Home Entertainment Center

History, all fifteen minutes (or is that Fame? two nuts from the same tree), came unannounced, to Town.

“They left no note,” admitted the Police Chief. “No minutes mention debts, affairs; no major fuck-ups or threats to the Security of our National land, water or free and sacred air.”

“But what about that gash” — the word alone stretched wide eyes wider– “on said tree’s side?” asked a distinguished member of the local press.

“Who tree? What tree? When tree? Where tree?  How tree? Why tree?”  journalists shoved to gawk.

History’s tree, knotted, leafless, at the Home Entertainment Center (sign above reads “Do Not Enter”), “Chapel of anguish and dismay,” according to Grandma and her diabetic cat.

Save the screens, batten the door. If you’ve the cash, lay down traps, mines, grenades, lest “The Chapel” regain its reputation as a tiny nook of horror, where doors slide at will; falling books smash cups to shards and  laptops byte the dust; Formica-searing rays shuck pearls of code from discs, resurrected from light’s smoldering ember (like old songs made new, when first remembered); after-emissions of ghostly tantrums; spiced decay of children’s rooms  – often the girl, so unexpectedly deprived of breath, takes years to learn she can’t simply “go home” from death (the heat the heat down there, it’s murder for mere spirit to withstand and ghost on not-living).

Children relive their own brief, sad biographies on flat digital screens. Random, desultory mouse-clicks summon blockbusters home: horror, romance, comedic shtick; every genre’s “important” contribution to TV renderings of tumid books, where prudery and sighs em-purple every page, hallmarks of “Victoria’s” age, when every writer, laureate or runt, agreed: a pretty face must never own a c—; and mounds of fabric hiding pricks were common among many tropes these “classic” authors used throughout their tomes — to render them Christian in the privacy of private homes.

No one, whether on a goof or dare, thrill or pledge, visits The Chapel alone; certainly not after dark, haunted as it is by childish childhood Ghosts: pre-pubescent urchins with wild hair consort with photon phantoms of the silent screen. The most frightening, tragic thing I’d seen was the projection of a beautiful, long-ago-deceased, queen — of film, caressing a darling, creepy girl of nine who shared a similar birth date: day and month, but not the year – and here’s something to mind — the girl was “Native,” of the wild: the house was built, the bathroom tiled, over her tomb, perhaps her specter was a sign from many of her kind, snuffed for the American Dream to build a Home Entertainment Center, where the whole family can watch “immortal” stars perform our favorite shows, especially horror flicks in which the villain gorges on young blood  — innocent, nubile – as if our own drab lives were heaven-sent, and Entertainment the Center — of  the world, that is, wherever our armies march, and corporations set up shop — powerful, free – and sell the junk demanded by Technocracy, like digital machines where, for a fee, consumers may summon varieties of high-tech, cinematic ghosts.

But every so often Life will catch us by surprise, and from our bedroom floors real spirits rise to warn us we’re not really all that nice, that everything we own is soaked in blood.

There are even some among the jealous, unAmerican and unfree, who claim a drum is beating always, though we can’t hear with scientific ears, heralding the worst of our fears: that soon will come a time we’ll cease to be, and even ghosts with wretched histories must weep from this command of fate, for much as they’ve reason to despise us for our mockery of every sacred place they’d known and all the lies in Entertainment Center discs, and libel in the flashy novels on our shelves – because we feel not, fear not for our own, they pity us, as centuries of loathing melt to air. They see how deep yet meaningless is our despair. They’ll watch us die like rodents drowned in wet cement; impervious to death as life; oblivious of “now” and “real” and “what it meant;” concerned only that this is not like that horrendous dream (or was it a film?) of being  stuck inside with spouse and kids and NOTHING on the screen.




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 adam@new.dissidentvoice.org Read other articles by Adam, or visit Adam's website.