Thursday, February 12, 2004

Person A, chapter 8: The Return of the Repair Men

Director Stimos woke with a rush. He'd had another of those horrible nightmares, those returns of childhood indignities, that cursed evening. Stimos rolled slowly over in his bed an lifted the phone off the hook. It was this kind of business he'd hired Dr. Snout to rid him of.

Director Stimos had heeded all the advice he had been given. At first he had cried his bitter tears, but quietly, outside the possibility of being caught-out weeping. He had figured that he would have to "get over it", as they said.

The Stimos family was one of the founders of the TRU Corporation, and Director Stimos was expected to attend one of the Corporation's top business or law colleges. And he was expected to do well. The latter proved no difficulty to the young Stimos. It was deciding which college to attend that kept him occupied. At the advice of his childhood friend Tom, he'd decided to go to Woolbridge Academy, a combined law and business school specializing in game theory and the singularity of mind. A cornerstone of the TRU Corporation's School of Cogito, Woolbridge received corporate funded for range anthropological and financial research programs in the newly acquired businesses.

Stimos put all his energy into his schoolwork, and, at the age of 20, became a full member of the financial research team designated to provide a program to "Restructure and Capitalize Nam Viet Finances". Stimos' zeal and affective performance stunned his elder colleagues in the program, and he was elected manager of the program's "outreach and friendship" company in the midst of Nam Viet. There he met Michael K., and the rest is history.

Stimos had to take his part of the blame for the Nam Viet fiasco, and had to accept a number of back-office appointments in the decades following the outbid of the TRU Corporation. Employees of Nam Viet had secretly sold their private shares to Dong Tse Inc., enabling TRU's eternal enemy to secure a majority at the yearly convention. Stimos got out of the morass early enough to find employment with a fringe operation in TRU. Several of his colleagues from the Woolbridge program had ended up financially destitute and publicly ridiculed. The head of the program had committed suicide. TRU Corporation had changed management after the fiasco.

So Stimos considered himself lucky, after all. His lovely young thing of a wife was not to know anything of how close he had, in fact, been to the so-called "unsavoury methods" that had been used in TRU's attempt to gain control over Nam Viet. She would never know. And even if she knew... Well, it didn't matter.

His peer group from Woolbridge had emerged scarred but intact when they met at a college reunion party a decade later. The result of their friendship was the now much-discussed action plan for "The Third Empire: Project for a TRU Millenium". They had chosen Randolph Beaverton as their front figure and candidate for the ceremonial position as Corporate President, while Stimos were to coordinate New Acquisitions Policies.

In the mean time, Randolph's brother Julian, had designed a plan to intervene in the program that counted votes on the yearly convention, and, taken by surprise, Stimos found himself head of TRU's New Acquisition's Implementation Program. When TRU acquired EyeRak, Stimos was appointed Managing Director of the new merger.

Stimos set out to make the new TRU EyeRak not just another jewel in Randolph's crown, but a shining one at that. The new merger wouldn't just supply TRU with gold and diamonds, but also unlimited access to muses. The Spring of Muses, as you will remember from chapter one, having previously been under EyeRaki control. In short, Stimos sougth to make TRU EyeRak a model for new acquisitions and mergers. The corporate management were securely located inside the TRU Wall of Freedom, guarded by 2nd Division of the TRU Republican guard. Stimos spent most of his time at the Corporate HQ downtown Bagdad, in a building his father had erected during his time as corporate governor, as it was called then, of this area.

Stimos weren't as worried about hidden away shares on EyeRaki hands, foreshadowing a repetition of the Nam Viet fiasco. His was more concerned about the Deconstructionists, a fringe corporation where many of the previous managements' staff had found work. Their membership was elusive, and they would rarely declare themselves as such. But Stimos had a way of finding them out. He'd ask them about Maradona scoring with his hand in 1986, and if they refused to agree that Maradona was bad, they would loose all their corporate privileges.

TRU's top executives didn't believe the Deconstructionists would have any chance at regaining control of the corporation, not as long as Julian Beaverton was in charge of Democratic Procedures. At board meetings nobody would bring up precisely why the Deconstructionists posed such a threat, but when Stimos had suggested moving towards legislating them as 'formally terrorists', the board members had all nodded in relief. They all had their private reasons that shouldn't be Found Out.

Stimos' private reason had to do with the nightmares. When he relocated to Bagdad, he had secretly sought out the advice of one Dr Snout, who was the Head Psychiatrist of the Revelation and Re-Socialization of New TRU Subjects Program in TRU EyeRak. At was only triggered by finding himself on the brink of desperation one early September morning, when he hadn't managed to close his eyes all night, visions of doors hammering and rushed steps in the room above him. He couldn't keep his mind concentrated at meetings, and, yet, he couldn't sleep at night. Stimos would get into fits of rage, sometimes clearly uncalled for, yelling at junior members of the Management that they didn't try hard enough.

"Do you know how hard I have to try? Do you think this is easy?!" Stimos would shout, and send them off with some elaborate clerical work.

Dr Snout had recommended Stimos to get in touch with his anger, to let it's power reign him, so as to get it out of his body.

"For a man of your position," Dr Snout had said, "I would recommend attending, and, perhaps, even participating, in some of the Revelation and Re-Socialization Programs we have going now here in TRU EyeRak. What we got going here is far beyond the old hearts and minds-approach, I can assure you. We hold that it is also necessary to win their bodies. Yes, I can see your astonishment, but this is our firm resolution. We are using the most refined Re-Socialization Procedures in our Room of Revelations, and a man in such a prominent position as yourself, would not have a problem being admitted, I can assure you. It is completely legal, all within the provisions of the Anti-Terrorism act, I can assure you. It wouldn't be popular, one could assume, in the eyes of TRU Shareholders, I mean, if all details were to come out, so we practice strict discretion, of course."

Stimos had spent a good few nights in the Room of Revelations after this encounter, and found that he enjoyed it thoroughly. And the subjects did reveal what they were supposed to, finally, and they we're granted amnesia after a rather exhausting procedure. In fact, Stimos spent more nights in the Room of Revelations than at Home, having taken a dislike in the walls and the guards. It made the area seem somewhat, uh, dated and unappealing. And then he couldn't believe how churlish he'd been as to the policy of spatial control. It's all about Mind Space, control the Mind Space, and you won't need walls and guards.

It was a slower, but far more resistant method, Stimos had to admit, and he would implement it on a far larger scale. Stimos was, after all, a true child of modernity. Reflecting on his own artwork as Chief Inquisitor in the Drama of Revelations, he would go so far as to call his performance as modernist. They questioned the very existence of the individual. Since there is no solid ground for control in the individual it must come down on the body, Dr. Snout claimed, so as to alter mind-body relations. Oh, yeah, he'd let it come down on the body.

And still the nightmares didn't go away. He had been shifting around in his parents' bedroom. He couldn't have been more than 12, because he was still in Primary School. His parents had left for work, and in his mother's drawers he found a pair of lace panties that he wanted to try on. They felt soft and warm, and got quite turned on by the scene, and went over to look at himself wearing the panties in their head-to-floor bedroom mirror.

One day his mother must have had forgotten something or other at home, because she came back to the house, and, without any forwarning of any sort, had walked straight into the bedroom, while he was standing there with his erection and her lace panties. Oh, it was demeaning, all right.

Dr. Snout had encouraged him, then, to get in touch with this side of himself. Stimos went on to wear lace panties during the night sessions in the Room of Revelations. But it musn't come out.


Stimos had finally let his wife pull him to the opera one late night of Fall. It was a Brechtian rendition of The Repair Men are Coming, the 70s puppet show, but this time with actors with bodies as sumo-wrestlers. Pompel, the older repair man, had his small, comic hat on, and Pilt, the younger of the two, was adorned with curls. Stimos was both of them. He knew that, but would never tell wifey, of course, or anyone else for that matter, with the exception of clandestine occations at Dr. Snout's office and with the Brotherhood, as he liked to call it. They all knew, but, then, he knew things about them, too. Things that they wouldn't want to come out.

Anyway, Pompel was trying to repair a set of Domino pieces in one of the key scenes of the performance. He had just arrived at the moment when he's about to tip the first piece over so that the rest of them collapses with a long, satsifying drum roll, when the lights in the theatre went out. The audience started mumbling, looking for their belongings, rummaging through their pockets for their mobile phones, when all the strobe lights at the podium were turned on, pointing at the audience. A choir came on, dressed in tight-fitting blue uniforms and reciting:

The Repair Men are cumming and cumming (a literary pestish with notes and appendices, a Le Speranza)

Pestish being a portmanteau word consisting of pesto, and pastiche, the literary genre.

It was clearly about Lacan's signifying economy, and about how to exchange symbolic values. The choir continued:

The desire to alienate the mother is in fact a negotiated response to Mother's desire to reclaim and devour what was of the mother in a pre-symbolic stage. Hence, we are facing a tranference whereby the symbolic value of supremacy is exchanged from the Body-of-Mother (The Matrix) to the subject, in return for an iterable recurrence of this Other-as-Object in the originary locus of the dialectic!

Stimos' wife was crying as they drove home. He went to "settle some business" at the Head Office.

There had been reports that the Deconstructionists were making headway into the the relatively remote companies in the Uqbar division. Agitators had claimed that gifts may suffer multiple faiths, and that the gift of submission may not be the appropriate counter gift to the take over. Then, as if out of the blue, the TRU Times had reported that a group of Paracelcists were holding a convention in Uqbar. It would be impossible to charge the entire group with terrorism, so, after conferring with his councelors, Stimos decided that they would target their future leader, so as to make an example, as was the fate of Cardinal Mistos.

Dr. Snout had insisted that it was the most efficient way to make headway, and Stimos had no reservations. He charged Piece of Cholif Mundt with apprehending the leader, but quietly. A solid case must be brought against her before we let it come out, he declared.