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  November 2004
volume 2 number 4
-table of contents-
  home   (archived)
  Michelle Brodeur
  Nika Cavat
  Francisco Dominguez
  Dale Duke
  Ron Dvorkin
  Erik Haber
  Marie Lecrivain
  Laura A. Lionello
  Patrick Mooney
  Greggory Moore
  Kevin Stricke-9
  Gregory T. Young
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Kevin Stricke-9
November 2004



    Kevin Stricke-9 was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, and raised in Los Angeles. If pushed to describe himself, he might say he is an "African-American, Jewish Hip-Hop, Metal-Hippie Macktivist."
    Stricke-9 is part of the Poets of the Round Table Collective. As a spoken word performer, Stricke-9 is a veteran of LA stages such as 33 1/3, Mic & Dim Lights, Da Poetry Lounge, Poetic License, co-lab:ORATION, Green, Red, and even though he scores very badly at Slams, he has love for everyone.
    These days Kevin Stricke-9 is all about the prose. He is currently working on a fictional portrait of West LA's Jewish community entitled Passover in LA.



Chemical Trails

    Guess it was someone’s idea of irony to spray the chemical weapons at 4:20 pm. Maybe it was coincidence. Or maybe some genius in the Pentagon realized that was the time a maximum portion of the target population would be inhaling.
    At the time I was a journalist working for the Independent News Center. We were hot on the trail of every civic protest in the city. Not one teacher walk out, not a single picketing front went unreported by our legion of truth tellers.
    We considered ourselves the people who knew what was really going on. Our articles were proof that most of the USA ignored the truth. That is to say, the fact that ours was the only media outlet reporting our stories was proof of a cover up. Our newspaper, the Independent News, was the written outlet of The Movement. We had nothing against Republicans and Democrats per se’, but they seemed to think of us as a threat to the US. Or so we believed.

    I got to be honest with you, I hardly followed the Chem Trails at first. It was Bill Hobson’s story. He insisted we run it, and when we refused to serialize his reports, he built a website.
    I thought the guy was fruitloops. One of those people who always has his head in the clouds, and when he comes back to Earth you won’t know what he’s come up with next. He ran this story in ’92 about the Pleadaeons, a space alien race who created our mythology. His story said they were returning to reclaim the planet. He ran an updated version in ’99.
    This guy, Hobson, was convinced that extra-terrestrial visitors taught the Egyptians magic. Moses, according to the theory, is a smoke screen, a palace insider who pretended to be Israelite and founded a decoy capital in the so-called Promised Land. Subsequent stories of David, Jesus, and Mohammed, according to the Spacepeople, are a serious of symbols designed to make simple people accept lower stature.
    In American history text books, they teach that the fertile land surrounding the Nile River led to the advances in human civilization. The real story in Egypt, according to Hobson, was when the secrets of the Universe were explained to human beings by the Pleadaeons.
    All this is Conspiracy Theory 101. Examining the past is easy, there’s no shortage of oppression and brutality. It’s rare to actually catch the puppet masters in action.

    Hobson took to calling us everyday at 4:20 pm. Were we looking outside? Did we notice the peculiar cloud shapes?
    Eventually, out of basic friendship to Hobson, I walked outside at 4:25 pm. Sure enough, I saw unusual clouds. They were long, wide streaks of cloud. As if one of those smoke-writing planes had used a roller brush. I stood on the balcony for a while. Soon I became conscious of an acidic taste in my mouth. I licked my lips, but that made it worse. The taste was out of place, for the leaf on which I puffed was an organic blend. It tasted as though someone had sprinkled cocaine flakes into my stash, and yet I knew this was not the case.

    This story was being reported by a man who lived in a tent hidden outside of Edwards Air Force Base near Lancaster. A man familiar with every craft in the hangars, and the attachment required to spray chemicals over a vast area. He watched take-offs and landings through binoculars, and communicated directly to Hobson. This was not on the AP Wire.
    The Los Angeles Times asked the Government to comment on our story. The spokesman admitted that spraying was taking place in California for the purpose of bolstering the ozone layer. Environmentalists objected with venom. The story began to fly across the country. What was being sprayed in California?
    The President of the United States went on television. He said there were things about running the country we Americans didn’t understand, just like there were things about our jobs he, The President of the United States, might not know.
    " We can’t afford to look to the past," said the President. "We must look to the future!" He lifted his hand from the podium. He stared straight into the camera and said," The people of California can be sure that The President of the United States has their best interests in mind."

    Hobson called a meeting with a few of us at the Independent News. He wanted to discuss what strain of the story to follow, now that it had some national attention. He told us he had fielded questions from reporters in New York, D.C., and Paris.
    Besides myself, there was Rob Wang, a soft-spoken cynic with an endless desire to stick microphones in people’s faces. Also Abby Anderson, the daughter of a wealthy Hancock Park lawyer who was pursuing her Ph.D. in Urban Socialization. Ruben Swanstack was there, a tireless advocate of gay rights, and a remarkably tasteful cross-dresser. Finally Einberg, the glue in our operation, the tech. He was the only one, besides the heiress, who honestly gave up loads of money to do his job for the Independent News.
    Hobson presented three story ideas. The first was built around a Dr. Wreigndrauppe. A scientist formerly under the employ of a government contracted bio-chemical laboratory, the doctor was willing to go on record saying he worked researching chemical weapons which had been found in the hands of terrorists. Perhaps, the story would suggest, the US troops found chemical weapons in Iraq, but didn’t share the information.
    Rob Wang asked where the story would go. Was there a theory regarding why we were in cahoots with Iraq? Not especially, Hobson moved on to idea number 2.
    He gave us an outline for a retrospective piece about Malathion and Agent Orange. Hype the government’s proven record of gassing its own people. This idea was met with a collective groan from our group. Our readership knew what we were dealing with.
    Finally Hobson said he predicted an outbreak of disease. Ruby was most intrigued. What kind of disease Hobson couldn’t say. He had spoken with scientists attempting to analyze the chemical spray and to predict what sort of infections it might cause.
    “Then we’ll have everybody who catches a cold saying its proof the government is out to get us.” We all laughed. For several minutes we side-barred into complaints regarding how misunderstood we all felt.
    We returned to the article. “Why,” asked Ruby.”
    Hobson shrugged, “Global domination?”
    “All right, who? Is it the usual lefties or all of California? If that pans out you have a real story on your hands.”

    I’m sure you know what happened next. British Prime Minister Tony Blair called it 'one the worst betrayals in history.' The President was impeached along with half his staff. Hobson went on to win a Pulitzer Prize and have his name carved in the Mt. Rushmore of Journalism with Sawyer, Woodward, and Bernstein.
    In case you were living in a log cabin in the woods, up and away from the foul air . . . I’ll bring you up to speed. Apparently, a militant Arab terrorist ran through The 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica spraying chemicals that spread throughout the city. In an effort to prevent a national epidemic, the US Army quarantined Southern California, literally corralling us in our homes.
    When we did not all drop dead, the US troops remained in California until a national outcry forced them to withdraw. The version of the story Hobson sent from a computer inside the quarantine, which ran in the New York Times, told the real story. The chemicals which infected California had not come from the Arab, but from the chemicals in the ozone spray.
    The American Government had realized that the United States had become too vast a country to govern. Furthermore, immigration was impossible to stop. They re-read their Stalin, and decided to send a message. Expend some undesirables. Someone or someones decided that the illegals, okies, jews, and coloreds in Southern California were the most expendable . . . only we didn’t die.
    Something went wrong with their gruesome plans. Many, many people died. Over the course of a month they turned purple, and coughed up their insides. Except it was the old people, the children, and the Christians. The straights were the ones who died, the lefties were unharmed.
    To his dying day, Hobson believed that the space alien government had set in motion a plan to kill off the human population and seize the planet. Only it didn’t work. The poison didn’t kill us.
    These iron statues I gaze at from a park bench, aren’t the world’s first war memorials. Here in California these stand . . . a mark of respect to the masses, a speck of regret to the privileged few.
    Who knew, who could have guessed, the latest attempt to kill with gas, would be foiled again by Fate and Irony. God, Goodness, who knows what intervened. The chemical weapons used on Cali were immunized by t.h.c.

copyright 2004 Kevin Stricke-9