Meet the Hellbeast that Owns Your Future
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From Dr. Bones: “How many of you live on the ‘fringe’ of this rotten society?
Are without capital, property, or power?
And how do you think your little governments will view YOU when compared to this leviathan?“
There we were, standing on the edge of everything.
We were about a mile and a half from the asphalt of State Highway 192, a long and winding stretch of road originally built in 1918 and running to what was then bunch of orange groves called Kissimmee. Much has changed since then, the fishers and farmers gone; now a life is made by hawking theme park tickets or designing death machines for Harris and Northrop-Grumman.
Huddled, herded, people everywhere in a rush to hurry up and wait. Going nowhere in particular, really doing nothing, no time to be anything but what the clock demanded.
Our camp might have well existed on another planet, miles and miles of nothing but marshland and pine trees fencing us in like fort walls from that deary world. Given a temporary reprieve of “progress” this territory was as wild today as it appeared to the Ais and the Jaega who were all wiped out over 250 years ago. In these untouched places you can still get a sense of what Florida is really about, what lies beneath all the concrete and neon signs. For now anyway. The hotels march ever inward, the suburbs continue to grow, and one day perhaps not a single orange grove will be left in a state that was known for them. That or we’ll drown.
But as long as these places remain so too will all the weirdness associated with them. It is said by the country folk that traverse these waters and forests many an odd beast still stalks and swims the hinterlands just like this, things that don’t quite fit the mold of “modern living:” Skunk Ape, two-headed birds, super hogs that stood as tall as a grown man’s shoulder and could rip his guts out in less than a second, all rumored to lie just beyond the edge of my fire.
I wasn’t worried. I doubt they were as deadly or dangerous as the beast I’d been tracking.
The one that was waiting at the pavement and would not leave me alone.
I could feel its eyes on me, even now, as I threw another palm frond on to the burning coffee branches and patted the .357 resting snugly in my pocket. Twilight was approaching and above the pine trees I could still hear the whisper of the highway and the anonymous souls traversing it. I tried to focus on anything at that point: the sound of the wind running through the pines, the hum of dragonflies and the treading of nearby deer. I thought about joining my wife in the camping hammock, resting under the blue tarp and swaying in the breeze. Out here so much of the what was “important” drifted away.
But every time I tried to lose myself, drifting into Things As They Were, the… thing… would make a noise, snapping my head back to the road where I could make out its hairy shadow. Yes, it was out there, prowling and sniffing at the trail head where our jeep was parked, buzzing like a hive of angry bees.
“Look.” I regained focus to find my wife now out of our hanging home and pointing to the edge where tree met sky. “All that light pollution. That’s coming from town.” I stood, brushing the dirt onto my pants and nervously popped in a toothpick.
“Really? This far? That’s… Jesus, what? 20 miles?”
“No wonder you can never see the stars.” I nodded, torn away from thoughts of doom to marvel at the symbol we’d become. Behind us was nothing but inky darkness, the jungle and pines now claimed by bobcats, mosquitos, and bull gators; in front of us the mechanized world of human society, its masks, roles, and social engineering. Here we were, creatures torn between two poles of evolution, making camp between the atavistic shadows of animal instinct and the bee-hive techhell of light and sophistication.
“The border,” I whispered, “that’s all I want; the frontier between the two.”
“Hm? What’d you say babe?”
“N-nothing. Nothing.” My gaze once again drawn towards the highway. From a distance I could pick up the sound of metallic teeth gnawing on the tires of my jeep, a dull grind I had heard echo in schools and prisons.
I patted the revolver, wishing I had packed silver bullets, but even then I knew I stood no chance. I made my peace with my ancestors and made a promise to go down defiant till the end.
Things that Bite
The world is much more savage than Sunday school would lead you to believe. It is filled with killers, liars, hustlers, pimps, and that’s just the folks that make the laws. Beyond the seeing eye, invisible save for the sensitives, lie the swarms and packs of negative entities.
Legends abound as to what and why these creatures are. No one can say for sure, though the magical record shows human beings have been cleansing, warding, and blessing everything in an attempt to keep them at bay. For better or worse they are a simple fact of life and, if shades questioned under full moons are to be believed, they might even hound beyond the grave.
These creatures range from hostile gluttons who hunger for suffering to mere bundles of blind motivations, but through it all the breed can be immediately recognized for its parasitic existence. The living must suffer for them to live.
The blessed can sense these creatures when a thought unlike their own takes up residence in the aura while the doomed seem oblivious to the constant sound of burrowing and munching.
“I had no idea what came over me,” says one woman. “I just kept thinking god wanted me to kill my son until finally I had to do it.”
“The house, it was always the house,” says another, “whenever we went inside we just felt sad and depressed. I kept drinking and smoking and crying but I couldn’t shake it. I knew I had to die.”
Stock and trade for the average Conjurer is chasing out evil spirits or breaking their bones; fevered words stained with Rue Water and sage smoke increase the spiritual heat until nothing negative can remain. Old school practitioners used to pop red pepper, cayenne, and sulfur in a glowing cast iron skillet to really lay the heat on thick, carrying the pan and its toxic plumes of smoke from room to room until no spirit or person could stand it any longer. You can’t kill the things of course, only chase them away and build fences to keep them out.
But how can you ward against the future?
Weird shakings had been reported near the Gods & Radicals Astral Office and as chief correspondent of the Cataclysmic Affairs section it was my job to lead an inquiry into what the fuck was going on. Reports were sketchy, rushed and hazy: some new creature had been seen grappling with the probability clouds that bring manifestation to The Ten Billion Things, a sure sign that whatever it was would soon rewrite our own plane of existence. It was big, ugly, and overwhelmingly negative; witnesses reported it had tentacles in almost every home in America and was soaking small children in ectoplasm. As the resident Hoodooman my assignment was to track the beast for a bit, to study its maneuvers and habits in the hope that it might better be killed. On the advice of my editors I made a living will in case I died during the course of my investigation.
If I die, the legally-binding scrap of napkin began, in the journalistic service of Gods & Radicals, or barring that in some low-down Reporter of Fortune capacity that walks the fine line between investigation and criminal activity, I desire that my body be left near enough to the Everglades to be feasted upon by the wild critters therein. My bones however, stripped and cleaned, are to be kept and passed to my kin and comrades as tools for summoning. My skull and hands, mask and jacket, are to be incased in some secret shrine where those seeking necromantic aid might petition favor and spectral assistance to insurrectionary activities with Sailor Jerry’s, bullets, and alligator jerky. Also please riot.
Legally secure I set out to track a creature that had no name, could change shapes, and would no doubt eviscerate what most of humanity thought “the future” was going to look like.
What I found was ghastly, horrid, and made me seriously question the idea of bringing kids into the world.
The Everything Store
It took a few days but I began to pick the up the creature’s trail, whiffreading the internet for tracks and clues. The first sign was almost imperceptible, something that meant very little to anybody outside of the grocery business.
“The U.S. Department of Agriculture is testing a pilot program this summer that will allow seven online grocery stores to accept food stamps, including online retailing giant Amazon.com”
What’s easy to forget is that Amazon is currently the world’s biggest retailer, a megalithic juggernaut that 162 million unique visitors shop with everyday. With this decision Amazon will begin to receive federal funding in the form of EBT purchases. So what?
Perhaps the better question is what kind of company are we dealing with?
Hustling across the Ether in an attempt to keep up, I came upon a foot track with crushed teeth and stains of blood all around it. Inside lay the barely recognizable corpse of a worker now one with the ferns and anthills she once walked. The claws of the creature, in some imperceptible and macabre way, almost appeared to gain strength from her pain.
“There is no independent employee voice to contest management’s demands for increased output unmatched by increases in real wages….
Amazon tags its employees with personal sat-nav (satellite navigation) computers that tell them the route they must travel to shelve consignments of goods, but also set target times for their warehouse journeys and then measure whether targets are met.
All this information is available to management in real time, and if an employee is behind schedule she will receive a text message pointing this out and telling her to reach her targets or suffer the consequences…
Workers would be reprimanded for speaking to one another or for pausing to catch their breath…
…ambulances [were] stationed on hot days at the Amazon center to take employees suffering from heat stroke to the hospital. Despite the summer weather, there was no air-conditioning in the depot, and Amazon refused to let fresh air circulate by opening loading doors at either end of the depot—for fear of theft. Inside the plant there was no slackening of the pace, even as temperatures rose to more than 100 degrees…On July 25, with temperatures in the depot reaching 110 degrees, a security guard reported to OSHA that Amazon was refusing to open garage doors to help air circulate and that he had seen two pregnant women taken to a nursing station.”
The largest retailer in the world, a company whose brutality and savagery towards its
slaves employees mixes the tactics of 19th century factories with IT-terrorism is moving into the food supply and receiving federal funding. The US government didn’t just hand Amazon access to this program, there had to be an investigation into the risks of working with them and no doubt the long history of their labor practices were mentioned.
Uncle Sam heard the complaints, nodded, and gave them approval anyway. Think about what that means for any future federal complaints in regards to labor practices, safety, or thwarted attempts at unionization.
And it got worse.
I was close, I knew that, and thought I had the thing by the tail when the creature slid into a nearby river, moving like a crocodile between a patch of mangrove trees. As I drew near its former location the smell of rotten eggs quickly became overpowering. Where the thing had been I observed strange bug wings scattered everywhere, rough claw marks in the dirt. I radioed headquarters about my progress:
I reckoned only a creature as nasty and Pazuzu-esque as Amazon could win its lustful eye, and my hunch was proved right. Amazon had just recently signed a $600 million contract with the Central Intelligence Agency to provide ‘cloud computing’ services.
This was indeed unfortunate. Amazon has access to a mystifying amount of the internet’s data—an estimated third of internet users click on an AWS-hosted site every day—and now they’d be partnering directly with a group of people who would love to have access to every bit of it. That deal was quickly followed by another—this time with the Department of Defense—for an undisclosed sum, bringing the grand total of federal agencies to four (Navy, Airforce, CIA, DoD) that Amazon directly nests with.
I was stalking a creature that received federal funding, had access to most of the Internet’s data, and was dick-deep in the pants of the military-industrial complex. People had to know.
But who could I call? Who could I tell? What news house would possibly accept the irate ramblings of a conjurer strung out on metaphor and poetic license? Maybe the same paper that broke the Watergate scandal?
Guess again—Amazon owned them too.
“The Post’s new owner, Jeff Bezos, is the founder and CEO of Amazon… But the Post’s articles about the CIA are not disclosing that the newspaper’s sole owner is the main owner of CIA business partner Amazon…
While the Post functions as a powerhouse media outlet in the Nation’s Capital, it’s also a national and global entity — read every day by millions of people who never hold its newsprint edition in their hands. Hundreds of daily papers reprint the Post’s news articles and opinion pieces, while online readership spans the world.”
Those hands and eyes reading the Post are now reading the opinions of someone heavily invested in the CIA’s future. To hurt that investment is going to cost any would-be journalist their career and as such creates a climate of silence around a bastion of State power.
“If some official enemy of the United States had a comparable situation,” says journalism scholar Robert W. McChesney, “say the owner of the dominant newspaper in Caracas was getting $600 million in secretive contracts from the Maduro government — the Post itself would lead the howling chorus impaling that newspaper and that government for making a mockery of a free press.”
Recall that WikiLeaks was booted from Amazon’s webhosting service as soon as they published State department cables and you’ll realize an editorial policy is the least of our worries.
I could no longer stay on the trail, and left the creature as it began buzzing and dancing to a tune I couldn’t hear, a song from the future that sounded like monotone beeps and a cash register opening up. Disgusted as I was one at least had to marvel at the evolutionary design, a perfect synthesis of political policy, profit, and press; an apex predator perfectly adapted to new planet shaped by “progress” that we could barely comprehend. It was this creature, not some grand humanitarian mission, that would eventually leave a worn-out planet and colonize the stars. Humanity had become a mere tool, a supplier of physical energy, just as the mitochondria in our cells had devolved from independent animal to fleshy micro-organ. I vexed mightily on what to do with all this information and decided some camping would loosen up my meridians.
It would only make things worse.
“If you are my food, how am I supposed to feel pity towards you? That would mean starvation for me.” – Bangambiki Habyarimana
Rest, relaxation, a quiet zen holiday with meditation and tai-chi maneuvers. I wanted something real and vibrant, fecund and yet virginal. I had it for a moment, but that one skyline… that once patch of blotted out stars and the inescapable feeling of watching something move toward me continues to chill the blood even as I type these words.
Out at that campsite I realized the Beast I had tracked was merely the scouting party to an even larger nest of terrible and negatives fates; that somewhere across the horizon was nothing less than a new era of human existence, a new world quietly beginning to be born, sending its drones into the world unopposed; we were all camped out at varying distances from the mouth of this hellbeast and its armies but they drew nearer everyday.
Amazon wasn’t just another Northrup-Grumman. The same people who hosted your website, sold you food, and told you what was real about the world would be monitoring your conversations and selling it to the government at a profit; the government itself, the world within a world they call the Deep State, would begrudgingly have to accept Amazon as an equal simply because they needed them.
A new god was being born, a creature above both citizen and state growing endlessly and dependent upon wholesale suffering for its entire existence.
That’s not Lovecraft, it’s our economic and political reality.
And it’s all just the beginning. Such wild and fantastic monsters will frolic freely in a neo-permian age where net neutrality is a historical footnote and the antipsychotic meds you’ve been demanded to take communicate wirelessly with your doctor. The Company Hives will stop at nothing to monitor the livestock they depend on for life. You will be owned in the most frightening aspects of the word unless we start kicking out serious reams of retaliatory magic and action.
Victory for us is still possible. In Europe 400 workers in an Italian Amazon warehouse went on strike during the peak period for ecommerce and started an overtime ban for the entire Christmas period. This was followed by sabotage and incendiary attacks by anonymous insurrectionists who declared:
“We do not want to be governed by information – and to the satisfaction of the manager’s faces, blissfully grinning at the thought of the dull masses who are storming the shops on Black Friday like controlled zombies. In solidarity with Amazon’s fighting workers and in support of Block Black Friday, we attacked three express vans labelled with ‘AZ Amazon’ and ‘drs amazon’ in various ways during the night of November 23 – burned down, stabbed tires, smeared with paint and left the call: ‘strike!’”
But that is Europe, a continent with a backbone, and in the birthplace of the beast the tone is much different. Americans have been bought and sold a thousand times over, and this time need not be any different.
Already the shuttered hives of once-great power, devastated by the loss industry, reach out as willing to be possessed: Chicago has offered to let Amazon pocket $1.32 billion in income taxes normally paid by its workers for silly things like schools and roads; Boston has offered to set up an “Amazon Task Force” of city employees working on the company’s behalf to ensure a docile and willing colony; Fresno promises to funnel 85 percent of all taxes and fees generated by Amazon into a special fund for the city to spend at the company’s discretion.
“Rather than the money disappearing into a civic black hole, Amazon would have a say on where it will go,” Fresno’s economic-development director told the Los Angeles Times. “Not for the fire department on the fringe of town, but to enhance their own investment in Fresno.”
How many of you live on the “fringe” of this rotten society?
Are without capital, property, or power?
And how do you think your little governments will view YOU when compared to this leviathan?
Amazon is a sign, a mega-corporation that TODAY rivals the imagination of the most pessimistic sci-fi writers. It is already crawling and feasting on human blood, fused almost totally with the State, and rather than fight it America sees it as a savior.
How long until creatures like Amazon rule the streets and swamps of Earth? How much longer until such behavior and practices become the norm? When will this stop being OUR planet and start being THEIRS?
Home now, far away from the woods. I sit in complete silence and tune my ear to etheric winds as my wife works a closing shift on Thanksgiving. I can’t help but chuckle at the irony of Conservative America decrying the loss of a “traditional way of Life” as Black Friday eats colonial holidays once held sacred, themselves a celebration of the murder of even older ways of life. The fools cry foul at the slaughter but cannot glimpse the hands that kill. They’re upset now that the hands are no longer their own.
When the Spanish met the Tequesta, the Calusa, and the Tocobaga, the people of Florida couldn’t have known everything was about to change; they couldn’t see the disease on the sailor’s bodies or the darkness in their hearts. Today not a single one of them lives. Almost every trace of the indigenous souls that called this peninsula home has been destroyed. Erased. Devoured. Reduced from people to objects in the way of some grand imperial dream.
A wizard knows time to be cyclical. I have seen the new pilgrims, watched them fly and paw at my window even now. The insect creatures, bristling with fiber-optic cables, describe their work today as “missionary” in nature, just like the Spanish did so long ago. They will usher in a new age marked by gibbering maws feasting freely on people reduced to data…
…all under the flag of an empty, orange smile.
Dr. Bones is a Hoodoo-slingin’ Florida native and Egoist-Communist spitting pure vitriol and sorcerous wisdom at a world gone mad. He lives with his loving wife, a herd of cats, and a house full of spirits.
His poltergasmic politics and gonzo journalism can be found at Gods & Radicals and The Conjure House. He can be reached by email, twitter, or facebook. Want to do him a favor? Help keep him alive for as little as $4.99 a month.
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