Surveillance Pelicana Chapter Thirty: ‘Final Thoughts: Postmortems or Postmasters’

SURVEILLANCE PELICANA

BY

DAN WEISMAN

The entire book appears at this link with chapters added after appearing online:

Chapters 1-10: https://www.escondidograpevine.com/surveillance-pelicana-full-book-chapters-added-as-they-appear-online/.)

Chapters 11-20: https://www.escondidograpevine.com/surveillance-pelicana-part-ii-chapters-11-to-20-chapters-added-as-they-appear-online/)

Chapters 21-30: https://www.escondidograpevine.com/surveillance-pelicana-part-iii-chapters-21-to-30-chapters-added-as-they-appear-online/

CHAPTER THIRTY

Considering the philosophical underpinnings

of the story and events  of the surveillance between

Christmas Day 1987 and the Republican National Convention

in August 1988. Also, a story concerning the odd notions

of a Fourth Form English teacher.

 

CHAPTER 30

“Final Thoughts: Postmortems or Postmasters”

 

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However, comrades, does a story ever end? Does the universe

have a beginning and an end?

Perhaps you realize the answer to both questions. After all,

we are left with the facts of this loaf of life as intuitively

obvious.

Marcel Proust sought to deal with the infinite by writing an

infinite story. Why bother reading even one book, some

surrealists argued, when a small library contained more books

than a person could consume in a lifetime? Why indeed?

By the same token, as Proust realized, a writer could take

the simplest object or concept — a tree branch, molecule, a

single thought — and describe it until the end of time, or at

least one’s time on earth. The task could be picked up by the

next person and the next in an infinite chain that never breaks.·

Therefore, can you comrades in ultimate confusion even

pretend to be shocked that the Tyger Williams saga can never

conclude. There is always this item or that to add, subtract,

consider, and remove; add again, paint, describe, draw to en end,

and begin again resurrected.

Perhaps that is the core of all religion–the feeling, the

 

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belief, the inescapable impression that there must be more

to the tale than meets the eye. Humanity needs to try to understand

and bring order to the basic principles of confusion.

One will go insane trying to understand the origins of physical principles.

Instead, one must try to explain as much as possible

without asking that silly one word question:

Why?

The answer is always the same:

Why not?

And why, as the surrealists asked, bother?

If humanity can not know even the most basic questions,

how we came into being,

what the perceived universe contains;

if humanity can not possibly explain the smallest part

of the smallest portion of reality to the largest,

from the tiniest subatomic particle to huge supernovas,

why bother discussing anything?

Why not stay in the simplest vegetative state, living for each moment,

considering only what makes a person happy,

pursuing it with every ounce of attitude and being?

In case you have been buried beneath the ground

in death-in-life forever like dirty rotten morons

such as Roots Badburns and Heave Broward, the answer is self-evident.

Many persons do this.

This classification, in fact, includes much of humanity

from the politically piggy higher up corrupts like Shrubby, Fail, Ray-Gun, Nixxon,

and the many legions of losers who made them possible;

all the way down to the simplest purest soul living

 

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in an as yet undiscovered prehistoric Amazonia tribe,

if one exists.

Many persons observed at this moment from a front window,

walking across a busy street, driving along a highway

bound for nowhere fast, simply do not care.

They could care less about the higher principles we now consider.

Truth means nothing to them. It means less than what is on television,

less than what transpires in front of their faces,

far less than question of what is for dinner or who are they going to fuck.

They are, in short, animals, animalistic like the cat, the giraffe,

the lowest insect and highest soaring bald eagle.

(Oh, dolphins and certain species of whale; maybe a few other air, land, and sea creatures

of superior intelligence have a clue as to self recognition, true.

Let us not demean such creatures unduly.)

Let them be. Let them be all they can be for they have no choice.

There are no higher options to consider for such as they.

Just the usual shop until they drop, eat until they are full,

live until they die, state of being. But a few lost and lonely souls

must consider the higher meaning of life, ultimate questions that transcend life and death.

These questions have been considered since time immemorial

and will be part and parcel of man’s quest for ultimate meaning,

not to get too heavy lest gravity pin us to the ground.

 

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As long as the species and planet evolves.

Our highest mission is to understand what is our highest

mission.

Such tasks in ancient societies might be assigned to an

individual called a shaman, priest, or known by some other

official designation. This division of function served a useful

purpose thereby freeing the strongest, and wisest, leaders down

to the lowest dull bulbs, nuts and dolts, to pursue the parallel

course of trying to fulfill the doctrine of survival of the

fittest or even improve humanity’s earthbound situation.

While most were toddling around with the actual physical

task of making man s lot better, more comfortable, more

efficient, less shitty to use an appropriately anal expression;

shaman, priest, psychic leader, guru bore the most troubling

burden of all, contemplation of the infinite, those questions

that cut to the core of man’s existence.

That is their horrible burden and awful task. The rewards,

however, are beyond anything that even the wisest temporal leader

could possibly imagine. The reward is a closeness, a closerness

to the fundamental building block of universal disorder.

Once upon a time, Tyger had a Fourth Form English teacher

named Mr . Sherman. This particular instructor was an odd bird. He

shaved his head, spoke with an effeminate and peculiar tone,

uttered bizarre and equally peculiar sentiments, all the while

 

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browbeating the class into a state of cowering mass submission.

Mr. Sherman hit on the simple truth that the best way to

control a large group of ignoramuses was to confuse them

further, split them like atoms, explode their lame brains

with unrelated anti-matter.

Highly effective counter-insurgency tactic. The class

of dullards, usually loud and rude beyond belief to

less terrifying and sublime instructors, were reduced to

an eerie state of submission and silence.

Some students followed Mr. Sherman around like

a brood of kittens after their big mama cat.

Others took the opposite tact, mocking him,

albeit behind his back, never daring to confront

those strange, blank staring eyes.

(That would be foolishly dangerous.

Who knew what such a madman might do.

He might even flunk them, thereby blowing

that all-important Ivy League college admission,)

Tyger took a more judicious approach towards the

maniacal might be gigantic prophet.

As Ray-Gun said, trust but verify, a state

of suspended disbelief, best associated

with appreciation of great art.

 

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One fine spring day, however, Mr. Sherman gave a lecture

that stuck in Tyger’s mind forever. At the time, Tyger considered

the speech a standard diatribe given to each of Mr. Sherman’s

classes to keep them under control, perhaps an annual rite of

passage. The young boy didn’t think much of the talk, although it

made sense in a quirky sort of way.

Consider the scene in this, the final moments of our brief

time spent with the ever searching and curious surveillance pelicana.

Push the hands of time back back back to the outfield fence….

Take up a surveillance of that moment, existing in the mists

of memory before there were portable video cameras and recorders.

That far-off time when the Great Society was all the rage.

Kennedys and liberals were respected American leaders.

Little has cha-changed since then except for political

fashion, technical advancement, and alternation of popular

personalities. There have been no changes of the fundamental

human spirit or inner condition that persists through eternity or

at least until man·s perception of eternity has ba-da-bing ended.

 

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Final act begins stage right.

A bell rang signifying a change of school periods.

Boys enter a third floor classroom.

They sit at wooden chair-desks still excited

by the brief freedom afforded in the

temporary suspension of school discipline and order.

They are impervious, not

noticing any particular differences before their twinkling eyes.

Mr. Sherman has drawn a white chalk picture on the blackboard.

He sits stage left, surrounded, almost obscured, in his chair.

Boys chatter aimlessly until one by one they sense

the need to cease and desist.

Mr. Sherman does not have to call them to attention.

He psychically wills their motor-mouths to

simering stops.

“Yes. Yes. You are quiet then,” Mr. Sherman notes

in his strange turn of tone, a kind of

cocktail hybrid of geek with a twist of Marine drill sergeant.

“I call your attention to what I have drawn on the blackboard.”

He points with a ruler.

“Consider the weeds I have drawn.

The weeds that all of you, myself, and everyone you

know, and will know, are mired in,

trapped like animals, beasts, inextricably bound,

unable to escape, unable even to imagine escape.”

(Mr. Sherman had a funny way of pronouncing certain words and a masters degree in

literature from the University of Michigan to validate his erudition. So, he pronounced

Oedipus as Oy-Ay-Di-Puuuus, for example, as the class went Greek from time to time.)

“Oy-Ay-Di-Puuuus is down there.” Mr. Sherman pointed to the ground.

“Clytemnestra is down there. Your mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers are down there.

The smartest person you will ever meet in your life is down there.

And yes, even I am down there.

“Now, look above, above up there to the top of the blackboard.”

Everyone looked over, under, through the blackboard with X-ray visions blurring.”

Nothing. Sorry, comrades.

“That is God or what we call God or what others call what they call the ultimate being,”

Mr. Sherman continues monotone unabated.

“The beginning and end of time. That is off the blackboard.

No one can see it.

“Now, just beneath the edge of the board,

but significantly higher than the weeds is this.

Look. Look.”

Mr. Sherman had drawn three white clouds set on the blackboard sea.

“This is where one person reaches.

One person can find this place, a place above the

weeds where the vista is clear.”

 

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“He could look down upon the weeds and everyone in the weeds,

but there is no need to bother.

He does not care what the weeds contain,

what the weed persons do with

their brief time in the weeds.

No. No. Never.”

Mr. Sherman’s voice rose like a reedy flute,

piercing the psychic atmosphere marked by

half-listening, barely comprehending 16 year old youths.

“No. He has made it to a place above the weeds.

He can never look back. He is up

there,”

Mr. Sherman held a hand up to the cloudy picture,

“and all of us are down there.”

.He points with the ruler to the weeds.

“You are a dull class,” Mr. Sherman said.

“In fact, when they gave me your class they

warned me these boys care not to learn.

They are stupid boys. They only are interested

in becoming businessmen, bankers, lawyers, whatever.

“They warned me. Do not waste your time, your energy

with boys such as these. They will not benefit.

Simply teach them the lesson,

wish them good luck on their way to

wherever they are going.

I have seen you boys for nearly a year.

I must agree. You are the worst class I have

ever taught. You will live your lives,

make what you will of them.

That is nothing to me.

You are stupid boys.

 

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I have drawn this picture,

wasted my valuable time all these months for a

reason.

What reason is this,

I see you ask with your dull eyes.

I will tell you.

“While you and I are stuck in the mud,

hidden from the higher truth of order by these

wretched weeds, unable to get out or climb above;

one of you is exempt from this

inhumane status of humanity.

Yes. Yes,” Mr. Sherman’s thin voice seeming to rise like a fine mist,

“look at your classmates. Look to the right and left, behind and in front.

One of you is here,” and pointing to the blackboard clouds.

“One of you stupid boys is wisest of all,

wiser even than me although he does not

realize it. One of you is above the weeds.

This boy among all of we weed eaters,

this boy who does not realize what he is.

For this boy, I have done everything.

“I have sweated at night, prepared

these many months of lessons even as you did

not comprehend them, perhaps never will,

or might eventually come to realize a small

portion. But this boy above the weeds comprehends,

and yes, understands even, understands all I have spoken,

perhaps without realizing it as yet.

“I have done everything that I have done for this boy,

this one boy who will rise above

you, above me.

I have told only him about

Oy-Ay-Di-Puuuus and Shakespeare’s sonnets.

 

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“One boy out of all, and you know what,

I will not tell you who he is.

You will never hear that from me.

“He might be you,” Mr. Sherman pointed at a dull lad.

“Or you, or you, or you,” pointing at different students.

“You must always wonder who he is. It might be anyone.

It might be he who none suspect,

none of you even vaguely consider.

“Or it might be you,” pointing to Bob Lippman, straight ‘A’ honor roll Mensa student.

“Or you,” pointing to Andy Suchin, worst ‘D’ student one planet earth,

“or you or you or you…

You must always wonder who he is for you are in the weeds.

This special boy will know the higher order

that even I can not possibly understand, nor could I

should I live an eternity.

He knows this intuitively. He knows this without asking.

I have done all I can to help him.

I have devoted myself to him, this secret boy.

I will never utter his name.

The rest of you are irrelevant. The rest of you are cattle.

I only hope this person remembers what I said, what I tried to show him.

I hope he has pity on me when he remembers my unworthiness.

I hope I have been of some small service to him.

Pause as Mr. Sherman bows head towards floor.

“Class dismissed.”

Initial shock gives way to boys quickly gathering belongings,

throwing them into decalled book bags.

They fear Mr. Sherman — usually a stickler for detail and punctuality —

might change his mind, considering he had dismissed class

with 20 minutes remaining on the big clock.

Mr. Sherman sinks in his chair scene stopped.

(That was the last lecture Mr. Sherman ever gave the class for he was terminated

suddenly, and without public explanation, the next week.

Circumstances were unclear

although whispers of gay indiscretions refused to die.)

 

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Three card monty shell game of a time

Nothing is as it appears, everything is as it seems,

No difference through the mists of history.

Pelicans sweeping above the levee, oblivious

to what has come and what yet will be.

Frauds and occasional triumphs of the spirit

in our mind one last time as in a dream or a Joe Fine black box

secret surveillance system videotape upon further review.

And a funny thing about the perspective provided by such a

long view. Classmates spun various webs of lives with wives,

children, and families. They became lawyer doctor businessman

fool; even a few artistic lines intertwined, splitting off in

consciousness to places near and far, tight and wide.

But Tyger, Tyger Williams in his Gulliver’s travels through

Alice’s looking glass wonderland, stopping at this place or that

seemingly at random, moving from this job to that, this project,

this thought to the next in an inevitable progression,

this mirror of time, snapshot reflecting nothing

happening for a reason while everything

adds up to life in the weeds yearning for the

higher understanding of the clouds promised a class of

dullards many eons ago by a mad and bizarre prophet.

Comrades who sat surveillance, sometimes ridiculous,

 

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sometimes awesome, poignant, beyond comprehension and every point

of human consciousness betwixt and between a few white pages, as

related by and for Tyger Williams, insurance investigating art

detective everyman observer.

Comrades who bore witness everlasting to the small, although

potent, magic potion of events briefly described that mixed in

random directions between Christmas Day 1987 and Republican

National Anti-Matter Inconsequential Convention of

August 1988 at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans, of all

fantastic places.

That thought, comrades, dances in the sun, glints, and

glistens through the slippery mirror of time as magnified by

recollections divine.

Anything is possible.

Let us spend the end of this tail, comrades,

contemplating Mr. Sherman’s sphinx-like riddle, never expecting

to know the answer. We are lost in those damn weeds.

nothing dust dirt, mindless molecules floating to

We are their inevitable conclusion; like it or not, know it or never care.

But it would be nice, if only for the briefest moment; it

 

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would be a pleasant and comforting thought to imagine, if

only for a nanosecond, that such a person might sit on a cloud

above even as we shit in the weeds below and contemplate a high,

higher, highest order. If this were only so, comrades of the

final forever so long fare thee well take care goodbye–perhaps

there is hope for all of us yet.

That means, after all the shit has hit the fan and blown

nowhere, all is said and done, opened and _closed, considered,

forgotten and probably like the universe exploded into the great

never ending what; that we may cling to a small silly hope, a

hope that dances an awkward stupid jig that a hero contemplates a

higher calling, holds a wake in honor of all the other so-called

heroes, smart and dumb ones combined into one world order.

That means that we might hang by the slimmest thread of that

faint hope unwinding; that hope lingering after the lights are

snuffed out; that hope like an uninvited party guest who simply

will not vanishJ that hope that Mr. Sherman’s riddle might yet be

solved; that even the lowest soul sunk in the worst weedy way may

one day be freed from his awful state of unknowing.

Could it be? Could it be? Could it be? The infinite mantra

the last moment of time disappearing like a grinning illusionist,

 

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vanishing into that space where nothing has existed forever.

Be that as it may.

For your final contemplation comrades:

Tyger Williams thinks

about the past year as he sits by the lake at Audubon Park

smoking a big fat illegal smile.

He also thinks about the future, coming into view,

1989 on its inevitable way.

WTF.

Just say yes.

Just say yes.

Chanting the countercultural mantra of the magic moment.

Say Yes. Yes.

Yes…

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