Print Story On Enemies, Part IX
By CheeseburgerBrown (Thu Jan 19, 2006 at 06:55:21 AM EST) test (all tags)
This is the last in a multi-part series on the subject of the various great and memorable enemies I have had the pleasure of knowing over the years, from the earnest gibbering of schoolyard bullies to the courtly dance of the merely ritualistic antagonist.

In this final installment we see the lessons of the previous adventures applied to set right the scales of justice in a method both succinct and satisfying.

Please see also Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V, Part VI, Part VII and Part VIII.

Garrison Christopher

Editorial Note: the person described here claims this telling is not an accurate portrayal of the events.

Garrison Christopher was a beautiful Spaniard with an aquiline nose, tanned skin and an easy, jocular manner that won him the favourable attention of men and women alike. Despite this I was slow to despise him.

He was one of two boys I shared an apartment with during my first year of art school (which is another story that has already been told). They were different kinds of boys than I was -- rougher and tougher, sons of autoworkers with a lot to prove to offset the fact that they studied art instead of something their fathers would have approved of, like operating heavy machinery or drinking beer while on strike.

Like a lot of people, I have two voices: a speech that comes naturally, and a diminished speech to be used around people who find diction and vocabulary to be frightening. This is a habit long established from mixing with people who brand thinking as effete and objectionable, a habit of self-defensive camouflage to forestall accusations of being a nerd.

It didn't take me long to establish which voice was appropriate for Christopher and his heterosexual life-partner Craig. I was dropping the final g from present progressive verbs like it was goin' out of style.

Never the less, even in the first days of our living together my companions began to suspect my disguise. For one thing my most precious possession was a computer, which they pawed at curiously like apes at a monolith. They expressed incredulity that I had completed the fifth, pre-university year of high school. They were confused and bewildered when I admitted I owned neither a skateboard nor a snowboard.

"Dude?" said Craig, tilting his heavy head.

"What the fuck do people do in Toron'o, anyway?" Christopher guffawed. "I knew big city people were fucking shifty, eh? But, fuck! Let's do hot knives."

"Yeeeah," agreed Craig.

And so we got stoned and watched horrifying violent movies about organized crime from Hong Kong, and this was enough to seal the gap. Christopher, who was constantly talking, would narrate events as they approached and then debrief the action after the fact. Craig would agree a lot and giggle. Together they enjoyed introducing me into their choice cinematic realm, and vicariously rode my shock and awe as people were mowed down by bullets in increasingly spectacular ways.

"That was the shit!" Christopher would cry, which meant he was impressed.

"Yeeeah," agreed Craig. "Fock!"

For a week, it worked. They knew I was alien but my overtures were good enough to bridge the gap. I wasn't one of them but I wasn't anything offensive, either. When we were drunk one night I told them the story of the Lipgloss Gypsy and they laughed themselves onto the floor.

Things changed when their friends came to town.

The king of their posse was a sharp-nosed Quebecois named Cunt. His hair was dyed bright red and he had disdain for everything. He was a painter. His sidekick -- his Craig -- was a dull-witted skateboard-filmmaker west coast clown named Bartleby. In orbit they held a loose cloud of girls. We went to the famous Seahorse Tavern for beer, and somewhere in there I became too relaxed and talked too much and Bartleby started calling me "Brainiac."

My bridges melted.

Cunt thought calling me Brainiac was delightful. He began to playfully abuse me, in a gentle, sarcastic way, with teasing banter and rhetorical questions and sardonic chuckles. This made his monkey laugh, and Bartleby's drunken chortles were infectious because he was such an animated goof. In the course of an evening it became cool to make me the butt of jokes.

Cunt seemed to want to prove himself obnoxious enough for me to physically strike him, and when I did not he declared that I was a wimp. He was right. I knew that escalating violence would not get me anywhere with someone who was comfortable with fighting.

Neither Christopher nor Craig rose to my defense. From then on they only took to being nice to me when no one else was around.

It was no great loss. I didn't particularly want to be a part of Cunt's circle. In time I made my own friends from school. As the semester progressed I only encountered him very occasionally, like when the gang swung by to pick up Christopher and Craig for an evening's adventures. Cunt's abrasiveness was a petty and infrequent irritant, far below the threshold of Enemy Status. Enemies were for kids.

Nor did our circles mix out on the town. My friends and I assembled at the Birdland Cafe (now defunct) and Cunt's crew partied at the Khyber Club. I had been there once or twice but the place didn't appeal to me -- dark and ravey, packed and frenetic. At the Birdland they played jazz.

Christopher and Craig hosted a party at our apartment one night. The Khyber was closed for the installation of a new art exhibit, and their gang had nowhere else to go. Cunt was bitter because the new art exhibit did not consist of his paintings, but those of someone else. He got very drunk and ranted a lot while Bartleby followed him around with a camcorder.

I holed up in my room.

The next morning I was unimpressed with the amount of vomit in and around the toilet. A girl in a heavy blue brassiere was passed out on the floor but I managed to drag her out into the hall without substantially waking her, so I could take a shower in private.

My mouthwash had been stolen. Presumably ingested for the alcohol content. There were old cigarettes in the sink. And my bar of soap had the word DICK carved into it, probably by the bent and hash-stained butter knife lying on the floor.

I was puzzled but incurious. I sighed, and washed.

My principal concern was getting packed and out the door so I could meet up with my friends to drive out of the city for a camping weekend. We had liquid lysergic acid and a lot of really pompous arty things on our minds. We also had marshmallows to roast.

The Monday of our return was also the date of the school's open film festival, a showcasing of submitted student works done inside or outside the context of their courses. A free for all, if you will. The Anna Leonowens Memorial Auditorium was packed.

Before the first film a very sad lesbian came to the microphone. She told us all that someone had broken into the Khyber last night and destroyed all of the paintings in the art exhibit which was to have opened Tuesday. She asked that anyone who had any information please be good enough to come forward, anonymously if necessary. She was trying not to cry. All of her paintings had been destroyed. Everyone was very quiet. The sad lesbian thanked us for our time and left the stage.

Movies were played: good, bad, ugly. My own painfully awkward short Karmacola was in there somewhere.

And then came a series of vignettes by Bartleby, including a twenty second slice-o'-life in which Cunt diligently carves letters into my bar of soap, then holds it up to the camera and asks someone off-screen to read it. "CheeseburgerBrown is a dick!" cheers Christopher, and then many people laugh.

I was surprised, confused, and then, after a moment, humiliated. In the dark auditorium I turned red and my skin prickled. The act of carving words into my soap seemed merely juvenile; the act of videotaping it seemed pointless; the act of submitting it for school-wide viewing while including my proper name seemed cruel.

Though I had not mistaken those boys for good people, I was still surprised and stung.

But I pushed it out of my mind. What could I do? They'd had their larffs at my expense and it was done. It was not to my profit or amusement to think of Cunt or Bartleby or Christopher as The Enemy. I had no recourse against them, and nothing to be gained even if I did. I would only be admitting my hurt to respond.

The festival concluded. I elected not to go drinking. I had scrounged up enough money to buy a new Hi-8 videocassette on the way home and I chatted up the guy in the camera store for a bit, looking for advice on how to best disconnect the red light on the front of my camcorder which blinked while the unit was recording, something most subjects found distracting. We looked at a model similar to mine on the shelf and tried to figure it out.

When I got back to the apartment I pushed aside a little pile of kipple so I could sit down in the living room to tinker with my camcorder while I watched The Simpsons. Christopher and Craig got home shortly thereafter. Craig retired to his closet to sleep but Christopher had energy to burn. He paced around the room and performed various routines of his about what or was not the shit and whether or not something had been shifty or wicked.

Somewhere in there he said, "Look, about the festival, man, I know Cunt's an asshole but whatareyagonnado? He's fucking Cunt, you know?" which I can only assume was meant as a kind of apology for Bartleby's short and his part in it.

"Whatever," I said. I had cut the proper wire in the camcorder but now I wasn't getting power to the unit at all.

"What are you doing to your camera?" Christopher changed the subject breezily. I wasn't someone who was going to punch him, and that's the only kind of retaliation he really cared about.

"Trying to fix it," I muttered, screwdriver in my mouth.

"It's not working, eh?"


"That's too bad. Fuck. Hey, shit -- do you know what we fucking did on the weekend?"

"No. What?" I screwed the case together more firmly and suddenly I had power. Experimentally I recorded a few seconds of tape and turned the camcorder around to see if the red light was blinking.

Christopher continued: "We fucking broke into the Khyber and partied there!"

My finger hovered over the recording toggle, hesitating. I opted to let the unit continue recording. "Fuck!" I commented, pretending to fiddle with more screws.

"I know, eh? We fucking trashed the place, too. I mean, like fucking throwing bottles of vodka at the mirrors. You know those mirrors with like the old Coke ads on them? It was wicked funny."

"Shit," I agreed.

"Oh man, and then we ripped this like anarchist feminist bullshit piece off the wall, and I start drilling Sandy on it doggy-style. You know -- like, fucking imagine it: I'm fucking drilling her from behind on the fucking feminist art. It was the shit. She's fucking banging her head on the wall 'cause I'm pounding her so hard and she's whining, 'Chris-topher, Chris-topher!'"


At this point Christopher was laughing so hard he was having trouble getting the story out. "Get this, though, get this!" he told me, chuckling; "in the end I fucking pull out of her and I fucking jizz on the artwork. You know? I'm like, 'Hey fuckers, this is a Garrison Christopher original -- I'm fucking jizzing on feminist shit!' You know? I'm all like, 'Take that you dyke bitches!' and just unloading all over this piece of shit painting. It was hilarious."

"A Garrison Christopher original, eh?"

"That's it! That's the shit! Frame my fucking jizz and there's your art with all the social commentary you'll ever fucking need!"

"Ho boy," I whistled in agreement.

When The Simpsons was over Christopher retired to the kitchen to cook hashish with knives heated on the stove. For my part I rewound the tape in my camcorder and then played it back, plugging in my headphones to get the audio. In a tinny little voice the camcordered Christopher mimed his own spurting member as he quoted himself saying, "Take that you dyke bitches!" followed by Homer Simpson's faint report of, "D'oh!"

If Christopher was not my Enemy, he was somebody's. His pearly smile jiggled in freeze-frame in the viewfinder. With a moment's meditation I found it easy to hate him. His carelessness nauseated me.

I thought: how stupid does one have to be to partake in a humiliating prank on his own flatmate, and then brag about exploits of vandalism and misogyny to that same flatmate while he cradles a camcorder in his lap? Seriously: how fucking stupid?

The Enemy. Accomplice to a snotty frog, a shameless desecrater, too concerned for his own status as a social player to stand up for the downtrodden. He who would find knocking a little Asian girl's head against the wall funny. He who would smash his own hangout. He who would foul his own nest. He who would ejaculate on art, and sing his own praises for it.

It was spring. There were four days of school left.

On the fourth day I took the videocassette to the womyn's studies office and slid it into the mailbox of the sad lesbian. My note was brief: Khyber Incident, Garrison Christopher: Confession.

I signed it with Christopher's name.

< On a dark desert highway, cool wind in my hair... | BBC White season: 'Rivers of Blood' >
On Enemies, Part IX | 27 comments (27 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
That Guy . . . by Christopher Robin was Murdered (4.00 / 3) #1 Thu Jan 19, 2006 at 07:46:15 AM EST
Makes me fell dirty about my own nick.

All class, that fella. All class.

My First Series To Use Real Names by CheeseburgerBrown (4.00 / 2) #6 Thu Jan 19, 2006 at 09:39:04 AM EST
Right up until by blixco (2.00 / 0) #8 Thu Jan 19, 2006 at 09:49:40 AM EST
they sue the schoolhouse out of you, sure.
I am ten ninjas. Ten ninjas with root access. - mrgoat
[ Parent ]
Wrong country by debacle (2.00 / 0) #9 Thu Jan 19, 2006 at 10:24:15 AM EST
About 12 degrees to far north for that.


[ Parent ]
Nah, by blixco (2.00 / 0) #10 Thu Jan 19, 2006 at 10:28:55 AM EST
litigious people exist everywhere.
I am ten ninjas. Ten ninjas with root access. - mrgoat
[ Parent ]
it's true by 256 (4.00 / 3) #11 Thu Jan 19, 2006 at 10:44:14 AM EST
but they are a less successful mutation in this habitat
I don't think anyone's ever really died from smoking. --ni
[ Parent ]
Which is where the couriers come in, I suspect. by debacle (4.00 / 1) #12 Thu Jan 19, 2006 at 10:51:37 AM EST


[ Parent ]
America's Litigiousness Breeds Fear by CheeseburgerBrown (4.00 / 1) #16 Fri Jan 20, 2006 at 04:34:30 AM EST
As are propellants. by blixco (2.00 / 0) #17 Fri Jan 20, 2006 at 04:37:50 AM EST
And crack cocaine.

I am ten ninjas. Ten ninjas with root access. - mrgoat

[ Parent ]
And So Is Endless Autobiographical Drivel. by CheeseburgerBrown (2.00 / 0) #18 Fri Jan 20, 2006 at 04:39:36 AM EST
Nah. by blixco (2.00 / 0) #19 Fri Jan 20, 2006 at 04:41:18 AM EST
It's not drivel unless you make it that way, and you don't.
I am ten ninjas. Ten ninjas with root access. - mrgoat
[ Parent ]
That's Sweet Of You To Say. by CheeseburgerBrown (2.00 / 0) #20 Fri Jan 20, 2006 at 04:49:36 AM EST
Wanna hold my hand? Hey, I'm looking over at the Hotlist and I see you're posting Short Stories. I haven't read them yet. Short Stories are a good idea. Maybe I'll try to think some up.

I am from a small, unknown country in the north called Ca-na-da. We are a simple, grease-loving people who enjoy le weekend de ski.
[ Parent ]
Sure. by blixco (2.00 / 0) #21 Fri Jan 20, 2006 at 04:53:54 AM EST
You could try a series of them, with titles like "Short Story."  They could be some distant ripoff of everything bad about McSweenys.  It could be fun.
I am ten ninjas. Ten ninjas with root access. - mrgoat
[ Parent ]
Dude! by Improbus (4.00 / 2) #2 Thu Jan 19, 2006 at 08:18:25 AM EST
Then what happened?  I want details!

If you immediately know the candlelight is fire, the meal was cooked a long time ago. --- Oma Desala
The Anticlimax: by CheeseburgerBrown (4.00 / 3) #3 Thu Jan 19, 2006 at 08:54:02 AM EST
I have no idea what happened to Christopher Garrison. He wasn't at school the next year, and I still didn't hang in the circles who frequented the Khyber Club. The gossip of the story of how it went down never reached me.

I am from a small, unknown country in the north called Ca-na-da. We are a simple, grease-loving people who enjoy le weekend de ski.
[ Parent ]
That’s why I always tried to live alone. by duxup (4.00 / 1) #4 Thu Jan 19, 2006 at 08:55:04 AM EST
I fear justice, or more so I fear my sacrificing justice in order save my own stuff.
Hey I know I'm late to the party by jayhawk88 (4.00 / 1) #5 Thu Jan 19, 2006 at 09:17:59 AM EST
...and everyone else has undoubtedly said it, but this little series was the shit, man! Wicked, fock!

Look now, Mr. CBB by sasquatchan (2.00 / 0) #7 Thu Jan 19, 2006 at 09:48:30 AM EST
you can't go changing folks' names between stories here... Losing internal consistency just gets your readers confused. Especially when you link to the earlier tales, which I had to skim to refresh, and see that several folks have multiple handles.. Gah.

No fucking way by 606 (4.00 / 1) #13 Thu Jan 19, 2006 at 05:28:46 PM EST
I mean I know you're not one to lie about anything, but the set up and sheer unbelievable luck required that you'd have this brand new camera sans blinking light in your lap begin to function at the exact moment that the enemy chose to disclose his wrongdoings onto perfect high-definition video with stereo sound is practically unbelievable. If you won't admit that you embellished this story just a little bit I'll have no choice but to take it as direct proof of the existence of a careful and exact system of karmic balance in this world. I mean I already believe in karma to some extent but this just proves it beyond a shadow of a doubt.

Highly enjoyable series, by the way. I loved every chapter.

imagine dancing banana here

To Be Fair, The Camera Was ALWAYS On. by CheeseburgerBrown (4.00 / 2) #15 Fri Jan 20, 2006 at 04:33:36 AM EST
I also have a bazillion hours of footage of C & G sitting around giggling at themselves stoned. They were pretty used to the idea of the camera always being around. I was thinking about becoming a filmmaker, after all.

Asa point of fact, this story required also zero nipping and tucking. Things happened in a very just-so way.

I am from a small, unknown country in the north called Ca-na-da. We are a simple, grease-loving people who enjoy le weekend de ski.
[ Parent ]
I'm a little incredulous by nebbish (2.00 / 0) #14 Fri Jan 20, 2006 at 12:38:47 AM EST
But it doesn't stop this being great. +1FP

It's political correctness gone mad!

For some reason I just thought of this by duxup (2.00 / 0) #22 Fri Jan 20, 2006 at 03:31:16 PM EST
Couldn't you have just covered the light?

An informal procedure in my world to dispose of bothersome lights on computer equipment is to cover it with electrical tape, fill it in with a sharpie, or some similar method.

Cutting a wire seems drastic.

I Had Been Covering It, Up Til Then. by CheeseburgerBrown (4.00 / 1) #24 Sun Jan 22, 2006 at 02:10:16 PM EST
But people would ask things like, "You're not recording, are you?" and then peer at the little swatch of black tape and accuse me of being covert.

By disconnecting the light altogether I could proudly point to the light and lie by saying, "No, this light blinks when it's recording." Obviously this doesn't work if you're bringing someone's attention to a bit of tape.

I know, I know -- it's not ethical to record people without their knowledge or permission. But it's the only way to get things to play out naturally so you can tell stories about life and they feel life-like.

These days I solve that problem differently. I use my brain as a recording device and reproduce the stories in text. My brain does not feature a light that blinks when it is accepting input.

I am from a small, unknown country in the north called Ca-na-da. We are a simple, grease-loving people who enjoy le weekend de ski.
[ Parent ]
Wouldn't they notice, though... by carbon (2.00 / 0) #25 Sun Jan 22, 2006 at 06:00:19 PM EST
... that you're pointing the supposedly inactive camera right at them, instead of just holding it at your side?

[ Parent ]
I Did Hold It At My Side. by CheeseburgerBrown (2.00 / 0) #26 Mon Jan 23, 2006 at 04:43:56 AM EST
What kind of a nincumpoop would hold a camcorder up to their eye like a Borg? It's highly discomfiting to the subject, unless they're very used to being casual with robots.

I am from a small, unknown country in the north called Ca-na-da. We are a simple, grease-loving people who enjoy le weekend de ski.
[ Parent ]
But, while it was at your side... by carbon (2.00 / 0) #27 Mon Jan 23, 2006 at 08:19:43 PM EST
... it was being aimed at them? Seems like that would mess up the angle of the shot, giving it a kind of Attack of the Giant Killer Vegetables feel (Gojira!). Also, unless the camcorder is differently shaped than I'm imagining it (which is pretty likely, since my geekery specialities lie elsewhere), you'd have to be holding it in a noticeably strange way for it to not be pointing at the ground.

Hm... or maybe you're talking about recording only sound? That did turn out to be the only important part when it came to the bozo in the story above. But then, if you were making a habit of covert sound recordings, seems like you'd be better off just using a hidden cassette recorder (like you did when dealing with a different bozo in a different part of this series).

[ Parent ]
Christopher by jimgon (4.00 / 1) #23 Sat Jan 21, 2006 at 04:19:55 AM EST
Seems to me an awful lot of people have a little Christopher in them.  The story seems to be one of a guy who tries too hard to be liked the by the in crowd.  He's uncomfortable to an extent with what they define as fun, but has to mimic it and accept it to be "cool".  Then he repeats the antics to people to show how "cool" he is.  You can see it school, and you can still see it in the same people in the corporate world.  A lot of these people turn out to be middle managers in a senior position.  They go with the crowd and spout off what's been told to them as gospel because they can't accept that you don't have to be a drone to be cool. 

I've known Christophers, I've been Christopher, and now I'm just embarrassed by the Christophers.

Technician - "We can't even get decent physical health care. Mental health is like witchcraft here."

On Enemies, Part IX | 27 comments (27 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback