I can indeed verify that Howard von Steppenwolf-Jones’s fearful presentiment about the revelation of our route is correct. We are compromised and our mission imperiled. While returning home from a convivial evening of cards and tawny Port at my club (Le Cheveux Club Pour Les Hommes — best steak au poivre in Chicago, I might add) I noticed my door had been jimmied with a crude textural analysis and took the precaution of drawing my trusty life preserver. Senses, pistol, and wits half-cocked, I entered. From my library, I heard a whispered chant:
Mene, mene, Derrida upchuckin’
Dulce et decorum est, pro postmodernism scribtum
I’d heard those black words before, in the nightmarish 2006 free-for-all at the Iowa Summer Writing Festival. A claven of MFA candidates, driven mad by Midwestern Chardonnay and a few passed-around copies of Rosebud, had very nearly cost me my life.
To this day my shoulder aches whenever I hear an open mic poetry slam or Lisa Loeb over a Starbucks sound system. But that’s a tale for another day.
I burst in, hurling my leftover Caesar Salad with extra dressing at the figures huddled around my leather-topped library table. The high-calorie shower of mayo and anchovies worked its usual magic, and I’m sure the garlic, vinegar and Dijon stung like pepper spray. I swung wildly, enraged at the sight of my precious 1960s Playboy collection and Howard Weird Tales originals were being despoiled by dripping minimalist poioumena. Though outnumbered five to one, I was on my home turf and roaring with Port-fueled fury, whereas my opponents’ idea of physical effort was downing a shot of wheatgrass juice and a metafiction circle-jerk. They escaped off the balcony but I did manage to tear off a piece of Urban Outfitters Pennystock from one of the blackguards.
They’d hacked into my computer — the villains aren’t without technical skills — and I’m afraid the plans for the Harold Lamb and the covered arcs of the railguns will be on Wikileaks within whatever their distributed server propagation time-frame is. I would suggest a few extra drum-fed Thompsons and some gas-grenades be added to the Harold Lamb’s armory.