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The Essay
Show #390
Weapons of Mass Deconstruction
David Gunn

Kilaban, Turkey, is a small (population 47) village in the southeast corner of the country that sits uncomfortably close to Iraq--only 50 feet, according to a 1999 geodesic survey. And while it shares the same latitude as Appomattox, Virginia, with which it is also surprisingly similar in contour, it is culturally more closely affiliated with the abandoned LEMs on the moon. It is scarcely more than a wide spot in the road, however for centuries that road was the Silk Road, the famed trade route that linked China with the Mediterranean Sea. Kilaban was its western terminus--which was odd, because a traveler still had another 475 tortuous miles to trek to get to the sea.

Beano Bengaze knows those odd miles well, because he traversed them for two days. From Dnipimak to Trantamore, Ixilia to southwesternmost Lincolnshire he journeyed, always with an ear to the ground and an eye of the hurricane. Of course, when no one was watching, he was not averse to astral projecting, so many of those miles flew by effortlessly. He was on that road because the CIA and NORML had jointly hired him to slip into Iraq by the most inconspicuous means possible, and most other routes were under at least cursory surveillance by CNN. Once there, he was to ferret out any weapons of mass destruction in advance of the UN arms and legs inspectors. Even for a musical shaman with vast powers of attorney, this was a daunting task. More than once he had to briefly alter the fundamental laws of nature, including the one that precluded toothpaste from ever being put back into the tube. Nevertheless, after a period of indeterminate time in the erstwhile Mesopotamian mud flats, Beano has completed his assignment. What he discovered, however, was not what the US Department of Coercion, Bureau of Browbeaters expected.

He found instead weapons of mass deconstruction--philosophical apparatuses that, via linguistic nihilism and conceptual recontextualization, pooh-pooh previously undisputed universal truths. Cadres of fanatical "intertextualists" were poised to wreak worldwide epistemological havoc by espousing vapid ontological platitudes, such as in the upcoming film, "Donconstructing Harry and Tonto." The scheme was obnoxious and annoying, yes, but hardly worth initiating a war over.

Under cover of Darkness, Iraq's counterpart to Loch Ness, Beano slipped back into Turkey. But just barely. A gang of miscreant desert actors had descended upon and captured Kilaban, declaring that henceforth all residents would dress and behave like the similarly named slave of Shakespeare's fertile pen. Now, Beano had no trouble altering his appearance, and, in fact, once received rave reviews for portraying Caliban in a Native American-Inuit co-production of "The Tempest." But he was fundamentally opposed to any one group intimidating another by any means. So, instead of stealing easily into and out of Kilaban, Beano Bengaze finds himself between Iraq and a hard place.

Make that two hard places, for he suddenly descries a mob of deconstructionists advancing from the south! From what Beano can gather from their grammatically irreconcilable palaver, they learned of the tiny town's takeover and resolved to liberate it. But the ruffian Calibanists to the north seem ready to defend their seized burgh. Taking a page from The Tempest's cast of characters, they have constructed and prepared to launch a cluster of Ariel bombs.

Not keen to be caught in the middle of this conflict, Beano flicks a toggle switch on the insole of one of his adobe moccasins. A piercing squeal issues from the slipper that's audible only to the shaman and half a dozen incorporeal entities. But hear it they do and, moments later, a seam in the sky overhead unzips and Wampum Joe, Billie Mae, Fairlane Ford, Betty Sue, Bunyip Boy, Talking God and Shishka Bob--the spirit guides of Navajo mythology--emerge.

It is within their epistemological purview to mortally smite the combatants, or at least turn them all into brine shrimp. Instead, exhibiting one of the merciful qualities that allow the Navajos to ignore their more ignominious ones, they spin rapidly around in a Möbius circle, inducing a condition of transitory time-reversal on the immediate vicinity. Soon, everyone is living a day and a half in the past. The desert actors are back on the road, heading this time towards Istanbul, where jobs as ushers in the Royal Constantinople Theatre await. Kilaban has both its rightful name and divers inhabitants back. And Beano ... unfortunately, his memory has been deconstructed and he can no longer recall events of the past 36 hours, events that might lead to a lessening of worldwide tensions, were they to be reported to and believed by Bureau of Browbeaters officials.

We have no desire to browbeat or even brow-nudge you, our listeners, to stay tuned to this 390th episode of Kalvos & Damian's New Music Bazaar, for it will brook broadcast transmission with or without you, not to mention, for one more week, with or without the utterly absent Kalvos.