Literary Agent NEEDED. That is all.
CH.1 / 128 : Chapter One
Kurt Vonnegut was an asshole. I don’t really mean it. I just wanted to start out my novel that (this?) way. Not for any particular reason, you see. I just got the idea one day, and it stuck.
Also, he seemed like a pretty cool guy that could take an affectionate off-hand joke.
In fact, he might just be my favourite author. Not that I have read too many of his, or any other author’s books.
(Note to self: „Q: „Good one Worf. Eat any good books lately?””)
Anyways, Kurt’s dead now. Vonnegut, not Cobain. Actually, Cobain offed himself back in ‘94.
Fuck it. So it goes.
P.S. Thanks Kurt, you saurkraut-eating fag.
CH.2 / 128: My Name Is
I call myself Rocko these days. Rocko with a „CK”. Last Name: Kowalski.
My parents - The Kowalski’s – died before I was given an official first name.
For the first couple of days I was named after my mother, or to be more precise, labeled „Halina A”. I still have the baby blue wristband somewhere. My twin sister, „Halina B”, died around the time of our birth, together with our mother. I still have her baby pink wristband somewhere.
My father, I was told, was killed in an automobile crash while en route to the hospital on the day of our birth. December 17. Exactly nine months after St. Patrick’s Day, which is, of course, two days after the Ides of March.
(Note to self: „Nice one, Mom. Hope all your debts were settled.”)
I have not found much evidence of my alleged father’s car crash, and never quite believed it. I’m not sure why. Not that it matters. Perhaps it’s because I’ve been called a bastard so many times, I identify as one. John Doe, Jon Snow, Leonardo DaVinci, Lawrence of Arabia, K'ung Fu-tzu, William the Conqueror, Alexander Hamilton, Santa Evita, Halina-A Kowalska.
(What a name.) Good thing my name’s not Sue.
[Rocko played an old Johnny Cash vinyl record and lit up a cigarette.]
„Mr. Cash, do your thing.”
P.S. Thanks Kurt, you chain-fag-smokin’ Kraut. You too, Johnny.
CH.3 / 128: Call Me Susan If It Makes You Happy
My official last name is actually Kowalski. Thank God someone had the wisdom to name me Kowal-SKI, not Kowal-SKA on my birth certificate. Although, nowadays, I don’t think I would’ve minded. I pronounce it ko-VALL-ski, not ko-WALL-ski.
This is both the standard Polish masculine form and pronunciation of the name. It roughly translates to ‘smith’, ‘blacksmith’, or ‘of the blacksmith’. The feminine form is Kowal-SKA.
I’ve noticed in my thirty-odd years however that most people tend to either completely forget or be entirely unaware that there are different naming customs and patterns in various cultures.
I can hear it now: „That’s dumb. This is America. They should… (insert ignorant babblling).
This to me is an example of a profoundly ignorant individual. Best to just smile, nod, and backaway from such people. Although, just for kicks, I enjoy playing the devil’s advocate.
To clarify; I am not saying that one should know all or any of the naming patterns themselves, but simply be aware of their existence. For instance, in many hispanic countries it is customary to have to last names, the first name in the surname of the father followed by the first name in the surname of the mother. Hence, the father, mother and children will usually each have different last names.
So, Laura, the daughter of Jose Martinez Rodriguez and Maria Gonzalez Hernandez will be named Laura Martinez Goznzalez.
In Chinese culture the surname preceded the given name. So, seven-foot-six basketball All-Star Yao Ming’s given name is Ming. And his jersey will show his surname, i.e. Yao.
The Greeks usually ascribe the genitive form to the woman’s surname. Hence Mr. Papadopoulos’ daughter, Sophia, is called Ms. Papadopolou and her friend Mareva, husband of Mr. Mitsotakis, is Mrs. Mitsotaki. Similar analogies can be found in many other languages. Especially, or perhaps only in languages which have the concept of ‘gendered’ nouns and adjectives. English used to have grammatical gender and cases. But if it was anything similar in it’s opacity to German (i.e. difficult to determine based on it’s meaning or form), then I’m not surprised.
And what do the birds say to this? Poo-tee-weet?
Before I go on, possibly narrating in the third person, please be patient, and allow me to share some words on the topic of grammatical cases. On the surface, almost absent, not only in daily usage, but in the awareness of most anglophones. Ugro-finnic people like the Finns and Hungarians have’em in abundance though.
The Nominative case usually is the form given to the subject of the sentence. For example:
„She is the author.” Here, the pronoun „she” is the subject of the sentence. Similarly, in the sentence: „Susan is the author” - „Susan” is the subject of the sentence.
Now, if Susan were the object of the sentence, as in the sentence: „I gave Susan the book” we would say, alternatively: „I gave her the book” That, if memory serves, is the dative case.
To imply possession or ownership we tend to use the genitive case, as in: „That’s Rocko’s book.”
Or, alternatively, „That’s his book.”
As you may have notices, we add an apostrophe followed by an „s” to indicate this relationship.
Not to be confused by the way we add an „s” to end of plural nouns and third singular verbs in the indicative mood.
„He gave him his book” sounds more clearer than „She gave her her book namely because the genitive and dative cases of the pronoun „he” are „his” and „him” respectively, while for the pronoun „she” they are both „her” and „her”.
Similar cases exist in Latin. I am sure fans of Monty Python are more than aware of this.
„ROMANI ITE DOMUM.”
Take any road. Afterall. all roads lead to Rome.
CH.4 / 128: Unionized
If you pronounced the above title as U-nion-ized you might be a public school teacher or a tradesmen. If you pronounced it as UN-ion-ized, you might be a scientist, or a pompous asshole.
Most likely, you’ve heard a similar version of this joke before.
Besides having a minor position as an elective representative of the Canadian Cinema and Television Artist’s guild, I was never part of a union. In fact, I am not quite sure how I feel about unions. Then again, I am not sure how I feel about democracy.
Either way, I tended to enjoy the bitter-sweet consequences of limited conformity within moral, but not necessarily social bounds. Makes for interesting discussions with intellectually curious people.
Many cultural practices seem quite arbitrary. Then again, „When in Rome, do as the Romans.”
CH.5 / 128: Rome Wasn’t Built In A Day
To paraphrses Socrates and Descartes: „I know nothing” and „Cogito, ergo, kinda sum.” Recently however, I prefer Principal Skinner’s reply to Lisa Simpson: „I dont have opinions anymore. All I know is that no ones better than anyone else & everyone is the best at everything.„ Except for me. I suck. I stink. I’m stupid. I create garbage. No. There’s Garbage, fifty feet of crap, then me.
If you couldn’t tell by now, I am quite depressed. I have been for a while. I think, at times, I can be quite cynical as well. I also suffer from paralyses through analysis. Getting drunk helps. Perhaps only a little, and for a short while. Or perhaps that’s just an illusion.
I suppose that would depend on one’s perspective. To paraphrase Schopenhauer : „Examined up-close, life’s a finite jest.” Anyways, the following is my book. It starts with:
Kurt Vonnegut was an asshole and ends with XYZ. It’s not good. In fact it’s shit. Not „the shit” or kinda shitty - just shit.
[Rocko turned off the record player and lit up another cigarette.]
„Here goes nothing.”
CH.6 / 128:
Literary Agent Needed.
CH.7 / 128:
It was a colder than usual Canadian Winter morning when Bobby arrived at the Alternative School in East York a few minutes past 9 a.m. He entered the school and walked towards Mr. Nolan’s classroom with a noticeable spring in his step, carrying two cups of strong brew with cream and a self-satisfied smile.
- Sorry, I am a little late, Man. There was a long line up in the coffee shop. Got one for you, too. Bobby passed one of two coffees to Mr. Nolan, a tall salt-n-pepper haired homeroom teacher and supervisor during his teaching internship.
- Don’t worry about it, man – Mr. Nolan replied. There were only three students present in the classroom out of the registered twenty. One of them was drawing while talking to another student. A third student listened to music with his earbuds in, hoodie up, nodding his head to the beat.
A handful of other students went to a meeting regarding some other school event and would be absent during the first period. The rest of the students didn’t even bother showing up for registration that day. The Alternative School was known for two main things. One: it had the best basketball program in the city. Two: it had the highest suspension rates, with many students „at-risk.”
This produced a very eclectic student body, some with various goals and issues, personal problems and some with no goals or issues at all.
- So, are you gonna go to Egypt? - Mr. Nolan asked Bobby inquisitively. A few days earlier a North American staff of teachers evacuated from Cairo, which was undergoing an uprising against the then long-standing government. The school was desperate for qualified and certified teachers, even recent graduates without the two-years minimum experience requirement.
- Yeah, I actually had an interview at IKEA’s foodcourt yesterday. That was kinda strange that he called you up like that. He was like do have any references. BOOM. He calls you up in front of me,and was like: „Hi I am considering Robert for the position, yada, yada, yada, would you hire him?” You started answering something, and he’s like: „OK, thank you” - and cuts you off.
They couldn’t get through to my second reference though. So, we’ll see.
- That’s Okay man, no worries. You’ll get the job for sure. I told Bernie to put in a good word from me. Bernhart was a former classmate of Mr. Nolan, and one of the evacueses, currently residing in a Frankfurt Airport Hotel. He became friends with Director O’Brian while working as head of I.T. at C.A.S.E. - the Canadian-American School of Egypt, and was the main go-between getting Bobby and Director O’Brian in touch.
- Who knows? They still have no idea when they’ll reopen the school.
They turned on the heavy classroom CRT television, as they prepared a DVD for the few students that had come to school that day. The morning news was playing footage from the streets of Tunis and Cairo, referring to the event as Arab Spring. The first revolution ignited via social media networking. The news reported that the internet in Egypt was temporarily shut down by government authorities and the army had marched in dispersing protestors and occupying main gathering places.
Bobby watched the events in the news footage with lukewarm interest, doubting that he would either get the job or that the school would reopen anytime soon.
- Four more days – he said to himself quietly, as it was the only thought running through his mind. He would then finally complete all requirements of his post-graduate degree from the University of Toronto’s Ontario Institute for Studies in Education.
CH.8 / 128:
CH.1. The Phone Call
Bobby was awoken by the sound of an 8:00 a.m. phone call...
GO TO: CH. 9 - 16