Clearing out a few music links, while I’m here, checking the mail and throwing out the old milk.
Imogen Heap – Hide and Seek: Auto-tune (well, a harmonizer, technically) done right…and 5 freaking years ago, before it got “cool” and ended up all over the damn place.
FC Kahuna – Hayling: I really prefer the instrumental version of this one, but can’t seem to find a damn link to it. Anyway, weird ambient/organic techno thing, with this hypnotic, echoing loop of an old-school phone’s dialing sounds. I just know it’s reached the Stairway-solo status: once it starts playing, even if I didn’t mean to start it up, and have something I need to do…I have to leave it on, listen all the way to the end, before I can go about my business.
Sigur Rós – anything: Just dropping you a link to their LastFM page, can’t find one song in particular you gotta hear first. They’re from Iceland. So you can’t understand them. At all. Doesn’t matter, though. Remember that Enya song you thought was really spiritual when you were a Junior in High School, and listened to it to get all spiritualed-out? And now it doesn’t do anything for you? Try this instead.
New Century Classics – Natural Process (entire album): And you remember that 90-second instrumental jam on your favorite band’s album where they just whipped out something cool, and you wished you could keep listening to it for a whole lot longer? Yeah, this is an entire album of it. And you can download it at that link. Technically, it’s free, but please do drop at least a few bucks there for them, or go back later if you like it and do so (that’s what I did).
Da Lata – Pra Manha: Brazillian organic techno-ish. And when you hear the woman start to sing–I love when this happens–you can immediately see her in your mind…early thirties, long dark hair pulled back tight, dark skin, killer body but filled out some, comfortably lived in. And you know you want it, all of it. With lime.
Souls of Mischief – From 93 Till Infinity: Once upon a time, I engaged in activities that may not have been entirely within the narrowest definition of the constraints of the law, and which produced a noticeable odor, red eyes and a serious desire for ding dongs. I’m very glad to be in my current life, with all that in my past, but there are some good memories from that time. Even the shadiest of scenarios is rose-tinted now…a guy with a shaved head, showing off his new AR-15 while I de-seed what I’m about to buy from him, in a small apartment that isn’t just unfinished, it has holes in the walls and a concrete floor…a dog in the corner chewing on something and growling…Cypress Hill booming so loud I can’t hear anyone talking, but I nod and smile, because things are better when everyone’s happy, and at the time, it’s not so hard to nod along and smile. And this is the music that I can listen to now, and remember what was possibly so good about those times. And nod and smile.
Massive Attack – Teardrop: Yes, I know it’s the intro theme from “House” (well, they use a shortened instrumental loop from it). Just because that show’s jumped the shark, taken it to dinner, and is busy trying to get into its scaley pants, doesn’t mean this isn’t just a freaking hypnotic song. Seriously, it hits deep psychological and neuro-chemical triggers in a…forgive me…massive way. When I need to work, but I can’t center myself, I put on the headphones, start this up, nice and loud, open Word or Google Docs, fingers in the home position…and as much as I like the song, well before it’s over, I’m already writing, and have forgotten it’s even on.
Oh, and here’s a bit of what I wrote the last time I started off a session listening to that last one. Not sure if it’s the beginning of the story or the end. And don’t worry, work on Chapter 5 of the “thing that isn’t a [can’t say it]” progresses, this won’t get in the way too much. I’ve just been too many years without any driving ideas, I’m kind of indulging myself completely as they begin to come along now.
After he finished talking, he sat there, waiting. The fat one sat as he had for the last hour, still and nibbling at his lower lip. The tall bald one remained standing at the back of the room, his arms crossed, seemingly at ease, as though he’d heard it all before…though his knuckles were a bit white, hands gripping tightly to his biceps, and there was a very faint ring of dark around his collar, fresh sweat. He could smell it, even from over here, and the stress hormones suffusing it.
After a few moments, the two visitors appeared to realize that the story was done, and began gathering themselves, both clearly distracted. He walked them to the door, shaking hands and thanking them for coming. There were smiles all around–all at least a bit forced–and the expected “Thank you for your time”s and “Not a problem, it was my pleasure”s bouncing back and forth. At the end, he told them that the nurse would be able to show them out, and then he closed the door behind them.
And then he stood there, listening. The seals on the doors in this facility were old, and fit poorly, and he could easily hear conversations that were held just on the other side. He was curious–folks often assumed that, just because the door was closed behind them, they could speak frankly, in expected privacy. And he wanted to hear if they were going to say anything.
He was not disappointed.
“So, what do you think?” That was the tall, bald one.
“I…ah…ho boy.” That was the fat one, who’d asked all the questions, at least at the beginning. He’d also started off taking notes, but had forgotten all about it just a few minutes into the doctor’s story. The doctor could still smell his sweat, even through the door.
“He’s the real deal.”
“If you want to call it that.”
“Did you believe him?”
“Not a word. He’s too small, isn’t he?”
“I think that’s the whole point.”
“True. Still, to think of what’s in those reports, and then try to picture the good doctor in there actually doing it…”
“I know. Just a mite unsettling.”
“Do you think any of its true?”
“The way he told it? Well…I’m sure he believes that’s how it all happened. Can’t say I believe any of it, though, not the way he tells it.”
“Still…something happened. Six dead, and I don’t even want to think about the photos…”
“Yup. Where are we on the offers?”
“Oh, right.” There was silence, then a quiet, constant clicking, the scroll wheel on a smart phone in active use. “Well, the Boston group is up to eighty-five. I think we could push them to six figures, given a couple more days.”
“They still want the tests?”
“Yeah, but it’s nothing major. Just a few adrenal levels, getting a solid baseline before they begin their experiments. It’s, what, a two hour drive? An hour of tests, then we hand him off. Could be done in time for dinner.”
“Mm-hmm. And the other one?”
“Ah, the Chinese. They finally named a figure: fifteen.”
“Thousand? Are they kidding?”
“I did a subtle double-check. Fifteen million.”
“Well…that puts things into perspective pretty quickly.”
“I mean, it’s still not an easy decision…profit or patriotism…though…heh…fifteen… What’s the catch?”
“There’s gotta be a catch. Tests they want to run, guarantees…something.”
“Nothing like that. Just a logistical thing. Nothing major.”
“You know I get scared when you say not to worry about something.”
“Okay, here’s the deal. They want him, in Seattle, tomorrow night. Private hanger at sea-tac, right at nine o’clock. The plane lands for like ten minutes, then it’s off again. No records, see. And if he’s not on the flight when it takes off, the deal’s off.”
“Simple enough. Wait, no records?”
“That’s what they said.”
“So, a private jet, registered to shady billionaires from China, makes an unplanned, unrecorded stop at an airport near the U.S. border, and if anyone does notice, we’re the ones standing on the ground waving good-bye when the cars roll up?”
“…I’m pretty sure it’ll go better than that. It sounded like they’d done it before.”
“That’s not helping me feel better about this. I’m fine with conning the administration here at the hospital and slipping a patient out the back door, maybe even dealing with the AMA somewhere down the line…but now we’re talking about Homeland Security.”
“There’s a reason they’re offering what they’re offering.”
“True. …Alright, the hell with it. How do we do this?”
“The orderly who gave us a call is going to grind up some extra pills in his dinner, barbiturates or something, we’ll get a bunch of extras to keep him down after the first dose wears off. Anyway, he has his dinner, falls asleep an hour later, we pull the car up out back, load him in, get him onto the jet, fly overnight to Seattle, hang out drinking coffee all day, hand him off tomorrow night, and then smile when we check our Cayman accounts.”
There was more to it, but it didn’t matter much: he knew the details now. And could make sure he was ready.