You’ve probably asked yourself this question before. “Am I living in a society?” If you’re the type of person who googles “QAnon Antifa Paul Simon Farewell Concert” and “What does SEO stand for?” you probably have always pondered the great questions in life, like “What is a society?”, “am I living in one?”, “Do they have otter pops in Russia?”, “What are otter pops”, and “who are they?”
I haven’t written anything this ultimately pointless in a very long time, and if my inferences of my readerbase’s lifestyles are correct, all three of you are watching Letterkenny on Hulu instead, cracking open a can of Monster Ultra White and remembering the Good Ol’ Days when Coach used to assume you were the kind of shit idiot who asked me questions while you read my articles instead of actually READING my articles. Remember that? I sure do. It was a simpler time. I was still getting trenchfoot playing Battlefield 1, and covering virtual reality, and DIRECTLY calling out the behavior of this shitty kid who yelled at fast food employees for having busted McFlurry machines. His real name was Ryan and he shared an Instagram account with his mom. Ain’t that fucked up? It was so bizarrely sexual. He did a stand up comedy act once at an open mic and just read memes printed off sheets of paper. I have never felt more physically ill than when I sat through the video of that. Never once.
NUMBER 5 – TODD KINCANNON HAS ACTUALLY STARTED KILLING DOGS
You may or may not remember one of the several times I have accurately predicted the future, down to the letter. One of them was when I decided to speculate on disgraced-lawyer turned domestic-abuser turned laughing stock Todd “Kill Canine” Kincannon. Of course, when I wrote that article in what I’m pretty sure was a sleep-deprived frenzy, it was all MEANT to be in jest. It was MEANT to be something we had a nice little laugh at, and moved on. I imagined that someday when more of the court case surrounding Todd’s demanding of custody over his ex-whatever’s dog had happened I’d write a jokey little stinger. Well, it’s a damn good thing he never got custody of that dog.
That’s one of the classic warning signs of a Society taking shape. When any fraud small-time politician can go from a life of limp-dicked internet trolling to declaring himself Jesus Christ. The real biblical journey is the friends we’ve made along the way. Anyone who’s spent a minute watching anime knows that (all of you have). Todd Kincannon’s new religion is one that’s easily digestible and attainable for the common layperson. It’s even easier to understand than the obtusely easy Subgenius code. Isn’t it kind of fucked up that Slack and Discord are also both softwares people use to talk about work? “Bob” ain’t happy, but “Bob” ain’t in. Todd Kincannon has decided all it takes to be your own personal Jesus is blood sacrifice and gumption, and he’s got both of those things to spare. Much like Jesus went into the desert or something, Todd went into a psych ward to connect to God. I think these couple of parallels speak for themselves. Todd and God rhyme too. What proof do you need, man?
NUMBER 4 – We’re glad you’re enjoying Robek.World. Keep Reading For $1
I’m gonna keep it real as hell with you, chief. You see up there how I didn’t actually write about the specifics of Todd at all, and instead linked you to WaPo of all things? I did that because I’m a journalist. I’m a lazy piece of shit who would rather take potshots at the lowest hanging fruit than do any actual reporting. Sure, we all SAY we hate fake news
, and we all DO hate fake news, but we would rather just link you to a paywall via 280-characters-or-less zingers than do any actual reporting. And you know what? Now that I point that out, I feel kinda bad for that gutless, lazy thing I did up there. In the name of combating fake news, I’m going to tell you some absolutely factual things. Did you know that Frank Sinatra had JFK killed for blocking a hit on Woody Allen at Marilyn Monroe’s request? Did you know that Elon Musk is an anagram of Lone Kums? It’s because no one fucks him. He’s ugly and a bitch.
I’m gonna keep it even realer, chief. Do you want to the truth? Do you want convenience? Do you even care anymore? Keep reading for $1 and find out.
NUMBER 3 – Jerry Brown is still the Governor of California, somehow.
Correct me if I’m fucking wrong, but didn’t the Dead Kennedys write two albums worth of songs about how this guy sucked, actually? Didn’t he sell his soul to Reagan or something? I have some extremely specific opinions about politics in 1984, and seeing liberals on Twitter praise Jerry Brown in 2018 fucking haunts me. Aren’t we supposed to hate this guy? Am I really alive in a time where I’m supposed to believe Jello Biafra would lie to me? I don’t give enough of a shit about California or politics to even look at this guy’s policy, but I know I hate him, because a bitter, cynical old man who nails his opinions to every space he can in the same way that Martin Luther (the protestant bastard) nailed his heresy to doors of the Church.
Some people really like California. It’s liberal, there are really sub-par burgers there – seriously, fuck In N Out. That’s my next target – and the weather is warm? Some people hate California. It’s liberal, or it’s not liberal enough, and it’s full of hippies, smog, and Hollywood – or as I like to call them, the Triple H.
NUMBER 2 – Your kids sneak out of bed late at night to eat sugar directly from the jar, because God is dead and you are personally responsible for that.
If you’re a parent, this scenario has played out time and time again. You get up at 2:30 in the morning to take a leak, maybe catch a bit of late night Sportscentre, and you hear a noise in your kitchen. Obviously, the first thing you do is grab the piece. Going anywhere in the Society without the strap is a dumbass move, and you know it. You walk into the kitchen of your 2 bed 2 bath suburban prison, hoping against hope that today’s the day you’ll get to kill a home intruder. Maybe it’s finally your time to be the hero in the debate on firearms. For every kid that got gunned down at every public school that your tax dollars barely keep afloat, there’s some criminal element that breaks into your home to steal the TV or your 240 dollar infomercial Japanese knife set. Yeah, killing this motherfucker would be a victory for you, your gun club buddies, your ego, for AMERICA. Unfortunately, when you peak around the door like a grizzled PUBG veteran, it’s just your kid.
But wait, what the fuck is he doing? Is he eating sugar right out of the bowl? Is he reaching his unwashed, stubby fat fingers into the kitschy pot you keep next to your Keurig machine, and shoveling granules of sugar into his mouth like some kind of fucking animal? Perhaps this is a different kind of criminal, a crime against sensibility and taste. Where did you go wrong? Where did the white picket fences and perfectly groomed ol’ Kentucky Blue in the backyard fail your horrible little child? Why the hell is he awake at 2:30?
You probably slink to your couch in defeat, and you turn on that late night edition of what sports issue is now a political issue, and you shovel stale Doritos into your gaping mouth while you stare at pictures of Colin Kaepernick. Wipe your goddamn fingers off before you grab your iPad. Google parenting tips. Read all about how great YouTube is for your young children, and fall asleep by a quarter til three, completely forgetting that you have work in the morning.
NUMBER 1 – You always were a headache, and you always were a bore.
Here’s to you, you stuck around so long.
The inside of Bald Pete’s Tavern is the last true frontier. The West was won then lost then won again 100 times over before Bald Pete’s grew it’s own group of regulars – pimps and base-heads and middlemen in cheap cologne congregating over the chipped lead paint and the threadbare cushions. The bar ran the length of the back wall, and there was never an empty seat. A rough joint – a “dive” – is what mothers called it when their children asked them what the door with “BP’s” written on it lead to. The hip kids knew to steer clear. If you weren’t a regular, you weren’t welcome, and time had long passed since the old tavern claimed another wayward soul as it’s own.
Cooke and I, we’d go there after a big score – the taste of metal still fresh in our mouths and the thrill of the chase still keeping our hearts pumping blood through our broken bodies. It was in a place you’d never find on purpose, deep in the guts of old Chicago, but Cooke always seemed to know the way, even after three hits in the passenger seat. We always parked around the corner, and we always brought any extra dope we had in with us. We never had any extra dope.
Cooke swaggered in first, pupils as small as the points of pins, and shouted a greeting to the crowded room. Not a head in the place turned to him, and the constant buzz of conversation didn’t waver at all. I followed Cooke as he slid into a corner booth, as far away from the door as he possibly could be. I sat next to him and looked from face to face, hoping for a brief glimpse of eye contact to remind me I’m more than an apparition. No one ever made eye contact.
This night wore on. Drink after drink after drink, a hit or two in the bathroom stall with the broken lock, a failed encounter with a girl without her front teeth. Got ’em knocked out from falling down the stairs, she says. Says missing teeth are better for some things, but I wouldn’t ever find out. Man with the long, golden hair and the dirt under his nails says Chicago is a corpse – or at least, a machine that produces corpses. The Undertaker across the room saunters over to our booth. Cooke pats on the seat next to him.
“You know, a corpse is a corpse.” the Undertaker remarked, half addressing the dirty man at the bar. “Sure, I can slice ’em open after they die, I can hack out all their organs and fill ’em up with more chemicals than you two boys have got running through yer system, and I can dress ’em up in the nicest suit they ever did own, but at the end of the day, a corpse is a corpse.” I nodded, and Cooke laughed. Sure, you could pry their waxy, doll-like eyelids open, but all you’d find is an empty socket, a door to a now hollow skull.
The Undertaker tipped his hat. Hands were shook. Greetings exchanged between us all. The door to Bald Pete’s flung open and a cold wind carried the smoke from the room and out into the streets. The bar creaked, exhaling it’s death rattle with a sound like splintered wood.
“It’s an expensive habit you girls have… must’ve blown what, 2, 3 hundred today?”
Cooke wove the concern away as nonchalantly as you would swat an insect.
“Sure, it’s expensive, but it beats being sick.”
Cooke is asked if he’s the kind of man who enjoys a good wager. After drinks and dope, who doesn’t enjoy a game or two? I’ve got a 357 in the glove box, we could play Russian Roulette. Nah, he says, I had something else in mind. The rules are really simple, you know, you pick it up quick but it’s almost impossible to master. It’s not like chess – chess requires far less creativity and theatrics. Cooke nods. I do my best to seem disinterested. The Undertaker says he’ll explain the rules to us, and that if one of us wins he’ll pay our tab and cover our next little excursion to the west side. That’s a prize we can’t pass up. It sure beats being sick.
I’ve been into sports my whole life – sports and games and contests – and I knew the most important thing to do was quit while you were ahead. I never quit while I was ahead, and neither did Cooke. We both knew having the lead was dangerous. We wanted to play anyway.
“So, it works like this. We take turns naming stops on the L train lines. The first person to name Red Line Belmont wins. The only official rule is that it would be unsportsmanlike to say Belmont on the first turn. Other than that, the rules are up to you fellas. If you successfully play a stop, you get to do another one, and another, until someone successfully blocks you. Whoever blocks you – it’s their turn. So, whaddya girls say?”
Cooke went first. Harlem, on the green line. The Undertaker laughed. At the 1976 summit in Madrid, opening with Green Line Harlem was ruled to be an automatic loss of turn, he explained. Yellow Line Dempster. I spoke up to remind the Undertaker that Yellow Line Dempster could only be played after Purple Line Dempster ever since the Kozlov incident at the world championships in Evanston back in 93. He cursed under his breath.
“Belmont, Red Line.”
The Undertaker looked furious. Cooke laughed until he snorted. The dirty man at the bar was watching now. The Undertaker stood up quickly and motioned for us to follow him. I had made the only unblock-able play in the game. The lead was mine. We left the bar and walked down the street and around the corner. The Undertaker had parked right behind us. Bit of bad luck, he said, such a shame to see this happen to you girls. He’d never lost the game before, and he didn’t plan on starting now, he explained. I grabbed the 357 from my glove-box and handed it to him. A new game, a new prize to win.
First shot. Click. Nothing. Gun passed. Second shot. Click. Again, nothing.
Here’s the gun to you, Cooke.
The Undertaker has the lead. Third shot. Click. Back to the Undertaker.
Fourth shot. Click.
To me now,
smile on his face and a look of sick horror on Cooke’s.
Fifth shot. Nothing. It was the Undertaker’s turn again. Of course, the gun isn’t loaded, I told him.
I would never play this stupid game with a loaded gun.