From: Unknown Quantity <>
Newsgroups: talk.bizarre
Subject: Frey Association (compromised)
Date: Tue, 1 Dec 1998 23:10:46 +0000
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Rats - out of time, apologies for lack of polish.

Anyway, this is for E and P.


        The sea, rolling to and fro, caressing the horizon.   Carried
away with each wave that breaks, my tears for you.   No more land, only
watery vastness.   The creaking ship drifts with the prevailing summer 
winds, rotted timbers failing to sink.   Out here the sea runs to over
two miles deep.   This is what is known.   The deepest extent remains
doggedly uncharted.   

        The sea, languid now, gentle waves lapping against the ship.  
We have been slowly drifting for over a month.   

        Last night, swimming along the ocean floor - down undersea 
valleys and trenches.  No breathing gear, but that was okay as long as I 
didn't think about it.   You were there again.. tried to swim after you 
but couldn't keep up - followed you through a swarm of iridescent yellow
sunfish then lost you in the wreckage.   Woke up choking, lay in the
dark alone.

        We were part of a survey mission.   Hadn't begun to scratch 
the surface when the sea raised a little finger and knocked us sideways.
They're all dead now, all except me.   

        Last night, swimming after you again.. you were in your red 
diving gear this time.   You stopped, limp in the water.   I caught up 
with you and turned you round to see your face.   The mask was full of 
flies and maggots.   Woke up sweating, vomited over the side.

        On the third dive you found out why we were really here.   The
next day you died, trapped in the submerged wreck several hundred feet 
below.   This is surmised - when we went down to look for your body, you
were gone.   Something took you.

        The sea, like you, a taste on my tongue and in my dreams.


        Johnny Mo got busted when the dream-dealers came to town.

        They only come out at night.   Even then they keep to their own
side.   Thirty, forty a pop for cheap stuff, cut with fuck knows what, 
some pretty gruesome shit.   Sixty or seventy from the old quarter buys 
you a much better class of experience altogether.   'Course they have 
to keep moving around - on our side possession carries 5 to 10, don't 
matter how much you got.   On their side the trade is frowned on, they 
don't got jails as such although they do have something like our cops, 
nobody knows much about it.   Whenever I've asked one of them they just 
clam up, nice doing business with you.

        Now you got to understand something about this - back when I 
was on the job, plainclothes, you know, there was a hell of a lot of 
busts that were never written up, you dig?   Sure we were stealing, we 
were using, we were selling.   Now it's been five, no six years since I 
retired from duty - psychologically unfit for active service or some 
such BS - on the heels of my wife up and offing herself - loaded up on
benny and acid she took a dive from ten storeys.   Spent the best part 
of a year trying half-hearted to follow her.   With me it's drink, and 
I must have been kicked out of half the bars in this stinking city, 
blacked out and looking for trouble.   

        There are a fuck of a lot of guys with drink problems on the 
job.   It gets so that when you meet a new guy you don't recognise and 
his breath don't smell of liquor, you gotta check his badge twice.  We 
all cover for each other - you scratch my back, I'll lie for you when 
you're in the John, puking your guts out.   The old drunks network, 
the drunks' code of honour, yes sir, there are a quite a few beat 
cops, desk jockeys, detectives and even a couple of lieutenants that 
owe me favours.

        The way it happened - wasted as all green fuck, thrown out of
Danny's over on sixty-third, stumbling from doorway to doorway, can't
even stand up straight.   These kids figure on rolling me, three white
guys, just teenagers.   I pull my piece and badge, sorry fellas, not 
tonight, you're all coming back to the house.. and then you know, it's 
the damnest thing, wet street, can't keep my balance, I put out my arm 
to steady myself and there's a shot - one of the punks is on the ground,
hands on his stomach, blood through his jacket.   "Fuck, man, you've
shot me"   Next thing I remember is waking up in a cell downtown with 
the mother of all hangovers.

        The way it happened - self defence, they were all armed, I 
had bruises consistent with the attack, there were five of them but 
two got away, no record of me being drunk, and we have three, yes
three clean shoots, thank you and goodnight.

        So anyway, I was kicked out, no charges made.   And here I am
operating out of a broom-cupboard of an office, sixteenth lousy floor,
red-light end of town, a private dick.   The place is dust and cat-
piss, the furniture real fire-sale shit from way back.   Just got back 
into town from two weeks in Atlanta trying to find some jerk ran up
two hundred G with Tony M, complete washout, not even expenses.  Behind 
his back, they call him Tony Macaroni, as in real meatball shit, but he 
pays by results.

        Now Johnny Mo, he runs a nice little dim-sum place, not in 
Chinatown, but out here near the harbour.   I've run into him once 
or twice in the course of business.   He used to be something in the 
triads, but now, he assures me over some rice-wine whenever we get 
together, strictly legit, no problems.   Must be late fifties.   You 
don't get so many old gangsters, but when you do, it's because they're 
smart.   He's sat at my desk when I open my office door.

        "Johnny.   What can I do for you?"
        Not "What the fuck are you doing in my office?", got to have 
a little respect.
        "This place stinks worse than sewer, Cross, can't afford 
        "Not on Merrito's payroll"
        "That tight spic bastard?   You could do better"
        "Is that an offer?"

        Turns out the cops have closed down Johnny's place, fingered
it as a front for the dreamers.   Johnny claims this is a set-up job,
wants me to find out who's behind it, he'll take it from there.   I 
accept the case - hell, if I don't, I never may eat dim-sum in this 
rotten town again.

        When Johnny's gone, I open up my filing cabinet, take out a 
bottle of single malt, pour myself a double and start work.  


        Hell is a faceless stone building with toughened glass windows.   
Outermost offices are all unoccupied.   Violet flowers on a wooden stand 
just inside the reception atrium.

        Two blocks away there is a park.   We often used to meet here,
throwing half our lunch to the ducks.   Spring through autumn, styrofoam
coffee and harmless talk skirting round the edges of our lives.

        There must be sacrifices.  

        Finish my coffee, leave a tip, wink at Angela, out the door, 
across the road.   Show my pass, good morning sir, yes sir, thank you 

        "on the qui vive, eh?"
        "someone's got to, sir"

        The guns are taped under the plant stand as requested.


        The dense opium fug of the tea-house served to counter the
cold harbour mist blown in from the sea.   The building was not well 
heated.   Customers sat huddled over their tea, exchanging small-talk.   
The real business was conducted upstairs.   Here the customers did not 
feel the cold, their insides red ochre warm with the juice of poppy 


        Neon haze in driving rain.

        Night falls in the city of fallen angels.   A thousand broken 
hearts, loan sharks, terminal sleepers in dark parks.   No feelings, no
resolution, disconnected from all empathy.

        Valentines day in the city without love.   Two hundred orphaned 
children trapped in a burning warehouse.   No pity, no pretty colours, 
just shades of miserable grey; charred remains.

        (Just this once, fuck closure)


        "Aspidistra," she told me, "You can't get hold of that variety 
any longer, but if you come back next Easter.."


        In the last days the humidity within the quarantine radius has 
become almost intolerable.   Nights we spend jumping from roof to roof, 
daylight hours asleep safely under lock and key.   Jan says they won't 
come.  I am beginning to think she may be right.

        It has only been a month, seems like forever.   Each day is
longer than the last.   Out of medical supplies now, we have to spend 
the dead time in thought.. sometimes we find some hard spirits and sit
drinking.   The poison (along with killing us) does allow sleep, often 
permitting dreams.   Escape of sorts.

        They came first on a wet autumn evening last year.   Angels 
came down from the sky and embraced us.   Whispers in the rain.   A 
smouldering lemon goldness of vision which persisted.


        inferno, skin bubbling and splitting, blood turns to red
vapour.   even as I burn, knowing you are safe, this is enough.
they cannot hurt you now.


        "If you knew Sadie, like I know Sadie"

        She made a kill-face at me, final expression of contempt as
she died with sudden and violent kinetic force.

        How does it go, quis custodes.. well today it's my shift. 

        My brief is clear: take out the whole fucking building.  There 
is something much more of the personal touch about small arms fire as 
opposed to explosives and poison gas; nothing says commitment like a
one-man suicide attack.  Jez has promised to buy a round if I walk out 
alive, can't say fairer than that.

        Uh-oh.. level 3 security quiet alert has just kicked in - only 
for dogs and we the implanted.. probably the building has detected some
of my hardware.   Now it'll take a good fifteen minutes for them to
scramble and hit me, better make them count.   Research and evaluation,
floor 12, dry area - i.e., no armed personnel.   Fish in a fucking 

        I clear them out, office by office, nice and tidy.

        Desk jobs, safe positions.   Clean hands, working through 
intermediaries, cut-outs.. the science of conflict resolution, can't we
just learn to get along?   We are the good guys, they are the bad guys,
simple as that.   If only.   Power corrupts, and what more power is 
there than that over life and death?   You cannot kill without becoming
tainted.   Every time that fucking hobbit puts on the ring he changes - 
a little less a person and a little more a monster.   As with us all.

        Anyway, on with the rock and roll.

        "Excuse me, while I kill this guy"


        "..not telling me I'm the only one who dreams about going 
down into the sewers?"

        Harry was holding a lighter under a spoon full of what looked
like blood.   Neil was out of it, headphones playing a medley of sub-
liminally mind-expanding tunes.. could have been for real, difficult
to say with Neil.   Ant and Sean were talking about Rutger Hauer films,
chilled out on joints and beer.
        "..ignoring things which you cannot comprehend.."

        "That's why they want to ban it.  It lets you see things.."
        "Have you seen the film 'They Live'?"

        "any noo nootropics?"

        " wait a minute, what's in Rennes again?"
        "'s all here.. Poussin.. Arc of the covenant.. et in 
arcadia ego.."
        "Fucking amateurs.."

        "you know that taste in your mouth that you get when you
haven't slept for days?"

        "These people are animals"

        "..90 percent psychology.."
        "..all over before either of them drew their swords.."

        "..not kidding - is it really worth dying for?"

        "..there's no real evil in the world, you know?  Just people."
        "What the fuck do you know, really?  What the fuck do you know?"


        tingle shiver, starting in the spine, spreading through the 
nerves and muscles until all your cells are alive with melancholy joy. 
pure unfettered emotional high.

        you clean and bind my wounds, each touch a caress both 
anaesthetic and doorway into sweet oblivion.   pain flows out of my 
tense and wrecked limbs.   you are my fountain, my secret fire, my love.

        you run your fingertips over my hands, tracing the lacerations,
gently smoothing over the scarred flesh.   we shore up the weaknesses 
we find in each other.   held tight against the cold bloody darkness,
for a while escaping - after night, before dawn - into hidden strata 
of stopped time.   

        outside of you there is nothing, inside you is...   the moon is
shining in through the skylight, casting us in spectral love forever.

        you know that I have to go back for the others


        The ruins on the mesa were all that remained of the temple.
Fragments of quartz and yellow-brown sandstone, ornately sculpted
structures now rubble and scree.

        From what we can make out of the inscriptions, the locals 
used to worship some sort of chimera, half bird, half jaguar.   From 
the edge of the plateau there is a sheer drop of a thousand feet to 
the dry river bed below.  The symbols used in the inscriptions match 
up with those painted underneath several bridges along the course 
where the river once ran.


        End of the attack (exit)

        The noise of the alarm system is now quite deafening, maybe 
they'll tone it down a little for the fire-fight to come.. can't hear 
myself think.  No way out.  Two clips left.  And as if by magic, thank 
you guys, that's better.
        Swallow the half-hour cap, just in case.  No alarms and no 
surprises, as they say.

        Now that is a really quite spectacular weeping fig plant.  My 
own is less than half the size.   Should have made arrangements, damn.
Still, can't make an omelette..

        At times like this I find the urge to laugh unbearable.. what 
am I doing here?   This is a distraction, an overture, yet in terms of 
my own role.. it is the finale.   Does my whole life flash before me?   
No, but certain memories which I hold dear.. those I have loved.  Check 
the rigs, not long now.. if I'd known they were this unprofessional I 
could have brought some music and a takeaway.  Ah, there it is - noise 
of boots on the floor above, must only be a matter of minutes.

        Deep breath, savor every second.   

        Drop your cocks and grab your Glocks, come and get it fuckers..


        The enemy is within the castle walls.

        Looking down from the high tower over the peaceful surrounding 
plains, it is easy to forget we are at war.   The men are growing tired
and there is nothing I can do about that.   Each night the monsters
come.   So far we have been able to repulse them with only minor losses.
This cannot continue.

        None of the men know this, but I have a mortal fear of heights.
Yet I come up here to think by myself.   At first dizziness and vertigo
assault me, but after sitting a while these subside and a wonderful 
clarity comes.

        There are thousands of them, overwhelming numbers in fact.   We 
do not stand a chance, so few against so many.   It is only through
positional advantage that we have lasted this long.

        The men have not slept for a week now.  

        The enemy is within the castle walls.

        to every labyrinth a minotaur, silken cord leading you closer 
and closer to the centre of the maze.   

        the minotaur remembers when he was sent into the maze, and whom 
he was sent to execute.   he has never tried to leave, other than in his 
mind, and that is all that matters to him anyway.  does he enjoy being 
hunted, hated, feared?   no, the fearsome bellowing is more likely his 
angry tears, howling like a dog for the moon he will never see.

        in years to come men will speak of him and tell his story, but
they will tell it as the story of another man, his successor.


        I pull jagged blood-tree pieces from my leg.  The branches look 
like spikes of bloody hairs growing out of the barbed wire cuts. Pulling 
out the pieces causes the wounds to open up again and bleed.  The whole 
thing starts to make me feel sick.


        We landed in the night, black shapes gliding through the
warm summer stillness.   Once on the ground we maintained far wave
silence.   Each of us had a single target.. there was some margin
for failure this time, but not much.


        Hunny wunny bunny, legs like yellow jello 

        tartrazine, trampoline?


        atrophy, eutrophy, europa, endocrine

        it's the signal.. 
        get out of there now..  oh god, what have i done?


        just static


        The lovers burned like fuel-air explosive in a paper mill.  
Fury with a bright chemical heart, they consumed each other.    

        That day some paperwork came across my desk for my signature.
I try to pretend that it is not my hand holding the pen, that in some
way it is all beyond my control, not my responsibility.   Just numbers, 
not real.    

        They would meet nine times in all, this known at the outset. 
The structure could not be changed or fought.  Each time the balance 
moved further towards sadness and despair, their love taking on the 
character of regret and longing, alone even when together.

        We are all part of a system, a machine.   None of us are in any
way indispensable.   If not me, you - if not you, me.   Does that make 
it right?   No, of course not.   We each have to live with our own
conscience.   Maybe we shall be judged in this world, maybe in the next.
Perhaps, worst of all, we shall never be judged.

        Towards the end, coupling, they wept.  They would stay up all
night, not to lose a single moment.. strong coffee and desire, each
daybreak farewell almost unbearable.

        The last time, they simply held each other

Unknown Quantity