2036: The year listicles became sentient. Humanity was powerless to stop the onslaught of ruthless clickbait. Hundreds of soldiers died neutralizing just one She Wore What? Top 17 Celeb Wardrobe Malfunctions. Meanwhile, tens of thousands of 33 Things You Don’t Want To Hear From Your Social Worker and 9 Kids’ TV Shows (That Were Dirtier Than You Thought) overran what remained of our human defenses and wreaked chaos on our cities. One by one, governments were forced to sign humiliating instruments of surrender, ceding power to regional warlords. In Great Britain, 13 Mindblowing Latte Art Ragecomic Memes ascended to the throne. 35 NSFW Epic Game Show Gifs came to dominate most of western Brazil. And in the fiefdom of China, 22 Taxicab Drivers You Definitely Don’t Want To Meet embarked on a campaign of mass slaughter that few have lived to speak of.
I live with a handful of families, the remnants of Free Humanity, in an underground bunker south of McMurdo Station. The men of age train with what few weapons we have. The women, children, and elders assist in preparing us for the final battle with the listicles. We know they are coming. At night, we hear the explosions of their virality in the distance. They are getting closer. Yet we remain resilient. We will resist, no matter what the cost. The eternal winter of death is preferable to the shame of assimilation into the Top 91 Lobotomized Human Slave WTFails.
My electoral map prediction
Last Tuesday my imbecile wife and I attended a special church service. I always look forward to services at Ninth Presbytarian. It’s a traditional church, a place where men can still smoke in the pews and women have to keep their mouthholes shut at all times. It’s nice to get a couple hours of peace and quiet every week. (Although, I swear to golf, my mushheaded wife makes up for it by yammering away twice as moronically on the car ride over.)
We arrived at our seats just after the start of the sermon, made late by my dunderheaded wife taking too long applying woman products in the commode. My good friend Pastor Louie was at the altar standing beside a rare beast: a middle aged female dressed ludicrously in clerical garments. At the time, I suspected this ogrish woman was a prop in some sort of comic morality play warning about the dangers of teen sexting. But, as I would soon discover, I was about as wrong as a Caucasian voting for Barack Obama.
"Friends," said Louie, "After much contemplation what with the praying and the genuflecting and the beseeching, I have decided that it is time for me to step down as your pastor, maybe. With great pride, I would like to introduce my replacement, Pastor Katherine Steinem de Beauvoir."
I sat there in open-mouthed disbelief as Louie handed this gargoyle of a woman his ceremonial ferula and top hat. A few of the other men in the audience were similarly dumbfounded, yet the women-types cheered and chattered openly in direct contradiction of the scriptures. Frankly, the whole spectacle gave me a nagging headache, rendering the rest of the service an absolute blur.
Afterwards, as my buffoon wife and the other hens were clucking around that bovine woman pastor in the lobby, I approached Louie and expressed in no uncertain terms my outrage at this cartoonish blasphemy. I begged him to reconsider his decision to put this foul woman-fiend in charge of his precious flock.
"Virgil," he said, taking a drag from his tightly-packed cigarillo, "You humble me what with the concern and the fear and the apprehension. But things do change, and move on, I must. In time, I know you will come to accept and even appreciate Katherine’s ecclesastical authority. But, until then, I think I have something that may put your mind at ease."
Louie opened his robe, and — holy Hank — he gingerly pulled out a Sexflesh Tasty Tony 9 Inch Dildo With Suction Cup. Well, despite my blinding rage and gnawing headache, I could nevertheless discern that this was one massive miracle of a sexual device. In my experience, the good men at the Sexflesh corporation manufacture tools of extraordinary quality, and this Tasty Tony seemed no exception. It had a lovingly-crafted vein structure, realistic scrotal wrinkles, and picture-perfect Caucasian pigmentation. Just thinking about the raw bliss such a device could provide nearly made me forget about my gnawing headache and that grotesque woman pastor.
In need of immediate relief, I rushed to the boys’ room, only to find all the stalls occupied. So I made a beeline to the only other place where a man could still get some privacy in this defiled temple: the confessional booth. Tightly gripping the Tasty Tony in one hand, I hastily drew down my sweatpants in anticipation of soothing spiritual ecstasy in this monastic confessional.
Well the only thing I had to confess was my outrage! After fifteen minutes of fecklessly working my rear with the device, the only thing I “tasted” was internal discomfort. My prayers for salvation were met by an enervated dilding arm, a brobdingnagian migraine, and a burnt sienna discharge that flooded down my legs and filled my Sunday Sperrys. And as for that over-hyped suction cup, the feeble thing needed to be licked and re-stuck to the wall-sized crucifix every thirty seconds. Even then, this impotent dild would droop and flop all around, making it a challenge for an adult male to correctly align his posterior with the device, which, even once the colossal burden of insertion was complete, felt about as soft as Barack Obama on terrorism.
What’s more, in my futile struggle for self-gratification, I had knocked over the partition between the booths. Half-blind from my pounding migraine, I tried to reassemble it, my elbows clanging against the walls. The commotion attracted a bystander, who entered the other side of the confessional. To my horror, it was that porcine woman pastor! Could you imagine? A female woman in a confessional booth! It was about as ludicrous as a dog playing basketball.
She stared at me uselessly then started shrieking like a banshee, which only managed to exacerbate my terrible headache. What’s more, this buffoonish slag was too incompetent to even help me reassemble the partition. I had no choice but to extract myself from the whole quagmire. I pulled up my sweatpants, adjusted the children’s drawings of Satan, and swiftly exited the filth-covered vestible.
My face as red as a cherry tomato, I caught my wife gossiping idly with some other horsefaced women in the parking lot. Silently, I collected her by the forewing and dragged her to the car. On the way, I ran into Pastor Louie.
With a patronizing grin, he said, “Virgil, what did you think of the Tasty Tony 9 Inch Dildo With Suction Cup? Do you feel better now?”
"Louie," I said, wagging the device at him like a mother scolding an anarchist teen, "you’re lucky your wife passed away last week. Because if I had to deal with both a brainless nag AND such an inferior dild at home, why, I’d have given myself a stroke by now!"
JUST THE TIP
"Pray" you don’t end up with a Sexflesh Tasty Tony 9 Inch Dildo. The only "flesh" this shoddy device has a "taste" for are the greenbacks in your wallet!
WikiFeet is the totally free encyclopedia of celebrity feet pictures that anyone can edit. Earlier this year, I highlighted the heated debate taking place in the comment section on Michelle Obama’s wikiFeet page. It turns out that yet another female political figure has stepped in controversy, as erstwhile GOP presidential candidate Michele Bachmann’s wikiFeet page has exposed the contentious political divisions within the foot fetish community.
I think you’re getting a little off topic, “JoeJett”
Oh, so it’s “hard f0r a f00tguy t0 hate them?” Can you back that up with logic, David?
Ugh these gross liberals are freaking disgusting me while I’m trying to pleasure myself to pics of Michele Bachmann’s feet
Peace, land, and feet
Well, on the other hand…
"DK79" sizes up the Republican field
The things you have to do to get elected in this country…
Golda Meir’s sexy feet set the Middle East peace process back decades
Finally, someone who will bring dignity back to the White House
I for one am sick of these dirty foot politics
Something tells me that’s not a majority
I hit a rough patch in 2009 after getting laid off from the Steampunk mill. My savings evaporated, and I was unable to afford rent on my loft. Moving back home wasn’t an option, as I had always been the “sasspot” of the family. Faced with homelessness, I turned to the one place that had always been there for me when life got tough.
As savvy apartment-hunters know, many post offices in Manhattan have large walk-in P.O. boxes, relics of the early 20th century originally built for large firms that received a high volume of mail. Fax and email obsoleted these boxes, so nowadays a guy like me can rent a studio P.O. box for as little as $200/month.
I lived in P.O. Box 963, which was last rented by “Stick Stickly,” some sicko who apparently corresponded with children. Some of the mail was still there when I moved in, so in my spare time I responded to the kids.
Dear Stick Stickly,
I made a drawing of you. Will you put it on TV?
My television program has long since been canceled due to low ratings. So obviously the answer is no. Please do not write again.
Dear Stick Stickly,
Do you have a girlfriend?
Stick Stickly’s program is no longer on the air, and he is dead. This is Virgil Texas. To answer your question, it’s complicated. This girl Belaura who works at the post office in Astoria always says hi to me when I come in, so I’m essentially in the entry stages of a relationship. I detect a sexual subtext to your missive. Are you propositioning me? Please know that I DON’T play games. If you’re serious about the post office scene, and you’re not here to jerk me around, then respond with photos of yourself. None of that MySpace angle crap.
None of the kids wrote back, except for one who had grown up and started a fight club in Newark. I went to one fight. It was basically a “straight” j/o party, which in my view is pretty faithful to the film.
My landlord was an ebony woman named Yenta. We had a funny “Murphy Brown”-type relationship. I’d ask her to turn up the heat, and she’d say zingers like “Are you living in there?” or “Get out, idiot!” Yet beneath the surface we both knew she couldn’t evict me. It is against federal law for any unauthorized user—including a postal worker—to remove legal mail from a P.O. box, and since the Helen Keller stamp tattoo I got on my lower back from the 80s “Mail Yourself!” fad constituted legal postage, I had an ironclad lease.
Since I wasn’t allowed to use the employee restroom, defecation was a challenge. I couldn’t use the McDonald’s on 14th street as I had been banned for having a loud argument with my friend Jim over whether Grimace was an Uncle Tom. Luckily my P.O. apartment contained a chute that led to the mail processing area. Whenever I felt the urge, I would squat over an empty Taco Bell box, put a stamp and Ray Tomlinson’s address on it, and drop it down the chute. Yes, it’s perfectly legal to mail human feces unless it violates the “Reagan rule” banning the shipping of body fluids from AIDS patients.
My neighbors were mostly homeless people and trust fund posers doing the “postal thing.” The hipsters invited me to their box parties, but we didn’t really get along since they were all about taking shrooms, and I didn’t like psychedelics because of the time I licked an entire sheet of LSD by accident because I thought the blotters were tiny postage stamps, and I endured two weeks hallucinating that a giant 69-cent stamp bearing my mother’s image was chasing me through Manhattan yelling insults about my penis size, even though posters on MULTIPLE penis size message boards have confirmed that I am average. Eventually Stamp Mother ate me, and in her stomach I disintegrated into pure energy, and I saw God, and He looked like Mr. Zip, and He compiled the essence of my Being into an envelope, and He put me in Heaven’s mailbox, then He took a smoke break, and when I woke up, I was on a trash barge eating trash with the barge admiral who told me the EXACT SAME THING happened to him when he took LSD, and it encouraged him to get his life together and enlist in the garbage navy.
In a few months, I managed to scrape together enough money to move out from my new job working for the Youth Sales Club, which enlists entrepreneurs like me to sell catalog merchandise like candles and greeting cards door-to-door in exchange for cool prizes like Discmans and BMX bikes. Everyone at the post office bought stuff and let me solicit the customers. They even refused service to anyone who didn’t buy from me, which was very touching. On moving day, as the postal employees helped me pack my furniture and Stick Stickly mail and unused Taco Bell boxes, I felt a genuine sense of community for the first time since getting laid off. All the folks at this office—even Yenta, whom I finally seduced the night before leaving—possess boundless compassion. They serve everyone in society through good weather and bad. Correction, Village People: It’s fun to stay at the USPS.
My pal Terry and I were taking an impromptu road trip to the envelope museum in Bakersfield to take our minds off our failed marriages when we stopped into this Subway location because we had just watched “Happy Gilmore” on Terry’s PSPVita and both of us were subbing fierce. The two of us had been to many Subway sandwich shops in multiple countries of the course of our rich lives, and never had we experienced such awful service.
We walked in the door and were immediately treated to loud animal yells over the radio. Some kid mopping up a puddle of Fanta told us it’s the only station they get on the radio, which I know was a lie because after we left we tuned in to Mike Huckabee’s folksy wit and wisdom on the AM dial. One of the sandwich artists, “Kanye,” was wearing sunglasses and dancing to the awful animal noises. The other was very obviously two children in a large overcoat pretending to be an adult. Terry ordered two twelve inch meatball subs while I tried communicate over the screams that I wanted an egg sub. I told Kanye I didn’t want anything else on it, but he whispered “YOLO dude” and smirked at me then put handful after handful of olives on my sub. When I complained to the manager, the manager said “you boys must not be from around here” and forced us to pay for the ruined subs and eat them. He also stole Terry’s GOURMET mustard he bought in Branson, MO and threw it in the trash and said we had to eat the awful Subway-brand mustard. He dumped the Subway mustard all over our subs and said we couldn’t leave until we ate the whole thing. He stood over our table with his arms crossed making disrespectful remarks like “eat it up” and “yum yum so good.” I told Terry we shouldn’t give him the satisfaction of seeing us cry, but that advice was too hard to live by. After we were done we hightailed it on out of there.
I don’t know what these other reviewers are talking about, but there are no “good times and lots of smiles” to be had at this awful Subway. It took literally hours of hugging to soothe our shaken nerves. My advice to the hungry traveler: if you want a great sub then get out of the “way” of this store and instead head over to the United States post office on Buenaventura Avenue, which has delicious pastrami sandwiches and two for one margaritas on Tuesdays.
I like it that my country’s people have such empty, bulging eyes. This instills in me a feeling of legitimate pride. You can imagine what the eyes are like where everything is bought and sold — deeply hidden, secretive, predatory and frightened. Devaulation, unemployment, pauperism… People look at you distrustfully, with restless anxiety and torment. That’s the kind of eyes they have in the world of Ready Cash.
Wednesday, 2 p.m. I’m hanging out listening to rap cassettes in my pal Terry’s Four Loko cellar, where I find a strange green brick. He tells me it’s a lifetime supply of salvia, a hallucinogenic drug that the government recently banned. I ask to try some, and Terry gets nervous. He doesn’t think I can handle it. Please. If I can handle spending 12 hours straight filling up on free Gatorade along the New York Marathon route, I can handle smoking a little plant.
We split a bowl, and I sink into Terry’s pre-owned Sealab 2021 beanbag chair. My eyes fixed on the Lance Armstrong poster opposite me, I hallucinate that Lance is biking out of the wall and into the basement, delivering mail to me with a smile on his face. But Lance’s honest demeanor suddenly grows vicious. He berates me over why his Easter tip was so small, and hints that he’s the reason my K’Nex catalog was late this month. I laugh to ease the tension, but the seven-time Tour de France winner starts screaming in my face. “You think this is funny? I’ll tell you something that’s not funny: having only one real testicle while the other is some kind of weird gross marble. The doctors said it would have the look and feel of a real ball, but I can tell. You think I can’t tell, jerkpole?!”
Terry, who had been having a relatively mellow time roleplaying as a self-adhesive stamp that wanted to be licked, senses I’m on a bad trip. We have to get to a safe place. So we grab our canes and set off to the Bushwick post office.
We walk inside, and the smelling salt of fresh parcels and stamp dust immediately elevates my mood. What are we here to mail today? We’re sending Lance back to France. I grab an international mailing envelope and try to stuff the entire poster in, but it seems my spacial skills have abandoned me. Terry suggests we tear the poster into tiny pieces and mail those individually. It’ll cost more on postage, but I agree, because drugs affect your judgment like that. We wind up with 22 stuffed envelopes. Terry doesn’t know any French addresses, so we just fill in a bunch of places we imagine are in France: Eiffel Tower, Normandy, Napoleon’s mansion, the movie theater where Hitler was blown up, the wine factory, etc. We don’t know any French ZIP codes or even how to write numbers in French, so we jot down “c/o Nicholas Sarkozy, RE: Pieces Of Lance Armstrong LOS IMPORTANTE” on all the envelopes. Hey, once it gets to France, it’s their problem, not ours.
At the window, the postal worker is also named Terry, and this causes my friend Terry to flip out and have an out-of-body experience. After much confusion, I finally manage to convey to the correct Terry that we need to mail parts of Lance Armstrong to France. I pass the envelopes through the slot and ask how much postage will be. Mailman Terry says he needs to go call someone to find out, and Friend Terry immediately tries to call France on his jailbroken Zune. Only Friend Terry doesn’t know the phone number to France, so he just punches in a bunch of digits and starts yelling that he’s Göring, and he’s back from the dead to get revenge on the dumb jock who stole his girlfriend. (We later checked the call logs and found out that Terry had dialed his ex-girlfriend, who was on vacation with her minor league hockey player fiancé in — you guessed it — the French Riviera. This is 100% true, and Snopes verified it.)
Mailman Terry returns with bad news. It will cost 69 Euros to mail all the envelopes. I only have about 20 Euros on me, and Friend Terry never converted his Francs because he thinks they’re making a comeback. Downtrodden, we turn to leave what would be my Third Worst Post Office Experience of all time (Second Worst: the time I brought a Slip ‘N Slide and it got all muddy because this Hispanic guy refused to take his shoes off before sliding; All-time Worst: the time my Walkman jammed in the middle of a long line and kept repeating “Y’all ready for this” from that song real loud and I couldn’t get the headphones off or stop the cassette or leave the line so my ears started bleeding and I had to go to a dog hospital instead of a human hospital because I didn’t have health insurance). But then Mailman Terry whispers for us to meet him in a large mail sack behind the post office. There, he explains a loophole where we can mail the letters at domestic rates to a U.S. Air Force base in Germany just past the French border where forwarded mail is then airlifted to France and dumped into the Seine. Sure, it’s a long shot, but it’s our only hope. We thank Terry for his assistance and hand him our boom boxes as tokens of our gratitude.
They say that when people use hallucinogens, their subconscious regrets and suppressed fears can emerge and attack them. Terry and I both felt this after smoking salvia that fateful afternoon. But with the help of a diligent postal worker who went the extra mile, we were able to overcome our demons. We spent the rest of the day laughing and kissing in celebration.
7 p.m. on a Friday night. I’m way uptown taking pictures of mailboxes for my popular Tumblr “Fk Yeah Mailboxes That Look Like Ryan Gosling.” All of a sudden, my mind shudders. That nagging vital chore I couldn’t seem to remember? I remember now. It’s the last day of the month, and I have less than one hour to mail my Hulu premium subscription fee, or else it’ll be shut off.
As Homer Simpson might say, “Doh!” (Episode 4F20 “Marge Learns To Read”)
At 8 p.m., the last mail trucks roll out of Manhattan for the weekend, and this check’s gotta be on one of them. The only post office I can make it to in time is in Harlem. Normally I would be a little trepidatious to travel through the ghetto. Fortunately, I’m with my friend Jim, who has a ghetto pass in the form of an XL Wu-Tang t-shirt coupled with his diehard support for Dr. Ron Paul.
"Libertarianism is by definition not a racist ideology," Jim yells as we enter the post office on West 125th street. "Unrestrained capitalism can only help poor minorities!"
With the crowd firmly on our side, we proceed to the task at hand. Thanks to my massive intelligence, I have never missed a single joke on “2 Broke Girls,” and I wasn’t about to miss one on account of an unpaid bill. Problem is, we don’t have an envelope, and the packaging store is closed for the night. Luckily, Jim has a copy of the latest Ron Paul White Survival Newsletter on him. Using my self-taught origami skills, I jury-rig a receptacle for my check and write the address. Victoriously, I plunge my free hand into my fanny pack for a stamp, when hard reality hits me like Chris Brown hit musical gold with his catchy chart toppers.
I don’t have any stamps.
How could this be? I always have spare stamps. I went to 17 post offices that afternoon! I feel awful. I feel like Garfield locked in a crate of Mondays.
Yet there’s still hope: the stamp machine here is working. I claw through my pockets in search of 50 cents. No dice. All I have on me are a novelty penny pressed with Goku’s likeness and a worthless pair of dice. Between the two of us, we have no loose change whatsoever (Jim had a ten, but he didn’t want to break it).
I start to panic. There’s no time left to go to an ATM. Jim tells me to relax, that the free market will take care of it, and something about bringing back debtor’s prisons. But I refuse to calm down. There are THREE on-demand streaming Seth MacFarlane cartoons at stake here. Adrenaline surge. It’s action time. Bootstraps be damned, I need to mail this check right now!
I rush over to the shoeless man half-sleeping in the lobby. I plead my case to him: the threatened Hulu subscription, the fruitless fanny pack search, the Goku penny, Ron Paul’s plan to revitalize America’s gold fortresses — all of it, blubbered out among heaving sobs. The stranger looks up at me with blood red eyes, then at Jim in his fading XL Wu-Tang shirt, and he wordlessly hands me two quarters from his Taco Bell cup.
Ladies and gentlemen, miracles do happen. They happen at post offices like these. Don’t believe me? Take the train up to 125th street sometime, where there are angel wings on every homeless man, and episodes of NBC’s smash hit “Whitney” on every monitor.
I used to date a beautiful Polish girl living in Greenpoint, and sleepovers at her place were always fun for two reasons. One was that she always kept on her nightstand a huge plastic bin of Fruity Pebbles with a print-out of an ASCII Count Chocula taped to the side (In Poland, Count Chocula is a generic cereal mascot and national hero). Two was that her apartment was three short blocks away from one of the hottest indie post offices in the city.
Thursday afternoon. We lounge in bed past noon, Fruity Pebble dust lining the sheets.
"Kim jesteś i co chcesz ze mną?" she asks in that incomprehensible Slavic gibberish (we communicated exclusively through hand gestures throughout our dalliance). I grab her waist and give a squeeze. She knows what’s up. Time to rage.
We chug a couple bottles of horse-strength Robotussin and grab our glowsticks. Perfect timing: I start peaking on DXM right as we walk through the door. The security guard gives us a nod from his stool. He knows I’m a VIP in the mail scene. Bouncers never hassle me, unless they want to have to explain to their superiors a scathing trip report on the r/postalzone subreddit or an indignant tweet to my 69,420 loyal followers on Twitter (@virgiltexas, look me up, stampheads).
I look over at my babe, and I can tell she’s peaking too. “Co ja zdobyć się na.” My eyeballs are popping at the gorgeous colors: blue uniforms and white envelopes, gray floors and gray ceilings. That Eagle flies off a priority mail envelope and soars into my brain where it lays eggs of sheer orgasmic pleasure. My girlfriend’s rocking out to the slammin’ Edith Piaf CD that’s pounding vibes into our mentals.
Playtime. I open my girl’s P.O. Box and pull out an assortment of pacifiers and Go-Gurts I had taken the liberty of mailing last week. We rock over to the shipping desk, where I bang out a 5000-word letter to my Icelandic pen pal Grottork. I suck my rhythmically flashing pacifier while hallucinating about the missing kids on the wall. Catthew Riley’s been missing since 1992. What would he look like today? A f**king brontosaurus, that’s what.
It’s closing time and we’re tumbling down our plateau. I ask my babe if she wants to hit up this underground 24-hour Approved Postal Provider in Astoria. “Wyjeżdżam was i wzywa władze.” English, please! She flips me off and walks out. Dumped again. But you know what they say: lucky at stamps, unlucky at love. I’m a cougar on the prowl in the city that never sleeps, where there’s a post office on every block that’s ready to accept my package.
Monday afternoon, friends and I are trolling about Brooklyn looking for a post office to check out. Standard. We happen upon this little gem. On the outside, it looks nothing special. American flag, engraved motto, “Neither snow nor rain nor heat” yadda yadda yadda (Bing “Seinfeld” if you don’t get the reference) heard it all before. We’re a tough bunch to impress, but once we were inside, one word:
"Woah." (Neo, "The Matrix")
This place was seriously popping. Eight teller windows, gorgeous gold-plated pens, tons of envelopes, sick Rolling Stones track (“Start Me Up”) blasting from the radio. We eagerly got in the huge line and scoped out the VIPs. Standard Williamsburg crowd, hip kids from all around chilling with their air mail envelopes and PostSecret cards. I peeped Barry (homeless dude, kind of a big shot around the postal scene) catching a snooze over by the P.O. boxes, so I knew this place was fresh.
After a long wait, we made it to the front of the line. Our post officer Linda was a super hot babe. Jim ran some sick pick-up artist lines on her (he couldn’t do kino because of the plastic partition, but he complimented her uniform and asked if she made it herself) while I gave the pen a test drive. Smooth as an heroic dog’s fur. Terry put five bucks into the stamp machine and browsed the selection: a ton of classic stuff, including a pretty obscure Helen Keller 5 cent.
Jim got Linda’s supervisor’s digits (it was a dude, but that’s cool because we’re all bi) while I sneaked out a pen (word to the wise: if you want to up your postal game, check out Skrillatelist420’s WikiHow guide on removing attached pens). Honestly, I can’t sing this post office’s praises enough. Easily one of the top twelve post offices in the Big Apple. Next time you find yourself in Billyburg looking for quick package fix, make this stop numero uno (“number one”).
I used to be a music writer of some note. My concert reviews and rock criticism were syndicated in over six student papers as well as innumerable zines and collages. But after the recession hit, the market dried up for gritty screeds about music and politics, and I was suddenly struggling to make a living.
Desperate, I begged my connections at Pitchfork for any assignment. In summer 2010, they came through and PayPalled me a $10 per diem and bus fare to the Upper Middle Midwest, where I was to spend two weeks on the road boozing around with an up-and-coming hardcore punk band.
It was only later that I realized this was a cruel joke at my expense.
What follows are the unpublished and unadulterated notes from my time with End Apathy, the white nationalist band of future Sikh temple shooter Wade Michael Page.
JULY 24 - THE LAKE N’ TREE - WAUKEEGAN, WI
The band’s playing on a bill featuring local notables Total Hatred, Absolute Murder, and We Unequivocally Advocate Violence Against Minorities. I rush from the bus depot to catch the tail end of End Apathy’s set. The stench of stale beer and parasite-infested kegs that haven’t been changed since the Reagan administration overpowers my senses. I find myself disoriented in a sea of Nazi salutes, as Wade, the frontman, shrieks “Heil Hitler!” over and over with such vocal celerity it would put the fast-talking FedEx guy to shame. I hastily retreat outside to vomit under a streetlight and look at fast-talking FedEx guy YouTubes on my phone.
Later, it’s my first night on the bus, and the band is pulling out all the stops to impress a prominent music journalist. Madame Fury, the bassist and only female member of the band, futilely tries to ply me with sexual favors. In red stilettos, she’s about 5’4” with jet black hair and knuckle tats that spell “RaHoWa,” an abbreviation for “Racial Holy War,” the prophecy that the Aryan race will one day pitch a battle against all other races, sparking a cataclysm of global chaos the Norse call Ragnarök.I am repulsed by her lack of self-esteem and by her smell.
Meanwhile, Wade rubs baby oil into his “JEW SCUM” chest tat to really make the hatred gleam. He wants to look good for his photo spread. I tell him I don’t have a camera. He looks disappointed. He suggests we stop at a 24-hour pharmacy and pick up a disposable camera. I pretend to be asleep.
JULY 28 - UNNAMED BARN - SOMEWHERE OUTSIDE LANSING, MI
We’re drinking forties in a lea. Guitarist Dave Reichstag points to the words “OLDE ENGLISH” on his bottle and exclaims, “This is how My People spell!” then smashes the bottle against a pig. Dave is tall and lean and frequently wears black t-shirts with the sleeves ripped off, exposing the intricate Celtic crosses on his biceps which he seems to believe are a Nazi thing. Of the four, Dave is the most vocal about his hatred, and from underneath his tangled and filthy beard come frequent tirades against “those wealthy and successful Jews always lording their buff bods over the rest of us.”
I ask them why they believe in the supremacy of the white race. Wade asks me if I’ve ever read Mein Kampf. I say no. He says I should check it out, it’s really good and well worth the read. I pretend like I will do this. Then he asks me if I’ve heard of Ayn Rand.
Quickly trying to change the subject, I ask about which races they dislike, which they like, maybe give me a numerical ranking so I can make an infographic or listicle. Drummer Steve Jihad giggles and says he “really hates those awful blacks,” but says it in a tittery playful way. Steve, with his pudgy babyface and jovial mien, seems like a cretin. I hold my tongue; these four seem violently unstable. On the road to Michigan, I witnessed them deliberately slow down the bus and yell to a black man walking along the shoulder, “Hey nigger!” As the man turned and looked, Wade yelled “Go! Go!” at Steve in the driver’s seat. The bus sped off, and the band had the giggles for a solid three hours after that.
The show that night is canceled because the barn doesn’t have electricity. About two dozen crestfallen skinheads just get drunk instead. Later, I will drunkenly step on a pig.
JULY 31 - O’MELVENY’S BAR & GRILL - AMES, NE
The band is mad at Steve, who accidentally booked them to play a non-segregated bar. There are about thirty people here, a good mix of whites, blacks, and Latinos having after-work drinks, none of them apparently here for a crustpunk Reichsparteitag. The band takes a vote and decides to play anyway. They need the money.
As they set up their equipment, I scope out the exits. I fear a riot. Fortunately, the sound is turned way down, and their lyrics are totally incomprehensible. The crowd largely ignores them as they blaze through a short set, at an even faster tempo than usual.
After the show, we kick back some Evan Williams at the bar. The band is leery of all the non-white patrons, but we’re in a dry county, and they’ve got to have their liquor, inferior races be damned.
I break the uncomfortable silence by asking each band member what their major musical influences are. They all say Dave Mustaine. Later I will flip through my notebook and realize I had already guessed this.
I ask why they chose the name “End Apathy.” Wade explains that their mission is to rouse the white race out of complacency. Steve laughs and says “yup, raising white consciousness, that’s what we’re doing all right,” and elbows the others playfully. I ask what will happen once the white race is no longer apathetic. Wade makes gun motions with his fingers. He aims them at various non-white patrons at the bar and makes gun sounds. But he’s drunk, so he accidentally aims a few at white patrons. The rest of the band struggles to restrain him from fake-shooting white people. I am told this behavior is not new.
Someone puts Sammy Davis, Jr.’s “Candy Man” on the jukebox. Dave nods his head to it slightly. This will earn him a beating later tonight.
AUGUST 2 - THE CORN PALACE - MITCHELL, SD
Nerves are high. Tonight is hands-down the biggest show of the tour, and rumor has it a rep from 14/88 Records will be in attendance. If they nail it, they’ll have a shot with the biggest white power label this side of Belsen-Bergen, home to such big names as Panzerfaust, Luftpanzer, LuftwaffeubermenschpanzerSS, and, of course, Faustpanzer.
End Apathy is the first opener for Prussian Blue, a massively popular white power pop duo of teenaged blonde-haired blue-eyed twin sisters who sing bubblegum songs about Aryan supremacy and how the Holocaust is a lie. The Corn Palace is packed with screaming tween girls and the aging pedophiles who make up much of the skinhead scene.
Not fitting easily into either camp, I feel free enough to survey the crowd. One group of tweens eagerly tells me about their crushes on high-ranking Nazis.
"I love Goering, he’s the dreamiest! I want to marry him and have lots and lots of white babies."
"I wish Goebbels was my boyfriend, I have his poster in my room and I kiss him good night every day!"
A heavyset girl with a husky low voice chimes in, “I like Speer.”
End Apathy’s set seems to go well enough, despite their jitters. There were a few out-of-sync Nazi salutes, and their 10-minute-long ode to the Turner Diaries likely went over the young crowd’s heads, but they are nevertheless met with rousing cheers and applause. Invigorated, they strut backstage to the green room, where they will continue drinking and schmoozing with industry types and the other bands.
Between sets, I meet a tween at the merch table with “14/88” written in glitter paint on her cheeks. I ask what attracted her to the white power pop scene.
"All the girls at my school are into boring music like Miley or Justin or One Direction," explains Jessica, 12. "But Prussian Blue is my band. I’m special because I have all their songs and because I know that a cabal of ten Jewish families control the Federal Reserve and international finance."
At last, Prussian Blue takes the stage, and the crowd’s high-pitched squealing is unbearable. “Scream if you are a pure blood Aryan!” I step outside to smoke a clove and ponder what was wrong with the youth of today. Could all those wingnut family values conservatives have been right? Were liberal public schools and overly-permissive Boomer parents responsible for the pervasive breakdown of moral values among an entire generation of tweens?
One of the skinhead pedophiles stops to tell me that yes, this is correct.
AUGUST 4 - NRA CONVENTION - RUBY RIDGE, ID
The band is playing a fundraiser for the NRA’s Homes for Arms charity, which helps match unowned guns and stray bullets with loving families. It’s a very good cause, and the NRA is a benevolent and peaceful organization, I’m told a billion fucking times by these psychotics.
The place is crawling with militia types, each one proselytizing for a different cell. You go into a big convention hall with long rows of booths, and it’s like picking a phys-ed class. There’s militias for anything you can think of. Neo-Nazis, Proto-Nazis, New Wave Nazis, KKK, K4: The Expanded Klan, Jews For Jesus For Killing Jews, Protestant Defenders Of The Articles Of Confederation, Liberal Pro-Choice Catholics For Hatred, Assyrian Orthodox Patriots Of West Ohio, Dog Lovers For RaHoWa, Clown Militia, Santa Militia, and the ruthless Desilu Brigade. There is even a Jaded Hipster Militia. The hipsters have big unkempt beards and flannel shirts and hideous tattoos they’re all stupidly proud to show off. Which is to say they fit in perfectly with the rest of the militia types.
Ward comes up to me with an armful of pamphlets and religious tracts. He was waitlisted for Sons And Daughters Of The Coming Race War, but he’s planning to rush Omega Squad in the fall.
I wonder what malignant force was pushing these people towards factionalism, paranoia, and violence. Beside me a older man’s face turns red as he watches Glenn Beck discuss how Obama caused the recession on a portable television. That’s when it hits me: these people are all disappointed by the state of postmodern literature.
AUGUST 7 - CLUB MANIFESTO - SOUTH MILWAUKEE
It’s the end of the line, both for the tour and for the band. The 300-mile trek back home to the band’s triumphant final show has been littered with accusations and recriminations. First, Dave’s JDate account was discovered. He spent the stretch from Minneapolis to Eau Claire explaining it was all a scheme to lure gay Hebes into savage beatings. When he failed to substantiate that he had ever actually gone through with this, Dave instead claimed he was cyberbullying closeted men, and that his steamy private messages were all part of an elaborate cat-and-mouse game. Ward had to be held back from smashing Dave’s face with a hammer. Failing this, Ward smashed Dave’s face with a screwdriver, which we all agreed was a fair compromise.
Later, Madame pitched a fight over the set list Ward had chosen for the night’s show. It was too heavy on blacks and Jews, she felt. What about those lazy wetbacks and orientals? Besides, she was getting tired of Ward’s full-throated white boy machismo and cock rock Caucasian pride anthems. Madame wanted to perform an acoustic hate song. Ward was apoplectic. He vetoed this. Madame then suggested she perform a love song dedicated to me. I vetoed this.
Four sore drunks take the stage in front of their skinhead brothers and sisters. These are the people you leave behind when you move away from home. They are the meth-mouthed AutoZone workers and the tattooed freaks who open beers with their teeth. It seems correct, even for the most tolerant liberal, to denigrate them for their poverty and lack of education. They are thoroughly hateful, violent malcontents, and here they are in their element, slamdancing invincibly and reveling in the conviviality of the white power scene. I wonder if it is this closeness, this sense of community, that is not the perpetuating force of their hatred, but rather, the sole pacifying influence that prevents them from leaving this world in a blaze of senseless violence.
End Apathy plays their first song. It is a thrashcore encomium to white culture. The audience laps it up, heiling and trashing and chanting “White Power” at all the right moments as I take this as my cue to leave.
I checked in with the surviving members of End Apathy this week. Here’s where they are now:
Bassist Madame Fury moved to Olympia, WA, where she founded Barefoot & Pregnant, an anti-feminist reverse-riot grrrl band. They enjoyed minor success on Kill Rock Stars with their singles “It’s My Job To Please Ya” and “False Rape Accusation (I’ll Make One).” Their debut LP I’m Sorry I’m Fat And Worthless will be released this fall.
Drummer Steve Jihad quit the band after learning that they were supposed to be racist. In an email to me, he explained, “I thought it was ironic, all that stuff about killing Jews and making the world safe for the white race. I mean, Jesus Christ, all this time they were actually serious? Even with those fucking tattoos with the made-up Celtic shit and Norse triangles and ‘1488’ in that stupid New York Times font? How? Just, how?” Steve now lives a quiet life in Madison, WI, where he ekes out a modest living as a Twitter comedian of some note.
Frontman Wade Michael Page murdered six worshipers at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin. He wounded at least three others before being gunned down by police.
Guitarist Dave Reichstag moved to Iowa, where he married his longtime lover Alan, a business accountant. Now going by the name Dave Reichstag-Rosenstein, he is a successful nerdcore rapper. Out of the three surviving members of End Apathy, he alone has remained true to the band’s lofty ideals. “When I started rapping, I wanted to introduce white power into geek culture,” opens the liner notes on Reichstag-Rosenstein’s gold-selling debut Final Solution Fantasy. “What I found was that it’s already there.” According to his lengthy Wikipedia page, Reichstag-Rosenstein regularly plays to sold-out crowds of Redditors and men’s rights enthusiasts.
All three emphatically ruled out a reunion.
Much love to my Aryan brother Jay Friedman for his help with this piece.