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tommyb

Registrant
(a chapter)

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(Thursday, 4JUL2019)


'Used to stop playing sports when the family Oldsmobile would pull in to pick me up. The coach would go insane. There's truth to one's expression when shooting the basketball, kicking the soccer ball. Even at ten. 'Was getting to freedom.

Going old-school God's Country through the railroad days 'got the job done. It's proven worthy of recovery. Witnessing the stoicism lift more daily. 'Having gotten the good job, the one the locals said I'd acquire upon first arriving, has settled Ashe into a thirtysomethings American dream.

It's awful bourgeois. In the Guard it wasn't loud, the middle class around, still the old Carolina, but really Big Army. Now they're the usual meet-and-greet, civilians aggressively civilian, their females speaking valley-girl, the guys wanting to look pretty.

Always the holidays cause stateside to look more like the original stateside.

"It's swell, the quiet perfectionist thing," says a fellow war veteran and new employee, us on our way to festivities. "And your civies have gotten more dapper. But if you'd speak more at work everything would be easier."

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tommyb

Registrant
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(Monday, 19AUG2019)


The staircase remains the prominent feature. Three stories tall, built in the sixties, with that clean, metallic-and-glass industrial look that bleeds into nineteen-seventies federal building architecture. Above it looms a ceiling of glass. Sometimes, in the afternoon, one wears shades indoors due to the ceiling, though that's against the federal employee dress code. The place stands enormous. Around the staircase's different flights are three floors with protective railing, all visible to each other, for the most part.

'Really the main feature remains a neighbor of mine, a known hacker because one morning the feds showed up. The friendship was easy, the two weeks, not. He would tell stories of his boyhood in Los Angeles and how him and his dad would run covert operations keeping films moving and secure and quickly. "Boy, could my father drive," he'd say. That's what it was like back then, that's how Hollywood was, the films on reels.

He didn't like the race thing. 'How he was the effortless computer whiz since adolescence, but it was understood he was of the wrong skin color.

For two weeks, 'worked at the grocery, second shift, then, 'would stay up all night and into the morning standing behind his computer chair as he travels the world, explaining things to me, explaining how things work, proving things to me. He proved to me that the people endangered weren't endangered.

Shortly afterward, I'd walk through the front doors of the federal property, like a mini-city. I would pass the staircase on my way down a floor all the way to the employee entrance. 'Just to hear the death threats. Some of which were quite sophisticated, implying names and locations, some blatant, the rest: a chorus of whistles descending from the glass ceiling through all three floors. 'Already understood law enforcement would mow down their own because some politician said so. That's been true, apparently, since the beginning of time. Copland went out of their way, laughingly, to prove that; they honestly thought it was funny I didn't know that.

I used to walk the building regularly, to see if I could get all the way out the other door without falling down laughing.

That's what I used to do for fun ...

Seems like just yesterday. "Never change your avatar," he says, kept saying, with his usual boisterousness. "If you become a big deal out their - in the future - online." It took him awhile to get across to me why. "Hopefully you've kept your original avatar. Then, no matter what happens, we can be there for you."

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tommyb

Registrant
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(Tuesday, 8OCT2019)


(...us out in the rural mountains, driving, at night, three males; Disturbed plays through the speakers...)


"No harm be done he said," he said.

"--People must be led--"

"--No, they must be read ..."

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