night.blind: 01.9.1: 09 March 2005: Anders
23 March 2005: Anders Laughton.
It wasn't the way they fucked, it was the way they fucked.
Bearing witness, being present, a beautiful agony, a little
death, a feedback loop, an infinity mirror, a recursive function:
since the day Garfield had been attacked, they had found that
things were a little different, a little blended, maybe a little
effed up. Something had happened during the psychic assault,
and ever afterward, Majestics 14 and 15 shared something deeper
than passing glances, playlists, or six packs.
Majestics fucked. Everyone knew that. The Grange
shared the dynamic of a prison: desire surpassed societal judgments.
It was as inbred, incestual, and debaucherous a facility as
any, with the stipulation that as long as any extracurricular
activities didn't conflict with the Viewers' ability to perform
their logs, management wouldn't impose many restrictions on
The relationship between 14 and 15 stretched back and lasted
further and longer than most in-house flings. Management
didn't care; they both knew they were being watched from time
to time by Nagel and his buddies, if the man even had any, but
they still got their jobs done, filed on time, completed their
playlists. At the end of the day, they shared a pod and
Some theorized that their interactions were a waste of government
time and money, after-hours tapping into those precious mutant
brains and the gift within each. Still, they were meticulous
during business hours. Maybe the playtime viewing honed
They were easy locks, given the proximity of target, pathways
carved through seven years of familiarity. Most viewings
were troublesome affairs, that reaching out and locking on to
a stranger a world away, congealing sensory input, the withdrawal
It wasn't like that for Elijah and Gale.
Take everything you know about tantric sex, add three cups of
kama sutra, a pinch of desperation and fold it into sorghum
flour and add a heaping bushel of chopped translocation, telepathy
and clairvoyance. Blend it well. Serve chilled over
crushed ice. Go fuck yourself; you have no idea what we're
talking about. There's no way you could understand what
they did to each other, because you weren't born with that particularly
delicious bundle of nervous tissue wrapping your pineal body.
It was frantic, sweat slicked, flopping and scratching, reflective
and reflexive and felt so good it was the worst pain ever.
They got it down to a science, that out of body experience that
the voyeur sci-boys loved so much. Didn't hurt that Gale
Jordan was a twenty-something something something who salved
the sore eyes of many a late-night watch officer. None
of the eavesdroppers could experience her as Elijah had: from
the inside looking back.
They scrawled new spheres of influence across their bodies and
minds. No one had yet proven the soul existed, but once
the numbers came in, they'd place bets.
They'd learned to clear tabletops of glassware. They'd
learned to ask for rounded edges on furniture. For clean
sheets four times a week, monthly suppression therapies for
troublesome gametes. For privacy during off-hours, at
least no knocking on the door. Such interrupting could
have broken them more.
When Remote Viewers have sex, when they fuck, when they pack
the mule, bone the chicken, pop the top, wiggle the pickle,
sink the Titanic, invade Poland, or tip over the luggage cart,
they can choose, if one or more partners are willing, to enter
each other in ways more subtle than tab A into slot B.
It just so happened that Gale and Elijah were Scott Petersoning
Amber Frey when Garfield went to hell. Things got mixed
up a little. Paths crossed. Star-crossed lovers?
No. Mind-fucked viewers.
You see, when viewers view their partners during sex, it's apparently
quite good. Better than Verizon good. Better than
Good 'N Plenty good, although it's plenty good, good meaning
best, and best meaning that it's like a never-ending circle
of thrusting and penetration, shared sensation more shared sensation
than any Trojan can advertise, closer than any simple penile-orchestrated
cervix battery, harder and faster and deeper than any Vivid
girl can beg. It's like fucking someone while getting
fucked while being fucked while fucking. It's close.
And coming-- double the pleasure? Quadruple the pleasure.
So Viewers liked to fuck.
Gale and Elijah were no exception.
Gale Jordan, once upon a time, not long after Nagel went off
to steal a baby and the Major General welcomed the farmer into
her sanctum, decided to test a moment, not ruin it, although
she almost succeeded in that, by, at the peak of her sixth orgasm
and his second, shouting, simply:
"I love you, Elijah Rockland!"
25 March 2005: Anders Laughton.
So he slapped her.
There was a moment where her face broadcast shock in its most
humble, broken form, an advance rebuffed, five words she knew
she should never have vocalized. He pulled out, rolled
off, swung his legs over the side of his bed. If he'd
had wings, at that moment, slumped so, arms drooping between
his knees, he would have looked a gothic nightmare.
Muscles in his neck indicated the rotation of his face back
in her direction, and she met his frown with the heel of her
hand, breaking his nose with a snap and a scarlet gush.
So did she.
They fucked again.
* * *
Elijah Rockland was the son of Major General Sabra Aliyah Rockland
and Lieutenant General John Rockland. His maternal grandfather,
Abel Aliyah, had worked under Isser Harel in the Mossad, assisting
in the capture of Adolph Eichmann in Buenos Aires in 1960, and
retiring a disappointed and angry man after the failed attempt
to locate Josef Mengele in 1985. Not long after Harel
died in 2003, Elijah's mother had enrolled in the Mossad, dispatched
to hotspots around the Middle East to squash the new series
of jihads the beginning of the century had borne.
Participating in an officer exchange program, Sabra Aliyah had
met then-Colonel John Rockland at a dinner party. He wasn't
Jewish, but he got the job done. She requested dual citizenship,
moved permanently to America, and rose through the ranks almost
as fast as her ambitious husband.
It wasn't ironic that Elijah had been born on Shoah Day.
Israeli Defence Force, Mossad, Betak-- and then. Always:
They'd gotten it down to a science at that point, or at least
as almost a science as the concept would allow. He had
watched medics make notes in his charts each year since he'd
first enlisted, always with eyebrows raised, furrowed, raised
again as they compared recent data with the previous yearly
physical's results. The physicals were more than a breathe-in,
breathe-out, cup the balls, finger up the ass ordeal; they included
a battery of inane questions, guessing shapes, word association,
psychological stuff, wires and scans the young Elijah Rockland
cared nothing for and thought nothing of, at least until the
day they sent him new orders. Military orders.
He was to report to a screening facility in Washington.
That meant a flight over the ocean, back to his half-homeland.
His concern began when his superiors bid him what felt a final
farewell, as if he'd be in America a long time.
He hadn't seen Israel in a decade.
07 May 2005: Anders Laughton.
He hadn't seen his mother in one and one-half decades.
It wasn't that theirs was a typical relationship, typical for
the time, that is, distant and cold. Somewhere along the
course of the rapid human evolution of the twentieth and early
twenty-first centuries, the species had mostly abandoned the
nuclear family, the stay-at-home parent, the traditional gender
and parental roles. Maybe something had been lost in that
abandonment, the rash of violences a spectrum from bullying
in schools to jihads against capitalism, but Elijah's geographical
distance was more the reason for not seeing her than any emotional
distance. She was his mother, his Jewish mother, atypical
in that she didn't call every other day to inquire about his
bowel movements, didn't use a Hebrew vocabulary, and refused
to see her likeness in George Costanza's mother. He loved
Sabra Rockland, and their distance only hurt when he saw her
again for the first time in fifteen years, because only then
did he truly realize how long it had been.
An eyebrow raised, flanked by the knowing, uncomfortable gazes
He cleared his throat. "I--" He noticed her stars
for the first time. "Major General Rockland." He
swept a stiff salute.
She returned it, motioned him into a chair. "Please sit,
Mr. Rockland. As of this moment, you are reinstated as
an officer, reporting to the United Stated Army, with the rank
of First Lieutenant. This order has been signed by the
President of the United States and the Prime Minister of Israel.
Is that understood?" She slid a thin plate of display
glass across the table.
"Understood, sir." He levered the plate off the tabletop
and gave it a cursory view. "May I ask why I've been taken
from civilian service?"
"You may not, Lieutenant, but your services have been outsourced
from the Mossad for the indefinite future."
"Sir." He put the plate back on the table. It melted
"These are Doctors Brecht and Lindevall." She indicated
the lab coats on either side. "They'd like to perform
some tests before we leave. And no, you may not ask what
kind of tests or what our final destination will be."
He didn't hate addressing his mother so coldly, because after
decades and distances, Freud's psychopathies numb themselves.
He listened to his mother, to the two doctors, the trivia they
disclosed, sensed something gliding just under the surfaces
of those disclosures, panic, desperation, fear, and promise.
Most people know most things before they happen or before they
are said, and if only they dig a little deeper into that glorious
analog recorder that is the human brain, they can recreate the
future before it is the future.
He remembered once asking his friend Ashley what the name of
her new puppy was, and just before she said it, he thought:
Tucker. She said Tucker.
He'd always had the most vivid of dreams.
There were more changes to his mother than the addition of the
two stars. He'd spent fifteen years listening to stories
about his mother, his grandfather, all the marvelous work they
had done in the Mossad, but his own career in the intelligence
service had never shown any more promise than a typical agent's.
His cell had once acquired intel that had led them to San Juan,
Puerto Rico on a wild Nazi-chase, but that incident had only
resulted in mockery, no matter how diligent and serious the
organization faced the world. People expected greatness
from Elijah Aliyah Rockland, but he had never delivered, living
quite lodged between the shadows of his maternal side.
She could have been the same woman he'd last seen, stars or
not, but the years had weathered her, ground down by the nearly
half-finished CNN-proclaimed "Century of Terror." The
War on Terror had officially ended almost twenty years before,
but it would never really end, because poor people who believe
in a god will do anything to fuck up the world, if they think
they'll be rewarded. He'd enough blood on his hands from
four thousand, seven hundred, sixty-one Palestinians to prove
She was talking, and in that communication he saw the years,
the webwork of wrinkles that had gouged her mouth and black
eyes, a scattering of purest white hairs in the mix of her sensible
coiffure. Her voice was still cold-forged steel, her nails
still meticulously groomed, the tattooed tag still visible on
her right hand, left perhaps in defiance, a reminder that nightmares
can and still do happen while the world drifts by, more concerned
with Pop Idol or football than genocide.
"Do you understand?"
"Yes, sir." He had let himself drift too far, partitioned
his mind too thin, and he wondered what exactly he had just
03 October 2005: Anders Laughton.
He had just agreed to life underneath a regional transportation
center in Burwell, Garfield County, Nebraska. It could have
been worse, and then it was.
The first two years and three months were fine, intense tutoring
sessions in viewing from Arthur Glenrock and Chuck Wright, the
facility's old guard, late-night poker games with some of the
other viewers, support staff, and the new human resources guy,
Dante Nagel. Meals in the cafeteria, anything he craved.
As little contact with his mother as possible. Things
had been innocent then.
One year and seven months into his assignment at Garfield, the
big front doors that never opened opened, swooshed, more like
it, and the most beautiful girl in the world walked in.
Just another confused, disaffected youth, she was cuffed and
Gale Jordan. Lavalamp-6.
Personally, Elijah wondered if the government had someone on
staff hidden away in an office building basement somewhere in
Dubuque whose sole purpose was to come with codenames for Remote
Viewers. He suspected the namer had bifocals and wore
Gale had gone through the typical six-month initiation into
the program. That's usually how long it took for people
to stop breaking their own fists against their pod walls and
give up any hope of ever living outside again. They'd
given Gale an extra three months initiation. Might have
been cheaper to vacation her and find a new candidate, but she
was good. They could have spot-burned the spunk right
out of her, but in the brain business, burning away the sin
is a risky proposition.
The powers had varying systems of control over the viewers,
all viewers, Majestics and Lavalamps and Rubyshoes and Dwightschultzes
and Honeybadgers. Besides the locked doors and armed guards,
those systems of control generally included something much more
powerful: dirt. The government had dirt on each viewer,
and that was the best way to control them. Whether criminal
records or psychiactric analyses or credit reports, the powers
knew that most viewers had secrets they didn't want revealed.
"I killed my family."
Elijah snorted a third of an apple juicebox into his sinuses.
He coughed most of it out. "Oh. Well."
"Yeah." Gale Jordan smiled. The cafeteria was metal
echo with conversations. It was an innocent time then,
janitors mingling with generals. "And you?"
Elijah considered. There wasn't really any exciting reason
why he worked there. "My mom got me the job."
She guffawed, a disarming, un-lady-like laugh through lips still
wearing tomato paste.
He wondered what her tongue tasted like.
Eyes reveal. "Oh! Well. Wow. That's
cool, then." She was young. The young communicate
"When's your next shift?" He sucked the last of his juice
out the tiny straw. The sound it made grated.
"I'm off for the day. Still learning the ropes."
"Well," he leaned in, a conspiracy, feeling everyone already
knew, a room not only of janitors and generals, but some of
the world's best psychics as well, "want to come over to my
the advantages to being a Major General was full clearance to
any area of the Burwell facility. One of the disadvantages
to having full clearance to any area of the Burwell facility was
the fact that if you didn't knock on a pod door, you stood a good
chance of walking in on your son fucking another Viewer in the
face. Sabra Rockland met that scene with a chuff of disgust
and a quick turnaround to the still-closing door.
couldn't tell if he was more embarrassed that his mother had
walked in on him bumping uglies, that Gale had screamed approximately
seven times Fuck me, Daddy during the course of their
conjugation, further crystallizing his suspicion that she had
dispatched her family for a tangled web of father/daughter improprieties,
or the fact that he was in the process of ejaculating when the
pod door opened, and his frantic dismount and grabbing for covers
only partially concealed that fact under thin cotton.
nisrat lech bamoch?" Rockland gave her son enough time
to cover the room's overflowing vice completely. "Nim'as
have knocked, then." His grin was half-cocked, much like
himself at that point. "You've met Gale?"
Miss Jordan, yes." Her gaze not so much cut as fileted.
"And we have rules--"
of which apply to sexual relations between two willing Viewers.
What do you want?"
stabbed a smoldering look at Gale as she spoke to Elijah.
He got the distinct impression that her head was somehow hinged,
capable of internal rotation to allow a disconnect between her
eyes and mouth. "I need you on an overnight lock, the
details of which I can't discuss with her in the room."
new. Almost no clearance." Her mouth realligned
and targeted the young woman. "Get out. We'll discuss
was all hands, gathering discarded garments, all knees and footfalls,
the distance from bed to door bending upon itself and making
her exit comically abrupt.
got to be fucking kidding me," Elijah spat as soon as the door
had slicked secure. "I'm an adult, and--"
she's a little girl who not so long ago murdered her family.
Cover yourself, tambalon."
wandered the pod as her son re-dressed. It was a small
wander, but she didn't spend much time with her offspring, couldn't,
really, given the job and the circumstance. She felt that
every moment she was in his space was a moment she could try
to absorb some of what he was, who he was, the world he'd sculpted
from the steel and concrete beneath the Nebraskan expanse.
She had never spent much time with him, and she couldn't honestly
form into coherent thoughts why exactly then, at that moment,
she actually wanted to get to know her son, or why, at that
moment, she chose to exhibit some form of maternal protection.
She knew she didn't deserve what she felt.
room was sparsely decorated, but from what artifacts it possessed,
she gathered that Elijah enjoyed Ansel Adams photographs, small
wooden statues of dogs, and turn-of-the-century rock and roll
music, the kind where the singers had big hair and wore tight
pants. She never would have suspected any of those details
of his life.
the mission?" He'd hiked up boxer briefs and was belting
issued cargos over them. She winced internally at the
four bullet scars on his chest, but no more than she winced
at the long, elaborate Betak tattoos. She had her own.
She should never have let him stay enlisted.
had a lot of chatter lately, a lot of displaced noise that no
one can grab tightly." She flicked a bra, presumably Gale's,
from the nearest cushion on the utilitarian seating bench and
sat. "We're doing an overnight with the five highest-tested
to try to scrape something from dreamland. You're number
five on the list."
I was six."
moving up in the world."
soon as I get out of here. The others should be locking
in as we speak."
know I work better alone."
Eyes scrawled tenderly over the four-thousand, seven-hundred,
sixty-one kill tallies etched into his skin. "But something's
about to happen. Can't you feel it?"
"Play's been a little off lately. Something's coming."
mother stood. "So get locked." She walked toward
the door, pausing halfway through. "I don't want you to
be with Lavalamp-6 anymore."