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per amica silentia lunae

or, across the ferny brae with the evil voodoo celt

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...and I will give him the morning star.
The Purple Sage opened his mouth and moved his tongue and so spake to them and he said:
The Earth quakes and the Heavens rattle; the beasts of nature flock together and the nations of men flock apart; volcanoes usher up heat while elsewhere water become s ice and melts.

And then on other days it just rains.

Indeed do many things come to pass.

A certain bid has been accepted for Intercon Mid-Atlantic. Not so much a "What were you thinking?" as a "What? Were you thinking?" decision on their part... heh heh heh

In honor of this momentous and horrifying occurrence, I present the following record of some of my experiences during the creation of said game:

"Eggs are Poison to Gnomes!" - L Frank Baum

The egg hit the back of my neck at the same time as the bottle flew past my left ear and shattered on the street, spraying the crosswalk with a dubious fluid. The white truck (or was it an SUV?) fishtailed wildly, horn blaring and drunken yahoos hooting, as it sped away past the baroque madness at the front of Caesar's Palace.

"Jesus tits," I muttered. I was too stunned to even be angry.

"What the fuck was that?" interactivearts had gotten spattered, too, but relatively little.

"An egg. At least it was raw, and fresh... fucking morlocks..." I tried to scrape goop off my leather jacket and out of my hair, but it was futile.

"You were lucky," replied interactivearts. "Look at it this way: it could've been the bottle. Or a molotov. I guess it's the local pastime, egging tourists."

"They were probably from Egg Harbor... some kind of local initiation, a violent rite of manhood. I suppose I'm lucky- it could've been springtime. Then I would be marked for some kind of heinous fertility ritual involving stone phalli."

All in all, it was not a good sign. The vibes were getting ugly- it seemed that the immune system of this grotesque seaside temple of Mammon was becoming aware of us, and ponderously deciding that we did not Belong and must be Rejected.

We had come to Atlantic City on a stealthy mission of intellectual piracy- sweeping in below their radar in order to roost above the Boardwalk and stoke our muses on the sights, sounds and smells of desperation and wretched excess that pervaded the entirety of the casino strip.

So far, we had received rich reinforcement; plenty of fuel for our inspiration. The dwarf working the floor of the Taj Mahal; the mysterious realistic latex penis that we discovered in a dollar store that apparently sold nothing at all like it; the window between the bedroom and the shower/jacuzzi stall in our suite- all of these and more fed our feverish imagination. Even the pervasive ugliness of the town had helped: its string of "Cash For Gold" joints, go-go bars (like the misnamed "Naked City") where the tired-looking dancers wore nothing more provocative than bikinis, and greasepit all-night pizza parlor/package stores...

We felt no danger of discovery by the hotel staff- the other suites on our floor were filled with baboon-packs of young males who seemed to be occupying themselves with alcohol abuse, barbaric yammering, and non-consensual sodomy. ausir suggested breaking in on them and bombarding them with grapefruit and bottles of "Hank's Root Beer", but we dissuaded him.

There was room for license in our den, the consumption of dubious pharmaceuticals, bursts of manic creativity and laughing jags. Loud, disturbing music, freakouts in the jacuzzi, and a convincing demonstration of voodoo fellatio- they all seemed to go unnoticed. We were siphoning off the toxic fumes of Atlantic City, and transforming them through deviant alchemy into something fine and crazed.

But now it was obvious that the tide was turning. Even though we had kept our most extreme behavior in the room, the five of us had been on several expeditions at street-level, openly mocking the sacred cult of money and ranting in a fashion that had clearly alarmed the bovine tourists and pallid retiree fruit-machine junkies that were the normal transient population. roenmcgloane had carried on a shameless erotic dialogue with her favorite slot machine, causing several iron-haired matrons to clutch their pacemakers and hobble away. Surreal humor, unabashed sexuality, irony, objectivity- such are not highly valued in Atlantic City; they foul the gears of the Way Things Are Done.

There is a monstrous metaphor for this Way, right under your nose on the Boardwalk. The Sands and Claridge casinos are set back several hundred yards from the ocean, but are connected to the beachfront by an elaborate skywalk. Inside this well-lit and Muzak-infested tube, a moving sidewalk sucks you up and takes you to right to the casinos. It only goes one way, and you have to walk all the way back. This calculated and degrading system of sheep-shearing is only one step from the structure of a slaughterhouse.

Confronted with this kind of blatant and callous treatment of people as livestock, the imagination has few choices. You can always snap, run off into the night shrieking "the Emperor has no clothes!", and get pounded in like any other nail that dares keep its head up. Or you can wink and nod, dub it the "Gambler Intake Pipe", and file the memory for future reference while you make a beeline back to the hotel room for more absinthe.

But there had been no sign of overt hostility from the city when interactivearts and I had sallied forth at 2am so he could walk off his alcohol-fueled restlessness and I could keep him from getting a tattoo (or at least exercise right of refusal on location and subject). We had been peaceful enough, even dispensing alms and giving directions to a rabble of drunks in quest of an open bar. Public consumption of tequila had not even raised any eyebrows. The attack by rogue primates hurling hen-fruit had come as an utter surprise.

As we hunched back to the hotel past a drunken hooker shrieking obscenities and ignoring her humiliated john, we were subdued. Every stimulus made us want to get back undercover so we could plot our escape. The final straw was the dingy doorway that had been decorated ritualistically with mutilated plum tomatoes, several of them lined up in marching order at the bottom of the door. Don't freak out, don't let on you've noticed... Mustn't run... act like being egg-spattered happens to us all the time and we saw nothing in that doorway... attract no attention... act like nothing's wrong...

We made it to the room in safety and I actually got some sleep. bigblackmimesis woke up at oh-dark-thirty and I ejected him from the room so I could sink back into slumber- he tried to be quiet, but his constant low-level chittering and rustling kept jerking me back awake. He returned in an hour or so to report a dreamlike journey during which he was accosted by a Rasta who wanted a cigarette and/or some cheese. bigblackmimesis had also seen the doorway, and babbled something about a Mansonesque message of doom written there. interactivearts and I had seen nothing of the sort. Apparently, we had interrupted something, and were lucky to have escaped with our lives.

We checked our with no problems, but I still feared trouble. As we went for our cars, I expected to hear an uncouth bellow of "Pigfucker!!" from the top of the garage, followed by a barrage of empty bottles and half-bricks, but things remained calm. We even tempted fate by reparking on the street and making one last visit to the Taj. No incidents worth reporting, just a wino sprawled and comatose at the foot of one of the elaborate staircases, and a whooshing noise from under the Boardwalk that sounded disturbingly like an organic subway train pulling into a station. bigblackmimesis ventured under the poor old Steel Pier (currently parasitized by Trump's decadent Moorish fantasia), returning with a manic grin on his face, and no clear explanation of his behavior. The miasma shrouding the scene began to become a steady rain, and we took it as our signal for departure.

As our little convoy progressed slowly up Pacific Avenue, we noticed that the tomatoes were still in the doorway. No sign of a message now, but the glass panels of the door were broadly smeared with something grayish and translucent. We shuddered and drove on.

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

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Let me say that I'm disturbingly intrigued by said bid. Kind of like waiting for a horrible yet glorious car wreck to happen in a few months.

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