A Week At KAGACON / 8 August 2002

My shag carpeting is littered with laminated badges (each sporting a different laser-printed nom de guerre) and branded stress-relievers of every stripe. I squeeze one in my left hand even as I write this, w/no discernible results. My tote bag smells of hydrofluoric acid.

I attended every seminar with dynamic in the title and every panel discussion with a subtitle. I learned that needle in a haystack was preceded by needle in a bottle of hay, with bottle meaning bundle, a now-obsolete definition. I learned that cornery artery bypass grafting (CABG) is the most direct way of increasing the blood supply to the heart. I learned that you can use the sweat stains on someone’s back or armpit as a kind of makeshift Rorschach test, and the subjects tend to be less suspicious and more effusive since the blots are truly random.

A fistfight broke out in “ChestBusters: Non-ironic Passion in the 21st Century Socio-Political Sphere.” I paid US$12.50 to drink a newly synthesized malt beverage from the cavernous navel of a model draped over a Finish-Thompson Automatic Polypropylene Drum Pump. The glassed-in popcorn turned out to be tinted styrofoam and an atomized pheromone.

A giant and gutted pacemaker, ticking, veined with carpeted cables, reconfigured cubicle walls, fishbowls of business cards, flammable fabric attached to card tables with velcro. I never stopped moving, never stopped collecting, spoke to no one except the vision that knocked me flat in section EE. A poem: I fell in love with Dr. Gretchen Ainsley, Fr.D. / Is that even a real degree. Dr. Gretchen, arms sealed in rubber, showing a small crowd of toters how to manipulate one’s duodenum for better health and prosperity. I asked her to sign her book To Josh, whom I fear and/or respect. Her voice like scorched honey, the hair along her brawny arms like the fins of a seahorse. She slapped me and the rubber burned my cheek; the mark is there still, diary.

Joshua Green Allen

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