The Committee Is Alive & Well
It had been a long time. So long that I’d begun to wonder if I’d imagined the whole thing. Or worse, made it up. Then I began to wonder what the difference was, if any, between imagining things and making them up.
But I wasn’t imagining it, there they were, grinning in thru the driver’s side window.
I rolled down the window. Or rather I pushed a button and the window went down by itself. I can push another button and lock all the doors simultaneously. I’m decades behind on technology in all phases of my life, and my vehicles are from 25 to 30 years old when I get them, so this business with the buttons just recently crossed the threshold.
I pushed the button again, just for the hell of it, and the window went back up. Another time and it came down again. “How about them apples?” I said.
As usual, there were two of them. “Perfect!” one of them said. “You’re just what we expected!”
This seemed like an odd statement coming from the Committee. It could be construed as approval.
“What are you guys up to?” I asked.
“We’re paying homage!” the talker exclaimed.
The silent one beamed.
“Uh-oh,” I said, and went to push the button that would make the window go back up.
“No, wait!” the talker said. “You’ve got us wrong! You think we’re the Committee, but the Committee’s dead meat, and I mean literally. We assassinated the whole stinking lot of them!”
“YES!” the beamer blurted out. “OFF WITH THEIR HEADS!” Then he laughed hysterically.
“We’re Shardsters!” the talker said. “Look!” He unzipped his jacket, and there was a t-shirt with Shardster stenciled on it in the tail of a comet.
“Our ranks are swelling!” the talker said. ”We eat ants on toast! How’s that for Shard talk? And we take out anyone who exhibits Shard hostility, which was bad news for the Committee. And we don’t tolerate indifference, either. Wonder why so many email Shards are bouncing back at you lately with ‘account terminated’ as the reason? That’s us! We’re in cahoots with Anonymous! An unholy alliance! Anyway, we hacked your email, and we eliminate anyone who’s not responding enthusiastically enough. Julian Assange helped us figure out how to do the monitoring.”
I was stunned. They couldn’t be serious. But then I looked into their eyes, and their eyes were crazed. People with crazed eyes are always serious.
“Where do you get off hacking my email and whacking people?” I said. “Shards aren’t about whacking people. And they don’t need anyone’s approval or disapproval or require an enthusiastic response.”
“That’s pretty disappointing, to hear you say something like that,” said the talker. “Are you listening to what we’re saying? We’re Shardsters. We protect Shards. That’s our mission. So to hear what just came out of your mouth, you being the Grand Shardster and all…I don’t know, man. Disappointing, very disappointing.”
“This isn’t going the way we thought it would,” said the silent one. “At first it seemed right, you playing around with the window and all, but now…” The gleam in his eye had gone cloudy and hostile. He began cracking his knuckles.
“We’ll be getting back to you,” the talker said. “We’re going to have to report this to the Shard Alliance Chief. This may be a crisis. Meanwhile, I suggest you crank up your output. You’ve been slacking off lately, that’s why they sent us, to look into that.”
They turned and walked away, and that’s when I noticed they were wearing blue capes with a red bolt of lightning going thru the word Shardster on the back. I half expected them to go airborne.
What’s in a name? I wrote something witty and clever about that not too long ago, and now this.
The Committee is alive and well.
HCOLOM PRESS is the heir to Vagabond Press, which began as a main player in the Mimeo Revolution of the Sixties and continued publishing right into the jaws of the new millennium. HCOLOM PRESS embodies the spirit of Vagabond Press, retooled for the times we live in.
Hcolom is Moloch spelled backwards. Moloch is an Old Testament deity to which children were sacrificed, a practice society still engages in with increased enthusiasm. Consumerism is the new Moloch, manifesting itself like cancer in war, politics, the arts and religion, in every nook and cranny of human endeavor, draining the intrinsic beauty out of life and mutilating the innocence and magic of childhood with its commercial meat hook. HCOLOM PRESS intends to publish books that by their nature repudiate this pernicious force–novels, poetry, children’s books and books that transcend genre.
Our launch book, in June of 2006, was John Bennett’s novel, Tire Grabbers, a fable of sorts, a reality book rooted in the fantasy of our times, the story of the coming of Moloch and the children who rise up in rebellion against it.
Books of kindred spirit will follow close on its heels. Go for it by clicking here… or hit the Hcolom logo above… or just hit any of the following covers…