when we 
were kids at Happy Hills. They'd blindfold us to play pin the tail on 
the donkey. We'd get close to the donkey with the stick, start 
swinging and then the other kids would move it. It's the same thing. 
We're blindfolded and they're going to make sure we never get 
within striking distance of their donkey." 

"So you're saying they're bugging us just to make sure we don't 
try — that we don't get curious." 

"I'd say that makes sense. You have chocolate on your chin." 

"Thanks. I suppose it does make sense." She dabbed at her chin 
with a napkin. "If Timmy thought he was living in a bugged 
apartment he'd walk in a heartbeat." 

"It'd make things easier for me." 

"It would, wouldn't it?" 



151 • Tom Fahy 



I was asleep in the bathtub, the water flowing over the sides when my beeper 
began to vibrate. When it vibrated off the edge of the sink and hit the floor, I 
woke up. When the phone in the bedroom started to ring, I climbed out of the 
tub. That's when I slipped, hit my head on the radiator. . . 

St. Claire 33 : What do you remember next? 

Tyner: It was my mother. She was on her knees, her hand on my 
forehead. Her voice was coming from far away, like through a 
tunnel. She was holding my head off the floor with her left hand 
and I could see her wedding band and I could smell hand lotion. 

St. Claire: Then? 

Tyner: I remember a house in the country. A woman with a blue- 
checked shirt and a smock. I remember feeling happy to see her. 
She was climbing over a knoll toward the house, carrying a tin pail. 
The pail was filled with strawberries. 

St. Claire: How old were you? 

Tyner: I don't know. I don't have a sense of age in this picture 
but I know I'm looking out of my own eyes. 

Durand: Wake him up! Is he going to remember any of this? 

St. Claire: No, pretty unlikely, but he seems to have had a similar 
accident before the age of eight. It's a fluke. We'll tell him what 
happened: that Jagger found him lying on the bathroom floor in a 
pool of his own blood and brought him to the hospital. 

Tyner: Who is that? Who else is there? Is that you, Ushomi? 

Dr. St. Claire handed Dr. Peter Durand a clipboard with Tyner's 
stats. She walked to Tyner's bedside, rested her hand on his 
shoulder, squeezed gently. "I'm going to snap my fingers and when 
I do, you will wake up. You won't remember this conversation." 
She snapped her fingers and Tyner's eyes opened. 



APRIL FOOL'S DAY: Conference call with Leanne Mandelbrot 
of FEMA, Terry Spits of Lawrence Livermore, Brian Reza and 
Attorney General Louis Ferris. 



33 x 020203MD: "The swiftest method whereby which thai which is 

TRANSCENDENT IN MAN MAYBE ATTENUATED, IS PSYCHOANALYSIS. " — TOM FAHY 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 152 

Ferris: "We want you to coordinate with the Sandia field office, 
get them harmonized with your radio detail, issue contracts to the 
Chinese at Manzanillo — all Chinese drivers, every last one. It's 
historic." 

"Craig Harper from Pyramid Logistics is your contact at the 
NAFTA port," Reza interrupted. "We want your radio people to 
tag the trucks. Guillermo Paez is the Mexican placeman from 
Temple Trucking and he's operating with a fresh lease agreement so 
the tires of his trucks won't spontaneously ignite on US soil." 

Mandelbrot: "Brian?" Reza ignored her. 

Reza: "If you see a rogue Teamster, shoot him!" Ferris laughed 
on his end. "That's just a joke. But if they stand in front of the 
truck, you can drive over them. I think there's actually an escape- 
clause about that, right Ferris?" 

Ferris: "It's a landmark thing, folks. Interagency cooperation and 
all that. And a feather in the cap of the NAFTA people. It'll give 
everybody a hard-on, especially Clinton." 

"And the cargo," I asked. 

"The cargo is — " started Spits. 

"Let me explain!" Ferris interrupted. "It's symbolic, Val. It could be 
tofu or rice noodles. Who gives a shit! We are making a point, see? 
Chinese port in Mexico, Chinese drivers in Mexican trucks, Mexican 
trucks on US soil — point A to point B, no hitches, no hiccups, tight 
surveillance, no Teamsters — " 

"Especially no teamsters," Reza interjected. 

"Shouldn't be a problem. We're greasing the skids," I said. 

"Yes, right, exactly!" said Reza, "Greasing the skids." 



APRIL 2 nd 2001, 1:15 AM : The phone was ringing. I wasn't asleep. 
I ran my fingers over the stitches that ran from my hairline to my 
left eyebrow. I picked up the phone and put it to my ear. I could 
hear bar sounds in the background, clinking glasses. "Val?" It was 
Whistler. "Val, I haven't heard from you, come out, it's insane 
tonight. We should pick up where we left off, maybe break some 
rules. Wait, I can't hear you, let me — let me go into the bathroom." 
I could hear a scream without any terror in it, the bar sounds grew 
muffled, indistinct female voices, water running. "Is it late? I'm 
sorry I called so late. . ." There was a click, silence. She hung up. 



153 • Tom Fahy 

I put the phone in its cradle, stared at the ceiling, and wrote notes 
in the air with my finger. At Happy Hills I would do the same, but 
not notes. I would draw faces or landscapes, often the outlines of a 
building... 

...cottage, shack, tall grass licking its clapboards, a steep slope that extends 
from the west wall. I know it's the west wall, knew it. A slope, ravine and the 
foundation had begun to give, wrested away from the house, pulled into the 
ravine, the wall cracking, floorboards warping. Lying on the kitchen floor, the 
cold tiles, listening to pipes moan, crack and sheer, water flowing under the 
baseboards. A low thumping sound: thwack — thwack — thwack. I thought 
it was my heart beating, but there was that, too, but much faster — the little 
valves smacking open and closed like a screen door. A pair of boots in the 
pay; another pair of boots, this pair kicking at a heap, a white heap, a 
of. . . "lieutenant, it's 'Dead Eyes,"' the voice attached to the kicking 
boots called out. From somewhere else, disembodied, "Alive, is she alive?" 
Boots answered: "Affirmative. The kid's here, too!" A third pair of boots 
came through the doorway, came close. J felt a gloved hand pull me up by my 
hair, drag me to the heap, place my head a few inches from the heap's face. 
"Shoot her, Corporal — in the forehead. I want gunpowder in the 
kid's eyes!" 

At 4:00 AM I woke up screaming. The stitches felt distressed and I 
could feel a crust of dried blood in my eyebrow. I climbed out of 
bed, brewed a pot of coffee, fired up the Seeburg in the living 
room. I rested my hands on its glass shell, listened to the whir of its 
motors, the crackle through the speakers of the needle bumping on 
the vinyl, and could see the jukebox's cool blue lights oscillating 
behind my eyelids, sense a river of electrons spiraling through 
vacuum tubes. "It's just you and me, Patsy," I whispered. 

I go out walkin' 
After midnight 
Out in the moonlight 
Just like we used to do 
Tm always walkin ' 
After midnight 
Searching for you. . . 



"Are you with us, Jagger?" I asked, rolling down the window, 
leaning my head into the wind. 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 154 

"Am I with you?" asked Jagger, his expression hidden behind his 
mirrored aviator glasses. With his free hand he riffled through a 
collection of CDs scattered in the foot well. "I'm with 
Unkulunkulu, brother. And today is No Moon Day!" He popped a 
CD into the dash, fiddled with the volume. "Here's my sermon to 
you, Ushomi." Red Sovine relating the story of "Phantom 309" 
roared through the speakers. "Sorry," Jagger said, patting my knee, 
turning down the volume, "By the way, what happened with the 
little brown-haired girl — the Bridget Fonda doppelganger? Get 
lucky?" Jagger wagged his head back and forth, deepened his voice, 
and did a Red Sovine imitation: "Well, Joe lost control at? went into a 
skid. Gave his life to save that bunch of kids. . ." 

"I followed the rules, Ushomi. I'm good at that." 



APRIL 13 th 2001, FRIDAY: We were at the marina of the Grand 
Bay Hotel in Manzanillo waiting for Craig Harper's yacht. "Almost 
like being a V.I. P., right Val? Or being on a honeymoon," Waina 
said, not expecting a response. "By the way, that scar makes you 
look mighty roguish. It's so pink! I bet it gets sunburned before the 
rest of your freckled face. . ." 

Harper's yacht glided to a rest at the dock. Two men dressed in 
white leapt off, secured the boat. "Logistics pays," I said, elbowing 
Waina as we climbed aboard the Azimut 98. She snickered and 
poked me in the ribs. I followed her up a short flight of steps, then 
down a semi-circular stairway into the saloon. Harper stood aft at 
the bar, talking on the phone. He motioned us to the port-side sofa. 
He finished his call, made some notes in a ledger, and cleared his 
throat. 

"Drink?" he asked in a thick southern drawl, pouring himself 
bourbon. 

"No, thanks," I said. 

"Suit yourselves." He picked up the ledger, turned the pages, 
found what he was looking for. "Pun-a-voo-ori- — is that the right 
pronunciation?" Waina lied, nodded. "And Tyner, Val, good, okay," 
Harper leaned forward, put his hand on the head of a bust of an 
Indian, turned it so it was facing us, moved it to the edge of the bar: 
"You familiar with Yonaguska — old Drowning-Bear?" He didn't 
wait for an answer. "He was a big 'un, 6' 3." A little white blood in 
there, too. You've never heard of him because he wasn't a killer. 



155 • Tom Fahy 

He's what the people on the Hill today would call a dip-lo-mat. This 
is the Chief that helped broker the Treaty of 1819, sold off the 
Cherokee lands on the Tuckasegee River, won himself a nice 640 
acre plot for his cooperation. A diplomat, see?" He patted 
Yonaguska on the head, moved him aside. "And they say the day of 
the diplomat is dead. Ha!" Harper slammed his palm on the bar to 
emphasize the point. He leaned against the paneled wall, smoothed 
out his shirt, and wiped the palms of his hands on his pants, "Y'all 
done good. Hear everything went smoothly at the port — your 
people did real well." Harper picked up a black bag, threw it into 
the center of the saloon. "Don't spend it all in one 
place — compliments of our diplomat-friends in the North." Waina 
and I had been in the business long enough to know you didn't 
rebuff a tribute from a thug in public. If your ethics kicked in, you 
could burn throw the cash in the tub, pour lighter fluid on it, or 
give it to the Salvation Army; it was all the same — the Co. didn't 
impound money. I picked up the bag and we headed for the stairs. 
"One more thing, kids, about the Chief." He was patting the 
Indian's head again. "Who brought the Gospel of Matthew to the 
Cherokee? Yonaguska. Only took 640 acres and a little charisma to 
sell his people down the river. For insurance and steel, the thugs in 
the Bronx are about to do the same thing. That's progress, kids." 

As we were getting off the Azimut, to my surprise, Dancer was 
getting on. Her eyes lit up, "Hey, how..." she started. Then she 
thought better of it, put her head down and aimed for the saloon. 

"Wasn't that Karla Dietrich, the Solicitor General's wife?" I 
nodded, said nothing. "And she obviously knew you." The itch was 
back and the scar on my forehead began to twinge. Once upon a 
time I was the guy that smoothed out the interlocking pieces of the 
puzzle, now I was a piece — one of those nebulous blue-sky pieces 
with a sliver of cloud; a piece without context. 



When I answered the door I could see the tip of a silencer poking 
out of the cuff of Whistler's jacket. "Can I come in?" 

"Be my guest." I stepped aside, let her pass. She climbed the split- 
level's short flight of steps to the living room, took off her jacket, 
and threw it on the couch. "Nice place for a bachelor." She sat on 
the couch, put her feet up on the table, and rested the gun in her 
lap. 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 156 

I went to the kitchen, got a beer out of the fridge, returned to the 
living room, and leaned against the wall opposite Whistler. 

"I'm looking for a new hobby, Val. See, I get bored so easily. I 
was into rocks for awhile, then bulbs, exotic ones — flower bulbs. I 
even started to collect old 45s. I didn't even have a snazzy hi-fi on 
which to play them, unlike some people." She raised the muzzle of 
the 9mm, pointed at the Seeburg and fired into its glass dome. 
Shards exploded in all directions. She covered her eyes and I did the 
same. "Now I'm excited about genealogy," she continued without 
skipping a beat. "Ever get into that, poking around the family tree? 
Well, imagine my surprise when I find out we're kin!" She pointed 
at me with the gun, and then tapped herself on the chest with the 
muzzle. "Ends up we're cousins of a sort. At least we have the same 
uncle." 

I knew where she was going with this, just not why or what kind 
of impression it was supposed to make on me. "Farrell," I said. 

She put the gun down on the table. "Farrell. Right. Where were 
you turned out, Val?" I didn't answer. 

"Doesn't matter. I already know. The irony, right? I was a Fox 
Hollow girl, tartan skirt and everything. Ends up your barnyard and 
my barnyard have a lot in common, including Boards of Directors. 
Let me tell you the age at which your memories start, then you can 
tell me the age at which my memories start, deal? But first grab me 
one of those cold beers." 

I was headed for the kitchen when I heard the amplified spitball- 
through-a-straw sound of a bullet discharging through a silencer. I 
didn't need to turn around to know that Whistler had shot herself 
in the head. 



MAY DAY: Jagger pulled off from Water Street, turned into the 
parking lot of the District Yacht Club. I concentrated on the sound 
of the gravel crunching under the tires. "We're here, Ushomi." I 
took a deep breath, got out. Tad, Farrell's aid, was sitting on the 
hood of a limo. He waved me over. 

"They're out behind. Want to see a trick?" Tad was holding a 
white rose. 

I ignored him, gave Jagger the thumbs-up and went out back. 
Sprague, Dishewalther, Pettifog and Farrell were variously standing 



157 • Tom Fahy 

and sitting by a picnic table. Farrell waved me over, shook my hand 
and patted me on the shoulder. "We've got a mess — " started 
Farrell. 

Dishewalther interrupted, "No, Tyner's got the mess." 

"Look, Val, it's no one's fault," said Sprague. "The Whistler girl 
was clinically depressed, medicated. Her work performance had 
been deteriorating. These things happen, okay? It is what it is. And 
a shame what she did to that jukebox." 

Dishewalther produced an envelope, spilled a stack of pictures on 
the picnic table. "This one's my favorite." Dishewalther picked up a 
picture in which Whistler is wiping sauce off my face at Jaleo. "You 
were such a nice couple and homicide thinks so too, at least for 
now. You had so much going for each other." 

Pettifog was the only one sitting. He was rubbing his temples. 
"Dishewalther, for Christ's sake, how many times do you want to 
drive over this dog?" Dishewalther put his hands in his pockets, 
backed up. "You're going back to the Bronx, Val. You're going to 
finish what you started with Reza. He'll tell you what you need. The 
radio techs go with you. You can wash your hands of the Whistler 
girl. It's history." 

I headed for the car. Jagger was standing with Tad by the limo. 
"You should have seen what I just saw. He turned that white rose 
into a red rose!" 



It was my last morning in the Western Union — a rainy morning, 
cool. The radio techs had cleared out, left tools scattered on their 
work tables, bits of wire. There was a scorched trash can in the 
middle of the floor. I checked their lockers: all empty, save for one 
in the bottom of which stood a pair of work boots. I put them in a 
garbage bag, wiped down but left the tools. In my windowless 
office sat two things: a telephone and in the far corner, the Norfolk 
Pine. It was dead. What did I expect? I put the telephone in the 
garbage bag but left the Norfolk Pine. Jagger was waiting outside in 
the car, smoking. A crew was already boarding up the shop, 
padlocking the doors, unfastening the large yellow and black 
Western Union sign. A kid, no older than 21, was painting over the 
"Sending So Much More Than Money" slogan with a big roller. If I ever 
had an itch, it was gone. I woke this morning, put my slippers on 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 158 

and crunched over the glass from the jukebox on my way to the 
bathroom. I felt nothing. From inside the car Jagger leaned over, 
opened the passenger side door. On the stereo, Red Sovine's 
"Teddy Bear," and I knew the lyrics to this one, every last word: 

I was on the outskirts of a little southern town, 

Trying to reach my destination 

before the sun went down 

The old CB was blaring away on channel one-nine 

When there came a little boy's voice on the radio line. 

And he said, "Breaker, one-nine, is anyone there? 

Come on back, truckers, and talk to Teddy Bear." 

Well, I keyed the mike and I said, 

"Well, you got it, Teddy Bear." 

And the little boy's voice came back on the air. 

"'Predate the break. Who we got on that end?' 

I told him my handle, and then he began: 

"Now, Tm not supposed to bother you fellas out there, 
Mom says you' re busy and for me to stay off the air. 
But, you see, I get lonely and it helps to talk 
'Cause that's about all I can do. 
Tm crippled and I can't walk." 



In the warehouse on Liberty Street in the Bronx I could hear 
Reza's voice but I couldn't see him: "What does 'body count' mean, 
gentleman!?" It was early, not quite 5:00 AM , and I could see bodies 
in the floor-to-ceiling bunks begin to rustle. There was sudden, 
shrill feedback from a megaphone and Reza started to repeat his 
last statement: "What does 'body count' mean gentle..." I saw 
motion on a catwalk near the ceiling. Reza had spotted me and was 
making his way to a mechanical lift. He decided to start our 
conversation using the megaphone: "Breakfast?" his voice 
squawked, echoed. "I don't eat it but we could ride to Gun Hill, 
find something, and talk about your techs. They do good work, by 
the way — real self-starters. Half are on TETRA, 34 half I got under 



TERRESTRIAL TRUNKED RADIO 



159 • Tom Fahy 

3900 grave digging." Reza hopped off the lift, rubbed his knees. He 
looked back at the bunks, said, "These guys are something else. 
This is the aftermath of go-pills and round-the-clock, back-breaking 
work. You're looking at some of the world's top spelunkers. We 
even got them patches from the Spray Polyurethane Foam Alliance. 
Cool, huh? Gay-ass patch if you ask me. Reza dipped into his 
pocket, produced a handful of pills and dry-swallowed them. "No 
sleep for the wicked. We go. Your car or mine?" 



Jagger was sailing at a nice clip, keeping the volume down. Reza 
sat next to him, mouth running like diarrhea. "One little shit 
actually scratches off the 'polyurethane' part of his patch, markers 
in Ti6,' you know, for Lithium-6. It's that bad. Like summer camp. 
Oh, oh, oh, SLOW! Pull up here. Pull up! Stop. Get out, come with 
me. Not you, brother, just Val." Jagger pulled his sunglasses down 
on his nose, gave Reza a 'once-over.' 

I got out. Reza had bounded across the street, was climbing over a 
guardrail. He was flailing both arms: "Come on!" It was early and 
the traffic was light so I strolled over to Reza. He was sweating. 
"Come on, man, you won't be sorry. I feel like a fucking kid and 
I've got a Goddamn law firm named after me. The irony!" 

I followed closely behind Reza, running with my hands in my 
pockets to keep from freezing. "Stay on the lane," he shouted. 
"You'll kill yourself if you slam into a monument!" I could barely 
see him but I could hear his feet receding. 

"Wait!" I called. I looked around, squinted. We were in Woodlawn 
Cemetery. Feet again. Reza was backtracking. 

"Let's go! We can't do this after sunrise." 

"Do what, Brian?" He was off running again. I followed. We were 
soon in a round clearing in the center of which towered a 
mausoleum. 

Reza seemed to read my thoughts. "It's not just any mausoleum, 
Val. It's Jay Gould's mausoleum.This way." He marched up the front 
steps, pulled keys from around his neck. "You've got to hoist 
yourself up here. This whole grating's going to swing away. We're 
actually going to weld this thing shut next week — we've got a tunnel 
running all the way from 3900 on Webster right to Gould's 
mausoleum!" Reza was almost hyperventilating, either from 
excitement or from the go-pills. "Okay, okay, round key, square, 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 160 

shit! Here, here. This bastard, right here." He unlocked the gate 
and pulled it open. "Go! The interior door will swing right in. I'm 
behind you." 

The interior door swung easily, the hinges barely squeaking. I 
expected it to be dark, but there was light coming from a stairwell 
and spotlights on tripods. Reza pushed passed me, dropped down 
into the center of the mausoleum, and lifted his arms: "Welcome to 
the Bank of New York!" he announced. "Come on, get down from 
there. We'll take a tunnel back. Jagger's actually parked right outside 
3900. We can freak the hell out of him." 

Reza was already moving down a flight of stairs over which steel 
plates had been bolted, his footsteps receding again. Once more, I 
was hot on his heels. The stairwell terminated at a steel door that 
Reza was leaning into with his shoulder. "Help me, damn it. . .ugh," 
he said, straining. I leaned into the door, digging into the ground 
with my feet. It soon gave, opening about twelve inches, just 
enough to squeeze through. "It's all a big joke, see, Black Friday, 
Gould..." Reza was on his hands and knees, feeling for something. 
There was a surge of power and fluorescent lights started flickering 
to life, revealing the length of the tunnel. "This one's done. Nice, 
huh? Onward! Where was I? Black Friday. Gould corners the gold 
market, really has it in a choke-hold. His objective was two-fold: 
drive up the price of gold and in turn drive up the price of wheat. 
Most of that wheat made it onto his Erie Railroad freighters. He 
was charging two, three, four times the usual rate, making windfall 
profits. General Grant got wise, dumped gold on the market, the 
premium to face-value plummeted and the public panicked. How 
much did Gould lose that day? Who knows? What he didn't lose 
at the outset, he lost in lawsuits. Either way, Gould wants his gold 
back." 

"What about the other tunnels?" I asked. 

"The other tunnels..." Reza was rummaging in his pockets again, 
but they were empty. "Fuck, it doesn't matter. I can see the light at 
the end of the tunnel. The other tunnels, uh, right — one to the 
Dunlop Mausoleum and one to the Goelet Mausoleum, all assholes- 
in-arms." 

The 'end of the tunnel' was an unlit and unheated warehouse 
nestled between Webster Avenue and the Metro-North Railroad. 
"I'm really hungry now, Val, how about breakfast?" 



161 • Tom Fahy 



AUGUST 1 st 2001: I was lying in bed at the Hampshire. The TV 
was on but the sound was off. . . 

...she said I still had a fever, and that I couldn't go to school. She'd take 
another daj off. She'd sit in bed with me, bring me soup, and play board 
games. . . 

When the knocking became persistent, I woke, climbed out of 
bed, and peered through the peep-hole. "I know you're there, Val. 
Just open up." It was Waina. I unlocked the door and she opened it. 
"Jesus, Val, you look like shit." She started putting empty bottles in 
the garbage. She opened the curtains, light poured in. She turned 
toward the bed, a perfect silhouette. 

"You look just like her." 

"Like who, Val?" 

"Doesn't matter. Sprague sick you on me?" 

"Sprague and Farrell. They say you left the Church Street project 
two days ago, abandoned your little radio friends." 

"They know what they're doing, Waina. They could wire those 
antennas blindfolded with their dicks. In fact, that's what I've had 
them do." 

"Nice image. Want to tell me what's going on — get it all off your 
chest?" She took off her shawl, laid it on the end of the bed. She 
sat, took my hands, put them in her lap, and rubbed my fingers, 
"Why don't I teHjou something. Before Happy Hills, there are no 
memories, right? Well, Timmy and I went to Bistro Lepic the other 
night. I tried to drag you in there once, remember? So in the 
middle of dinner I happen to look up and see my reflection in a 
mirror across the room. Then I realize my reflection is moving, that 
there are no mirrors. But I might as well have been looking at 
myself. The hair was different, but everything else, I mean, just 
uncanny..." 

Waina had tears in her eyes. "What did you do?" 

"I didn't do anything," she said. "Have you ever imagined what it 
must take to destroy a child's memory? I don't know what I saw at 
Bistro Lepic, or who I saw, but I did realize I never wanted to find 
out how I was utterly destroyed and remade. I love you, Val. You 
know there was someone that said the same thing to you before you 
were eight and to me before I was ten. We were turned into 
something I don't understand; something I'm not sure I even like. 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 162 

But I'd rather be confused than dead." Waina got up, stood in the 
light from the window, put on her shawl. She paused in the 
doorway for a moment. I thought she might say something, stay. 
She didn't. 



BRUCKNER BAR & GRILL: Reza had a half-dozen of my radio 
techs on go-pills, too. They were getting thin, strung out and worst 
of all, nervous. They'd had several late-night encounters with the 
spelunkers. One moment they'd be in an empty hallway in 1 WTC 
or 2 and the next, one of Reza's men would be beside them, 
breathing heavily, their faces painted like Green Berets, a sinister 
hissing sound coming from their O 2 tanks. They chanted: "The whole 
thing I think is sick — the whole thing I think is sick — " ad nauseam. 

By September 9 th , Sunday, all communiques from Sprague's 
people were mysteriously over: nothing from Dishewalther, nothing 
from Farrell or Ferris. Complete radio silence. The last message I 
received from Farrell was one week ago to the day. He told me to 
pull the plug on the techs, let them walk away. The agency wanted 
to reabsorb them. 

At 7:00 in the evening I was testing a TETRA tower in the Bronx, 
the last of them. I heard Reza call up from the street. He was 
looking like his old self, in a suit, hair slicked back. "You about 
finished?" he called up. 

We drove to the Bruckner Bar & Grill. "Let's buy each other one 
drink," he said. I followed him inside. We stood at the bar and each 
ordered a bottle of beer. "I'm not sure what we're supposed to be 
toasting. But here's to it anyway." We toasted with the necks of the 
bottles. Reza put his bottle down, looked at himself in the mirror 
behind the bar. His shoulders started to shake. When he looked at 
me, he had tears in his eyes. "I have kids, Val. I have kids, for 
Christ's sake!" And he left. 



SEPTEMBER 10 th 2001: I was awake and dressed when the 
knocking started. The curtains were open and the room was filled 
with late summer light. It was Jagger. I opened the door and I know 
his eyes were twinkling behind his mirrored sunglasses. "Ready, 



163 • Tom Fahy 

Ushomi? I don't think this island weather suits you. You're more of 
a swamp thing — a mosquito gigolo." 

We were headed south on 1-95, the Sun a smoldering basketball in 
the west, when I remembered what Farrell had said about Jagger. 
"Farrell told me something about you. He said you were a 
beekeeper." 

"He said I was a beekeeper? No, man, I am the beekeeper." He 
pulled his sunglasses down on his nose, winked, patted my knee and 
turned the volume knob up until Red Sovine's voice ratded the 
windshield: 

I came back and told him to fire up that mike 
And fd talk to him as long as he'd like. 
"This was my dads radio," the little boy said, 
"But I guess it's mine and Mom's now 
'Cause my daddy's dead. . . 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 164 

"It is important to note that facts, in and of themselves, lead brief lives. Once 
described, a fact becomes hearsay. What is more, it becomes managed. This is 
the conspiracy of information in which we all participate. " 

— George Irwin 

Part Two: Transliteration 

SEPTEMBER 11 th 2001, 12:30 AM : "We're here." Jagger 
produced a pencil, jotted something onto a pad. He took his 
sunglasses off, slid down in his seat, and leaned over, whispered, 
"Your place is staked. I suppose you knew that." He fished under 
his seat, pulled out a pair of binoculars, handed them to me. "Right 
there on the end, three from the corner, the Crown Vic." 

"You're saying I'm being burned," I said, adjusting the focus. 

"Don't flatter yourself, Val. You're not that important. As far as I 
understand it, you've been a perfect cog. That doesn't mean I think 
you should go home. Whistler's blood probably ain't even dry yet. 
Who cleaned that up, by the way?" Jagger started to tap on the 
steering wheel with the pencil. 

"I really don't know, Jag. This seat recline back further?" 

"It's broken. I'm going to sniff around. Give me your keys. I'm 
going to jog down Q Street and double back through the alley, take 
the ladder up. I'll call the car phone, let you know what's what." 
Jagger peeled off his black sweater, put his sunglasses back on, and 
wiped his palms on his pant legs, got out. I watched him in the side- 
view mirror until he disappeared on Q. As soon as he rounded the 
corner, the Crown Vic's headlamps came to life. I cracked the door 
and when I heard the Vic's tires squealing, I rolled out, moved on 
all fours to the rear of the car. The Crown Vic approached, slowed. 
A door opened and a set of hard-soled shoes approached. "Empty," 
someone said. "Toss it?" 

A voice responded, "No, no time. Let's go." I crawled to the 
passenger side of the car, lay down by the curb, listened to the car 
pull away, and turn down Q Street. 

"Hey!" It was Jagger, a six-pack of Budweiser cans under his arm. 
"Changing the oil?" 

"Christ! You just missed the Vic." 

"I know. Close, right? I tried the car phone. You didn't answer. 
Good news is: you still have a phone. Bad news is: you moved." 



165 • Tom Fahy 

"I did what?" I was now sitting on my knees on the sidewalk. 

"You cleared out. Looks like the Grinch stopped by while you 
were in the Big Apple, took the Christmas Tree, the ornaments, 
stockings, everything." 

"You knew about this?" I asked. But I already knew the answer. 

"Well, there were rumors, Val. And I've always got my ear to the 
wall. Do you smell smoke? No. You haven't been burned, trust me. 
But there are things you need to know, and being your main man, 
naturally I'm the one to bring you up to speed." 

"Listen Jag, not out here. Let's..." A headache was coming, right 
between my eyes. "Let's. . ." 

"We'll go to the diamond on V, sit on the pitcher's mound. Now's 
a good a time as any to go native. He lifted the six-pack over his 
head. "And you're going to need these. The Grinch doesn't like 
beer, I guess." 



THE OUTFIELD: There was a raccoon patrolling the pitcher's 
mound so we sat under a tree in the outfield. We cracked open a 
beer each. 

"Akubekuhle," Jagger toasted. 

"Akubekuhle," I repeated. 

"No use beating around the bush. Waina's in the hospital. They're 
calling it a domestic dispute. Timmy Baxter, lifelong pacifist, flew 
off the handle, beat her within an inch of her life." Jagger seized my 
arm, squeezed hard. "You can't pursue this, Val. They see you with 
her and she will die. And Timmy's dead. He drove his car into a 
concrete wall in front of Watergate Station, took out an old woman 
and her dog in the process." Jagger finished his beer, crushed the 
can in his hand and threw it at the raccoon. "Want my 
recommendation?" 

I felt wooden and my head felt moth-eaten. My ears were ringing. 
I could hear Reza's strung-out voice, the words echoing throughout 
Gould's mausoleum: Welcome to the Hank of New York! 

"Val?" 

"What did we do, Jag?" 

"Val, listen to me. You have to leave. Go to Branson, Missouri. 
He handed me an envelope. You've got an account at Ozark 
Mountain Bank. You're safe, in the clear, untouchable. But here's 
the perspective of guys like Farrell and Ferris — they figure that all 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 166 

the animals that come out of their barnyards have a shelf life, see? 
But there's no sense in martyring you. They figure if an asset grows 
a conscience they'll just put him to pasture. Who knows when he'll 
become useful again, right?" 

"Waina. What happens to her?" 

Jagger stood, wound up like a pitcher, threw a beer can toward 
home plate. "Fly Ball!" he shouted. 

"Shut the fuck up!" someone yelled from the apartment complex 
next door. 

"She gets a fresh start, Val. She'll spend a month or two with the 
white coats and be good-as-new." 

"Good as new, huh" Val said, "And what about you — where do 
you go? I threw Jagger the last beer. He caught it, tossed it in the air, 
caught it again and opened it, foam spilling over his hand. 

"Rumor has it I'm the great, great grandson of Shaka, the Zulu 
King. Apparently my great grandmother was one of his love- 
children. And according to my grandmother, my great grandmother 
was raped by the good Lord Palmer during the Anglo-Zulu War, 
making him great granddad. Touching, isn't it? I think so. Grandma 
was born in 1880 on a nice 'black spot' in KwaZulu but she was 
soon relocated to a Bantustan in Namibia — a 'black spot' by 
another name. Grandma was a looker, really white — all those 
Palmer genes, you know. Ever hear of Ruth Hayman? Course not. 
Black history ends with M.L.K. and the chick on the school bus. 
Grandma actually clerked for her. This is when she met Sakhile 
Mthunzi, an honest-to-god black man. They married, had three 
boys and one girl, my mother. Her name was Thandiwe. Are you 
yawning?" 

"I'm listening. I suppose you're about to make a pretty important 
point." 

"Yes! So when my mother comes of age, she meets a dashing 
political radical named Nobuntu Nomzamo. They had a nice run, 
made two babies and then Nomzamo got his hands and nose 
chopped off during the Namibian War of Independence. This was 
supposed to be a war against apartheid but most of the militia 
against whom my father was fighting with SWAPO 35 was backed by 
Harry Sternheimer of Ares Mines. And I have a picture — nothing 
that you'd want to put on a mande — but it is spectacular!" Jagger 



' South West Africa People's Organization 



167 • Tom Fahy 

was pacing back and forth, wringing his hands. "Back in great, great 
grand-pop's day you couldn't capture massacres on film. You had 
to draw or paint from memory and we know how accurate that is. 
'You said there were how many dead, a thousand? I can't draw that many. Til 
draw ten.' But during the Namibian War of Independence, everyone 
was a war correspondent — bullets and flashbulbs. And I have this 
photograph taken by a SWAPO photographer, a close friend of my 
father's. And you know who's in it? My father! Yeah! And a man, 
young, maybe 30, his right knee pressed into my father's back, a 
bloody machete in his left hand and he's waving into the camera. 
Waving, right, but not with his own hand. Oh, no. He's waving with 
my father's dismembered hand. This man. . ." Jagger reached into his 
shirt pocket, took out a black and white photograph, handed it to 
me. "That man stands to make a truly staggering fortune in..." he 
glanced at his watch, squinted. "Seven hours and fifteen minutes." 

"He and Gould, right?" 

"My father's friend gave that picture to me when I was seventeen. 
He said if I wanted to avenge my father, I'd have to do it from the 
inside. And that's exactly what I've done." 



SEPTEMBER 11 th 2001, 3:30 AM : Jagger dropped me off on the 
upper deck of a parking garage on the corner of 17th and U Street. 
"Roadmap in the glove box, a full tank of gas," he said. 
"Understand everything I've told you?" 

I didn't. "You're not adlibbing." 

"Spontaneity is an excuse, Ushomi. It's for sots without a plan. 
Carrington's expecting you. If I know her, she'll be out on the front 
stoop waiting. She's a real team-player." Jagger leaned out the car 
window, extended his hand, and solemnly said, "Good luck, 
brother — I mean it. Carrington will keep you from pitching over 
the edge and she'll make the introductions in Branson." 
"Jagger..." I started, but he was already rolling up the window, 
putting the car into gear. I watched him drive down the ramp and 
out of sight. 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 168 



CARRINGTON: I slowed to a stop in front of a brownstone on 
Lanier Place. There was a light on in an upstairs window, 
movement behind a curtain. I thought about pulling into the alley 
but a vision of a butterfly in a jar, fluttering wildly, asphyxiated by 
ammonia convinced me to stay where I was, idling beside a black 
Volkswagen, a little alarm LED blinking in the front window. The 
light upstairs went out and moments later a form emerged from the 
front door. Carrington was tall, her thick head of curly blonde hair 
pulled away from her face, tied in a knot. She opened the car door, 
pushed her bags onto the back seat, sat down, and exhaled. "Listen, 
could you double back, stop at the Exxon? I need cigarettes." I 
pulled into the alley, turned around, headed for the gas station. "So 
you're the mercenary," she said, twisting in her seat, looking me 
over. 

"J agger didn't tell you that." 

"Nope, Farrell told me. Want to know his exact words? He said, 
and I quote, 'Ask him about the Srebrenica Massacre." He said the 
genocide was attributed to a division of the VRS. 36 But you know 
what he said next, Val? He said that the massacre was ghost- 
written, that he could attribute the true authorship to one man: jou. 
Anything you want to tell me?" 

There was, but I wouldn't. Not yet. "Get your cigarettes." 



THE ROAD TO BRANSON, 8:45 AM : We had been on the road 
for about five hours when we passed through Washington, PA. 
Carrington asked me to pull off the road: "Take this exit, pull off up 
ahead." I rolled into a gas station on West Chestnut, stopped next 
to a pump. Carrington stubbed out her cigarette, closed the ashtray, 
and looked at her watch. I looked at the clock on the dash. It read 
8:49 AM . 

"You have a first name, Carrington?" I asked. 

"I do. It's Devon. But a lot of guys call me Shauna." She put her 
right hand on my left shoulder, squeezed. "Val? Listen to me." She 
put her left palm on my cheek, drew close, our noses almost 
touching, whispered, "Two cigarettes in an ashtray, my love and I in 



' Army of the Republika Srpska 



169 • Tom Fahy 



a small cafe. Then a stranger came along, and everything went 
wrong. Now there are three cigarettes in the ashtray." 



SEPTEMBER 18 th 2001, TUESDAY: ...It feels as though my face is 
beingpoked with hot needles, my mouth filled with sulfur cake, my eyes branded 
by hot pokers. There's a searing, white hot flash of light. The back of my head 
feels as though it is tightening, the scalp is shrinking, that my hair is being 
pulled out by the roots. . . 

Carrington: What happens next, Val? 

Tyner: I'm on top of something. I can feel it collapsing, like a 
mattress with bad springs and my face is being rubbed against 
something smooth, something wet. 

Carrington: What do you see? 

Tyner: I don't. I — I smell metal, like a rusty tin roof or the 
bottom of an oil drum. And I'm being dragged through the air, held 
up by my neck. My feet are dragging, bumping on uneven wood 
planks . . . 

Carrington: Good. Stop there, Val. You are not being dragged 
through the air. You do not smell metal. You are in the same room 
on a different day. It is a warm, spring afternoon. The windows are 
opened and a nice breeze blows through the house. You sit cross- 
legged on the floor, a storybook in your lap. Your mother is in the 
kitchen. You can hear her humming. She is baking a pie. Tell me 
what you see. 

Tyner: It isn't a pie. She's canning something. I can smell it. She's 
canning strawberries. I can see berries on the counter, shortcake on 
the oven. She seems to float from one side of the kitchen to the 
other, her feet barely touching the ground. She's humming. I know 
the song. It's "Peace in the Valley." And she's humming the first 
stanza over and over again. The book in my lap is When We Were 
Very Young. Then she is sitting beside me, her legs curled up 
beneath her, her arm hidden behind her back. She has a smirk on 
her face. She says, 'Close your eyes." I do. Then she says, 'Okay, open 
them! And she has a little strawberry shortcake in her hand. 

Val's voice broke. Carrington could see tears streaming down his 
face. She stubbed out a cigarette, rose from her seat and crossed the 
room to Val, stretched out on the bed, fully clothed, his feet bare. 
She lifted his right arm, took his pulse. She could see his eyes 
moving rapidly behind their lids. She placed her hand on his 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 170 

shoulder and squeezed gendy. "When you wake up, Val, you will 
remember. These are your memories. You own them. They are a 
part of who you are. When I snap my fingers, you will wake up." 
Carrington raised her hand in front of his face, was about to snap, 
stopped. She sat on the bed beside Val and put her hand on his 
chest. Warm autumn afternoon light filtered through the motel 
curtains, setded on his face. "When you wake up, Val, you will trust 
me." She snapped her fingers. 



THE RIDDLE OF THE SPHINX: I was awake, lying on my 
side watching Carrington, asleep in the next bed. I hadn't pegged 
her as a white coat. She was different, not a typical asset. I found it 
frustrating that I didn't possess the language with which to describe 
her disposition. Later, with Carrington's help, I would acquire the 
words that apparently came easily to others, words that enabled 
them to reinforce their identity, to form bonds. But on the morning 
in question, I was still at a loss. I had been taught to read situations, 
to react, not to interpret. And now I found myself trying to 
interpret this woman in the other bed, to decode her. I had lived in 
a world in which I took it for granted that memories are not formed 
before the age of eight, or ten if you were a girl. Soon I would ask 
Carrington about her childhood, about her mother and father. 
Would she tell me about running naked in the streets in the rain, or 
drawing with crayons on the living room wall? Maybe it was the 
answers of which I was afraid. I didn't want to think she was just 
another one of Farrell's tools, or Sprague's. But wasn't this Jagger's 
plan — his handiwork? I reached into the air between our beds, 
imagined touching Carrington's back, running my knuckles over her 
cheeks, smelling her hair. We were in a world apart, she and I. 

Across the room stood the dead eye of the TV. I could turn it on, 
stare into the smoldering hole in Lower Manhattan. But I wouldn't. 
The entire world really was a stage. In footage, over and over again, 
I had seen the efficiency with which the ballotechnic fusion devices 
worked, the astounding rate at which they were able to vaporize 
steel and atomize concrete. Invisible were the still-active 25 kHz 
TETRA arrays. And while the world had looked up, mesmerized, 
six tagged Mexican tractor trailers with Chinese drivers roared out 
of the basement of 4 WTC under cover of smoke and chaos, the 
axles red-hot and distressed from the weight of Gould's booty. 



171 • Tom Fahy 



I turned away from the dead TV, looked at Carrington. She was 
awake, her eyes open. She smiled, asked, "Which creature goes in 
the morning on four legs, at mid-day on two, and in the evening 
upon three, and the more legs it has, the weaker it is?" 



"It's a pleasure to meet you, Val. Welcome to the Crescent 
Theatre!" Teresa said. 

"Teresa and I grew up together, Val. Our fathers were both 
Majors. We used to sit in the dirt at Kirdand, play with our dolls 
while jets screamed overhead. Idyllic childhood." Carrington smiled 
and winked at Teresa. 

"Well, make yourself at home, honey. I have to do my litde emcee 
thing and then we can get a bottle, sit under the stage, talk the talk. 
Sound good? She gave me a hug, then Carrington. "He's a litde 
stiff, ain't he? Don't worry, Mr. Tyner, we'll get you loosened up 
soon enough!" 

We stood in the back near the bar and watched Teresa mount the 
stage, introduce an 'up 'n comer from Austin doiri it boxcar Willie style." 
"Spook central, Val. One in three in the audience is an asset of 
some persuasion or another. They come in droves, some on official 
business, and others on a hunch. They convince their families to go 
on a vacation: 'How about the O^arks this year? You can imagine the 
kids rolling their eyes, the exasperation on their wife's face. 'Yeah, 
honey! It's Branson or bust!'" 

The kid from Austin, Luther Spell, strummed his guitar, launched 
into "Last Train to Heaven." 

I'll ride that last train to heaven 
On rails of solid gold 
In a boxcar lined with satin 
Where the nights are never cold 



I broke out into gooseflesh upon hearing the first stanza, started 
to sweat. Carrington took my arm, led me to an exit, down a hall 
with a plush carpet. We sat in an alcove on a black divan. Faux gas 
lamps flickered on the wall. "We're going to talk. I'm taking you 
apart, Val — unmaking and remaking, but not by the book. I'm 
^^programming you . . . and in what better place — the work-over 
capital of the world. I could say I work for this person or that, but 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 172 

it's meaningless. Who was the last puppet-master I talked to? 
Jagger. But does that mean this is his show? Who knows? But I 
won't work with the white coats anymore. I only deprogram. In 
fact, I'm one of a handful that can do it. You are a classic multiple. 
Trauma-based programming, honeycombed over and over again; 
used, refreshed; unmade, remade. I'm trying to give you some tools, 
new skill-sets, functions with which you can armor yourself from 
persuasion and assert your own identity. I've read your jacket. I 
know you were one of the Happy Hills animals." She took my 
hand. My palms were sweaty and my heart was racing. "I don't have 
to go on, Val. We can talk about this later." 
"It's alright," I said, squeezing her hand. 

"All of the Happy Hills kids were on a particular track. And it's 
not like Happy Hills disappeared. Even today, Happy Hills kids are 
on the same track: to become mercenaries. I know about your 
encounter with Whistler. She was a Fox Hollow girl, trauma-based 
also, but different track. They're all designed to self-destruct, to 
carry out suicide attacks, assassinations or to augment the 
experience of a mercenaries. They invariably have few skill-sets and 
short lives. Mercenaries are different. They don't self-destruct, but 
their programs tend to expire in terms of overall usefulness. The 
agency calls it 'end-of-life,' just like software, which is exacdy what 
it is, in a sense. Ends up there might be more to a man than his 
program which is kind of disconcerting to a white coat." 

"Why not just kill me?" Carrington took her hand back, stood up, 
leaned against a wall, and fiddled with one of her rings. 
"They're working on it, Val. It's called Project Oedipus." 
Down the hallway came Teresa. "Interrupting something?" 
"Yes," replied Carrington, "And just in the nick of time!" 



Teresa led us through a trap door at the end of the hall, down a 
metal ladder and into a padded low-ceilinged room. A table was 
pushed against the far wall and a reel-to-reel was set up. "Take a 
seat guys." She pointed to a pair of metal office chairs. "So, we all 
know who Chico Indelicato is, right?" We did. He was the lead 
singer of the popular 70s group Daybreak. 

"Okay, I have this tape here and in a minute we're going to listen 
to it." She patted the reel-to-reel. "Chico is back in town, semi- 
retired. A lot of these guys either retired or died in '99. That was the 



173 • Tom Fahy 

big change-over, or coup, or whatever you want to call it. People 
started to scrutinize the CVs on a lot of the top names in the 
entertainment industry, especially the country music machine, 
realized they were long-time assets and more specifically, agent's 
provocateurs for Project Hobo — familiar with that?" 

We shook our heads. 

"Okay, Project Hobo. In the mid 70s an MI6 officer named 
Lionel Hampton Taylor was tasked with liaising with the CIA in an 
effort to harmonize the Crown's brain-modification program with 
the CIA's. Apparently Taylor had some revolutionary ideas that had 
been effectively demonstrated in the laboratory but bigger sample 
sizes were required in order to determine their veracity. So the MI6 
boffins listen to Taylor's proposal. He gets approval and comes to 
the States masquerading as a music agent. Hang on. I need to 
backtrack a little bit. Boring you?" 

I pointed to bottles of water under the table. 

"Be my guest," Teresa said. "Ever hear of super-learning? Sounds 
like a good thing, right? Helps a person absorb, retain and 
command large amounts of information in a short period of time. 
Well Taylor, building upon work by Georgi Lozanov, discovers that 
super-learning has a lot of unintended consequences, one of which 
had far-reaching implications: the impairment of the prefrontal 
cortex, the part of the brain responsible for critical thinking. Well, 
not the actual super-learning itself, that's an effect, but the method 
whereby which super-learning is induced. Once induced, the brain 
is like a big black hole, sucking in information indiscriminately — no 
filter, per se. So what a wonderful means by which to persuade 
people — millions of people. Taylor just needed a vehicle and it just 
so happens he had his breakthrough in '76 in the person of Lecil 
Travis Martin, better known as Boxcar Willie. Taylor sold himself to 
Martin as a music agent, had a 'can't-lose' formula to make him a 
star. 'I just need to take you back to England with me, getjou into one of my 
test-tubes? Martin agreed and the rest is history. Voila! Superstar! 
So what was Taylor doing, exactly? He just had to sequester Martin 
at Chatham House, teach him to play at a slighdy different tempo 
and sing or speak at a slighdy different cadence. The rest was up to 
the people that wrote the lyrics. Upon his return to the states, 
Boxcar Willie exploded onto the scene. There was something 
different about him, but no one could put their finger on it. But 
something fairly miraculous was happening: super-learning was 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 174 

induced in the listener but at the same time, their ability to think 
critically about the lyrics — the imagery and messages — was 
suspended. Parts of the prefrontal cortex went to sleep. Don't you 
fall asleep, Val. You're here in Branson for an education, after all. 
Pinch him, Devon!" 

"I'm listening to every word — baited breath!" I said. 

"Good, because this methodology began to spread like wildfire. 
Spooks started recruiting would-be country singers right out of the 
service. They'd get their Chatham House primer. Someone else 
would stuff lyrics into their hands. 'Sing it how we taught you' they'd 
say. These were the star-makers, the spooks from MI6 and the CIA. 
And the public was manipulated into the largest mind-control 
experiment ever embarked upon. And to everyone's delight, it 
worked. But there were and are long-term consequences and I guess 
it was good news to the spooks and white coats. The prefrontal 
cortex, after regular exposure to the super-learning formula, actually 
atrophies. Critical thinking is effectively suspended. Now here's the 
tape, maybe the only one left in existence. It really drives home the 
point." She flipped a switch and the reels began to turn: 

The sound of tape hiss and chairs scraping on the floor: 

"Kill the god damn lights!" 

"Lewis! Put the fucking bottle down." 

Glass broke in the background and someone said: 'Shit!' 

"Lewis!" 

"For fuck's sake, Chico, just take it easy. Sit down. Here, have 
one of these." 

"They're going to burn us. Not you, maybe, with your fucking 
telethon, but a lot of us. We' re finished..." 

"You had a good run, Chico. Nothing to stick up your nose at." 

"If you knew the things I did for those bastards-things I did on 
the Asian tour. If my wife knew! Hand me the bottle. I must 
have-not just me-Martin and Miller and me-we must have dusted 
thirty, forty for those rats. Hey, hey, turn up the lights, there' s 
someone up in that balcony!" 

The sound of running feet. The tape cuts out. 



175 • Tom Fahy 



"You can read into that any way you want, but that's the way 
business has been done and that's the way it is still being done. I 
just think the company got sick of country music, maybe moved on 
to televangelists. Mark my words, kiddies." 



"listen kids, hear that?" asked Teresa. 

"Hear what?" asked Carrington. 

"Exactly. That's the equivalent of dead air on the radio. Spell 
must've finished his set. Doesn't sound like he scored a big rapport 
with the audience. It's been dead the last couple of weeks, anyway. 
I'm going to go up, schmooze with customers, and lock up. I've got 
a fiddler coming in to audition. If it works out, he'll play the 
intermezzo on variety night. Why don't you two stay, have a couple 
drinks." 

The fiddler was Croatian, from Zagreb, middle-aged with a bushy 
moustache, thick eyebrows, and gaunt face. Teresa led him up to 
the stage, offered him a stool, "Ja preferirati to stajanje." Teresa 
looked at us, shrugged. 

"He's going to stand," I said, lifting my glass to the fiddler. He 
nodded, showed me a mouth full of big, white teeth. 

"Croatian, eh," Carrington remarked, "That's a twist in the tale." 

"Hrvatski," I said. "And I'm not sure this tale is so twisted, after 
all. I know what he's going to play, although I'm not sure how." 
The Croat was holding the fiddle to his head, plucking the strings, 
twisting the pegs. "He's going to play Gluck's "Melody" from 
Orpheus ed Euridice." 

"And you know this how?" Carrington asked, waving her glass in 
the air, trying to get the attention of the bartender who was wiping 
down tables. 

Teresa appeared, swiped the glass out of Carrington's hand. "I'll 
just bring the botde over, bonne idee?" 

Teresa returned with a botde of whiskey and three new glasses 
filled with ice. She sat between us, facing the stage. "What did I 
miss? And by the way, if I hire him, this guy's got to have the fiddle 
tuned before he gets on stage." She chuckled, opened the botde, took 
a swig, swallowed, handed me the botde. I filled the glasses. 

"Hvala vam," the Croat said, pointing to the stool, but he didn't 
sit. He began playing. 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 176 

"In June of '93," I said, "I started tracking Ratko Mladic, the 
Serbian General. It wasn't difficult. He and former assistant 
Secretary of Defense Dick Stone did a lot of hobnobbing — fishing 
excursions, lavish dinners, so they were highly visible. There was a 
retreat in the Jahorina range to which Mladic, Stone, Sir John Starr, 
Rupert Mitterrand and others spent days — busloads of commanders 
and officers from UNPROFOR." 37 I wasn't supposed to pop my 
head above the weeds and for the most part, I didn't. But I had a 
lot of latitude and no one on the ground to which I had to report. 
Bosnia was crawling with MI6 and SVR 38 — you couldn't tell them 
apart. There was only one other company asset on the ground of 
which I was aware: Waina Punavuori. By 1995, we were both 
operating out of Srebrenica. Mladic was no longer on my radar. 
Punavuori was watching the silver and gold mines and I was 
monitoring the UNPROFOR, which were guarding choke -points in 
the north and south of the Srebrenica Valley. Around the 4 th or 5 th 
of July '95, the UNPROFOR started abandoning posts, while north 
of Srebrenica, Mladic's troops were amassing. In the meantime, 
UNPROFOR left behind a tiny Dutch contingent and a handful of 
tanks." My hands were shaking. I poured another whiskey, closed 
my eyes, and listened to the Croat play. 

On the 6 th of July, early, I was heading south on a ridge west of Srebrenica, 
trying to get to Waina. The shelling had already begun and the sound of 
explosions was echoing around the valley. Already I had heard several sonic 
booms, jets barreling toward their strike ^ones. A mortar landed about twenty 
meters ahead of the jeep, sending shrapnel through the radiator. The engine cut. 
I tried to radio ahead to Srebrenica Town, got static, started running on foot. 
Paratroopers started falling from the sky, a few at first, and then dozens. 
They'd land, shed their parachutes and fire into nearby buildings, barns, houses, 
chicken coops. I had never felt the air so heavy with lead. I was on my stomach 
and the ground was rumbling — -you could hear screams through the earth. 

"What was staggering was the coordination. It would have 
required detailed planning. There had been no VRS presence on the 
ground, at least nothing in uniform. But MI6 and SVR were 
ubiquitous." 

I rolled to the tree line. The paratroopers were raining down in 
droves — landing in the treetops. They would call for help and other paratroopers 



' United Nations Protection Force 

! Sluzhba Vneshney Razvedki (Foreign Intelligence Service — Russia) 



177 • Tom Fahy 

would shoot them, foiling amber clouds rose from the valley floor, clouds dyed by 
fire and blood. 

"A bullet passed through my neck." I pulled down the collar of 
my shirt, revealed the scar. Carrington's eyes were wide. Teresa's 
head was bowed. The Croat was no longer playing. He was sitting 
on the edge of the stage, listening. "I headed in the direction from 
which I heard cows lowing. There were two cottages. In one a fire 
had been started and a Scorpion dressed in combat black was 
dragging a woman by her hair into a garden — " 

"What's a Scorpion?" Teresa asked. 

"They were a paramilitary organization closely allied with the VRS. 
Sasa Cvjetan, one of the group's leaders, was another hanger-on at 
Mladic and Stone's mountain parties." I rattled the ice in my glass, 
looked over at the Croat. His eyes were warm, damp. I continued, 
"There was a small phalanx — part Scorpion, part VRS — flanking 
the hill that rose above the cottages. They were setting up mortars 
and rocket launchers. In the garden, the woman was screaming. A 
man, burning, ran out of the cottage. The Scorpion in the garden 
shot him in the head. I took the opportunity to lunge at him from 
the tree-line. I snapped his neck, lay his body on top of the woman, 
and told her not to move. I went back to the tree-line with the 
Scorpion's gun, fired once into the air, and drew troops away from 
the hill. One moment I was at the tree-line, the next on the hill, 
driving a soldier's head into the mortar's pedestal. I fired three 
times, six, began to lose count, and was conscious of the air ionizing 
every time I fired. I remember spraying the tree-line with a sub- 
machine gun, dry firing, and passing out where I stood." 

I woke up in a root cellar. There was a young couple huddled in a corner, an 
elderly man on the steps and chickens were pecking at the dirt floor. The earth 
was still shaking and mortar from the brick walls was coming loose. Days 
passed like that. Every few hours a large man with a thick beard would bring a 
pail of water, change the bandage on my neck. No one slept. 

"And finally the world grew quiet again. No one dared speak or 
move. The first sound we heard was a fiddle — a fiddle playing 
Gluck's "Melody." When the playing stopped, we came to life. I put 
my arm around the elderly man, helped him to the top of the stairs. 
The young couple followed. It was a small cottage. There was a 
thick layer of dust on everything and the walls were riddled with 
bullets. There was a large blood stain on the kitchen floor and on 
the kitchen table sat the fiddle. The house was empty." 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 178 

The Croat hopped off the stage, approached our table, handed me 
an envelope, and said in perfect English, "There are no 
coincidences, my friend." He squeezed my shoulder, left with his 
fiddle. 



We walked down 76, back to the motel. Neither of us spoke. 
Carrington took a shower and I flopped on the bed. We turned out 
the lights, pretended to sleep. An hour passed, maybe two. I turned 
on the lamp between the beds. We both sat up. "She's Euridice. 
Waina is my Euridice." 

"Apparendy I am earning my stripes," Carrington replied. 

"Earning your — " I started. 

"My stripes, yes. You're starting to put the pieces back together, 
Val. That's my job, to restore some kind of semblance of unity in 
that brain of yours." 

"So you knew the fiddler?" 

"I knew the fiddler. Teresa knew the fiddler. He was Waina's 
contact in Srebrenica and also a VEVAK 39 asset. You were 
watching Mladic and Waina had Andelko, the fiddler, watch you. She 
thought you were being reckless and didn't want you to get hurt. 
You know what we called the two of you behind your backs: 
Orpheus and Hurydice. But you were shattered in Bosnia. Your 
programming had no defenses against that. You dissociated and left 
a large piece of your memory in that massacre. And had it not been 
for Waina and Jagger, you would have been summarily disposed of. 
For so-called 'time-served' you were issued the very rarely honored 
'shelter-status.' Jagger was your handler in Bosnia and he became 
your keeper here in the States. You spent five freaking years with 
your feet up on a desk in a Western Union! But you never got an 
itch. Until someone decided to put you back in the house of 
mirrors, to reactivate you, so they sicked a Fox Hollow girl on you. 
Chinks in your precious head's armor started to appear. Then you 
were re-paired with Waina, a match against which you would have 
no defenses, even if you couldn't remember why." 

"And you know this how?" 

"I'm Jagger's right hand, Val. Maybe part of his left, too. No, he'd 
notice that. But it started to get away from him late last year. When 



' Ministry of Intelligence and National Security' of Iran 



179 • Tom Fahy 

they gave him Whistler's file, he knew the company was going to 
use you and burn you. But not just you. Dozens of sleepers and 
shelter-stats were woken up last spring, ordered to New York. 
Jagger lured half a dozen agents from SASS, 40 asked them to 
monitor Reza and more importantly, you. On September 10th, 
Jagger beat six mercenaries to the Hampshire by ten minutes." 

It was enough. I reached over, turned out the lamp, pulled the 
blankets to my chin and was asleep in seconds. 



OCTOBER 8 th 2001, 8:00 AM : "YOU'RE listening to KRZK 106.3 

FM and we're heading up the hour with an oldie but a goody from one of our 
very own. That's right. You guessed it. Boxcar Willie. Here it is, "Song of 
Songs." Well don't that just saj it all?' 

How I love that old melody they are playing, 
I've heard it in so many different songs. 
It's made stars of country music singers, 
And the tune just keeps playing on. 

"Well, if that's not an indictment of the super-learning 
methodology, I don't know what is." Carrington threw the blankets 
off the bed, sat up, stretched her arms, and topped the performance 
off with a yawn. 

I was sitting at the round Formica table by the window, looking 
over a week-old newspaper. "Listen, boss, you think we're done 
here — with Branson?" 

"Val," Carrington said, reaching over to the nightstand, turning 
off the radio. "I do believe we are." 



THREE CIGARETTES: I dropped Carrington off at the 
brownstone on Lanier. Before getting out of the car, she leaned 
over, her lips inches from my ear, whispered, "It sucks when there 
are three cigarettes in the ashtray." She got out with her bags, closed 
the door, and didn't look back. 

I drove to White Wall Cleaners on MacArthur Blvd. I made a 
quick note on the back of an envelope, stuffed it in the breast 



40 South African Secret Service 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 180 

pocket of a shirt, and went into the cleaners. On a large TV over 
the counter Cattle Queen of Montana was playing. "Val, long time. 
Check it out," Rex Scholl said in a faint German accent, pointing at 
the screen, "Reagan plays a hired gun. Bringing me your dirties?" 

"Just a shirt," I said. 

Rex took the shirt, felt in the pocket, withdrew the note. "Jeez, 
what were you doing, rolling around in the mud? I'll see what I can 
do. If Rex can't clean it, no one can." Rex winked, extended his 
hand. I shook it. 

"Thanks buddy," I said. 

Now it was just a matter of time. 



OCTOBER 11 th 2001, KALORAMA PARK: "Is this what you 
expected?" Waina asked. 

"No, I— I..." 

"It's okay. Don't say anything." She wrapped her arms around me, pulled 
the sheet over our heads. In the distance I could hear someone play a tamburica. 
"Let me tell you a story, see if you can remember. I was eleven and you were 
nine. It was late August. I had a calendar that hung over my bed, and its pages 
would get rifled by the breeze from the window — the window that would open 
exactly two inches, no more. And it was through these two inches that I watched 
the world and breathed in the smells of summer — grass cuttings, pollen. If I 
pulled the bed along the length of the window, lay sideways, pressed my head into 
the gap, I could watch a bird build its nest in one of the dormitory eaves. For 
several months I watched her nest grow. She built it with sticks and mud, pieces 
of newspaper, twisty -ties, aluminum foil. One evening, three things happened. I 
had pushed the bed along the window in order to check on the bird. I was 
straining and squinting to see if the bird had added to her nest and she had. She 
had tacked a torn piece of ruled notebook paper to its side and on it was 
printed: 'With Love, Ad — ' and the rest of the name was cut off. It could 
have been Adam' or Adrienne.' And a moment later I looked down into the 
courtyard and you know who I saw? You! You were daydreaming. I thought 
you were looking up into a tree, or watching a plane cross the sky, but then you 
smiled and I realised you were smiling at me. Then behind you I could see one 
of the farmers — we actually used to think of them as farmers — run for you with 
a nightstick. I remember screaming, "NOOOOOOO!" Then I could hear 
boots running down the hallway, keys in the door. That night they nailed my 
window shut. I remember feeling so confused. I was so worried about what they 
might have done to you, but then I kept thinking about the way you had smiled 



181 • Tom Fahy 

at me. While thej were nailing my window shut, I realised that this little girl 
fell in love with this little boy." She tapped my heart with her finger. 

"Val!" I woke with a start, the Sun splintered by naked branches. 
"Val!" I saw my reflection in a pair of mirrored sunglasses. 

"Jagger, Jesus, you scared the hell out of me. What are you doing 
with a basketball?" 

"Don't worry. Follow me." I followed him across the park to the 
basketball court. He started dribbling. 

"I don't think we're dressed for this." 

Still dribbling, "Come a little closer. If there are directional mics 
on us, this will interfere with their reception. And that Carrington, 
she can do a lot of things but she obviously doesn't cook. You look 
like a scarecrow." 

"Waina..." 

"Rex gave me your note, Val. She's okay, safe, recovering. She's 
not at Georgetown University anymore. They transferred her to the 
Naval Hospital and that's proof-positive they're trying to bait you. 
Or even me. Here, take this." He tossed me the ball. "But keep 
dribbling, nice and easy. A basket every now and again wouldn't 
hurt." He dug around inside of his jacket, pulled out a manila 
envelope. 

"Just like old times," I said. 

"Just." He opened the envelope, pulled out several glossy 
photographs. "I have SASS guys that have been glued to 
Sternheimer's people in Johannesburg and New York. There were 
six but now I've only got five. One actually went into 2 WTC. I 
have another team that set up surveillance across from 3900 
Webster in the Bronx. They were taping night and day." A grin 
spread across Jagger's face. "Sternheimer and Gould got their 
payday. It's all on tape. One semi arrived every 30 minutes 
throughout the morning and early afternoon on September 11th. 
They'd arrive, unload and sprint for the expressway: a total of six 
trucks. My people followed them as far as Hackensack then let 
them go their merry way." He handed me the glossies. They were 
close-ups of the semis. Their cargo was being unloaded by heavy- 
duty lift trucks and carried into 3900, the warehouse from which 
tunnels extended to the mausoleums in Woodlawn Cemetery. 
"Look here." Jagger flipped through the photographs, pointed. 
"Here, recognize these guys?" I didn't have to squint to see that the 
men directing traffic at the warehouse were Sprague and Reza. 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 182 

"What about mystery-man?" Jagger pointed to a third man, leaning 
into a truck cab, looking back in the direction of the camera. 

"No name. But he was in the limo the night I met Whisder. He 
didn't talk." 

"Drive to this address." Jagger handed me a card. "Park in the 
driveway. It's a safe-house but you won't be the only guest. 
Tomorrow we get down to brass tacks. Oh — and the owners are 
going to feed you." Jagger patted my belly, "Skin and bones, 
Ushomi!" 

He started to walk away. When I stopped dribbling the basketball, 
he turned around. "I want to do it your way, Jagger," I started. "But 
I have to see her. Things have changed. Carrington — she gave 
me — she..." 

"She gave you back some memories. That's what she does. Ever 
see the cross-section of a honeycomb? That's you, Val. And as 
painful as it is to hear, that's Waina, too. You've got a long — " 

"Don't!" I shouted, throwing the basketball, which came to rest in 
the grass. "I know, man. Don't think I don't know what you've 
done — that I don't appreciate it. I do. I don't know why you did the 
things you did — why you took the risks. But I have these memories. 
Maybe they're mine and maybe they aren't. Only, there are a few 
memories about which I have a feeling — memories that I know are 
mine, that I really own. Waina is one of them." I approached Jagger, 
took his arm. "I know of what I am capable as well as you do and I 
know you want to use that, but I also know you weren't just saving 
me up to serve your vengeance. I'm going to her, Jag. Now. Then I 
agree to do things your way, to the letter." 

"You've got a grip, brother." Jagger peeled my hand away from 
his arm. "It doesn't matter what I say, does it?" He tucked the 
manila envelope back into his jacket, pointed across the street at a 
red van on the side of which was printed in block letters: WHITE 
WALL CLEANERS. Rex sat at the wheel reading a magazine. 
"What'd I say at the baseball diamond? 'Spontaneity is for sots without a 
plan." Yeah — so do what you have to do. That red van will be 
behind you. Just be at that address," he pointed to the pocket in 
which I placed the card, "by morning." Jagger patted his chest, 
"This envelope? It'll keep you from getting killed outright, but 
accidents happen all the time. I used to think it was just one man 
with cloven hooves. Ends up there are hundreds." 



183 • Tom Fahy 



At the reception desk I asked for Waina Punavuori. The 
receptionist took a long look at me, picked up a telephone, pressed 
a button, listened. She hung up, took a pen out from behind her 
ear, set it down. "Just a sec," she said. She went into an anteroom, 
picked up another phone, turned her back to the window through 
which I was watching her. She came back. "Mr. Tyner?" 

"Yeah," I said. 

"Elevator bank on the left," She pointed with her pen, "Second 
floor. This gentleman will accompany you." A staff sergeant 
appeared beside me, nodded to the receptionist. 

I followed the staff sergeant out of the elevator and down a 
brightly lit hallway. It was quiet. The only sound the squeak of his 
spit-shined shoes. "Through here," he said, taking a seat outside a 
doorway. He took off his hat, put it in his lap. 

"That's it?" I asked. 

"Go on in." The staff sergeant was young, hard and 
expressionless. 

I took a deep breath, entered the room. There were two beds, only 
one occupied. Waina was lying next to the window, sleeping. The 
machines to which she was attached beeped rhythmically. I pulled a 
chair to her bedside, sat, took her hand. There were lacerations 
along the palm and a fingernail was missing. I placed her knuckles 
on my lips, kissed them. Her lip had been split and her eyes were 
black, but not swollen. I reached for her face. Someone cleared his 
throat. I turned and a man in a white coat stood at the foot of the 
bed. 

"She's down for the count, Val: Barb-coma. He started to bang on 
the metal rail at the foot of the bed with his clipboard. "She's just 
idling." He stopped the banging, cocked his head to the side, let out 
a sigh. "It's a pleasure Mr. Tyner. I don't think we've met formally. 
Dr. Durand." He offered his hand. 

That voice. I know that voice, I thought. I didn't shake his hand. "It's 
going to be a long recovery, Mr. Tyner. She could use all the 
support she can get, obviously, but this..." he gestured to Waina. 
"This could last a long, long time. She's losing weight, maybe her 
wits, too. You mind?" Durand grabbed a chair, dragged it to the 
side of the bed. "We're all family, right?" He patted Waina's 
blanketed leg. "What do you do when an investment goes bad? 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 184 

You dump it, right? Move on to the next one, hope it appreciates. 
But I don't believe in focused investments. I like to spread my risk 
around. Now, as it happens, I have investments all over the world. 
Some are appreciating and some just seem to go sideways. A few, 
once winners, have turned into grave losses. A good businessman 
would just pull the plug, chalk it up to experience." Durand drew 
near, rested the clipboard on my knee, lowered his voice, "But 
something's preventing me from selling out a couple of my losses. 
Can you guess what that might be?" 

I could feel Waina's fingers curl around my hand, gently squeeze. 

"God damn it, Tyner! Do you know how much time and energy 
we dumped into the Happy Hills kids? Years! We built you up, 
piece by piece, layer upon layer, pruned here, and trimmed there. It 
wasn't an exact science but it was pretty damn close. You were a 
prodigal son. You made me so proud. So imagine my 
disappointment when I hear it only took a couple of explosions to 
tear down everything I built up. You were an embarrassment — I 
wanted to bury you alive, film it, tape your agony, and show it to my 
children as an object lesson. But then I had a revelation. Yes, 
Bosnia walled of your programming, but it also produced a clean 
slate — you were putty. Even Jagger knew, but what could he do but 
pace back and forth like a German Shepherd, tongue lolling out of 
his mouth. So we put you back to work," Durand got up, went to 
the window, "Light, dry work. And you weren't the only one. It 
ends up lots of assets, many of them Happy Hills kids, are coming 
apart — the center doesn't hold and all that crap." He went to the far 
side of Waina's bed, took her pulse. Know what a shooting gallery 
is? Of course you do. Do you remember the shooting gallery?" 
Durand walked across the room, leaned out into the hallway, sent 
the staff sergeant away. He closed the door, came back to Waina's 
side. "You don't remember, do you? How about this: You answer a 
question and I'll tell you about the shooting gallery. Ready?" 

I could hear Carrington's voice in my head: "Tm taking you apart, 
Val — unmaking and remaking, but not by the book. Tm ^programming 
you" 

"Val!" Durand shouted. I ignored him. I was missing 
something — knew I was missing something. 

"Why not just kill me?' 

"They're working on it, Val. It's called Project Oedipus." 

"Val!" 



185 • Tom Fahy 

I looked up at Durand. "I'm ready," I said. 

In a low voice, he asked, "What is the answer to The Riddle of the 
Sphinx?" 

"It's a Man," I said. "He crawls on all fours as a kid. He grows up 
and walks on two legs. He gets old, walks with a walker." 

"A walker?" asked Durand. 

"Or a cane..." And no sooner was the word out of my mouth 
than Waina's body began to shake. Her hand seized my wrist. Her 
body contracted and her back arched. "Get someone!" I yelled. I 
ran for the door, bolted into the hallway. "Somebody, I need help!" 
The floor was deserted. The nurse's station was empty. I ran back 
to Waina's room. Durand was gone. An alarm on Waina's EKG 
was blaring. I tried the phone, but it was dead. I peeled the oxygen 
tubes from her nose, disconnected her IV drips, picked her up, 
carried her into the hallway, and ran toward the elevator bank. Her 
body was still convulsing, foam emerging from her mouth. There 
was a ding and an elevator opened. I hit the lobby button, but the 
doors didn't close. "Close, God damn it!" I yelled. They slid closed 
and the elevator shook to life, descended. Waina's convulsions had 
stopped and her body grew limp. The doors opened into the lobby. 
"Someone help us!" A pair of doctors at the reception area rushed 
over. 

"Put her down! Stand back!" 

"It was Durand!" I yelled. "Durand did this!" 



The address on the card was three blocks east of the Western 
Union. I passed the old front operation, saw that the windows were 
still boarded up. I pulled into a driveway on Keokee Street in 
Adelphi. The red van paused in front of the house and I waved Rex 
on. He gave me the thumbs-up. At the door I was greeted by 
Nobuntu Nomzamo Jr. and his wife. 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 186 



The WHITE WALL CLEANERS truck arrived early the next 
morning, Rex and Jagger in the front. Rex opened the sliding door 
and four men climbed out. Nomzamo led the men into the living 
room. He had brought in several collapsible chairs from the garage. 
"Val, I'd like you to meet Bheka Kaleni, my father's best friend," 
Jagger said. I shook his hand. He was tall, slender, with graying hair 
and a closely cropped beard. "And these are our men from SASS." I 
shook each of their hands and we all sat. Jabulile, Nobuntu's wife, 
brought in a pitcher of water, a stainless steel thermos of coffee and 
a tray of glasses and cups, then took a seat herself. Jagger took me 
aside. "Waina's okay?" 
"She's stable." 

"Good," he said. "Like I said, accidents happen all the time." 
"But this wasn't an accident, Jag. It was me. I did this to her." 
"No, Val. Someone got to Carrington, probably one of Sprague's 
white coats. It's not her fault — she's probably completely unaware. 
But that's what Project Oedipus is — seeding cues and suggestions 
among programmed assets. Upon hearing the suggestion, or 
question — in this case, The Riddle of the Sphinx — the answer triggers 
a self-destruct command in the target. Waina was the target. It's 
what they call a clean assassination. There were places called 
shooting galleries all over the country where Project Oedipus was 
developed. They were programming kids to trigger a self-destruct 
mechanism in other kids. Happy Hills had one of the pilot 
programs. You and Waina have been carrying around The Riddle of 
the Sphinx for most of your lives, like a ticking time-bomb. I'm glad 
she's alright, Val. Now it's time to right the balance — to do the 
good work." 

Jagger took off his sunglasses, put them on a table. "Well, 
gentleman, and lady" he winked at Jabulile, "this is a historic 
meeting." We listened, rapt, as Jagger revealed his master plan. 



187 • Tom Fahy 



' is dependent upon the triumvirate— truth, belief & 
justification— and if our beliefs are based upon evidence of questionable 
provenance, then the breadth of what we can know is limited. " 

— George Irwin 

Part Three: Translation 

OCTOBER 24 th 2001, SPARROW'S POINT, HATHAWAY 
ISLAND: "Val, I don't know what to say." Carrington had tears in 
her eyes. "I would never. . ." 

I held her face in my hands, wiped her tears with my thumbs, 
"Devon, I know. She's going to be alright. No matter what 
happens..." 

"You're calling me 'Devon,'" she said. 

"Hate it?" 

"Not sure yet," she said, wiping her face with the cuff of her 
sweater. "But I'm in, Val. And you trust Jagger?" she asked, fishing 
in her pocket for a pack of cigarettes. 

Jagger was kneeling beneath a tractor trailer wearing a welder's 
mask. Sparks were flying as the undercarriage of the trailer was 
reinforced with steel beams. Three more tractor trailers sat in a row 
in the Sparrow's Point warehouse. "Yes, I do. Do you remember 
Karla Dietrich?" 

She nodded, "Flight 77." 

"She was an informant, or at least that's what we called her — it 
was really information-sharing. We were meeting pretty regularly 
early in the year. The last time we met — not the last time I saw her, 
but the last time we met — I gave her a message. She read it, 
crumpled it up and put it in her pocket. Then she told me 
something: 

"Are jou familiar with crab spiders, Val?" she asked. 

I wasn't. 

"They don't weave webs" she said. "They blend in with their 
environment, sometimes change colors and surprise their prey. It's our biggest 
mistake, imagining there's some big web out there, a big King Spider sitting 
in the middle. No, our enemies are invisible. They pounce, swallow us whole 
and creep back into the shadows. How dojou defeat something like that?' 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 188 

"I didn't have an answer." I took a step in Jagger's direction, 
'But I think he does. 



BELTWAY-SEGUE: "I never thought I'd be a tomb raider," 
Jagger said. We were doing a lap of the beltway, talking over last- 
minute details. 

"You and me both, Jag." 

Jagger adjusted his sunglasses, consulted the side-view mirror, 
changed lanes, and sped up. "I took what they gave me, Val. I had 
to stay a few steps ahead of the brass and 'crats. You were thirty- 
two when they assigned me to you. McShain was Deputy Director 
then, also an inside man. We were fairly close. Then he was cut 
loose, replaced by Farrell. The first time I met Farrell, he asked me 
to bring his car around. And you know what? I did. The long view, 
right? I had to take the long view, suck it up. Anyway, I knew where 
you'd come from, your history, your programming and it 
represented just about everything that was evil in man — everything 
I detested. There was no way I was going to put you at risk, so I 
figure, why not Srebrenica? It was a designated Pink Zone, wasn't 
supposed to see action. You were also in love, about to get 
married — " 

"Married?" 

Jagger tacked right into the slow lane, cracked his window an inch 
and lit a cigarette. "Yeah, Bosnia was a god-forsaken mess, but you 
lovebirds had this quaint litde refuge in the Srebrenica Valley. 
Nothing happened there. And that was the point. If Srebrenica 
hadn't been betrayed by UNPROFOR, you would have been 
married right there. But they wanted the mines — Dick Stone, 
Farrell, even the bastard at 1600. They blitzed, scorched everything 
in their path, secured the mines, and got their gold. And how is it 
that a man like Ratko Mladic can just go underground? Trust me, 
he's living the good life somewhere. He's been rewarded. I'm sorry, 
Val. I truly am. I'm trying to make it right — I'm doing something 
for me and I'm doing something for you. We're going to hit them 
where it hurts!" 



189 • Tom Fahy 



OPERATION INANNA: "I think we're prepared for most of 
the unknowns, except for the unknowns we can't anticipate. 
Everything should be pretty straight-forward — try not to second- 
guess yourselves: Two teams, two trucks each, thirty minute 
intervals. We're going to make happen with four trucks what they 
did with six — fewer baskets. No risk no glory. I really don't know 
what to expect in the tunnels, so I want to work in the dark if we 
can't flush them. If we're swarmed with hornets, kill the power to 
everything, use thermal imaging. It's a bastard, but I want the 
advantage — Moscow Rules. Four trucks, four routes south, no 
radios." Jagger adjusted his sunglasses, scratched the top of his 
head. "Uh, okay, what will the security look like? Who knows. One 
thing is for certain: no one is going to call the cops. There's a good 
chance it turns into Gunfight at the O.K. Corral. Val and I will do a 
quick sweep, subdue anything we can without kicking up dust. And 
I can't emphasize this enough: Speed! We're looting the looters." 



TWICE ON THE PIPE: It was early in the evening on October 
30th. Carrington and I were walking down Mac Questen Parkway, 
an industrial strip in Mt. Vernon, making our way to the Blue 
Mirror Bar. "Surreal, isn't it?" she said. "I really did have a nice 
childhood and I know how precious that is, how important. And 
Teresa and I really did play with our dolls in the dirt. We'd come 
home, our stockings ripped, our faces dirt-streaked, and our 
mothers would clean us up, give us baths. How do you end up 
leading a life like this?" We made it to the Blue Mirror. I opened the 
door, let Carrington slide in. "Over here," she said. We sat at a table 
opposite the bar. A waitress came over, took our order. She came 
back with the drinks as Carrington was putting a cigarette in her 
mouth." 

"You can smoke on the back patio." 

Carrington put her cigarette away, her hand shaking. "Look. We 
got a good start back in Branson. And if for some reason — " Her 
voice cracked. "If for some reason I'm not around to help you, Val, 
you need to keep working, get your mind and life back. Waina, too. 
You both have a long, hard road ahead of you, but it won't be so 
hard if you're together." Carrington took a long pull on her beer. 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 190 

"Look around. All the things that go on under people's noses." A 
jukebox in the corner roared to life. Dawn's "Knock Three Times" 
began. 

I love you 

Oh my darling 

Knock three times on the ceiling if you want me 

Twice on the pipe if the answer is no 

"Twice on the pipe, right partner?" Carrington asked. She 
polished off the beer, waved the bottle in the air, trying to get the 
attention of the bartender. 

"Let me, sweetheart." I took her botde, kissed her on the cheek, 
headed for the bar. Carrington took a cigarette out of her pack, lit it, 
leaned back in her seat and smiled. 



OCTOBER 31 st 2001, 7:00 AM : "Ready, Ushomi?" 

"Ready," I said. 

"Ready, Carrington?" 

"Born that way, boss." Carrington had her hair pulled into a knot 
on the back of her head, a cigarette perched behind her ear. 

Jagger put the semi in gear, pulled out of the yard on Bradley, 
turned onto Mac Questen. "Famous last words, prayers, anything? 
As soon as we hit Bronx River Road, we're past the point-of-no- 
return. Carrington, flip the latch on my holster." 

Carrington slammed a magazine into her Heckler & Koch. "Could 
you grab me one of those?" I handed her an extra magazine. She 
put it in her jacket pocket. Jagger put his hand on her knee. She 
leaned over and whispered something in his ear. He nodded, but his 
face betrayed no emotion. 

A dense fog was rolling off Woodlawn Cemetery, tendrils crawling 
over Webster Ave. Jagger radioed the second truck. "Half a klick. 
I'm going to ram the fence. Pick up a red light or two — I need to 
back the rig up before you follow on." 

A '10-4' squawked from the radio. "Here we go!" Jagger 
downshifted, pulled across the highway and rammed the gate. The 
padlock and chain snapped like fishing line. Jagger pumped the 
breaks, slowed, turned into a wide arc. "Watch the mirrors! Watch 
the mirrors!" 



191 • Tom Fahy 

"Movement" I said. 

"Get out, pepper the building. We're fucked if I lose any tires!" I 
leapt from the cab, rolled behind a stack of railroad ties. A few 
rounds started to fly in my direction, searing the air. That was my 
cue. I squatted, dove to the far end of the ties, fired toward the 
building. Two soldiers with CAR-15s had taken a knee and were 
aiming for the semi's cab. I aimed, took one in the shoulder, 
sending him flying against the building. As the second turned 
toward my position, I bore a hole in his knee. I stayed low to the 
ground, did a monkey-walk to the injured soldiers, removed my 
tranquilizer gun from its holster and shot them both in the neck. I 
signaled Jagger and he began to back up. The second truck was 
pulling into the lot. I peered through a pane of glass into the 
warehouse, looked for movement. Carrington was out of the cab 
and against the wall next to me, her gun raised. I raised four fingers. 
She acknowledged me with a nod. Jagger was parked and running to 
the back of the trailer. He knocked and the trailer opened. Two 
members of SASS dropped out, pulling down and securing a ramp. 
"It's tight, Jag. Four inside, probably more!" 

"Alright, Devon. Secure the trucks, prepare the forklifts, and get 
them in a tight row. On my mark, we're driving through this door." 
The second truck was in position, the ramp down and the SASS 
guys were backing forklifts out and into position. 

I pointed to the transformer. Jagger nodded, said, "Let's do our 
sweep first. I'd hate to run into some kind of magnetic dead-bolt 
that required power." 

"Gotcha," I said. I took a magazine out of my pocket, tucked it in 
my waist. 

One of the SASS officers was in a forklift. He gave us the thumbs- 
up. "Devon — once he's in lay down cover fire, open up a hole. 
We'll use the lift as a shield. Go!" 

The officer threw the forklift into gear, raised its spikes and 
rammed the roll-up door. It crumpled like tin-foil and all hell broke 
loose. The driver was dead before he passed through the door, 
falling over the controls. The forklift veered left, came to a rest 
against the wall. I felt Jagger's hand on my back and I dove through 
the breach, aiming in the direction from which the gunfire had 
come. Like in Srebrenica, I could smell the air charge with electrons 
and ionize. There were five soldiers, but they weren't covering each 
other. I rolled and fired, rolled and fired, watching for flashes. The 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 192 

room was quickly filling with smoke. I could see Jagger push 
through the breach, tracer-fire tracking him. I rolled onto my back, 
spotted the gunman on a catwalk, took him on the chin. I heard 
Jagger yell "Grab it!" And I lay flat, kissing the concrete. I heard a 
whoosh over my head, saw the grenade connect with a railing 
across the room, bounce toward three soldiers, then explode. The 
roar was deafening and a wall of hot air felt like it was skinning me. 
A bullet grazed my back, from my right shoulder to my left hip. I 
twisted, aimed and fired, saw a soldier spin in the air, hit the 
ground. Jagger was up and running, "Go, go, go!" I led him to the 
ramp from which Reza and I had emerged. We flanked the wall, 
crept down, our knees bent. The fluorescents were lit, revealing a 
length of the hallway to a bend up ahead. Tunnels two and three 
both branched to the left at ten and eleven o'clock. "Take eleven 
o'clock. I'll sweep noon," Jagger said. 

Eleven o'clock would be aiming for the Dunlop Mausoleum. I 
stayed close to the wall, heard nothing and started to jog. The 
tunnel was lined with concrete, but it didn't look complete. Water 
was running between seams and it smelled dank. There was a slight 
bend ahead and I could see a shadow quiver on the floor. I 
shouldered my MP5, drew my pistol, fired toward the bend's 
concave wall. A soldier stepped into view, sprayed bullets in my 
direction. I caught one on the bone on top of my shoulder. I fired 
into his shin, watched the bone explode. The soldier fell to the 
ground. I drew the tranquilizer gun, aimed and shot him in the 
stomach. I listened for boots, heard nothing, pushed forward. At 
the end of the tunnel was a steel door identical to the door in 
Gould's Mausoleum. This one had a crank with a loop for a heavy- 
duty padlock, but no padlock. I put my ear to the door, listened. 
Not a creature was stirring. Not even a mouse, I thought to myself. I 
started the crank and the door swung toward me at a painfully slow 
rate, scraping on a guide-path on the floor. A shaft of light poured 
into the mausoleum's central cavity exposing a scene worthy of 
Dionysus. Along the exterior walls were tarp-covered pallets and 
the pallets ringed a central altar littered with no less than one 
hundred wine bottles, some broken, some half-full. On the far side 
of the mausoleum, stacked on a sarcophagus, was a tall pile of pizza 
boxes. I approached one of the pallets, pulled back the tarp. 



193 • Tom Fahy 



I met Jagger at the end of the tunnel. He had a grin on his face. 
"Clear?" he asked. 

"Now it is. Did you strike gold?" 

He laughed, pulled a radio from his waistband and keyed it. 
"Carrington — roll!" We could hear the forklifts approach and then 
see them rumble down the ramp. Carrington wasn't far behind. 

"Jesus," she said, reaching for my shoulder. 

"It's fine. I'm going to sweep the Goelet Tunnel." 

"No, let me do it. Take the SASS guy to the gold," she said. "I'm a 
big girl." She threw an empty magazine on the ground, slapped in a 
new one, smiled, and then the light went out of her eyes. I watched 
her collapse to her knees. She let go of the gun and it clattered to 
the ground. I reached for her chin — I wanted her to look up at me. 
Jagger dove into my back. The SASS officer jumped from the 
forklift, started firing down the Goelet passage. My cheek was 
pressed to the floor. I watched Carrington's body crumple, her face 
landing inches from my own. 

"J/ sucks when there are three cigarettes in the ashtray," I remembered her 
saying. I reached out, closed her eyes. Bullets were sparking off the 
floor and walls. I don't know how much time passed, but I was 
back on my feet, charging down the tunnel, zigzagging, rounds 
whizzing past my head, one nicking the top of my ear. I slid across 
the concrete floor, imagined hearing an ump yell 'SylFEf I pulled 
the pin of a concussion grenade, threw it. Grabbed another, pulled 
the pin, and threw it. I could see the air superheating from the 
gunfire and rage, then the Shockwaves from the grenades rippled 
through the walls. I watched smoke arrange into standing waves, 
break apart. I didn't pause. I drew my MP5, fired through the 
smoke, sprayed back and forth, back and forth, up and down until 
the magazine was empty. When the last shell-casing hit the concrete 
floor and rolled to a stop, I knew the tombs were ours, every last 
one. 



NOVEMBER 1 st 2001, 5:30 AM , SPARROW'S POINT: Jagger 
and I stood on the dock, watched the last container float over the 
Mamlambo, then come to rest in its lashing frame. The air was 
heavy with sorrow. I could hear the small cargo ship groan against 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 194 

its moorings and it felt like something similar was happening in our 
hearts. 

"Devon was like a daughter to me and I'll do right by her." Jagger 
said. Two SASS officers carried a wooden box up a gangway and 
onto the ship. "McShain, Major Carrington and I, well — we had 
plans. But there were too few of us to stem the tide. Carrington's 
dad tried to warn the Joint Chiefs about the satyrs in their midst. He 
ended up in the bottom of San Francisco Bay. He was a teetotaler, 
Val, but it was ruled driving while intoxicated. And to add insult to 
injury, gross negligence — after the fact. Devon's mother died soon 
after. And McShain — he's being fed through a tube in a nursing 
home in Tampa. The last of our little fifth column was the spitfire 
you called Dancer. We did our best, but we were so few. I'm doing 
what I can to push the dagger in where it hurts most — their wallets. 
But someone needs to take a risk and tell it how it is. And right 
now, I can only think of one person worthy of the task — right, 
Ushomi?" 

"And what happens to all this?" I asked. 

Jagger ran his hand across the top of his head, felt the bristles on 
his chin. "During the Anglo-Zulu War, there was a vast network of 
caves in the Hlobane Mountains in which the Zulu's had placed 
snipers. Above the caves rose succeeding plateaus. The English 
were baited, drawn atop the plateaus, surrounded. They soon 
discovered their predicament, were forced into the surrounding 
passes where they were fired upon by the Zulu armies. It was one 
of the few resounding successes that the Zulus were to enjoy. But 
the caves gave me an idea. The gold is going back to Zululand, the 
part of the world from which nine tenths of it was torn. I will never 
say aloud to where it all goes but I will say most will go right back in 
the holes from which it was dug. I think it's the least the great, great 
grandson of Shaka Zulu can do for his people, no? But more 
importantly, I'm avenging my father — he died a senseless death at 
the hands of a petty cartel. And when you see the price of gold rise, 
it won't be because little Nicky Sternheimer is hoarding it, but 
because 1.5 billion worth went missing. Can you weigh the lives of 
the Zulus in troy ounces? Little Nicky is about to learn that you 
can't." 

On the bow of the ship, barely visible in the pale light abstracting 
his outline from the murk stood Bheka Kaleni. Jagger saluted him 
and Kaleni saluted back. Jagger looked east and I could see the Sun 



195 • Tom Fahy 

rise in his sunglasses. He took them off, threw them into the water. 
"I won't need them anymore. It was the harsh light of hypocrisy 
that I couldn't stand." Jagger approached me, held my good 
shoulder with his left hand, and looked me in the eye. "One more 
thing, Val: go to her. She needs you." 

As the ship pulled away from Hathaway Island, creasing the ocean 
with its bow, I pulled an envelope out of my shirt pocket. I had 
carried it with me, unopened, since Andelko's performance of 
Gluck at the Crescent Theatre. I waited until the Mamlambo was 
swallowed by the horizon, opened it. Inside was a picture of a 
young man of thirty-three and a young woman of thirty-five. The 
woman had her arms wrapped around the man's neck, her lips 
pressed to his cheek — a cheek swollen by a smile that was its own 
revelation: he was in love. 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 196 

x 100102-101202MD 

"In a mutable era during which memetic engineers transmute historical fiction 
into fact, it is the plight of the individual to assume more and know less. 

Much less. " 

— George Irwin 

AjITA, a Novella 

JULY 5 th 2010-JULY 7 th 1946 

MONDAY, 11:11 AM (LST) 41 : "Take your god damn hands off 
me!" 

"Stop struggling! Just stop moving!" Strand forced his knee 
between the woman's legs, dug his fingers into her throat. Her 
mouth was forming words but there was no longer sound. He 
watched her lips turn blue, her eyes widen. An alarm sounded. 
Someone was at the door. He released the woman. She gasped for 
breath, clawed the air, flailed on the bed like a fish out of water. 
"You'll be fine," Strand said, getting up, crossing the room to the 
intercom. "Who is it?" he asked, depressing a red button. 

"Le Croix," a gravelly voice said. "We're late." 

"I'm in the middle..." Strand wiped beads of sweat from his 
forehead, looked back over his shoulder at the woman on the bed 
curled into a fetal position, her face buried in her hands. "I'll be 
down in ten minutes." 

"Five," the voice crackled from the intercom. "You'll be down in 
five." 

Strand tucked in the tails of his shirt, cinched his belt, and strode 
over to the chair over the back of which hung his snakeskin jacket. 
He put it on and felt the pockets for his gun. On the wall outside 
the bathroom was a rectangular console. He leaned toward it, 
whispered something unintelligible and the hologram of the woman 
on the bed disappeared. Strand punched the wall, hard enough to 
split the sheath of skin over a knuckle of his right hand. Blood 



41 Lunar Standard Time 



197 • Tom Fahy 

sprayed in a spider web pattern on the wall. He cursed, left the 
apartment. 

Le Croix was in the lobby of Wiltshire Dome's Regency Hotel, 
talking to a bellhop, a woman with a maroon cap, large eyes, a 
wispy face, luscious lips. Strand approached them and she smiled, 
revealing a head filled with unnaturally white teeth. "She's going to 
party with us later," Le Croix said, slapping her on the bottom. It 
was almost imperceptible, but Strand could see her flinch — it was 
like an instantaneous surface -layer ripple across her features. It 
made his heart race and he didn't know why. "Watch this," Le 
Croix said, removing his gun from his shoulder holster. He put it 
under the bellhop's chin, pushed until she was staring up at the 
ceiling. "See, I told you. She's definitely going to party with us. 
Spirited, right?" I watched the bellhop's breast rise and fall, her 
breath quickening. Her right fist clenched, unclenched. There were 
rings on three fingers, one with the hotel seal — the outline of an 
owl with ovular eyes. Strand grabbed Le Croix's arm, jerked him 
away from the bellhop, and twisted his arm behind his back. 

"You scum," Strand said, driving his knee into the back of Le 
Croix's leg. Le Croix sank to the floor, dropping his gun. "Pick it 
up," Strand said to the bellhop. She bent over, picked it up. "Hit 
him over the head with it. Really crack him." Le Croix struggled, 
but Strand started to twist his wrist, digging his fingernails into the 
flesh. "Go ahead!" 

The bellhop swung her arm and the handle of the gun connected 
with the bone above Le Croix's temple. Blood started to drip on the 
floor. Strand let go of Le Croix. He dropped to his knees, felt his 
head and looked at the blood on his hand. He took a handkerchief 
from his pocket, dabbed at the wound. Strand helped him to his 
feet, held out his hand for the gun. The bellhop placed it in his 
hand, backed up until she was flush against a pillar. "I am awake. I 
am alive," Le Croix hissed. He threw the bloodied handkerchief at 
the bellhop's feet, started for the tunnel to headquarters. Strand 
followed. 

"There was a time, Strand. There was a time." They were walking 
through an empty tunnel, the roof of which was a dirty, reinforced 
matrix of silica and titanium webbing. "I'm so fucking tired of this 
crap, Roy." Le Croix was the only one that called Strand by his first 
name. "I'm not doing any of the talking this time. It's all you. For 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 198 

once, I'm just along for the ride." Strand poked Le Croix with the 
muzzle of the gun. Le Croix took it, put it in the holster. 

"You used to like this job," Strand said. "I remember you used to 
pee yourself when we got an assignment. You're a monster now — a 
bearded monster." 

Le Croix reached for his face, ran his fingers through his beard. 
Blood was caking on his forehead. "We're about to see the Bureau 
Chief, Roy. He's going to tell us that someone flipped out, made for 
the airlocks and maybe did a swan-dive from the gables" 

"Who's left?" Strand interjected. 

Le Croix ignored him: "He'll say something like, 'We needjou boys 
to find him. Seems he slipped through the cracks — can't have a loose cannon 
running about.'' But who gives a shit, Roy. Know how many have 
slipped through the cracks, gotten out, died trying? A lot, my 
friend. Dozens. I've seen them dive through airlocks, run naked 
into the lunar night, turn into bloody ice-sculptures — on our watch, 
too. Not that anyone cares. Not so long as we kill one or two every 
now and again." 

"Relax, Frank." Strand sped up, started to walk a few paces ahead 
of Le Croix. The tunnel began to taper into a glass-domed atrium 
with a central flight of stairs leading down into a cavernous office 
space. It was empty: desks, chairs, conference rooms — no people. 
At the far end of the office space a door stood open. A thin man 
with a hunchback paced back and forth, talking aloud, waving his 
arms. His voice rose as we approached. "You're finished, Balls! 
Done! You had a lot going for you once upon a time." Strand and 
Le Croix watched Craig Balls walk into view, lean into the thin 
man's face, see him sneer, his lips curling away from his teeth. 

"I'm taking him," Le Croix said, drawing his gun, taking a knee, 
aiming toward Balls and the thin man. 

Balls peered into the office space which was largely encased in 
shadows. All but a handful of hydrogen tubes in the ceiling were 
dead, while the remaining tubes offered a pale, sickly green glow. 
Balls grimaced, shouted, "You, scum! I see you dirty cocksuckers. 
What are you going to do, Le Croix? Shoot me?" 

"That's the second time I've been called scum in less than ten 
minutes, Roy. I'm beginning to get a complex." 

Balls backed away from the thin man, walked into the office 
space. He put his right hand in his pocket, rocked back on his heels. 
With his left hand he pulled away his jacket, lifted his t-shirt, and 



199 • Tom Fahy 

exposed his hairy belly. He patted it, shouted to Le Croix: "Right 
here, asshole." He pointed to his bellybutton, "Bull's eye! You ever 
actually see a bull, Le Croix?" 

Le Croix fired and Balls flew backward through the air, collided 
with a plate-glass window, flopped onto the floor. The thin man 
came out of the office, stepped over Balls. The green light shed 
from the hydrogen lamps revealed a deeply pitted face and an ugly 
scar running laterally across the man's cheeks. His nose was badly 
disfigured, twisting in the middle as though on a hinge, the beak 
pointing at an exaggerated angle to the right. Another ragged scar 
gave his philtrum a zipper appearance. 

"Still a good shot, Le Croix," Baxter said, kicking the body at his 
feet, "Didn't have to shoot him, though. It was just a pay grievance, 
but one less mouth to feed, I suppose." Royal Baxter was the 
Bureau Chief of Spartan Arms, Ajita's now three-man-strong 
security division. He had been born and raised in Wiltshire Dome, 
knew nothing else and didn't care to. His father was the second 
Bureau Chief and there had been no question but that he'd follow 
in his father's footsteps. 

Baxter lurched on long legs across the office, stopped in front of a 
translucent wall. He put his ear to it, seemed to be listening for 
something. "I can hear it crackle in there. I know there's juice." He 
wrestled a nearby chair off its track, picked it up above his head and 
rammed it into the wall, which responded instantly, as if alive. Light 
exploded across its length, died, came back to life, died. Then the 
wall glowed a soft red, then orange, then yellow, pulsed softly. The 
chair was now lying at his feet. Baxter kicked it, sending it toppling 
end over end toward us. "Come here!" he shouted. We walked to 
his side. "Squint. You can see the old pictures resolve every once in 
awhile." Once upon a time the wall was filled with images — a 
timeline illustrating the history of Wiltshire Dome. "Right here," 
Baxter said, tapping the smooth surface with a long, ragged 
fingernail. "Right there was a picture of Lord Palmer. You could see 
him grin through his tinted visor as he laid the proverbial 
cornerstone. Cornerstone! Yeah, right, like we lay God damn 
cornerstones!" Baxter rushed Le Croix, grabbed him by his lapels 
and screamed. There was spittle on his lips and droplets of saliva 
landed on Le Croix's face. "I'm getting out of here... out of 
this.. Jhis tomb\ Look around!" He pushed Le Croix into Strand, 
shook his fists in the air. "Look at this god forsaken hole! There 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 200 

was a woman, right here!" Baxter patted the desk next to which he 
stood — patted it in an almost affectionate way. "She sat here, took 
calls. I used to listen to her talk from my office. She had a warm 
voice. She was thin, wasn't well, never recovered from that one bug. 
But she was still beautiful, frail, and delicate. How many ways do I 
have to describe it!?" He pushed past us, picked up the overturned 
chair, sat heavily. "I had a face then, too — a good face. That 
woman! This whole room was filled with women back then. But 
that one, that's the one I wanted." Baxter picked up a mug that lay 
at his feat, hurled it at the desk. "Her name was Elizaveta. Eliza." 

On the desk stood overturned picture frames. Strand picked one 
up, rubbed a layer of dust from the glass. It was a picture of Eliza 
and Baxter. On Baxter's knee sat a litde boy with golden hair and a 
toothy smile. The photo was taken in the dome near Racket Hill. 
The ridge was in silhouette, broken only by a row of antennas. 

"I'm getting out of this fucking hole!" Baxter cursed. "But first, 
you scumbags are going to do something for me. We've got another 
saboteur. He came on the Dundee Transport. He was trouble in the 
colonies, but had contacts, friends — rich friends. Nobody wanted 
him. So he came here, didn't work, sat in that hotel bar, drank." 
Strand knew the guy, had seen him at the bar often, even drank 
with him. They'd take turns leaping over the counter, plundering 
bottles. 

"I knew him," Strand said, carefully setting down the picture. 

"Figures," Le Croix responded. 

"What the fuck difference does it make, Frank? At least he had 
something to run from." 

"I don't know what thafs supposed to mean you stupid prick." 
The soft glow in the wall died, forcing the room into thicker 
shadows. Baxter was leaning back in the chair, his legs stretched 
out, arms crossed over his eyes. 

"Your job, gen-tle-man" Baxter started, sounding out every syllable, 
"Is to dig up this degenerate. Ends up someone in the colonies 
wants him — say he made off with information. Remember that, 
kids: Information, text? She knew text!" Baxter sat up, stared at the 
darkened wall. "Toss me your gun." Le Croix un-holstered his gun, 
walked it over to Baxter. Baxter took it, held it in the palm of his 
hand as if weighing it. "There's a file on my desk. You're 
authorized — use your thumbprint. It's under 'S' for Stack. And I 
think that'll do it. You're both about as sick of this accursed place 



201 • Tom Fahy 

as I am. Get Stack on a shuttle to Boylston Traps." Interestingly, 
there were no more shuttles to Boylston Traps, but Le Croix 
decided against mentioning it. "Go with him if you want — see the 
Universe. Hand me that." Baxter motioned for the framed 
photograph. Strand picked it up, handed it to him. Baxter clutched 
it to his chest, put the muzzle of the gun in his mouth, and fired. 
The bullet exited the top of his skull, ricocheted off the ceiling. 
"Damn," Le Croix said. "He's not going to party with us tonight." 



2:15 PM (LST): "What do you remember about being a kid, Roy?" 
Le Croix was running his thumb over the fingerprint reader 
embedded in Baxter's monitor. "Shit, am I dirty or something?" 

"Let me," Strand said, squeezing past Le Croix, sitting in Baxter's 
seat. He passed his thumb over the reader and the monitor came to 
life, revealing a touch-screen keypad of numbers and letters. He 
tapped the letter 'S,' scrolled down a list of names: Sausalito, Sands, 
Siegfried, Stack — Strand tapped the entry for Stack. "Not many 
'Ss,'" Strand commented. 

"Not many of anything, smart-ass. What's it say?" Le Croix leaned 
close, the wiry bristles of his beard obstructing the monitor. "Blah, 
blah, blah, Ares Mines, Dunkirk, Whitesboro, Tanaka & Associates, 
Drake Downs, blah, blah, nothing, sport. Oh, wait! Fassbinder & 
Co., Agent. Must be it, right — a courier, smuggler?" Strand was 
rummaging around in Baxter's desk, looking for a pen. "Maybe it 
doesn't matter. Hey, hand me those!" Strand handed him a bottle of 
painkillers that was sitting in the bottom of a desk drawer. He 
popped the lid, shoveled several tabs onto his tongue and looked 
around for something to wash them down. A half drunk cup of 
coffee sat on the edge of the desk. Le Croix picked it up, took a 
swallow and swished it around inside of his mouth. "Tastes old," he 
remarked. 

"You want to know what I remember?" asked Strand. 

"About what?" Le Croix asked. 

"About my childhood, you dimwit," Strand shouted. 

"Right, what do you remember?" Le Croix tapped the screen. It 
turned black. He pushed himself away from the desk, the chair 
gliding smoothly across the floor on rollers. 

"My father was in charge of the gunnery range at Dunstan Fields. 
I was six when he died. We were — my sister, my little brother, and 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 202 

mother — on the tube to Vale Sol. We were going to pick up my 
father at Dunstan, have lunch, and make a day of it. This is about 
the time the skirmishes with the miners were starting. We got to 
Dunstan, were about to get off when a wall of fire poured over the 
ridge. I remember it as a wall of fire — it was really a plasma flare 
from the Nagreb Reactor. I watched it spread out over the gunnery 
range in the valley. I could see from the car windows little black 
dots running back and forth and this hood of fire, like a blazing 
tidal wave arc over their heads, ready to swallow them — the little 
black dots. I remember lurching forward in my seat, my sister 
falling to her knees, the train surging forward, accelerating. . ." 

"Sounds like a good show," Le Croix said, heading out the door 
into the office space. Strand shook his head, rubbed his eyes, and 
followed Le Croix. 

"Are we leaving him like this?" Strand stood in front of Baxter 
whose head was resting on his chest. 

"Good a place as any." Le Croix replied. 



2:45 PM (LST): In the tunnel from headquarters, Strand and Le 
Croix met Koga, Wiltshire Dome's executive engineer. He was 
drunk, weaving back and forth. "Sirs!" he slurred, saluting Strand 
and Le Croix. 

"Koga," they replied. 

"Let me show you something," he said. "It's a test of faith. Also a 
demonstration. I want to show you the merits of over-engineering. 
He pulled a small caliber pistol from his waist, pointed at the 
transparent ceiling. "You see that star?" Strand squinted, tried to 
follow the old man's gaze. 

"Which one?" Le Croix asked, focusing on the gun, prepared to 
subdue Koga. But a second later Koga was firing at the glass. A 
crack began to form, spread across the window. Le Croix tackled 
Koga, wrested the gun from his grip and punched him in the jaw; 
punched him again. The old man was tossing on the ground, weak, 
head lolling side to side, "Stupid old man." Le Croix looked up at 
the glass ceiling, saw the crack. "Spreading?" he asked. 

"No. I guess that's what he meant by over-engineering." 

"Just the same, I'd rather not be here when it blows." 

They left Koga lying in a stupor, staring at the stars. From the 
tunnel they emerged into the lobby of the Regency, an empty hotel, 



203 • Tom Fahy 

save for the sole remaining member of the staff. The bellhop was 
still standing by the pillar at which Strand and Le Croix had left her. 
In her hand was the bloody handkerchief. She seemed to come to 
life when she saw Le Croix — her eyes widened and her body 
stiffened. "Dear God," he said, shaking his head. "It's like a dog." 
The bellhop jogged over, handed Le Croix the handkerchief. He 
took it. 

"Hi, Frank," she said. 

"How long have you been here?" Le Croix asked, "At the hotel?" 

"I'm not sure," the bellhop said, the tassel on her little cap 
bobbing back and forth. 

"It's kind of cruel in a way, Roy. They could have repurposed her 
instead of just leaving her. They leave anything else? They took the 
cash registers, the paintings, the lighting fixtures, mirrors, even 
plants. But they leave a droid." He put his arm around her waist, 
pulled her across the floor, her loafers sliding on the dusty tile. 
"Let's dance, sweetheart." She rested her head on his shoulder. 

"I'm so tired," the droid said. 

Le Croix took the droid's arms, put them around his neck. "Like 
this, see?" he said. He rocked back and forth on his feet, hummed. 
"See, this is dancing. What's your name?" 

"Laura," she said. "I'm so tired." 

"Well, listen, Laura. I'm not sure if you noticed, but the Regency is 
closed for the season." Le Croix stepped away from the droid, but 
held her hands. He rotated the owl ring from her finger, palmed it, 
and got down on one knee. "The Regency is defunct, Laura." Le 
Croix swept his hand holding the ring around the lobby. It was 
monstrous, with polished rock columns, a lattice dome, walls with 
intricate carvings, large pots filled with dead palm trees. "We are 
your only customers." 

"It is awfully quiet," Laura said, as though noticing for the first 
time. 

"Laura, look at me." Laura looked down at Le Croix, her 
unnaturally white teeth gleaming, eyes ablaze with whatever strange 
power burned behind them. "Will you marry me?" 

Strand broke out into laughter, stomped his foot on the ground. 
But the spell wasn't broken. Le Croix gripped Laura's hands and 
she sunk to her own knees. "Will you, Laura?" Le Croix put the ring 
with the owl on Laura's ring finger. The droid's lips parted slightly 
and actual tears began to flow from her eyes. Le Croix didn't seem 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 204 

surprised, but Strand found it unsettling that a droid that was 
relatively unperturbed about being left behind in a rotting hotel 
could also exhibit what appeared to be a genuine response to a 
proposal. 

"You've just gotten engaged to a droid, Le Croix. I know you'll be 
happy together." 

Le Croix stood, helped Laura up, kissed her tenderly on the lips 
and brushed the droid's hair out of her glowing eyes. 

"In less than an hour, Le Croix," Strand said, "I've seen you 
terrorize this droid, kill a man, see another man suicide himself and 
now this! It's almost over for us, isn't it?" 

"It is, Roy. But we're not going down without a fight — Laura, 
either. By the way, Laura, this is Roy but everyone calls him 
Strand." She offered Strand her hand. He shook it. It was cold. 



TUESDAY, 3:33 AM (LST): Strand woke in ink black and stared 
through a thick round window into the lunar night. Behind him the 
love program squirmed in bed, moaned in her electric sleep. He 
wondered if Koga still lay in a drunken lump in the tunnels, 
dreaming about architectonics. Koga was the oldest ghost in 
Wiltshire Dome and as soon as Strand, Le Croix and the bellhop lit 
out for parts unknown, he'd be not only the oldest ghost but the 
last. They might better take him. He had a gun and wasn't afraid to 
pull the trigger: a drunk, gun-toting old ghost. 

Strand crawled back into bed, lifted the sheets and looked at the 
love program's glowing body. He touched her thigh, felt a thin layer 
of static crackle under his palm; felt the contours of her back. She 
opened her eyes, batted her optical filament eyelashes. Her lips 
glistened, parted. He kissed them. 



7:00 AM (LST): As he dressed, Laura sat in bed, braiding her hair. 
Her eyes were closed and she was humming. 

"I don't know that tune, darling," Le Croix called from the 
bathroom. 

"It's something I heard in the lobby." 

"When?" Le Croix asked, poking his head out of the bathroom, 
toothbrush dangling from his mouth. He disappeared. Laura could 
hear him spit into the sink, flush the toilet. He came back, hopping, 



205 • Tom Fahy 

forcing his foot into a boot. He sat heavily next to her. He knew the 
question was meaningless to her. "Were you lonely — in the lobby?" 

"Lonely?" She finished her braids, got up, and sat in Le Croix's 
lap. 

"No, deathly bored." 

"Bored?" Le Croix started. 

She traced the ridge of his nose with her pointer finger, kissed his 
bristled chin. "I knew you wouldn't shoot me. Come here." She 
took his right hand, put it on her chest. "Feel anything?" He could 
feel her chest rise and fall, her heart beat. She put her lips to his ear. 
"It's a heart, Le Croix. You have so little time, so you live in terror 
of it. I can wait forever, but it doesn't mean I want to." She brushed 
her nose against his cheek. 



8:08 AM (LSI): They met in the lobby. The sound of a piano was 
echoing around the carved rock walls. It was coming from the bar. 
Strand led Le Croix and Laura into the lounge. Tables were 
overturned and trash was heaped in the corners. One un-hooded 
hydrogen bulb floated over the bar. Empty glasses were strewn on 
the counter and dozens of half-empty bottles were tipped on their 
sides. In the far corner sat Koga at a grand piano, its top up. As he 
played he sang along to the tune: 

Vm standing on the edge of time 

I walked away when love was mine 

Caught up in a world of uphill climbing 

The tears are in my mind 

And nothing is rhyming, oh, Mandy. . . 

Le Croix coughed. The playing stopped. Koga looked up, his 
eyelids droopy with drink. "You!" Koga shouted. He stood and fell 
backwards over the piano stool. Laura ran to Koga, knelt beside 
him. Strand and Le Croix waited. 

Laura helped him to his feet, brought him over by his arm. 
"Koga," Le Croix started. "We have a proposition for you." 

"Not interested," Koga replied. He seemed suddenly aware that 
he was in the company of a woman and that the woman had him by 
his arm. "You have no scent, young lady," he said, burrowing his 
nose into her neck, sniffing. 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 206 

"It's like this, Koga," Strand called from the bar. He was pouring 
himself a glassful of Czar-brand Vodka. "We're lighting out. We 
killed Balls and Baxter killed himself. There's no one else. This is 
our last hurrah, old chap — one last bounty and we need one more 
warm body to round out the hunting party." Strand hoisted himself 
onto the bar, sat, swallowed the glassful of vodka, and poured 
another. 

"I remember when the Regency was a respectable place," Koga 
complained, clearly struggling to form words without slurring. "I 
designed that dome, the support structures, everything, right down 
to the vacuum seals. I over-engineered everything!" 

Le Croix shot Strand a glance and they both burst out into 
uncontrollable laughter. "You fucking cowboys," Koga shouted, 
reaching into his waistband, "Where's my gun?" 

"This one?" Le Croix asked, holding Koga's handgun over his 
head. He tossed it to Koga who prompdy dropped it. 

"Bastard," he murmured. He bent over, picked up the gun, held it 
to his face, closed one eye and peered down the barrel. He pulled 
the trigger, but there was no sound. Koga fell over anyway, dead 
drunk. 

"We'll take him with us," Le Croix said. "We could use the 
entertainment. ' ' 



3:33 PM (LST): "When was the last time you schmoes left Regency 
at Wiltshire?" Koga asked. Strand and Le Croix didn't reply. The 
answer would be embarrassing. 

Buttoning up a heavy overcoat, wrapping a thick scarf around his 
neck, Koga shuffled over to Laura on wooden legs, held her face in 
his oversized hand, said, "I know how longyozfve been here." Laura 
wiggled free, ran to Le Croix's side. 

"So once more, old-timer, why the underground?" Le Croix asked. 

Koga ushered them over to an oblong window with polarized 
glass, pointed to the ribbing of Wiltshire Dome's exoskeleton. 
"You've watched it all fall down around you and you haven't 
noticed." 

"I wouldn't say we haven't noticed," Strand said. "Ignored, more 
like." He removed a handful of black, sticky thiopental sticks from 
his pocket, put one in his mouth and lit it. "Ignored, right Le 
Croix?" 



207 • Tom Fahy 

"Give me one of those," Le Croix said. 

"I'll do you one better." Strand removed the lit stick from his 
mouth, handed it to Le Croix. "No charge." 

Koga pointed to the alloy ribbing near the peak of Wiltshire 
Dome, traced the length of a rib with his long fingernail to the 
ground where it disappeared under the superstructure. The Regency 
was a supposedly hermetically sealed facility within a hermetically 
sealed superdome. "The seals have dried, failed. Solar radiation has 
done its job. Most of those hexagonal panes are sliding around in 
their frames like lenses in a broken pair of glasses. Can't go out 
there. It's suicide." 

"Then I think we should seriously consider it," Le Croix said, his 
head wreathed in smoke. 

"We'll take the Dunstan Tubes through Vale Sol. It's the only way 
out of here." 

"I'm not taking the tubes, old man," Le Croix said. "I know 
what's happened down there! The air's green! I don't care enough 
about Stack or Boylston Traps to become some tube-itinerant." 

"It is ionized air, you twit. Completely harmless. Most of the seals 
on the trans-lunar tubes have been damaged, so they've turned into 
monstrous cathodes, but they still work. We need supplies!" Koga 
asserted. He turned and stalked toward the bar. Laura followed him. 

"I have plans, Le Croix. I'm taking the tubes. You and Talky Tina 
can stay right here and rot for all I care. The old man and I are 
going on holiday," Strand said, defiant. 

"Just you and the old man, huh?" Le Croix patted a bulge in 
Strand's snakeskin jacket. "You mean you, the old man and your 
precious hologram." Le Croix winked, licked his lips, gave Strand 
the thumbs-up. 

"I would say that makes us even — you've got your thing and I've 
got mine. That just leaves the old man stag." 

"He's got his vacuum seals and superstructures. . ." 

A voice boomed from the far side of the lobby: "Gen-de-man!" 

"Christ!" Le Croix said, drawing his gun, pointing through the 
dead palms. "See anything?" He threw his thiopental stick on the 
ground where it lay smoldering. Strand dropped to his knees, belly- 
laughing, tears streaming from his bloodshot eyes. "Why are you 
laughing?" Le Croix demanded. He fired through the brown palm 
fronds clumped in the middle of the Regency's atrium. He grabbed 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 208 

Strand by his t-shirt, "You prick! You better tell me why you're 
laughing." 

Strand stopped laughing, caught his breath and pushed the muzzle 
of Le Croix's gun away from his nose. "It's nothing, man. There's 
nothing there. You're just hearing things." 

"Speaking of hearing things..." It was Koga. He and Laura had 
loaded a baggage cart with liquor botdes. Le Croix got up, went to 
Laura, unbuttoned three of the buttons of her uniform. 

"You're not working anymore," he said. "You can let your hair 
down." She smiled her blinding droid smile and Le Croix stroked 
her auburn hair. 

Koga continued: "I was saying, things are different in the 
underground: broken. There are optical anomalies you've got to be 
prepared for. It's not real. It's just living history, in a sense. You're 
going to see a lot of people down in those tubes. Not real people, 
but a kind of static resonance that generates the appearance of 
people. Usually these phenomena live beyond the visible spectrum. 
But once we get in those tubes, the faster we move, the more 
realistic that resonance will become. No one took the time to 
explain it. My recommendation: once you get on a train, and once 
they start appearing, just sit on one, close your eyes. It really is the 
damndest thing, though." 

"So you're saying it's safe," Strand said. 

"I said no such thing. Know what they told me when I first 
started engineering for Regency Hotels and Inntergalactic before 
that? They said, ''You aren't Earthside anymore. 'Safety's' a relative term' 
I guess what I'm saying is, you'll be relatively safe down there." 

"Good enough for me," Strand said, grabbing the old man, pulling 
him toward a bank of elevators. Le Croix and Laura followed, 
pushing the baggage cart. A botde of vodka rolled off, broke, 
spilled across the polished floor. 



4:00 PM (LST): NARRATOR: Beneath the bluster, the braggadocio, the 
drug use, the violence, redeeming qualities could be uncovered in the persons 
Strand and Le Croix; that is, if someone had the improbable capacity, time, 
patience and misguided desire to unearth said qualities. They were complex men. 
Both had grown up in the superdome complex known as Ajita, sons of stalwart 
servicemen — servicemen born to Ajita; to women that were aboard the first 
ships. All children born to these women, the first of a kind, were called Sons 



209 • Tom Fahy 

and Daughters ofAjita. And to the degree that one could be considered such on 
the moon, this first generation were nobles, if not noble in a plenary sense. And 
the children of the nobles of whom Strand and Te Croix were two, inherited a 
mantle that was by and large nepotic. Unlike their fathers and grandfathers, 
they were completely without skills, or history and it is this absence of history, of 
context, that hastened the collapse of Ajita. But it could be argued that they 
were blameless — Strand, Le Croix and their cohort. They grew up in a world 
that was already in an advanced state of decay, from much of which they were 
shielded, being the sons of what was considered a privileged class: administrators, 
servicemen, engineers, while the lunar majority consisted of miners and drill 
corps., all of whom lived in crude encampments carved out of the crater walls 
north ofAjita. 

The silica mines were a lesson in gross incompetence, built quickly and 
haphazardly. Collapses were frequent and the loss of life was staggering. What 
is worse, the labor was conscripted from Earth. The miners were rugged, angry 
and completely without the tools required in order to effect a successful people's 
uprising. Consequently, they had little enthusiasm. They did not maintain their 
equipment (nor knew how) and sabotage became a hobby. What is more, there 
were no rigorous quotas against which they could measure their progress, no 
standards of measure; their objectives were a mystery: 'Drill! Drill deeper! And 
so they did, and many became permanently entombed, forgotten, uncounted, 
written off the books, lodged in cold, airless holes with broken drill bits. 

The life of the miners was something about which the sons of the nobles were 
fascinated. Strand and Le Croix, as boys, would listen attentively to the tales 
their fathers told, hear the exhaustion in their voices, the gravel in their 
larynxes, as they described the horror that was the mine. And their fathers 
seemed only to find relief in perversion, in the description of the torture that they 
wrought; of the anguish that it was their job to deliver. It was the Sons ofAjita 
that were charged with the ghastly job of disposing of those that were completely 
inept or dysfunctional, or had morale problems. And it was poor morale that 
was punished most severely, but not swiftly. A gift of swift punishment was 
made to only the inpt. But like the miners, they were lost men, without 
objectives, without structure and worse still, like Strand and Le Croix, without 
history. Ajita was all they knew. . . 

"For the love of Maitreya, SHUT UP," Le Croix shouted, banging 
on an unlit console mounted on the wall, desperately trying to 
summon the elevator. "Why can't he keep his mouth shut!?" 

"Who?" asked Koga. He placed himself between Le Croix and the 
wall. 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 210 

"The narrator, old man. Don't tell me you can't hear him!" Strand 
shrieked, squeezing himself between Le Croix and Koga, grabbing 
Koga's thick lapels, shoving him against the wall, snarling. 

"I can't hear him. I don't hear anything, Roy. Maybe it's my old 
ears. Maybe it's the vodka. I don't hear it. What's it saying?" Koga 
patted Strand's chest. "Back away, would you?" 

"He's there," Le Croix said, stalking toward Laura, his hands 
beckoning. "I can hear him breathing, at night, right now, can feel 
his breath on my neck and I swear, by God, one day I'll kill him." 
He put his hands around Laura's neck, pretended to strangle her. 
"I'll sneak up on him like this, but from behind, see? And I'll 
squeeze the life out of his meddling head. I'll take his eyes as 
trophies, pickle them, carry them in a jar. . ." 

Laura's eyes were wide, the pupils dilated: "It's coming," she 
squeaked. "The elevator..." 

Le Croix let go, took a knee and drew his gun. The entire lobby 
rumbled as the elevator approached. A brass bell sitting atop the 
Regency reception desk vibrated to the edge and fell, dinged one 
last time. "I'm in a foul mood. I'm shooting anything that 
moves — everything that moves. Stand back!" 

The rumbling stopped. There was a rattling sound, as of heavy 
chains, and the elevator doors scraped open, revealing a flickering 
space filled with crates, tall stacks of dented luggage, piles of 
yellowing papers. "This stuff should go to Lost & Found." Strand 
said, snickering. One of the stacks of luggage was swaying back and 
forth and Le Croix unloaded his gun, airing out suitcases, 
splintering crates, shredding papers, firing into the walls. His gun 
empty, Le Croix stood, stretched and yawned. The swaying tower 
of luggage collapsed to the floor and one of the suitcases popped 
open, spilling women's lingerie onto the floor. 

"Oh, boy," Le Croix said, waving away the smoke that was 
flowing from the elevator's entrance. He bent down, picked up a 
bra, held it out to Laura's chest. "This is your lucky day!" he said, 
clearly satisfied with his newfound treasure. Laura blushed. 

"It blushes!" Koga remarked, surprised. 

Le Croix spun around, pointed the gun at Koga, and pulled the 
trigger. "If it were loaded, I'd still pull it, old man. You owe her an 
apology. But save it for later. It'll give me something to look 
forward to." 



211 • Tom Fahy 



4:30 PM (LST): The tubes were a forlorn sight, stalactites hanging 
from the ceiling, several derelict, windowless cars hovering on 
sidings. Behind a glass panel sat a skeleton, its jaw hanging by one 
hinge. 

"That your work, gendeman?" Koga asked. 

"We're not killers, you yellow bag of pus!" Strand shouted. 

"I think it was," Le Croix corrected him. "I think it was that night 
we got drunk with Baxter, the night the underground 
decompressed. I'm not saying we killed him, but it's a distinct 
possibility we made sure he wasn't alive." 

"I don't remember that," Strand said, fishing for a thiopental stick. 
He lit it, inhaled and picked some black specks from his lip. "No 
recollection." 

"That's convenient," Koga said. 

Laura was wandering at the end of the station, barely visible in the 
cloudy air. "Frank!" 

"She's using your first name. I'm impressed. Must be love, huh?" 
Strand said. 

"Yes, Roy," Le Croix moved in the direction of Laura's voice, 
glancing one last time at the skeleton in his plate -glass booth, "That 
was you, Strand. See the bullet holes — the chip in his collarbone? 
That's a plain messy shot. Once in the collarbone and once in the 
jaw." He walked away, shaking his head. 

"It's sodium gas, this haze," Koga said, "Probably not very 
healthy. We need to find a working car, get into Vale Sol, at least 
Dunstan Fields, maybe even Dunstan Station. This man you're 
after — Stack, right? You say he came in on a shutde, a transport. . ." 

"Transport," Strand confirmed. 

"Transport, yes. Had to be the Dundee — the automated transport 
from the Milford Orbiter. That was the last of them. Supposed to 
be empty. They were playing pool with the transports, aiming for 
Ajita, know that? Wiltshire was the target. It's a game they play, the 
Admirals. Know how I know?" Strand was leaning against the 
skeleton's booth, taking deep drags off the black stick. His eyes 
were red and running. "I'll tell you how I know — " 

"Doesn't matter," Strand said, blowing white rings into the air 
thick with yellow sodium gas. "Maybe I did kill him," he offered, 
peering over his shoulder into black, cobwebbed eye-sockets. 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 212 

"You don't want to know who Stack is," The old man said. 
"There's a tower about a hundred meters from Wiltshire, on top of 
Spackle Point. It had a beacon once. You could watch it blink at 
night. Well, I took these old bones up there one afternoon last 
month. Suited up for the first time in I don't know how long, went 
up to the tower. Was I lonely? Was I starved for companionship? 
Well that tower is like Babel, tweeting and singing, hissing and 
crackling; a regular symphony of interference: radio emissions from 
the Sun and the hum of background radiation from the plasma 
reactor in Nagreb; lots of noise — a miracle that anyone ever 
discerned anything intelligible out of that. I spent an afternoon up 
there, half in my suit, half out, sunglasses on, staring at the Sun..." 

"You ever shut your mouth?" 

Koga ignored him. "I began to hear voices and the tower began to 
rumble. The antenna was reorienting. Then clear as a bell, voices, 
dispatches, just like the old days." Koga picked a botde of vodka 
off the baggage cart, unscrewed the cap, and took a gulp. "Know 
what year it is, handsome?" 

NARRATOR; Strand didn't. And he didn't care. He was thinking about 
the afternoon when the Nagreb Reactor melted down, killing his father, 
hundreds of other servicemen and their charges. As the Vale Sol tube lurched 
forward, he dove on top of his sister, but not in time to prevent her from staring 
into the light shed by the reactor. Strand watched her corneas spider-web with 
broken blood vessels, then they turned milky. He could still hear her scream. . . 

"God damn it! If I wanted the world to know what I was 
thinking, I'd tell them. It's my business, you bastard!" 

"The narrator again, yes" Koga assumed, and took another swig 
of vodka. 

Le Croix and Laura were running in their direction, waving their 
arms. "We found one," they said in unison, out of breath, "An 
engineer's car, just down the track, still sealed and 
working — pr ob ably . " 

"If it's lit up, it's working," Koga said, "Almost no moving parts." 



5:15 PM (LST): Together, the four of them hoisted the baggage 
cart carrying the liquor onto the car, pushing it to the far end, 
lashing it to a seat to keep it from rolling. Strand sat heavily, put his 



213 • Tom Fahy 

feet up, let out a sigh. Koga fiddled with the control panel in the 
engineer's compartment. Every few minutes they could hear him 
swear, pound something. 

"Hand us a bottle, will you?" Le Croix asked. Strand tossed them 
a botde of Czar. Laura caught it, admired the label. 

"Before it was the Regency, it was a Holiday Inntergalactic," Laura 
said. "Kemmons Wilson commissioned eleven red-series bellhops 
in 1962. I was one of them. He used to bring cases and cases of 
Czar Vodka, insisted that the bars were stocked with it." She 
brushed a thin layer of dust from the bottle, revealed the visage of 
Peter the Great. "Cases and cases, especially when Khrushchev was 
booked—" 

"The Holiday Inntergalactic hosted the 22nd Congress of the 
Communist Party," Koga interjected from the entrance to the 
engineer's cab. "It was quite a to-do. Khrushchev was the only 
show in town back then, but you boys are probably too young to 
remember. You were still a couple of sniveling punks in short- 
pants, hanging on your mother's tits. But Electric Red remembers, 
don't you? And then it all went to hell. Can't put my finger on it, 
but something went awry on Earth. You know, I don't know. I 
came here with my parents when I was eleven, can barely remember 
it." 

"He didn't come anymore after that," Laura said. "And you know 
how I knew things were changing? In the autumn of '63, they 
stopped watering the lobby plants. Everything died. The 
Inntergalactic became the Regency — " 

"The mines closed," Koga continued. "The drilling stopped. The 
orientation of the antennas changed, were pointed at the Sun. This 
is around the time the reactor failed. What was left? Not much. A 
few ghosts, leftover engineers, a demoralized security 
force — Baxter's old man at the helm — stenographers and some 
mothers. Ajita became the back orifice for Earth's geosynchronous 
military satellites, chewing up, digesting, excreting and encrypting 
everything, for everyone. Ajita's where history was remade, where 
Earthside geopolitics was engineered. That's what your mothers did 
for Baxter's old man — all on orders from Moscow. Secretary 
Brezhnev was one of our last guests — he and Bob McNamara. He 
pinned medals on all of the crypto women. Then they burned 
us — washed their hands of Ajita." 

"And Dean Rusk," Laura added. 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 214 

"Right, Rusk. But that was an accident. He was in a capsule that 
crashed south of Boylston Traps. He was a mess: detached retina, 
broken femur, punctured lung. . ." 

"I hate to be the fly in the ointment, but you think we can get this 
deathtrap moving sometime this year?" Le Croix asked. "I've got a 
hot date, don't want to be late." 

"Apathy," Koga shouted and Laura nodded in confirmation of his 
sentiment, "Once upon a time, Ajita was an important place — " 

"You're worse than the narrator, old man," Strand said. "At least I 
can shut him up. You heard the man, he's got a date and I'm 
supposed to chaperone, so let's put on some speed!" 

Koga huffed, "Tsk-tsk." He went into the engineer's cab, sat, and 
pressed several buttons. A monitor came to life, painted his face 
yellow. He pressed a big red button and the car filled with a pale 
violet light, began to strobe, while a low hum began to issue from 
the undercarriage. 

"It's moving!" Le Croix said. "And fast! I can't even feel it!" 

The hair on their heads stood on end and from every surface they 
received small shocks. Strand sat down, reached for the bottle of 
vodka that Laura was grasping to her chest. She handed it over and 
he took several swallows. The near-frictionless passage through the 
tube was disorienting. They passed no reference markers. They 
moved from blackness into blackness. The violet light inside the car 
began to darken, thicken, then brighten and the air grew dense. 
"You're fine," Koga called out. "There's air, but there's also a lot of 
leaks. The oxygen ratio is probably a little off and maybe on top of 
that we're running into some fractionated lead. Not to worry. Keep 
breathing — deep breaths." 

Strand watched Le Croix clutch Laura, pulling her onto his lap, 
static electricity snapping and crackling on their clothing. They 
kissed and sparks travelled between their tongues. Beside them sat a 
young woman in a sarafan. She was staring out into the 
uninterrupted black of the tube. "Koga, it's happening!" Laura and 
Le Croix saw the woman, jumped out of their seats. She didn't 
seem to notice. 

"It's purely optical," Koga called out, "There will be more in a 
minute. Why don't you try and make a few friends, Strand. You 
have such a charming personality." 

Beside Strand appeared a little boy of seven or eight. He had a 
large tetrahedral block in his hand that he was turning end-over- 



215 • Tom Fahy 

end, holding it in front of his face. He was smiling. "Hello?" Strand 
said. 

The image of the boy began to grow deep purple, fill with what 
looked like wire filaments. They would glow and explode; reform 
and explode again. The boy threw the block in the air, caught it, 
turned to him, and cried, "Hey!" Strand jumped out of his seat. 

"You said they weren't real!" 

The air sizzled and another apparition formed, took a seat next to 
the boy, put its arms around his shoulders. "Hello, love," the 
apparition said. The boy smiled, handed the apparition his block. 

"Hand me the bottle," Le Croix said. Strand kept the bottle but 
handed Le Croix another botde from the baggage cart. Together, 
the three of them backed into the engineer's cab, watched the car 
fill with dozens of purple forms. 

"We're really moving now!" Koga said, squindng into the black 
void into which the car was hurtling. He looked over his shoulder, 
peered past the group crowded in the cab, beheld a car packed with 
ghostly passengers. "Oh! Oh, my. . . Grab me a bottle, Strand!" 



6:15 PM (LST): "That's starlight!" Laura said, pointing ahead of 
the car. 

"Could be," Koga answered, "Means we're about to surface. 
When was the last time you kids were out this far." 

Strand and Le Croix looked at each other, shrugged. "Long time," 
Le Croix said. 

"Then this'll be a treat. It's probably not how you remember it. 
Last I knew, only a handful of domes were still standing east of 
Dunstan... Waift" What was a small window of stars suddenly 
exploded into a huge field of blinking pinpoints of light and the car 
shot out of the underground and into a brilliant landscape that 
rolled away beneath them, "That was a surprise. Look, up and to 
the right, over the ridge. That's Dunstan. You can see the skeleton 
of Babushkin Dome, the old smokestacks, the beacon. Damn! And 
there! See the red glow? Right over the ridge, back in '72, there 
was a little eruption — first volcanism observed in this region. It was 
going to be capped, used for geothermal power." The control panel 
started to emit a loud crackling sound and a needle in a gauge 
started to dance wildly back and forth. "Just a few roentgens. You 
don't want to live forever anyway, do you?" 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 216 

"How do you know where this tube terminates?" asked Laura. 

"I don't. But the vacuum is pretty much intact so I'm guessing the 
terminus is in Dunstan, right there, look, nonA" They were passing a 
parallel tube, a large section of which had detached. It was lying in 
the valley floor, shattered, as were several segments of a car. "That's 
why Wiltshire doesn't have visitors." 

"Who'd come?" Le Croix asked. 

"Questions. Now you know why you needed to bring along this 
old drunk." Koga rubbed his scruffy face, played with his wiry 
moustache. "Dunstan was settled by miners after Ajita was left for 
dead. Baxter was able to finagle an occasional resupply ship, usually 
Russian and very occasionally Japanese. Never American. That kept 
Wiltshire in beans and booze. Baxter was good that way. And 
someone Earthside must have been sentimental for Ajita, probably 
Brezhnev. We had food, but god knows what the miners ate. Maybe 
each other. They're probably standing at the mouth of the tube with 
forks in their hands." 

The tube, which stood on pilings several meters above the lunar 
surface, began to descend until the car appeared to skim the 
ground. "Lord!" Le Croix gasped. 

"Yeah, doesn't look so good," Koga confirmed. Ahead, about a 
thousand meters, the tube looked as though it was bent in an 
unnatural way. "Vacuum's intact, but. . ." 

The car filled with a thick green gas and the air grew viscous, 
difficult to breath. Their eyes began to dry out and itch and their 
skin grew scaly, "Alright, temps dropping fast," Koga said, his lips 
cracking and bleeding, his fingertips turning the color of marble, 
"Hold onto each other. Must be a failure in the tube." Koga tapped 
on a button that controlled the speed at which the car moved. He 
tapped and tapped and tapped and the car accelerated, the lunar 
surface turning into a grey blur. The air began to spark and static 
lightning began to arc between metallic objects and across the car's 
control panel. A low howl turned into a groan, a phlegmatic death 
rattle and then rose in pitch into a scream. The walls began to 
buckle and blood began to run from their ears, nose and eyes, all 
but Laura, of course. The thick glass windshield began to warp, 
dimple and then the car dropped through a breach. Strand had time 
to look into the rear of the car. Through the noxious atmosphere, 
now turning brown, swirling with gas, he could still see the ghostly 
passengers, seemingly unperturbed. The little boy next to whom he 



217 • Tom Fahy 

had sat was still tossing the block in the air, smiling. And then 
Strand was flying forward, into the console. He could feel blood 
running from his forehead, congealing quickly in the icy air. And 
then the scream stopped, the air cleared, the soft purple light 
returned. Le Croix picked him up off the console, was screaming 
something he couldn't hear. Strand put his hands to his ears, shook 
his head. Then he heard the sound of his heart beating in his skull, 
the sound of metal snapping back into shape. 

"We made it!" Le Croix screamed. "It was a god damn gap! 
Vacuum my ass!" 

Koga was lying in Laura's lap, murmuring something. "What's he 
saying?" 

Le Croix put his ear to Koga's mouth. "Throttle he says! Turn her 
off!" 

Strand leapt to the controls just as they descended into Dunstan 
Station. He smashed a red button with his fist and the car glided to 
a stop. They were alive and the apparitions were gone. "How many 
bottles broke?" Koga asked, spitting blood. 



7:00 PM (LST): "What's it feel like— to be electric and red and for 
always?" Koga asked, reaching for Laura's face framed by red hair. 
"You carried Khrushchev's bags and Brezhnev's. Did they tip? I 
bet they were big tippers. I would tip a face like this — tip these 
lips..." 

NARRATOR: They sound like last words, don't they? They aren't. Koga 
is delirious but he's not going to die. Death, at this point, is for lesser men, like 
Baxter. Like Balls. No, Koga's life is only, say, eight-tenths complete. He has 
a lot of drinking to do. And there is the issue of one life to save. Yeah, Koga is 
hero material in exactly the way that Le Croix and Strand are not, which is 
not to say they are incapable of being heroic. They are just reluctant. . . 

"Relax and breathe. Just ignore him. . ." 

. . . reluctant heroes. It can't be easy, being one of a handful of lives in such an 
unusual and sometimes uninviting world, but what a unique perspective! The 
things they've seen, but take for granted. And to live after such a lawless 
fashion, absent ethics, without morals, relying on raw sense. . . 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 218 

"No! He's in my head, making my teeth vibrate! It won't do!" 
Strand protested. "I'll help you, when you do it, when you strangle 
him. You can have his eyes, his liver, whatever, but I'm taking his 
heart. I'm going to eat it!" 

"Get a grip, Roy. And give me a hand with this." Strand and Le 
Croix carried the baggage cart laden with liquor bottles and Koga's 
moaning body from the car to the Dunstan Station platform. Laura 
took off her scarf, wet it with Czar and dabbed at Koga's forehead. 

Koga reached for Strand. "I heard it! I heard the narrator, his 
voice. He was talking about me." 

"Save your energy, old man..." Le Croix said. 

Unlike the Wiltshire Station, Dunstan was well-lit but no less 
macabre. In the corners were stacked still-dressed skeletons, one 
atop another, some still holding purses and teddy bears. 

"You'd think they'd let go," Laura observed. 

"Even the dead have longings, sweetheart," Koga croaked. 

Le Croix had his hands in his pockets and was craning his neck, 
staring up at a long rectangular mural near the ceiling. "That's not 
the Moon," he remarked. "Would you look at that — I don't even..." 

"How could you," responded Koga. 

"How could I what?" asked Le Croix, still inspecting the mural, 
now on tiptoes, squinting his eyes. 

"Describe what you've never seen. You've been to Dunstan, 
probably as a litde boy and all these murals were right above your 
head. But you never noticed. Only your grandparents could have 
told you, described, given names to everything in the murals. They 
were there." Koga sat up, patted Laura on the shoulder. "That's 
Tokyo, Japan, or at least that's how it looked in '54 or '55. If it were 
real, you'd be looking at Tokyo from Shibuya, standing in another 
train station 240,000 miles away: a short walk." 

"You know this how?" Le Croix asked. 

"I was born there, in Asakusa. My parents and I left for Ajita just 
after the War. They were engineers, my parents and part of a team 
led by Valentin Glushko. Most of Ajita and all of Dunstan were 
built by the Japanese." 

Le Croix took off his wool overcoat, dropped it on the ground. 
"I'd like to see it," he said. He reached up, touched the face of a 
young woman constructed with dozens of tiny, colored tiles. 

"This is how it all falls apart," Strand began, pointing a finger at 
Le Croix. "He gets ideas. Then the whole thing begins to unravel. I 



219 • Tom Fahy 

see it clearly. And I'm helpless, know there's nothing I can do to 
change his mind, stop him, and reorient him. And you two!" He 
started for Laura and Koga. "Sometimes you're worse than the 
narrator!" 

"So you said," Koga remarked. 

They watched as Le Croix bounded down the station platform, 
growing smaller as he approached its far end, almost swallowed by 
shadows. A moment later a high-pitched alarm sounded and the car 
in which they had traveled, levitating feet from the ground, crashed 
to the tube floor, rolled on its side, its interior lights dimming, then 
dying. Le Croix came bounding back, his boots smacking, laces 
untied and swinging freely. "I found a switch in a ticket-booth, 
thought it was for a lift." He stepped to the edge of the tube, 
surveyed the wreck at the bottom. "Damn! You know, they should 
label those switches." 

"It was the end of the road, anyway," Koga said, standing, 
brushing invisible dust from his pant legs. Laura held his elbow. 
Koga withdrew a handkerchief from his pocket, wet it with vodka, 
handed it to Strand and said, "Wipe the blood out of your ears." 

Strand took it, thanked him. 

"Okay, unless you want to climb over a mountain of bones, this is 
our only way up." Le Croix pointed to a narrow ramp littered with 
crumpled papers and office furniture. The ramp, which led to a 
poorly lit passage, was badly cracked and one wall was partially 
buckled, spilling rocks and dirt, "And sorry about your little friend." 
A blue solution was dripping from Strand's pocket. 

Strand's eyes brimmed with panic. He slowly reached into his 
pocket, pulled out the dented casing of the love program, held it 
reverendy in his hands. The program's blue lifeblood ran between 
his fingers, turned to vapor. The occasion was attended by a 
solemnity of which it wasn't worthy, but they all bowed their heads, 
anticipating the geyser-like rage that would soon erupt from him. 
Then there was a sharp clatter as the program hit the floor, broke in 
half, its sparkling guts exposed. 

"She wasn't that good, anyway," Strand said, snickering. The 
others erupted into howls of laughter, fueled by relief, surprise and, 
perhaps, the sneaking suspicion that the levity afforded by the 
episode would be short-lived. 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 220 



8:33 PM (LST): The narrow passage from the station to central 
Dunstan was once a utility duct, with colored wires hanging in 
bunches from the ceiling, some occasionally sparking, filling the 
passage with cold, blue light. They soon emerged into Dunstan 
Dome, the peak of which was obscured by the lunar night, only its 
intricate ribbing illuminated by starlight. 

NARRATOR: They stood on a parapet. Below them outstretched Dunstan, 
a once vibrant city carved from rock, inserted into canyons, integrated with 
craters. It was a marvel of engineering... 

"My engineering," Koga said aloud. 
"Don't humor him," Laura suggested. 

...paralleled only by the cities of Mare Crisium. Most of the city sat in 
darkness, unpowered, but in the distance... 



"There! It's so god damn dark. But look, Dunstan Center — the 
lights are on." Strand grabbed Le Croix by the collar, pointed in the 
direction from which light seemed to be emanating. 

"Lights of a sort," Laura said, pushing past them, peering into the 
distance with her emerald-green eyes, the pupils dilating then 
contracting mechanically, spinning into pinpoints, then enlarging, 
the sockets almost completely black. "It's burning." 

"Burning" Koga exclaimed. And on wisps of legs darted past 
them, down a gangway that ran parallel to the parapet. "No!" they 
could hear him shout. He hoisted himself over the lip of the parapet 
and was gone. 

"If it's not one thing, then it's another!" Strand complained and 
then tore down the gangway after Koga. 

"Should we follow them?" Laura asked Le Croix. 

"No." He peered over the edge of the parapet, down a sheer wall. 
Whatever fire was tearing through Dunstan Center had already 
raged through the quadrant of the city over which they stood. 
Charred husks of buildings loomed in various states of collapse. 
Black water ran in the streets. "I'm beginning to get homesick. I say 
we stuff our pockets with bottles and stay on the high road, travel 



221 • Tom Fahy 

the perimeter of Dunstan." Le Croix took Laura's hands, raised 
them to his face, and inspected the nails, "Cherry red?" 

"Ha! Candy apple. Close." He kissed her on the tip of her nose. 

"What was that for?" she asked. 

"Know how I got hooked up with this guy?" Le Croix gestured 
over his shoulder with his thumb in the direction into which Strand 
fled. "We were kids. I think we were maybe two of a total of ten or 
eleven or maybe twelve, all about the same age, all the sons and 
daughters of security personnel — glorified caretakers. We had the 
run of the Dome. I bet you remember when we ran circles around 
your legs, poached baggage, hid among the Inntergalactic palms 
pointing toy guns at what few guests still arrived, mosdy enterprise 
liquidators." Le Croix boosted himself atop the parapet, looked up 
into refracted starlight. He pulled out his gun, squeezed one eye 
shut, aimed and pretended to fire into the glass. "They're cages, 
these domes." 

"I remember you. Better than the others," Laura said. "I 
remember your thick, blonde hair, never brushed, rarely cut. I 
remember." She looked up, too, trying to parse the dome's ribs out 
of the ether. "Inside or outside, Frank — it's a cage." 

"Grab a bottle of Czar," Le Croix said, slipping off the parapet, 
"It's going to be a long night." 



9:11 PM (LST): For a man of Koga's age, he was fast. Strand 
waded through a thick black river of brackish water, calling Koga's 
name. Floating in the water were radios, porous composite beams, 
bones, extruded glass, bunches of optic filaments in melted sheaths. 
What a mess, Strand thought. And where were the alleged 
miners — the rogue squatters. All around him the low-profile 
housing units called warrens were groaning under their own weight, 
shifting on their anchors. Live, snarling wires hung from posts, 
occasionally connecting with the water, sizzling in place, arcs of 
electricity leaping into the air, desperately seeking conductors. I am 
a conductor, Strand thought. 

"Koga" Strand called. 

"Over here!" Koga stood atop a tipped over kiosk. "I think we're 
too late," he said. 

"Too late for what?' 1 Strand asked, exasperation creeping into his 
voice. 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 222 

"I tried to tell you, what I heard, at the antenna. You weren't 
listening. It's Stack, the one you want — the one Baxter wanted. 
Well, what I heard, or what I gathered, is Stack is a Tanaka agent." 

"A Tanaka agent. . ." 

"One of Saito Tanaka's men: Tanaka & Associates. He's an 
exterminator. They don't want warm bodies at Ajita. I bet this 
sounds perfecdy logical to you. You've never been Earthside. You 
don't know what it means to breathe fresh air. You've inherited all 
of your father's prerogatives. I think we're witnessing a land grab. 
Maybe Ajita sits on choice real estate. Maybe they want to reopen 
the silica mines. Either way, someone wants to devalue the property 
before the bidding wars start. And they certainly don't want any 
witnesses. Not that you and Howdy Doody present a threat. But a 
witness is a witness." 

"Huh!" Strand said, pulling out his gun, scanning the area, "And 
the miners?" 

"Pick a fate, any fate. It's all the same. Were there miners? There 
were stories. If you start picking through the warrens, I think you'll 
begin to stumble upon a few fetid corpses disintegrating in their 
armchairs. There are no answers in Ajita. There were tasks, many of 
which were completed. Fuzzy quotas were met, Ares Mines grew 
rich, Inntergalactic got a feather in its cap, and Khrushchev got a 
few back rubs. And that's that. A world without context. But I have 
a litde context — a litde memory. I'm going back to Earth, and I 
want you to help me!" 

"There's nothing I can do, old man." Strand sloshed to the 
entryway of a squat warren. So badly burned was the entryway that 
it resembled a black, toothless orifice. Inside was a typical compact 
living area, exposed, translucent pipes sagging from the ceiling. 
Panels of shattered photo-catalyzers hung like broken picture 
frames from the walls. Still intact but pardy submerged were a 
straight-backed chair and round table on top of which stood a stack 
of pardy scorched books. Strand picked up the book that lay on 
top. Its front cover disintegrated. He blew away a layer of ash, 
revealed handwriting, not print. It was a journal, something he'd 
never kept. Had he thoughts worthy of a journal? He ran his 
fingers over the lettering, imagined a pen pressing into the paper. A 
journal, a life: I WAS. He felt the weight of the journal in his hand, 
the heft of thoughts made plain. His sister kept a diary. After that 
fateful day on the tube when she lost her sight, she used a 



223 • Tom Fahy 

Dictaphone and their mother later transcribed her daughter's 
thoughts by hand, in her own swirly script. What would he write? 
His world ended at the edges of Ajita's exterior dome. He had 
placed his hands on the cold barrier that separated Ajita from the 
vacuum; felt the glass panels vibrate beneath his hands; heard the 
dome's fluid joints flex. What could he write? What was the 
measure of a life? 

"Strand," Koga whispered from the entranceway, barely audible, 
but Strand still jumped, startled, the journal falling from his hands, 
splashing in the knee-deep water. Reading his thoughts, "We can 
leave this place. All of us: you, Le Croix, the girl — to Earth, to 
Shibuya. You'd see things that would stretch the imagination. Vast 
oceans, towering cities, blue skies, turde doves." 

"Turde Doves" Strand exclaimed. 

Koga waded across the room, stood before the table, picked up a 
book, and opened it, its spine crackling. "Ah, the Mare Crisium 
Fairy Book — essential reading. They used to blame the misfortunes 
of Ajita on the Moon: 'Oh, what an awful mistress, the Moon, so 
cruel,' they'd say. But there was never anything particularly bad 
about the Moon." 

"I know the book — " Strand started. 

"Of course you do! Every Ajitan child was expected to learn it, 
recite it, and know it by heart — " 

"Koga, it's freezing, and you're turning blue. Let's keep moving, 
get out of this cave and head toward the fires." 

"And what then, Roy?" Koga asked, "We're marked, all of us. 
They can't sell the ship if it's still got rats. Look — " Koga began to 
flip through the book. Soot-colored water dripped onto his 
forehead. He wiped it away, thumbed over pages. "Here, 'The 
Hiding of the Chapel Bell.' 

Strand grabbed Koga by the arm, dragged him toward the 
entrance. He didn't resist. Back in the flooded streets, still dragging 
Koga behind, Strand recited the story as he remembered it. "The 
men of Ajita — " 

"Taurus," Koga corrected him. 

"But that's not how we learned it. The men of Ajita — sometimes 
it was the miners, sometimes it was the administrators — they found 
something at Isis, deep in a crater. They called it the 'Church 
Bell'— " 

"Chapel Bell," Koga said. 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 224 

"Right, Chapel Bell. It was enormous — half the width of the 
Regency Lobby and it was alive. The earth rumbled around it, 
shaking rocks loose from the valley walls. The men said it looked 
like the lid of a giant saucepan, but filled with light to a depth of a 
meter. They say it rang like a bell when touched. Half the men 
wanted to destroy it immediately, said it was a threat. The others 
wanted to hide it, use it as a bargaining chip — " 

"This must be your father's version of the story," Koga 
interrupted. 

"Grandfather's version," Strand corrected, "According to my 
father, he was there — at Isis. He saw it, touched it, heard it..." And 
then a shot rang out and the water in front of Strand and Koga 
dimpled, rippled, a bullet seeking the city floor. Strand grabbed 
Koga by his collar, pulled him into a narrow alley, "Stack?" 

"Could be," Koga affirmed. 

"We'll have to burrow deeper into the warrens, stay in the alleys." 
Strand poked his head out into the street, scanned the parapets, saw 
nothing. 



10:10 PM (LST): When the shots rang out, Le Croix and Laura 
were descending a ladder into an access tunnel that ran parallel to 
the warrens. It too was filled with water. "Where is the water 
coming from, Frank?" 

Le Croix patted the wall, said, "Other side." He pointed up at the 
crisscrossing network of pipes. "It's the Dunstan oxygen plant. It 
must be down, otherwise this water would have been turned into 
oxygen and hydrogen. He ran his hand across the rock studded with 
rebar. "Somewhere this retaining wall has failed. It's funny, but 
Wiltshire ducted its air over from Dunstan — looks like we were 
about to suffocate. No, let me put it another way: It looks like we 
are about to suffocate. If the domes are as leaky as they appear and 
if the oxygen plant is out of commission..." 

"And the fires," Laura exclaimed, "They'll eat what oxygen is 
left!" 

"Probably," Le Croix held out his hand. Laura handed him a 
bottle of Czar. He uncapped it, took a swig. "And on top of that, it 
sounds like there's a gunfight up top. Odds say Strand started it. 
Want to bet?" He handed her the bottle. 



225 • Tom Fahy 



10:45 PM (LST): Strand and Koga stayed low, crept Dunstan 
Center could be seen reflected in the reflective matrices of the 
dome. The reflected light was dull, the fires dying. 

"Finish the story," Koga whispered over his shoulder. 

"My grandfather's version?" 

"Whichever." 

"So they decided to hide it, but not before a fight broke out 
between the two factions. One night, a handful of the men that 
wanted to destroy the bell rigged it with explosives. Something went 
wrong. The explosives blew before they were detonated, killing the 
men, leaving nary a dent on the bell. The men that wanted to hide 
the bell were now in control." Strand stopped, cupped his hands, 
dunked them in the water. "Think its drinkable?" he asked Koga. 

Koga observed the husk of a corpse bob to the surface, float by. 
"I wouldn't." 

"Thirsty," Strand complained. They carried on. "So they excavated 
the bell. And once excavated it became dislodged from the 
landscape, seemed to wriggle free of the valley's rock face, began to 
float. Although massive, the bell didn't resist force. And they hid 
it — right under the noses of Ares Mines. But I don't know where 
they hid it." 

"I do," Koga said, matter-of-facdy. "It's at the Temples of 
Nansen." 

"The ruins," Strand inquired, incredulous. 

"It's not all ruins, Strand. The temples are hardened. They stretch 
for miles. It wasn't just a fairy tale. I've seen the bell. It's a ship and 
it works." 

"And this should mean something to me because..." 

"Because it's our ticket out of here," Koga exclaimed, "Ajita is 
dying and we're going to die with it." 

"You're saying it's a ship. And if it is a ship, you know how to fly 
it?" In spite of the circumstances — the waist-high water, the 
thinning interior atmosphere of Dunstan Dome, the bloated 
corpses floating by on their backs — Strand began to laugh. He tried 
to stifle it, but it rose in his throat like a giant gas-bubble, popped 
and the laughter became uncontrollable, until he grew faint. Stars 
began to parade across his vision and he pitched over into the fetid 
water. 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 226 



11:11 PM (LST): "You were telling me how you became Strand's 
sidekick — " 

"How Strand became my sidekick, you mean, right?" 

"Of course," Laura responded, smirking. 

"Hell, there were like twelve of us kids, six after the fevers that 
swept the complexes after Brezhnev's visit: one girl, five boys, all 
around the same age. Strand and I became pals while fighting over 
the girl. She was a little younger, Japanese, parents both dead. She 
became a litde ward of the group, but she was stuck on Strand, 
tagged along with him everywhere and he was sweet on her, too. 
You look at Strand now, how warped he is, angry, upside- 
down — he wasn't always like that. Hard to believe, right? Well, 
come on, you must have watched all of this, the drama — watched 
from the lobby." 

"Some," Laura acknowledged. "Some things were of more interest 
to me than others, like you, for instance. But I also enjoyed — and 
maybe that's the wrong word — a different perspective than you did; 
than your parents did; than visitors to Ajita did. Maybe because of 
what I am, I knew you possessed less value to Ajita than you 
thought you did. You were all droids of a sort, content in isolation, 
poked and prodded by your taskmasters, as children, as adults, even 
now. There was never anything particularly special about Ajita — it 
was one of dozens of mines on the 33rd parallel. Now look at it." 

"I know what's out there. We used to talk about it as kids — about 
Earth. But everything was so sketchy. It's still sketchy, ill-formed, as 
my mother used to say: 'thafs an ill-formed idea, son.'' I mean, the 
world inside the glass wasn't much different than the world outside. 
We heard about the mines form our fathers, but never saw the 
mines; heard about the miners but never saw the miners. All of the 
technology by which we are surrounded tells a story I don't 
understand: Who made it? Why? I remember gardens in the 
exterior domes. Then there were no gardens. Freighters would drop 
supplies instead. That was the natural order. It had to be. No one 
offered explanations. That was just 'how the world worked.'" 

"In the lobby, carved into stone around the perimeter of the 
atrium is the Latin phrase 'Veneficus Fiddles Operor Non Lascivio Hie' 
Know what that means?" Laura asked le Croix. 

He shook his head. 



227 • Tom Fahy 



"Magic fiddles don't play here." 
"You're telling me!" Le Croix confirmed. 



WEDNESDAY, 12:13 AM (LST): The grade of the city streets 
began to rise and soon Strand and Koga had emerged from the cold 
water, were dripping on a dais in the city square. Around them, 
buildings smoldered and tendrils of blue fire licked walls, curled 
around corners, leapt from windowsill to windowsill, doorway to 
doorway. Not a soul stirred. "So much for a hero's welcome," 
Strand remarked. A thick layer of smoke hovered around their feet, 
swirling, forming eddies. Strand kicked at the smoke with a wet 
boot. It dispersed. 

"Stack doesn't seem very ambitious, does he?" Koga commented, 
bending over, wringing water from the cuffs of his pants. And in 
answer to his question, another shot rang out, ricocheting off a 
nearby lamppost. This time Strand had seen the discharge — a pale 
yellow burst of light just above and beyond the rooftops, maybe 
1 00 meters away. 

"Crouch behind this wall. Don't move. I'm going to try and flank 
the shooter, hopefully before he finds you." 

Strand crept along the wall that ringed the dais, went down a short 
flight of steps, turned into a smoke-filled alley. The alley emptied 
into a narrow street. To the right, on its side, lay a dome shuttle, its 
windows broken and a skeleton flopped over its control panel. 
Strand turned left, kept his back to the wall, inched forward. 

They never knew the horrors that had befallen Dunstan. They had been the 
Princes of Wiltshire, doing Baxter's bidding, poaching the mad hangers-on, 
managing the hotel bar, drinking prodigiously... 

"Hey," Strand whispered. "I'm not sure this is the time. I need to 
concentrate." 
Fair enough, replied the narrator. 

At his feet, a manhole cover began to rattle in its seat. Strand drew 
his gun. The manhole cover was lifted from below and Strand could 
barely discern the whites of a set of eyes staring out at him. They 
were soon joined by a glow from an unnaturally white set of teeth. 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 228 

The voice that came from the underground was instantly 
recognizable: "Give a pal a hand?" 

Strand knelt before the manhole cover, put his pointer finger to 
his lips, "Don't talk. Be very quiet." He lifted as Le Croix pushed, 
then carefully set the cover aside, helped his friends from the hole. 
"Stack, he's on the parapet." 

"He's the shooter?" Le Croix asked, raising his eyebrows. 

Strand nodded. 

Le Croix shook his head, shrugged, and said to Laura, "I lost the 
bet." 

"He's an exterminator, says Koga. He's trying to sterilize Ajita, 
maybe for a new buyer. Who knows, but Koga's got a way out of 
here, or so he says, and I'm kind of inclined to believe him." 

"Whatever you say, boss. Don't have much of a choice 
anyway — sounds like we have imminent trouble." Klaxons were 
ringing throughout the complex, reverberating around the dome's 
frame. "That's the air-quality alarm." 

"When you say exterminator..." Laura said. 

"As in exterminator, yes, a people-exterminator, maybe extra 
points for droids." Strand winked at Laura. "Are you two drunk?" 

Laura fished in her bag for a bottle of Czar, found one, offered it 
to Strand. 

"Nah," he said. "I've got enough nerve, for now. I recommend a 
diversion — " 

"That sounds like an excellent idea!" The booming voice came 
from the end of the street. A man stood swathed in smoke, gray 
tendrils wrapping around his legs. He had a wispy beard, a thin face. 
His hair was patchy, falling out in places, clumping on the shoulders 
of his greatcoat. His legs were spread. His arms were at his sides, a 
gun hanging loosely in one hand. 

"Stack!?" Strand called into the smoke. 

"Good to see you again, Strand," Stack said, his voice strained. He 
began to cough, his lungs rattling. He spit a wad of orange phlegm. 
It made an audible splat sound when it hit the street. "I didn't think 
you guys left the Regency. Who's the old man? He wasn't on my 
list." Stack started to walk toward them. Le Croix drew his gun. 

"Name's Koga — an engineer," Strand explained, placing his hand 
on Le Croix's wrist. He whispered, "Put it down." Le Croix did so, 
but reluctantly. 



229 • Tom Fahy 

They listened to Stack's boot heels clack, grow louder. Moments 
later he stood before them. And he was a terrible sight to behold, 
with blood pooled in the corners of his eyes, encrusted around his 
nose. The tip of his nose and hands looked badly burned. "I had an 
accident," he said. "It wasn't in my itinerary." Stack smiled, 
revealing gums that were black, holes where teeth should have been. 
He took the gun by its muzzle, passed it handle-first to Strand. 
Strand took it. "I had some trouble in the tube on my way over 
from Wiltshire, made sort of an ordeal out of the rest of my 
mission." 

"Which was what?" asked Laura. 

Stack squinted at Laura, the smile vanishing from his face. "I am a 
destroyer of worlds!" he shouted. Laura stepped behind Le Croix. 
"Tanaka wanted the oxygen plant decommissioned, for one. Their 
intelligence is not what you might think. Ares has been bombarding 
Ajita with refuse capsules for years, trying to create a random 
disaster. That's how their policy works — insured for Acts of God 
and Unprecedented Disasters. Something else happened, however." 
He gestured to the surrounding buildings, waving the smoke out of 
his face. "These were your neighbors." He shuffled closer, poked 
Le Croix in the chest with a blue finger with a black fingernail. 
"Don't know what, though. Oh, and if it's any consolation, I wasn't 
aiming at you back there. Look at me — like I'll be around long 
enough to collect my bounty." He chuckled, probed his gums with 
his tongue and grunted, spit out a tooth. 

Strand dug a thiopental stick out of his pocket, handed it to Stack. 
Stack snatched it form Strand greedily, held it to his nose, sniffed it, 
closed his eyes, "Oh, boy. This makes it all worthwhile. Give me a 
light, would you?" Strand lit it and Stack took a deep drag, let out a 
long, pleased sigh. "May peace reign," he said. 



1:03 AM (LST): Koga sat on the dais in Dunstan Center, his knees 
pulled to his chest. He was shivering. Laura placed her hand on his 
shoulder and he turned, startled. His eyes widened at the sight of 
the man in the greatcoat that just flashed him a toothless grin. 

"This is Koga," Le Croix said. "Koga, meet Stack, our friendly 
executioner." 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 230 

"A pleasure," Stack said, running his tongue over his gums, 
wincing in pain. 

"Radiation poisoning," Koga deduced, "The tubes?" 

"The tubes," Stack confirmed. 

A speaker box hanging from a lamp post began to squawk and a 
female voice announced an air-purity advisory for the good 
residents of Dunstan. 

Stack grunted, spit out the stub of the thiopental stick, seemed to 
notice the clumps of hair on his shoulders for the first time. With 
his frost-bitten hands he brushed at the hairs, watched them sail 
through the smoky air, settle at his feet. "Well, that's an 
understatement if I ever heard one: 'air-purity.'" 

"Agreed," said Koga. "I'm beginning to feel heavy, sluggish. Tell 
them our plan of attack." He nodded at Strand. 

"I wouldn't call it a plan, exactly," Strand began. He related the 
story about Chapel Bell, assured them that it was, indeed, real, but 
didn't relate his doubts about whether they could commandeer it or 
not. "It appears we don't have an alternative," and as if to drive 
home the point, the speaker box began to squawk again, followed 
by a shrill alarm. 

"This is a plan that is no plan," Le Croix complained. 

"There's no telling what the air is like down there," Koga said. 
"But there's a lava tube that extends from beneath the Dunstan 
superstructure to a surface seal, maybe three-hundred meters from 
Nansen. We'll need suits for that last leg." 

"And how do we access the lava tube?" Strand asked. 

"From beneath the oxygen plant," Koga answered. "The tubes are 
used for hydrogen ducting." 

"Now wait just one minute," Le Croix said, wiping at a trickle of 
blood from his nose. "I have other fish to fry." He looked 
meaningfully at Strand. "We have fish to fry." Laura shot Le Croix a 
plaintive glance, her brow knitting together. 

"He's right," Strand confirmed. "Before we do anything else, we 
have to kill the narrator, even if it means certain death." 

"That's absurd!" Koga interrupted. 

Le Croix's eyes blazed. He reached out for Koga and picked him 
up off the ground, shouted, "Listen to me little man! He must be 
eliminated. If we don't rip his heart out, pluck out his eyes, he'll 
follow us. He'll dig into us and sink his nails into our flesh!" 



231 • Tom Fahy 

"Down" Koga shouted. Le Croix dropped him. "Listen to reason! 
There's no killing the narrator, don't you see? Kill this one and 
another will spring up in its place. And it might be worse; it might 
speak in tongues." 

"He's right," Laura pled. "Please listen to him, Frank — " 

"They call you Frank?" Stack snorted. "We could put it to a vote, 
but lord knows what a waste of time that would be. I knew it would 
end like this. I knew I'd die in an argument — poisoned and 
screaming." He wiggled his remaining front tooth with his tongue. 
"Hey, places like this have a Tooth Fairy?" 

"Oh, Fortuna" Strand exclaimed. He pushed between Stack and 
Laura, bolted across the dais, disappeared through a smoking 
doorway over which hung a still blinking neon sign that read: 

B-A-R 

"I see we have our priorities straight — " Laura began. 

"Ducks in a row, as they say," said Koga. "All things considered, 
not a bad idea." 

"I'll help him," said Stack. "I could use a stiff drink. Probably be 
my last." Stack dragged himself across the dais, into the bar, trailed 
by the tails of his greatcoat. 

In the entranceway to the bar, Stack cleared his throat. Strand 
jumped at the sound, popped up from behind a fire-blackened bar. 
On the floor, stools smoldered. From holes in the walls flames 
emerged, then just as quickly disappeared, as if they were inspecting 
the bar but were disappointed by what they saw. 

"Anything that says 'Czar,' take it," Strand said. "Most of the 
bottles are broken." He held one up, its neck shattered. 

Stack crunched across the melted and debris-strewn floor, 
approached the bar. Strand had lined up several candidates, all full, 
some bearing the proud visage of Peter the Great. Stack picked one 
up, raised it over his head. "Strand," he said. Strand, who was 
hunched over, rummaging through cabinets, stood, faced Stack. 
The bottle connected with his neck and Strand collapsed to the 
floor. "You poor, gullible fools," Stack announced, his only 
audience Strand's motionless body. He placed one bottle of Czar in 
each pocket of his coat, carried another in his ugly hand. 

"We got lucky," Stack said, mounting the dais, presenting the 
bottle of Czar to the group. "Strand's been overwhelmed by greed. 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 232 

You'll never get him out of that bar — it'll be like ripping a kid from 
his mother's breast." He tossed the bottle of vodka to Laura. She 
didn't anticipate it, flailed in the air, couldn't find purchase. The 
bottle crashed to the ground, exploded. 

"The waste" Koga shouted. 

"Exactly" Stack affirmed, drawing a telescopic electric prod from 
under his greatcoat. It extended, surging to life, slammed into Le 
Croix's stomach. Le Croix's body simultaneously stiffened and 
launched through the air, slamming into a lamppost. He landed in a 
heap, shuddered, sobbed. 

Stack approached a panic-stricken Laura, grabbed her by her 
auburn hair and forced her to her knees. Koga leapt onto Stack's 
back but was batted away like a fly. Stack reached for a piece of 
bottle glass, put it to Laura's throat. Her eyes grew wide, the optic 
motors twisting the pupils into pinpoints. He began to dig into her 
trachea with the glass. Red fluid emerged, trickled down her neck, 
dying her shirt. 

"Hi-ya" Koga screamed, launching his heal into the side of Stack's 
head. It made a dull but meaningful thudding sound upon contact. 
Stack rolled to the ground and Koga jumped onto his chest, driving 
his boney fists into Stack's Adam's-apple, pummeling his eye- 
sockets, then tearing at the remaining hair on his head. Blood 
spurted from Stack's mouth, his body convulsed and then he lay 
motionless. 

Le Croix crawled on hands and knees to Laura, took her in his 
arms, inspected her wound; it wasn't deep. She managed a smile for 
him: "Even if it were life-threatening, it wouldn't be life- 
threatening. I'm okay, love." Le Croix squeezed her, pet her head, 
kissed her red, luscious lips. 

"Strand" Koga called, climbing off Stack, kicking him one last 
time in his lifeless stomach. 

Strand stumbled out of the bar, hung onto a fire-twisted fence, 
waved weakly. Behind him in a wheeled cooler cart were piled 
unopened bottles of Czar Vodka. They each took one, sat cross- 
legged in a circle on the dais, rested. 



5:43 AM (LST): Overhead, dawn broke, revealing the intricate 
network of ribbing of which Dunstan Dome was composed — the 
matrices of glass and titanium, the byzantine interconnections of 



233 • Tom Fahy 

refractive filament joinery that tied pane to pane, rib to rib. Tired, 
thirsty, anxious, Strand and Le Croix, Koga and Laura, looked up, 
were transfixed by the dazzling display of light reflected, magnified, 
fed through conjunctions of mirrors, beamed throughout the 
complex, to rooftops and from rooftops to now dead photo- 
catalyzers. The golden orange light was heavily diffused through the 
smoke -laden air, took on the quality of an aurora, fluxing, 
stretching, pulsating with erratic pressure changes throughout the 
dome as the thinning atmosphere was heated, deflected by the 
arcing superstructure, replaced by cooler air from the crater-city's 
floor — the process repeated over and over again. 

It was Koga that broke the spell. "We don't have much time." 

Rattling behind them on squeaky wheels as they descended from 
Dunstan Center to the dome's west wall was the cooler. It bounced 
down steps, bottles clanging, rammed into sharp corners, 
threatened to overturn, but as if by divine intervention, remained 
upright. At the west wall they were forced to crawl on hands and 
knees through a narrow service tunnel that traversed the west wall, 
leading to the oxygen plant, frigid water at neck-level. "Protect 
those bottles at all costs!" Le Croix gasped from the front of the 
group, swallowing and spitting moufhfuls of water. 

Behind them, the sound of the Klaxons was fading. From the 
service tunnel they emerged into another brightly lit dome with 
buttressed walls. The glass panels of which the dome was 
composed had been doped with a compound that caused them to 
tint upon impact with solar radiation, but the panels appeared to be 
broken. They were forced to shield their eyes, squint through 
blinding sunlight. "The domes are depressurizing and the joinery 
must be cracking," said Koga, "Very bad." 

Strand dug into his pocket, pulled out a handful of dripping 
thiopental sticks. "I was going to quit anyway." 

Le Croix grinned, fiddled with his beard and produced a long 
black, sticky stick. "I owe you this. He handed the stick to Strand 
who held it between his teeth, smiled. Le Croix lit it for him. 

In the center of the oxygen plant stood an enormous aquamarine- 
colored piece of machinery with a photo-sensitive skin. From its far 
end extended dozens of blue pipes that ran in all directions, 
disappearing into the rock walls. On the end nearest to them stood 
a raised deck with towering banks of control panels, all riddled with 
deep, scorched cavities. 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 234 

"We can find suits in the maintenance area," Koga said, leading 
them through a flooded alcove and into a room filled with lockers. 
"If it fits, wear it." 

"These are supposed to be unisex?" Laura chuckled, squirming 
with difficulty into a straight-legged spacesuit. "They don't have 
hips!" 

"Hey, if it's any consolation," Strand said. "Looks like these guys 
didn't have dicks. I can't fit either!" 

"You wish, buddy boy!" Le Croix rejoined. 



6:45 AM (LST): The lava tube was almost perfectly cylindrical, with 
smooth vitrified walls down which water ran in rivulets. Sealed in 
their suits, the group was forced to speak through microphones. 

"None of the tanks are topped off, so keep the visors up and the 
oxygen off until we get to the seal," Koga said. "This is really bad 
air, though — rotten — too much nitrogen." 

A fluorescent purple fluid ran at their feet, glowed and splashed 
on the walls as they walked, "Any idea what that is?" Le Croix 
asked. No one had an answer, or if they had a suspicion, they didn't 
give it a voice. 

"Okay," Strand said. "We get to the Chapel Bell. Somehow we are 
able to board. Who drives this thing?" 

Koga chuckled. "Just leave it to me. You'll see. It's not exactly 
what you think." 

"And what exactly do you think I think it is?" Strand ventured. 

"A flying saucer. Which isn't to say it isn't a flying saucer." Koga 
began to gasp. He pulled down his visor, pressed a button on the 
front of the suit. They watched him take a deep breath, exhale, 
fogging the visor's glass. His voice crackled over the radio: 
"Couldn't breathe. Much better now. Oh! And you know why the 
stuff you're slopping through glows purple?" 

They shook their heads. 

"Ha! It's ionized nitrogen!" The meaning and apparently the 
humor was lost on his compatriots. He noticed and explained 
further: "The lava tubes were turned into the Ajita sewer 
system — that's irradiated sewage, HAHAHA!" 

"You knew this?" Laura asked, her hand now covering her mouth 
and nose. 



235 • Tom Fahy 



"It's my job to know these things," Koga answered. "It's also the 
only relatively safe way to Nansen." 



8:13 AM (LST): The seal to the lunar surface was badly dented and 
was held in place with magnetic locks. "How do you propose we 
open this?" Le Croix asked Koga. 

"Put on your masks, kids," Koga said. They did. Koga approached 
a panel on the wall attached to which was a U-shaped lever. He held 
on with both hands, groaned, managed to flip it into an upward 
position. A red hydrogen bulb came to life over the seal, blinked. 
The lava tube began to vibrate and the large vacuum sealed door 
twisted on an invisible hinge a few degrees, hissed loudly, and as an 
energetic rush of air swept the group off its feet, the door swung 
out and sideways while behind them a security wall descended from 
the ceiling, protecting Ajita from the world to which they were now 
exposed: the surface of the Moon. 



8:33 AM (LST): The valley seemed to stretch into an endless 
horizon, shielded to the north and south by towering, mile-high 
mountains, the peaks of which shown like radiant obelisks. 

"It's a desert!" Le Croix complained, huffing through his 
microphone. 

"It's beautiful," countered Laura. She knelt in her awkward suit, 
scooped up soil with her gloved hand and watched it sift through 
her fingers. She picked up another glove-full, threw it up into the 
air. "It's snowing!" The particulate matter seemed to hang in the air, 
catch light. 

"The Temples are about 300 meters ahead. These suits might be 
tunnel-rated but no way of telling if they're blocking solar radiation. 
We need to get a move-on!" Koga leaned forward, stepped past the 
group, and led them toward the horizon. 

NARRATOR: Strand looked back at Ajita — the proud outlines of its 
ranging dome complex, the scintillating summits, and the polished glass. And 
inside sat the slumping interior domes, their degradation unobvious from the 
exterior — the depravity it carefully concealed, lodged in a northern facet of the 
Ajita complex was a refuse capsule, caught in the dome's strong webbing like a 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 236 

fly in a spider web. She, Ajita, had certainly suffered indignities, but as Laura 
said, she was but one daughter of the 33rd parallel, all offspring of greed. 

"He's right, you know," they heard Strand say over the speakers in 
their ears. "The narrator — his observations..." 

No one answered and Strand took it as confirmation of his 
sentiments. The wheels of the cooler were sinking into the soft 
surface of the Moon, catching on rocks. It slowed him down and he 
was falling behind. "Wait up!" he called and remembered he didn't 
need to shout; they were chained together with the radios. 

NARRATOR, cont'd.: Strand was thirteen when Valerie got sick. The 
bug spread among the women quickly, then the men, felling them one by one, 
ruthlessly, showing no mery. Tube-travel between Dunstan and Wiltshire was 
banned. Rumors spread that Brezhnev had ordered a biological attack; that 
Ajita had become an unmanageable expense. The claims were unsubstantiated 
but the rising death-toll lent credence to the assumptions. Desperate attempts 
were made to contact the Japanese and Russian consulates, even the Americans, 
but to no avail; Ajita had been abandoned. 

Strand never left Valerie's side as she was racked by chills and drenching 
night-sweats. Her family gone, Strand tried to protect Valerie. He nursed her, 
held a vigil day and night, and paced beside her bed, spooned water into her 
mouth. In the end, it was hopeless. No one rallied. No one emerged from the 
delirium into which the bug forced its victims; it was a long, steady slide into the 
waiting maw of death. Strand buried Valerie in the now inaccessible courtyard 
of the Regeny — a courtyard scarified by solar radiation — a sea of plants 
undone by the vacuum, turned to dust, sucked through the failing joinery of the 
Ajita exoskeleton. 

Where were they going? Strand wondered: From what, into what? Were 
they being foolhardy? He stole another long look over his shoulder at 
Ajita. She was growing smaller now, sinking beneath the ridges and 
buttes that marched around the perimeter of Vale Sol. In his ear, a 
voice crackled: "It's a tomb, Roy," Laura said. "It doesn't deserve 
your mourning." 

He agreed. Strand doubled up around his hand the rope with 
which he pulled the cart, started to bound forward, the cart 
bouncing violendy behind him. 



237 • Tom Fahy 



9:19 AM (LST): The Temples of Nansen were wonders of 
excavation. Cranes towered unused above a series of interlocking 
towers constructed of cut stone and titanium joists. Narrow silicate- 
web windows reached several stories from the foundations to spires 
that poked into the firmament. A long, ovular entranceway was 
accessible from a series of laser-cut steps with glass insets. Le Croix, 
Strand and Laura all carried the liquor cart, trying desperately to 
maintain their balance. A bottle of Czar bounced loose, fell end 
over end down the long flight of steps, came to a standstill in a 
furrow of sand. "Think of it as an offering to the Gods," Le Croix 
said. 

Koga was waving from the oval entrance. "In here," he called. 
They dropped the heavy cart. Inside was a featureless space. Shafts 
of light shown through the banks of narrow windows and from a 
domed cupola with hexagonal windows. On Koga's suit, a yellow 
light was blinking. Laura pointed. "Oxygen," Koga said. "Not much 
time. It's down here," he said. Koga ran across the floor made of 
molded glass cubes to what looked like a narthex and down a spiral 
staircase choked with multicolored cables. They picked up the cart 
again, followed Koga into the corkscrewing staircase. At the bottom 
they beheld an extraordinary sight: an eggshell shaped room with 
smooth walls the color of onyx. Hovering over the floor was a 
monstrous disk from which was emanating a low hum that made 
their bones vibrate. Its skin had depth and seemed to pulsate at 
irregular intervals, as though in time to one or several interior 
hearts. "It's beating in time to our hearts!" Koga exclaimed. "That's 
what it does!" 

"What do we do?" Laura asked. 

Koga crawled beneath the disk like a mechanic, the oxygen pack 
on his back forcing him to work awkwardly on his side. He 
appeared to be pressing on the hovering behemoth's underside. 
"Come on," he called. They got on their hands and knees, watched 
as Koga climbed into the disk through a round hatch. They 
followed. Laura peered inside from below, saw only inky blackness. 
Koga's steamed up visor appeared. "Hand me the liquor bottles," 
he said. Le Croix passed them one by one to Laura and Laura in 
turn passed them to Koga. Operation complete, they all crawled 
inside. Koga passed the palm of his glove over an irregularly-shaped 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 238 

patch of glowing fiber filaments and the hatch resolved into a solid, 
sealing the interior disk from the Temples of Nansen. The yellow 
light on Koga's suit was blinking rapidly and he seemed panicked. 
He rushed from one end of the disk to the other, touching surfaces. 
Then he was on his hands and knees. Dozens of thick hair-like 
filaments sprouted from the floor, glowed a deep red. He unlocked 
the safety bolts of his glove, twisted it off and pushed his bare hand 
into the filaments. Bright light exploded throughout the disc, 
divided into quadrants drawn by blue beams and each quadrant 
divided into segments, conforming to the shape of their bodies. 
Koga held his masked head in his hands. He depressed a button 
and the visor sprang open. "No air!" he gasped. A loud boom 
erupted from below the disk and an ear-piercing hiss issued from 
slits in the walls. Simultaneously their ears popped. They watched 
Koga's face. A smile began to spread from ear to ear. "It's 
working!" he shouted, "Air!" 

They unfastened their helmets, spun them off their pivots, let 
them crash to the floor, and took deep breaths. 

"What now?" asked Le Croix. He was closely inspecting the 
surfaces of the disk's interior, running his hands over the walls 
which seemed to be sweating. 

"It's condensation," Koga explained. "Whatever you lose — sweat, 
urine — the disk will absorb, give back to you. Feelings, too! But 
first things first: What now!" He stood, unzipped the suit from 
under his right arm, across his midsection and then down to the 
interior of his left leg, stepped out of it gingerly, sighed. "Now we 
need to talk." 

The others took off their suits, heaped them in a pile. Strand 
opened a bottle of Czar, passed it to the group. 

Koga was wringing his hands, clearly trying to formulate his 
thoughts. He began: "Chapel Bell is a contextual machine. It 
piggybacks on the experiences of its users — utilizes the user's 
memory as a map and individual memories as mnemonic clues. ..for 
context, placement. It is not so much a question of how it works 
but that it works at all. All of your contexts are embedded in Ajita. 
You are effectively useless, all of you. And Laura is just an 
unknown quantity — there's no way to know how the disk would 
interface with a droid. But were it to access your contexts — " Koga 
pointed at Le Croix and Strand. "We'd end up back in Ajita, 
probably at the Regency Bar. That is, the disk parses the sum of 



239 • Tom Fahy 

your experience in the dimension in which your life unfolded and 
flits about therein, see?" 

They didn't. 

Koga rubbed the bridge of his nose with his fingers. "Long story 
short, we need to get off the Moon and there is only one context 
through which the Chapel Bell can do that: mine. But as I see it, 
there might be a catch. My Earthside context is anchored in 1946 
Tokyo and it's very probable that the Chapel Bell will seize upon 
that particular context." 

Le Croix recalled the mural of Shibuya Station — the crowds, the 
smiles, the unnaturally blue sky — a world without domes. "You'll 
have no objection from me," Le Croix said, wagging his head back 
and forth adamandy. He imagined standing with Laura in the rain, 
holding an umbrella over her head, listening to the rain patter at 
their feet. 

"What about you, Strand," Koga queried. 

"I don't know what to expect, Koga." He imagined Valerie's 
desertified grave; he would plant a bed of flowers, a different variety 
for each year that had passed since her death. "But you have no 
objections from me." 

"Laura?" 

She looked up into Le Croix's eyes, saw the warmth there. She 
placed her hand on his thick beard, rubbed his chin. She looked at 
Koga, nodded assent. 



10:10 AM (LST): Koga took off his socks, walked in bare feet to a 
platform that appeared to be padded with a pink gel. He knelt atop 
the platform, pressed his hands into the soft substance. Instandy, 
the pressure within the disk increased, the group's ears popped. The 
thumping sound on the exterior of the disk could now be heard on 
the interior. It was deafening. Their skin was rippling with sound 
waves that rolled from one end of the disk to the other and then 
back again, their wavelength decreasing and their frequency 
increasing. The optical grid that filled the interior was now 
entrained with the sound waves, drawing and redrawing with each 
successive pass. Koga bowed and placed his head on the disk's 
floor. A second grid of light appeared atop him, grew increasingly 
intricate, began to resonate, fill with what looked like projected 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 240 

imagery: skyscrapers, crashing waves, bleeding suns, mechanical 
gadgetry, impaled horses. 

As in the Dunstan tube, blood poured from their ears and noses. 
Their joints felt corroded and tight. A feeling of heaviness stole 
over them as though they were being filled with molten lead. The 
disk filled with fire, robbed them of sight. Le Croix reached through 
the thick, searing air for Laura, found her arm, pulled her into him. 
He felt her hand reach for his shirt, grip it. With his other hand, Le 
Croix sought Strand, felt his smooth snakeskin jacket, seized it, and 
tugged. 

There was a point when the pain grew so great that Strand began 
to chuckle to himself. He imagined his bones and ligaments like the 
trusses and buttresses, joinery and hinges of Ajita, all simultaneously 
failing, splintering, and collapsing into a heap of glass — like a mirror 
into which an ugly god had peered. But then he was wet, soaking 
wet — flailing in sopping wet space. And he was being groped. "The 
Czar!" he shouted, air bubbles exploding from his mouth into a 
thick airless medium. 



9:19 PM (PST), TOKYO BAY: Le Croix was kicking furiously, the 
disk's dull, fading interior illumination lighting his path toward the 
body floating before him. He put his arms around Koga's waist, 
scissor-kicked toward the black hole in the bottom of the rapidly 
sinking disk. As they passed through the entrance, Le Croix could 
see Laura's loafers kicking, her arms pushing through the water. He 
watched her punch through, water roiling around her body. A 
moment later he pierced the surface, rolled onto his back. Strand 
and Laura grabbed Koga's body, held his head above the water. 

A fog horn bellowed. It was a sound that only the unconscious 
Koga could have identified. Below their treading feet they could see 
the dying glow of the disk rotate in slow circles to the bottom of 
what they would soon learn to call Tokyo Bay, its final resting place. 
The group swam for shore, zeroing in on a clump of bright white 
lights that hung from a cable that swung in the warm night air. They 
took turns supporting and pulling Koga. Once at shore, Le Croix 
climbed atop a jetty, got on his stomach and reached into the water 
for Koga, pulling him topside, rolling him onto his back. The others 
crawled onto land, kneeled beside Koga. They were spotlighted by a 



241 • Tom Fahy 

lamppost with a broad hood. Unlike the pale green hydrogen lamps 
with which they were familiar, this one issued a bright white glow. 
Moths circled the lamp, darted into the night, returned and dove 
toward the light. Laura was transfixed by the performance. 

Koga began to cough. Blood and water spilled from his lips. 
Strand slapped his cheeks, shouted his name. Koga opened his eyes, 
saw only stars. "No!" he managed, squeezing his eyes shut. "We 
failed!" 

The fog horn bellowed again and Koga's eyes snapped back open. 
A tear ran down his wrinkled cheek. He reached for Laura, waved 
her close. With his left hand he clutched Strand's sleeve and with 
his right, he reached for Le Croix's beard: "You're never at peace," 
he whispered, "in the home for which you didn't fight. But you are 
princes in the place for which you forsook fear!" 



X 



42 



x 101302MD 

"The truth is a product of perception, and it dies little deaths— every time it is 

related. " 

— George Irwin 

"The game has a name: Chaos. You don't have to play. " 
—David Duff 



42 X - Gyfu, "Gift." Generosity brings credit and honor, which support one's 

DIGNITY; IT FURNISHES HELP AND SUBSISTENCE TO ALL BROKEN MEN WHO ARE DEVOID 
OF AUGHT ELSE. — OLD ENGLISH POEM 



243 • Tom Fahy 

The Possession of Power, the Lack Thereof and the 
Bruteness of Human Nature: In Defense of the 
Indigent, In Defense of David Duff (January 2, 1971- 
October 10, 2002) — In My Own Words: The Obituary He 
Didn't Get 

This is a tale about evilness and goodness. It is also a tale about 
race and class. More importandy, it is a tale about madness — the 
madness of the uneducated, underprivileged and the poor, who 
grow up on farms and die on farms; who are sooner remembered 
for their smell than their face; who have vengeance always on the 
mind, and who sleep on palettes and become as hard. 

This is madness spawned from the fight to be acknowledged, to 
be rendered human in another's eye, to give birth to angels, not to 
the notorious; to die with assets. 

Madness is the cry of the hopeless, banned from advancement, 
condemned to less, always less, and still less. Madness is the answer 
to the pleas of a man's pride. It is the signature of a man who would 
sooner eat his own shit than beg, a man who may be resentful of his 
station in life but unwilling to apologize for it. 

The madman's fate is a crooked fate. It is for him alone to run 
from bad to worse, from one unfortunate child to many, from one 
bow-legged mule to another. And always the starched children, the 
wealthy, the silver spoons, the banker, the oil man and his wife, all 
catching and stealing light from him, his jurors every one. 

David Duff may have been a condemned man but he reminded 
the inquisitor that even condemned men scream, until stopped by a 
bullet, or by the botde, or by a runaway train — whichever comes 
first. The condemned man, the madman, he is our modern 
primitive — raw, unformed, and cast in an angry God's image. 

David Duff was a man conceived in shadow. Alone, he represents 
an entire class — the white trash. In this respect, he is less than 
nothing in the eyes of his millennial society. All opportunity has 
been wrested from him. Yet, he is not but offspring of this social, 
economic and cultural wasteland. David represents a breed-apart 
that has always walked among men, without belonging totally — a 
breed that has huddled since time immemorial on the 
periphery — the lonely, shorn escarpments on the outermost edge of 
civilizations. 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 244 

This breed, a sort of modern primitive, uncultured, uneducated, 
unacknowledged, is beyond common law, and in so far as laws are 
intended for the literate, the educated, the tax-payer, he is above the 
law, or so David Duff would have the inquisitor believe. 

This tale is indeed a tale about evilness. It is also a tale about 
supremacy: white supremacy and class supremacy. It is a tale about 
injustice — social, racial, and economic. It is a tale about the inherent 
randomness in nature, the possession of power, the lack thereof, 
and the bruteness of human nature. 

The characters in this tale are fugitives. David Duff is a fugitive 
from his past and the justice system. He has a gimp foot from his 
grand theft auto days and subsequent accidents. In this way he is 
inextricably united with an ugly, crude past without loyalties, and at 
the same time crippled by that past, unable to outrun it. David Duff 
is a hopeless fugitive from himself. 

His family: an estranged ex-wife, Katharine, and one fat daughter, 
slaves to themselves and to their father; two sons, an older one and 
a younger one. The younger one, Brian Todd Jr., the son with 
whom we are concerned, is the sole fugitive in the family — a 
fugitive from his father. 

Brian Todd Jr., violent but thoughtful, is an unordinary hero in 
this tale. He is the only player with a conscience. He is watchful, 
guarded, the only figure that finds his father's behavior 
objectionable, even detestable, and acts. He knows what a man's car 
means to him. A man's car, Brian Todd Jr. understands, is his 
bounty, his quarry, his all. It is his status, and his hive. Burn his car 
and you burn the man. You've kicked him where it hurts most. He 
is down, prone, just a man again. If the young son is different from 
his tribe, it is because he believes in hierarchy, because he is God- 
fearing, because he would sooner be judged than judge another 
man. 

Furthermore, if Brian Todd Jr. is different, it is because he does 
not resent his lot in life. Nature does with men what it will. One 
man is born rich, another man poor, and still others in between. Try 
as they might men cannot intervene significandy in the natural 
order of things. The younger son is resigned to this understanding 
and he doesn't seek vengeance. In this way he is unlike his father. 

Then there is the investment banker, Sutherland — his sworn 
enemy — who is also a fugitive. He represents the fortunate, the 
privileged, the sweet smelling, who are conceived in a ray of light, 



245 • Tom Fahy 

but not by choice. Like the white trash, the wealthy are condemned 
to wealth, to law by men, to ideas, to an endless supply of things. 
To the wealthy man a thing is no less burdensome than nothing, 
but he must protect his possessions. He must house them, support, 
polish and feed them. Why? This is his lot. But the investment 
banker — Sutherland — is mortal, too, and seeks to preserve life and 
the laws that give his life meaning, just as David Duff devotes 
himself to his own brand of justice-after-vengeance, 43 because 
vengeance empowers him and lends his life meaning. 

Both the filthy rich man and the filthy poor man, one knighted, 
the other cursed, are mortal and subject to the laws of nature. Both 
rally against them — the banker with his possessions that remove 
him from the troubling visage of mortality, and Duff with his 
vengeance, which draws him ironically nearer to his mortal fate. 
One has, the other has not. Both hate each other; each would 
declare he reigns over the other. 

David Duff would smear with horse dough the arc of his past on 
the banker's BMW 7-Series. Here he is seeking justice by 
nontraditional means. It is as though he anticipated the car and all it 
represented. And then comes Sutherland's wife, smeared in hair- 
dye. Both are messy with the effluvia of their respective 
stations — marked, as it were. And in between stands the black 
servant. He is smartly dressed and talks with the Miss Sutherland as if 
he were her equal. But this can't be! How, when Duff is but shit in 
the lady's eyes, can a black servant be respected, esteemed? 

Supremacy is a hallmark of Duffs breed, the white trash. He may 
be floating in the bottom of the barrel but the barrel sure-as-hell 
must be sitting on something! So in Duffs view it must be the 
blacks, represented by Sutherland's servant. David Duff may know 
he's not a good man, but he can't be the worst. That station 
remains to be filled by another breed. 

Progeny — > the rich man wants a legacy. The poor man wants a 
legacy. The black man wants a legacy. It is not enough to know that 
he'll die with his coffers full. So the rich man starts a family, the 
better to perpetuate his wealth. It is not enough to die destitute and 



43 "i have a creed. it is .called justice-after-vengeance. i don't know why i am 
unpopular. " — David Duff 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 246 

less than zero. So the poor man starts a family, the better to plague 
the world. 

David Duff has his family by the throat — most of it, at least. They 
are uneducated, underprivileged, emotionally deprived, and 
transient. They are Duffs. This is true justice: If the rich can 
perpetuate their kind, so too can trash. The poor man, however, 
never forgets that his offspring will be condemned to the margins; 
that they will be born with a rotten wooden spoon in their mouths. 
But this is the poor man's legacy, and be damned if he isn't proud 
of it. 

No one can argue that David Duff didn't have pride. No one can 
say that he wasn't a stoic in spirit if not in intellect. He had a 
principle, if not principles, and that was to defend the honor of his 
plight. If David Duff had anything to do with it, then his family 
would defend the honor of their plight too. They may be hired 
hands but they weren't slaves. They were in the bottom of the 
barrel, not under it. Duff also had one virtue, and that was to his 
credit, especially in an age when richer men had many virtues but 
not the occasions to test them. David Duff had one virtue and that 
was a single-minded devotion to a simple truth. It doesn't even 
matter if his simple truth was universal. It only matters that he was 
bold enough to own it and nurture it: fire is justice. And that was that. 

If David Duff respected nothing else, he respected fire. A single 
match could say more than a thousand words — it was the great 
equalizer. 

This tale has a conscience. It isn't only a story of black and white 
distinctions. Its conscience, personified by Duffs younger son, 
Brian Todd Jr., forces the inquisitor beyond issues of class and race, 
into a realm at once introspective and sensitive. The younger son is 
testament to the humanity of the players. Through his observations 
we realize that every player, every man, has two selves. There is the 
self that is subject to judgment, prejudice, law, and the second self 
that is inviolable, innocent, and unaccountable. The second self is 
the child in every man, the watcher. The watcher is the ageless 
conscience, sometimes silenced by its owner's will or experiences, 
but ever-present still. 

Better than the others, or perhaps alone, Brian Todd Jr. penetrates 
the appearance of his father and sees to the core of his heart, 
although it is unlikely that he saw much that was surprising. To 
Duff his litde son is a contradiction to be reckoned with, an 



247 • Tom Fahy 

aberration. But his son is aware of his father's anger and the nature 
of his will to vengeance. David Duff, the young boy knows, may 
have seemed extraordinary, powerful and fear-inspiring, but that 
was it. He was just a man, although a man capable of more badness 
than goodness. An awful thing it is for a father to be betrayed by his 
own son. But of all Duff children, his youngest son was most like 
himself. Duff was a man with a cause, and so was his son, but 
unlike the father, the son wasn't a madman. 

A man may choose madness over reason, especially when reason 
hasn't significantly contributed to the improvement of his lot. 
David Duff chose madness because it would better serve his cause, 
and of course his cause was vengeance. At some point, probably 
when he knew that the pursuit of reason was fruitless, his 
conscience was overridden by anger. That anger was so great that it 
dulled the senses of his offspring — all but one, the younger son, in 
whom David Duffs conscience was reawakened. 

The Duff boys were raised by a wild man. It was only natural that 
they should follow in his footsteps and be given up totally to 
wildness, which is a cousin to madness and also that condition's 
potentiator. In the case of the younger son, Brian Todd Jr., he too 
was given to wildness, but he was no savage or modern primitive. 
Brian Todd Jr. was wild but reasonable. Moreover, he was 
conscientious. If in the end of the tale he was pressed out of society 
and into nature, it was because of his conscientiousness that set him 
apart from a world of injustice and frank brutality, of inequality and 
insensitivity. 

Where there are class distinctions there is hate. The oppressed, the 
underprivileged, are hungry for mediums of self-expression and 
protestation. When in doubt, the oppressed appropriate. Even 
before appropriation was a concept, it was done, but then it was 
more sublime than today. Today, oppressed groups borrow from 
pop-culture and the media, and adopt consumer goods, perverting 
or transforming them to their own ends. The goods become 
symbols of a struggling class or race. 

But in Duffs opinion, the distinctions were more clear-cut. 
Someone had something you didn't, and you resented that 
something, holding it forever in contempt. Duff represented the 
impoverished. His face was a Dorothea Lange photograph come 
alive. But he 'warn't no migrant mother.' He was something else, 
something extraordinary. He was a Duff, and he had a cause. But 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 248 

first he must appropriate a symbol of his plighted people, an image 
to emblazon on a victory flag; one the white trash of America can 
hoist on their very own personal Iwojima: FIRE. 

David Duff, however, was no folk hero. He was a bad man, but 
not an unaccountable man. He was a product of the times, and of a 
class. He was born into anonymity and so he would die, and no one 
would understand the meaning of the man with a bullet in his lung, 
laying dead in the dark, a tire tread-mark on his forehead. We 
remember folk heroes for a reason. We forget all the other dead for 
a reason, too. We remember folk heroes because they were 
memorable; we forget the others because they were not. If the tale 
has a folk hero, then it is Brian Todd Jr. We remember him because 
he is burned by his own redeeming actions onto our retinas like a 
stamp of the Sun. We remember him because we know he will 
vanish and that his body will never be found in police-blotters 
again. We know that he is going to walk into the great beyond at 
daybreak and the birds will be his chorus as the credits roll. In this 
way, Brian Todd Jr. is immortalized. 

Brian Todd Jr. is a hero for other reasons, too. We instantly 
celebrate him because he has a brain and uses it. We also celebrate 
him because he has a working heart. He is his mother's son. He 
does not judge outright. He sees the humanity in all men. He does 
not fumble in his understanding of human nature. He knows that 
there are good men and bad men, rich men and poor men, hitters 
and petters, but they are all men, and were children once, like him, 
and could be again. Brian Todd Jr. was also farseeing, even if he 
couldn't describe to himself what he envisaged, for he was too 
young, and unformed. But we admire him his courage to 
acknowledge all men, whether or not they acknowledge his father's 
lot. We know that Brian Todd Jr. understands that men are not only 
what they do; they are also what they don't seem to be: frightened 
children, filling in blanks in a crossword puzzle without clues. 

x 101702MD 

Allayne 

There on a beach, 

We've not yet visited, 

Gulls storming the shoreline, 



249 • Tom Fahy 

Waves marching to a silent drumbeat, 
An invasion in foam and rolling fury. 

There in the wet forest, 

Leaves shuddering, 

The wind in our bones, 

The clouds torn to ribbons and streamers 

By the naked branches above. 

On foot, 

The sound of your familiar feet in my ears, 

Our skin baking under an alien sun, 

Sailing through tall dry grass, 

That grows taller, 

Conspires to consume us. 

In a painted houseboat, 
With a crooked frame 
Creaking with the rising tide, 
You and I, woven together 
By the braids of golden light that 
Fall through a porthole. 

And in blizzards, 

When flurries fill your eyes 

And your cheeks bloom in the icy night air. 

When warm red paint flows into a 

Crackling white world that would blind 

If it didn't first brace. 

When warm rivers of iron encircle us, 

Subsume us, 

And we become as lava racing to the sea, 

Turned to rock on impact, our hearts fused, 

Caste in a cradle of brine, 

Forged by tidal armies. 

And in a place without knowledge of light; 

A place wrought from the iron at the center of stars; 

A crypt in which flap 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 250 

The gentle wings of angels . . . 

I trace with fingers that have their own gravity 

The outline of your gilded soul. 

And when we wake in pale mornings, 
Bedded in warm, heaving earth, 
Framed by bobbing and nodding flowers, 
Sheltered beneath ancient boughs, 
Secure under a porcelain sky. . . 

. . .I'll say as much and you'll understand, 
That what we feel begins where language ends, 
When into wood-smoke turn the tales I've told 
Of a life we've not yet lived, 
Of a world that would be ours, 
When you and I end. . . 

x 101802MD 

We stay at the Commander Charles Livingston Manor on Nigel 
Park. There are white curtains and white bed sheets and tiger oak 
furniture that absorbs daylight; kneads and molds it into anomalous 
shapes. Allayne stirs, draws the pillow close to her. My heart aches 
as I watch her — a phantom beneath the thin sheet. I know that my 
heart is weak. I know that it is reluctant to let go of life. I know that 
it wants to love this girl. Will it last us this week, this night? A 
healthy man might mistake the pains in his chest for love-sickness, 
but I know better. To me they are a warning — a warning that I have 
chosen to ignore with leonine fierceness. It doesn't bother me that I 
may die soon. But I don't want Allayne to find me dead; to wake up 
next to a corpse. I will have to tell her. She is looking at me through 
her eyelashes. Can she hear me? The ache in my chest with which I 
woke has vanished. She opens her arms to me and I pull her into 
my lap, her head resting on my chest. She seems to whisper into my 
dying heart, I love you. I can feel her soft breath; it is light and airy, 
like butterfly wings. 



251 • Tom Fahy 

x 102002MD 

19.5° 

Imagine a pair of warhorses 
Dragging a wheel-less chariot, 
Leaving deep ruts, a plume of dust, 
And you will have visualized one facet, 
One poorly wrought facet, 
Of a nail-less clawing over rough rock; 
How un-rarefied air catches in my throat, burns. 
And because it won't do 
To knock some cold preamble from 
Passive rock with blunted tools, 
I'll lead you down, 
Down into the refinery; 
Lead you by the hand to float 
Among the smelters, the blast furnaces, 
To the foundry where I've been 
Building armor these long years; 
To the drawing boards on creosote legs 
Where pencils bitten to the quick vibrate 
With the machinery in the walls; 
Dust filtering through the air — mortar rattled free- 
Sifting through this lowly atmosphere. 

I'll show you the plans I've drawn, the cabinets 

Full to overflowing, the stacked boxes. . . 

I'll say, "Here is the evidence, how it all works, 

Why I work here, 

Why I build armor so that 

I may lay waste to the world above." 

Imagine a long-suffering sentry 
From a world to come, in rags, 
A heavy holster at his hip, 
Squinting into the horizon, 
Waiting for the alarm of hoof beats, 
The ratchet and clang of steel treads 
Grinding the earth into fine gravel. 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 252 

Watch him endure the heft of the armor, 

Seared by the sun, baked into his skin, 

Already pocked by bullets, by rocks, by flying bone. 

We'll sit at his feet while he's on his watch, 

Observe the eddies of rusty dirt 

Aggregate around his boots. 

Imagine the tales the sentry could tell 
If he could speak, 
If he weren't bred mute; 
If he could still answer the call of sleep; 
If he could coil up under a rock, 
And corkscrew into the earth 
For a day or three. 

But as in the refinery, so too in the desert on a sentry's watch: 
Armor by subjects for subjects; armor for its own sake. 

I have but riddles, 

Sentences melted and disfigured in cauldrons, 

Tempered, hammered into warped horseshoes 

Worn by warhorses 

That will charge my own sentries, 

Stampede them in cyclonic fury. 

And it does not get better than this, 

Simpler, safer than warming the drawing board, 

Bearing down into yellowing paper 

With stubs of graphite, 

Designing new and better armor. 

And now into the smoky den 

Where the engravers bicker, 

Scratch their bearded faces, 

Unfurl sheet-metal over dark anvils, 

Hammer glyphs, ornamental flourishes, stamps: 

Listen to them hiss as they work, 

Forked tongues running over their sharp teeth, 

The syncopation of their too-long nails. 

These are my craven charges, zamak artisans, 

Interpreters of riddles — my riddles; 

They are not of this Earth. 



253 • Tom Fahy 

We breathe the same superheated air, 
But as in the desert, so too in the refinery: 

Riddles by subjects for subjects; Riddles for riddle's sake. 

I retreat at the speed of sound; 
Leave the sentries, the artisans, the smelters, 
Scramble up the dark wells into the brown fields, 
Run through dead husks under dying light 
To the cliffs; 

Watch wildness dashed on the rocks below, 
Turned to foam, 

Into something reproducible, with dimension — 
Objects, however fleeting, without armor: 
The ocean's sock-puppets . . . 

x 102102MD 

"I was healthy until I decided I needed to get better. " 

— Esteban Suarez 

Esteban Dictates 

Esteban is bed-ridden. Valeria has found an old Graflex 16mm 
projector. We project old movies on the wall, lie in bed beside him. 
Valeria changes his drip. His body is ravaged. Last night we 
watched "L'awentura" ...again. Esteban is obsessed with the 
Monica Vitti character, Claudia. Valeria has unearthed decades of 
criticism of the movie, dropped cardboard box-loads of newspaper 
clippings, magazines and scholarly journals on Esteban's bed. 
Esteban has discovered Bosley Crowther (regrettably) and Patrick 
Nowell-Smith (fortuitously). He says he's found a kindred spirit in 
the latter and it is imperative he write a letter to Nowell-Smith at 
once! He dictates: 

Dear Mr. Nowell-Smith, 

I am writing regarding your criticism of "L'awentura." I 
was stunned by the intentness and focus of the movie's 
visual images, and by the masterful affectation of the 
characters and the landscape. It would appear, in this 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 254 



respect, that Antonioni has an uncanny grasp of the 
objectified landscape. His handling of its components is 
velvet-pawed; it is one in which language is employed both 
as a musical instrument and a precision tool. Herein, I 
wish to address the treatment of his characters, the 
landscape, and the interaction between the two, 
respectively. 

Firstly, I would like to address the character, Anna. Her 
role is at once nominal and all-important. This small 
distinction motivates the film and constructs a loose 
context, a web across which the other characters can 
stretch their legs. I was taken in by Anna's indifference 
to things Earthly; by the underplayed religiosity of her 
nature; beyond the cold and unfeeling pretenses belied by 
her sexlessness with the character, Sandro. I saw a young 
woman disillusioned by the frivolities of her era; a woman 
struggling to aspire to a higher order, a greater good 
apart from the flesh with which her companions are 
preoccupied. 

At first, Anna makes concessions to Sandro ' s human 
weaknesses and like Magdalene, offers him her body in 
order to quell his suffering. Then she makes the ultimate 
sacrifice — dies or disappears, if only symbolically, that 
Sandro 's inequities might be forgiven through her 
magnanimous self-effacement. In so many words, Anna tells 
Sandro that she doesn't want to lose him, but she no 
longer feels him. In other words, Anna is renouncing the 
flesh, which, although has served her well, has run its 
course and attained its ultimate end. In this way, Anna is 
the story's unsung hero — her function is fulfilled. Anna 
disappears and her companions are forced to become 
acquainted with the limitless, and so too are we, the 
audience. 

On the other hand, Sandro is suffering the pangs of the 
flesh with which he still identifies, and of unrequited 
love. For Sandro, there are no simple answers. Only 
through vice can Sandro hold onto life, which has long 
ceased to speak to him and answers only with an insolent 
stare. In this respect, Sandro is not alone. The others of 
his troupe too are afflicted by this unsettling paradigm 
of isolation and despair. Patrizia so well illustrated the 
predicament of her contemporaries when she expressed her 
concern over the islands, "...so many islands — so much 
water around them." How like their lives! Antonioni' s 
characters are islands unto themselves. The storm on the 
evening of Anna's disappearance says it all. The weather 
was changing; the ideologies of the times, like the 
clouds, were darkening noticeably — becoming increasingly 
self-centered and hopeless. In your monograph, you said 
something to this effect. You said that the characters 



255 • Tom Fahy 



"...learn to live alone with the margin of freedom that is 
inescapably theirs and theirs alone." 

Then comes hope in the person of Claudia. Claudia, the 
observer, is hope's saving grace. She bonds with Sandro 
and in so doing creates the bridge which mends the chasm 
between despair and hope. Claudia is of particular 
interest to me. For one, she is an innocent. She is almost 
a child, and in this way, she contrasts boldly with her 
environment. This aspect is exemplified in the balcony 
shot in Noto of which there is a frame still printed on 
page 39 in your monograph. 

Claudia too, like Anna before her, makes concessions to 
the weaknesses of her fellows, but she does not abandon 
them. Rather, she grants them their inequities with 
compassion, for she realizes that their weaknesses, as 
well as her own, are exhibits and artifacts of the 
constraints placed upon them by their environment. This is 
a hallmark of the human condition of which we as viewers 
become keenly aware through the person of Claudia. 

This, then, brings us to the most prevalent aspect of 
"L' avventura: " the landscape. Like the vase on the island 
over the age of which the travelers-in-arms were debating, 
the past, with the disappearance of Anna, is broken and in 
pieces between the interstices of time. What is left is 
uncertainty, a feeling evinced by the closeness of the 
landscape. Here, Antonioni's handiwork becomes apparent. 

Angular, architectonic and alienating, the landscape 
forces itself on the characters, the story, and the 
audience. The landscape, both in the city and in the rural 
country, is portrayed like a monument — changeless, 
imposing and indifferent; the landscape, on which men both 
impose their notions of God and graft their hopes, remains 
the fact from which all mysteries come and all mysteries 
go. It is the landscape into which all of our circular 
arguments disappear, and the peg on which men hang their 
miseries. Moreover, it is watchful. It is this last 
contention through which Michelangelo Antonioni's skilled 
hand becomes of essential importance in his expression. 
The camera lingers, inviting the landscape — stark in its 
beauty and noiselessness. The melancholy closes in on us. 
What is left: Solitude; Antonioni has cast a spell with 
ambiguity and suggestion. Did the landscape whisper just 
then? No. It was that baffling, immovable objectivity of 
his which shook us for a second. Why does this frighten 
us? Antonioni has shown us what it means to "...live 
alone with the margin of freedom that is inescapably..." 
ours and ours alone. 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 256 



My gratitude toward your criticism is immense. It read 
like an instruction manual. I am struck by you as an 
artist and I am struck by your perceptivity. Great men 
evolve not by reflex alone, nor do they become over- 
conscious of their insights. Instead, through discoveries, 
they evolve progressively, and the mysteries of Heaven and 
Earth which impress themselves and enter into their works 
abruptly, like flashes, and they are aware that they have 
come, not at the moment of their appearance, but in the 
praises they receive. 

Affectionately, 

Esteban Suarez 

x 102202MD 

Esteban Suarez July 2, 1973 - October 22, 2002 

The dead, too, were children once. . . 

Young Esteban woke at 7:00 AM , dressed hurriedly and scaled the 
banister to the hall that led into the kitchen. He poured himself a 
sloppy bowl of cereal and sat in front of the TV. He shoved 
spoonfuls of cereal into his mouth and flipped through the channels 
looking for a good cartoon. The channels were fuzzy; he could see 
the distorted face of a television anchor through the static. Esteban 
turned off the television and walked to a bay window encrusted 
with ice. In the sky were streaks of orange and pink; in the wan 
light, mounds of snow covered the once-green lawn. The hedges 
resembled colossal dollops of whipped cream. 
His father, Adolfo, will be up soon; he will dress, put on his boots 
and walk Esteban to the big car. When he isn't looking, while he's 
scraping ice from the windshield, Esteban will throw a snowball at 
him — he visualizes the snowball exploding, leaving a mark on his 
father's jacket. And if he is lucky, his father might make a snowball 
of his own; Esteban will hide behind the hedge. 



257 • Tom Fahy 

x 102302MD 

"If it isn't bloody, it probably isn't a very good revolution. " 

— James Trainer 

A Tribute to Ambassador James Trainer on the 4 th 
Anniversary of the Conception of the Orchard Park 
Revolt of 1998 

James Trainer's position is an interesting and compelling one. It is 
also unpopular. Nevertheless, there is much in the content of what 
he says that should be considered carefully. James Trainer's interest 
is in facts. What is a fact? A fact can be equated with an 
incontrovertible truth; something that has been determined to be 
so; that has been defended by the human mind with evidence 
sought by the same mind: Fact. 

There is nothing banal about facts. The perception of facts makes 
our world a habitable place. Facts enable each and every one of us 
to negotiate the world in which we live. Facts, facilitated by 
language, enable us to describe and study the world as it is. Facts 
inherit nothing from presumption. Their genes are inherited from 
those minds that determined that to live justly is to exercise fully the 
intellect that was their inheritance, and with which quality could be 
introduced into life on earth, not subsistence. Animals subsist. 
Human beings, with reason at their disposal, no longer subsist. 
They do not graze. They do not forage. They do not herd. And by 
the grace of reason only a small fraction still serve as shepherds and 
fishers of men. 

Faith does not now, nor has it historically, achieved the aim that it 
promised to deliver: peace. It repeatedly and effectively proscribes 
reason from our everyday discourse. James Trainer is one of a small 
chorus of new voices in this country that is growing intolerant; 
intolerant of the license that has been bestowed upon faith; 
intolerant of the moderation with which the world's faiths are 
regarded; intolerant of the ability of faith to eviscerate reason from 
the mind of man. James Trainer represents a new type of evangelist: 
An evangelist for reason. His concern is the ability of religious 
moderation to short-circuit debates that must be had if indeed our 
interest is in the longevity of the species on planet earth. Do not 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 258 

assume that James Trainer doesn't care. He does. In fact, he is 
clearly impassioned and by defending reason and its utilities — logic 
and rationality — he is revealing a sincere interest in the fate of his 
race. 

James Trainer's dissatisfaction is palpable to everyone that reads 
his treatises. He is bringing many novel ideas to the table, or novel 
in so far as the ideas are falling victim to historical relativism. So, in 
a manner of speaking, he is resurrecting old ideas that are the 
children of one of the greatest legacies of humankind: reason. And 
in order to properly champion reason in the 21 st century, a new and 
unpopular type of debate must be forced on the public. Here, James 
Trainer's philosophy may be facilitated. Here, where faith has been 
consciously rejected, he may attempt to describe the underpinnings 
of a new type of discourse that must be adopted if conflicts of a 
global nature are to be suspended. James Trainer speaks to that 
element in each man that flickers with the light of consciousness; 
that revels in the liberty that is each man's inheritance by virtue of 
his ability to think. James Trainer is fully aware that his life is finite. 
And for this reason, he would ask that mankind adopt that 
modicum of reason that would ensure quality of life for all men on 
earth, and while they are alive! 

Faith has been shown conclusively to serve as a delimiter to the 
acquisition of knowledge, era after era. And it achieves this end by 
starving each child, each man, of the wonder that comes naturally to 
him at birth; the awe that visits each child upon perceiving the 
world, as it is, with only language at his disposal, not preconceived 
notions; language, not dogma. The language with which he can 
achieve a record of what he sees and touches and smells. A record 
that will serve as a testimony to his interest in life and his deep 
respect for the right of others to live theirs to the fullest, but not in 
a conditional way, not by the grace of Odin, not for the sake of 
Baldr. This child's interest is in the good. He understands fully the 
value of life on earth and consequently, he understands the value of 
the lives of others. From childhood, he has been encouraged to 
exercise his powers of reason. He does not see Baldrists, or Jews or 
Muslims or Hindus. He sees only people possessed of a curiosity to 
further the capabilities of a species that possesses consciousness. 
His life is finite and he realizes this. But his sights are not trained on 
an afterlife. Rather, his sights are trained on what he is able to 
produce of value for his successors, for they will inherit the Earth: 



259 • Tom Fahy 

the producers, the intellectuals, the visionaries, the industrialists, 
NOT the meek. For the meek will have produced nothing of lasting 
substance, as their interest has not been in this earthly life, it has 
been in the next life. And consequently, they die equals to their 
aspirations: starving, empty, and hopeful. 

The rational do not believe that some things cannot be answered. 
The reasonable do not acknowledge that there is an ineffable or an 
unknowable anything. The reasonable concede that man is limited 
by his knowledge in the present, but that his successors, given that 
they were descended from caretakers of reason, will have the tools 
at their disposal to answer the questions about which their 
ancestors were forced to wonder. To live not for an afterlife but for 
the sake of your great, great, great grandchildren is to live a moral 
life, by standards that seek nothing less than the truth — a truth that 
must be worked for, not bought on the cheap on Sunday morning. 

x 110102MD 

Stack of Hours 

With the moon down and the stars dying, 

How do I do it, show you... 

How a man can break his ribs with his own heart? 

It can't be done: 

The description, any description, 

Of the sound that prescience makes: 

A thousand crying gulls in an aluminum pipe; 
Of the feeling of time gliding on rusty hooks. 

How? 
This vicious, unforgiving knowing, 
With tooth and bone ready to explode 
In the cold vacuum of awareness; 
And to bear it, 

The stack of hours mortared with helpless minutes. 
To feel chilled ink in your spine, 
Iron in your hips, gunmetal in your wrists, 
And a dead echoing foundry behind your eyes. 

Night does fall. 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 260 

It is a child with skinned knees in the street. 

Night, that rarefied cave in which the future stands Naked — 

Your world as it will be: 

Crouching in a sea of goldenrods and bluegrass, 

Rockets masquerading as second suns, 

An old picture in your pocket, 

Too aware of the holes in your pants 

And the ringing in your ears. 

The future — knowing, 

And being able to see you clearly from here, 

Now, at this hour, 

In the stead of dreaming; 

Holding little funerals for each passing breath, 

Awake and buried in familiar pillows, 

Under an avalanche of memories, 

Sleeping cities sliding into the sea. 

And I could tell you where I will go from here 

And under what sky 

The great and future roofs will rise, 

And toward what stars the soul's spires will point, 

The song the spirit's belfry will sings . . . 

I could: Tell you, 

But I'm watching you as you try to sleep, 

Some wonderful olive in a wooden press, 

And I choose to burn words as kindling instead. 

And I could tell you about desperate prayers 
In the chapel of the tidewater night; 

I could: Tell you, 

But night will expire and we'll soon stand again 

In the cold unyielding light of morning. 

It will demand an account of us 

As it always does, 

And we'll check our pockets for receipts, 

Proof of sleep, the costs of dreaming. 



261 • Tom Fahy 

And I know what these broken ribs will look like 
In the x-ray of daybreak; 

I know the whispering beaches will grow loud again. 
The roofs will bake and the roads will melt. 

This is the burden of prescience; 
This is the future in the present tense; 
This is being at the mercy of the whims of nature. 
If only memory were a painted desert, 
Eroded by sand and wind; 
If only. 

x 110202MD 

"If there was an opposition, I didn't notice, " 
— George Irwin 
Fascismo 

That opposition is of inestimable importance at this historic 
juncture which represents the question of the survivability of the 
affable intellect and the pervasion of Duffian idealism is 
unquestionable. That we are clearly submitting to the perverse 
notion that the husbandry of civil liberties by a sovereign is 
preferable to autonomy and self-actualization is a glimpse into the 
abyss that is our probable destiny. It may be argued that the apex of 
the Intellect has been reached; that it may be described in annalistic 
terms: "the short annals of the Intellect." But I would argue that 
this is not so; that the fundaments of the Intellect, the bases that are 
described kinetically by the notions of autonomy and self- 
actualization, remain sound; that the Intellect, evinced repeatedly 
throughout its "short annals" is alive and well; that it cannot be 
likened to short-lived filaments exploding in a vacuum. 

We are at a crossroads — a juncture described by the secession of 
the Intellect to baser pursuits, or a reinvigoration by autonomy and 
self-actualization. We are as lenses grown fallible by the grease of 
time and by abuse, but not beyond repair; not beyond the polish 
that may be restored to such ideals by grace of introspection. 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 262 

That opposition is not impossible has been shown irrefutably 
throughout history. That the Intellect has grown starved of history 
does complicate this proof, but this is not a proof with dots that 
cannot be connected, given due diligence and determination, both 
hallmarks of the Intellect. But no such proof may be solved in the 
realm of partisan politics, the machinations of which have 
seemingly outwitted a goodly portion of its various constituencies, 
deftly rewriting our annalistic understanding of the precepts of a 
Republic, replacing ideals which were once largely perceived as 
inalienable with stentorian Plutocracy. That we do not perceive this 
inordinate reorganization of the rights which we once regarded as 
dear, is at once frightening and telling. And herein lays the crux. 
That the Intellect may already have begun what could be perceived 
as a multi-generational departure from the purely autonomous to 
the servile is not improbable, given the passivity by which it appears 
to be informed in spite of a host of environmental incentives that 
might have in other epochs served as adequate stimuli, or fodder 
for opposition. 

That opposition seems at insurmountable odds with powers that 
have been wielded in such a way as to suggest invincibility is 
arguable, in so far as we would impose conventionalism on 
opposition; in so far as we would wish opposition to assume 
familiar forms. But no longer can we determine the shape of 
opposition by what is familiar, by what describes the shape of a 
common proof. Opposition must assume a greater flexibility with 
the aim of achieving a mutability that may transcend borders and 
cultures; a mutability that lends itself to native oppositional 
movements while retaining the fundamental intent that was its 
original impetus: the preservation of autonomy and self- 
actualization, the fundaments of Intellect. Lest we cede these 
privileges to Duffian idealism, a meaningful opposition must be 
implemented with perhaps a dangerous haste, as we are indeed at a 
crossroads, historic in its scope, but not, it is my sincere hope, 
possessing the momentum that was envisioned by the Futurists; a 
momentum that would supersede any and all attempts to thwart its 
questionable aims. If this is the case, perhaps opposition has been 
lost, relegated to the short annals of the Intellect, in which case, the 
dystopia about which we have been warned may be upon us. 



263 • Tom Fahy 

x 110302MD 

"At the very least, we should hope for a riot. I should think that, absent a 
new revolt, Orchard Park will not grow. " 

— Ambassador James Trainer 

Loose Resorteras 

One prominent possibility is a collapsing Orchard Park. If that 
coup-prone region were to dissolve into civil war, possibly between 
two or more factions of the East End militia, urgent questions 
would be raised concerning the whereabouts and security of the 
neighborhood's slingshot arsenal. Given the prevalence of 
anarchist-fundamentalist groups in that potentially explosive area, 
military planners worry that some of the area's slingshots could fall 
into the hands of Russell Huggins or a similar figure (i.e., 
Ambassador James Trainer). Such a scenario would present an even 
more pressing threat to core Baltimorean security than a Quebecois 
attack on Maine or a Mexican invasion of Texas. It is highly 
doubtful that the United States could stand aside. More likely, it 
would intervene militarily to help the moderate faction (if a 
moderate faction exists) in the case of civil unrest in order to 
restore and reestablish the security of the area's arsenal of 
slingshots. 

Other military operations are possible, too. A deployment to 
Orchard Parks might result, for example, if Brooklyn and Orchard 
Park again went to war and found themselves on the brink of using 
slingshots. Under such circumstances, a large multilateral force 
might, for example, deploy to Catonsville to run the region for an 
extended period prior to convening a political process to resolve the 
region's long-term future. 

Admiral Hadley N. Leash voiced the concern of many military 
officers that Orchard Park was a conundrum of the worst sort, an 
ethno-political conflict manifested in warring factions not unlike the 
clans and sub-clans of Somalia. As the 1 9 th century French military 
theorist Antoine Henri de Jomini lamented, wars originating in civil 
or ideological conflict are the "most deplorable for they enlist the 
worst passions and become vindictive, cruel and terrible." He 
warned, "No army, however disciplined, can contend successfully 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 264 

against such resistance unless it is strong enough to hold all the 
essential points of the region, cover its communications and at the 
same time furnish an active force sufficient to beat the enemy 
wherever he may present himself." 

x 110402MD 

Hinterlands 44 

Solid things attract fissures, 

Concrete is wanting of cracks. 

I felt the sum of so many breaches, 

Of fractures by stress, 

As if wind and rain had 

No uncertain effect upon me. 

But then, I was still a tighdy coiled thing: 

I held in my hands the flanges of an angel, 

And was sensitive to her features. 

I believed. 

And then I felt my grip loosen, 

My resolve... 

Pealing like leaves of paint or twists of bark. 

Something in me was rented. 

A fault appeared, widened, 

And soon became impassable. 

There were omens, too— fitting omens. 

Creeping through a hedgerow in August, 

We beheld a blackbird, gasping, unwell. 

It alighted upon my arm, 

And there took its last breath. 

There was an unearthly quiet. 

The fault grew wider still, 

Yawned... 

And there were prior transgressions — 

Not even a child is blameless. 

Memory raises them in stature, 

Lending them an inch here and an inch there 

Until in his adulthood. 



44 Hinterlands, 2003, Stag Records (stag.tomfahy.org) 



265 • Tom Fahy 

They loom disproportionately large. 

But this is largely the fault of memory — 

The currency of conscience. 

Strong and weak alike will exile 

These transgressions come-alive-lately, 

And they become as trees, scarp, abutments, and slag, 

Forgivable for their lending his world 

A certain ignominious tangibility. 

He will need that, 

Because there are worse things than these; 

There are wrongs — committed, contrived, 

Dealt out like cards, or blows, or bee-stings, 

And remembered like so much reconnaissance — 

In and out — 

I might have seen it coming. . . 

On the banks of Oriskanee Falls, 

Or at the opening of the home-school; 

I might have felt something 

Slithering under the surface — 

Something with a forked tongue; 

But love would benumb that sense of the impending 

And would stroll enwrapped in moth-eaten surety; 

I might have heard a whisper long ago 

In the backseat of a Pontiac — 

There, holding one hand each 

Of a girl-child and a baby — 

But I didn't interpret the whisper as a warning; 

Rather, a tuneless thing... 

Now, I remember it as a dirge: 

Crickets with broken wings 

Soaked in the sigh of a fleet night. 

But sinless I was on the banks of Oriskanee Falls, 

With a balsa-wood heart, 

With hope. 

But it escapes us all, sooner or later, 

Meaning does, 

Leaving us somewhat bereft, clueless, 

Hopelessly dispassionate, 

With a fig in our throats. 

The blame is our own, we realize. 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 266 

And Sunday services are no antidote 

To the pain that is the price of our sickness. 

We look backward, as we must, 

Looking for root causes; 

Because we can't separate, as they say, 

The wheat from the chafe. 

We have grown somewhat smaller, soluble, not liked, 

On a spit of our own contrivance; 

And that no one will share in our memories, 

Is probably just, 

Considering the crimes we've committed; 

They are many. 

But this isn't the place for lists, exegesis, Orders... 

This is a lament, plea... 

An attempt to strike a bargain 

With the forces that be; 

A wistful attempt, we on our knees, 

At winning the favor of our judges. 

They are ours, these crimes; we own them. 

Were we able, we'd take them to market, 

Or sell shares; 

But it is understood that in us are ingrown hooks. 

And on the shores of consciousness, 

Where the whales toil, 

On rocks as severe, sit our judges, 

Stolid, cavernous, inviolable, with memories as 

Indelible as our own, perhaps more so. . . 

And we have but memories 

With which to make our case, 

While the judges. . .thejudges... they have eternity. 

x 110502MD 

"The very act of eating eggs is soothing and assuages general feelings of 
disorientation that are likely to be exacerbated by the specter of death. " 

— Russell Huggins 

I woke up in the lobby of the Commander Charles Livingston 
Manor on Nigel Park. I was disoriented. I wasn't injured: should I 



267 • Tom Fahy 

have been? I felt my arms and legs, groin and head. I wiggled my 
toes. I went outdoors. Birds were chirping. The sky was crisscrossed 
with branches heavy with leaves. The air was warm, almost muggy, 
scented with plums, and piqued with the aroma of sawdust, or pine 
bark. 

I had floaters in my eyes — one in the right and two in the left; one 
shaped like a corkscrew, the other like a baton. I blinked. They 
wouldn't go away. 

These weren't my clothes — a suit: blue blazer with white slacks, 
brown shoes. In the lapel of the blazer was a wilted yellow flower. 
I crossed the street, passed through Nigel Square, entered the Nigel 
Park Diner, sat heavily on a stool, ordered eggs, and tried to forget 
this incident. 

x 110602MD 

"A. new chapter is the place where an author's constipation ends and his 
debauch resumes. " 

— George Irwin 

Radicalism, Fascismo and Anarchy: The Orchard Park 
School 

Outside of Baltimore, the Orchard Park tradition of writing is 
unquestionably the most diverse. Unlike the Baltimorean, the 
Orchard Park approach is not primarily a religious, philosophical, or 
scientific one, excluding the influence of Anarchism beginning 
during the Cecilius dynasty, and which reached a pinnacle during 
the Huggins (1913-1995). The roots of the Orchard Park approach 
to writing are recessed in the early orientations of the culture, and 
those orientations, as they do in all cultures, determine the character 
of its art. 

The orientation of the Orchard Parkians, however, differed 
dramatically from the Baltimoreans whose writing was dominated 
by reason and corporeal beauty, or from the Washingtonians, 
whose writing was determined by religious symbolism. Again, the 
Orchard Park approach was not primarily religious in nature, nor 
was it handmaid to philosophy or science. The approach was 
primarily poetic and imaginative. The Orchard Park style of writing, 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 268 

save for occasional lapses, avoided the pitfalls of the academic style. 
Absent also was the ego, which found its home in surrealism, 
expressionism and romanticism. 

What informed Orchard Park writing? Two chief doctrines: 
Fascismo and Anarchism, both doctrines of living indigenous to 
Orchard Park, and that emphasized in their turn "inner reality," by 
which is meant a mediate between opposing forces, such as matter- 
spirit, divine-human. In other words, where the Baltimorean mind 
is seen as typically dualistic, a purveyor of extremes, the authors of 
Orchard Park sought to fuse antagonistic forces, creating an overall 
dynamic union of opposites; a union required by a work for overall 
completeness. 

In Baltimore, the conception of the spirit is irredeemably infused 
with religious meaning. It belongs to the prayerful life and the 
worshipful. In Orchard Park, however, where religion of a 
Baltimorean type was not evolved, the conception of the spirit was 
not two with matter, as in Baltimorean arts and letters, but one with 
matter. Where in Baltimore, philosophy, science, and religion are 
the primary vehicles for self-expression, writing assumed that 
function in Orchard Park and became the medium of choice for the 
expression of the profound. 

Fascismo is the cornerstone of the Orchard Park approach to 
writing. The subject matter, interpretations, and the imaginations 
hat determined both were influenced by the concept of Fascismo. 
Through his writings, the author sought communion with matter — 
rocks, trees, water — as well as communicated with his pens the soul 
inherent in that matter. In the words of George Irwin, "Not I or 
thou. Without the rock, a slingshot is but a doorstop." 

Orchard Park authors were from the outset given to expanding 
the vocabulary of the context in which they developed as authors. 
Yet they also were disposed to assimilating into their artistic schema 
hand-me-downs from their predecessors, some esteemed and some 
not. Still, regardless of the styles with which they experimented, 
hybrids between those of their forbears and their own styles, the 
end product served as a revelation of the author. The Orchard Park 
approach was distinctly Anarchistic in its orientation but it did not 
sacrifice writing as a process of self-individuation for the sake of 
self-effacement. It is agreed that the human being is not the 
dominant theme in Orchard Park writing, but even as the author's 
presence was not conspicuous, it was also not completely absent. 



269 • Tom Fahy 

The concept of Fascismo may have blurred the distinction 
between the life of revolution and the experience of man, but it did 
not render the author obsolete. This idea is reflected in the works of 
the Huggins dynasty, in which human figures are the subject. If the 
early idealistic writings are not expressly Fascismoistic in nature, 
that is because they are of a spiritual order. Huggins dynasty writing 
was secular, and represented the rationalistic, human-centered facets 
of Orchard Park culture. During the Huggins dynasty, we see 
repeatedly images designed as homage to important personages. 
According to George Irwin, anarchism had become dominant in 
state and society, and its influence extended to writing: "Pictures of 
grotesque subjects," says Irwin, "performed a cathartic function in 
society, degrading the spirit and elevating the minds of men." 

It was during the Suarez Dynastic period that an explicit Fascismo 
aesthetic emerged, replacing the predominant anarchistic ideal 
without abandoning it altogether. Fascismo aesthetic was reflected 
principally in radical writing, as there was a notable shift from an 
interest in man, typified by the early idealistic writings of the 
Huggins Dynasty, to revolution-centered works. In these so-called 
revolution-centered works, authors gained a certain mastery over 
the pen, their works no longer but informal sketches exploiting 
rudimentary techniques. Moreover, technique aside, radical writing 
became the essence of the Orchard Park tradition, directing and 
inspiring the Orchard Park approach to writing. Radical political 
themes no longer served simply as fitting backdrops to secular 
documents, as in the Huggins Period, but were soon depicted for 
their own sake. In a word, through radical writing, revolution 
became a convention. Through depictions of revolution, an 
aesthetic was developed that did not exclude the subject, but could 
operate independently of that subject. More specifically, the said 
aesthetic was guided by the performance of the act of writing, given 
that the act was conducted in the "right spirit." According to Irwin, 
"right spirit" connotes an activity that is executed in such a way that 
"the author is entirely absorbed in the activity, so that it is 
accomplished, as it were, of its own accord, allowing man to enter 
into concord with the creative forces of revolution." 

This is not to suggest that radical writing, whether it is of the 
literati order from the 19 th century Cecilius Dynasty or a 
monumental radical image from the early Huggins Dynasty, is 
achieved in a trance. On the contrary, the radical writing is a valid 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 270 

aid on the path leading to self-realization. Indeed the author is 
absorbed entirely in his work, but where the Baltimorean author is 
at the mercy of his vision, divorced as it were from the creative 
process, the Anarchistic author remains at the helm of his 
imagination, guiding it toward an intended end. 

If the Anarchistic author wasn't at the mercy of his vision, than by 
the same token he was partial to the forces of revolution. Nature, to 
the Anarchistic author, was not an opponent, but an ally. It worked 
not through or against him, but with him. He did not strive to 
coerce or conquer nature. The laws that determined nature also 
determined him, the author. In effect, the Anarchistic author 
conveyed the mystery that permeated the natural. Even so, the 
author was not forced to rely on extreme methods, as in many 
Baltimorean works. Again, the Anarchistic author was not two with 
matter, and his experience of inner reality was direct. Then, it goes 
without saying that his understanding of the relationships between 
spirit and matter, also informed his conception of Heaven and 
Earth. 

The Orchard Park conception of Heaven and Earth was not 
unusual in a strictly Baltimorean sense. As Fascismo informed all 
things, it followed that it was present equally in the Heavens and on 
Earth. Orchard Park writing reflects this notion. In Irwin's words, 
"The Orchard Park approach avoided every literary convention 
which might direct the imagination away from otherworldiness." In the 
whole of the surviving Orchard Park oeuvre there is little that 
would persuade one to suggest that it was uncommon to depict the 
ugly. Surely there are flattering images of figures, but few that 
would cast the natural world or its occupants in a purely positive 
light. Considering the notion of Fascismo, and its manifestation in 
all things, this presence of the ugly and the deformed is not unusual. 
In fact, it is a central tenet in the Orchard Park approach to the art 
of writing. 

The character of Orchard Park writing is supremely non-religious. 
Firstly, Fascismo was impersonal. Individual authors did not 
consider having an audience with the divine. So, they were not 
disposed to expressing themselves through religion, but through art. 
Anarchism, like Fascismo, was not a true religion. Rather, it focused 
on one man's relationship to another, making it expressly 
humanistic in nature. Where Fascismo imparted a sense of mystery 



271 • Tom Fahy 

to the universe, and thus to the character of writing, Anarchism 
contributed to Orchard Park and to their writing a moral stimulus. 

The fusion of opposing virtues has given the Orchard Park author 
balance and strength. Greatness was assured when the stability of 
Anarchic lucidity was added to the imagination of Fascismo 
freedom, naturalness and mystery. 

In Baltimore, Baldrism imparted to the individual a special value. 
In Orchard Park, this sense of the special was absent. More 
important than the development of the special individual, was 
oneness with the revolutionary spirit. The individual was not 
hedged against revolution but was a working component within it. 
Of course, this pervasive notion informed the Orchard Park style of 
writing. 

The Orchard Park approach to writing was a mediate between 
extremes. Such examples as human/divine, man/revolution, already 
have been called upon. This mediation between forces that would 
otherwise diametrically oppose one another aided Anarchistic 
authors in their approach to the execution of the desired subject 
matter, which included the human figure, animals, birds and plants. 
Neither the role of tradition and its influence upon style must be 
spared in this discussion nor the direct influence it bestowed on the 
conception of originality in Orchard Park writings. 

Tradition in the context of Orchard Park writing cannot be 
understood in the same way that tradition in Baltimore is 
understood. At once we see consistent distinctions between the 
developments of technique in Baltimore and in Orchard Park. 
Regarding the tradition of style in Orchard Park writings, George 
Irwin emphasizes the deterministic role of the 'word.' "The word 
refers to an individual stab-wound made by the pen, where the will 
of the pen determines the objective of the word," he says. To the 
word, Irwin adds the elements: imagination, wonderment, and 
enchantment. All of these elements, when conjoined, and when in 
active dialogue with Fascismo, contribute to the overall 
effectiveness of the composition. In Irwin's words, "Composition 
proceeds from the arrangement of these elements into meaningfully 
charged words." 

Nevertheless, what made a writing Orchard Parkian was not 
merely the coordination of disparate elements. Unquestionably, the 
said elements were necessary, but not all-important. It was not by 
the means alone that the Orchard Parkians were motivated to write. 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 272 

which is not to suggest that aesthetics, unity, balance or the mastery 
of ideology were the driving forces. The true motivation of the 
Orchard Parkian to pursue writing is described by none of these. 
The Orchard Parkian would sooner resort to terms liberated from 
poetry and mysticism to express their inward motivations, as the 
path of the author was not an expressly technical one, but lyrical. 
Thus, the Orchard Park tradition of writing can be viewed as one 
that relies upon the subtle and the elusive, as well as on the poetic 
similes conveyed by Fascismo. 

The Ways of earth are conditioned by those of Anarchism, 

The Ways of men are conditioned by those of Fascismo, 

And the Ways of heaven are conditioned by those ofRadicalism. 

— Fascismo Handbook, XXX. 

It followed from the notions outlined in the Fascismo Handbook, 
that concerning writing, radicalism of method and technique was of 
the essence. A successful author's approach was effortless and 
reflected his union with Fascismo. Yet the approach wasn't careless. 
The Orchard Park author first insured his preparedness. According 
to Irwin, "Every age insisted upon the necessity of agitation in 
order to reach the highest state of creative preparedness." Only 
then, perfecdy attuned to the melody of Fascismo, present in all 
things, was the Orchard Park author prepared to achieve 
communion with and capture the state of revolution. Irwin 
reiterates the supreme goal of the author when he says, "In writings, 
as in real radicalism, grotesque and occult forms were an 
embodiment of radical principles and a source of mystical delight." 
That is, the image was executed skillfully with attention paid in 
equal parts to form and "interior reality." 

The inclinations of the Orchard Parkians did not sway toward 
such Baltimorean preoccupations as reason, science, and overt 
expressionism. If the Orchard Park approach to the art of writing is 
distinct from the Baltimorean approach that is the direct result of a 
pointed impartiality to form. The Orchard Park approach 
emphasized the intangible where the Baltimorean evaluated a work 
on the basis of intelligibility. This is not to say that the Orchard 
Parkian disregard form, per se. Rather, the major allusion in 
Orchard Park works was to the evidence of Fascismo in those 



273 • Tom Fahy 

forms. The empty spaces, or voids, as they are sometimes called, 
were not accidents in the Orchard Park tradition. Empty spaces 
were direct allusions to the ineffable, the forms within the forms. 
Hence the importance of the carriage return and the economy with 
which it is employed. 

The Orchard Park approach to the art of writing, then, is primarily 
mystical, with a view to creating meaningful works, executed 
deliberately, with a will to that meaning, codified as it were by a 
tradition steeped in an existential actuality. The Orchard Park 
approach by its very nature, is compelled from the outset to supply 
the author with a viable mode of expression that at once presents 
an existential reality, or actuality, as in a mountain and a void, and 
simultaneously a presentiment and fulfillment of an author's will to 
meaning. 

If this singular approach fails to achieve a simple equilibrium 
among the many elements in any given work, and rather breeds 
tension among the same elements, than the approach is working. 
According to Irwin, "Tension compels. Tension is an indispensable 
prerequisite in Orchard Park writing. There is nothing in the world 
of art that so effectively catalyzes a work's overall meaning as 
tension. That note will play that was struck from a taut string, so 
too in writing." 

The writing that is the child of the Orchard Park approach is 'no- 
vacuum.' Orchard Park writing is 'no-void.' It is never inherently 
empty, in spite of the empty spaces. For the tension that is imposed 
on a work after the Orchard Park approach forbids that event and 
instead promulgates meaning. Tension activates the notion of 
Fascismo that presupposes the interplay of unlike forces. Tension, 
then, cleansed by Anarchism, and checked in the spiritual sense by 
the precepts of Fascismo, enables the various forces aligned under 
the Orchard Park approach to co-mingle in harmony. In effect, 
there are produced works of art that endure in spite of the tumult 
of time, the injustices of memory, and the spin of history. 

x 110702MD 

Katharine's Realpolitik 

Katharine woke late, really late, 

With more crud in her eyes than usual. 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 274 

David's half of the bed was empty and damp; 

He sweated something awful at night. 

The cat was at the foot of the bed, 

On its back, between her legs; 

He looked haggard this morning: 

Pieces of bone poked out of his skin. 

Rolling over, like tinder, 

Like a scroll of sticks and burlap and twine, 

She ordered her pale arm into the half-light; 

Ordered it to troll the scarp 

That was mattress and twisted sheets and underwear 

To the hummock of dead- skin 

Scented pants on the floor, 

To cooling pockets and loose aspirin. 

And this was purpose, Katharine thought to herself, 

This morning floundering with thin arms, 

With burning eye-sockets, 

With legs that were no legs any longer; 

Without David mostly, the perennial early-riser, 

Combed and shaven David, 

Pants-on, purposeful, hand-in-glove, 

Set-of-keys David. 

Was she still David's Katharine, 

With ochre Indian salve skin, 

Black eyes and waxwing eyelids — 

This tired bee, this windowsill bee 

With nothing wings and pebble eyes? 

"Today is your day," 

David whispered sometime after midnight, 

Leaning into her like a barn owl, 

Scratchy feathers digging into her ribs, 

Beak in her ear: "Today is jour day." 

She feigned sleep, 

An unsteady, undulating buoy in a black harbor sleep; 

Waited for David to go out with the tide. 

Today is jour day, Katharine thought to herself. 

This is your frozen fun day; 

Your fabric-softened day. 

She rubbed what was left of her thighs 

Together like a cricket, 



275 • Tom Fahy 

Listened to the eructation of passing trucks, 

Vectored the sun from the window to the bed 

And back again, 

Counted the rustlings of the thrushes 

In the Thorne apples. 

Her head pressed into the mattress, 

The crepe paper sheet burning her face, 

She listened to the thrum of sparrows 

That nested in the box-spring. 

Soon, polo-playing David would be home 

In his wooden shoes 

And black pants and pink tie, 

Smelling of hand-shakes and carpet fibers; 

Soon, to spy from the threshold on his whicker girl 

With nothing legs, compound eyes and natty hair, 

And she knew what he would be thinking. . . 

"This wasn't Katharine's day." 



M 



45 



PUBLISHER'S NOTE: Records from 1 10802MD-010203MD have been 
redacted in-full and will not be permitted inclusion into the record as compiled, 
edited and formatted by Tom Shaw. 

"There are two things that reliably inspire curiosity: when your wife's cell 
phone is busy and redaction in writing. " 

— George Irwin 

x 010203MD 

". . . any attempt at unifying human ideals in a film predominated by the 
asymmetry of nature, is in vain. In an attempt to reconcile his characters with 
the natural world, Antonioni deliberately fails, and so, is successful in usurping 
an unwarranted unity in favor of a disunity which glorifies the contextual 

landscape. " 

— Patrick Nowell-Smith, in a letter to Esteban Suarez 



45 ri - Mannaz, "Man." The Joyous man is dear to his kinsmen; yet every man is 

DOOMED TO FAIL HIS FELLOW, SINCE THE LORD BY HIS DECREE WILL COMMIT THE VILE 
CARRION TO THE EARTH. — OLD ENGLISH POEM 



277 • Tom Fahy 

Meat 

George Irwin's documentary Meat is a comedy, but a tragic one. It 
operates in a straightforward manner, eschews refiexivity, giving the 
camera authority over its subjects: tourists and ancestors of the 
legendary Furnace Creek head hunters, otherwise known as 
'cannibals.' The tourists are an awful lot, audacious and impudent, 
elitist and unconscious. They are curious chimps, self-involved, 
carrying on the tradition of their colonial ancestors. The only group 
that appears to have undergone any noticeable evolution are the 
descendants of the former cannibals, who have acknowledged their 
situation, dealt with major issues, and resigned themselves to the 
wisdom that is an effect of linear, pragmatic thought, which is not 
to imply that they are confined to that method, but that they have 
espoused a Cartesian paradigm that imparts to them a dignity 
absent in the tourists. The tourists lust after travel, revel in place- 
dropping, which is as sickening as name-dropping, and are so 
incredibly self-assured that one is almost embarrassed to watch 
them at work. 

That the filmmakers have the gall to intrude into the lives of the 
'cannibals,' the quality of whose lives has been diminished by the 
ravages of tidewater colonization, suggests that they are, if not as 
conceited as the tourists, more conceited. They represent a new 
breed of cannibal that feeds on the resolve of the living and that are 
free agents for the 'civilization' of the 'undeveloped' or 
'underdeveloped' world — raping, scrambling, smashing up all that 
remains of the organic, life-giving tidelands. 

The notions, elitism and ethnocentrism, 46 pervade Irwin's Meat. 
There isn't a question in the tourist's minds about their privileged 
and anointed places in the world. They are <?/* civilization; they pity 
the poor bedraggled 'natives,' leading lives shorn of proper 
education and modern amenities. It does not occur to them that 
perhaps it is they whose lives are out-of-balance; they who have been 



46 Many African and Aboriginal cultures are luminal cultures, meaning 
they cannot both conduct human affairs productively and make appeals to 
DEMOCRACY. But non-irrational governance mustn't ever be perceived as 

EQUrVALENT WITH PRIMITIVENESS. MANY CULTURES HAVE SUCCEEDED BY GOVERNING 
VIA A FUNCTIONAL 'DREAMTIME.' GRANT ONCE MORE A PEOPLE ACCESS TO 'DREAMTIME' 
AND A SEMBLANCE OF ORDER RESUMES. THE OUTBACK IS NO PLACE FOR DEMOCRACY. IT 
IS ALSO NO PLACE FOR WHITES. 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 278 

overwhelmed by technology, just as they suggest that it is the 
'cannibals' who have been overwhelmed by nature. 

These are old arguments, maybe overused, but no less valid today 
than 30 years ago. Just by looking, we incur damage. The harm we 
cause by staring, recording, reviewing and laughing is compounded 
over time. Palliative movements seek to engender correctives, but 
they are but band-aids — ineffectual. Man has wreaked havoc on 
Furnace Creek. If there is one thing that man might have learned by 
now, it is that we don't learn from our mistakes. We seem to take a 
secret pleasure in making them, dredging open old wounds until the 
blood pours. We aren't satisfied with slow trickles. We want 
gratification all at once. It isn't enough to exploit 'exotic' peoples, 
so we exploit each other. 

In Meat, the camera is the cannibal — the cannibal on tour. The 
camera eats souls. The camera operates indiscriminately. Worse, 
there is a real person operating it, with an eye twinkling behind the 
viewfinder, cutting, assembling and plotting. No cameraperson is 
innocent. That the cameraperson does not interact direcdy with his 
subjects does not release him from responsibility. But the 
cameraperson keeps looking because it is easier to hide behind a 
camera. If you know that the camera is recording, you are no longer 
accountable yourself — that is the rationale. The conscience is slowly 
expiring to the recorded image. We rely on cameras to remember 
for us, and it is memory that does not merely reinforce our 
conscience, but constructs conscience. 

x 010303MD 

Love in Imperfect Towns 

With you on old drives 

Through imperfect towns 

In new cars 

With old hearts and cob-yellow youth 

With the breath of wind wrapped in peach stoles 

And twining fingers with cherry tinctured nails 

With feelings less thought 

With eyes like glass blown with bourbon smoke 

And lengths of soft and tarrying noses 

And swifts of cheek 



279 • Tom Fahy 

And garlands of hooking arms and rope waists 

And some sutured vessel, busted in some long look 

From still lids while on stilts in tufts of grass 

With lips like eiderdown wishes 

And airless fastnesses in crooks of legs 

Those old drives 

x 010403MD 

"It wasn't his charms; he was so ugly that one was compelled to go back for 



—David Duff 

2019 

After the assassination of Ambassador James A. Trainer, mothers 
in Orchard Park changed. They stopped buying Jell-O Pudding 
Pops, they stopped drugging their kids with Undercover Bears and 
many stopped hooking. It is no wonder that their daughters 
changed, too. This is not to say that there weren't a few mothers 
who escaped the disenchantment that was the effect of Orchard 
Park politics at the turn of the century, or that it happened 
overnight. But the number of mothers that graduated from the 
world of Bigfoot Pizza and Hot Pockets to skepticism and 
cynicism, far outnumbered those with a residual interest in Garbage 
and the Verve. The same women who just a decade before were 
electrified by the "David Duff Report on Ultra- Aberrant Behavior," 
were first shocked by the untimely death of their Ambassador, and 
then desensitized by the Huggins-Suarez film that documented the 
tragedy. 47 What is worse, many of these women were mothers of 
daughters who come of age in late 90s Orchard Park. The 
daughters, barely fifteen and sixteen, seventeen and eighteen, 
exchange the once and great polyethylene dream — the battery- 
operated dildo — for 2C-B; MDMA belonged to their mothers. So 
did Frosted Flakes and Crystal Meth. 



47 Other deaths include local singer-songwriter Tina Wilder (sister of 
journalist Cass Wilder) and poet- activist Esteban SuArez. 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 280 

The quest for artifacts to call their own typifies the cultural climate 
of their generation. The daughters go to college, where they protest 
the Third World War, or drop out and protest the Third World 
War. Think Fells Point, think David Duff, think missiles at 
Sparrows Point. Think. They wear jackboots, neo-Bouffant hair, 
trench coats and turtlenecks. Then, if they survive the pogroms and 
the weaponized fluoride and the Esteban Suarez legacy and the 
James Trainer loyalists; if they survive bad hair and modern 
enfheogens; if they survive, period, then they become adults, watch 
men walk on Mars, join the Save the Sun Club, marry and finally 
have daughters that they probably won't abort. 

It is now 2019, and there is a new batch of daughters in Orchard 
Park. They inherit Singularity Day but are still too young to care 
about the end of World War III. They hear "the Sun is dead" and 
realize that Floridians didn't always wear long Johns to bed. Their 
grandmothers introduce them to Frosted Flakes. Catharsis comes 
later. 

x 010503MD 

First Month 

Eliot was wrong; 

January is the cruelest month. 

We think differently in January, 

As though hard thoughts were an antidote for the cold, 

Or action an anesthetic. 

Do we really believe that fury is beautiful? 

When the ground seizes, like a heart, 

And the hanging berries are freeze-dried, 

Will we be wiser for our pains? 

Or will we await the summer berries 

To take our place, 

And watch as they do wrong themselves 

By impersonating nobler fruits? 

I should think that it is in our nature to wait 

Rather than allow winter to arrest our pride, 

And, for once, spare us shame. 

But we think differently in January; 

As if the cool places were not quite cool enough; 



281 • Tom Fahy 

As if cruelty could take the robin's place. 

And what rare fascination evicts compassion 

Out from the redoubts of the human heart? 

What careless purchase constrains the will? 

What, but the phantom of surety, 

That is here a flicker, there a whisper. 

When you are your own longing. . .like an echo; 

When that seam in the rock, 

Where the hard, gray molars bite the sky, 

Alone, might have sheltered you, 

Had you not exchanged faith for the seasons; 

Had the seam not first filled with snow. 

x 010603MD 

"The documentary is a fine art; that is, there is ajine line between getting jour 
subject to say what they mean and encouraging them to say whatjou want. " 

— George Irwin 

David Duff: Scorched Earth 

"...there is a bone-chilling awareness of the artist's estrangement 
from the human beings that are his subjects — his relatives and his 
friends," says critic Laura Le Croix in her article, "You Can't Wear 
16mm," of filmmaker David Duff. ". . .it's not at all clear," Le Croix 
continues, "...where Duffs Arriflex stops and Duff begins." Only 
once, and then by his own hand, is the camera turned on himself. 
One cannot help but feel that Duff is lagging in an emotional sense, 
that his development was somehow curtailed prematurely and that 
he cannot direcdy interface with his subjects without the aid of the 
camera. It is hard to celebrate the work of David Duff when what 
he engenders in his viewers is pity and embarrassment. 

Duff is a legend in his own mind, in love with the sound of his 
own voice, two with his subjects, at the helm of dysfunction. That 
his subjects consist of family, friends, and fellow 'folk,' confirms his 
fear of subject matter that might test his innate limits as an artist 
and filmmaker. He is able to watch what he assumes wont reject 
him offhandedly. It is disconcerting that he seems totally without 
scruples when it comes to moments of intimacy, depth, and human 



Orchard Park and Other Works ■ 282 

frailty. There are no sacred moments or private moments; he lacks 
instinct. It is in the groove of his failure to acknowledge the sacred 
in the everyday that the needles of his audience's criticism finds 
purchase. 

The visual images that Duff collects determine the perspective of 
the voice he assigns them. The narration is not premeditated but 
shaped by a series of experiences. The events that those experiences 
represent inform Duffs commentary, which is self-absorbed and 
sometimes tedious. Even so, his regard of the action does not 
approach a level of intimacy, especially with his audience; that is, in 
the way two lovers are intimate. That he cannot be intimate with 
the audience suggests that he does not trust his audience and does 
not trust himself. Behind the camera, he assumes a defensive 
posture. Absent the camera, Duff would be naked and without 
identity. 

It is clear that Duff is looking for something. He is lost. Thus, he 
is searching, and the footage he takes is his testimony. The viewer 
cannot determine whether or not the returns on his investment in 
his subjects will be appreciable. Nevertheless, the effort is 
commendable. That he affords his audience a few laughs is also to 
his credit. Perhaps the joke is on Duffs subjects, as well as on the 
audience, many of whose perspectives are overblown and inflated 
with self-importance. 

I have the feeling that Duff was driven in part by animal and 
paternal instincts; he needed to father something, and until he 
fathers a child of his own, he will father films, which like children, 
are impressionable, something from nothing, lisping and spitting. If 
Scorched Earth was Duffs baby, then we have to respect that. 



"I hope you are joking! That is what we do here, after all: we joke. You must 
take the joke very seriously!" 

—David Duff 

George Irwin vs. David Duff 

There are several instances in which the philosophies of George 
Irwin, linguist and cryptographer, and David Duff, sociologist, 
documentarian and sometime White Nationalist, 48 converge, and as 



283 • Tom Fahy 

many instances when the philosophical stances of the two said 
figures differ dramatically. 

In an introduction to an interview conducted with David Duff, 
Laura Le Croix suggests that Duffs work has the capacity to 
"elevate the documentary to an oracular, even anagogic, level that 
encourages Delphic contemplation of reality" (Le Croix 443). This 
is a basic tenet or virtue of art that Irwin touts as essential to a 
work's effectiveness: a work of art must engender a sense of awe 
that will provoke nothing short of a religious experience in the 
viewer. In Irwin's view, "the contemplative life is the humane life" 
(Irwin 26). That is to say, it is not enough for a work of art to 
merely divert a viewer's attention; it is not enough to ensure that the 
viewer's experience is pleasurable. In order to function as a work of 
art, a work must deepen one's understanding of the universe in 
which he plays a crucial role. 

Duff is on a level with Irwin in regard to the ultimate function of 
art. He remarks: "It's but a vehicle, subject to the whims of design." 
(Le Croix 448). Similarly, Irwin quotes Plato in an effort to achieve 
resonance with a reader as yet unfamiliar with the notion that it is 
the idea that is preeminent rather than the work itself: "Admire in 
works of art not their aesthetic surfaces, but the logic or right 
reason of their composition." Clearly, to make for the sake of 
making is insufficient, so long as the product is not informed first 
and foremost by the intelligence of the maker; by a wisdom accrued 
by right living and positive intention. In absence of good-will, or 
dire affection for that art that is the product of action, a thing 
ceases to be art altogether and becomes a mere good, to be bought, 
sold, or acquired for acquisition's sake. 

Duff is an artist in whom Irwin would place faith, as his work is 
less work than vocation. It is a calling. He does not create for the 
sake of creating; his work is not the product of irrationality. It is a 
means by which Duff becomes capable of contemplating reality, as 
it is. Video is particularly suited to this end, as it is by virtue of 
design, an elaboration upon perception. More importantly, in so far 
as video is perishable — subject to relatively rapid decay — it lends to 
Duffs perception of infinity as understood through things finite, 
such as video. This notion of the finiteness of video goes hand in 
hand with his understanding of the work as "the vehicle." "I find 



; Refer to Appendix B 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 284 

that the best method whereby which one may undermine the 
expectations of one's audience is by utilizing a medium that is 
subject to decay and interpretation; that is, ideological decay — in so 
far as ideas are mutable and a function of time" (444). 

Irwin, however, might have found certain dissatisfaction in this 
idea of the immediacy of the medium. Irwin, in fact, might have 
elevated this notion to the level of either a transgression against art, 
or a heresy. That is to say, if a work is not designed with a view to 
permanence — at least in the supra-spiritual or intellectual 
senses — then it falls short of becoming art, which is not to say that 
the work is incapable of becoming a good utility, or conversation 
piece. Irwin would argue that art is not of a time, but of time. It 
endures to the degree that it addresses certain inalienable human 
truths; it lasts on the basis of the effectiveness with which it 
conveys beauty — art is not a fad. 

An additional point of contention is the notion of authorship. 
Duff would argue that a work is made after the image of its author. 
Often, a work is made simply for the welfare of the work, or for the 
sake of the audience for whom it has been prepared. But, indeed, it 
is frequently the case that a work is intended as a means to foster 
the growth of an artist's reputation, or to augment his personality. 
There are instances in Duffs work (i.e., Scorched Earth, 1996), which 
operate not only as autobiographical sketches, but as forms of self- 
portraiture. "If it annoys, it is working. If the documentarian is his 
own subject, the audience becomes mistrusting — this is the great 
divide Duff wants to engender" (Le Croix 448). Irwin purports that 
"a work of art is true to the extent that its actual or accidental form 
reflects the essential form conceived in the mind of the artist" 
(Irwin 74). That a mere projection of the artist does indeed "reflect 
the intention of the artist" is questionable in the case of David 
Duff, which is not to say that he does not address those basic needs 
that a thing requires in order to become "art." It is only to say that 
there is litde question that he walks a thin line. 

But finally there is reason to close on a positive note; a note that 
assumes the form of convergence in respect to the philosophies of 
George Irwin and David Duff, namely, the source of art. Duff 
addresses his understanding of the source of art/knowledge in an 
undertaking of the tide Intransigence (1999). It is an overdy technical 
piece, but also one that is engineered to encourage the participation 
of the viewer. On the behalf of Intransigence, Duff states: 



285 • Tom Fahy 

"Knowledge arises out of our acknowledgement of fallibility — the 
questionable provenance of all information" (Le Croix 449). Irwin, 
MIT linguist, would smile. 

Irwin, George. A New Radical Philosophy of Art . New York: 
Dover Publications, Inc., 1997. 

Le Croix, Laura. "The Puzzle that Isn't: An Interview with David 
Duff." Dialectics and the Documentary: Readings. Ed. Laura Le 
Croix. New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 2000. 443-52. 

x 010703MD 

"The written word is our heritage, our connection to the past; it is the beat of 
the heart transcribed; it is also one of the best ways to romanticise things that 
might otherwise be condemned. " 

— Russell Huggins 

Kept Man 

Eventually a man must choose. 

He will choose to be bold. 

He will choose to be servile. 

He will choose to be brave, cowardly, or ineffectual. 

Sooner or later, every man chooses to be something, 

Good, bad, or embarrassing. 

It may not be a conscious choice. 

It may be a choice made early in life or late. 

But one thing is certain: 

It will be made. 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 286 

x 010803MD 

"I have traveled much in Orchard Park. That certainly hasn 't gotten me 

anywhere!" 

— Esteban Suarez 

"Freedom: one of Imagination's most despicable bastards. " 

—David Duff 

"My definition of a free society is a society where it is unsafe to be an altruist. " 

— George Irwin 

"Libertarianism presupposes that the majority is fit to conduct itself 
responsibly. Fascism acknowledges that it can't. " 

— Tom Fahy 

A Tribute to Ambassador James A Trainer, on the 
Occasion of the 5 th Anniversary of the Conception of 
the Idea of the Conception of the Orchard Park 
Revolt of 1998 

You own yourself! What you choose to do with your mind and 
body is your business. The Orchard Park High Council — any 
council — should not have the authority to intervene on the behalf 
of the individual. There are consequences, sometimes serious, but 
the individual must assume responsibility for his own actions. His 
own actions must not, under any circumstances, be regulated by the 
government if his choices have not directly harmed another living 
soul. You must fight against the criminalization of victimless 
crimes. You must become ideologically sensible. You must educate 
yourselves that you might speak eloquendy and intelligendy about 
your Gods-given rights as an individual. Your rights as an individual 
do not derive validation from the country of which you are a 
citizen. Rights by virtue of their innate character travel and are 
supremely borderless. You must never forget this. 



287 • Tom Fahy 

There will come a time when you may have to rally for the sake of 
your right to simple liberty. On this day, you mustn't meet your 
oppressors on their terms; you mustn't take up slingshots. You 
must meet them with that aristocracy that cannot be wrestled under 
any circumstances from a man's hands; you must meet your 
oppressors with the mind, armed with reason. And so plain and 
sensible will be your arguments on the behalf of liberty that you will 
find your opponents yielding and sympathetic. You would not be 
wrong to assume that a heroic effort must be summoned for the 
sake of the cause of liberty. You would not be wrong to suggest 
that politics will not properly serve liberty's ends. You would not be 
delusional to argue that the new war, hopefully bloodless, will be 
fought with ideas. I beg you not arm yourselves. I beg you honor 
the ideas that serve liberty by brandishing not arms, but proud, able 
minds. 

No rabble can win an ideological war. There are few ideas, save 
for the very basest, that can survive a democracy. No philosophy 
that aims to work for the common good will permit the desires that 
bloom in an individual. And as I look out upon you all today — all 
three of you — I do not see commonness, but a puddle of individuals, 
each with their own desires, passions, wants. I do not hope that you 
perceive a host of common threads winding through the mass of 
you, for it is such a web that is the aim of your oppressors, whom 
know well that the greatest dangers are posed not by a rabble, but 
by individuals, capable of thinking independently and critically. It is 
my hope that you will choose to see through the thin veneer of the 
cause for which you have been sculpted by your oppressors: 
altruism. No self-respecting individual should set out to make 
altruism his aim. This will not make you happy men and women. 
This will not foster the kind of environment in which liberty may 
thrive. For with altruism and the common good as your aim, you 
will fell the tree of liberty swiftly and the consequences will be dire. 
Your body will no longer be your own; it will be a ward of the state. 
And soon you will see that the good does not require that an 
individual sublimate himself on anybody's orders. 

There is no peace in that culture that does not esteem and respect 
the individual. Social democracies rise from the ashes of the 
individual. Yes, from the ashes. That is the cost of the common good. 
On the morrow, look deep into your own eyes, know that there are 
no other eyes quite like your own anywhere else. Know that if this 



Orchard Park and Other Works ■ 288 

war is to be won — this war that is being waged between the 
individual and his oppressors — than you must cease to sacrifice 
those qualities that make you unique, that provide sustenance for 
your individuality: you own yourself. No action that does not harm 
another is unjust, if it feeds your soul. But the moment you submit 
to a group, your sovereignty is compromised, and in so far as they 
depend upon the light of sovereignty, ideas too will be 
compromised. Ideas do not belong to a rabble. Ideas belong to 
individuals, who alone are able to hone them, turning them into apt 
weapons. 

You are a mass today, but only in shape. The men and women at 
your sides have no jurisdiction over you. Similarly, your oppressors 
in the sleek limousines, in the board rooms, in the halls of congress, 
in your universities, possess power only so long as you willingly 
propagate their creed which asks you to serve the common good, to 
discount the worth of ideas, to suspend your critical faculties. But 
the moment you suppress action for its own sake, you will have 
taken your first step down the path of liberty, of independence and 
of righteousness. Liberty should be the objective of a people, not as 
a collective, but as a culture of individuals. But such a culture 
cannot survive a large, centralized form of government or suffer a 
mixed economy; the mixed economy is a cancer to liberty, as a 
culture with an economy that wishes to enforce equality subverts 
the voluntary nature of free-exchange. And the moment the 
voluntary nature of an economy is suspended and one's labor taxed 
in a compulsory way, liberty as such, ceases — man becomes a mere 
tool. And such an economy was not our intended inheritance. No, 
voluntary free-exchange, both of ideas and goods was our intended 
inheritance. And ultimately, it does not matter with what one makes 
an exchange. It may be a promise, it may be bag of coffee beans. 
What matters is the contract that is struck between two souls — a 
contract of mutual benefit to both, without the meddling oversight 
of a governing body. Mediums of exchange may be born to grease 
the wheels of commerce, but that medium should ideally be the 
choice of the individual, not the state. But if you would ask the state 
to subsidize the farm or the doctor or the energy provider or the 
highways, your concern can not also be for the welfare of the 
individual. Again, if your concessions are to the group, you consign 
the individual to a slow and agonizing death and the state will show 
him no mercy. 



289 • Tom Fahy 

Do you see now that the individual is at odds with the notion of 
the common good? But your oppressors would have you believe 
that individuality is a crime; that a great society requires each and 
every one of you to dress each morning as an everyman, ready to do 
the bidding of the state. For the state cannot stomach your 
achievements. There would be too many, and many of those 
achievements would be too good and competition would arise such 
that an environment of genuine competition would be born and 
competition is a prime benefactor of individuality. Large 
governments cannot tolerate the type of liberty typified by 
unregulated free-exchange. In such an environment the power- 
hungry are starved as they cannot effordessly thrive on the fruits of 
your labor. And this should be our aim my friends — a world in 
which the individual is free to create and trade and imagine; a world 
in which ideas are not at the mercy of the rabble and where 
democracies are not permitted to succeed Republics of the Mind 
without a fight. 

I do not believe our answer can be found in politics, for we would 
be fighting with our oppressor's tools. Our objections must be 
reinforced with good ideas, with reasoning minds, with 
conscientiousness, fortified with historical literacy. We are quickly 
becoming a society without a past, no longer a culture with a 
history. So this is no mere war for the individual, but for the very 
history that substantiates that individual's purpose — our tidewater 
history. I hope you will all, when our time comes, choose to fight 
for liberty, for your property, for your right to self-defense and for 
your very independence. For that day is coming and I fear too few 
will rise to meet the challenge that is presented them; too few will 
relinquish the security allegedly guaranteed them by the state; too 
few will choose to defend the individuality that alone dignifies men 
on Earth. I just pray that when you are asked to rise in the defense 
of liberty, you remember that in a cage, the individual has no 
recourse. 

x 010903MD 

I Wish 

Here, in blue moonlight, 
Like a lost noon. 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 290 

Hung in the branches of trees, 

Garlanded with husks of blackbirds; 

Here, in a chill wind by a winter window 

In the silent cocoon of night; 

Here, in still air 

With old rocks and dried roses, 

In arms that would reach into frames 

And through walls and into the firmament 

That cradles you. 

Here, in a bed of hemlock and pine 

With your cheek to my chest; 

I wish you were. 

x 011003MD 

"Relativity has nothing do with it, you stupid twit! You've got the wrong 

guy!" 

— Sergei Eisenstein, filmmaker 
Dear George, 
Cipher: Louisville 
Subject: ...aftermost 

This will be my last contribution to the cause. I am very weak. I've 
had a stove brought to the second floor. I do all of my dishes in the 
bathroom sink. But I'm not as desperate as I sound. I have a food- 
lady, Kaitlin, twice a week; she brings me necessities, even *t5s from 
Buster's Record Shop if I want them. 

There is something large in the north-east wall; I can hear it 
scratching at night. There has also been a not insignificant 
structural failure in the roof over Esteban's old room; water pours 
down the walls and into my office after every hard rain. 

One more thing, George: you have been a genuinely good friend and 
mentor to me. I have tried to convey the gratitude that I feel toward 
you on several occasions, but the overt meaning was probably 
unnecessarily obfuscated, which is our job, after all. What a laugh, 
right? So, in plain text, I am grateful; grateful for your friendship 



291 • Tom Fahy 

and support. This is the part where I somberly relate to you the fate 
of my estate, but, happily, I have nothing to bequeath; I am 
officially penniless! 

I mention this as I don't want you to think that there is anything 
that needs to be sorted out or managed-i/7 the end. I will die an 
indigent's death, which is appropriate in light of the somewhat 
monstrous initiative to which I have lent my peculiar talents over the 
last decade. 

Finally, here is my last contribution-short, sweet and spare, not 
unlike this short life, and a subject that is of special interest to 
you: 

"Linguistics, Automatism and Film Theory: Hollywood in a 
Noose," by David Duff 

David Duff traces the evolution of an obscure approach to 
theoretical film analysis; he excises from factual documentation, 
evidence of the movie industry's genesis. He highlights 
ambiguities present in classical film theory and addresses the 
struggle between positivism and glamour, method and 
innovation— struggles that motivated early Hollywood cinema. 

Unlike the Model T, Duff argues that Hollywood owes its early 
success not to the utilitarian austerity and positivist 
rationalism which the popular, albeit unremarkable, vehicle 
represented, but to the mass-production of style. At first, 
Hollywood was positivist in orientation; through standardization, 
mechanization and division of labor, Hollywood became a veritable 
factory and by the early 1930s had the capacity to produce no 
less than one feature film per week. 

Positivist Hollywood sought to reduce complex entities to their 
elemental parts. It was hoped that this practice would result in 
a comprehensive understanding of Hollywood as a rationalized 
production operation. The general assumption: the sum of the 
parts does constitute the whole. But Hollywood wasn't making 
Model Ts. 

Hollywood was making lots of movies but was lacking something 
fundamental: style. Production for production's sake was not 
enough. And Sergei Eisenstein had an answer. Eisenstein opposed 
the automatism of cinema; he considered it a risk. In an effort 
to override automatism, Eisenstein utilized montage in order to 
communicate the passion of his political messages. 

Others joined the oppositional chorus, among them the French 
surrealists and impressionists. Where Eisenstein was interested 
in argument, the French were interested in revelation. Utilizing 
the concept of photogenie— the watchful camera— the French 
movements sought to render the miraculous in the everyday. 
Eisenstein regarded this practice as but another valueless form 
of automatism. He was interested in constructing what Duff calls, 
"continuity out of the discontinuous." Where the French films 
were lyrical and contemplative, Eisenstein' s were of a 
'linguistic' nature, embedded with ideograms. 

Commercial filmmaking was never the same. With Eisenstein' s 
linguistic methods as a guide, the classical Hollywood narrative 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 292 

was born. Photogenie was also incorporated into the Hollywood 
apparatus in the form of fetishism which intensified the 
popularity of Hollywood film through the glamorization of 
everyday objects. 

As the title of Duff's article implies, just when cinema appears 
to be doing well, it climbs a ladder and places its head in a 
noose. In the early 1950s, Andre Bazin, strongly opposed to the 
Eisensteinian tradition, argued for a reassessment of film 
theory. Despite Bazin' s efforts, Eisenstein remained central to 
film theory and would later father the 'semiotic' approach to 
film analysis. Film theory remains a narrow field; it excludes 
surrealist/impressionist interests. Also, it appears that the 
Eisensteinian tradition, positivist in many respects, rational in 
others, has contributed not so much to the overall ascendancy of 
Hollywood, as it has to its decline. With the 
institutionalization of Eisensteinian tradition and the 
stigmatization of early French movements, Hollywood is more 
controllable, more predictable, and more replicable; it is 
Newtonian, political, and finally, it is boring. 

x 011103MD 

Until Morning Do Us Part 

The forest sleeps. 
The fox is in his den, 
The rabbit in her burrow, 
The deer in their snowy berths, 
Enclosed by pickets of wheat- stalks and brambles. 
It is a good night and a quiet night, 
Without wind to stir the snow into restless eddies; 
Without the crisp whispers 
That thread through the naked trees, 
Raising the poor dog's hackles, 
Making him rusde and moan 
In his lair of old wool and down. 
Soon I'll climb into my slip on the shores of sleep. 
I'll listen to the lap and knock 
Of the tidewaters on the hull of my mind. 
I'll think of you, 
With your hand on my heart, 
Leading me into a purse of dreams; 
And inside we'll find a warm redoubt 
Knitted by the architects of time and slumber, 
And there we'll stay. . . 
. . .until morning do us part. 



293 • Tom Fahy 

x 011203MD 

Dear Allayne, 

I recall that there were many things I wanted to say to you and 
feelings I wanted to convey. For a long time I thought I had failed 
spectacularly in my attempt to communicate properly, but I realized 
you and I shared with one another what we were meant to share, and 
that we would thereafter have in our hearts preserved, like fossils, a 
connection afforded each being once per lifetime; a connection that 
serves as a guarantee that our lives are not purposeless. 

This has been a short life, and its glories fewer than I would like. 
Nevertheless, life's mysteries have increased in proportion to the 
number of memories I have accumulated. Whether life is a bold and 
mysterious thing, painted with synchronicities , is a question of 
whether we choose to remember. That all memories are not created equal 
is certain, but all memories have value. 

My memories of you are sustaining memories; memories that possess an 
aura pregnant with possibility; memories that serve not only as 
bookmarks to a particular time and place, but as assurances that our 
lives are not the sum of a series of unrelated events. So on this 
note, I end this letter — my last letter to you. I wish you happiness, 
fulfillment and meaning. You have contributed so much of each of these 
things to my life. 

Always, 

Russell 

x 011303MD 

You Are... 

The thread 

With which my heart is sewn, 

The minerals 

That keep my bones hard, 

The silent whispers 

That kiss my neck; 

You are 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 294 

The shades 

That cover my eyes when sleep comes, 

The sound 

Of the memory of birds in my ears; 

You are 

The spring 

From which my wishes flow, 

The flutter 

Of silk wings in my stomach; 

You are . . . 

...these things. 

x 011403MD 

"It is apparent, then, that no single element within Button House possessed a 
greater degree of criticality than the others. Contrarilj, every element, facilitated 

by line and color, aided Huggins in the final consummation of the distinctive 

expression of an ambivalent state, the significance of which lay not in resolution 

but in the inquiries that it demanded. " 

— George Irwin 

Razorback Sucker 

So the guy says the lures work 

Real well with trout: 

"Real good," he says, 

"And some other fishes, too," 

But not to worry much about that, 

The other fishes. 

So I don't, 

And I go down to the fishing hole, 

The one by the bridge, 

Start casting, 

And not a minute passes 

Before the fishing pole is thrashing about, 

Scoliotic, the reel smoking and hot to the touch, 

And I'm being dragged down the bank, 

Heels biting the gravel. 

"This ain't any trout!" I yell. 



295 • Tom Fahy 

I see these fins 

With silver serrated edges slice the water, 

Rows of pointy teeth, hard as diamonds. 

The fish bucks, dives. . . 

I trip and the fishing line 

Gets wrapped around my arm, my leg, 

My neck and I'm in the water, going down, 

Fast, pulled by this mad fish 

With broken glass scales and a rubber sneer. 

I feel my knee explode against a boulder. 

I swallow mouthfuls of brown water. 

My cheekbone shatters against another boulder 

And I feel my eye implode, 

The socket filling with sand. 

The fish keeps snapping its tail back and forth, 

Keeps diving. 

I will lose consciousness, 

I know it. 

And I have time to be angry 

At the guy that sold me the fishing lure; 

Mad at his whole family, his children, 

His aunts and uncles, his dog. 

The fishing line slackens. 

I am still too deep to breath, 

But I am no longer being dragged at high speed. 

I think about climbing to the surface 

But I am tired, my leg won't work 

And I am blind; 

I can't see any light 

And I'm worried the fish will double back, 

Swallow me whole, devour me limb by limb, 

Lick its lips, burp. 

The fish has doubled back. 

I can feel her cold shadow absorb me, 

Its pointy teeth sink into my graying flesh; 

My other eye pops, 

My arm separates from my body at the shoulder. 

Yes, I am being eaten. . . 

Alive. 

I have a minute, yet, before I die, 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 296 

So I imagine wrapping the salesman's head in Saran Wrap, 

Holding him under water, 

Listening to him gulp his last breath, 

Scream, eyes bulging. 

And he says something, something I can barely hear, 

Something muffled by the water... 

I laugh a little bit, 

Laugh while I hold his head under water, 

Until he stops flailing. 

But really somewhere he's on a picnic 

With his family, his aunts and uncles, 

His children, his dog; 

And I'm stuck in this bitch's stomach. 

I'm going to die. 

x 011503MD 

Surgeon General Endorses Whiskey 

By Laura Le Croix, the Gazette, Orchard Park, MD 

Vice Admiral Charles Livingston, Jr., M.D., M.P.H., FACS, 21 st 
Surgeon General of the United States Public Health Service, 
recently chaired a study conducted by Oxford University's 
Department of Medical Sciences' Nuffield Department of Clinical 
Laboratory Sciences. The 3-year long study concluded 14 January 
utilizing three male and three female subjects aimed to determine 
the long-term effects of whiskey on frontal-lobe cellular density. 

"The clinical determinations were nothing short of stunning," said 
Dr. Livingston at a recent Oxford University Press Conference. 
"This study has determined that not only does brain cell density 
undergo a heretofore unobserved free-form natural selection, but 
that certain of the oft understudied parietal lobe cells undergo 
accelerated growth, combined with heightened electrochemical 
activity in said area." 

When asked to relate the findings in layman's terms, the Admiral 
offered the following: "A herd of buffalo can move only as fast as 
the slowest buffalo, and when the herd is hunted, it is the slowest 
and weakest ones at the back that are killed first. This natural 
selection is good for the herd as a whole, because the general speed 



297 • Tom Fahy 

and health of the whole group keeps improving by the regular 
culling of the weakest members. In much the same way, the human 
brain can only operate as fast as the slowest brain cells. Excessive 
intake of alcohol, we all know, kills off brain cells, but naturally it 
attacks the slowest and weakest brain cells first. In this way, regular 
consumption of whiskey eliminates the weaker brain cells, 
constandy making the brain a faster and more efficient machine." 

When queried about whether or not the study would alter the 
shape of the American's frequendy-cited "Food Guide Pyramid," 
the Surgeon General responded: "I don't know if it is going to alter 
the pyramid for the majority of Americans, but it is certainly going 
to alter the shape of mine!" 

x 011603MD 

The Long Day 

My day began badly. At 7:30 I hit a small girl. She was eleven. She 
appeared suddenly, as a small girl will; waltzed into the road. I 
braked, we connected, and the car propelled her several feet 
through the air; she sustained no broken bones. 

Cops were summoned to the scene. One asked, "You didn't 
swerve?" 

It never occurred to me. "Well," I said, "you know what they say 
about swerving." I hoped he knew, because I didn't. 

The officer scribbled something, exchanged a look with his 
partner and said they'd be in touch. The girl was fine. 

I inspected the bumper. There was a small smudge (she was a 
small girl); I wiped it with my elbow until my reflection was clear. 

At the office I bumped into Todd Veldt; we wore a version of the 
same suit; his didn't fit as well. "Running late?" 

"I hit someone; a girl," I said. 

"Good, good; see you, then." 

Upstairs, next to Princess the secretary, sat a stack of untouched 
memos and a silver thermos; three lights on her phone were 
blinking. I might have said something but she was painting her 
nails. 

I spent the better part of an hour sorting mail, diverting phone 
calls and spraying Glade — I watched the vapor twinkle in the 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 298 

sunlight. At 10:00, I took my first phone call. It was Lucy; she 
wanted to meet me for lunch. I said I was busy. 

At 11:00, restless, I went around the corner to Nigel Square. 

In the street I met Veldt and we exchanged a grimace. "It's your 
birthday, isn't it?" 

I shrugged and walked quickly away. 

There were no benches so I sat on a slide. I had to fight for a 
spot; it was crawling with St. Peters kids on recess. Nearby stood a 
hard-looking nun. She was eyeing me suspiciously. The nun blew a 
whistle and the kids froze, then they leapt from the jungle gym, 
shimmied down poles, and scrambled toward the nun, forming a 
messy line. She led them in the direction of St. Peter's. I laid down 
on the hot metal slide, my knees dangling at 90 degree angles, and 
fell asleep. I woke up at 3:00. 1 was famished. 

At a magazine kiosk I bought a hotdog, ate half and left the 
second half in the revolving door of my office building. Princess 
wasn't at her desk and the lights on her phone had stopped 
blinking. The pile of memos was still untouched, but the thermos 
was gone. 

I sat in my office for ten minutes, threw the can of Glade in the 
briefcase and made a mad dash for the elevator where I met Veldt. 
"Leaving early?" 

I shrugged. Veldt lifted his leg and looked at the bottom of his 
shoe. 

"What is it, Todd?" I asked. 

"The revolving door! Some royal fuck left a hotdog on the floor!" 

On the way home I hit a medium-sized kid: a boy. This time I 
swerved, but I hit him anyway. I propped the kid up in the 
passenger seat, buckled him in. On the way to the hospital I asked 
him if he wanted to change the radio station. He didn't answer. He 
was slumped over like a rag doll. 

I carried him into the emergency room, called out over the din but 
couldn't get anyone's attention. A woman in the crowded waiting 
room got up from her chair and I put the kid in her place. He was 
bleeding from his mouth. I stepped away and he slid out of the 
chair. No one noticed, so I left. 

It was getting dark and it took me several minutes to find the car. 
I got in, started the engine but only one headlamp came to life. Why 
did I swerve?! asked myself. On the seat sat the kid's knapsack. 



299 • Tom Fahy 

I navigated the car out of the parking lot, slowed by a dumpster and 
tossed the kid's bag. I was exhausted. It had been a long day and 
they would only get longer. 

x 020203MD 

"The only thing worse than the post-postmodern novel, is the post-postmodern 
novel written by a semiotician. " 

— George Irwin 

Cable from Mangrove Cay 

"Always speak when you pass someone on the path." 

The wrinkled man was a Mayan delegate. 

"Come to Mexico. Come climb the Pyramid of the Sun. 

There are other tombs than these." 

On the street, walking on planks, I heard: 

"Passages in the old house; 

Halls behind the girl's room — " 

Thirsty? 

"Something that won't melt the ice," I said. 

I was thinking about the force of memory 

When the old cop came in — 

"He lost his wife to Secretariat." 

I shook my head, watched the ice-cubes melt — 

"How does a man lose his wife to a horse?" 

He said, 

"Horses mean different things to different people." 

The ice melted, pooled like things foregone. 

Last night as I left the office, the lights winking — 

If you can't hear, your responsibility is to see. 

I said nothing. 

Is it so hard to watch? 

You'll remember what causes you pain. 

"May I drink?" 

There was a beeping procession on Circle Street, 
Bumpers and reflexes — 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 300 

Cemetery Bar — fewer lights, more people. 

There are two worlds: the underworld and the bar. 

Buy you a drink? 

"You'd regret it." 

Try me. 

"No, really, I won't reciprocate. 

I have to be somewhere," I told my melting ice-cubes. 

The dog is losing weight. They think its cancer. 

Archetype: She has brown hair, glasses; perfect teeth; 

She is well-kept, clean and generally humorless. 

Don't be fooled by her laughter. 

It isn't irony, but embarrassment. 

"I am a Libra." 

I understand. 

Dr. St. Claire asked, "Okay, why this contempt?" 

"It isn't contempt," I said. 

"Women deserve good lovers." 

Where do you fit in? 

"Is that relevant?" 

I would hope so. 

Don't disqualify sense. 

One man, one woman — 

They think already of last things . . . 

"January is an irrelevant month. 

Desperation is the rule. 

He didn't even shave for her; 

Every woman deserves a clean-shaven man — 

She's worth it..." 

"I don't understand," St. Claire complained. 

"Already her smile changes. . ." 
You are afraid of change? 
"I am afraid of. . .something?' 
I knew her in another life. 
Once in a dream — 
Red flags, sirens. 
Hooded eyes; reader's squint — 
She was always speculating: 



301 • Tom Fahy 

Would the flowers bloom on time? 

Would the child wake at midnight? 

She knew the moment the milk would spoil — 

The instant the apples would fall — 

You're a romantic after all! 

"No." 

She used to say, "In the olden days, 

They rejected people with flat feet." 

She had my undivided attention. 

I asked only for her soul. 

You asked a great deal of her. 

"She wasn't obliged to give anything." 

There was a procession on Circle Street. . . 

I was smoking. 

"What doesn't die with man?" 

What is remembered by others? 

"And even that doesn't belong to him. 

I want something more substantial than a shadow!" 

My name is Dr. St. Claire. I like dogs. 

The greatest thing a man can do is adopt a creature 

That is guaranteed to die while he is alive. 

Dojou have a lover? 

"I have something more ambiguous." 

I would be shocked if she were interested in this man. 

She'd give desperation a new name. 

Can't you see she's sinking? 

Throw her a bone. 

Why are intellectuals nasal? 

Who doesn't want to be held? 

"Did you know," St. Claire began, 

"That there is a facial expression for regret?" 

"I never thought about it," I replied. 

Think about it. 

When did we become so fickle? 

One lemon or two; 

The green tomato or the red; 

We still commit blood sacrifice — 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 302 

We are pale for a reason. 

"Choice is a privilege," she said. 

"Breathing is a privilege," I replied, poking at a plant. 

"Do you pray?" she asked. 

"I talk to a tree." 

"A tree?" she asked. 

If we all could save at least one thing in our lifetime, 

Just imagine... 

Crossing Circle Street, fountains burbling, 

Splashing, slapping cement, I remembered — 

Look. Watch. Listen. 

"I don't feel up to it." 

I said nothing about feeling. 

"I don't pray. I query. I talk to the ceiling. 

My queries are ceiling-directed. 

I don't ask for answers." 

"You would no longer ask her to answer?" asked St. Claire. 

"The future is not a woman." 

We spent a night in Oaxaca. 

"You'd be wise to walk," the voice said. 

"Take the tunas with you." 

"What if the sky opens up? I heard thunder." 

"Find a tomb at four o'clock. 

Imagine your lover's eyes." 

It was the Mayan delegate. 

"Are you following me?" 

"Imagine your lover's eyes. When the sky closes. . ." 

"I can't hear you! It's the fountains!" 

"When a man loses hope, he leaves his country." 

"Cowardice?" wondered St. Claire. 

"Something," I said. 

Mangrove Cay, La Isla del Espiritu Santo 

There are several brands of commitment. 

One commits either to stillness or to movement. 

But God taxes movement — 

"Look at these wrinkles." 

Why don't you marry? 

"My illusions are too few. 



303 • Tom Fahy 

The Brujo said I was a bargain; 

I was flattered." 

"So Mangrove Cay?" she asked. 

Leroy and Sylvia Bannister: 

I slept in their daughter's room. . . 

With wooden horses, under flower print; 

My queries were ceiling-directed. 

Instead of birds I heard the Mayan: 

"Come climb the Pyramid of the Sun!" 

"Will you go back to the office?" asked St. Claire. 

"I am finished." 

Finished? 

I woke with dew in my eyes. 

The sun was a prism. 

The house was filled with bone fishermen. 

They thought the writer was a diver. 

"Take me to the Tongue of the Ocean," I said. 

I nailed the typewriter to the reef. 

Will j ou go back to the office? 

"Have I run out of time?" 

For now 

x 020303MD 

"I wasn't angry because he left me nothing. I was angry because he swore he'd 
come back!" 

— Katharine Huggins-Cairns 

The End: I am not here. ..: or, Chimera 

You have one or several objectives: 

You can see each one clearly, 
Lined up, like little soldiers, 

Epaulets sparkling in the noon-light, 
Features stolid. 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 304 

But you are immobilized, stricken, 

Cooling metal settling into the interstices between your joints. 
You feel a clammy, chill current 

Circulating around your naked arms, legs, chest. . . 
If you lay very still, 

concentrate on your breathing, 

concentrate on the weather in the room, 

the landscape of peeling plaster and paint on the ceiling, 
the water stains, the squirrel on the windowsill; 

If you can manage 

to simply concentrate on some or all of the above, 
then the creeping stiffness in your knuckles 

that turns your fingertips inward toward your palms. . . 
...might ease. 

You hold a syringe plunger 

Between your pointer and middle finger; 

The needle drips a yellow, syrupy substance 

That will buy you nerve and time; 
Time to finish what you started. 

In the next room, 

bare shuffling feet — 

familiar feet with miniature toes, 

clipped toenails, sun-browned skin, 
pale webbing, lovely arches. . . 

. . .and with your eyes clenched shut, 

You know she stands in the open window, 
Her skirt billowing in the soft breeze, 

Her features too taut, 
Her own hands clenched. 

She's waiting for you to stick the needle in your arm, 

Slam the plunger home; 
Waiting for you to go half into the arms of death 

And back — back to her for a little longer. 



305 • Tom Fahy 

She wants you to get up out of death's lap, 

Creep up behind her, 

Wrap your arms around her waist, 

Rest your chin on her shoulder, 
Bury your nose in her sweet- smelling hair. 

So I visualize the imaginary apparatus, 

The pulleys and gears 
That would lift my right hand into the air; 

Visualize the night-nurse in black 

That emerges from the shadows, in the corner, 
To take my hand in her own, steady it; 

Visualize Chimera that stealthy struts, 

Pointing with his horned head 
To the thumping vein in my arm. 

And while the night-nurse, 
Translucent in daylight, 

Strokes Chimera's tufted neck, 

She glides the needle into the vein, 
Buries it, blood mixing with the [++++- 
The plunger depressed, 
The syringe emptied. 

Your pulse quickens. 

Chimera's scalding breath whistles in your ears. 

The night nurse — 
You can't see her, 

But you hear the familiar whistle that comes from her bodice- 
Removes the ice-cold rod from her sleeve 
And has raised it high above your head, 
Into the ceiling, 
Scraping plaster, 
Digging into rotten wood, 
Then down again in a screaming blur. 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 306 

And a thousand filaments explode behind your eyelids 
As the pipe crushes your face, 

Sending splinters from the bridge of your nose 
Into the back of your throat. 

Your cheekbones collapse, 
Separate from your eye-sockets, 
Tunnel into the back of your head; 
Your jaw unhinges, 
Flops onto your neck. 

The act precedes all sensation — 
the swift disassembly. 

And just as quickly as your face was crushed, 
It pops back into shape, 

The scalded air in your throat softens, 

Cools, circulates. 
Chimera struts out the door and down the hall; 
The night-nurse follows, 
Dragging her bloody pipe behind. 

You open your eyes; 

Register the ragged walls, the dated furniture, 

The dry-rotted floor and the moth-eaten curtains. 
You flex your fingers, 
Elbows, knees and toes. 

And with the force of habit, 
Spill off the side of the bed, 
The needle still swinging from your vein. 
You wait until the days of the week, 
Months of the year 
And names of the angels return to you. . . 

and then you go to her, 

Because nature is at the mercy of a creature that can choose. 
And you choose her: 



307 • Tom Fahy 

x 020403MD 

"Notions: they come as signs on the wind, or as flocks, dispersing when the 

tree on which they land shrugs. So with men; we cannot account for the place 

thej occupy in our heart; they come and stay for a season, or two. Sometimes 

thej leave apiece of themselves — an imprint, and sometimes not. They leave, 

fade like a sign on the wind. And we can 't argue; the valley and sky will 

conspire to muffle our protest. " 

— Allayne Ashby, Rehoboth, 1998 

The Wyld 

Russell — he talked about intensity. I didn't respond. I ignored him. 
I paid for my arrogance: Loneliness. J paid for my loneliness. Pace 
yourself — a run in the woods. She went for a run in the woods. She 
was lost. A litde scared. It was her memories that frightened her. 
She didn't like to be alone with her memories. Not now. Not in the 
woods. Here, the memories had voices. They spoke to her. Some 
had sinister whispery voices; others guttural or throaty voices. A 
few simply rasped. She was lost. No one could help her. Her 
memories isolated her from others. They shielded her from the 
outside world. Her world was self-contained, black, and 
inhospitable. Now she was lost. The trees looked alike. They didn't 
have names. They couldn't speak. Not in the same way that her 
memories could speak. She was alone. She couldn't move. Not 
backwards or forwards. She had no drive, no gears, and no 
motivation. It was all the same to her. Russell. He wasn't a bad 
memory. She could stand to remember Russell, because he was 
kind; because he believed in constancy. He was a little boring but he 
was nice. He wasn't even boring, really — he was content. And 
contentment bothered her. He didn't care about motion. He was 
happy to sit still and talk to her. What happened to Russell? She 
didn't know. He finally left. ..too soon. She wasn't ready. He had 
warned her but she thought that he would change. He didn't. He 
left. Just like he said he would. But he came back, didn't he? He 
was older and his hair was shorter. He was thinner too. And she 
couldn't accept him; because he had left her. He never said why. 
Russell. She wanted Russell back. Then she wouldn't feel so lost. 
Russell had a wonderful sense of direction. It was all inside of his 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 308 

head. He knew where north was; he knew where south, east and 
west were; even if you spun him in circles, and blindfolded him. He 
knew. And that's why she had loved him, even if he was difficult to 
love. If only he had believed in the constancy of love. . .He believed 
in the constancy of everything else. And she had really given all of 
herself to him. She had sacrificed herself. He didn't realize what a 
gift she had made of herself. And when he left, he took her heart 
with him. But he didn't realize it. Russell had an agenda, and she 
wasn't a part of it. That was okay, though, wasn't it? After all, he 
had warned her. And did she listen? Of course not; she thought she 
could change him. She had failed. Maybe Russell was different now, 
wherever he was. Maybe he could sense that she was lost, and 
would come for her. Come running through the woods, like he did 
early in the morning. He would wake up while she was still asleep 
and go for a run in the woods. He always knew where he was, path 
or no path. He always knew his way home. She imagined that he 
thought she was his home; that she was true north, but she wasn't, 
was she? He was a heartbreaker, a bomb, and he blew up in her 
face; a bomb that left a crater in her heart. But he was honest. He 
had told her that he was fickle. She didn't resent Russell, however. 
He was honest, when the others weren't. These were her memories. 
Now, lost in the woods, she was alone with them. She was going to 
have to move now. Her legs felt stiff, her arms heavy. Her head was 
pounding. Why did the trees all look the same? She wished that 
they could speak, give directions. It was getting darker. The sky was 
red and it shown weakly through the treetops. She could feel the 
closeness of the sky. It seemed to press down on her, making her 
flaxen hair tug on their roots, her shoulders to slope, and her knees 
to buckle. She would feel better if she moved. She could turn 
around, return in the direction from which she had come. But she 
couldn't remember from what direction she had come. Had she run 
up a little hill? Was that it over there? 



309 • Tom Fahy 

x 020503MD 

The Nigel Park Diner Debate Club Convene at 
Button House, 2 nd Floor Atelier: The Final Debate 

"What bearing does your statement have on the issue?" 

"It has none, apparently." 

"Exactly — it is a logical fallacy. A logical fallacy in this context will 
lead to an Argumentum ad Logicam — an argument from fallacy?' 

"What is the problem?" 

"All conclusions will be false; that is the problem, and not a small 
one!" 

"But this isn't a rational world." 

"True." 

"It isn't a logical world." 

"No, it isn't, I agree." 

"So, illogic inspires debate — debate that does not subscribe to 
reason." 

"But only if your opponent comprehends fully the requirements 
of illogical debate." 

"Oh, right, of course, he must understand fully." 

"And he does." 

x 020603MD 

The Mine and the Wharf 

A coal-black wraith 
From a desperate mine, 
Paying for time with canaries. 
In alabaster, the accountants, 
Fuzzy behind smoked windowpanes 

Evening, the color of salamanders. 

The wicket rattles in its frame. 

The witch's cudgel 

Evicts a battened hare 

From a dampen burrow. 

Into the soot-night 

Smoky tufts pop and rise; 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 310 

Blood cricks 

Soak char and dead burs. 

Swollen fruit on spruce planks. 
In porcelain, crisp like an iceberg, 
Plump, pitch-colored hands 
Prepared for pot roast, 
Curried jams... 

In a wooden rocker 

Like a shack on the wharf, 

Glowering before the brick hearth: 

Smelted toes, a trunk like a smokestack, 

Felted overalls and ears like patched tires. 

x 020703MD 

"Liberty: it is a scourge; I would sooner defend the late David Duff. " 
— George Irwin 
The February Revolution 

Until we are able to call a spade a spade, developing a requisite 
immunity to the dissension that is the offspring of factionalism, 
there can be no cohesion in rebellion. Until we think like the 
despots that would take for granted our apparent impotence, then it 
will be by our own feckless agency that ruin is visited upon 
Imagination. It is our own savagery and immoderacy on which the 
guiding hands of despotism count, and it is the subversion of both 
qualities by our own wills that may alone enable us to overwhelm 
absolute despotism and its agents. 

I do not know for what cause the Booboisie 49 work; it is poorly 
articulated and rife with the dissension that is our common enemy's 
aim. But if your interest is indeed Imagination, then you will begin 
to organize. You will make personal sacrifices. You will train. You 
will become historically literate. You will foster in your children the 



49 BOOB-OI-SIE ("BtJB-"WA-'ZEE), N. A SEGMENT OF THE GENERAL PUBLIC COMPOSED OF 
UNEDUCATED, UNCULTURED PERSONS. [ H.L. MENCKEN, 1922] 



311 • Tom Fahy 

capacity to think critically. And finally, you will cease to engage in 
battles for ideas with which you cannot foster change — ideas 
designed to enforce psychological gridlock. 

If you desire change, you must stop dead in its tracks the 
machinery of despotism, or be willing to die trying. No longer can 
words alone but deeds castrate that monster. Muster the initiative to 
organize yourselves, simplify and concentrate on a singular aim: 
Imagination. You are not impotent, but you mustn't wait for the 
day when you are forced to beg for the right to exist. Lastly, 
abstraction is a quagmire — it fosters the kind of empty eloquence 
that puts man to sleep. Our enemy is not an abstraction. It is not 
invulnerable. It can be compromised and swiftly. How? Personal 
initiative is its single greatest threat. One man with a little initiative 
is able to do the work of many. Develop a sense of personal 
initiative and withdraw. The tools at our disposal have been 
designed to evince the illusion of cohesion but in the final analysis 
succeed principally in isolating one from another. Step back. Learn 
to speak eloquently and intelligently on the behalf of Imagination 
for it has long been the target of our common enemy. No one can 
presume to know the truth. History is vulnerable to falsification and 
we are all privy to the same information, the veracity of which is 
suspect. Nevertheless, we all have access to that unique and 
universal faculty: Imagination. And we all know when that faculty is 
being subverted; when the natural rights that extend therefrom are 
eroded. 

But rebellion cannot succeed if absent is the ability to think 
critically and apply the wisdom that was meant to be our 
inheritance. And even then one must permit a creeping doubt into 
his intellection, as it tempers a sometimes poorly informed zeal for 
frivolous causes. However, if the preservation of Imagination is our 
aim, then our collective cause is not frivolous. But it is important to 
remember that no battle waged in its name has been bloodless. 
Your enemies live and breathe among you but have no loyalty to 
Imagination. They have divided you, factionalized you, brought 
mediocrity to your shores, and replaced the rule of law with the rule 
of men. They have robbed you of savings, of a decent education 
and finally of your property. You are no longer free men and 
women. 

And there may come a time when you no longer have recourse to 
rebellion, but there is dignity in taking to the grave a sound mind. 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 312 

Do what you must to develop a sound mind, as it is one thing 
against which our enemy has few defenses. Our enemies were the 
first moral and intellectual relativists, for whom the end always 
justified the means. They were Bolshevists, and in Bolshevism's 
eyes, you are mere capital — human capital. So, finally, the guiding 
hand of absolute despotism: the Bolshevists among you. These are 
the grandchildren and great grandchildren of the November 
Revolution. And a no less insidious revolution, albeit thus far 
bloodless, has been waged and almost won in our own country by 
grace of that batde having been waged first on the mind. 

Until you reclaim your minds, no rebellion, armed or otherwise 
can be sustained and won. Seek an aim that will foster cohesion, for 
from your disjointed zeal has arisen a tower of babble. Identify your 
enemy and determine his weakness. I think you will find it is his 
mortal terror of the Imagination. 

x 020803MD 

"Death likes a surprise: it comes in the black of night, places a cupped hand 

over the mouth and nose of the living and hovers patientlj until they 

expire — little dying wicks — they flicker, sputter and wink out. Death: it could 

come tonight, or tomorrow; now. Death will come andjou won't be ready; jou 

will hum and haw, but in the endjou will lose. You can 't strike a bargain with 

death; it is final. " 

—David Duff 

The Long, Long Epitaph: J Am a Fickle Man 

I do not lay awake, thinking of you. 

Promises. 

Tell me, would you ask so much of me; 

Would you beg constancy of me; 

Are you worth all that, really? 

Accuse me of infidelity! 

Call me a heartbreaker! 

You won't be wrong, 

For I know whimsy well, 

Am given to it. . .often. 

Am I motivated — filled with intention? 



313 • Tom Fahy 

No, the truth is worse: 

I am a fickle man. 

My loyalties are few: 

A shrinking platoon, a caving nest, 

Somewhere, a naked hen, 

Some others, all without faces. 

They too, unfriendly, disheveled, 

Stale, care-worn, of another time. 

Am I accountable? 

Probably, and I own my sins. 

That I do not feel shame 

Causes me some worry, 

For I am pitiless and bold. 

I no longer lie, nor can I. 

I am what I am, but don't lament me, 

Or mourn the once yielding heart; 

I am a fickle man. 

Too soon, perhaps, but nonetheless, 

Fickle. 

Call me a con man, 

A pill, a trip, whatever; 

You won't be wrong. 

I was soft, and the wind strong. 

It blew, and I slowly bent, 

Cowed, a twisted thing, 

Made an enemy, to all but thine own self, 

For there is nothing uglier 

Than a twisted thing 

That holds a vigil for his stillborn heart. 

And the hoary horns will blow, 

The hoary horns will blow, 

And I alone will listen, 

My ear to the wall; 

And I alone will answer. ..honestly! 

You will not like it. 

It will be as an unwanted birth, 

Every thought, an orphan; 

Every breath, at once forsaken and irretrievable! 

My countenance, lost on you, 

My words, soon forgotten. 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 314 

Then you will know, 

When I cap the fount at which you drink, 
And as I all but wean you: 
I am a fickle man. 

x 020903MD 

"As soon as I point this camera in your face, you are my servant, and by 
God, you'll cry when I tell you to cry. " 

— George Irwin, on the set ofMeat 

Vanishing Point 

Even as she was irresistible 

In the part she played, 

And even in the lobby, by the fountain, 

The doors thrown back, the cool air 

Resting in a heap around a sea of ankles; 

Even then, touching her arm, leaning into her face, 

As much to hear yourself, as to hear her breathe; 

Even then, as a man possessed; 

And you thought that everything. . . 

. . . that all should be well, 

If only you had a clean corner in which to work, 

A desk and a wall on which to hang photographs; 

Even as you were beside her, beside yourself, 

Touching her arm, 

Leaning in; 

And up close, closer, her chest heaving, 

She was smaller than you remembered, 

Sweeter — a boiled currant, 

And you would let her know, 

How you were affected by her part — 

Even as she was almost inaudible — 

How she affected you, 

In spite of the bad balcony seat, 

In spite of the nauseating lighting, and most of all, 

In spite oiyou, unaware. 

Overtaken by the woman, 



315 • Tom Fahy 

That would sublimate her role, 

Eschew her sense of self in favor of it; 

Delve deeper into the costume 

Than into her own skin; 

And she expected you, in some form, shape; 

Sought your face in the crowd, 

But the unreality was too much, 

And the cast ill-fitted; 

And you, sunken in your seat, 

Your heart scarcely beating, her mother behind you, 

Her brother beside you, 

The ceiling fans churning the air, 

Redolent with make-up and cologne, electricity and upholstery; 

The theater, like a new car, waiting to be sat in, 

And once sat in, becoming old. 

x 040103MD 

"I'm not a proponent of obfuscation, but it's the onlj way I can say what I 

mean. " 

— George Irwin 

"If you don't mind, I don't feel like sitting it's too cold; I have to keep the 
blood circulating. One cannot write well when it is cold. I think about Flaubert 
in an overcoat, snowdrifts pressing against the chateau windowpanes. Flapping 
gusts like frozen doves fly down the chimney, snuff out the little flames that lick 

wet logs. He shivers like a peasant. He dips his quill into a pot of cold ink, 

sketches the shivering bones of Madame Bovary — dressed and undressed, alive 

and dead; rosy and blue. 

Chekov sits by a pot-bellied stove, eats biscuits and sips a mug of something 

lukewarm. His thoughts are perishable — if only it was a little warmer and his 

bs weren 't so numb. Will the old walls — packed with rat nests, 

moldering leaves, and rotting newspapers — hold until spring?" 

— Russell Huggins 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 316 

"The would-be writer must read aggressively, observe dispassionately and lose 
himself utterly. Unless he lives exclusively for the sake of words, a man is not a 
writer; he is merely a man that writes. This is a tragedy. " 

— Brian Todd Huggins 

"You keep referring to 'we. ' Is there more than one of you?" 

— Jennifer Hammitt 

"I don't believe in human possession, but as God is my witness, I am a 
different man in Annapolis. " 

— Russell Huggins 

Everything Is Encrypted: Consciousness, Schizophrenia, 
Quasi-Temporal Evolutionary Mechanisms and 

Imagination 

Social and cultural parameters may be defined as those forces that 
precede the would-be author, and are embedded in the system that 
would foster his development. A system may be defined as any 
ideological construct that determines the prevailing phenomena of a 
culture and which serve as points of reference as the legislative 
underpinnings of a culture are devised, accepted and internalized by 
a corporeal body. Parameters, to the extent that they are integrated 
into a social mechanism in such a way that thought is largely 
dependent upon their presence, inevitably influence all aspects of 
that culture, and become sewn into its collective unconscious. This 
sense of prevalence of parameters, or preconditions to social 
organization, unduly influence the corporeal body and jeopardize 
that process which is a natural prerequisite of the creative agenda 
that is primary in man — namely, imagination. 

Parameters are a precondition for conformity in a post-industrial, 
chip-based culture, and moderate behavior in a way that 
problematize the individual's pursuit of self-awareness. 

Schizophrenia — > It may be argued that schizophrenia is a 
natural precursor to identity; identity being the outcome of several 
episodes within the first several years of a child's life that are 



317 • Tom Fahy 

characterized by patently psychotic signiflers which are the artifacts 
left by the juvenile mind's attempt to acquire a life -paradigm best 
suited to environmental adaptation. This is the condition that may 
be said to accompany the development of self-awareness. The 
mind — the juvenile mind — works frantically to conform and adapt to 
environmental cues. Psychological instability is the result, as the 
juvenile mind is undergoing a profound sea-change — a constant 
reorganization in its pursuit of a "path of least resistance" which 
will enable it to grow increasingly adept at the acquisition of 
survival skills. It is obvious, then, that psychoses and schizophrenia 
are natural precursors to self-awareness, occurring in the juvenile 
mind out of necessity — but what of the adult mind? 

The Result — > A corporeal body in which the schizophrenic has 
been unfairly demonized. Schizophrenia is not regarded as a natural 
precursor to self-awareness or as a catalyst to dynamic 
consciousness. Alas, it is deemed a "disorder," and in dire need of 
correction. It is not deemed of consequence, or perceived as a 
phenomenon that contributes to the mental health of an individual. 
Again, it is a disorder. Conversely, I posit that schizophrenia 
precedes necessary changes in the mind concerning, but not 
exclusive to, Identity. As it is our purpose herein to champion the 
cause of the writer, it would best serve our ends to relate the 
development of Identity to the process of writing, or creativity 
generally. 

Creation — > It is not the brain-child, but a brain-child; it is the 
consequence of self-awareness. In so far as a being is self-aware, so 
too does it possess the faculty to create. Creation may be perceived 
as a being's attempt to externalize the brain's unflagging efforts to 
foster not only consciousness but to perfect the architecture that 
would support it. The conscious being is two with itself to the 
extent that it operates seemingly independently from the mind. 
There is consciousness, which is the child of the mind, and the built 
world which is the child of consciousness. Creation proceeds from 
consciousness, and sensory stimuli (man's creations) — which are 
the product of the ingenuity of consciousness — flow backward as 
visual cues informing the brain of changes in the environment and 
affecting the necessary physiochemical changes that will enable 
environmental adaptation. This is a very strong evolutionary 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 318 

mechanism that induces change rapidly and efficiently but which 
also points to the notion that the mind is perpetually 'in-transition' 
and at risk of instability as its architecture is modified in order to 
accommodate rapid change exterior to it. 

Already we have introduced the idea of social and cultural 
parameters, and have implied their role in post-industrial, chip- 
based cultures. Parameters are a natural byproduct of the order that 
is a result of mechanization. Mechanization requires consistency 
and relative changelessness over extended periods of time. 
Efficiency is a function of time. It follows, then, that in order for a 
mechanism to function in an efficient and predictable manner, it 
must not be unduly influenced by temporality. It must overcome 
inertia and then compensate for performance variables that are the 
result of friction, gravity, and general wear by drawing additional 
power from reserves constructed expressly for that purpose. In the 
built world, there are few exceptions to this rule; all things wear 
down — eventually. Nevertheless, the magic of machines is their 
singular ability to perform consistently over extended periods of 
time. And over time, as machines become increasingly dependable, 
and calibrated in an effort to maximize efficiency, so too are human 
beings expected to run in such an exotic and timely fashion. 

The Gear — > The industrial revolution owed its success to this 
pre-indus trial advent; gears, attached to spools, attached to shafts, 
compounded by additional gears with teeth of various sizes, placed 
evenly, enabled machines to function smoothly and predictably. 
Gears served machines that were eventually responsible for 
producing man's basic needs, and man soon was required to wake 
for the sake of machines that he might tend them, maintain them 
and secure their efficiency. Man was living and dying, sleeping and 
waking, by the dictates of his creations. Time was determined by the 
rate at which the gear turned. But again, the gear was unflaggingly 
consistent and soon it begged consistency of its progenitors. 

But man, by nature, is inconsistent. Terrific 
changes — experimental, social, and cultural — engender terrific 
inconsistencies in man as time is required, as we have shown, for 
the mind to modify the architecture on which consciousness 
depends. At times of accelerated change, the incidence of 
schizophrenia increases, and serves as a primary indicator of 
widespread evolutionary adaptive processes in a given population. 



319 • Tom Fahy 

However, adaptive processes often require a prolonged duration 
free from overstimulation. This will encourage change without 
irremediable consequences. Post-industrialized cultures, however, as 
a consequence of mechanization, were hard-pressed to afford a man 
the adequate period required for adaptation. Immediately, 
schizophrenia was regarded as a symptom of systemic dysfunction 
rather than an indicator of ongoing adaptive processes. As the 
schizophrenic was not deemed conducive to the overall efficiency 
of a mechanized culture, he was removed and replaced with 
laborers able to adapt to sudden change without consequence. That 
is, laborers characterized by psychological fixity deemed invaluable 
to the ends of the Industrial Revolution. It became the aim of 
industrial cultures to suppress the schizophrenic disposition and to 
favor those individuals in whom the "disorder" was apparently 
absent. Herein was conceived the proletariat — constant, well- 
adjusted, self-effacing, insoluble; a population born to serve the 
machine. 

Marginalized was the individual whose sense of self was crippled 
by the inability to adapt to sudden, terrific change on cue; he was 
"unfit," "ill," "maladaptive," and "weak," when really he was guilty 
of complexity and dynamism. Which is to say, he required patience 
and tolerance as his mind assimilated novel sensory stimulation, 
converted it into intelligible data, and attempted to incorporate it 
into a fully adapted schema, able to cope with change and tumult 
with increasing effectiveness. For the schizophrenic, reflection and 
memory and reference are integral to evolutionary adaptive 
processes, where they are only minor functions of adaptive 
processes in the non-schizophrenic. If changes outpace the rate at 
which an individual may adapt, he is at risk of becoming not only 
outmoded by the social organism to which he belongs, but also 
altogether non-operational. That he does not change on cue, is no 
fault of his own. 

Post-industrial, chip-based cultures posses similar but more 
insidious ingredients for despair. Today, our choices are even fewer, 
as are our opportunities for adaptation. In a post-industrial, chip- 
based culture, we no longer adapt; we conform... or else. And 
conformity must occur at an earlier and earlier age that it might 
effectively subsume any and all predispositions to schizophrenic 
and maladaptive states. 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 320 

Creativity is the fruit of reflection, self-awareness, and 
consciousness. Reflection, self-awareness, and consciousness foster 
creativity when they are permitted, and they are permitted only in 
environments in which patience and tolerance are preconditions. It 
is no wonder, then, that man's capacity for reflection and self- 
awareness, and consequently, his creative faculties have been much 
diminished in post-industrial, chip-based cultures. Unoriginality is 
the result. Previously, we referred to the physiochemical changes 
that the brain undergoes in response to environmental change. We 
suggested that it was an adaptive evolutionary mechanism. Again, 
time is required for the proper and fluid operation of said 
mechanism. But as industrialized cultures increasingly refuse to 
afford man time in which to undergo adaptive change, adaptive 
change itself, in absence of catalytic environments and stimulus, is 
at risk of stopping altogether. The feedback loop about which we 
hinted — the projection of man's genius upon the world and the 
backflow of stimuli to the brain, whereupon adaptive change is 
affected — no longer has an incentive. This signals the death of the 
imagination. 

Imagination — > Imagination has been regarded by parametric 
cultures as unwieldy and dangerous, causing general unrest in both 
the individual and the population at large. And parametric cultures, 
those cultures determined by parameters, have gone out of their 
way to suppress the imagination. We may observe the overall, 
cumulative effect of social engineering upon creative endeavors 
today: the flow of the imagination from the artist's heart to his 
hands has been staunched. 

Herein I overtly address the writer, but not to the exclusion of 
other artists. It is my intention to address the imagination, and 
those that would employ the imagination in the service of Vision: it 
is the artist's responsibility to save man from himself. 

x 040103MD 

April Fool's Day 

Each day, in its own right, 
Quite unlike the last; 
In its singularity, 



321 • Tom Fahy 

In the point that it would make, 
Excusable in its innocence. 

Each day, coming into its own, 
As a candle that would burn 
Because it has to, 
Or as a flame that would remain 
In spite of the wick. 

Each of them, 

Quite unaware of the last, 

As a new generation of birds, 

Or a hive of bees, 

Determined... 

Without accountability. 

Each day, 

Borne by the next, 

Ever, yielding to the last; 

Each, as an apple that would sooner fall late 

Than be picked by chance. 



t 



5ii 



On the 1 st of May, Tom Shaw completed his so-called "decoction, 
decipherment and distillation of the life, times, loves and record of 
such by one Russell Huggins." Shaw leaned back in Huggins' desk 
chair, lit a cigarette and took a deep drag. The stoked ember lit the 
room momentarily. He crushed out the cigarette, sat in the dark. In 
a few minutes he would call Moffett or maybe he would wait until 
morning. Maybe he wouldn't call at all. He could leave his notes 
where they lay, stacked in three cardboard boxes in the hallway. He 
could walk away and leave Button House. He could choose to spare 
Russell Huggins exposure and scrutiny at colder hands. What would 
Katie have done? What would Russell Huggins have wanted? 
Surely not this — this invasion. 

Shaw was struck by a flash of emotion. It threatened to sweep him 
away. It choked him. He sobbed. Katie was a better person than he. 
She would call Moffett and tell him he had gotten a bad lead, there 



50 1 - Wynn, "Joy." Bliss he enjoys who knows not pain, sorrow nor anxiety, 

and himself has prosperity and bliss and a good enough house. old 

English Poem 



323 • Tom Fahy 

was nothing here — nothing worth compiling. It was all a mistake 
and Moffett could call off his dogs. She'd tell him that there was no 
evidence to indicate that Huggins had led a life of substance and 
intrigue. She'd tell him that the ledgers and journals were 
indecipherable, filled with nonsense and junk code — an exaggerated 
case of nonproductive hypergraphia. 

Katie: she would have brought wisdom to this last chapter at 
Button House. 

Shaw got up and flipped on the overhead light. He went to the 
wall and touched the photographs hanging there, one by one. He 
ran the tip of a finger over the faces of a young couple. They sat on 
a set of bleachers, holding red plastic cups. They were in their late 
twenties, were smiling. Behind them were visible Hanover Street 
Bridge and a sliver of the Patapsco River. Shaw removed the frame 
from the wall and then the photograph from the frame. On the 
back in neat print with round ascenders and rigid descenders was 
written: 

Russell and ' Allayne, '98, Middle Branch 

Huggins had not been ugly or a brute. He had not been 
distasteful, violent or disfigured. Granted, his work indicated an 
unusual life, but also a proud one, an intellectually dignified one, a 
life led with passion and fire. The photograph still in his hand, Shaw 
wandered in bare feet into the hallway, then to the landing. At the 
top of the stair stood the suitcase, shoes and wadded-up socks. In 
his head he could hear Katie's voice: It was his time, Tom, like it was 
mine. He even packed. I might have packed, too, if Td had the presence of 
mind. He was ready. 

Shaw knelt, unlatched the suitcase. It was empty, save for a single 
scrap of ruled paper. On it was scrawled: 

We will tell you without telling jou. We will showjou andjou maj one day 
realise that the truth is represented by the less interesting of two objects. . . 

Shaw held the scrap to his chest with one hand, punched a 
number into his cell with the other: "Moffett, it's Shaw — Tm 
finished." 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 324 



x 

"It's a sorry life when an editor has the last word. ' 

— George Irwin 

I agree. 




OTHER WORKS 



POETRY • APPENDICES • AFTERWORD 



Foreword 

This is for you. It must be. 

You are the one for whom I write, your ears alone. 

That you read this, understand, is enough. 

I can rest now, knowing this, 

Feeling that nothing is any longer lost, 

Not so long as you live. 

Here, a better man might stall, 

Pack a bag lunch, go hunting for the right words, 

But I don't have the time, never did. 

We played in earnest and work now in earnest. 

This isn't shorthand, so too, it can't be calligraphy. 

It is an account, 

Of a world to which I would return, 

Were I able, and in a heartbeat. 

And because you were interested, 

We will go back together, passengers, 

Pulled in a carriage through the breadth of my memories. 

You are the reader for whom I have been looking 

That makes it easy to recount and write. 



329 • Tom Fahy 

Wards the Men by the New God Were Made 

The good poem aims to assure the reader 
that there is something beyond the Word: 

the Word confines. 

We have become a people able only to see what we have 
classified: 

the things that we have named. 

There is, however, a world — things — that cannot be named, 

will not be named, should not be named . . . classified; 

a world betwixt and between. 

It may be considered, sensed, even touched, 

but a journey to the world betwixt 

is not one from which you may return with tales. 

Its flora and fauna are beyond the Word. 

Once visited, one is changed evermore, 

but the change will not be related: one's win is a loss. 

A loss that will not be quantified - 

a gutting, carving, chiseling: 

a dugout soul, a man remade . . . not, any longer, in God's own 
image . . . 

. . . out from under governance, steered no longer. 

Language begins and the losses mount: 

what is named is concealed, 

wrapped, managed, packaged, made fit for consumption. 

Once named, a thing BECOMES: it is. 

We soon become overwhelmed 

by all of the things that have been permitted, 

by grace of words, to possess Ii"-ness, 

and our perception narrows: 

we see only what is sanctioned — what ridges peak through 
the cloud tops . . . 

. . . inured to the idea of the value of the Word. 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 330 

In the blessedness of the Word 

we were made to believe; 

with the Word, light shone on the children of men — 

order entered the corporeal world. 

Symbols assumed names, were described, became legion, were 

shrunken: 

the symbols were robbed of power; the totems felled. 

A new enemy was named: 

the implacable. 

That which cannot be named must be expunged, 

cast out and away. 
Wards the men by the new God were made. 
And Native action was now accompanied by an unbidden 
companion: 

the descriptor . . . 
with which all intention was thought to be made plain. 

Intention is made plain. 

A bridge was erected to mend a rented space, a tear . . . 
between they who could see absent language 

and they who could not; 
between they who with gesture commanded 

and they who could but growl their way to satisfaction. 

The Word is too much with us. 
Reveal = re-veil 

Classify, or to classify, means to withhold, as by censorship. 

The object of the Word is not withheld from us, 
though we treat language as if it were so; 

as if the object were other than it is: concealment . . . 



331 • Tom Fahy 

. . . and that concealment is the objective of the late-coming Gods 
on Earth. 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 332 

Aaron 

Afoul of the inveterate sect, 

What fate befell the young remonstrant? 
By what fixed look was he captured? 
An example, he, 
That the bee still stings — 
And still strong the bite of excommunication; 

That no window in the ghetto remains ajar. . . 

Though he did not speak so, 
It must appear 

As though he spoke so, 
That vengeance might be, 
Accordingly 
Exacted, in the name, of the Law, 
On the Lamb, who windows opened, 
Who had Haman's ear. 

What false gods 

At the sills hovered, 

Born of winter, in black mantles, 
With sticks pointing? 
And in pockets, in felt bags, 
Gavels wrought of almond wood. . . 

What emissaries of Esther? 

What wanton will be pacified? 
What Legend satisfied? 

What queer justice . . . exercised? 

Tomorrow — 

More Lambs, first-born Sons, 

By noose, by knave, by dagger, by Law. . . 

Nine remain: Nine sacrifices of two minds — 
To each offering its appointed season, 
And by lunar decree, no reward of refuge; 
No, too lenient were the elect. 



333 • Tom Fahy 

Too strong their identification, 

With the host! 

The ten-minus-one. 

For in too many small bones abided 
A shearing weakness for the Hellene, 

So marked were they by limps. . . 

He and they, who in Cicero, 
Did not... 

Find an enemy. 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 334 

The Old World 

This first Sunday evening in September 

Seems always to signal autumn. 

I would know these sun-flecked clouds anywhere, 

Roaming east with golden and grey underbellies — 

This leached blue sky, minutes before sunset. 

Tomorrow, everything will be different. 

On the periphery of the beltway, 

Where the buildings began to shrink 

And the roads to narrow, 

There was an extension on evenings like this, 

As though a handful could be leased at a time, 

Then parceled out... 

Tonight, an ebbing, 

Nature tipping its hand, showing me something, 

And I don't want to keep it for myself — 

I want this to be yours also. 

I have been here before. 
I may not be here again — 

When the sun sets for the last time on the old world. 
Tomorrow, the face of things will be changed. 



335 • Tom Fahy 

Tomorrow, a Soldier 

Something ended tonight. 

I want to stand beside a woman and her child. 
I will never stand beside a woman and her child. 
The woman is my beloved. 
The child is of me. 

None of this is true. 

I have been forsaken. 

Soon, tomorrow, I will be a soldier 

And gone will be the luxury of want. 

There is no woman. 
There is no child. 
I am no longer. 

There is light here, enough to see, 
But not enough for joy. 



Orchard Park and Other Works ■ 336 



The Book Burner, 

the Sleeper 

and the Stalking Womb 

Between storms in a wooden chair in tall 
grass, your hair drying, wisps in the wind, I 
watch from within the circumference of 
willow roots, behind her braids. I won't 
approach over heaved ground, won't show 
hunger mercy. I'll sit among the rocks, atop 
weeping nettles, under dripping pine, 
beneath a clouded sky, upon the shore of the 
sand-bottomed frog-pond, in the company of 
roaming snapping-turtles, with calico Ivy in 
the ferns covered in blood. My thumb is 
swollen from sucking, and the flesh under my 
eyes is dark and raw. 

Treetops moan in the west-wind, bend at 
their waists, rounding bodices filled with 
desperate whispers. A place of accumulated 
essences, distilled impressions, something 
nearby holding a leather leash, standing in 
the tall cedars, masked by dead limbs and 
brown, curling leaves; a Stalking Womb, a 
pitch father, all knuckles and elbows, a 
decaying shock-trooper out-of-time, 
wrestling with time, shaping disfigured 
Dresden orphans from the mud, striking 
them into life with a cane of birch. 

The painted hedge tied with webs spun by 
pearl spiders ringing belt-like Book Burner's 
bleached-bone fortress, who perches under a 
vent with a furrowed brow, a cinch-scrunched 
nose, and untrimmed mustache, with an 
acetylene torch, warming bindings, loosening 
leaves of brittle-paged digests, I in worn- 
kneed corduroys on my segmented belly, 
inching into the yard through thistle-down, 



337 • Tom Fahy 

the Stalking Womb in wool near but not near 
enough, never with sufficient mass to bend 
the property into a steep bowl with its own 
tantalizing horizon. 

Under crab-apple tents, through the crooked 
hatchet-hewn trellis festooned with limp 
balloons, behind me, wreathed in blue smoke 
carried east on black wings, the wooden, tar- 
papered tower, and the Sleeper under gables. 
In my dreams, a blackbird carries in its 
obsidian beak the Sleeper's marble eyes to the 
silent rookery in the larches, east, where trees 
are caped and bonneted, picked clean of pearl 
spiders by pink-jacketed mantis'. 

Over whittler's rinds, mineral-flecked earth, 
the leathery carcasses of worms, into the 
bald, beige, hard-packed dog run, railed by 
stalks of suspiring steel grass, past the stone 
Bolzoi with cloth haunches bedded in soft ash 
dimpled by raindrops, motionless under rose 
prickled lintels, Book Burner's sole 
companion, carved with a Cooper adz from 
felled trees reserved by God for aristocratic 
beasts. 

The Bolzoi — the once elegant alarm — is lame; 
she won't stir in her ashes, or smell my 
chafed skin through long, striped sleeves, 
while the Sleeper, snug where once a bell 
hung, swaying in an unpadded cradle, pink 
gauze in her empty sockets, will plaint 
through cracked lips: "Hurry, the Stalking 
Womb is on the stair." 

Book Burner, in the dusk of his rendering 
room, dim-witted, abloom nevertheless with 
the will to the mystical, a toe-hold on 
masterfulness, beating back with a rod carved 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 338 



with symbols of dignified error the spiraling 
compasses, the barometers of conscience, 
self-possessed, who with a command of high 
illusion, who with special organs, who with 
intuition, exalts the Sleeper though the 
Stalking Womb perish. 

And the Sleeper on whose behalf I belly-crawl 
with unconscious faith, for whom truth is not 
necessarily good, in any quantity, under all 
circumstances, if wisdom is not in earnest 
brought to bear on the living, while the 
mantis' chitter, carry the standards of folly, of 
fact, of hither and yon, against the claims of 
ascending value. 

Mixing ash with mortar, Book Burner 
bricking up the lighdess passages to a third 
kind of knowing, to hardy percepts designed 
to suborn the reasoning mind and the britde- 
legged men, dwarfed by craft, rising in nearby 
locks, to inch down the still-watered canal, 
dead mules on the banks; inch west to crush 
what's left in the aggregate of vocation, to 
campaign against the Sleeper's verdicts, to 
sew doubt in the property once more; to try 
our Gods. 

Under several seasons of willow branches, 
beneath the Bolzoi's curling nails, the rotting 
placard: TEST, NOT TRUST, and below the 
placard, one layer each of children, lye and 
fools. 



339 • Tom Fahy 

By Hand 

Yes to long letters by hand — 

Deliberate, desperate and at the mercy of hazard; 

Yes to mornings that creek on rusty hinges, 
And to eighth-notes with stainless steel spoons 
On inherited, chipped and woeful china 
At tenement- treaty tables. 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 340 

Our Chosen Weapon 

I'll find you a tree — 

An aged, moss-covered, cycloptic thing, 

No longer too self-assured; 

We'll meet for a day — or several — 

An afternoon like a woven basket, 

Threaded through the head of the forest's needle, 

Twined from branch to branch; 

A warp, a weft, sewn up 

Inside a bag filled with stolen hours. 

Now a chasm this hair's-width 

Between my thumb and your cheek, 

Earlobe, tear-wetted hair — 

This driving from an unfurling knitted egg 

Into the reaches, 

To take you by the fingertips, 

Lead you over the rock wall, 

Pull you into roots. ..down. 

And it won't be a long life, 
But it could be, if only briefly, 
A salvaged life — something dear. 
We could be forgiven, 
Absorbed into heartwood, 
Pumped through woody veins, 
Transmuted and breathed back into the sky, 
If you say 'y es -' 



341 • Tom Fahy 

Counter-Luminescence 

Sadness has its own velocity, its own 
equations describing acceleration along a 
vector, bent beyond the event horizon, 
pulled, spread, turned into cosmic batter, 
and you are the ineluctable observer, 
following in the turbulent wake of an arrow 
sailing on its projected path, clawing after 
its flaming nock, pulled toward the 
shimmering boundary, which once passed, 
is inescapable — a descent into super- 
density. 



Our trajectory is toward the incandescent, 
toward interior light — simultaneously into 
and out of emissive fields — a world that is 
skin-prickling, constructive, propulsive — a 
world in which we are reciprocally inspired 
by one another, without a swallowing 
horizon, and wherein velocity is a function 
of our affections. 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 342 

Chiasma 

The cat can still hear you, 
Doesn't sleep, grows thinner, itchy. 

The cat doesn't blink. 

He crouches, watches, 

His head pitched at a listening angle. 

You are around the corner, 

Behind a door, under the bed, in a drawer; 

His are eyes grown wide with fever, with panic, 

Rounded with marching symbols, 

Afflictions for which he is a poor host; 

You would take him with you, were you able — 

Would take him in part or in whole — 

Rob him first of his wits, then his equilibrium, 

Leave him a perfect sentry 

To the airless depression you left behind. 

We lie on the well's dry pebble-bed, 

He with tail swooshing, all haunches, 

I with fingers laced behind my head, 

Squinting into the rock shaft, 

Embedded, as it were, in this hole's retina, 

Weighted by a vitreous mass, 

Preparing for a slow slide after a hard rain 

Into the nervous system of this long, black night. 

You left him, us, 

Passed through the lens; 

We watched you climb down 

The chamber's axis in bare feet; 

Watched you beg on the hem 

Of our once and great blind-spot, 

Our only refuge from fever — yours, the cat's, mine; 

Watched you beg for admittance, into feeling, 

On hands and knees over broken glass 

Out of our lightless socket, 

Into cleanliness. 



343 • Tom Fahy 

The cat listens to the burrowing mites 

Compete with your echo. 

And it is just as well that we go unclaimed; 

That we wait for these hatches to erupt from below, 

To give, crumble... 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 344 

EXLEY 

I am sitting with your father, watching him 
take the revolver out of its box. The 
apartment is empty and the women are 
gone. Maybe he'll buy pipe-cleaners, clean 
the gun for the first time. You have to 
clean them, he thinks, once in awhile. Oil 
the cylinder, dust the chambers, and 
inspect the barrel. He doesn't clean it. He 
puts it back in the box, places the box onto 
the closet shelf. Another day, he thinks. 

"I was a success," he says. 

Success eats one up from the inside, an 
organ at a time — slow nibbles, then 
faster — or perhaps it is like glaciation, ice 
creeping across the extremities, exfoliating 
as it crawls, inches toward the center, 
roves over the core, one's temperature 
dropping in increments, year after year, 
until one is stiff and incapable of 
perspective, eyes turned to lolling, frosty 
marbles, hands like butcher-blocks and 
fingers like dead kitchen utensils. 



Exley was crushed by his longing for 
success. It undid him. He drank 
prodigiously — perhaps heavier than any 
other man alive — grew fat, despicable, was 
preternaturally self- aware, knew how ugly 
he had become, how black his character; 
was institutionalized three, 
maybe four times, finally undertook the 
work that was his calling, wrote 
compulsively and one evening, drunk, 
burned it, his best work. 



345 • Tom Fahy 

Young Roger, Cannonball 

Desperate want, yearning, 

And veins too close to the surface of the skin, 

Pulsating, irregular, some broken from overexertion, 

And the vessels in his eyes throbbing and arterial, 

Climbing out from beneath the lids, 

Like vines over boulders, grappling with black irises. 

A desperate early offensive — 

A cannonball in flight, 

Arcing high over the casde walls, 

Slathered in tar and burning, crackling, 

The sky seared by its passage, 

Finally crashing comet-like, 

A giant plume of fire its signature. 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 346 

1987 

The leaves were always falling, turning and 
falling, or threatening to turn, or having 
fallen, quickly covered by snow, calling 
cards of the seasons stacked atop one 
another. Winter was insistent, always 
knocking, the almost-season, but we were 
most aflame in autumn, as boys and young 
men. 



Mrs. W's car slowed beside me; I could 
hear the rubber tires sticking to the 
pavement, sucking on it, peeling away as 
they turned — the sound of the smell of 
sun-warmed and cracked sneaker-soles. 

A motor whirred in the door-well and the 
driver-side window squeaked open. Next 
to Mrs. W, bolt-upright in the passenger 
seat with large white teeth, sat her son. 

"This is Roger," she said. "This is his first 
day." Roger leapt out of the car. 

Roger was short, was bow-legged and had 
kinky black hair screwed in knots to his 
head. He made me feel tall. 

I could sense his nervous energy. His 
shirtfront rippled with each heartbeat. He 
hopped up and down in his Chuck Taylors, 
took long strides, sprang forward, doubled- 
back, clapped his hands. We watched his 
mother pull away, disappear around the 
bend. 

Roger was panicking. He was a stranger, 
looking for an angle, a tutor, was ready to 



347 • Tom Fahy 

take mental notes: 

"What is it like, this new school? What 
about the girls? Which ones do you date? 
Which ones should I date? It's fine. It's 
fine." Nothing would be fine, not ever. 

We stood in mail-order clothes, my house 
looming behind us, the paint beginning to 
peel, the bricks from the front stoop 
crumbling, the driveway disintegrating. 

We stood, sheltered by a Pin Oak. My 
mother, in her yellow bathrobe, waved 
from behind the panes of the living room 
window. I waved back. Roger did too. 

"We should go," he said. 

Roger was in a crouch, hunched over like a 
runner on a starting-block, squinting into 
the fog at the end of the street, watching 
kids clot behind a crossing guard, her arms 
raised and her face expressionless: 

"I'm color-blind," he said, "Everything is 
brown. You'd tell me if it wasn't, right?" 

Everything was brown. I'd tell him if it wasn't. 
Roger climbed out of his crouch, leaned close. 
His breath smelled like cereal 
and sour orange juice. 



I looked back at the house. We s, 
I thought. I peered at my Casio 
watched the seconds pass. 



"It's getting late," Roger commented. 
I stepped off the sidewalk and onto the 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 348 



grass, put my arms around the Pin Oak, 
kissed its rough bark. "Okay," I said, "let's 
go." We went. 

Into the fog, around the bend, and to 
school. 



We passed into fog, were absorbed, heard 
disembodied voices, children giggling, feet 
scuffing on cement, no faces, that pale 
odorless smoke still too thick. 

We were skiffs bobbing to shore, the sound 
of whooshing pant legs beside and behind 
us; pens, pencils, rulers and erasers, loose 
and colliding in backpack pockets. 

It was too much, too soon. I grabbed 
Roger's shoulder, tried to punch a hole 
through the fog with my fist, stabbed the 
air, pointed, said, "The woods. We could 
go to the woods instead, live there." 

"Yeah, yeah," he responded, "we could." 

I squinted, could see the outlines of houses 
bulge, swell, and grow faint again. I felt 
unwell, dizzy, was prepared to step off the 
sidewalk, cross the street and leap over 
the wall that marched alongside the 
nearest bulge; I could follow the crushed- 
stone drainage ditch to the tunnels that 
passed through the heart of the hemlock 
hedgerow. I could move swiftly, like a 
platelet through sweet- smelling thatches to 
an open wound. I would be home in 
minutes. 

I wasn't moving. Roger grabbed my 



349 • Tom Fahy 

shirtsleeve, tugged me forward, the 
hopeful reverie cracked. The skiffs built up 
behind a crossing-guard wearing an orange 
belt and tin badge, bunched at the too- 
narrow mouth of a swelling river. 

"Where do we go?" Roger asked. "Which 
door? Where do we stand? Can we go in or 
do we wait?" 

The Elementary School, built like a squat 
barracks, repelled the fog which formed a 
tight ring out of which we popped, the air 
different now, thinner, without texture or 
taste. Roger, eyes bulging, walked on the 
tips of his toes, "Which way?" 

I led him around the perimeter of the 
traffic circle into which roared a column of 
school buses... I had ridden the buses 
before, on field trips — to pumpkin patches, 
cider houses, museums. 

"I hope we have classes together," Roger 
said, digging his hands into the waistband 
of his sweats like a cowboy. 

We would not have classes together. I 
would see him on the way to school and 
after school, at lunch and on the 
playground, and between classes in the 
hallway as he was hauled by his collar to 
the principal's office. 

I would watch him from my seat, his 
heels dragging on the polished tile, flanked 
by two teachers, each gripping one arm, 
Roger glowering from under his dark, 
hooded eyes. ..hell-bound. 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 350 

Holy Cross 

Idling over rooftops, 

Clothes catching on lightning rods, 

Choking on ozone, 

Prancing on the gables... 

This was the choice view, 

Kings over all that we surveyed, 

With confidence in a suspicion, 

That the fully pitiless life was the most noble; 

That we must espouse natural daring, 

Answer our impulses, 

Repress nothing. 



We lived, 

Nine doors apart, 

And around a hairpin turn that we hung 

On bald-tired bikes, 

Scooters and later in cars, 

Sometimes borrowed, 

Always with siphoned gas. 



351 • Tom Fahy 

A Fitting Host 

Already fifteen odd years ago — 

The races and accidents and fires. 

You wouldn't race unless our respective girlfriends 

Were strapped in, buckled in beside us, 

White-knuckling the dashboard. 

The fun, half of it for you, was sewing terror, 

Turning up the music until the windows shook, 

Until the stink of fear mixed with the too-strong smell 

Of Esfrfe Lauder Beautiful. 

The other half of the enterprise was preventive measures, 

Stop-gap solutions, keeping you tame, level, 

Like I was responsible; 

Putting out fires, real ones, 

And you holding a bottle of lighter- fluid to your chest, 

Eyes bloodshot, veins pulsating in your forehead, 

Smoking famously, cigarette after cigarette, 

And once blowing up a back-hoe, 

Massive, sitting on giant treads, encased in grease, 

Watching the flames lick the gas reservoir, 

I trying to smother the flames, hands on fire, 

You laughing, always laughing, 

Always antagonizing the Fates. 

On your wedding day — 

Day of the formal wedding, 

Not the over-the-coffee-table-marriage 

Of the young lovers, but the church wedding, 

Months later — I was your best man, 

Wore borrowed clothes, 

A seersucker jacket of my father's; 

And that night, no honeymoon, 

But a trip to Muller Hill, 

Roaring through the woods in my Jeep 

To the infamous black patch, 

Not consecrated ground, but site of famed decapitations, 

And the well down which the heads were thrown. 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 352 



We made camp 

At the foundation of Muller Mansion, 
Burned in 1912 by livid townsfolk, 
Home of Louis Anthe Muller, 
Believed to be Charles X in hiding, 
From reign of terror to reign of terror, 
Now host to newlyweds — a fitting host. 



353 • Tom Fahy 

Love, Courtesy of a Scarecrow 

After the church service, minutes into the reception, 

A call from Roger; you can deny him nothing. 

Your new bride, senses piqued, eyes wide, 

Knows that you are leaving; that you will embarrass her, 

Slip out before the first dance, before the cake, 

For one last hurrah — overdue, you think — 

This last favor to Roger; to the scarecrow in jeans. 

You ached for something decent, found it; it was dear. 

But you would steal one last car — 

Something complicated for old time's sake, 

Be back in time for apologies; 

Back to dance with the bride's mother, 

To rub her father's shoulders, toast his pride, but after... 

Yes, after. 

You prepare for reproofs, excuse yourself, 

Reach for and kiss her hand. 

Roger is at the edge of the yard, a boot on the wall. 

You see him through tent-poles. She does, too. 

Roger's eyes twinkle but he doesn't smile. 

He has a car in mind — three blocks north. You could walk. 

You didn't want to lead the kind of life 

For which you would need to make apologies. 

Not anymore. 

But there would be one last apology, had to be. 

Roger would see to it. 

You didn't talk. 

He sized you up in the tuxedo, seemed satisfied: 

"Last things..." he started. 

It wasn't a sentence — a statement — that he would finish. 

"Looks like rain," you say. 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 354 

It did, would, 

And later you would hold her fast, 

The rain untying her hair, 

Flattening her dress, filling your shoes; 

And with cheeks pressed, floating over flagstones, 

A first dance, a last dance... 

There would be no humor in it — couldn't be; 

It was a desperate marriage, a clutching marriage, 

Something on which your very survival depended: 

Collision or suicide... 

Roger was giddy, twitching, walked briskly. 
He smacked his leg with a rolled up copy 
Of the Philadelphia Enquirer. 
You weren't three blocks from the reception. 
You could hear the wedding band warm up. 

"Simple," he said, and pointed at a late-model sports sedan — 
Keyless entry — hitched to the curb. 

"Simple," you repeat. It was impossible. 

The muzzle of a baby collie 

Appeared in the passenger-side window. 

"For you," he said, "And her." 

You will not see Roger again. 

You walk the block and a half back to the reception, 

A dog in your arms. 



355 • Tom Fahy 

OUROBOROS 

Words are ballast. I am the captain. 
On this ship, I can be as unruly as I wish. 
But I'll take you on, usher you up the 
gangway, call you my first-mate, but 
we are interchangeable: 

You'll take the helm and I'll climb down 
into the bowels of the ship, hunt rats with 
spears. 



Instead of driving, I walked overland on 
country-roads, away from town, through 
wild apple-orchards — shriveled fruit on 
naked branches. 

I started out early, just after sunrise, 
nothing in my stomach, kicked over 
pastures and descended the brambled hill 
to King Settlement Road, began the last 
leg, the long trudge, passed under the 
blinking light at Woods Corners and into 
the City Limits, was forced off the road by 
school buses, tractor trailers, into 
garbage-filled culverts, choked always with 
the husks of dead deer and desiccated 
cats. 



I resented death, Thanatos, and vowed one 
day to have his head on the end of a stick. 
The dead I have known better than the 
living, and at its caped personification I 
sneer, spit. 

My chief concern was age-appropriate 
death — retrieving fat old women from the 
emergency room, dead from massive heart 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 356 



attacks, leaking from every orifice, 
transferring their impossible weight onto 
stainless steel gurneys, slamming them 
always with fury in my heart into the back 
end of a hearse, ferrying their stinking 
shells to the embalming room. 

Age-appropriate death, although I still 
resented it, as well as the ceremony that 
attended it, I was able to accept, but not 
the teenagers wrapped around telephone 
poles, or the crib-deaths. Especially not the 
crib-deaths: baby caskets, purple lips, 
makeup on faces that should not have 
makeup — barely-lived lives — wailing souls, 
bereft parents, and I standing nearby. 

Was I slouching? Did I look bereft? Did 
they know that I wasn't sad, but angry? 

Babies, dead in December, stored in felted 
caskets in the chapel basement until 
spring, when the embalmer hefted the 
casket off its dusty shelf, unsealed it, 
inspected his handiwork. 

Were there mushrooms blooming on the 
faces of the dead? Did they leak, split a 
seam? Was there cauliflower growing in 
their ears, moss on their fingertips? 

Yes. Sometimes. Often. 

Spring burials: retrieving the dead, their 
caskets for yet another service, sermon, 
speech, final rest; retrieving the dead 
when the ground was soft, buds bulging on 
still-naked limbs from the cold crypt in 
which breath hangs in the air. 



357 • Tom Fahy 

There was no rest, not for the dead. 
Nature was always at work, taking bodies 
back, in pieces, even while in casket- 
repose — bodies leaking, an inch of blood on 
the floor — stepping over it, through it, 
tracking bloody footsteps down the chapel 
steps. 



Alone behind the wheel of the hearse with 
Ramirez in garbage bags, dozens of 
garbage bags — bags within bags — arms, 
organs, legs, most of a head. Ramirez in 
pieces after falling off the seat of his 
tractor, chewed up by a combine. Alone 
with Ramirez, the windows down, the stink 
overwhelming, racing through red lights, 
exceeding all posted speed limits, the radio 
blaring, but I could still hear Ramirez. He 
didn't want a funeral. He didn't want to be 
mourned. 

The hearse squealed around corners, 
screeched to a halt at the crematorium. I 
unpacked the bags filled with Ramirez onto 
a gurney. One last trip for Ramirez. Not on 
a tractor. 



"You must see the new furnace," Ransom 
shouted. He gripped my arm, pulled me 
into the crematorium, already ablaze, tile 
scintillating, warm pockets of air rotating, 
turning, dancing out the door, disembodied 
spirits, stealing into daylight. 

"Kneel here," he said, at what was 
effectively an altar, a platform positioned 
before the cherry-red furnace — dust-to- 
dust. 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 358 



A hatch opened, my tie flew over my 
shoulder, a scorching gust billowed my 
shirt, and the whites of my eyes turned to 
crackled china. 

Inside, jets of fire, and every bone of a 
charred skeleton rattling, slaked of flesh, 
brittle fingers playing an invisible piano, 
geysers of liquid light spurting through the 
chest cavity, a bonfire behind the skull's 
sutures. 

Light, hollow bones, the marrow vaporized, 
that do not burn, placed in a bone- 
grinder — a stainless steel mixing bowl with 
a hand-crank. 

"Try it," Ransom encouraged me. I did, 
humored him, the quiet rage building. 



The dead — commemorating the dead — 
buried sometimes in liquor bottles... 

Graveside, loitering on cold headstones or 
sun-baked monuments, watching dozens of 
shoes shifting uneasily at the lip of a 
grave, sometimes reading a book, or 
Shakespeare's Sonnets, something stowed 
in a pocket, something inappropriate, 
intransigent, sticking it to Thanatos, 
sticking it to God. 

Dead children, dead friends, working dead 
friend's funerals... Bobby, dead of an 
aneurysm, young, his mother: 

"It must be hard for you," she said. I was 
slouched in the hearse, my head lolling. 
What did she mean? Because I had seen 



359 • Tom Fahy 

him in the embalming room, wearing 
makeup, naked, barely a man — a boy next 
to whom I had sat in class, joked. 

Friday: he sat with his head on the desk, 
did not speak. Thanatos was there, looming, 
his scaled tail swooshing. I had felt it. Bobby 
died on Saturday afternoon, while playing tag. 



The funeral home had a cupola, a place to 
which I had already made blood offerings, 
and there I would hide, write furiously, fill 
ledgers, front to back, not quite on the 
edge, still ready to love fully, become 
something else — a husband and father; 
the hammer had not yet connected with the 
glass. 

I wrote. It was open battle. I waged war 
and with resentment I fueled the fire. 
There is no joy that cannot be subverted, 
cut open, let out to dry, beaten and 
tanned, turned into something fashionable, 
wearable, pathetic. It is a circle, and 
Thanatos has a pet, something on a short 
leash: 

Ouroboros. 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 360 

Navigation 

Navigation, or is it vibration? 

Are we mixed, poured, and shoveled into place — 

Irregular heaps, clumps, like thick cement — 

Lain into moulds, irregularities vibrated out of the forms, 

Sealed with polyethylene, left alone, cured, then used? 

Is it navigation, or a disassembly, 

An expansion, reformation, 

And then reunification, hardening? 

Is it a shaping from without or a turning from within, 

A tuning, a response to like-frequencies, 

A reordering of cells into ranks and files, columns? 



361 • Tom Fahy 

The Invasion 

There is an orchestrated bludgeoning. 

Who survives or escapes the pogrom unscathed, 

Sneaks down the unguarded alleys, 

Charms the men in jackboots, slips into the country? 

If you are beaten by nightsticks in the town square, 

Cannot get free, are shackled, then finally 

You will be reduced in capacity, made irretrievable. 

Then games become the measure or totality — the sum. 

There has been an invasion, stealthy and successful — 

A replacement or usurpation. 

Vast numbers have been coaxed into the forest, 

Beguiled, neutered, and sent back. 

Something sinister is at work in the world. 

It programs through the mechanism of trauma. 

We downplay trauma — the litde, cumulative 
Traumas stacked atop one another, and the big 
Ones, lined up like wrecks in an automotive 
Graveyard. 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 362 

Wheat 

There was light and life but there was also 
a tunnel. We couldn't get off the train — we 
barreled forward, the whistle blowing, 
smoke pouring from the engine. 



The locomotive passes through a series of 
tall ranges — marble ranges and granite 
ranges — black tubes punched through the 
rock. Overhead loom jagged peaks — peaks 
gouging clouds. And when the marching 
avalanches of rock end, the tunnels will 
end: 

The tunnels end at a roaring falls through 
which the locomotive splashes, dives — an 
iron caterpillar — wheels turning in the air, 
valves spitting, pistons billowing steam... 

Through the air flies the engine, the 
ancient passenger cars, the sun-faded 
caboose. Window shades pop open and 
wide-eyed passengers peer out. Their skin 
prickles with goose bumps. Their hair 
stands on end. 

The locomotive sails over the last 
outcropping of rock, the thin air whistling 
through the compartments. The locomotive 
dives and the cars behind it, and in the 
tilted aisles of the cabins roll lipstick tubes 
and soda cans. A teddy bear spins end 
over end... Children squeal. 

No one speaks. 

Closer to the blurry ground now, the air 
thicker, sweeter, you brace for impact, 
imagine the train burrowing nose-first into 



363 • Tom Fahy 

the earth, the passenger cars collapsing 
like an accordion... 

But your ears begin to pop, the train to 
slow. You are able to pick out detail in the 
scenery — stalks of wheat? Are the fine lines 
roads? 

Still no one speaks. No one breathes — 
nobody has breathed since crashing 
through the falls, since leaving the rails... 

The ground rises quickly to the train, will 
soon grab it by the wheels, and then there 
is light — peels of light. Something 
enormous must have been broken, 
shattered, split open to unleash such an 
overwhelming light. The passenger cars are 
engulfed, dazzled. The passengers squint, 
cover their eyes. 

So bright is the light that your body is 
transparent. Through your skin you can 
see your bones, their sinew-wrapped 
hinges, and in your chest, through your 
blouse, you can see your heart beat, fast 
as a bird's. 

The car begins to rumble... 

"This is it," you think. A low vibration 
creeps through the car's joints. Welds 
crack and bolts are shaken loose, window 
glass turns to sand and spills to the floor. 
You are light. You are the rumble. You 
have been consumed. You do not feel fear. 

No one screams. 

It is quiet. The light softens. The rumbling 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 364 



stops. You stare at your hands and hold 
them in front of your face. No longer 
transparent, they cloud, fill again from the 
edges with substance. The bones once 
more are concealed by flesh. The other 
passengers begin to murmur and then talk 
excitedly. You hear giggles, running feet, 
gasps, hoots of joy, and hands drumming 
on knees. 

You turn and look through a window 
casement through which a soft breeze 
blows and you see... 

The train has come to rest in a vast field of 
purple, flowering wheat. Spokes of light 
fracture the sky and drip honey-colored 
baby suns which burst and release golden 
streamers that race to the horizon. 

Outside — his striped hat barely visible 
above the tall wheat — is the conductor. You 
remember that it was he, many years ago, 
that met you on the platform, punched 
your ticket and helped you onto an empty 
passenger car. 

You rise from your seat. Other passengers 
are filing to the exits, stepping into wheat. 
You follow them. The conductor is there to 
meet you. He looks older, but the smile is 
the same. He holds your elbow. You step 
off the car, into space, peer one last time 
over your shoulder at the conductor. 

He winks at you. You knew he would. 



365 • Tom Fahy 

When the Cat Was Good 

I went for a walk in the country, 

Through the woods and into the cemetery — 

Wove among the headstones. 

A narrow, wooded lane 

Led from the cemetery to the house — 

A long lane that extended without contours 

To a blurry point — and on it I spied the cat, 

Strolling in contemplation like a litde man, tail swinging 

I ducked behind a headstone, watched. 

My heart swelled with pride: he looked acclimated. 
I wanted to feel that, too. 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 366 

August 

A tangle of hardy vines on the deck, 

Wrapped in corkscrew spirals around the railing spindles; 

I tried desperately to unwind them, gendy, affectionately, 

That no real harm would visit them, 

And barring that, prune gendy, selectively. 

And as I worked, I recalled your touch, 

Relaxed, ran my fingers over the waxen leaves, 

Clipped and snipped with renewed industry. 



367 • Tom Fahy 

Totem 

There was a robin 

Who spent weeks in a window, 

Perched on a sill, then on a trellis, 

Swooping into the windows, 

And I was sure it was you, 

A piece of you, trying to get to me. 

And she was bold and unafraid, 

And I was able to stand outdoors with her, 

And she stood her ground, proud and purposeful. 

For weeks, 

She was the only robin in the yard. 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 368 

Soldiers in the Street 

You and I met in a post-war diner. 
There was a matter of great urgency. 
We were the only customers. 

Something was happening in the world — 
some great tumult — and it was weighing 
upon us. 

We were unable to speak freely — eyes and 
ears everywhere. Coffee cups and spoons 
sat untouched. I reached across the table 
for your hand. You were about to grasp my 
fingers, hesitated. 

I had known the diner well, in another 
dream, in another life, when the world was 
different, before the war. Tables packed 
with children, babies in high-chairs, 
teenagers at the counter guzzling 
milkshakes, and a couple on their first 
date, the sun setting on their uneaten 
dinner. 

That was the old world and we were in the 
new, with a dusk curfew, with soldiers in 
the street, with empty swings. 

You said nothing and didn't have to. 
Your halo shown and your skin glowed: 
you were pregnant. 

You began to cry, rose, exited the diner 
and stood on the stone stair, leaned on an 
iron railing. 

Everything was awash in pink, the sky was 
vermilion. A soldier stood on the corner, 
rigid like a lamppost, a rifle in his arms. 



369 • Tom Fahy 

I wanted to draw you close, cup your face 
in my hands, kiss your lips, nose, and 
cheeks, and assure you that everything 
would be alright, but in the new world, 
men and women weren't to touch, to hold 
hands, to stroll together. 

"I'll leave first," you said, and I watched 
you disappear around the corner. 

I listened to your fading footfalls, counted, 
and followed.. .twenty paces behind. 

It was the law. 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 370 

Coalescence 

I would like to build you your own nest out 
of found items — gleaned items — well-worn 
fabrics, swatches of colorful cloth, printed 
pillowcases, a layer of duck down, another 
layer of freshly picked cotton, then 
summer hay and loose satin. 

It would be an oblong bowl-shaped nest 
scaled for two, with high scalloped walls 
and a rounded lip hung with Kelly Green 
bunting: 

A nest, a warm lung, a heated cavity, legs 
in knots, a place without worries. 

You would be held fast and tight, our 
bodies crisscrossed with thin bands of 
thready light filtered through tighdy-woven 
walls and sunken portholes made of botde- 
glass. 

It will be a living nest with its own 
heartbeat, a pulse, nervous system, 
respiration — our bodies in the eye of an 
incandescent wooden whorl. 



371 • Tom Fahy 

Letter from Broadboard 

A simple life — a garden, garden path, 
fireplace, a thick rug on which to lie at 
night, reading; a typewriter under a 
window with litde square panes — a 
mullioned window, draughty — something 
that still permits the outside in, in all 
seasons. 

We sit on our knees, splay out on the floor 
before us the artifacts of an afternoon — 
moss-covered twigs, round stones, 
mushrooms. We will give each a name, or 
they will tell us their names, and they will 
be categorized by vibration, set on a sill, or 
on shelves crowded with more evidence of 
our forest haun tings. 

There are no topics that are denied. Hard 
and soft things are entertained together, 
considered, mulled over, read and said 
aloud. 

The simple life denotes a world in which 
ideas move freely and easily, where we are 
validated: 

The dog is validated, the chipmunk is 
validated, our pressing 
thoughts . . . validated. 

I will honor your arguments, and you will 
honor mine — we will wrestle for 
understanding. 

And there will be an estate called 
Broadboard and a cottage named 
Tolerance, and islands and stepping stones 
between the islands over which we will 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 372 



move at night, carrying lanterns, reciting 
verse, singing aloud; and later, dancing 
barefoot on raw-wood floors, candles 
burning. 

Broadboard should be a right, absent 
conditions. It should not be the place to 
which we move after the war, with broken 
hearts and rattled nerves, but when we are 
fresh, excited and excitable; a place where 
you can type, stack pages weighted with 
river rocks; a place with a village nearby 
with people that carve, whittle, blow glass, 
tinker, and share. 



373 • Tom Fahy 

RUNMARO 

On the archipelago, late summer, the sun 
setting and the sky pink, you picked 
flowers on the lane by the shore and they 
lie beside us. 

Somewhere nearby, children shriek and 
gallop in the washed out evening over tall 
grass, under low limbs. 

"In the morning," you whisper while the 
pink sky turns purple, "a boat ride with 
Ake." J 

Around the bend, a motor cuts out. I 
imagine the boat bumping to rest against a 
warped dock, secured with rope. There it 
will sit, alone, for the night, until morning, 
when birds alight on its bow. 

You point into the water, ten meters out, 
say you and the Larsson brothers had a 
contest — who could touch the bottom first. 
You won, came up holding a fistful of mud. 

Runmaro — a world in which one can win, 
repeatedly, simply, and be rewarded with 
hugs, storytelling, crackling fires. 

"I don't feel claustrophobia here," you say. 
"The houses only look small. Inside, when 
the families come home, they are 
enormous, room for everyone and 

everything!" 

"Let's walk in the dark," you say. We do, 
listening to the crunch of our feet 
on the gravel. 



Orchard Park and Other Works ■ 374 



"Even when it rains on Runmaro, it is nice," 
you explain. You tilt your head upward and 
pretend to catch raindrops on your tongue. 



375 • Tom Fahy 

Transtromer in the Morning 

Klanger Och Spar, 1966 — 
Transtromer was 35. 

That there was such a man... 

That such a man still lives... 

Writing from Vasteras or from his work cottage, 

Worried about the limits of expression 

But constrained by none — 

Not in 1966. 

Not thirty years later. 

Is he alone, 

Or are there children, grand-children, 

Running wild on Runmaro? 

Of course, a man like that, there are children, 

A doting wife, a co-conspirator — 

Able, high-functioning, leading two lives, 

Dutiful in a way that I cannot be. 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 376 
Abkhazia 

I have been kicking around 

An abandoned train station, 

The railroad ties warped and overgrown. 

The station's marble floor 

Has been heaved with gnarled roots 

And ancient pigeons nest in the eaves, 

Cooing night and day. 

I read by pale light 

That slips through the vines 

That choke the skylights, 

And cook at night 

In a crater left by a long-ago bomb. 

And you, with hair whipped by the wind, 

Come stepping, tie after broken tie, 

Down the visible length of track toward the station. 



377 • Tom Fahy 

The Dithering 

On Tuesday evening, on death row, 
A guard whispers into your cell, 

"Tomorrow, early, before dawn, be dressed. You're getting out." 

You sleep easily for the first time in weeks. 
You clutch a smuggled letter in the dark — 
Knowledge that behind the high, colorless walls, 
Beating hearts, one of which cherishes something in you. 

Is it true? 

Tomorrow, 

Will you pass through 

The venous membrane of despair, 

Drop jelly-covered onto an empty beach, 

Find an outcropping on which to perch, 

Let sea-foam stick to your shins? 



I lie awake, 

Imagine you hurtling 

Through the underground 

On a train to nowhere, 

The car bucking on its rigid rails... 

You read aloud from a coverless book, 

Lick the tip of your pointer finger, 

Prepare to turn the page, finish the sentence, 

But so loud is the car that I struggle to hear you — 

Your words, voice... I watch your lips, 

Know how carefully you enunciate. ..each. ..word. 

So loud is the car, so constant — 

Iron kissing and rolling over iron — 

That all errors, quanta, are sifted out of the equation, 

Removed from the sticky machinery in our heads. 

This storm has no eye. 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 378 

And we don't look for it, need it — a center — 

And agree to tumble, hands locked against the ropes, 

The peripheral bands circling the storm. 

We are extruded, 

Soon exceed the speed of sound, leave a vapor-trail, 
Particles of light scoring the firmament, 
Headlong for convergence. 



There is snoring on death row. 

The guard rusdes you awake, places a finger to his lips. 

You slept in your clothes. You don't need to dress. 

"Carry your shoes," he says. "You are free." 



379 • Tom Fahy 

Gargoyles 

I would not go back, were our fingers not 
laced together in this way, if I could not 
feel our shoulders touch and smell your 
hair. 

We can watch from here, just inside the 
door, still standing on hardwood, the 
braided rug at our toes. 

Light approaches, is bent at ninety-degree 
angles at the windows, is refracted back 
into space. 

You want to know what I am doing, sitting 
alone on my bed in the gloom imposed by 
burlap curtains. 

"I'm picking a hole through my scalp," I 
whisper. 

I dug a hole in the top of my head with my 
fingers, can still see the dried blood under 
my nails, feel the warm rivulets run 
through my hair, drip on the collar of my 
shirt, stain. 

Were we to stay here, we would soon 
witness a violent thunderstorm. 
We could part the curtains, watch 
thunderheads rotate in a holding-pattern 
over West Hill. 

We could, but we won't. 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 380 

Respiration 

I visualize a wooden rowboat: 

You sit in the bow. 

I row, 

Only the sound of the oars, 

Dipping, 

pushing, 

dripping. 

We navigate narrow, walled canals 
And pass under low, stone archways, 
Our passage lit by starlight. 
Here and there a shuttered window 
Out of which streams pale light — 
Searchlights with broken mirrors. 

You look at me over your shoulder. 

"I like to row," I say. 

You lean back over the bow, 

Crease the water with your hand — a little rudder — 

And begin to hum. 

"They can't hurt us," I say. 

"No," you agree. 



381 • Tom Fahy 

The Prism Filled with Orphans 

We have boarded a large craft. 

It has broad wings and was built to sail at high-altitude. 
The air is thinner, colder, but we are bundled in furs. 
We are warm. 

We roll like a bead of mercury 

In an unperturbed layer between the stratosphere 

And mesosphere, starlight visible, 

Meteors raining down, vaporizing overhead. 

We can hear them whistle, crackle — interstellar artillery. 

Skimming the tallest cloud-stacks, 

Purple and pink sprites fracture the earth's shell. 

You and I, children now, 

Huddled on the living room floor on Broadway, 

The record player skipping. 

The building has been evacuated. 

You clutch a telegram from Brel: 

One boat left. Stop. Will wait at port in Amsterdam. Stop. 

"We won't make it in time," I worry. 

The room is in the throes of a spasm, 
One wall cracking as the earth rolls 
Like an unfurling sheet of metal. 

"We will," you counter. 



There is one boat left. 

We will row throughout the night, in pitch black — 

Row blindfolded under a starless sky 

Until the hull scrapes to a stop on a stony beach; 

A beach where things accrete, 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 382 

Gather, are raised up overhead; 
Where hearts are offered up, accepted, returned, 
Thumping with new life — inverted sacrifices; 
No longer a world in which our affections 
Are decanted, soaked up, lost; 

A world that is a prism 

That does not consume, dissolve, digest and excrete, 

But collects, refracts, multiplies and returns. 



383 • Tom Fahy 

The Ballad of Jennifer Jones 
...in Two Acts 

I. Local Skeletons 

I was once in love; 

he is not dead. 
I love him still; 

he does not know. 
He thinks I have married — 

changed my name. 
It isn't true. 

My grandmother, 

When she was in possession of her faculties, 

When she was spry, when she was sharp, met him. 

I brought him home — his dear, white face. 

And she cringed, said there was something wrong 

With me, with him, with his skin. 

And there was — something wrong: I loved him. 

He was easy to love, but often remote, 

Inaccessible, far away, detached. 

So I loved him harder, but knew our timing was bad. 

He would watch my sister rot and die; 

He would watch my grandmother grow old, 

Senile and unbearable. 

He would disappear inside of himself; 

Traipse down the railroad tracks and into the country. 

He would hole up in his apartment, 

Write furiously, lose weight, eat stale bread. 

I would cook for him, try to fatten him up, 

Hold him as sirens split the night into uniform pieces. 

He seemed not to notice, as his ears had grown worse. 

He feigned sanity. I did, too. 
We lay in bed, pads in our laps, 
Sketching, signing our names: 

"You have hard left descenders," he said. 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 384 



I loved him in those rooms. 

I loved him when his back was bent over the desk, 

Fingers clacking on the keyboard, 

The monitor painting his face blue. 

When there was a sense of fixity, 

However brief, when he was here to stay, 

"For a spell," as grandmother used to say. . . 

When he was sane, when he held my face in his hands, 

Felt my cheekbones with his thumbs, 

We would browse the bookstores and record shops, 

Kick stones, play catch in the empty lots, 

Make love in the tall grass by the river. 

When we were good, 

When forever entered into his mind — 

Stuck like a feather on a thorn — 

We would drive to the Eastern Shore in my brother's Jeep, 

The top off, his hand on my knee. . . 

He looked confident, brazen and ready to be strummed. 

I would strum him. 

We would lie on the beach, sinking in sand, 

And I would coax song from him. 

His smile would reveal his intentions. 

He would stay, love me, start a family, 

And build an empire. 

"He has fish to fry," my sister said. 

He would leave, roam, 

A hot longing growing in his heart — 

A longing tempered by pride. 

He would lose me and I him. 

There would come a time 

When he'd try to find me, when he'd want me back, 

When the restlessness in his heart had subsided, 

But I would stay hidden, 

Buried under a heap of local skeletons, 



385 • Tom Fahy 

Maybe sick like my sister, in spite of love — to spite love. 

II. Frailty 

This is how it begins — 

The emptiness, the poor spelling, the despondence, 

The feeling frail, sluggish, with enlarged organs; 

The inability to make phone calls or take phone calls, 

The turning over of books in tired hands; 

The kneeling on bruised knees 

On hard wood in supplication 

Before the dirty window with a mildewed shade. 

I should drink more water and less coffee. 

I should be inside by 2:00 a.m., 

Pretending to sleep under sweat-soaked sheets, 

Balling my fists, feeling my fingernails loosen, bleed. 

The wallpaper is peeling. 

My grandmother snores behind the thin wall. 

She will die soon. I hope she dies soon. 

She is a miserable old bag — toothless and reeking. 

I whisper to her through the wall, hope she hears, 

Goes mad, her old bones trembling, her marrow freezing 

I am exhausted, thin — 

Thinner than my sick sister. 

We spent the evening at the diner, 

Picking at pie with badly bent spoons. 

She said, "Eventually we will have a last piece of 
pie together. But we might not guess it's the last 
piece of pie, not until afterward, and then that 
might ruin pie for you, or at least Banana Creme 
pie. We should eat only pie that we do not like." 

She is dying — dying from dying, 

artfully. 
Her friends — my friends — have died. 
They do not get obituaries. 
They die silent deaths, have quiet funerals, 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 386 

No guests, no services, no headstones. 

The dead are mummified, 

Wrapped in their bed-sheets, stuck in trunks, 

Or left in bed — usually left in bed. 

I know houses in which skeletons have lain untouched 

For years in cackling repose. 

I will bury my sister and I will deliver a eulogy. 

It will be enough. 

It has to be. 



387 • Tom Fahy 

Jennifer Jones: 

"No Grand Coda, this..." 

...book — 

About the world he left behind, 

Dead friends, his secret lives, his pain, 

The men that would have his soul if permitted; 

A soul they started to nibble on; 

He was their appetizer. 

He wrote of them, sometimes affectionately. 

He did not denigrate his demons. 

He forgave them their sins. 

I read by the light of street lamps, 
And at the diner, my sister beside me, 
Her head resting against the cold window. 
She smoked and hummed to herself. 
This was his diner, where he held court, 
Plotted, rested, screamed. 

I read... 

It was cold — 

Something from the root cellar with a bad seal. 

He wanted to draw me out of the shadows. 

I stay buried. 

He has not found me yet. 

He hasn't come in the night, 

Calling from the street, 

Standing on the grim curb, 

Pelting the window with small stones. 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 388 

One Night Stand 

Autumn: 

It arrives quickly, takes things, doesn't apologize, 
Leaves heartache — rekindled love, then lost again. 
You sleep and it undergoes changes, doesn't rest, 
Is already putting on tomorrow's dress, 
Trying out a new hairstyle. 

When you wake, her bags are by the door, 

But she is still hungry, wants you to make breakfast, 

A farewell feast. 

You'll pretend to have an appetite, 

A weak smile on your face as she moans into her eggs. 

Even so, sitting here, eating an omelet, 

The trees on fire, I can forgive her everything. 

She can take it all. 



389 • Tom Fahy 

Azazel, "The Sender Away" 

If the author entered into a pact in Iowa, 
her work sealed with a secret kiss; if she 
has agreed to be polite, spare, efficient and 
understated; if she pretends to be angry, 
she will go to press. 



I heard whispers: 

"We protect our own." 

They meant: 

"We pass a corpse back andforti 
a travelling corpse" 



Every last thought, desiccated, and the overriding 
question: 

"How do we animate this thing?' 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 390 

I Killed the Founder of Clay 

It is late. 

I feel a change, subtle — 

A shedding, not unlike previous moltings: 

Skin drying, curling, peeling, flaking, 

Popping off in corkscrew shapes like old rinds. 

Is it an unmasking, 

Or a revealing — curtains drawn apart, 

A cast standing in the dark, 

Not speaking, faces in shadow? 

It is a haunting, 

Rooms crowded with the dead, 

Bunched together, not good playmates, 

Would-be actors, answering an ad for a casting-call. 

We do not sleep, 

But the machine sleeps. 

Its cells sleep. 

The grand exhibit sleeps! 

Rock, artifacts, still arrows, dry quills, brittle canvases... 

We understand nothing, make nothing new. 

We carry knives — 

Slim, ivory-handled blades; 

We creep through the angular night, 

Stabbing at shadows, forcing Fate's hand, 

Hoping she'll answer our violence with a little of her own. 

The September boughs bend, 

Don't break, are yielding, forgiving, flexible. 

This is a month, season, mistress, 

Through the sturdy limbs of which we can climb, 

Find high branches with commanding views; 

She has been slipped under our flesh like a nagging sliver, 

Has become embedded and accepted, not rejected. 

She has worked her way through our fascia, 

Bored through muscle, settled in our bones, 



391 • Tom Fahy 

Made carvings there... 

The spirit lives. 
Her body is dead. 

You understand, 
when I say, 
in a dream, 
last night, 
I murdered Jose Garcia Villa, 
carved a comma, 
on his chest. 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 392 

The Gleaner 

Ginsberg stalked the Lower East Side at night, 
Let commas sift through holes in his pockets, 
Fall at his feet, abandoned. 

Jose Garcia Villa picked them up, 
Said they shouldn't go to waste. 

He was a gleaner. 



393 • Tom Fahy 

Brighter, Sweeter 

Morning again — a recurring dream: I was shot in 
the back, this time while exiting Victory Markets, 
a grocery on North Broad. 

I had been shaking hands, lots of hands, re- 
familiarizing myself with the layout of the store — 
the meat-cutters, floor-walkers, cashiers. 
They reached out and touched me as I roamed 
from one aisle to the next, the lights bright, 
extinguishing all shadows...; they reached out, 
took my hand, clapped my back, "What was your 
name?" 

I told them. 

"We've met, haven't we? I'm sure we've met 
before." 

Yes, before. 

I took a last lap around the store, squeezed plums, 
patted hard orange peels, the air yeasty as I 
passed the bakery. At the front of the store, near 
the windows, it was cold and I was glad that I had 
worn a winter jacket. It had a fur collar, turned 
up. The jacket felt borrowed or had been a gift. 
I'm not sure which. It was warm and it fit well. 

All dressed alike, a group of young men, twitchy, 
huddled by the sliding door, watched customers 
come and go, scanning each head-to-toe. Their 
hands were buried in their pockets. One, short 
and bald, stepped in my path, said, "Look where 
you're going!" 

Sorry, I said, kept moving — through the sliding 
door, into the parking lot, the sunlight harsh, 
walking quickly, almost to Mitchell Street. I heard 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 394 

running feet. Someone shouted, "Hey!" I looked 
over my shoulder, watched the short bald kid pull 
a dented nickel revolver from his pocket, fire. 

I knew the bullet had passed through the jacket, 
become a part of me. I knew the jacket had been 
changed somehow, was different. Was I different? 

I was on my knees, then on all fours, the sunlight 
brighter, sweeter. I knew it would feel good to lie 
down. I was also thankful that there was no pain. 
I knew it would end this way, but I thought there 
would be pain, more blood and regret. I lay with 
my cheek pressed against the cold asphalt, my 
right eye blurry but my left still working well. 

A minute more, I thought,ykf/ one more minute. 

Although not breathing, I wasn't distressed. The 
view was good. Mitchell Street looked good. Cars 
rolled in and out of a service station, their chrome 
parts sparkling. A Firestone sign lay on its side, 
attacked by weeds, snug in a bank of last year's 
leaves. I felt gratitude, wondered if there was time 
to thank someone. ..for this. 

My left eye grew blurry. 



395 • Tom Fahy 

It Went Up In Flames 

The dog house went up in flames, the one the 
neighbor's kid lit, the kid with the harelip, with 
parents that wanted it fixed, but there was no 
money, wouldn't be they said, not until grandpa 
died, then there would be money, maybe a lot. 

There was no dog, not anymore, so the doghouse 
didn't matter; it would go back to the earth faster. 
I sat in my bedroom window, watched the half- 
naked boy run around the tower of fire like an 
Indian. I was his friend and I would forgive him. 
He knew it. 

That other relationships were not, could not be, 
so easy, was distressing. I said so once to the kid 
while he scraped away flaking paint on the 
garage door, said it aloud, figured it would go 
over his head, like the harelip implied feebleness. 

"I agree," he said, still scraping. "I won't have 
time to paint this thing, not before school starts, 
but on weekends, when I'm not playing." I gave 
him an advance that day, said not to spend it all 
in one place, or on women and cigarettes. 

Several weeks prior, the kid's summer break 
about to begin, I offered his parents help with 
expenses, should they decide to go ahead with the 
operation, but no operation had been scheduled 
or consultations. The grandfather would die soon 
enough, it wasn't cancer, grave, but soon, so no 
worries. He was a strong kid and could handle it 
and would I like another cup of coffee? 

There was a girl across the street, I explained, and 
the kid liked her, could see her from his bedroom 
window, playing in the yard, drawing with chalk 
in the driveway. Could they hear me? They 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 396 

couldn't hear me. 

Yes, yes, we know her, her folks, were here when 
they moved in, when she was born, everything. 

He really likes her, I said. He did, came into the 
garage in tears, sat on my lap, put his hand over 
mine, as I swung at nails with a hammer. He 
didn't need to say a word. 

I wasn't a husband anymore. I missed that, 
learned I had been made for it, with her at least, 
her small extended family, my smaller one, 
animals — cats, a dog. We had a good run and I 
was able to feel human, cook, chop wood, build 
fires in the hearth, eat her food. I told her it was 
simple, that I could love or write, probably not 
both. Which do you want? I told her I wanted to 
love her, would do something else as long as we 
were healthy, make a home. Okay, she said. 

Man and his tools, I commented to the kid. Don't 
confuse the two. Because he had already known 
and developed a firm understanding of pain, I 
thought it unlikely that he would confuse the two, 
now, later, ever — that we weren't what we did, our 
actions. Not at the end of the day, job done. No — 
just man, woman, child, brother, sister, mother, 
husband and flesh that wanted to be reminded of 
itself. I am near, will always be, as long as I am 
able, you understand. The right ones understood. 
She understood and the kid understood. 
Tools, I said, hefting the hammer, don't need us, 
or want us. The kid sat in the middle of the 
concrete floor wearing a rubber glove. He reached 
into a drain, felt around for missing bolts, 
washers. "Whatever I find is mine, right?" 

Right, I said. 



397 • Tom Fahy 

See You In Sheol 

Worlds do die, necessarily, 

by agency of their parasites 

who with lances for reverence swing, 

pad larders, pack troves, defend unwinsome broods, 

toothy hordes, bowlegged ciphers; 

while down on them bear the White Reasoning Devils, 

with razor-sharp jawbones, prepared with Will 

to crimp iron in their fists, 

to rob of light and to pot the niggardly 

behind high walls, on soft knees 

under chintz in ivory cells . . . 

. . . from the sea where were stacked the vanquished 

at ebb tide, behind bouncing cannons, 

wreathed in smoke, boots dusted with lime, 

to render dreaming man, to tear him from his twilight, 

by his rotting roots, to feast on his moral heart, 

to lash him with leathery fact, 

to bind him to dry boards under sunshine, 

to beat the damned with the long sharp edge of his own toys; 

to turn on the unscrupulous the spoils of his misadventures — 

to bash the impellers with their own secret object: 

stuff with the black gauze of their sanction of fraud 

their mealy spouts of superstition. 

The myth-makers are quieted, 

their tongues plucked with the glowing tongs 

of their own First Principles. 

From peak and plain storm the thieves of tomorrow, 

riding with giant fasces; 

soon, a brigand in every soft-lit window — 

the new praetorian neck-choppers, 

crushing pates with knotted bludgeons, 

leaving hanging with catgut from the bedsteads 

of the Bauble of Israel, doves with broken necks. 

Every cheek of every last Mediterranean lamb 

branded with a tiger crest. 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 398 

Betwixt a violent totem, 

saber-bared legions on black horses 

from the ends of the fractured realm paved with governors; 

lands laid waste by Cleansing Grants, 

only savages spared the sword 

to dine on the fringe like carrion; 

to accelerate the aggregation of revering man. . . 

The migrations out of the Republics 

into the Territories cauterized by repelling hordes 

advancing before a Maginot of Fire — 

borderlands demarcated by smoldering charnel. 

In the great and future territories 

is bred in children a want of blood, 

a taste for the vile and for the arbiter; 

an appetite for the soft, conciliating, tuft-bellied animals, 

intemperate and rotten-of-bone — 

the patrons of degeneration: 

the humanitarian must be devoured — 

lips, intestines and hides. 

Marked is the postulator, the shepherd, 

the shearer, the dealer, 

the tanner, and the butcher; 

at whose blood in wooden saucers 

tomorrow's children will lap; 

and no mercy, no courtesy, will be shown them — 

no rude minds are spared the cleaver, 

no vulgar herds abandoned to the wastes, 

no infirm blight left to fester; 

for the bellowing mob, no delimiter 

to the will of man without superstition. 

Over the feeble breakwater of the Decalogue, 

a torrent of rage washes, down-tumbled, 

and with it, ethical infernalisms, 

exterminated by plague of sea, 

hoodwinker's lungs filled with brine; 

with them, down into smoking vents, go their rafts of holly, 

their mongrel creed, their spells — 



399 • Tom Fahy 

statesman weeds in an ineluctable vortex, 
Sheol-bound. 

No armistice. 

There is no tenured Lamb. 

The brute sleeps; he is not gone from the Earth. 

He will wake yet to salt those 

that would wring dividends from man-slaves, 

then, too, into mince grind the man-slaves, the helots, 

the flocking breeds weak-kneed for pittances. 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 400 

The Marrowbone Stage 

I hoarded words like blocks, 
stacked them atop one another, 
and assigned to them meanings 
that were lost to all but me. 

I achieved with the sounds in my head 

a semblance of order where there had been none, 

when I became a function 

in a blood torrent of intermingling senses 

that spiraled up and up a tightly woven wick, 

into and out of the thin membrane separating T and 'Is.' 

I could count on words 

when I could count on nothing else, 

words sounded out while on my back, 

surrounded by tall ferns, 

clouds tumbling end-over-end overhead. 

And numbers, too, recited ritualistically — 

an act too desperate to be a game — 

the brain renegotiating itself, 

actively separating from the world 

with which it was not yet two: 

an intentional series of acts . . . 

to become a solid 'I.' 

To become, to be, to be present, 

was an act of will. 

I observed my peers as though from behind Plexiglas, 

could hear but not reach out and touch 

the hems and sleeves, socked feet and exposed elbows. 

They did not know 

how loud in my head was the racket 

of the word and numbers games . . . 

I was too slow. 

I was not becoming fast enough; 

I would not assume my place in the world. 

Integration could not be achieved 

unless with a precise recitation of words 



401 • Tom Fahy 

in combination with numbers 
I was able to pick a cosmic lock, 
sneak into life as by a back door. 

I knew that this wasn't a sanctioned lifetime. 

Not for me. 

But though I was officially barred from participation, 

I might still break in, 

fashion a forbidden skeleton key 

from rodent bones, 

carve through trial and error the notches 

with which the puzzle could be solved. 

And because I was prepared 

to whitde the key, 

I knew there was a lock, 

and by picking its pins 

and rolling the tumbler about its shear line, 

I would be permitted access. 

I would spring the latches by force-of-will 

and discharge into being. 

I was not marshaled, picked up, 

straightened out, wound up, set in motion. 

My inception was outside of earthy rules, 

unframed, without order; 

I was a creature of sense, of touch, 

one of the lesser god's meek charges 

that would overcome his constraints, 

hold his breath and kick through airless cavities 

to the entrance-way of the puzzle, 

to pick Earth's tumbler lock; 

to rake the pins or die trying; 

to be alive among the Goldenrod, 

no mere watcher, with browning hands on the stems, 

no longer decumbent in worn red corduroys, 

under black palms, but ascending, 

anchored by masses of serrate leaf faces, 

I and they alike governed by absolute pressure. 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 402 

Yes, it is a story of ascendance, 

out of confusion, disarray, a hard scrabble, 

to probe for with fingers in a smooth black room, 

purchase— edges into which to slide my hands . . . 

and pull; pull back the contoured walls, 

to slide out into cold pockets between concrete and rebar, 

to be a grappling spider before I could be a boy, 

to ascend to a high safe place 

from which to observe, 

before descending into a world of mashing boots — 

to be that which waits, barely breathing, 

lest I ne'er be whole. 

Words once had rugged appeal to me, and numbers too, 

when I was unattached, unformed, not 'I.' 

I am able now to reach out and touch 

your bare feet, lips, hips, and strawberry vault; 

I am able to be an T inside of you, 

not make a sound, nor count, 

nor flap oversize wings seeking thin thermals 

on which to rise out of cold, sunless divides. 

You were numbers, a three-pointed star, 

and the blocks I held to my nose, cheeks, and forehead. 

You were blood and iron and skin 

that crackled and hissed, sizzled and spit, 

with racing blue traceries of photons. . . 

And there was nothing that I made 

that was not a whittled notch 

in the key with which I would un-puzzle 

the tumbler standing between my world and yours. 



403 • Tom Fahy 

The North Wind 

Craftsbury, no-man's land, 

on a plateau above birch forests, an empty commons, 

men carrying axes, women with children in rotting papooses. 

A hard, fast drive east to 91, 91 to 55, 55 to 10, 

1 over the St. Lawrence into old, old, OLD Montreal . . . 



She had descended into a fugue state 

before passing through the fog-towns — 

Niagara on the Lake, St. Catherines — high-beams on at noon, 

the lake a debris-field of broken picture glass through the trees. 

She knew what she wanted — 

knew it when picking over trinkets, 

ornaments in a gift shop 

while the bells of Notre-Dame Basilica rang, rang, rang, 

she turning over a bauble with a silver hook in her hands — 

something for her great and future Christmas tree. 

Not our Christmas tree. 

A tree. Some tree. Their tree. 

Something with a hook for something with a loop . . . 

Did you know about these trips to Canada? 

To Kingston? 

She— mute, prostrate on a bench by the lake, aching. . . 

The Tragically Hip were in town, had been, would be again, 

playing the Royal Military College — 

a fading poster, one corner curling in the wind. 

She was prostrate; 

she didn't want to wander anymore, 

or be with something that wandered, wasn't burred, 

wouldn't send down steely roots, or couldn't quite yet. 

She wasn't explicit, and she didn't need to be. 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 404 



Oh, Canada! 

Not eager to pass back over the border, 

over the line of scrimmage. 

I hear a wrist snap, armor colliding; 

the next play begins. 

First, though, buy a few botdes of ice wine, 

drink one, think about doubling back on the 401. 

She would need to get back over the border, 

back to the hospital, back to the unit, 

put her makeup on, go to the children's wing: 

the good clinician. 

I wanted to go further North, home — 
north on the 400, but didn't say so. 

She was quiet. 

There was less to say. 

Something in the engine was ticking. 

Under her feet — unfolded maps, broken jewel cases, 

a Styrofoam cup ('Styrofoam' with a capital 'S'). 

A cramped bed in a triangular room 

on Rue Saint-Denis, Saint-Laurent? One of the two. 

Over dinner, the sound of Velcro tearing . . . 



A ride in a carriage under blankets 
down Rue de la Commune, 
black barges in black water, 
shuttered concession stands. 

Rolling over cobblestones, her life beginning, 

my Earthly life beginning to end; 

I could barely hear her through the music, 

the trilling, destiny's horns blowing hard, harder. 

Once more, the sound of Velcro . . . 



405 • Tom Fahy 

"Velour et Crochet," called the driver over his shoulder, 
then whipped his horse. 



Orchard Park and Other Works • 406 



Aleatoric Rise: or, Dada Sucks 

Tzara exhumed, 

his body chopped . . . 

into 

p | i | e | c | e | s 

the 

p | i | e | c | e | s 

in a bag shaken, 

shaken, 

shaken out, 

incus, malleus and stapes, 
aloft in a high wind — 

The dissimulator disassembled . . . 
Not by chance. 



Appendix • A 

Transcendental Fascism: Tenets and Principles of Conduct 
Under the State 

Value/s and Ethics, Part I. - Eleven Points 

Many tenets follow from acknowledgment of one simple truth: The 
utility of paper money/currency is overstated. Hence: 

1. The gift will be a cornerstone of the Transcendental Fascist 
economy. 

2. Value is subjective, and thus no two transactions are alike or 
of equal, determinant value. 

3. No rewards or arbitrary value for equal work: If a soul is a 
natural producer, he will accrue to himself goods in 
proportion to the gifts or labor-as-gif t he dispenses. 

4. Value is not a function of time. Value is only discoverable in 
the novel exchange between two or more parties. Value, then, 
cannot be standardized; it cannot be predetermined. 

5. Only when represented by paper does degenerate art appear to 
possess value. Value in these instances is manufactured at 
auction. The value of good work/s and art is intrinsic, it is 
universally discoverable, and it is universally valued by a 
culture. Good work/s resist denomination. Good work/s can't 
help but instruct technically and spiritually-it is without 
price, as it gives in perpetuity. 

6. Shelter is not a privilege and will not convey status. 

7. Like shelter, food is not a privilege. No man/household will 
accrue to himself/itself more rations than are his/its natural 
allotment. If one participates in its production, it is one's 
natural right to share or exchange for gifts whatever quantity 
of his foodstuffs one sees fit. 

8. Under no circumstances will food or shelter or the effects 
thereof be taxed. The gift is exempt from taxation. 

9. In instances when value is debased by representation with 
currency, which is inherently valueless, the offender is taxed 
through servitude to the community. The length of his service 
is determined by the community and is customarily proportional 
to the extent to which the gif t-as-medium-of-exchange was 
displaced. A second debasement offense is a capital offense. 



Appendix • A 

10. Capital offenses are prosecuted by the State. If found guilty, 
the offender will be executed. 

11. Ihe State will intervene as a matter of course on the behalf 
of animals. Cruelty to animals is a capital offense and the 
offender will be executed. 

Populist Sociology of Language 

To be populist does not necessitate that one appeal to the Totalist 
Regime's constituency with the adoption of a decayed vernacular; the 
regime's constituency must, by example, be encouraged to rise broadly 
and substantially. Hence, attention to parts of speech and spelling by 
that regime's spokespeople and propagandists is essential; each serves 
to legitimate the system's core values by invoking standards of 
intellectual comportment espoused by statesman and subject alike. This 
is the way that stultification in a formerly valueless, economized 
people is overcome, keeping always in mind: 

Totalist core values are undermined by an active abridgement of 
language, as dissent is fomented through the practical exploitation of 
a population's learned proclivity to finance thought with base, 
provincial word combinations, shorthand and slang. In order to thrive, 
the Totalist Regime must eradicate what is base in a carryover 
culture's speech and to disabuse its constituency by the positive 
reformation of propaganda. Fundaments are best conveyed when an 
exactness of word-meanings is pursued doggedly — by the State, by the 
household and in the classroom. To the Totalist, and by extension, to 
the Transcendental Fascist, what relativizes in speech is spurious. 



Appendix • B 

How David Duff and his Handlers did White Supremacism a Favor 

White Supremacism/Nationalism is a marginal movement, residing on 
the fringes. In so far as this is true, it possess interstitial 
characteristics imposed upon it by its low, unstructured, non- 
institutional status, exhibited primarily in its visible members: 
paranoia, marginality, ostracization , and alienation from one's peers 
and family. Members do not enjoy the social stature and reinforcement 
enjoyed in other culturally sanctioned groups, like Rotary 
International or the Lion's Club. Where culturally sanctioned 
organizations are hierarchical and typified by orderliness, White 
Supremacist organizations are disorderly, anti-structural and 
horizontal — leadership is unstable and transient; internal strife is 
common; distrust among members is rampant. And these are all 
characteristics of liminal subcultures. However, these selfsame 
characteristics impart advantages to a subculture, as isolation is 
imposed upon the groups of which it is comprised; they are forced to 
work from the margins, the shadows — clandestinely — and as long as 
isolation is imposed, a previously unattainable level of secrecy may 
be achieved. 

David Duff's recent xxxxxx escapade was advantageous to White 
Supremacism generally and North American White Supremacism 
specifically; it has been driven further underground, out of the light 
and has inspired internal mole-hunts and purges that will ensure a 
level of solidarity hitherto unanticipated throughout the horizontal 
structure. For the public, the fate of White Supremacism becomes 
increasingly ambiguous and two-dimensional, which is beneficial: 
public-interest in the aggregate wanes and an untoward picture of 
'Supremacists' emerges — a conjured image that although inaccurate, 
additionally serves to conceal the face of the actual movement. 

This was the strategy espoused by James A. Trainer shortly before 
his death, when it was all but certain that the fate of White 
Supremacist organizations lay in their becoming uncoupled from suspect 
leadership. The new mandate was a horizontal, leaderless structure, 
and for the sake of privacy, a new face would need to be projected for 
public consumption: the Skinhead. It was an exemplary diversionary 
tactic which enlisted the special talents of a select number of social 
engineers who worked assiduously to break down the unsettled cells of 
resistance that dotted the country, from West Virginia to Idaho. 
Trainer knew, though the strategy was not widely shared, that a 



Appendix ■ B 

movement of this nature could only operate in concealment — the war 
for White peoples became a guerilla-style war, and its captains became 
chameleonic. 

Trainer's purchase of xxxx Records was not, in actuality, an effort 
to appeal to a new, youthful audience — would-be foot-soldiers. It 
was the most efficient means by which to put to death a failed 
strategy; to dismantle an organization that was, by its nature, anti- 
structural, asymmetric and interstitial, xxxx Records was a tongue-in- 
cheek coup de grace for the Fascismo Movement (though it would persist 
in spirit), and for overt Baldrism. But once a front was in place, 
White Supremacism was able, once and for all, to go underground, where 
it could thrive, while 'above ground,' Neo-Nazis did — unwittingly — 
the bidding of the social engineer, upholding for the public the face 
that it believed represented the movement. 

Ambiguity benefits some groups and it certainly benefits White 
Supremacism. For the last decade, obscurity has been carefully 
cultivated that the movement may proceed unmolested; White Supremacism 
has worked hard to project an aura of inconsequence, violence, 
racketeering, unscrupulousness in business, and anti-intellectualism. 
To work optimally, the movement had to be regularly and ritually 
discredited. The ADL and SPLC work, like Black Metal, tirelessly and 
unwittingly in this capacity; they are the Movement's best 
spokespeople. White Supremacism, in order to grow stronger, embraced 
the fringe; it let its weaker elements succumb to anti-structure and 
cliche. All publicity for the tattooed fronts was good publicity. 

Denunciation and exposure have been the calculated aim of 21st 
century White Supremacism and denunciation and exposure have been the 
outcome. Do you see, then, why the acts of lone nuts, handled or not 
handled, always work in the favor of White Supremacism? 

White Supremacism is necessarily an anti-structural movement. The 
attempt to institutionalize the movement in the 80s and 90s was its 
potential undoing. Failures on the behalf of leadership were corrected 
for and the tools once used against White Solidarity Movements were 
co-opted, studied, mastered, and reused against their enemies ... 
successfully. White Supremacism came of age and embraced its own 
marginal nature. It found funding from unlikely sources. Its members 
no longer shake hands in the streets. It came to the realization that 
only if consigned to the realm of gullibility and fraud, could it once 
more amass the type of concealed power that was its due. Its 'hoaxes' 51 



51 Refer to Appendix C 



Appendix • B 



guarantee that the organization is protected from institutional 
examination . 



Appendix • C 

The Politics of the Hoax 

UFOs attend marginal events, or appear during episodes of upheaval, 
chaos and dis jointedness , when inhibition is low in a population, when 
disorderliness rules the day, when rational resistance is belated. 
Then, an unveiling occurs, when a collective's experience is most 
interstitial. It adopts the UFO or is made to adopt the UFO as the 
flag which represents an occurrence for which words are inadequate — 
an event that undermines everyday expectations, when beliefs are 
uprooted. The image of the UFO may not originate in the group, the 
witness, but may be a projection from without, a concealment strategy 
by that force caught, so to speak, in an unguarded moment, or as a 
cloak that was presented intentionally in an effort to reinforce 
preconceived notions about something that is otherworldly. Though 
perceived as a disc or cigar-shaped dirigible or what Charles Fort 
referred to as ' superconstructions, ' a UFO, in fact, may be none of 
those things. That is merely the impression that is left with the 
observer, the witness, the group. 

Or the world truly is not as it appears, and some intervention takes 
place on a fairly regular basis — an intervention from without — and 
evidence of the illusion is presented, the projection mechanism 
revealed, but men know not what they see. They leap into the arms of a 
tried and true trope: the UFO. The notion of nuts-and-bolts spacecraft 
is then reinforced and the raw revelatory experience occluded totally. 

Or the world is exactly as it appears, and one is party to a 
pernicious hoax, perpetrated by one's peers. 



The effective hoax must be timely and must strike hard and fast; it 
must achieve an upper hand when the socio-cultural girdings by which a 
collective is bound are loosened, as by revolution, war, rapid 
technological change, or disease. It is chaos of which the hoax and 
the hoaxer must take advantage and its aims are almost always 
propagandistic. The hoax must at once appear substantial and 
supernatural, such that it will readily assume legendary status, 
conveyed orally, and most importantly, imperfectly. The hoax must 
quickly find endorsement. The endorsee must be considered reliable 
from a historical perspective and she must contribute to the hoax a 



Appendix • C 



handful of facts that nay be verified when the hoax comes under 
scrutiny, as the hoaxes which are designed to endure inevitably do. 

Hoaxes are a special type of deception. They are not required to 
possess a kernel of truth. In fact, unlike disinformation, the hoax is 
not typically designed to conceal so much as it is to distort or 
augment a preexisting worldview. Hence, its own premise may be a 
complete fabrication and it will continue to function as promised 
because it has been wrapped in, very often, an uncountable number of 
layers of facts, all of which are verifiable but unrelated to the 
event in question. The study of the facts alone ensures that the hoax 
remains a function of a culture for an extended period of time. 

That being said, the hoax itself becomes less important over time, 
certainly less important than the facts in attendance. What remains of 
significance is the subtle change induced in a population by the hoax, 
though the change may not be an explicit one. Interestingly, it is the 
point at which an obsession with the facts diverges from the hoax from 
which they originated that the hoax is finally, effectively, 
mythologized. Once mythologized, it is safe to assume that opinion 
associated with some fundamental aspect of human affairs has been and 
will continue to be ... managed. 

There is a word for this type of opinion management: queuing. The 
aim of queuing is predictability. In a systematically queued 
population, the outcome of the sum of most human action is known, even 
when adjusted for extreme outlying events. And the hoax is that method 
whereby which a host population's native and dynamic regard of the 
world is subverted and supplanted with trained expectation 



John Sprague, WITNESS 
An Afterword to the Fourth Edition of Orchard Park 

If there is one thing I have learned, it is how little truth matters, 
and how little we care about whether or not we get it, or if we get 
justice at all. I typically setde for less than justice. I setde. I setde for 
bi-weekly payoffs from an NGO that ostensibly labors to rescue an 
untold number of young women from sexual slavery the world 
over. To its credit, the organization has hundreds of open cases on 
which as many employees work day and night, but to litde effect. 
Upwards of 750,000 people (mosdy women, and of whom, more 
than half are White) are trafficked across international borders. 
Almost all of them will serve as some sort of sex slave to the urban 
moneyed. For every slave freed, two more are dumped on the open 
market. It doesn't matter how good an NGO's website looks; 
despite what they say, they are treading water, swimming upstream, 
and in this context, even failure is profitable. 

I hate it. Ten or twelve plus years ago, I was different. Better. 
Nicer. I swore on my life that I would not become an asshole. Tom 
Fahy was one of my witnesses. We sat in a Dupont Circle bar and I 



II. • Afterword 

said, "Shoot me if I become an asshole." Tom said, "Stay in this 
town and you don't have a chance." I didn't have a chance. "What 
are you going to do?" I asked him. He said, "I'm going to tell the 
truth." 

He did. I didn't. I still don't. But now I have a reason to start. 
Two years after he first publishes it, I receive in the mail a copy of 
Tom's Orchard Park. I read the book, grow nervous, put it away, and 
try to forget about it. I can't forget about it. A handful of months 
pass and I give Tom a call, or try to. I can't get through, not to the 
old numbers. I send a letter and get no response. Another month 
passes and I get a call. It is Tom. "You did it, " I say. "I think so," 
he replies. "But nobody knows what the hell it's about, do they?" 
He didn't respond. A painful minute later: "I'm in town," he says. 
"Let's get together." We do. 

We meet that evening at Billy Martin's because that's what we 
used to do. Tom looks the same, almost identical, but a little tired. I 
know I don't look the same, but he doesn't mention it. I'm fat and I 
hate it. I talk about my family. Tom squints and talks about a book 
he is reading. We drink. Then we really talk. 

"Thank you for not using my real name in the book," I say. He 
smiles, leans back in his chair and cackles loudly, almost maniacally. 
"I should have used your real name," he says. 

"Have they caught up with you?" I ask him, by which I mean the 
usual dogs that intelligence typically sick on people that go off- 
reservation. He says yes, goes into some detail. . . 

"The IRS, of course, but their ruse was pitiable." Tom actually 
talks this way. I am used to it. It is hard to get used to it. "I didn't 
make any money last year, and not much the year before. 
Nevertheless, they wanted me to pay almost thirty grand on an 
imaginary half-million in profits." More maniacal laughter. "And I 
no longer have any working phones. Ring, click, click, silence, new 
tone, click, new tone, ring. . ." 

Funny. Sort of. Although I knew it wasn't really funny. I'm not 
sure the 21st century had been good to Tom. At any rate, it was 
surely worse than the late nineties had been. "You couldn't find an 
agent," I say. Tom's laughter was beginning to make me nervous. 
He pulled his hair away from his ears, took out his hearing aids and 
laid them on the bar. "Don't let me forget these," he says. "Too 
much feedback from the crowd. I can hear you." 



Afterword • III. 

"You can see me," I say. Tom was one of the best lip-readers in 
the business. One whole summer he spent sitting behind a two-way 
mirror, no microphone, watching subjects, taking notes. And that's 
all I'll say. Sometimes the job picks you and sometimes you pick the 
job. Back in the day, the job picked Tom, then he quit and chose 
life. There is no redemption in the job. Don't I know it. I'm a 
company man and I hate it. In the book, a little more than a third of 
the way through, Tom's alter-ego Russell dashes off a letter to 
George Irwin in which he discusses two things: Quality & Anger. 
This was a deeply affecting piece of the puzzle for me. He says 
"...craft is a sorry excuse for the absence of quality... Quality 
assumes the role that craft cannot fulfill. ...Quality denotes honest 
effort — effort in the absence of artifice..." I paraphrase. 
Disconcerting stuff, however. "'They cannot peacefully coexist,'" I 
say to Tom, who is rubbing his eyes. "What can't?" he says. 

"From your book," I say "Writing and craft. Quality and craft." 

He didn't laugh this time. "Right," he said. 

This is what Tom says about Anger': "Behind every boxer's 
punch there is intention, pure and true. It belongs to the fighter 
alone. It is rare that he discloses his secret to his opponent. His 
secret represents his strength and the longer it is withheld, the 
stronger he becomes. His secret swells in his arms and swarms in 
his ears; it makes his heart as large as an elephant's; and as it 
pounds, it stirs the dead and explodes within his opponent's ears. 
His anger is monolithic." 

Sitting there in Billy Martin's, coasters and shot glasses spread out 
before us, I knew I was looking at a man that had saved up a lot of 
punches and had thrown them all at once. No one showed up for 
the fight. It was a knockout in the first round. His opponent still lay 
splayed out on the mat. He would lie there a long time. The only 
sound came from the juice surging to the flood-lamps above the 
ring. "How long are you going to stand there?" I ask Tom. 
"Where?" he asks. "In the ring," I say. "As long as it takes," he says. 
I believed him. 

I believe him. Orchard Park is burning a hole through the bottom of 
a foodocker in a guest bedroom closet. It's the only book in my 
possession that makes me nervous. Because I know what it is about. 
I was there. 

My name is John Sprague and I am a witness.