(Letter to a Generic Editor from a Prominent Developer, April 1, 2097)

Dear Editors,

I went down to the coastal wetlands preserve the other day to see if there was any land I could build on, and it just made me sick to see how these goddamn environmentalists have screwed the world up.

I pull over on the Coast Highway and sit there for awhile because I can’t get out on the passenger side. The buildings butt up against the road like a wall and there’s no room to open the door. I can’t get out at all because the driver’s side is too close to the traffic and the cars are going by bumper-to-bumper like a rope. But, after about an hour and a half, I finally get a break in the traffic and manage to get out. I take a coil of rope, tie it to the steering wheel, grab my Mag light, turn sideways, squeeze into the space between two buildings, and head back to the preserve.

It’s a rat maze back in there and you have to pay out rope as you go or you’ll never find your way back. It’s pitch black because the buildings average about 5000 feet in height. Not much, as far as condos go these days, but it’s the best we could do, given the way the green freaks passed all those anti-building laws.

I push on for maybe half and hour. It’s tough, forcing yourself between the buildings because the building code says you have to leave 6 inches between the structure and the property line, and this is wise. It gives you a whole foot of clearance between units. I’m about three feet thick myself, and I have to flatten out like a fried egg, but what the hell, I don’t mind losing a little skin now and then if it’ll help the cause.

Finally I get to a clearing, and there it is. The Bolsa Chica Wetlands Preserve. I shine my light in there, letting it play over the 10-foot chain-link fence, over the rolls of razor wire along the top, and inside the fence I see this little, square pool of mud, 12 feet on a side. Up above–way up at the tops of the condos–there’s a little square of light–the gap caused by the preserve down here on the ground. Then I see a brass plaque wired to the fence:

Found here in the great census of 1997:
3 cockroaches,
17 maggots,
50 bazillion intestinal bacteria
(A mud hen was seen here in 1996)

God, I tell you, these environmental SOBs never miss a chance to rub it in. They’ve been doing it for 130 years, ever since they got sneaky back in 1967 and blocked the Zero Land Company in court. Back then there were 13,000 acres, just waiting to be developed. We fought for our rights, of course, scheming and lobbying and conniving and bribing and finally we got half of it–6500 acres–to build on. Then the Rubble Company came up with a development plan for the other 6500 acres and again the freaks got an injunction and blocked the plans. This time we had to hire winos to sign form-letters of support and mail them. All we got was another half–3250 acres–but what the hell, something was better than nothing. The Solid Waste Compaction Corporation then came up with plans for another development, which the activists blocked, naturally, but we expected that and got the politicians to hold key meetings over the Christmas holidays, when the environmentalists were away, visiting their families. We got 1625 acres that time.

This went on and on–and let me tell you, we paid fortunes to a whole mob of bureaucrats–until finally we got the Coastal Commission stacked with pro-development Republicans in 1994. That let us win big time until the freakos got the Supreme Court to interfere in 2050 and stop us from building.

All we want now is what’s rightfully ours. God, I get goose bumps just standing there, looking at it. This land has never been built on…. I mean, we’re talking 144 square feet of real, virgin land here. Not landfill. Not even compressed solid waste. What kind of pervert would even want to block progress for the rest of us 3 billion Americans?

Don’t get me wrong, I really am for the environment and all that–who isn’t?–but hell, there’s plenty of room for the roaches and microbes. Cripes, we’re willing to leave them half! All I want is a piece 6 feet by 12 feet.

I’ve already drawn up plans for a luxury high-rise condominium that’ll be taller than all the others–6000 feet. The top 1000 feet will not only stick up past the other condos, but it will also stick up above the smog layer. On a good day you’ll be able to see the luxury condos out on Catalina.

I mean, you can do great things with 6 by 12 feet. You stack the rooms, one on top of the other, and most of my units will have 10 to 15 rooms. I’ve even worked out a way to save space by getting rid of stairs. What it is, is a system of two tubes, each tube being 2 feet in diameter–the up-tube and the down-tube. They work like little elevators. Each tube has a door and what you do is, you climb in and assume the fetal position. Then you stick your left thumb in your mouth and your right thumb where the sun don’t shine, push the activation button with your nose, and Ka-Blooey!–a blast of compressed air blows you up to the next room. When you want to go down, you climb into the other side and Ka-Thlooop–you get sucked down the tube as far as you want to go.

I’ve even thought of a name for my condos. Shaft World. Yes ma’am, yes sir, the Shaft World Seacoast Resort Luxury Condos is going to make me a wealthy man.

But getting back to the point, it’s just plain wrong to deny us developers everything. Think about it! How do you think civilization got built!!? Because developers built it, that’s how. Jesus H. Christ. Developers represent the human race! Not only that–we live in a capitalistic country where it’s good and right to keep building. It’s also necessary. The economy depends on it and society is behind us. So are the politicians.

Now your take my daughter. She just went off to college and already she’s making environmental noises–wants to protect wetlands and all that. But I’ll tell you what–if she keeps it up–if she ever takes part in a demonstration–the next day she’s outa here. Kicked out. Disinherited. It’s wrong for some freak minority to keep all that land unused. But they won’t. Once we get our minds set on a piece of land, sooner or later we’ll get at least half of it.

Because the thing she better learn right now–the thing all these green freaks better learn–is that this is a democracy, and in a democracy, living is compromise. That’s how it works…. I’ve already made up plans for 3 by 6…. Hell, I’m even thinking 3 by 1-1/2.

Yours sincerely,
B.F. Deale,

Humpty & Jesus

Jacqi, my duck, laid the first egg of a new clutch on the 26th of December, which happens to be my birthday. Gazing down on her muscovy manger, it occurred to me that the egg was infertile since there were no male ducks hereabouts to stir the pot, and all of Jacqi’s metabolic labor in producing the egg was going to be for naught. Then it struck me: Jesus also came from an unfertilized egg, which to this day remains the supreme example of parthenogenic birth. Hmmmm, thought I…. And because the 26th is so close to the 25th, and because the egg must have been forming inside Jacqi’s uterus on the 25th, it might have received some sort of holy irradiation. You never know about these things. So I named the egg Jesus and wrote His name on the shell with a ballpoint pen. Then I put It back in the nest. If It hatched, I’d be onto something big, and maybe It would even pay for Jacqi’s upkeep. But things went terribly wrong. For reasons not given us to understand, Jacqi rolled Jesus out of the nest onto the concrete courtyard, and crack!–just like that, Jesus became Humpty Dumpty–and we agnostics finally had ourselves a god.

Epiphany in Harvard Square

One Sunday October morning many years ago, I was walking through Harvard Square, going with the flow of cocky, bearded students, striding with the confidence of the New Enlightenment, along with the occasional professor & wife on their way, presumably, to church. The air was cold and stinging, cheeks were pink, breath rose in gray puffs from red noses and parted lips. An old derelict then staggered into the traffic from some side path and stood there among the people, who shied away to give him as much room as possible. He had several weeks of stubble, his hair was matted in dirty tufts, and he wore a gray trench coat stained with blotches of some filthy black substance. You could almost see the odor rising from him. He stood there, swaying in an alcoholic trance, staring with bloodshot eyes as he tried to comprehend people in their Sunday finest.

Suddenly his body seemed to power on; he stood up straight, looked around with a defiant glare, and with flung open his coat. And there, in a nether epiphany, hung his manhood, cunningly placed outside his fly, for Christians to admire.

“HEY, LADY!!!” he roared in a deep, coarse voice, to no lady in particular, all in
general, “YA WANNA SEE MY THIRD LEG???!!!”

Bellowing his mantra again and again, he lurched in slow, 360-degree rotations, resolutely displaying his wares while holding his coat open like a portable pulpit. The people pushed by with stern faces, pretending they saw and heard nothing, doing their best to uphold the dignity of Harvard.

I stood there, staring at this poor, rotting husk of a human being, a river of humanity parting to flow around him, and wondered what he could possibly have done to lose his faculty position.

What I Believe (as of 6/12/15)

As a godless pantheist in a dysfunctional civilization, I, William Jordan, write with both feet on the ground and my left finger in the air.

I believe in the 10 commandments. I believe in the golden rule, along with the golden mean.
I believe in loyalty and kindness, honesty and earnest, charity and mercy–in the selfless
concern for others, in common decency–the simple love of right existence.
I believe in respect for one’s elders, for one’s peers–in that order–respect for all living
things, including microbes and plants–respect for soil, for water, for air.
I believe in sufficient-but-essential law and a certain amount of self-adjusting order.
I believe in punishment when necessary–spanking, jail time, the atrocity execution.
In a strong military, but mainly to repel other militaries; in the love of one’s country, but only
after one’s planet.
In the acceptance of Fate and the Grand Is-ness, which envelopes us all, without comment.

But above all, I believe in the Truth, Beauty, and Goodness of the natural world and expect to follow its gospels to eternity, and perhaps, if fortunate, even to infinity. And if you try to
stuff me down the red-white-and-blue toilet of some right-wing ideology or the designer-
pink commode of a left-wing manifesto, I will stick in your drain.

On my stone:

“Come On In — The Soil’s Fine”