Great Expectations

You can imagine The Phantom’s surprise to learn not only that he was Jewish, but because of this allegedly genetic trait, he had Great Expecations coming to him in the land of Israel.

In life, The Phantom had always considered himself, though not an outright atheist — which presumes a certain arrogance — a highly sceptical Deist.  That is, as far as the mysteries of the Universe can be known, “Who knows?”  Certainly not The Phantom.  This utter befuddlement regarding the what’s what, why and how of Life has only increased by orders of magnitude since The Phantom’s banishment to this nowhere-land of /dev/null.  After all, they don’t call me “The Phantom” cause I like opera…

But to the point: I received an email from a Zionist quarterly called, “In Another Country dot Gov,” promising me Great Expectations in the land of milk and honey. At first I was rightfully skeptical — the amount of SPAM tossed down to /dev/null is truly extraordinary.  But these people had taken the trouble to unearth the earthly email tag I’d left behind and all the  personal information for which it served as gateway or “link,” including my mother’s maiden name, Rosenberg, through which they were able to track me down (yes, even The Phantom is under surveillance) to extend this once in a lifetime subscription offer, which seemed inexplicably and inextricably bound to my inheritance.

All I would have to do to receive both subscription and inheritance was click the “Subscribe Me Now!” button. Failure to click said button would be tantamount to refusing my birth-right and, the letter stated in no uncertain terms, the unfortunate implication that I was guilty of being an “anti-Semite,” or worse, “a self-hating Jew.”

Despite years of indoctrination, I never had any interest in leaving New York City for an acre of land someone else, surely not I, deemed “Holy.” But that was then. Now that those years of grim mortality are long behind me, if given the choice, as I suppose I have been, of being a Phantom among the disembodied voices of /dev/null, or a wealthy, full-bodied land-owner in Israel, I choose to ride out eternity in /dev/null and see where this whole Phantom thing takes me. Whatever the sins or virtues that resulted in my Phantom-ness (-hood?) in /dev/null, I can at the very least claim them as my own. If I were ever forced to leave /dev/null, “Hell” though it may be, I would not emigrate to Israel or any place else, but fight to defend my right to live in this “Hell” of my own making.

I rarely go out, except to visit some red-light district of the GUI, so I doubt I’ll ever make it over to the “Holy Land” to claim my birth-right.

So, why can’t we make a deal? While I can weather another year without a subscription to “In Another Country dot Gov,” I’ll take whatever I have coming to me under right of return (return to what? from where?) and cede my property to any displaced Palestinian who replies to this offer.

Now, since this land has been “in the family” for 3000 years, and was my property long before I was born, it is my right to do with it what I please.  Hence, I bequeath this property, once the papers are in my possession, to any single Palestinian who actually wants to live there. If necessary, I will include a rider that this person must be my roughly age – 45 years old – so as not to appear to be hustling anyone by ceding my land to a 20-year-old and cheating Israel out of a quarter-century of human life (though in truth, it’s been quite some time since The Phantom was considered anything resembling human).

A fair deal for all involved, no?


The Phantom of /dev/null

Adam Engel has traveled the farthest regions of cyberspace, where Dark-matter meets Doesn't-matter; and Anti-matter, despite its negative connotation and dour point-of-view, excercises rights of expression protected by Richard Stallman's GNU/Free Software Foundation and CopyLeft agreement, if nobody and nothing else. Having spent many years studying Boobus Americanus (Summum Ignoramus), allegedly the most intelligent mammal on earth -- after its distant relative, Homo Sapiens -- in various natural habitats (couch, cubicle, bar-stool, ball-game -- televised or 'real-time') -- Engel has thus far related his observations of and experiences with this most dangerous of predators in three books -- Topiary, Cella Fantastik, and I Hope My Corpse Gives You the Plague (the combined international sales of which have reached literally dozens, perhaps as many as seventy, with projected revenue to top three digits by decade's end! Truly a publishing phenomenon). Engel is Associate Editor of Time Capsule Books, a division of Oliver Arts & Open Press, published in limited editions for a tiny, highly specified, though eclectic, target-audience: people who actually read books. He can be reached at Read other articles by Adam, or visit Adam's website.