From: (Mithryl)
Date:         1997/04/06
Message-Id:   <5i90jd$>

                  SHEEP MAY SAFELY GRAZE.  NOT!

                      By CODY ANN MICHAELS
                     c. All rights reserved

                   "...stand in front of you,
                  take the force of the blow."
                             -- song

	Let's see.  Combing through the mail.  In search of...  In search
of what?  Ideas?  Inspiration.  I am so sick.  Fever.  And those Tylanol. 
They make me so spacy.  Does the federal government know about that stuff? 
It's worse than LSD. 

	Note from Tia:

	*Hey you.  Read thru the latest dispatch last night, and am
becoming quite fond of your musings on the universe.  Hope to speak to you
(using voices) soon. 

	*Sorry about those pesky programs.  I do not believe the myth that
these machines -- she means computers -- and their inevitable accessories
make our lives easier.  I suggest you dispel it from your thinking
entirely and approach your experience with the m as you would a day trip
to the DMV: that is expect not to accomplish the task at hand at all, and
that way, if you do find any measure of success (regardless of the effort
it requires) you are pleasantly surprised. 

*Good luck.*


	It took me awhile to figure out that DMV was not a typo for
demilitarized zone.  I agree with Tia.  Fact is, I think the real reason
computers exist is to total up the millenium.  You know.  Run through the
records, see that everything is straight, befor e the big shut down. 
Three years from now, four tops, they'll all be gone.  And we'll be back
where we started, a pastoral society vaguely dreaming of the glories that
were supposed to have been Rome, or in this case, New York.  Ancient
tales.  If we rem ember computers at all, we'll probably confuse them with
television sets, which they resembled somewhat.  Ask yourself, how often
do you think about buggy whips?  Well, I know a lot of guys and women who
think about whips, but you know what I mean.  Compu ters are the tools of
God's celestial accountants.  Once the audit is over, they pack their gear
and move on. 

	Three long letters from Joe.  Two are a story -- thanks Joe.  And
the third seems to be a meditation on 'cide.  The big under.  Something
you wrote, Joe, reminded me that Yukio Mishima's last note before he
committed ritual sepaku (correction please) sai d, "I would like to live

	Joe and Tia were responding to my last piece, about Heaven's Gate. 
Herff Applewhite's merry little crew of programmers and certified
optimists.  You have to be an optimist to believe that life on a 25 mile
ball of methane ice is going to be better than the suburbs of San Diego. 
I mean, are the trains going to run any better on Hale Bopp than
Mussolini's Italy? 

	The papers were full of it, and for awhile there, almost
everything I read made me mad.  Especially in the Times.  It was so smug. 
So hateful.  Like they knew so much.  But then I stopped and thought, what
am I defending?  If I want to kill myself, I ca n still do it.  Fuck you,
Punch Sultzberger or whatever your name is.  I'd rather be at Heaven's
Gate than sitting in your stinking newsroom, writing headlines on lies and

	I also had to realize, after I wrote about don Juan last week,
that it was useless to complain.  That whatever comes to us is just raw
material, and we either use it or succumb to it. 

	My mind is so empty tonight.

	People are sheep.

	When those people followed Herff out to Hale Bopp, were they going
of their own free will, like warriors, or were they going like sheep,
following a Judas steer? 

	I looked in the paper today (Friday), and right away, on the Times
business section, there were three sheep stories.  One was about AOL.  I
mean, god, if there ever was a sheep nation, it was made of AOL customers.
If you remember, last Christmas, there was a big stink because AOL had
signed up so many customers for "unlimited internet service" that no one
could get on line.  It was so bad, the company had to give back mucho
dinero to get state prosecutors off their backs.  So what did they do? 
They of fered their customers a toll free hot line that would get you
connected every time.  What they buried in the fine print was that using
this "toll free" 800 number would cost six dollars an hour.  And a lot of
people never got a chance to read the fine pri nt because other people
gave them the number.  So AOL customers suddenly started getting five
hundred dollar bills instead of the $19.95 they thought they were paying. 


	Real way to do marketing?  Right?  Drum up customer satisfaction? 
Turn people on to your great services?  But what I can't figure out is,
how come anybody in their right minds uses AOL?  Are they dead from the
neck up, or something? 

	Another sheep story was this: McDonald's is running a 55 cent
promotion to celebrate 55 years since Ray Kroc took it over.  My
grandmother loves McDonald's.  We go there every Friday.  After she comes
from church.  She helps out there, in the office.  Th e sheep story is
this: They offer you all these different sandwiches for 55 cents, but then
it turns out, you have to run up a bill with some other gunk or you don't
get it.  Sucker!!!!!! 

	Of course, they know you'll keep coming back.  Because, after all,
what is this?  McDonald's.  Fast food.  No cooking.  No content.  Just
something that looks like -- well, you don't want to look inside a Big
Mac.  Just eat it and try not to think about it.  What it's doing to your
insides.  I always walk out of there feeling like I have an old boiler
lying in the pit of my stomach.  But Gran likes it.  She can eat anything. 
Sometimes, I think she's lined with cast iron.  Gran is a testament to the
heal th giving properties of junk food.  Maybe it's because she was a
refugee and came here after the war. 

	Oh yeah.  I was saying.  Sheep.  I don't think my gran knew about
Auschwitz.  She still doesn't know about Auschwitz.  She turns it off
whenever it comes on tv.  They shouldn't tell stuff like that, she says. 
And changes the subject.  I know she was a g uard in a prison camp, but I
don't think it was one of those.  I hope not.  Sheep.  Cheap sheep.  As
long as it's cheap, my gran likes it.  It's a bargain.  Gran may still be
going strong -- more power to her -- but she has her money in a death
grip.  Som etimes I think that's what keeps her alive.  Knowing she can't
take it with her. 

	Sheep may safely graze.  An old time hymn.  Meaning, God is
watching over us.  All is well.  But, from the sheep's point of view, is
this exactly true?  I mean, eventually, we are all going to end up in a
mutton stew. 

	The third story I was telling you about was how the FCC had just
given every tv station in the country a second channel -- this was
collectively worth about 77 billion dollars -- free.  ABDisney,
CBWestinghouse, Fox-Murdoch, NBGeneral Electric.  They all got as many new
channels as they have tv stations.  And so did everyone else.  I can see
what Tia means by being pleasantly surprised at how things turn out. 
Especially when the government is stiffing disabled children and elderly
immigrants, cutting of f food stamps, trying to save money.  Seventy seven
billion dollars would serve a lot of hot meals.  But the station owners
said they couldn't afford to pay for the channels, so Clinton and the four
guys on the FCC gave them to them free. 

	This charity was necessary, they said, so the stations could
convert from analog to digital tv, in the process rendering every tv in
the United States obsolete.  Nada.  Zip.  There are 250 millin tvs out
there right now, and nine years from now, all you will be able to get on
them is snow. 

	Neat, huh?

	And you know the interesting thing, the Times buried this little
item on the front page of its business section.  The AOL story was more
important.  It got front page second lead.  The fact that your box is
about to be zapped they put inside, and not eve n at the top of the story. 
As sort of an afterthought.  I can see that.  All the other papers did the
same.  The N.Y. Post had it in the business second.  Way down.  I can see
that, too.  Murdoch owns the paper.  No one at Fox-Post is about to say,
"Hey, wait a minute."  What about my 2000 dollar home theatre.  Toast,
pal.  Your vcr, too.  Any VCR you buy now will be useless for getting the
new digital signals.  Well, you say, nine years is a long time away.  The
millenium will be here first.  Yes.  But what then?  Think about it.  The
average household has 3.5 perfect tvs.  And a couple of children.  Mom. 
Dad.  The dog.  Everyone has a tv in his or her room.  Some of them came
from K-Mart.  Or Woolworth's.  Or a garage sale.  Or when Aunt Erba died. 
It's just natural to collect tvs.  But the new ones -- the ones that will
be able to pick up the new signals, will cost $2000.  How many kids can
afford two thousand dollar tvs?  Especially if you live in a ghetto, and
have to pay for designer sun glasse s and Niki Super Clouds.  For $2000 I
should be able to get Hale Bopp.  In person.  Once again, the family will
gather around the only television set in the house that can get anything.
And fight over what they are going to watch.  However, a distinct co
mponent of this new technology is that the new channels can be subdived
into smaller channels, somewhat like a hologram, and different programs
broadcast on each simultaneously.  So you could be getting Sesame Street
at the same time as extreme boxing and some cooking program on public
access tv.  Or some space guru talking from Mars.  Each one would occupy a
certain part of the screen as the different members of the family each
watches his (or her) favorite program.  And, of course, there would be a
figh t over who got to put his program where on the screen and how much
space to take up. 

	But what about the old tvs?  This is where the sheep come in.  I
mean, if I said I was going to pick your pocket for whatever you paid for
your tv, you'd be pretty mad, wouldn't you?  You might even take a poke at
me.  So how come, when people are told t hey have to go out and buy a new
tv if they want to get something they've had for years, no one screams? 


	I mean, people will follow anything.  Look at Bill Gates.  Look at
Windows.  Look at the assholes who decided if you want to have a computer,
you have to have Windows.  And CD-ROMs.  You can't go into a store and buy
anything on a 3.5 disk anymore.  They have you covered.  You either shell
out for a ROM drive.  Or you die.  I don't see any of these guys hanging
from lamp poles.  God, Michael Collins, eat your heart out.  All you did
was subdivide Ireland, and they shot you.  You were living in hard times . 
You should see us now.  Baaaaaaa. 

	You wonder what makes them put up with it, don't you?  I mean,
think of it, 250 million tv sets zipped, and the NY Times barely mentions
it.  They made a big thing of it on public television.  That news program. 
Even had the FCC chairman on.  Talking ab out how wonderful it would be,
all that high resolution tv, and the other things the viewers would get.
That's what they said about telephones, too, but the other day there was
an article in the paper that because of the new deregulation, phone rates
wou ld be going up.  It seems that it would cost more for companies to
compete with each other to lower the rates, thereby making them higher.
You get the picture?  Same with tv.  You would get more, but first you had
to buy a new set.  And, in the fine prin t, there was no guarantee that
you would get more; that was up to the station owners, and that being
digital does not automatically mean high resolution, which I thought was
the whole idea in the first place.  High resolution digital tv and digital
tv are two different things.  Anyone can be digital.  But they don't have
to be high resolute.  So what you are buying a new set for could turn out
to be nothing.  If you can afford it. 

	This may come as a surprise to the people in Washington that just
gave away seventy seven billion dollars worth of the people's property,
but not everyone can afford to shell out two grand for a tv.  They said
the prices would drop.  Not everyone can aff ord a fifty dollar black and
white from Woolworth's.  There are a lot of poor people in this country
who aren't even getting food stamps because the government has had to cut
down on what it spends on people who are not named Eisner or Murdoch. 
Remember?  I don't care how far the prices drop.  What's this shit about
you wrecking my tv? 

	A lot of people won't care.

	They be dead.

	That's what they're counting on.  And the next generation of tv
watchers will be coming up behind them.  Ready to experiment with new
things.  And then there is sex.  Sex is a great incentive.  Like in the
first years of the internet.  Sex played a big r ole in getting people
interested in the internet.  Those 8 million lemmings on AOL, for
instance.  Free nukie.  Write it down.  I said it.  Porn is going to flow
on digital.  I mean, it will be as good as live sex.  And anyone who
doesn't have a set, won' t be able to see it.  Do it.  Reach out and touch
her.  As if she was a living hologram.  So they'll buy.  And as they do,
the vision will fade, and pretty soon we'll be back to family programming. 
Channel surfing.  Family values.  Who has the clicker. 

	Talk about primitive.  If you want to see early society at its
most basic, it's how it determines who holds the clicker.  Talk about
before the monolith.  You know, February was Hal's birthday?> When he was
made.  So you see, we live in momentous times.  No wonder people want to
kill themselves. 

	But what I am trying to get at is, why are not the rabid foaming
in the streets?  Why has not the king been hung from a lamppost?  Why has
the army not been called out and the presidential palace bombed?  Why has
the coup d'ta failed?  Why am I standing here before a firing squad with a
blindfold covering my eyes? 

	Where is my rage?  I feel nothing.  Damned Tylanol.  Tomorrow
starts the beginning of fashion week.  I'm covering it for my magazine. 
They hired me back.  I can hardly breathe.  I have a terrible cold.  I
feel lousy. 

	Why are they doing this?  What is the point of going digital, even
if it does mean high resolution for some stations and programs?  I can
live without it.  And what about the telephone?  I'll never give up my
rotaries.  I have two.  A blue and a pink.  I n Florida, I use a touch
tone, but here, I like to put my finger in something and turn it.  And
hear the clicking as it turns back.  It's much more sensual. 

	I realize my mind is groping.  Or is it scuddling away from
something?  Something it doesn't want to hear.  Like what?  I'm not sure. 
I don't know.  I haven't got a clue.  I'm totally without answers.  I
wouldn't know if I fell over it.  Whatever it is, I'll be pleasantly
surprised if it's the truth.  What is it?  Joe said he would like to live
forever.  Come back as a clone.  But how does he know he isn't?  If he is
then what would he say?  How?  From where?  What's your source?  The Gulf
War.  What di d he mean an event?  With the Hell's Angel.  What did the
guy want his woman to do?  That sounds interesting.  Tell me, sugar.  Let
me know.  Spill it.  The beans.  Make me an arrangement.  A sand painting. 
Show me how it happened.  What am I trying to f ind?  I have a lot of
questions.  No answers.  Or maybe I have too many answers.  And no
questions to go with them.  I want to be brave, but I'm a coward.  I want
to make love, but I'm scared.  I want to ... stop being Cody. 

	It's a trap.  I don't know any other way to call it.  I want out. 
I want my freedom.  I want to crawl up out of the ant hill and be free. 
Free, brothers and sisters.  Free at last.  Thank God I'm free at last. 
So I took the pills.  No one made me.  I did it of my own free will. 
Knowing I would die.  Knowing I would die on this world.  All six of them. 
They went in sixes.  Shut up.  I'm trying to think. 

	What happened?

	I died.

	I was buried.

	I rose from the dead.

	And sat on the right hand of the father.

	No.  It's something else.  Mutton stew.  I saw pictures of Dolly
on TV tonight.  I didn't see the story.  Just the pictures.  She looked
right at the camera.  And I thought about the lamb of the Appocalypse. 
The catcher was "Is this an old sheep in lamb 's clothing?"  Wouldn't it
be special if the second coming was a real lamb of God?  A charming touch
on a thousand year cycle of song and mystery.  What a surprise.  Jesus is
a clone.  How did John put it?  I'll have to go back and read.  If I can
find my Bible.  It's around here, somewhere.  David Koresh did a
commentary on -- I'll have to look that up.  I wonder if I still have it
on disk. 

	The sheep appears in the fire.  In 1993, it was Mount Carmel.  In
1995 it was Oklahoma.  In 1997, it was Heaven's Gate.  Does that tell you
something?  Every two years, something happens.  A cycle is completed. 
And a new one starts.  Only this year, it was accompanied by a comet.  As
in 95.  When Levy-Schmucker slammed into Jupiter's underbelly.  On the
fiftieth anniversity of Wolfshanze.  And in 93, Warsaw Ghetto.  So you
see, a pattern emerges.  What happened in 1947?  Susan was born.  My
grandmother turned forty.  So did Kate Hepburn.  My father was a year old. 
What else?  Jackie Robinson made it to the big leagues.  Babe Ruth died. 

	Well, anyway, the clone comes forth from the sheep.  And the
people at Rancho Santa Fe depart.  I don't know.  Something's missing. 
Something wicked this way comes.  I posted two chapters of my Raw Files
novel on the usenet today.  Just for the hell of it.  About Felony Grep. 
I couldn't think of anything else.  Last night I wrote another chapter on
my dick story.  I can't think of what to call it.  About a young girl who
fantasizes about having a penis, and one day wakes up with one. 

	The title to this came easy.  Sheep may safely graze.  Because we
can't remember.  We won't remember what it was like to have to buy a new
tv, because we'll do that anyway.  Well, I don't know about Gran.  Gran
will hold onto a dollar bill until Washingt on chokes.  The idea of Gran
going out and buying a new tv is, well, pretty hard to imagine.  I've been
after her to do it for years now.  The one she has now goes back to the
civil war.  I mean, she could tune in Roosevelt.  The first one.  Teddy. 
The p icture is so bad.  But Gran is half blind and half deaf, like Wotan,
and she doesn't care.  As long as she can still see Peter Jennings, that's
all she wants.  That, and Jeopardy.  She's a fanatic.  Of course, she
doesn't get any of it.  She just watches.  It might as well be snow.  That
and the Nightly Business Report.  And Louis Rukeyser.  She is nuts about
Rukeyser.  With that hairdo.  I think she thinks he's Washington, and
Washington reminds of her money.  Other than that, she doesn't have the
slight est idea what they're talking about. 

	But wanting to have a dick is tougher.  Something in between my
legs that I can call my own.  A little lamb who's lost in the woods.  Down
there.  With all that hair.  Someone to talk to.  That I can dress in
Barbie dresses, and a platinum blond wig.  I know there's something I'm
leaving out.  Leaving behind. 

	It's the gun.  Between my teeth.  With my finger on the trigger. 
no.  How did it get there?  I forgot again.  I'm not going to kill myself. 
I have too much to live for.  What?  Mutton stew?  A CD-ROM drive?  High
resolution tv?  The second cloning?  Ro ck 1.  Oh yeah.  That.  It's sixty
miles across and it's coming straight at us.  I forgot to mention.  They
told me when I tuned in.  That's why they split.  Don't even think of
getting out of the way.  Or blowing it up.  Or any of those other cute
things .  You might as well levitate.  Use mind control.  Tap into the
universe and see what you can get off the internet.  The gun, honey.  Use
the gun.  That's why we gave it to you.  Don't be a fool.  You haven't
much time.  Everything is going to come down h ard.  No.  I would not lose
control.  Nothing in that one.  Try this. 

	I wanted to write sex./ Get out of this grey corporate business
suit and act my age.  But I keep forgot.  Pick it up, Cody. 


	Obey me, Cody.

	I.,...  who decided this, I'd like to know.  Anyone can go down
Kennedy.  data mix
try not to interfere.
this is fantastic stuff once you get used to it.
a cody cult was forming on the east coast.
got to get back there or my name is toast

you figured it out.
sat san
she received what he had to tell her as if it was new
turning it over to look at it
and figure out what it's supposed to do.
Catherine, wie ghetes innnen
She crossed the bridge as the sun hit it
blinding her with the light
Jesus stood in front of her on the road to Nazarus
where the plot was laid
Two men let her in.
She knew she was helpless in front of them
Then her mother came in.
The two men looked at her.
She was young, no more than thirty.

The other girl was fourteen.
Can we get on with it?  I mean, what's happening?  Is that her or isn't
I'd like to know your reasoning?  Does that look like a meadow to you?>
It looks like a puddle of green inke had been spilled on it.
That's what I wanted it to look like.
Well, you'd better get on with it.  Let me know the results.  He wandered
out of the laboratory.  Each girl was given a bath and a fresh change of
clothing.  You want me to wear this?  If you want.  Otherwise, you can go
down to the stables.  You know wha t happens there, don't you? With the
horses and the grooms.  You'd like that, wouldn't you, you little poison
adder.  I'll smite thy head, slut.  Now, tell me where it is.  She pointed
towards a tray.  It held Christ's blood.  It had been cut from the ram ,
and the ewe soaked it.  As in my vision of the Hypocalpse.  After awhile,
we just got tired of it ending.  How it was getting closer.  What would
happen.  All our souls go down to hell.  The rock falling on us.  Crushing
us like ants.  We'd burn up firs t.  The lucking ones.  Those on the other
side would just feel an enormous jolt.  And then they'd have to wait for
the title waves to hit them.  The ones who were exactly in between would
get it worse.  From both directions and north and south too.  Four
enormous waves of shit coming together in one point.  On the other side of
the globe.  The atmosphere ripped off.  Nobody breathing.  No one alive. 
There would be nowhere to run.  You couldn't hide.  You just knew it was
coming.  And you waited.  How lon g does it take a wave to go around the
globe?  What was the technology it would take to figure it out?  And who
would do it>?  The long term genome project.  The cloning of the clone. 
Until it was safe to come out?  And what would carry the code?  What h as
the dna to outlast a comet?  Spartacus?  Books?  Department stores. 
Mutilations.  Greed.  Stupidity.  Wasted lives.  Crack cocaine.  What it
does to my brain.  Cody was wasted on those guys.  She gave them a glance. 
Nice try fellows.  Call me if you get work.  A toad.  No way.  Look, Cody,
it's just for a thousand years.  Or so.  No way am I coming back as a
toad.  In the mud.  Up to my ears.  Fuck you.  I want something sparkly. 
Like a pearl handled revolver.  With my initials tattoed on it.  Want
some?  She could taste it.  She had to bend her neck to get at it.  Way
back.  There had to be a way back.  But where was it?  And where do you
think we're going?  Through the dna cells to the parrot.  See where the
line says sheep, scratch it out and wri te in Cody.  Now you get it?  She
came out.  There's a price to pay.  Six dollars an hour.  I was bankrupt! 
I couldn't have made that many calls in a month.  My kid must have.  I'll
beat her ass.  Assholes on Line.  They sure are.  You fucked me right u p
the ass, cocksucker! I screamed into the telephone.  You fucking
shitheads.  I'll never pay.  But I already had.  They took it right out of
my bank account.  My life savings.  I gave them the number and said, go
ahead.  Help yourself.  Is that something ?  Like what am I?  Stupid?  And
they're still doing it! 

	You know what?  Someone is making money, and we're not.  I mean
you and me.  I know you aren't making it because anyone who would wade
through this shit to get to this point doesn't know shit about making
money.  This is neck deep in the big gooey, if yo u koow what I mean. 
None of us are going to get out of this alive.  You just watch.  And see. 
If it doesn't happen just like I said it would.  I think I want to be
outside.  I don't want ten floors of the building to fall on me.  I'd
rather be swept alo ng by the debris.  Picked up and thrown against the
wall.  And the wall collapses, and we go on across America or whatever. 
Of course, if it lands on us, we aren't going anywhere.  We're going to
get squashed flatter than Wiley Coyote at a convention of road runners. 

	I almost said warriors, but it's just a convention.  Of militias. 
Combat ready.  Ready for anything that comes.  We can handle it, sir.  I
volunteered to go first.  Get it over with.  Herff spread the newspapers
out on the floor.  Now lie down there, an d we'll get the blankets/.  That
means camcorders, too.  You thought you'd outlast yours didn't you?  But
everything falls apart or gets taken away from you, and you end up dying.
She seemed so resolute.  Was this the truth?  That it's going to fall on u
s.  Nobody said anything.  Why didn't they tell us?  I did, but you
weren't listening.  Now get ready.  We have to go.  In the last days,
anyone can live anywhere.  A villa in San Diego.  A condo in Paris.  A
small cafe just out of Dover on the Post road.  He'll see her.  Finish
your toast.  We have to go.  The Armenians are coming.  Again, Europe was
a battle ground.  Rock coming closer.  Got to happen sometime.  Some
bullet has my name on it.  Pull the trigger.  Down here you have a choice. 
Sit up or crouch down.  You do it.  See.  You can.  I knew you could. 
Sing a little song as the rock comes closer.  Maybe it will miss.  It
might.  No.  The paper said it would hit head on.  The next thing I knew,
there was a mess on the floor.  Were we ever going to go home?  Yes.  Now