Rachael got home late, coming right in through the front door.
Making a dart for the staircase, she still couldn’t escape the light of the kitchen down the hall, and the voice of her Mother, who’d been sitting there, waiting…
“I’m not sure about this guy, what’s his name…” she said, without preface.
“Kim.” Replied Rachael with a little too loud a tone. She was surprised that her first concern was Kim, not the fact that she was getting in at nearly midnight.
“What’s wrong with Kim? He’s so sweet and innocent.”
“Helen says he’s a little…off.”
“Those were her words?”
“How would Helen know Kim mom?”
“I don’t know but Jenny sure talks up a storm about you two as well…”
“Mom, just between you and me, Jenny is a stupid little half-wit and anyway, has seen and hung out with us, like, once. What else did Helen say about him?”
“Look I’m not a racist sweetheart but he is Eastern Pacific. All I’m saying is that he may be a little…well, different for you.”
“Different? Mom, he’s grown up like, all around the world, speaks English better than I do, with an American accent, no less, and–I know what you don’t like about him—he’s different, like everyone else I like that you don’t. He’s not gonna pick up a golf club and start going to the range like you and John mom, but that doesn’t make him a psycho.”
“I have no idea where you’re getting these ideas from, but all I’m saying is that you two might have some cultural differences to work through, and besides, is he even going to College?”
“Where the hell are you getting this from mom??’ ”
“All right Rachael, so Helen knows his parents.”
“Helen knows a lot of people doesn’t she?”
“She’s on the PTA, goes to Wakefield Chapel Rec., golfs with me and the community and is in touch with nearly every out reach group in Fairview.”
“So, what, what mom? What inextricable evidence do you have against my Boyfriend?”
Pam had known at least part of how sexually active Rachael had been and didn’t care so much about that, but had no idea she would go as far as to have a Boyfriend at this age.
“That’s right, my Boyfriend mom!” she declared with utter confidence, wondering how she’d bring this up to Kim tomorrow.
“So, tell me mom, make an argument for once, what exactly do you not like about Kim?”
“I don’t appreciate having my intelligence insulted young lady.”
“Yeah, well, I don’t appreciate these little nightly interrogations.”
“Oh get off it Rach—so melodramatic, everything has to be this big soap opera with you.”
“Mom, look around you, life is a soap opera, especially when John and you pick a fight by the way.”
“OK, that’s it, up to your room you go Rachael!”
“By the way, you’re grounded.”
“—I didn’t forget you were late.”
“You never forget anything mom,” Rachael said, and quickly climbed the stairs off to bed.
The next morning Rachael waited in the car in the sluttiest outfit she could find: The shortest little miniskirt she had, hoop earrings, plastered red lipstick, overdone mascara, and a sleeveless tacky yellow open belly shirt constricting her tits looking like they might pop out at any moment.
“You’re Jon here, at your service!” said her mom. “You’re not going to school in that.”
“Apparently, mom, I am.”
Pam took in a long breath and let it out steadily.
“Fine, you be mommy’s little Hooker today, how about that?”
“Mom, in case you hadn’t noticed, every girl’s a hooker nowadays.”
“Yeah, well, that doesn’t mean you have to be.”
“How you’re ever going to get a guy to stay with you, let alone marry you dressing like that.”
“People don’t stay out of how you dress, they stay cause they love you, or they should or they’re fucked up.”
“No, Rachael, no matter what anybody tells you, a guy stays with a good girl, and leaves the sluts at the bachelor party.”
“Where’d you get that, you’re weekly issue of Good Housekeeper? Actually, studies will show you most people regardless of what they say, cheat on each other at least 35% of the time, if not half.”
“There you go again with those statistics, but statistics won’t tell you anything. You’ll learn, they don’t have anything to do with the world and certainly aren’t going to win you a man, Rach.”
“Whoever said I wanted a man anyway…?”
To this her mom simply shook her head and clasped the steering wheel tighter.
“Why don’t we drive the Capris mom, this is such a gas machine.”
“Rachael, both our cars take gas.”
“Yes, Mother, but one of them consumes far less energy in gas than the other, plus this big ol boat Cadillac all the time gets old.”
“Rach, a car’s a car, and cars take gas and cost money, and you can’t ever predict gas prices anyway.”
“Actually mom, I think the Cadi takes far more considering its old, and the Capris is built as a partially Bio- Based car anyway. What do you mean you can’t predict them?”
“I mean it just depends, like where we’re going for one thing.”
“Where we’re going, mom, gas isn’t that expensive near The City.”
“One gas station is totally different from the next.”
“What are you talking about mom? How much different, like what are the rates?”
“Like how much?”
“I don’t know Rachael, how much, I mean…”
“If you don’t know, why’d you say they’re totally different?”
“Okay, well this is a bit more of an adult concern, but if you really must know Miss Smartypants, gas is completely a different price depending on what station you’re at.”
“Like, how much? They’re not that much different in price per area.”
“I don’t know Rach—like, Lidel’s is 153A’s to the liter, but if you go to Ruby X it could be like 162 or something, and if you go outside CAMBIAN it could be astronomical.”
“How are those so totally different mom, what’s astronomical?”
“What’s astronomical? Like 168 is one I saw the other day.”
“Mom there’s an average gas price in this area and in all the ‘totally’ different prices you just quoted, there isn’t more than a 15% separation from the first to the third, your most astronomical example. At most your only spending like four thousand which is like 350A’s to fill your tank–not that much. And just so you know, things are totally different when there’s a shift of close to at least like 30% or more. Plus the fact that the Capris gets 45K a liter and this car, prolly close to like 25 or 30 at best.”
“Yeah, then spend two hours in traffic and have half your tank gone by the time you get home.”
“Mom, there’s no way half a tank is spent in two hours idling even through dense traffic. Even this car is like a 20 liter carrier, if you get 25 kilometers to the liter, you’d have to have traveled equivalent to like 250 Kilometers, like almost halfway to New York! Simply in two hours of idling through a traffic jam?? I don’t think so.”
“New York is less than 250 Kilometers, way less.”
“No, it’s not, New York is like 6 or 7 hundred Kilometers from here.”
“Whatever Rachael, I go up to New York once every year, it can’t be that far. When was the last time you went to New York?”
“Mom, that doesn’t matter, believe it or not, a fact is a fact regardless of whether Rachael or Pam has visited New York, now or ever. And I assure you New York is like I think 667 Kilometers away. If we were in the Capris I would just ask Janus, bet you two days off from school, I’m right.”
“Oh God Rachael, you and your father both, always into these endless numbers. Numbers, numbers, numbers, statistics and numbers. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again–the real world isn’t as simple as a bunch of numbers or percents. And I assure you, gas is quite expensive these days.”
“That’s not what I was saying—that’s not even what we were—Forget it, let’s just get on the road…”
Pam had stopped facing her daughter a long time ago and was more than ready even before she stopped speaking.
The heavy traffic started in their neighborhood, taking five times as much as an everyday commute in terms of getting to the highway. Consequently, they passed through a detour to avoid hitting the crest of the Mountaina Village suburb, and even headed through D.C. this time to get to school.
Once they finally got out of the suburbs, office buildings and shopping centers marked their graduation into the urban environment. Rachael always tended to look up at the buildings while her mom curiously enough, never seemed to divert her attention, as scenic a ride it might be, her eyes never deviated from the road.
“Hey look mom, there’s the old Chinese parlor.”
“Oh yeah, we used to get Ice Cream there.”
“Well, ya ma, it’s an Ice Cream—Parlor.”
They passed a few hot dog stands and the CAMBIAN City Library when they suddenly found themselves stuck in traffic.
“Oh great, I’m gonna be late for work and you’re gonna be late for school,” her mom said, nodding her head, half in expectation, half in a feeling of security.
“Hey mom! Fuck! Look, there’s a guy up on the building there!”
“Rachael, enough language okay?!”
“No, seriously, Mom, look, right there!” She pointed to the very top of a tall glass office building where indeed stood a man, alone.
Pam tore her vision from out of her mental blinders long enough to take the briefest of glances. “It’s probably just some prospector.”
“Ah, it’s kinda weird mom, I never see anyone on top of those buildings.”
“I suppose you’ve kept track of exactly that building in particular.”
“Well, yeah, actually, I’ve always done that.”
She looked closer with the vision on her Switch-Light. He had on a wife-beater T and business slacks. He also appeared to be on the very edge of the building from her point of view, looking down.
“He’s gonna jump!”
“Oh come off it Rachael! More melodrama.”
She kept looking, zooming in further. He didn’t jump, just stood there.
“Actually, he’s just standing there.”
When she got to school, Dave and Linda were in their usual place underneath the staircase to the first floor by the exit doors.
“Hey Dave, Linda…”
“So how was the rest of the party? What’d you guys end up doing?”
“Eh, it petered out, everyone ended up going out to a late night diner and eating breakfast. Dave ended up hitting on one of the old bags that worked there, he is such a fiend.”
“Why the long faces guys?”
“We have an Assembly today.” said Linda as if exhaling her last breath.
“Oh Christ, are you serious? Ugh.”
“Yeah, some douche-motivational speaker.” added Dave.
Linda continued. “Wait, it’s an Assembly, I mean, isn’t that good, we’re gettin’ outta class? And I think he’s like someone famous though or something, some dude named Edwin or some shit…He’s with um, ya know something affiliated with what Jenny’s mom does, at least that’s what I heard Jenny say. Plus, apparently he’s like, Totally Hot.”
“Oh yeah? We’ll somethin’ to look at, at least? How long is it supposed to last?”
“I don’t know, like maybe an hour, I’m sure he’s not the only one speaking.”
“You guys wanna pop some Meds before class?”
“Naw, I feel like shit anyway.” said Rachael.
Linda merely waved her hand in dismissal of the drugs he was offering.
“Hey, what the hell, is that him?” Linda inquired with a brief sense of urgency.
There stood a very tall, slender man with stern broad shoulders wearing a jet-black suit and silky blood red tie. He was smiling and chatting a bit with the school Principal, Mrs. Elaine Kimsky. His smile looked inviting, but something about him kept you looking rather than simply wanting to approach him.
“Well, I’m getting wet,” Linda pointed out, adding nicely to what Rachael had been thinking.
“Yeah, Jenny said he used to be married to some model or something, very Haute Couture kinda guy.”
“Hmm. How come he’s the motivational speaker at a school like Fairview?”
“I don’t know, it’s a rich area, maybe he’s making his rounds to future lawyers, Techies and doctors and shit.”
When it came time for the Assembly, Rachael made sure she had her Switch-Light to take a picture. Her second Session teacher, Mrs. Arola, lead her class to the entrance to the theatre.
The kids shuffled into the auditorium in the manner of horses filling an oversized stable. The large Views on either side of the stage faded in and out of Ads for Bitzeri and other sub-companies. Fashion had been the Ad Theme for last month. Now it was food, and Camello’s was actually one of the Ads featured.
Rachael caught a glimpse of Ms. Deanard, her Psych teacher heading to the double doors of the auditorium.
“You guys ready to get pumped?!” Cried Dave who’d snuck up right behind Rachael.
“Fuck off Dave, this is serious,” she retorted in the most ridiculously sarcastic voice she could muster.
Consider that when you ‘Like’ or ‘Share’ someone, at least on platforms where people take their blogging seriously, you are telling them that they are effective enough for you to go in, if even for a skim, and actually thought their content of value. In turn, by modular inevitability, they will most often like or follow (share) one of your posts.
But here’s the gag: Every Like is free advertising for people who (such as on WordPress) appear with other blogs of theirs in a sample blog, right into your email. Or what happens is that the other person goes and looks at your stuff even if it is not automated like this. But the WP style email ‘Follower’ model is probably the winning stroke for now in that it is direct advertising. I wonder still when social networks start developing into enough modular societies to be able to start closing themselves off to evolve into self-sustaining micro-states. Anyway this is going to magnetize, polarize and pocket the world by means of interest and merit rather than nepotism, or ‘who you know.’
I never thought I’d be the one to say this was a good thing, that the web is in some ways actually inherently altruist in structure. (I say this, being sort of an x-objectivist.)
But I must say, the power of the reciprocal is brought with an innate and new level of pervasiveness. The Facebook ‘Like,’ the Google +1, the Stumble Upon…These are all very powerful. In the absolute very beginning of SEO for me (2005) I thought the social array of buttons were rather superfluous.
Get this: they are still the same tools, it’s just that people are taking the web more seriously, which is what I’ve been crying for, needs to happen for some time. That said, I would like to share with you what I’m discovering about the ‘Like’ paradigm to web computing in terms of ‘social’ network building. It’s happening in LinkedIn and WordPress for me now. Two rules:
1. Whatever you do for someone else, will probably be returned to you.
2. This is actually what is probably a ‘web-vortex’ Yeah, I just made up that word, and yes, I just make up words. Why? Because before the linguistic PC Nazis hijacked English, people actually put thoughts together with something called logic. Well, the ‘Like’ across all platforms is actually what I believe to be the structural implosional process of human interest into eventual or sudden pocket groups of which some might even manifest themselves geographically. That said, the Like is what you think might be a nice way to share that you liked something of interest to you and possibly be of objective or social value as well. In reality its a magnet to flatten society just as transactions are flattened in a bank account if both the bank and the consumer-Point of Sale happen in the same instant or thereabouts. Well, in the same way, what’s going to happen when you have social media tech that is so powerful that since Google has inventoried every entity on the planet, one Like could mean 15 sales. It will get to the point where everyone with talent fits in, and everyone without self-starting innate drive coupled with talent, real talent, will be on the OUTs.
This is the end of social marketing, and it is also the end of marketing.
– Copyright © Neal Cormier 2011 All Rights Reserved –
Neal Cormier is an artist and writer originally from the Washington D.C. area.
– www.NealCormier.com – His concentration is visual art–especially oil painting and graphic novel illustration.
He is also an up and coming fiction writer, of which Vesper Heliotropic is his first full length novel publication with Amazon, Barnes and Nobles (eBooks) and Lulu Inc. (for paperback & hardcover) Neal recently had a showing at National Airport in Arlington, VA (March 11 – June 25 in Terminal A). He also, and even more recently, had a first book signing for Vesper Heliotropic at The Midtown Scholar, a local hipster style bookstore in downtown Harrisburg, PA.
Neal has sold a variety of pieces to clients from around the world. His artwork has been shown in cafés, bars and galleries in New York City, Washington D.C., Paris and Alençon, France.
After high school, Neal attended the School of Visual Arts in New York City and spent four years living in both Brooklyn and Manhattan. He moved to France after this, and spent roughly about the same length of time in the region of Basse-Normandie, northern France. As a result, he speaks French and has a (tall) 9 year old daughter, Lili. He now resides back home in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania with his fiancé, Kristin.
List of Art & Media By Neal Cormier
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– Vesper Heliotropic is a general teen/adult sci-fi ebook, paperback and hardcover, and is a Steampunk(ish) serial novel. The first written publication is OUT NOW VIA LULU.com on PAPERBACK and SPECIAL-JACKETED HARDCOVER, and is available for THE AMAZON KINDLE as well as BARNES AND NOBLES NOOK EBOOKS. VESPER HELIOTROPIC, THE CRYSTAL TURBINES SERIES GRAPHIC NOVEL IS ALSO OUT NOW ON FULL COLOR GLOSSY PAPERBACK! 46 Pages Full Color Interior and Exterior – ONLY $19.99! –
Vesper Heliotropic Book I. CRYSTAL TURBINES by Neal Aaron Cormier is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License
Vesper Heliotropic Book I. CRYSTAL TURBINES © Copyright 2011 Neal Cormier All Rights Reserved
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