Thursday, September 27, 2012

Terminus Machina: "Silver Spook"

Silver Spook

Dad was a company man. Put in the hours to keep our sterile McBoat afloat. Grafted his brain onto his Flexbook ‘Maginepad. Coming up with new names for the same flavor of coffee. Played checkers with spreadsheets trying to eat the red tokens with the black. Trim the fat. “Stanford and Dillingham are bluest of blue chip. A collapse there has virtually negative probability, it’s a Sigma seven-plus event. It is more likely that the sun won’t come up tomorrow than Stanford and Dillingham will go under.” I looked outside, the sun buried under metric fuckloads of pollution and the black fog of class war, devouring the sky like nuclear winter. Thought, “Gee, maybe the house gave you the wrong odds on that one.” Maybe that was the point. Perhaps for a moment I understood what it meant to “sell short”: to gamble that an enterprise will fail. The Real Money People had their chips stacked on civilization rolling snake eyes.

You knew it was bad when the power realty agents in their pink Miu Miu and their Emu Egg fertata open-house hors d’oeuvres were pulling up like lost Eurasian-Agg tourists in District 10, polishing the turd-colored Section 8 housing with pointless Premium Web holotours, charging more TorrentCoins for a three-mouseclick credit check and “processing” fee than it would cost to buy all four stories of rust-bleeding cinderblock.

He tried to explain “net present value” to me once. The memory itself is a smear of numerati-speakage; labyrinthian CDO cash flows deluging mean variance voodoo wrapped around paradoxes like “time value of money”, and, somehow extricated from the intractable Cthulu-knottage of number theoretics a single dollar output, like some system-analysts’ Houdini escape act. It was at that moment I’d come, fully and irrevocably, to the conclusion that the art of finance was fundamentally the art of escape, an axiom corroborated by the fact that the previous two false-alarm Global Meltdown/Looting double features had gone off without a single senior-tranche indictment.

“See, Silver Spook, this is how much we’ll be worth in 30 years, adjusted for 2050 dollars.” So many trailing zeros, like strung pearls, typefaced in sixty-point custom minted “Legal Tender” font, as if dressing the projection in dark suit and red tie might infuse it with truth. Portfolio graphed in interlocking Gaussian-Copula curves of gold and azure, accelerating exuberantly beyond the bounds of the finite spreadsheet’s gridded money-time continuum, like the exponential stairways to Singularity heaven trumpeted at some Silicon Valley technovangelist summit, before the tech collapse 2.0 and San Fran Revolts. Poetically, by 2050, there would exist no dollars with which to measure one’s “net present value”, and all those dead president and cryptohologram-etched cotton rectangles would be cold ash residue left by a trashcan fire or woven into post-post-modernist kilts, or preserved in vacuum-sealed zero-humidity Pluto museum vaults like original papyrus gospels archived in the bowels of the Vatican. Money to be preserved, rightfully, as the most holy documents of 20th Century America’s true religion.

Dad dealt in, traded futures. Like the financial barons, bankers, who were also in the business of trading futures. They traded the futures of the next generation away for a few more billions, a few more zeros on the Excel scoreboard, a few more pearls to string on the plastic-stuffed empty manikin of a trophy wife, a few more summerings in Cayman Island tax haven/resorts. That was his problem. He was in the business of futures in a world that was rapidly becoming very post-future. Generation Hex was the sledge-hammer pendulum swing about to be reeled in by our so-called “parents”, who left us to wallow in the ash of a squandered Golden Age. The life draining Great American Lie of The Future was overdue for a hard-takeoff iconoclasm by the post-future bastard children.

Later mom and I discovered he wasn’t worth those 2.4 million 2050 dollars. Dad was very mark-to-model.  Ran off to mark Icelandic models in some Plutocrat Enclave’s playland he’d managed to cocksuck his way into, discarded mom and me like last-season’s smart phone, and left us to pick up the pieces of his mid-life crisis “family phase”, when I was fourteen.

He never called me Silver Spook, I made that part up. I was just another statistic in an itemized list of yearly deductables, a “1.2 kid” checkmark in some misplaced aspiration toward American-gothic middle class normalcy that had curdled into mocked TV cliché decades ago. But in Generation Hex, I wasn’t just the wrong bubble in some multiple-choice exam. In Generation Hex, I was Silver Spook, one of the elite hackers resisting the Puppetmasters, the future-selling bastard fathers of the world. In Generation Hex, I mattered.

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