I refuse to wear a halloween costume to my job at the black mesa teleportation labs. If I show my co-workers that I have the ability to wear masks they might start wondering if I've been wearing one the entire time they've known me; if the awkward nerd they've long since given up on forging bonds with is actually as artificial as the condescending smiles they greet him with. There's another Jed who that nerd is sworn to protect. One who has been known to listen to Gloria Estefan and read Seventeen even though it's been at least 5 years since they took out all the tips for hooking up with boys to make room for makeup ads and articles about why you should buy more makeup.

The regularity with which I can do this Spider Jerusalem iconoclast internet journalist of the future thing is yet another reminder that my life has plateaued. Effexor blurs the jagged patterns of my working day into a medicated haze, music and caffeine never let me down when I need inspiration, and the men my girlfriend murders sustain my living death as their blood seeps through the floorboards and into the veins of my skeletal being. I remember John Steinbeck's assertion that man lives in jerks. He emerges from his cocoon and that's a jerk. He lays his embryos in the chest cavity of his still living victim and that's a jerk. I didn't like the Konami game Sparkster as a child but when I played it last week I found I could relate moments in the game to things I'd experienced grappling with the challenges of adulthood.

Concord was the setting of many of my larval stage's formative moments. On brisk november afternoons like this my friends and I would sit by the mako reactor in the town square breathing in the processed remnants of human souls and discussing what we were going to shoplift. "Doesn't it bother you that this consumerist society has hypnotized us into thinking that frivolous material possessions are worth risking jail time over?" Justin said.

"You're just jealous of these boxer shorts I stole." Josh said. "They have a tiny screen that displays random banner ads so when I'm wearing them it'll be like my groin is surfing the net."

My girlfriend, C, and I went to the sex shop on main street. "So this spermatheca will store enough worker bee sperm to last me a lifetime?" I asked the woman at the counter.

"Look at the price." C said. "You can't afford that."

"Sure I can. When my uncle died he left me 50,000 gil, although I'd give it all away to have him back."

Our conversation exploded out into the street.

"I have an embarrassing personal secret I've been meaning to tell you about." I said.

"You're a bug chaser, aren't you? I guess I can kind of understand that. Instead of living in fear of the T-virus you're taking control and dying on your own terms."

We went to the mall. "Sir, you'll have to put on your dress in the men's fitting room." the woman at JCPenney said.

"Sure, you can boss me around but there are others like me." I said. "We are the middle children of history, raised by Ragnarok Online to believe that someday we'll be e-married to level 54 mages who speak in broken english."

In Super Mario Brothers 2 you can use a red potion to create a door that makes the screen turn black when you walk through it. It got me thinking that maybe there's a part of me that's always in black screen mode and cross dressing just puts me in touch with it. You need the right accessories to pull off an outfit like mine. That's where my pink rubber spiked bracelet comes in. My pink rubber spiked bracelet isn't about wanting to be abused. It's about taking control. I can give my pain form and dimensions. I can separate it from myself and keep it from turning me into a replicant.

Some girls at the mall laughed at me. Their closed-mindedness made me want to take my collection of atlantean glyphs and smash them with my bare hands, forever depriving the world of the knowledge contained within. It's easier to laugh at something than it is to understand it. That's why humor writers are college dropouts who lack the talent to become real writers. The rain is interfering with the russian spy satellite that relays this text into my head and in a grand irony of ironies I'm stuck in the traffic jam caused by what would've been my graduation ceremony.

We went to the stable where C's pet xenomorph was boarded. It chirped in terror as C held it down to inspect a suspicious lump on its back. Something in the xenomorph's fear delighted me. My joy was the joy of a six-year-old smashing open a UAC PDA and marveling at the intricate circuitry contained within.

We had a lot of fun that day, C. The only thing that would've made it better is if you led me around the mall on a leash, if only for the comments we would've received. Are you walking your slave or is your slave walking you, etc. Maybe someday we'll have that whole master/slave equation worked out, or maybe our relationship is destined to be csg subtracted out of existence, its epitaph a hastily constructed geocities memorial site for Cloud Kirchner who died october 31st, 2004 of seven simultaneous abortions.

C and I stood in front of a machine. "This immense machine is all that remains of the once mighty rylan empire." C said. "A technologically advanced race, the rylans looked skyward and answered the call of the heavens by extending their empire across the entire universe. Little did they know that the greatest threat to their civilization wouldn't come from the stars above but from within. It seems that the ennui of life in a post-industrial society had instilled in the rylan males a desire to be female, to feel the sweet embrace of femininity - soft, silken, and wrapped around every inch of their being. This machine was going to make the rylan males' dream a reality, but on the night before its completion their entire civilization vanished without a trace. No one knows why."

"I've got some great news." I said. "My psychologist agreed to have me committed. That's always been my lifelong dream as a bondage fetishist. I mean, why pay a dominatrix for something you can get for free in a mental hospital?"

"Don't forget what happened to the slave who suddenly got everything he'd ever wished for."

"What happened?"

"He lived happily ever after."

Once again I find myself looking for a new wig. This time I want it to look as artificial as possible, my concession to the fact that even when I'm wearing a dress I'm wearing a uniform.

– Jedidiah "Jed" Kirchner (@notoriousamoeba)

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