ken lay, martian lizard; part one, two & three
March 5th, 2008
a few days after our snowfall here in ny (five inches was it?), i took maxx, my dog and buddy’s little brother and drove out to breezy point, a strip of sand that lies in the heart of an urban national preserve called “gateway national park.”
maxx loves both the beach and snow and this double whammy was tailor-made for him.
there’s an old army base named fort tilden that probably awaited the “german u-boat invasion” during WWII, along with a few all-season communities and beach clubs out here. it’s a great place to bring your dog to run free, dead of winter and all….
anyway, after an hour of frolicking. maxx frolics, indeed. it even looks like he’s frolicking when he’s playing. one of the words they use in describing the word “frolicking” is “horseplay” and maxx frolics like a small horse.
he is a large dog, just in case i didn’t tell you.
which brings to mind one of the biggest tragedies the WBush presidency has wreaked on me and anyone else who likes to use italics in writing for comedic, ironic or emphatic effect. his singularly annoying need to emphasize a point – generally a point that he assumes no one could put their head around, though it’s more because of a sane person’s refusal to – which i found infuriating, reverberates in my head when i use it now, causing me to feel the need to apologize to the reader(s) for what could be construed as arrogance, impatience or fear, the three benchmarks that define our current president.
but i digress…
after running on the beach and fetching pieces of wood the size of baseball bats, me and maxx turned from the ocean and headed into the “wilds”, paths that would eventually lead to abandoned buildings, junk heaps, high weeds and the parking lot.
it was at the parking lot that things got a little strange.
in the lot was my car with its plastic passenger window, courtesy of my third shattered window since moving to bushwick a year ago, and a brand-spankin’ new black acura-type SUV with an elderly gypsy-looking couple in the front seat; the driver’s side was occupied by the man who looked like an elderly omar sharif (maybe it was omar sharif. he’s elderly by now..) who was looking out to the open water with a pair of strange-looking binoculars. i followed the direction of his gaze and saw a distant ship that seemed as if it might be a freighter of some sort, then checked out the round-faced, olive-skinned woman whose head was out the open door with the same strange pair of miniature binoculars aimed directly upwards.
like, at the sky.
her mouth was open as she craned back and i couldn’t help noticing her sharp, tiny little teeth.
i glanced up momentarily and saw nothing but a bright, blue sky. i looked back at her. she was still aimed skyward.
oh, those mean little teeth, i thought.
maxx, an ordinarily outgoing…..no, obnoxiously loud and aggressive dog, was quiet and uncharacteristically meek and couldn’t seem to get in the car fast enough. he sat in the front seat and looked directly at the couple for a few seconds, then sank down into the seat and disappeared from view.
i couldn’t think of getting into my car. there was something going on….it was as if i was being compelled to remain, like committing to an acid trip.
the tab was down the throat, the ride was coming.
i went to the driver’s side of the car, opening the door making believe i was looking for something. the woman ceased her upward examination, taking the binoculars from her eyes and was staring right at me.
“hey, uh..” i stammered “what’s up there?”
“kenny” she said, her voice high-pitched yet disturbingly throaty.
“what? who?”..i look up at the blank blue sky….”what are you talking about?”
then i hear the man inside the car, his accent thick and clipped like he was doing an impression of eduardo cianelli doing an impression of an indian warlord-high priest in the film “gunga din”, which was a poem by robert louis stevenson that was turned into a movie that was doing an impression of the english empire during its incursion into india. actor sam jaffe did an impression of an indian “regimental beastie (bhisti)” in the film, another word for “watercarrier”, another word for waterboy, something all indians apparently aspired to while under queen victoria’s rule.
this film was the genesis for the indiana jones movies, where harrison ford did an impression of a doughty professor though, in reality, a super handsome adventure guy who risks life and limb in rescuing people, artifacts and the world from the likes of nazis, mystics and power-mongers; sort of a WWII-era james bond meets cutter, macchesney and ballantine, the three sargeants who the regimental bhisti gunga din, administers water, ammunition and eventually his life in order to prevent eduardo cianelli, (high-priest of the Kali, a hindu badass-goddess), from not allowing englishness to spread further while trying to secure his newly discovered temple of gold from being ransacked by the three greedy englishmen and their steadfast regimental beastie who brought them here in the first place.
so, this guy, in that voice, says, “you know of the heathen scoundrel known as ken lay? if you can see that ship out there, you’ll notice a beam shooting straight up from where that ship is floating.”
i squint, trying to make out the ship and the beam. “hell. i can’t see a thing,” i say.
he hands his little binoculars to me and i’m thrown back by the magnification they offer. i can see the ship, clear as day, as well as what almost looks like a three-foot wide pneumatic tube, though the sharif/cianelli fellow assures me it’s a forcefield that does what pneumatic tubes would do…transport stuff and people, just like on futurama.
“these binoculars are fantastic,” i say – they can zoom in so well that i can zero in on people on board.
“your eyes are on the ship?” he asks.
“look for the guy with the blue/gray suit. he looks just like his pictures. beady eyes. smiles without showing his teeth..that is the one you know as ken lay. know why he smiles like that?
this was all going on too fast. there was too much information.
“uh…why?” (i have since looked all over the web for pictures of ken lay and though there are plenty of photos of him smiling, there are none that show his teeth.)
because he has teeth like her, he says, nudging his head in his partner’s direction. i turn toward her, knowing all along that she had never taken her eyes off me since she stopped looking up. she was smiling at me. her smile with those little teeth were very reptilian. i felt that if i moved too fast she would spring and rip my throat out in a hot second.
“yes, she would,” he said.
“would? would what?” i asked
“rip your throat out in a hot second and eat everything inside your skin.”
“shit, you guys read minds and everything,” i said.
“you betcha” he said.
i took safety in looking through the spyglasses and observed ken lay on the ship. he was ordering people about, pointing at boxes and small containers as if arranging things on deck. i glanced away and looked at the woman across the car from me. she had resumed looking upward, though now the angle was no longer straight up, but at an angle as if something above was headed toward the ship out there in the ocean.
“are you an alien?” i asked the guy.
“not really,” he said. it’s sort of like this is the future. that’s what mars is all about…..this is about the new martians. the martians have been here since the dawn of time, like human time, and they’ve been working on getting home. we’ve been among you forever, practically.
’she’s a martian lizard?” i asked, motioning to the woman peering into the sky.
“we both are,” he replied, removing his set of human dentures and baring his sharp little teeth.
spellbound, i was.
“are you gonna kill me for knowing you’re here?”
“why bother?” he answered.
“…so what’s up with ken lay? are all you lizard people such…”
“what?” he said, “such…lizards?”
“i think more along the line of ‘odious shitheels’ or something. you know, what he did with that enron thing….pretty despicable, don’t you think?”
“well, it’s what lizard people do.” he said, “i can’t judge what other martian lizard people do. i was a junkbond salesman before i got into this. martian lizards are the kings and queens of the swindle. the masters of the big grift. we sell the snakeoil that cures humanity’s ills”
“martian lizard people are just trying to get home. DO HAVE ANY IDEA HOW MUCH THIS TRIP IS GONNA COST? ” he said emphatically. “it’s a pity that you folks have to get hurt in the process. but when you can put an american president in your hip pocket, well…..” he said. “but it’s better than enslaving humanity or eating everyone’s insides out. we can do that in a heartbeat, you know. i’ll give you a hint; when did you start hearing about america “going to mars”? he asked.
“george bush? george w bush is a martian lizard?”
“no. of course not. he’s like one of those people that if you give him something shiny to look at ,a uniform hat and a whistle, he’ll do anything. but we also promised him we’d make him one of us if he played ball. we got him all hopped up on martian scripture.”
“what’s martian scripture?” i asked
“oh, it’s a lot of hooey”, he said, “we learned humans go for anything. it doesn’t matter what it is…..humans will gobble it right up. ask a scientologist. ask a mormon. ask a christian! ask a muslim! ask anyone who orders enzyte! you can get all the answers to all the questions, eternal life, be one of the 1200 who get to heaven, you can get a volume deal on virgins and you can get a bigger penis. we love humanity. what they lack in taste, they make up in naivete’.”
“well, not everybody’s that….” i protested weakly.
“we don’t need everybody. we just need enough and brother, there’s more than enough. your p.t. barnum had it right, but a sucker’s born every second instead of every minute.
“but, ken lay…doesn’t he have a conscience? don’t any of you have a conscience?”
“of course we do. ken is a really sensitive guy. he’s a family man. he wants to go home. we all want to go home, and our dreams are going to be coming true really soon. but if you’re asking if we care about the human race, well, yeah, we do, but when it comes down to us or you, well…….”
he explained that ken lay, like every other high-powered martian lizard who stole oodles and oodles of money from naive and trusting people, businesses and governments, would chuck their stuff to places like bahrain or abu dhabi or qatar – you know, those places where they’re building the biggest towers on earth and the most expensive island hotels and where you’ll never be unless you’re a corporate beastie or valet to the new generation of empire builders, or, of course, you too have tiny little teeth that cut and tear with swift vengeance.
he explained how, millions of years ago, the original martian ancestors populated the earth and were doing quite well, thank you, until a cataclysm of utmost destruction happened upon the earth, wiping out 99 percent of their race, save the gila monsters and gekkos and such. the lizards fared much better on mars. soon after walking upright, they stole each other’s food and ate each other’s young without conscience.
they developed language.
they were all inveterate gamblers, sideshowmen, operators and hucksters.
thousands of years ago on mars they used to joke about each other, “he’s so overflowing with calculated untruths that if these things could be harnessed as energy, he would be an interstellar powerpack”
little would the martian lizard people have guessed that by the dawn of earth’s twentieth century, the remains of their ancestors would be powering the bulk of the industrial revolution, that by earth’s twenty-first century they’d be selling thier ancestors for one hundred dollars-a-barrel and some of the dimmer martian lizards, or sharper humans, would be described in whispers as thus,
“if bullshit was electricity, he’d be a fuckin’ powerplant”
i was sort of numb and yet oddly at ease. maxx was asleep in the car. i had become accustomed
to the great binoculars. i watched ken lay walking around the deck of the ship. the eduardo cianelli fellow was telling me how the mothership was just above us and was heading toward the space above where that boat was and the forcefield/pneumatic tube thing was sucking up the stuff on the boat and it’s been hovering over the new york-metropolitan area for centuries now. when one ship would be loaded up, another one would come take its place.
these lizards were organized.
i asked him how it can be undetected for so long and he pointed up and said, “it’s not up there,……it’s way up there. if we can walk among you and steal your stuff for years and years, don’t you think we can hide a spaceship from you? can you spell cloaking device?”
what’s it matter? all the answers were on star trek and you cancelled it,” he said.