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The classroom is large enough to hold about thirty students, one professor, and two chaperones, which works out swell because that about sums up our group. I’m attracted to the huge industrial-grade windows at the back of the room, more so for the rich Los Angeles cityscape beyond them. If you smash your face against the window and slide your eyes to the left as far as possible, as if to embody Jim Carrey on his best day, you can see almost half the city. Not saying I did this, but if you happen to meet anyone from the building across the street, maybe don’t mention that you know me.
Or do mention it. It’s not as if the suits in the building across the busy street know my name. Just my contorted, idiot face trying to see if the Uruks really are taking the hobbits to Isengard.
The room has a clean, indoor smell, though if it were my forty-story building, I would’ve stripped and replaced the carpet months ago. Correction: I would’ve sold the building and set up shop on an island in the South Pacific. But that’s neither here nor there—strike that, it’s all there and 5,501 miles from here, a classroom in a corporate-collegiate building in downtown LA.
Continue reading Elevator Pitch
A time is coming–maybe it’s already here–when curated evil will be all that we see. And make no mistake: it will be true, undeniable evil. That is what makes the thought behind it so brilliant, so sinister.
The evil of murder, of racism, of social injustice, of systemic prejudice, (fill in the blank for whatever comes next)–these will be cast like veils over our perception until blinded in our relentless pursuit of justice, we can no longer tell our friends from our enemies.
And, most important of all, we will cease praying for both.
Continue reading Curated Morality
My life has been marked by symbolism, with video games providing some of the most poignant moments. Yes, you read me right: time-ravaging life-debilitating muscle-atrophying video games.
When I first held the original Nintendo controller, I held it upside down. The black cord jutted toward me, level with my bellybutton, and then curved down and away—an umbilical between me and the 8-bit box. Mind you, it wasn’t that I thought the controller was right-side up. Rather, I was convinced that upside-down was the better way to play. That Mario and Luigi had a hard time conforming their behavior to my inverted will was not really my problem.
Continue reading Fake Blood
Phase one usually doesn’t harm a soul. It’s the thinking phase, the inceptive hovering over the face of black waters. Nothing is spoken and no promises are made—there is no law and no one to break it, no light and thus no understanding of darkness. Nothing is right and nothing is wrong. A voice says “light be.” Suddenly a veil splits from top to bottom and it is this perpetual tearing of the immaterial that carves its way toward the farthest reach of eternity. This is phase two, the vocalizing of the concept that causes a new world to envelop the old. If this stage is initiated, the one in charge is responsible for making sure that the original idea is sound and, most importantly, something that produces life.
Continue reading The Brazen Bull
Highway 98 will guide you along the emerald coast, out of one thriving condo-city into another, past the wealth and splendor of Destin all the way to a beat-down corner of Jack’s hometown where it changes its name to 15th Street, as if ashamed of what is has become. I’m in the back seat, trying to be invisible. Jack, who has recently become a case worthy of my objective analysis, is sitting in the passenger seat with his hands resting lifeless on his runner’s thighs. Elsa—beautiful, blue-eyed, intelligent—is our designated driver because the car belongs to her parents.
Continue reading The Ninety-Eighth Conduit