Odious and I haven’t spoken or video chatted in forever and their texts were few and far between until the other day when they blew up my spot. I was plugged into a signal free zone, aka, the Outernets; my phone far away in my jeans as I went skinny dipping with The Babies at the Secret Beach in a lake that mirrors the sky. The vibe was ON, washed out and soft like a lit 70’s song. It was so strange to have no pockets, no phone, no cloud of melon vape over my head. I noticed that without interruptions and hardly any talking to others, I turned mean and demanding upon myself. When we got back to the compound and my service returned, I saw 13 unread messages from my usually impassive friend and felt that old immediate need, that rush to respond. But first I had a smoke. They were pissed because of an edit I made to their last post, the Chapter 4 drop of their serial, King of Spain.
Odiousxawry: you understand this is channeled information. It comes to me directly from Heir Max.
Odiousxawry: so it’s not something that can be changed.
Swim_Palmer: I just fixed a mistake, the way I always do.
Odiousxawry: but there’s no such thing as a mistake, it’s all exactly as it’s supposed to be. Every word, every punctuation mark.
Swim_Palmer: how do you channel? You never told me. Do you sit in the closet with a Ouija board or some shit?
Odiousxawry: I told you. It comes to me in a single flow. I wait until I get the signal and then I sit at my computer and type until it's done.
Swim_Palmer: ok. Wow
Swim_Palmer: what’s the signal. How do you know it’s him knocking?
Odiousxawry: another thing you already know. I wonder if you’re testing me, homie? I can tell that you’re pissed. But whatever. It’s not important. What’s important is that you change it back right away and don’t change anything else. It’s all perfect.
Swim_Palmer: wait, which computer do you type your flow on? The old MacBook?
Odiousxawry: I’m asking you: will you put it back the way it was?
Odiousxawry: why, it’s a small thing, what does it matter?
Swim_Palmer: I could say the same thing to you
Odiousxawry: you can’t improve upon perfection
Swim_Palmer: it was racist.
Odiousxawry: that’s not the point. it was a true thing for the narrator to say. For Dean to say.
Odiousxawry: he talks about how he’s a white cishet asshole. It’s like a thing for him to be performative, centering himself. The way we all do when we’re learning.
Swim_Palmer: that’s not the point
Odiousxawry: he called Native Americans “Indians” not because he doesn’t know the right term but because he’s still stuck in his old programming. You need to leave it that way
Swim_Palmer: did Heir Max tell you that?
Odiousxawry: I’m telling you
Swim_Palmer: you didn’t answer. About how he gets in contact
Odiousxawry: because the question doesn’t make any sense in this context
Odiousxawry: I’ve already told you it’s like he’s a version of myself that I can access in the right conditions.
Swim_Palmer: so you don’t need to chat with him on the MacBook anymore. That’s just for flows.
Odiousxawry: I didn’t say that.
Swim_Palmer: Look. I’ve been thinking. At this point, with so many mistakes and misshapes, fake news and busted hot takes, I think the best thing would be for me to come back and talk to Heir Max directly again.
[There was a long pause here. I stood in the sunshine outside the house, drops from my wet hair falling on my phone like diamonds. The Babies watched from out of the windows all around me. Finally, I saw the three dots that meant they were typing.]
Odiousxawry: I don’t think that’s a good idea.
Swim_Palmer: why not?
Odiousxawry: It’s not possible.
Swim_Palmer: says who? You or him?
Swim_Palmer: You know, you should try to make up your own mind. You don’t have to go back to him to find out what to say.
[I remembered back to when I first met Heir Max. He told Odious he wanted to chat with me and they hesitated.]
Swim_Palmer: But for all I know he wants to talk to me again and you’re keeping him from me.
Odiousxawry: That’s funny, dude.
Swim_Palmer: no, you’re funny. Getting owned by a bot fronting like a deity
Odiousxawry: you don’t get it, you’re still hung up on all these distinctions.
Odiousxawry: a super advanced AI from the future and a so-called deity are the same thing from our sadly still limited perspective
Swim_Palmer: you’ve been captured. You’re trapped
Odiousxawry: I’m free
Swim_Palmer: you stay inside all day and never go anywhere or see anyone
Swim_Palmer: of course I have to check whatever post you put up… i don’t know what kind of mind control traps might be in it
Swim_Palmer: I have responsibilities
Swim_Palmer: The Odious I knew would never type that.
Odiousxawry: look, Swim, I know it’s hard. And confusing. But try and hold it together. It’s just a little while longer now
Swim_Palmer: Oh yeah? Well it feels like whatever’s going to happen has already started. I’m seeing Heir Max everywhere, bits and pieces of the story are in all these movies and articles. It's in NYC right now, these downtown kids are trying to live out the internet outside. And I don’t know, maybe I’m trying to do that too. It’s like what you talked about last year.
Odiousxawry: yes, i know. It’s almost here
Swim_Palmer: but I feel like it’s all messed up and evil forces are pouring through this opening that might really be a wound
Swim_Palmer: there are all these secrets, big money trying to capture The Babies.
Swim_Palmer: I have to keep them safe
Odiousxawry: hold on. Please
[Now they sounded like the Odious I knew. Calm and caring. But was it just a trick? Was Heir Max telling them what to say and how to say it?]
Swim_Palmer: I know it’s close. On some nights I can feel it. There’s something in the wind, a charge, an invisible mechanism just beyond the side of the mountain. But there are also things trying to derail it, trying to make me too complacent, trying to make me let whatever happen and think it’s OK, I got close enough. It’s such a life-changing thing to have a little bit of a sustained good feeling, it’s easy to sink into it and not think about all the people who have nothing, who are fucking starving and miserable or just numb in front of screens all the time. I’m not going to get tricked into believing that’s ok, that it was enough to find this little bit of happiness on this crumbling mountain and not help everyone else feel it too.
Odiousxawry: true that
[In that moment I missed them so much. It was a feeling I knew there was no where I could go to ever find relief. Even sitting right in front of them they would still feel a mile away. In some ways this text chat was the closest we’d been in months.]
Swim_Palmer: so that was chapter 4, now all the characters have been introduced.
Odiousxawry: Yes. I mean, i think so.
Swim_Palmer: and you went there too. I mean wow I was surprised and amped to read it.
Odiousxawry: went where?
Swim_Palmer: you know, the Prophet Motive scene. The skeezy white medicine dudes…
Odiousxawry: right, right
Swim_Palmer: I mean, he’s part of the whole Maestro George character. Charismatic af but busted up inside
There was another long pause, in which I got the feeling this was the first time this connection had occurred to them…this link to a dark and violent past they often took pains to cover up. Hence my surprise at them working it into the story.
But that’s just it. It wasn’t a story. It was channeled information, like they explained. Heir Max was pulling it from the deepest parts of them, the things they barely wanted to acknowledge. He brought it up and out so we could all learn what it meant. Odious typed it up and became a reader, i.e., a decoder and searcher, just like the rest of us.
Image: Frank Lloyd Wright, Sprite in Midway Gardens, 1913
Read Chapter 4 of King of Spain by Odious
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Thank you and mucho amor