‘The Aarspeth Imbroglio’ by Nicholas Rombes
|January 18, 2013|
Procession, Irving Norman, 1957
It’s true that I worked for them during the second purge. It’s not my intention to excuse what I’ve done, though God knows my crimes, if crimes is even the proper word, are far less grievous than those committed by others, the ones now called patriots. As for those maimed by our activities, they will have to speak, if they are still capable of speaking, for themselves. I’m responsible for my actions, and my actions alone. I’ve been promised immunity. But from what? And by whom? I don’t even know who my captors are, only that they have instructed me to commit to writing a true and faithful account of my role in the second purge.
I suppose I should start with the Aarspeth case. Upon first glance, the file seemed typical, Aarspeth having taken certain actions which, in the eyes of the Messiah Detectives, deemed him suspect and unreliable. I was to follow him, trace his communications, and take all due and proper precautionary action should I deem him about to divulge information that would force the agency to reveal, in the process of recovering that information, its existence. For it was true that at this point the agency was still a shadow operation, whose power derived not from visible action but rather from, as they claimed in white paper after white paper, strategic abstinence.
Like I said, there was, upon first reading, nothing atypical about the Aarspeth file. As customary, it was delivered beneath my door during the night. As usual, stamped in blue ink with a time code indicating precisely when it should be opened. A little heftier than previous envelopes, perhaps, which only whetted my curiosity, even as I felt a noose tightening around my neck, invisible, its rope threading out through my window, down the street, into the sewers, and up again though the vents into the offices of the Messiah Detective Agency where, tied to a heavy iron handle emerging from the floor (much like I imagine an old train switch lever might look) it awaits the yank that will snap my neck.
But all this is speculation. About the rope, the noose. The facts are much less melodramatic. I opened the file at the time indicated by the time code, and began to read.
Merleau-Ponty’s Child Psychology
As much as death signals the end of the self, birth is just as mysterious. Both extend out to infinity and signal the brevity and contingency of our lives. As mysterious are those first few years of life that one does not have access to as an adult, I know I existed before my earliest memories. I know I interacted with others, I learned to walk and talk. I was willful from my parent’s tales.
William Pope.L: Reader Friendly
William Pope.L is famous for (among other things) carrying a business card that identifies him as “The Friendliest Black Artist in America.” It’s a clever gag because it makes itself true, in a way, every time it draws people closer. The card must be especially useful when Pope.L does business with people who dread Black men or Black artists.
10 Things the NSA Has Seen Me Do
One winter in my early twenties myself and some good friends — a merging of art, music and literary ladies of New York, full-grown girls aspiring to be women — got together, had a lovely dinner, some wine and delightful chat. Then we decided to spend an hour practicing “Teach Me How To Dougie”. NSA — can you teach me how to Dougie? You know why? “Because all my bitches love me.”
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