Eat the Rich (The Invention of Crime) [2011]

Five years ago, I wrote a grotesque/brutalist political piece for the second issue of my sex-and-death zine Mass Culture. This was inspired by the absurd impossibility of finding steady, long-term, financially independent employment in recession-era NYC armed with little more than a Bachelor of Fine Arts, a couple of arts-related on-campus college internships, and increasingly worthless certification in a handful of types of proofreading. Meanwhile I was (and still am) surrounded by America’s obsessive celebrity culture in which dull, vulgar people are considered endlessly fascinating because they were born into money and fit certain benchmarks of physical attractiveness–and behavior that would be considered boorish, crude, and outright despicable in real life is considered absolutely hilarious when broadcast on a screen and performed by someone who can quite literally afford to be an asshole.

Among the collage images I used for this piece was a photo of a certain poorly-tanned, self-caricaturing business buffoon, lifted from an inadvertently sinister ad for his failed venture in selling branded luxury meat.

I’ve maintained from the start that I’d prefer to keep much of Mass Culture off the internet, for various reasons, but the issue in which this piece appeared has been out of print for a few years now and given the current political climate, it has gained new relevance. (It’s also worth noting that, the day after the election, I started writing a Kafkaesque dystopian satire also set in “the Great Nation”: I had completely forgotten I’d already used the term here.)

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The Spectral Golem

The Spectral Golem by LC von Hessen

Now available for purchase: “The Spectral Golem,” a horror/science fiction short story in chapbook form. Limited to 50 numbered copies.

As previously mentioned, I initially wrote this in 2012 to submit to a “steampunk Cthulhu”-themed anthology from which it was ultimately rejected. I’ve since heavily revised this story and expanded it to almost twice its original length.

“The Spectral Golem” centers on a fairly typical Lovecraftian protagonist–that being a sheltered, introverted, and rather neurotic young man engrossed in scientific studies–who has recently joined an enigmatic secret society in the hopes of advancing his academic career. He travels from his lifelong home of Arkham to the unfamiliar environs of 1913 Chicago in order to attend the unveiling of a mysterious machine built in service to the above-mentioned society–and needless to say, shit gets weird.

Speaking of which, this was consciously written in a somewhat florid style in the manner of the old-school turn-of-the-century “weird fiction” that inspired it–so those who are only familiar with my more pared-down prose, e.g. Victimizer, might end up rather confused if that isn’t really their thing. I will say that there’s about as much Kafka as Lovecraft in this story, especially in some moments of absurd humor that come largely at the protagonist’s expense.

Copies are $7 each plus shipping ($3 US, $6 international). Send payment via PayPal to LCvonHessen [at] gmail [dot] com along with a mailing address. I don’t currently have an ebook option, though I’m aware this is something I should look into.

The Update That Shall Not Be Named

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UPDATE: On 20 August, I’ll be selling copies of Victimizer and prints of some of my drawings, including previous covers of Mass Culture, from 6PM to midnight at the HP Lovecraft Birthday Celebration at (appropriately enough) Lovecraft Bar NYC. (The fact that a bar exists in Lovecraft’s name is pretty amusing in itself since the man was a rather staunch teetotaler, if I recall correctly.) Also featuring short films, readings, music, and art from other people who are not me and probably have more fans than I do.

For added incentive, I’ve been revising and expanding a short story called “The Spectral Golem” that I wrote four years ago and (unsuccessfully) submitted to a “steampunk Cthulhu” compilation back then. Assuming my printer cooperates, I hope to debut some hard copies for sale at the above event. (Jaded naysayers might keep in mind that “steampunk” at its best simply refers to speculative fiction set between the Industrial Revolution and Edwardian era rather than generic goth club/aggrotech accessories painted brown and bronze with some stray gears arbitrarily glued on.)

Also, on the subject of steampunk and/or weird fiction: lately I’ve been really into a Steam RPG called Sunless Sea. Set in an alternate-universe maritime Victorian London and surrounding environs, it’s extremely well-written (in a manner that encompasses both a genuine embrace of cosmic horror and tongue-in-cheek fun-poking at its typical tropes), atmospheric, casually inclusive in terms of race and gender, and dangerously engrossing.

JEREMYTHOS

[Written for a private social event with the theme of “Jeremy.” Yes, it was deliberately left vague.]

Jeremy's spirit animalMeet Jeremy. Jeremy enjoys point-and-click adventure games, solitary walks in the woods, and mildly-absurdist humor that isn’t too mean-spirited. Jeremy stands about 5’10” and has mild astigmatism. Jeremy’s first pet was an excitable Pekingese dog that is now buried in the family backyard next to the tool shed. Jeremy grew up in the suburbs but was quite insistent on attending college in the city. By Jeremy’s freshman year, he was undecided about whether to major in engineering or philosophy.

In fact, among Jeremy’s ancestors was the 18th-century English philosopher and social reformer Jeremy Bentham, for whom Jeremy was named (at least according to his maternal grandfather, who was not always known to tell the truth). Among Bentham’s claims to fame was the fact that after his death, his mummified head and clothed, padded skeleton were posed upright in a glass case on display at University College London. Jeremy had seen pictures of this display as a child, struck by the glossy unblinking stare of his ancestor’s head, with its mottled flesh and the pair of blue glass eyes plugged into its leathery sockets. For awhile, little Jeremy would lie awake in the dark at bedtime, afraid that on some future family vacation to London the dead man would take notice of his descendant and offer a slow, sinister wink with a smile spreading across his shriveled lips.

Jeremy was almost named “Chad.” The name “Chad” conjures images of an arrogant boy in a polo shirt with frosted tips and muscular biceps. Jeremy is not a Chad.

name-danger-but-can-call-jeremyAt one point when he was about ten years old, another kid at school approached him and said in that sneering tone peculiar to school bullies: “Hey, Jeremy! I saw a video of your dad.” Jeremy wondered how that was possible since his dad was an accountant and not, like, a weatherman. The kid pulled out a VHS tape featuring a faded image of a hirsute, heavyset man wearing overalls, a red beret, and comically large white gloves: he appeared to be dressed up like Super Mario and didn’t look much like Jeremy’s dad at all. He was posed and grinning in a way that made Jeremy confused and slightly uncomfortable. There was also an almost-naked lady on the box. Somehow Jeremy didn’t think this Mario Brothers movie was an officially licensed Nintendo tie-in.

“See? That’s your dad, right?” sneered the kid with the VHS tape. The man on the box apparently had the last name of Jeremy, because the school bully seemed to be confused about how family names work. Jeremy knew he was supposed to be embarrassed about this tape somehow, but he wasn’t sure why, and was embarrassed about that fact instead.

Most of the tedious schoolyard mockery around Jeremy’s name stemmed from Pearl Jam’s “Jeremy” music video or the deliberate mispronunciation of his name as “Germy,” despite the fact that Jeremy’s prepubescent-boy hygiene was actually pretty adequate.

In third grade, one of Jeremy’s classmates was also named Jeremy. This other Jeremy was a spindly boy with a bowl cut, a freckle-spattered face, and eyes set a bit too widely apart. At recess, they used to play-act their own TV program called “The Jeremy Show,” pictured as a variety show with a jaunty theme song. Jeremy would dance on a wooden playground bridge, imagining he was backed by velvet curtains and stage lights, while the other Jeremy sat on the gravel and laughed. In the inadvertently totalitarian universe they had conceived, viewers would be forced to watch The Jeremy Show or else face the punishment of having a television physically strapped to their heads while episodes of the show played nonstop for hours, prefiguring Jeremy’s brief sophomore-year friendship with a tiresome alt-right poli-sci major. By the time they reached middle school, the other Jeremy would roll his eyes and sigh whenever Jeremy spoke, disdaining Jeremy’s lack of knowledge about pop-punk.

hbjeremyontopJeremy wouldn’t encounter a fellow Jeremy again until midway through college. He was at a party and had just eaten a couple of pot brownies. “Hey,” said Jeremy’s friend Jennifer, accompanied by a reserved-looking young man wearing a track jacket zipped all the way up. “Say hello to Jeremy.” She then disappeared to dig a beer out of the fridge.

“Hi,” said Jeremy. “I’m Jeremy, too.”

“Oh. Cool,” said the new Jeremy. A few beats of silence ensued. “Want to have sex?”

“Uh. Okay,” said Jeremy.

Jeremy is predominantly heterosexual, with a particular preference for buxom redheads, but is open-minded under the right circumstances.

The two Jeremys disappeared into a spare bedroom and started to make out atop the host’s mattress. The new Jeremy tasted like peppermint gum with a trace of Marlboros. Jeremy didn’t think kissing a man was so bad. The fact that the man was another Jeremy made it somehow comforting.

The new Jeremy had unbuckled his belt and unzipped his jeans while making no move to disturb his track jacket. Jeremy noticed the new Jeremy had a full hard-on while Jeremy himself was only slightly erect.

Jeremy once thought he was asexual because he was in bed with a girl he found incredibly gorgeous but remained peculiarly flaccid at the pertinent moment. He wondered at the time if perhaps his perception of women as “attractive” was purely an objective appreciation of aesthetic symmetry, and sexual arousal was simply the neutral result of bodily reactions to pleasant physical stimuli. But it turned out that this was just a temporary condition caused by weed and whiskey dick.

Jeremy’s penis is nicknamed “Remy.” This is a shortening of his given name and this is also too embarrassingly silly to tell anyone else. The name is a relic of Jeremy’s teenage existentialist phase in which he was reading a lot of grim French literature, attempting to look good in a black turtleneck, and bribing his older cousin to buy him packs of cloves even though he never really got the hang of being a smoker.

The new Jeremy squeezed Jeremy’s ass through his boxer-briefs and quietly said, “You know what our name means, right?”

Jeremy didn’t know if he was trying to be flirtatious or something. “Um, I dunno. What?”

“It’s derived from ‘Jeremiah.’ It means ‘the Lord loosens.’” The new Jeremy sounded so deeply serious that Jeremy started to chuckle and then laugh uncontrollably, and this is why Jeremy has never yet had sex with a man.

name-jeremy-but-for-almightyA few nights ago, Jeremy had a dream—or perhaps woke up in the middle of the night and assumed he was still dreaming, because the truth could have shattered his sanity. A young man surrounded by a glowing aura sat in Jeremy’s desk chair, idly squeezing the liver-shaped stress ball Jeremy had received from a course on alcohol abuse during freshman orientation. Stray locks of the stranger’s hair seemed to waft about his head in slow, viscous tendrils, like strands of sea-bed algae buoyed by ocean waves.

He noticed Jeremy was awake. Jeremy noticed that the stranger looked very familiar.

“Why, hello, Jeremy!” said the stranger.

Jeremy rubbed his eyes. “Um. Hey? What’re you doing in my room?”

“Why, I’m you!” the young man said with a broad grin. “I’m the Jeremy from the 14th dimension!”

“Oh. Uh. Hi,” said Jeremy. He thought for a moment. “You’re not, like, some Bizarro-Jeremy who’s gonna take over my life and embarrass me in front of my friends or something, are you?”

Alternate Universe Jeremy laughed with good nature. “No, no: I have no need of such a thing. Friend Jeremy, in my dimension, I’m the Grand Duke of five planets on the outskirts of the Voxon galaxy! I have mastered the secrets of artificial intelligence such that I have built a small army of robot offspring who can fall in love with other robots and build their own robot children! I have streamlined interspacial and undersea travel to an extent that I lived peacefully among the tormented dreams of the great tentacled God-Beings lurking comatose at the furthest depths of the outmost Hellworlds! I have come to you today thanks to a breakthrough in non-Euclidean geometry enabling seamless transdimensional travel!”

“Oh, so I . . . I guess I probably should’ve majored in engineering,” Jeremy muttered.

“Friend Jeremy, I don’t seek to appropriate your life. Rather, I wish to share my riches of experience with you! Come with me and I’ll show you the great jewel-encrusted waterfalls of Cartagra, the mellifluous volley of centaur hooves across the floral meadows of the Grand Oppkander, the Molten City of Beetlemen built inside the heart of the colossal volcano on the purple moon of [inarticulate squealing noise]! Come with me, Jeremy, and you will know facets of the universe unknown to any and all earthbound Jeremys tethered to your dimension!” Alternate Universe Jeremy held out a hand with perfectly manicured nails.

Jeremy blinked. “Uh . . . I don’t know, man. That seems like kind of a lot of pressure. I mean, I’ve got a lot on my plate right now. Like, I’ve got this paper due on Tuesday, and plus I said I would bring a casserole to this potluck for my friend’s housewarming party and I’m not real confident in my baking skills. So, um, maybe ask again around summer break or something?”

Alternate Universe Jeremy shrugged with an accommodating smile. “Oh well. Suit yourself!” And he flew out of Jeremy’s room, through the window and up into the stars, on a sled guided by rainbows.

Nobody at the housewarming party complained about Jeremy’s casserole, so he assumed it was a success.

Can Boys Make Noise, Too?

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Noise is a perpetual girls’ club, you say? Every show more of a clambake than a sausage fest? Not so! In recent years, men have been making inroads into the genre pioneered by such luminaries as Jarboe and Cosey Fanni Tutti. I’ve noticed a slowly increasing number of guys at shows, and some of them aren’t even there with their girlfriends! One new artist I checked out has proven that noise isn’t just for ladies any more.

I recently saw newcomer Verbis Diablo performing in support of his recent album Poison Pen, which consists of power electronics in the vein of other young male noise artists like Debased God and Lawnmower!Lacerated!Labia.

To be honest, I didn’t expect much from this guy when he first came onstage. Verbis Diablo is a one-man PE project consisting of a skinny, twinky, white prettyboy in his early twenties: with those tattoo sleeves, that Boardwalk Empire haircut, and that snug-fitting Fred Perry polo, I figured he’d be yet another ex-hardcore trendhopper who only got into noise after he read some article on Brooklyn Vegan or his girlfriend gave him a Puce Mary tape. But he ultimately impressed me with his command of that table full of fancy pedals he must’ve bought with Mommy’s money (although, ugh, digital processing, dude? Do you even analog? Guess he’s still a novice with electronics), and overall I was pleasantly surprised by his set. He gave off a noticeable masculine energy that distinguished him from the sea of female noise musicians. It’s kind of inspiring that men in noise are finally bringing something productive to the table.

Less interesting were his vocals, which consisted of repeated screaming at the audience: it was sort of ridiculous coming from such a handsome college boy. Why so much anger so young, dude? What would a good-looking guy like him have to be so upset about? Did his girlfriend just dump him? Maybe he was molested or something…? It was a little difficult to take seriously and he was clearly trying very hard to prove something to us. But hey, he’s young yet. Once he grows out of this adolescent phase, I think Verbis Diablo has the potential to be just as good as any woman noise musician.

Now, some would say there’s unfair bias against men in the noise scene, but I believe discrimination is only there if you put it there. I don’t see gender: I only care about talent, thank you very much.

Noise tables.That’s why I think you should really give your attention to Verbis Diablo instead of that other buzzed-about name in boy noise, the infamous Purgative. This little trust-fund prince is SO vastly overrated, you’ve got to wonder how much snatch he had to lick to get all those headline gigs and positive press.

I know it’s the elephant in the room, but let’s keep it real here: people are only into Purgative because he’s a beefcake with washboard abs. If he didn’t have a dick, nobody would care about his artsy version of “death industrial.” (And judging by the crotch bulge in a recent photo from one of his shows, I think it’s pretty clear that Purgative’s true appeal lies more in his jeans than his quaint little suitcase of gear.)

Everybody knows Purgative only got his big break because his girlfriend—who is herself a well-established noise musician—used to write for Pitchfork and hooked him up with a good review. Plus, he’s only been making noise for about ten years, yet people are acting like he’s some kind of veteran of the scene. Meanwhile other, far more talented artists (including a few men, FYI) toil in obscurity for decades, releasing limited-edition tapes out of their own basements without a fraction of the same publicity. Purgative isn’t really in it for the music: he’s only gunning for female attention and flaunting his hipster appeal with those super-cool leather jacket photo shoots for Vice. What next, playing a show backed by major corporate sponsors? It’s this sort of shit that’s killing the scene.

Granted, I haven’t actually seen him live or listened to any of his albums in their entirety, but a friend of mine (who is a man) went to one of his shows and said it was disappointing. This one track of his that I streamed on Soundcloud makes very apparent what Purgative is all about: just more moping and whining, presumably about his personal life, instead of tackling something serious and relevant like international geopolitics or string theory (which also begs the question of why noise must be “about” anything at all). Boo hoo, trendy art bros making emo noise: you’re totally deep and edgy. We get it. Now get over high school already and quit ruining the genre.

[This piece originally appeared on my rarely-updated Blogspot in May 2015. The Hard Times, a satirical website mostly focused on skewering punk and hardcore, recently posted an article called “Female Noise Artist Proves Women Can Be Talentless and Weird Too“: my main response to it was a certain disappointment that it could’ve been written better and with a greater knowledge of the genre. (E.g. it seems to conflate edgy power electronics tryhards with pretentious art-hipster conceptual noise, which are very different breeds of wankery.) In case it wasn’t obvious, most of the language in my own piece was directly inspired by things that have been said online about various women noise artists and female-fronted projects, including my own project Madame Deficit.]

My Disgusting Rapist Son is a Good Person

Brock Turner: yeah, this asshole again.[Dedicated to Brock Turner, Owen Labrie, and the teenage Maryville and Steubenville rapists, among others.]

Your Honor,

My disgusting rapist son is a good person.

Yes, my golden child, little 19-year-old Dirk Chadwick Higginbotham III—Ivy League lacrosse champion, prospective heir to my seat in the Senate, aspiring rapper under the name “DC Higgs,” and unrepentant perpetrator of sexual assault—will never be the same after the events of the night in question. The night when, flush with the victory of his sporting comrades over those sniveling fools at Columbia, his orange-tanned cheeks glowing an unhealthy pink with the manly non-craft swill he had downed at a fraternity gala, darling Dirk was found thrusting into the supine frame of a defenseless young woman lying unconscious in an alleyway, penetrating her motionless body as she drifted in and out of vague consciousness in a state of confusion and terror—and not only was he witnessed and restrained by complete strangers, but had also Instagrammed himself crouching beside the girl’s body with a shit-eating grin and a thumbs up, captioned “Yo wut up bros my name is Dirk and im totally gonna rape this bitch [winking smiley face],” thus precluding any sincere attempt at a he-said-she-said defense.

Good gentlemen of the court, none of this means that my disgusting rapist son is a rapist. And I humbly beseech you not to use that word to describe my disgusting rapist son, because it hurts his feelings real bad.

As it stands, the natural social and legal consequences of sexually assaulting and degrading an unconscious victim have already been very hard on him. Young Dirk’s happy-go-lucky demeanor, his smug sense of unearned entitlement, and his gleefully sneering use of homophobic slurs have all been dampered by the fallout of these events. Even his once-carefree attempts at sexually harassing our Oriental housemaid now seem lackluster and forced.

Dearest Dirk was once an adept mixologist ever eager to prepare a cocktail for his dear old dad after a long day of filibustering. “Boy!” I would shout paternally, settling my haunches on a tigerskin easy chair forged by my grandfather on safari, “Fetch me a drink or I’ll liquidate your hedge fund!” (This was our little in-joke, you see.) But I am shocked and aghast to note that, in the wake of the incident in question, his gimlets have been a touch too dry!

Perhaps most insidiously was what occurred upon my most recent visit to the country club with my disgusting rapist son in tow. After a hearty round of golf, yachting, and aimlessly whacking golf balls off the sun deck of our yacht while cackling with the mad abandon of the unsung white millionaire, we proceeded to the clubhouse’s all-male water closet to relieve ourselves in tandem. Your Honor, while standing together above the gold-plated urinal trough, I observed that the once proud, racehorse-like flow of virile piss that used to gush forth from the flaccid confines of my progeny’s privy member had been reduced to a meagre trickle of urine, mere droplets clinging sadly to his frenulum, to be shaken awkwardly into the drain rather than proudly splashing against the imported marble. I think you’ll agree that the boy has suffered enough.

Dear sirs, my disgusting rapist son is not predisposed to violence: he’s always been more of a verbal abuser. When his prolonged campaign of psychological manipulation led a former girlfriend to attempt suicide in front of him, I assure you it made him think very hard about stuff for a couple of minutes. He also has no prior criminal record: I’ve done my goshdarnedest as a father to ensure the proper tidbits of my ample fortune passed into just the right hands. And his character is impeccable: according to the esteemed science of physiognomy, his high forehead, cold fishy eyes, impish button nose, acne-riddled cheeks, and poorly-shorn pubestache indicate a noble and lofty character marked by great intelligence and natural charisma. My disgusting rapist son is beloved by his community: why, not long before the incident in question, a female of his acquaintance captioned a Facebook photo of one of his charming blackface impersonations with not one, not two, but three smiling faces with hearts for eyes!

Why, I think this whole “rapist” business is just political correctness gone haywire. When I was Dirk’s age, 15 minutes of the old in-out wouldn’t even merit 15 hours in a holding cell. Everyone knows that “consent” is simply a meaningless feminazi buzzword meant to keep red-blooded young American men from getting laid, much as “menstruation” is a fiction invented by the liberal establishment as an excuse for the duplicitous female to turn down the rote humping of passionless married sex with a serial philanderer. I tell you, I must have done the exact same thing as my disgusting rapist son countless dozens of times in my storied youth, and now I’m a successful, responsible father with a law degree, a Panama Papers offshore account, a position of immense political power over the life circumstances of total strangers, a former trophy wife who has been too whittled down by years of gaslighting and prescription opiate abuse to request a divorce, and several mistresses and harassed interns whose silence I duly purchase as any mature man of obscenely unearned wealth should.

The real crime here is the fact that my disgusting rapist son failed to heed my advice: that if a strapping young fellow wishes to engage in some good old-fashioned politically incorrect penetration, he should seek out one of my many friends’ private stables of underage non-English-speaking illegally-trafficked girls who are too fearful of deportation to approach the police. I’ll have you know that my disgusting rapist son aspires to become a surgeon, where he would have access to unconscious, nonconsenting, properly anesthesized women within the sanitary confines of a hospital, not a filthy alley surrounded by leaking sacks of garbage in which he could potentially have knelt into a used needle and contracted some crude social disease.

In my day, we knew that “rape” was only committed by rapists. A real rapist is a brawny, uncouth-looking, and inarticulate man of suspiciously dusky complexion who has never earned above six figures in his life and who spends the better part of his days and nights skulking behind bushes with gravity knife or billy club in hand, eager to drink the obscenely spilt blood of a virginal young lady of impeccable breeding in sacrifice to his heathen Rape God. Being a rapist is a sort of career in itself: that’s why they’re all on welfare.

My disgusting rapist son is no rapist: he’s just a healthy young lad! Men, as the rational sex, must be forcibly restrained from inserting their throbbing members into the unplugged apertures of any adjacent female body. It’s just science! This, of course, is why any sensible adult man of enterprise wears a stainless steel chastity codpiece when going out-of-doors: my own fits quite comfortably over my scepter and family jewels within the tailored confines of my Savile Row executive trousers. Why, I fondly remember my grandfather proclaiming, “Welp, time to truss up the ol’ twig and tackle,” reaching for a lacquered jock strap carved from a single piece of ivory before heading out for drinks at the Oddfellows Club.

Likewise, a true lady of virtue who does not wish coitus to be sprung upon her person at any time must expend all of her energy repelling the advances of surrounding men, who, as members of the noble and intellectual sex, are completely unable to control their cocks. Had the “victim” not secretly wished to have been molested by my disgusting rapist son, she would have used every iota of her remaining strength to cover up her panty-clad hellmouth as she slid into unconsciousness, up to and including burrowing her entire body into the soil in the manner of a grub; or, failing that, when my son drew near, the sheer force of her virtue would have caused her index finger to etch into the dirt at her side: “Sir, I must humbly apologize, but my hymen has been promised to another.”

Dear sirs, the only real perpetrator here is the scourge of the Bottle. It is common knowledge that the ingestion of alcoholic spirits is a direct pathway for the Devil and His minions to enter the righteous male body and, passing through the kidneys before coursing into the urethra, shamelessly possess his good Christian penis, urging it to behave in wicked fashion which would otherwise be completely alien to his nature. My disgusting rapist son has done nothing wrong: his manhood was temporarily hijacked by the diabolical puppet-strings of Beelzebub, the ruddy jaws of Lucifer bleating an infernal jazz rhythm within the pulse of his blood-engorged penile veins! In fact, as he has recently confided to me, he is exceedingly willing to become a youth pastor and spend several hours of each day privately counseling nubile teenage girls about the lurid consequences of promiscuous sex and the Demon of Drink.

In conclusion, I offer the example of my colleague and former law school classmate Theodore Robert Bundy, whose tragic addiction to pornography led to the permanent derailing of a promising legal career. “Teddy, my boy,” I beseeched him as he sat in prison awaiting the sweet crackling embrace of Old Sparky, “why not take this cyanide capsule instead? It’s a family heirloom, Teddy; it once belonged to Hermann Goering. Don’t let the bastards win just because you raped and murdered a few females!” And he looked at me somberly for a few moments, and said, “Higginbotham, what are you talking about? I’m not a rapist.”

So please, your Honor, don’t resort to the overly stringent punishment proposed by the ourt: don’t suspend my disgusting rapist son from the lacrosse team for an entire semester. That’s far too harsh. If my disgusting rapist son cannot continue sportsing, he will never become a successful oligarch.

Thank you,

Sen. Dirk Chadwick Higginbotham, Jr., Esq.

Victimizer – Learning to Hunt

My debut novella, Victimizer, is now one year old. In its honor, I’ve posted the first chapter here. This is the first time it has appeared on the internet.

Victimizer, Chapter One - Learning to Hunt

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Those who would like to read the entire book are welcome to order a copy from me via PayPal at LCvonHessen[at]gmail[dot]com. $15 plus shipping ($3 US, $5 international). Be sure to include a mailing address.

13 Birthdays

Congratulations on not bei

Today is my 31st birthday. Here’s a look back at some memorable birthdays from my younger years.

1992 (Age 7): I had an Easter-themed birthday party at my house. This was the only grade-school birthday party I ever had because I was a hated shitsop of a child. The worst of that would start a few months later, though a hawk-eyed little bitchlet named Jessica W. had already randomly threatened to kill me at recess back in September if I dared come to school the next day. Never underestimate the unflinching ruthlessness of a preadolescent girl-child when the beaming mommies are out of range.

I never had any particular tie to Easter beyond enjoying the candy and egg hunts, but it was generally so close to my springtime birthday that the two often coincided. Classroom decorations for the month of my birth were either Easter-themed or, if they were trying to stay secular, featured raindrops and umbrellas indicating “April showers.” Likewise, my religious upbringing was essentially limited to assuming I was Christian just because my parents were, plus some solitary reading of the Precious Moments-brand Bible I was given by my Southern Baptist grandmother—so celebrating the resurrection of Christ didn’t factor into it, either.

With all its pastel trappings, I guess Easter seemed like an appropriate party theme for a seven-year-old girl. Plastic eggs, lace-trimmed floral-print dresses, moist-eyed cartoon images of docile baby animals. Gentle child politesse. A few months prior I’d also been made to take regular ballet lessons at a dance studio in a local strip mall: my pediatrician thought it would be a good way for a little girl to get exercise. After school, a choreographed routine scored to that bit of raspy treacle from Kevin Costner’s Robin Hood, anxiously going through the motions until ballet class was over. I distinctly remember being relieved that the ballet uniform was a simple black leotard and didn’t involve a frilly pink tutu. Even if I’d enjoyed it, I wasn’t born into the petite, compact, perpetually childlike frame of a dancer or gymnast or Olympic skater. I never had much interest in explicitly and distinctly Being A Girl.

I can only recall a handful of guests at this party. There was a girl from my cul-de-sac who was one year younger, which seemed like a vast chasm of time and experience back then. There was Heidi J., who was vaguely exotic because her mother was from Germany. There was Jennifer C., whose father had once yelled at me while his hands shook with rage around the edges of the newspaper obscuring his face after I had innocently suggested that two of her little sister’s Ken dolls were a gay couple. And there was Lauren B., who, in contemporary parlance, would be called a frenemy: a manipulative little spoiled bitch who would constantly mock my social inadequacy and lack of pop culture knowledge under the guise of “friendship,” which helped fuck up my ideas of healthy, legitimate human bonding for years to come.

We made bunny ears out of paper bags. Only Lauren went out of the way to make hers a noticeably different color. Special, special.

 

1993 (Age 8): My mother made the cheery observation that I had a couple of new freckles. This did not have the desired effect. I always hated having any freckles or birthmarks: they were essentially permanent stains on my skin. I was marked and flawed in a way I had no control over.

It certainly didn’t help that my mental health was not in the best shape due to shit going on at school. Ugly. Loser. Fight it and you prove it.

At dinner, I sullenly poked and prodded at the spaghetti that had been made for me as a birthday dinner. My mother finally asked what was wrong: I grudgingly admitted that I hated freckles. Her only response was to casually remark that they fade when you get older.

Not good enough. From then on I made a concerted effort to stay out of the sun: probably for the best, since at least three of my blood relatives have had skin cancers removed. The lack of sun damage also means I now look substantially younger and more unlined than my former high school classmates who indulged in that godawful early-aughts trend of tanning oneself a painful shade of orange.

Around the same time, I started using my fingernails to pick at the skin over any visible new freckles on my body. The idea was to create scar tissue in the outer layer of skin, which would blend with my natural pallor and obscure any hint of the dark spot that used to be there. This was generally successful. I said nothing to anyone about what I was doing, certainly not any adults. Never.

However, a few months after my eighth birthday, my mother had started to notice the nicked- and gouged-out blotches of flesh on my skinny child-limbs and took me to the pediatrician, suspecting I had some sort of skin condition. I don’t know what he told her, but it was never brought up again after that. And I learned to be more discreet.

 

1998 (Age 13): Oh, god. I think I went to Applebee’s.

This was the default restaurant where my parents would take me every Friday for the weekly Family Dinner Out when I was in 7th grade: their minor fiscal luxury and attempt at family bonding. It was the nicest restaurant in town, the lower-middle-class suburban town in the Midwest that they’d been planning on leaving (for a different, more affluent Midwestern suburb) since I was a fetus.

My parents’ main currency of affection was food and meals. They also both developed Type II diabetes during my childhood.

I was a picky eater and would only ever order the same thing at Applebee’s, which was a dish called Sizzling Stir-Fry that arrived steaming on a cast-iron skillet. I would sift out the vegetables and eat nothing but the charred chicken strips and white rice alongside a glass of Diet Sprite. For dessert, an Oreo milkshake, which my father would frequently complain was too runny when he ordered one for himself.

My parents often complained in restaurants. My mother once casually boasted of having sent back filet mignon twice in one sitting for not being rare enough. My father once snapped at a Cheesecake Factory waitress when the main course arrived while he and my mother were still eating their salads. The tail end of every dinner out would involve a detailed discussion between my parents about whether to tip 15 or 20% based on the food and service.

Most of my birthday money that year would’ve been spent on Star Trek books.

 

2000 (Age 15): A close friend wrote a poem for me.

I remember absolutely nothing else about this birthday because it was completely overshadowed by the legal ordeal I was dragged into just nine days later. My memories of being barely 15 are of sitting in enclosed boardrooms while portly middle-aged bearded men sifted through my life and tried to pluck out and reframe whichever details would make me seem the most monstrous. Having to sit there quietly with a dense miasma of Impending Doom hovering over me and extending its taut wires through my nervous system as my poorly-chosen mood ring turned black from the cold tension in my hands. Age 15.

 

2003 (Age 18): In honor of my becoming a legal adult, each of my parents had written me a brief essay on the subject. I hadn’t asked them to do this, nor had I expected it, and I found myself sitting there in one of the stiff-backed dining room chairs I’d always found so uncomfortable, unfolding the printed sheets of paper and reading in silence while my mother and father sat on either side. It formed a strained, impromptu ceremony I had to endure before going out to dinner.

The main thing I remember about each of their essays was their resigned and disappointed addressing of the well-known fact that I was planning on legally changing my name as soon as possible once I had reached adulthood. The reasons for this had nothing to do with them. The name had no power left. Which, in itself, defeats the purpose of a name, what a name should be. My full, legal name, at that point, began with a hard downward inflection as if I were being scolded or mocked, stumbled through some pinched consonants, and then petered out at the end as if squeezed through a broken bellows. It was an awkward name even if I didn’t associate it with years of being stripped apart and reassembled into a weapon against me by the gleeful little shitlords in my class.

I had already been using a different first name since 7th grade, though well into adulthood I would overhear my parents periodically slipping up and using the name they’d given me at birth. Perhaps clinging to the hopes they’d had for a baby girl with that name. As if one day I would Snap Out Of It or Grow Out Of That Phase and reveal myself as that safe, suburban daughter ideal, toothy smiles and friendly phone chats and muted Protestant makeup schemes and blushing introductions to nice young men who’d neither attempt to court me by discussing their true crime knowledge nor get admittedly aroused by my detailed fictional passages about necrophilia.

It was the last name that really bothered them, though. Especially my father, since he had no brothers and I had no siblings and thus I was the last of the line—though, confusingly enough, they also assumed I would take on my husband’s name “when” I got married anyway. I would learn years later that this family name, derived from a town in Schleswig-Holstein, had become increasingly bastardized over a few centuries in America, misspelled and mispronounced until it became essentially a nonsense word with a prefix attached. The pseudonym I now use for all my questionable art shit—von Hessen—is actually a better reflection of my ancestry than my birth name was.

As I grew up, I would quietly accept the gifts and experiences my parents thought I should have and would nod at their questions to prevent them from prying into my closely-guarded private life. Just keep your head down, don’t draw attention to yourself, go through the motions, and you’ll be left alone until you can finally go free. Remain blank and enclosed. The prison mentality. I did that now. But my change of name was an unquestionable assertion. A bizarre deviation from the script.

I filed the court papers that summer with birthday money sent by an uncle. My name change was finalized just a couple of days before I went off to college in August.

'Cause you're evil and you lie. And if you should die, I might feel slightly sad, but I won't cry.

2004 (Age 19): A birthday card in the mail. From my mother. She had designed and printed it herself on her home computer using special greeting-card paper. She was probably smugly proud of her work. The inside text: Our gift to you this year is $X00 off the debt you owe us.

My mother’s debt was imaginary and stemmed solely from fiscal resentment. The source: my college made the very stupid decision to shut down the dorms for any holiday break lasting longer than a day. A massive inconvenience for anyone, like me, who lived halfway across the country and couldn’t just take the train out to their parents’ house on Long Island and spend spring break smoking cheap weed with their shithead high school ex-bandmates. I was too afraid to ask anyone local if I could stay with them during that week, too afraid of being seen as a leech or other nuisance, too afraid I would break some unspoken social law of which I had never been made aware and be subsequently blackballed forever. So I had to request plane tickets back to the Midwest only a week or so in advance, making them more expensive than they would’ve been otherwise. This was an absolute last resort or else I would have been out on the street.

My mother did not understand how clinical anxiety works in practice. My mother did not understand that I wasn’t just an irresponsible dawdler, flaky slacker bitch, trying to inconvenience her on purpose out of thoughtless adolescent pique. My mother, a preschool teacher, thought I hadn’t learned anything about Real Life unless she had explained it to me in slow, overly-enunciated tones, or until she had devised a lesson plan of sorts. A Learning Experience. This was generally an arbitrary punishment of household labor or financial withholding.

My mother assumed that her abrupt imposition of debt on an unemployed trust-fund-free college student was a sound and rational decision. That she was not acting from resentment or embarrassment or the lingering psychological remnants of her own controlling, penny-pinching mother, her relative youth racking up her own debts that were only paid off during her late marriage, her possible subconscious indignation that her twilight years’ comfortable middle-class earnings were being slowly pissed away on her sole, unexpected child of middle age, pinching pennies for the upkeep of this baffling and insufficiently daughterish daughter instead of cruise trips and gourmet steaks and safety. My mother assumed her punishment was correct and just, solely because she was the seasoned adult here. As a seasoned adult myself now, I still know that she was wrong.

This cut so deeply that I never wanted to celebrate another birthday again. Because I was 19 and the years seemed so much longer and the acute emotions, the sharp pains, so permanent.

 

2005 (Age 20): I went to see Death In June at the Pyramid Club. They had been among my all-time favorite bands since my freshman year, introduced through a sporadic series of mp3s sent by my friend Dave S. through Instant Messenger. So this was especially good timing.

The show took place during a couple of back-to-back time slots in the mid-afternoon: I was at the later show, which began at 4:30. The location was only announced about a week in advance due to fear of protests or sabotage. Remember that this was some years before Death In June’s unexpected adoption by Brooklyn hipster-goths who had gotten bored with witch haus, before one could stumble across Tumblr reposts of studiously bored lavender-haired models wearing oversized bootleg t-shirts of the DIJ whip-hand logo nonsensically paired with unicursal hexagrams.

I wore an army overcoat with a blue crushed-velvet skirt, black lace-up bodice, and slant-brimmed women’s fedora, resembling a sort of militant Alpine girl. As I followed Dave S. and Meghan M. through the East Village to reach the venue, I saw what appeared to be a random statue of Lenin on a nearby rooftop. We knew we were at the right place upon reaching a line of obvious daytime goths queued up on the sidewalk. While standing in this line, I first met future close friend Andrew K., who would go on to introduce me to several longtime friends and a few notable lovers, as well as booking my debut performance as Madame Deficit.

During the show, I stood by the wall of the packed venue taking video clips of some favored songs with my digital camera, which have thus far never been shown to anyone. Pessimistic internet discussions at the time led me to believe I would never get to see Death In June in New York City again, though I’ve since been proven wrong repeatedly.

At some point, Dave got the chance to shake Douglas Pearce’s hand. Back then, this was impressive. Back before you move to a major city and get increasingly enmeshed in a small, incestuous music scene in which you’re hard-pressed to turn up acquaintances who haven’t at least dabbled in making music themselves. Before you actually meet several of the people whose work first captured your imagination on the genre-specific compilation CDs you’d be lucky to find at the mall or out-of-print albums you might scrape up on eBay. Before you befriend them, drink with them, get hit on by them, become all too acquainted with their various personal flaws. And then you turn around and realize you’ve accrued some sort of ~scene credibility~ just by being a person who liked a thing and was able to see that thing several years before many other people also started liking that thing. Teenagers across the country or world sharing YouTube videos and Bandcamp links of your friends’ music from afar, who would consider you an insider when this is just your social circle. You just know people who know people. And you’re glad for your friends’ success, but it’s also kind of weird.

At any rate. Through Dave and Meghan, I also hung out with a shy basement-dwelling noise dude with whom I would have a long-distance and painfully-mismatched relationship that summer. The four of us passed a weed pipe camouflaged as a cigarette in a nearby park and ate large, floppy slices of cheap New York pizza before heading back to the train.

 

2007 (Age 22): After picking up a couple of 1910s-era periodical archives from a school library sale, I went on a date with Joseph K.

I’d met him in a German art history class the previous semester: he was one of those pretentious, self-loathing intellectuals I had such a pathetic weakness for in college. He was doing his thesis on Kafka, was into relatively niche artists like David Lynch, Swans, and Throbbing Gristle, and was good-looking enough and single. That combination was extremely rare to encounter at that time—given that I was living on a small, isolated campus with no real college town to speak of and an hour-long bus-and-train-ride to New York City which left me in constant fear of getting stranded—and so I got too attached too quickly because I assumed, once more, that I would never ever find anyone else who shared those traits again. Yet another tall tale I wove to myself about a near-stranger based on a cluster of attributes and convinced myself was a real connection: the story of much of my late teens and twenties. Bad hothouse fiction for the Victorian spinster or Great War widow I somehow believed myself to be.

Joe downed five gin martinis in one sitting at the local old-man bar he took me to in the mid-afternoon. This was after the sake he’d ordered with our lunch. While he was in the restroom, a bald man at the bar whom he’d been talking to about jazz advised me to “tell my friend to slow down.” We then went to another bar because that’s all he could think of to do.

On the sidewalk, he smoked tobacco from a carved wooden pipe given to him as a gift by the 17-year-old Borders co-worker he was probably fucking and occasionally spat on the ground. At the next bar, he randomly slipped our table’s bottle of hot sauce into a concealed pocket of his suit jacket before we had to part ways prior to my birthday dinner. He made no attempt to kiss me and shook my hand goodbye. He was visibly, slurring drunk.

At the Indian restaurant where I met friends for dinner, tipsy myself, I gushed that this was the best date I’d ever been on. I had been on exceedingly few dates. Revisionist history. Actually, my lack of dating experience meant I was so giddily anxious that it emerged through involuntary nervous tics. Timid, uncharacteristically girlish giggles. “Playfully” slapping him on the shoulder after his vaguely-negging bon mots. I’m sure it was not endearing at all.

There was no second date. Not by my choice, at least. And this was at an age of virginal neuroticism when I preferred to send rambling missives interrogating his vague claims of being “busy,” laced with veiled accusations of secretly harboring ill will towards me, rather than asking simply and directly whether he was interested in me. As if that somehow entailed less risk for me, and made me seem less clingy and weird, than making any overt reference dating or romance at all. Perhaps this was related to the same distorted trait my youthful psyche that made his drunken snobbery seem like an intriguing character trait instead of just sad.

The last I saw of Joe was at a noise festival a couple of years later. Outside smoking a cigarette. I recognized him by his fussy wardrobe and dandyish stance. He’d gotten noticeably fatter.

 

2009 (Age 24): I went back to my college campus expecting to hook up with Josh B., a tall, skinny goth prettyboy who claimed to be an occasional model. Bipolar cokehead. Second-generation schizo. Glib charm. Neither the first nor last manipulative wreck or wannabe supervillain I’d get entangled with.

He’d eagerly agreed to hang out with me just a couple of days before. A one-time drunken makeout session during a visit to underclassmen friends had been prodded and spun into a surprising romantic interest through his repeated late-night Facebook-chat flattery, which had also led to a couple of subsequent campus dalliances.

On my birthday, he didn’t answer his phone or respond to my texts. I killed time at dusk wandering alone through the school’s Brutalist architecture, an oppressive landscape of dreary slabs that I’d used to represent a convoluted totalitarian bureaucracy in the video I’d made as a thesis project.

That night, I ran into Josh by chance as he stood and later sat by the railing of a campus apartment while some party was going on. He didn’t acknowledge having ignored me earlier and something in me felt too cowed and tense to bring it up. I had a very bad feeling. A looming dread. He conversed with friendly ease as if nothing was wrong. A girl who looked to be my exact opposite—short and stocky frame, cutoff shorts, bleach-blonde and lightly tan—stumbled out of the apartment and plopped into his lap. Shortly thereafter they started making out in front of me.

I said fuck you and flipped him off while stalking away. He looked up from the girl with a manic grin and said nothing.

I spent the night of that birthday crying while drinking honey liqueur out of a flask and watching Pink Flamingos on my friend Eric M.’s couch as his roommate’s halitosis-stricken cat curled up with me.

The next day, dried-up and drained, I did some silent acting as a featured extra in a friend’s senior film for a party scene that was ultimately cut. She praised the debauched despair in my face without knowing it was authentic.

A week later, after a couple of flatly ignored messages in which I pathetically, earnestly attempted to talk to him like a respectful and reasonable adult, Josh was listed on Facebook as “in a relationship” with yet another girl I’d known nothing about. I was visiting campus again for a music festival and he physically ran when he saw me. A troubled night: vodka and coke and mild violence. Through with you.

About six months after that, Josh made a prank phone call to me in front of his friends. Pretending to be someone else, asking about himself. I didn’t learn it was him until later that night. I assume he was trying to make me look bad, but he only served to loosen my tongue on some unflattering dirt about him and his sad cocaine slut habits. Recounted over the phone while his friends listened in probable awkwardness.

Considering Josh, Joe, and various other unrequited youthful mistakes who aren’t recounted here because they don’t have any birthday-related memories attached, I wish I could tell my younger self to get the fuck off campus. Jesus Christ. Stop it. Learn to fuck and run. Be the one who leaves. Goodbye to all that. It’s just as easy to chase dick that isn’t attached to sad boys and narcissists. Fucking hell. Life just isn’t that long.

Clowny clown clown.

2010 (Age 25): I traveled back to my old campus yet again to see a free show Andrew K. had booked featuring Zola Jesus and Cult of Youth.

I’d eaten a platter of German sausages the night before and sashimi for dinner that day, so I became determined to sample food from every Axis Power that weekend. Andrew would make that happen the next day by spearing me a couple of home-cooked raviolis.

While hanging out at the Student Center between sets, a friend gave me a book of Nancy Drew sleuthing techniques and an illustrated guide to how various animals have sex. I cracked open and slowly drank the entirety of the bottle of Riesling I’d bought on my 21st birthday and preserved through graduation, a few months of homeless couch-hopping, and a move to Brooklyn: to this day it’s the best Riesling I’ve ever had. Some friends and I passed a bowl of strong weed at the entrance to the untended cemetery by the parking lot, a familiar undergrad sight full of broken, moss-encrusted headstones, tall trees with roots nourished on 19th-century corpses, and a looming obelisk monument for the Revolutionary War-era owner of the plantation that once existed where the university now stood.

As a result, I can tell you I had a lot of fun at this show, but I can’t remember any specific details about the performances.

It turned out Nika Danilova’s birthday—her 21st—was the day after mine and her tour rider stipulated chocolate cake. Andrew’s roommate Adam K. felt sorry that my birthday had been inadvertently hijacked and made sure I got my own slice after the show. We were all hanging out at their apartment as her bandmates played mediocre acid house on the stereo system. Andrew and Nika talked about Peter Sotos while I sat curled up with my notebook in typical stoned asociality.

I slept on Andrew’s couch that night. I woke up unexpectedly early and started killing time by reading Andrew’s dog-eared copy of Michael Gira’s The Consumer. This somehow rekindled my long-dormant interest in true crime and serial murder, which ultimately led to the initial publication of Mass Culture a year later.

 

2012 (Age 27): I’d planned my birthday party to coincide with the debut of Mass Culture Vol. 4. To that end, I gave a reading at Sophia B.’s apartment.

I’d basically stayed up all night getting copies printed and assembled, arriving well-past-fashionably late to my own party in the process, and then forgot to display or sell any of them. During my rather lengthy reading, I drank a can of caffeinated pre-ban Four Loko in order to stay awake and lucid. This could lead to some amusing asides.

A thematically-appropriate silent screening of Fritz Lang’s M was projected behind me. This was the idea of Eric M. This was one of the last few times I would see him alive, although none of us had any clue at the time.

When I’d run out of shit to read, I sat down at the kitchen table and snorted the powder of a crushed ecstasy pill I’d brought with me as a birthday reward. With the typical magic that accompanies MDMA derivatives in my experience, I found myself simultaneously making out with two female friends and a male acquaintance. I ended up going home with the latter, who paid for the rare luxury of a cab ride.

No further details on that front: I’m inclined to believe spreading public gossip about the sexual prowess and proclivities of former lovers, especially those with whom you’re still on good terms, is a great way to ensure you’ll have far less to gossip about in the future. But I will say that he had probably the cleanest, tidiest apartment I’ve ever encountered from a single adult man living alone, save only for a cluster of puppy pads in the corner for the benefit of his small, adorable, very curious dog.

Before I left in the morning, I recommended he listen to Whitehouse.

 

2014 (Age 29): I was taken out to dinner at a subdued upscale New York restaurant by the 22-year-old radical-traditionalist computer engineer I was sleeping with at the time, someone I had nicknamed “Lovecraft in Manhattan” for reasons one might expect. Most of our mealtime conversations have blurred together in my memory, but I’m sure this one followed the standard template of mutual grousing about the modern world, Tim and Eric in-jokes, intellectual discussions of books and history, dancing around his repressed bisexuality, him talking at me about philosophers I hadn’t read and didn’t really give a shit about, and a slew of redundant dick and boob jokes cribbed from a snickering 12-year-old who has newly stumbled across 4chan.

At one point we were glared at by an older couple across the room after he briefly groped me under the table.

To continue my celebrations the following evening, I had a few friends over at my cramped apartment in South Brooklyn. That night, I learned that my name and picture had been posted on the NYC Antifa site in a list of suspected cryptofascists. This was largely due to my associations with that same guy.

 

2015 (Age 30): As I’d done on a couple of previous birthdays, I tried to combine this one with the release of a new self-published work. In this case it was Victimizer, my first-person novella about a would-be lust-killer and the lengthiest piece of writing I’d published to date.

I held the reading at Catland Books. Only half a dozen people showed up, including one whom I’ve since ceased contact with because he fell into some noxious spiral of MRA bullshit. None of my best friends arrived, either, which was especially hurtful on a simultaneous landmark birthday and important writing release. Didn’t help that my supply of Lexapro was on its last legs due to my Medicaid lapsing thanks to a typical bureaucratic oversight.

I duly stood there reading and answering questions and attempting to stave off the sense that I fell somewhere between amateur and fraud. Nerves tightly screwed, telling me I’d failed.

Afterwards, contrary to the typical policy of the venue taking a cut, my friend on duty at the register gave me the entirety of the door proceeds as a birthday gift. But I think he just felt sorry for me due to the low turnout.

I had expected to end the evening hanging out with friends at the bar a couple of doors down, but instead I went straight home alone.

On the N train, some insane middle-aged man started making loud homophobic remarks about a couple of young unremarkable businessmen standing by the door. “All they wanna do is suck dick,” he said. “They’ll suck my dick right now!” Doubt it, bro.

The same guy started complimenting my appearance from a few seats away while I studiously ignored him and refrained from even looking in his direction. “Most beautiful girl on this train and you’re still going home with fifty guys,” he lamented. Strongly implying that this subway car full of men would be unable to restrain themselves from gang-raping me during the commute. This obviously did not happen.

CAKE

Madame Deficit at Torus__porta, 12 Mar ’16

Madame Deficit at Torus__porta, 12 March 2016 from LC von Hessen on Vimeo.

My most recent show. This took place in a cramped basement in Brooklyn: the show was pushed back a couple of hours because (so we were told) “the anarchists upstairs don’t like noise.”

My set consisted of “Infernal Bridegroom,” “Leech Woman,” and the live debut of my noise/industrial cover of the Bush Tetras’ “Too Many Creeps” (which is also on my new album). Yes, people needed to shut the fuck up at the beginning. Maybe they should’ve gone to hang out with the prim anarchists upstairs.

A friend reported that, a couple of hours before this show, a guy with slicked-down hair and green plaid pants had shown up looking for a “Miss Deficit” (sic) before leaving, apparently never to return. Apparently one of my fans is a Dickensian-era professional grifter?

The Most American Things: A List

My pussy tastes like Pepsi-Cola. My eyes are wide like cherry pie.

An animated GIF of a bald eagle crying a single tear in front of an American flag, and inside the tear is an image of the Twin Towers, which have each been crudely Photoshopped with a halo and a pair of wings because they’re in Heaven now, with the phrase “NeVeR 4gEt” written above in glittery Impact font

The above, but Comic Sans

A fifty-year-old white suburban mother on vacation at Mount Rushmore with a fanny pack strapped around her thickset waist and an AOL email address, awkwardly attempting to bond with her sullen teenage daughter by using the word “bae”

A misspelled Facebook status from a twentysomething third-year Brooklyn resident about wanting to move to LA

A man dressed as George Washington, masturbating

A blonde, deeply tanned former cheerleader and member of a whites-only sorority who secretly resents the child she was impregnated with at an extremely difficult and financially troubled time, but was duty-bound to carry to term because abortion is evil and refusing to bear and raise children is for ugly sluts in Hell. The child’s father is her linebacker frat boyfriend-turned-middle-management-husband who still sports the same frosted-tips haircut he wore back in high school and was never prosecuted for that gang rape he participated in sophomore year

Normcore

A t-shirt emblazoned with a print of Che Guevara’s face, but the star on his beret has been replaced by a dollar sign, ~for irony~

This copyright-infringement effigy of Donald Duck holding a football in the neighborhood where Saturday Night Fever was filmed:

Donald Dunk (sic)

A painfully keen nostalgia among adults pushing 30 for the corporate cash-grab toys and soulless media franchises of their childhood years while privately held in thrall to the alternately fearful, repulsed, and fervently obsessive attitudes towards sex passed down by the looming ghosts of their distant Puritan ancestors

The male heir of Scottish and German immigrants railing against America’s imminent destruction by Mexican and Muslim immigrants, yet his third wife and the mother of at least one of his children is a much-younger East Asian or Eastern European immigrant because American women are all castrating feminist cunts

An archival photograph of a nuclear mushroom cloud which is partially obscured by a tongue-wiggling wacky-face emoji

A man dressed as Abraham Lincoln tentatively inserting his half-flaccid member between the sauce-greased meat patties of a Big Mac and meekly thrusting as he quietly sobs. At the same time, a man dressed as Ronald McDonald stares at him with unnerving intensity while wielding a vintage Coke bottle in menacing fashion, and also that man is Terry Richardson

Incessant claims that Idiocracy has become a documentary, a literal documentary that is literally happening right now, literally. #wakeupsheeple

A self-consciously quirky rom-com about two twentysomethings: a Midwestern gal who romanticizes the urbane glamour of the Big City and a native New York boy who dreams about the open roads of Middle America. They start off as friends with benefits, except that obviously must change by the end of the film because sex always leads to love and men and women can never just be friends and heterosexual monogamous love is objectively the best kind. Throughout the film they have rambling, self-serving conversations about their confused inability to commit, spoken in childlike mumbles peppered with instantly-dated pop-culture in-jokes, all scored to twee ukulele music. At least one scene takes place in an abandoned playground at night. They also both have herpes because their lifestyle is sinful

Semi-jokingly telling people on Reddit that you’re prepping for the “zombie apocalypse” when you actually mean “race war”

Middle-aged-to-elderly adult men with advanced degrees, multiple children, numerous assignations with highly-priced escorts, and positions of extreme power within the government, who lack basic knowledge of how the uterus works

An assault rifle with a picture of a larger, more powerful assault rifle etched onto its stock, and behind that second assault rifle is a Confederate flag, and the stars of the aforementioned stars-and-bars have all been replaced with the face of White Baby Jesus, except his eyes have been replaced by silhouettes of pot leaves, because dank memes

Ronald Reagan

The Wisconsin trifecta: bright orange cheese, hereditary alcoholism, and nonconsensual posthumous intercourse with the sad necrophile who murdered you. May also apply to certain parts of England and Germany, but the accents are different

A sexually unsatisfied Mormon wife grimly clutching a Frito pie

A Happy Meal toy depicting Cartman from South Park with “Made in China” stamped across its plastic ass. Press the button on its gloved hand and it delivers long-winded monologues arguing that one should never tip restaurant servers because it’s an unearned privilege and that political correctness is the real fascism, and also makes fart noises

A Twitter post claiming with utmost sincerity that all this adulting is giving me so many feels I literally can’t even 😦

A rich Christian man with multiple rich Christian sons and all of them are pirate astronaut billionaire cowboy presidents and nobody is gay

A boot stamping on a human face forever! Lol jk I meant a Starbucks frappuccino wearing a Guy Fawkes mask

An unemployed, intelligent adult born after 1980 with a middle-class upbringing and a degree in something like performance art, Byzantine history, or Heideggerian philosophy, who: is unable to find steady, paying work in their field thanks to an oversaturated job market; has spent a disproportionate amount of their post-collegiate life unemployed or underpaid or working entry-level minimum-wage retail or food service jobs which leave them too exhausted to apply for anything better; is hindered in even looking for work due to chronic depression and anxiety that is presently going unmedicated due to their lack of insurance; and is facing potential eviction due to the fact that their unemployment pay or public assistance money is not enough to cover their rent and also forces them to attend punitive, infantilizing, and completely out-of-touch “work readiness” lectures and meetings in order to keep receiving this pittance at all. Bonus America points for crippling student loan debt, two or more Craigslist roommates after age 30, and/or heroin addiction

Faygo

Keep America beautiful