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The Diary of Guantanamo the Bard(Lock) – 26 July 2019

Friends,

It started off a day like any other: I woke up outside, stoked the coals to boil water and make coffee, untethered Rocinante, and began stretching. I slept pretty well and my shoulder stiffness is abating. I played a few songs while I enjoyed my coffee and hacked a dart. Packed up camp at a deliberate though purposeful pace. Walking to the road with Rocinante, I noticed a large group of people in the distance on the move so I rode up to them.

There was lots of bawling and self-pity, and while they were utterly wretched and seemed to have come by their disposition honestly, I didn’t feel particularly up to the challenge of engaging them in conversation. Woulda harshed my mel’. Instead I nodded in greeting then rode alongside at a slight distance.

We came to a castle at length and they began trickling in. I was greeted by a paladin whom I later found out was named Emilio. He had two friends, Abel and Lynn, and the three of them seemed the only ones there who didn’t have a dark cloud above their heads, and this particular morning I had already had enough “rain.”

They seemed to be still in the middle of figuring out their next move. I offered my rapier to their cause they seemed nice enough and I suppose did my part in sussing out a plan. I am always a little wary about volunteering ideas to new adventurers whose parties I join because even though the group is often fluid, I am still a new and unproven outsider. Plus, I know how I tend toward thinking my ideas are the best, so I try and be very mindful about not being too obtrusive with suggestions.

We decided on a course of action after they over-estimated what I meant when I said my knowledge of spiders was “slighty above rudimentary.” Truth is, I don’t think I know a lot about spiders -but I hate saying “no” when I can give an “honest yes”, which I then trust people to decipher as “no” without me actually having to say “no”. I need to be a little more judicious about this approach and just say “no” when I don’t know. So many missed opportunities and so many tragic misunderstandings because my younger self tried to be “all things to all people”. Still we mustn’t waste days lamenting over wasted days…..

Long-story short, I ended up getting mandible shitf—ked in the chest by a giant spider. This was actually our second visit to the spiders, and incidentally the only one in which we got attacked. What does it all mean? 🤔

Anyways, I thought I could try and join their spider cult if I acted all spidery so I turned on the charm and started bouldering and balancing on a slack line. Some young shooter didn’t like getting stunted on and so he started to flex, hissing at me and shit. I was like “You don’t even know! I’m about to shit on this bitch!” I presti’d some fuego in both hands and began screaming from my perch on my “web” using my sacred beast speech ability, intimidating af. He got shook real quick. Then I started making eyes at the girl spider just to clown him. I wasn’t really even all that attracted to her, cause she’s like a giant spider, but I want that young one to think that the only reason I didn’t smash is cause I tried to show him mercy. If he knew I thought his girl was ugly it would break his spirit, and he already took an L today.

So making eyes at the spider-queen, I start playing Goldfinger for her on my guitar “…..the man with a Midas touch -A SPI-der’s TOUCH!!….”. I think in retrospect this is where everything went f—kup for me and the crew. The shooter got froggy again and attacked me. Thankfully I was wearing my breastplate, but I was fairly shocked because the queen was looking at me like things were “getting right” for her, all hungry-eyed and such, and nothing is more shocking than having some ruffian remove his glove and slap you with it when you a-courting. 

So there I am, on my slackline playing Goldfinger bleeding out my chest -all in all, not the worst date I’ve been on- and a battle ensues. Everyone seems to be making good account of themselves. I think Lynn might got bit too, but I think she got poisoned. Abel, a druid, summoned more spiders for some f—king reason and half of them were horny young bucks too who started white-knighting for the queen trying to get in her pants.

Thirsty. Bitches.

Then ….what’s his name? Emilio! Emilio is all like, “Guantanamo, you didn’t yell for help like you were supposed to!”

“Are you joking me?” I would have thought that getting bitten in the chest by a giant f—king spider counted as universal sign language for “Help”!

It takes all kinds I guess…

At this point, I (reluctantly) slung my guitar, shot an agonizing blast which knocked a spider from the ceiling and slashf—ked another one.

How did it feel? F—king awesome I guess.

I don’t know.

It’s not like a karma thing where I lament having to kill the spiders, but like, this problem should have never got to this level. I feel like there’s a proper place for spiders where we can coexist with them. It’s at the margins of our homes, or in the case of giant spiders, the margins of society. We shouldn’t be furnishing them with nests; they can’t help who they are, they are going to begin eating us at some point. It seemed like a no-brainer to me.

So whatever, we killed them and started heading to some amber door I think. -I don’t really pay as much attention as I should. One day into the two day journey we encountered some zombies in the woods. I was like, “Hell Yeah.” And tried to charge them, but they were more 

B A S E D than the little male spider and didn’t flinch.

I’ll be honest though, in that charge I experienced a moment of doubt which I think led to the ultimate failure of trying to rout them and scare them. I suppose I am still possessed of a fairly persistent idea which I read long ago in some archaic bestiary: “Zombies are formed from the corpses of men executed for committing the most depraved and DEGENERATIVE crimes against the innocent….”

DEGENERATIVE.

That word: It was seared into my brain.

I knew exactly what they were talking about even though I had no precise definition of the word. I look at them (zombies) as a special case in my sub-conscious quite possibly. It’s not that I have especial hatred for them because they were (probably) child-molestors, as the bestiary rather ham-fistedly implied, I mean, sure -it’s that too, but I am aware of the absolute darkness they saw and felt in life and now endure in undeath, and in that moment,

I. Felt. Doubt.

I doubted my ability to frighten them because they are the true embodiment of darkness; a darkness so deep that it isn’t simply satisfied with extinguishing light, but which seeks to make a mockery of the light’s very existence by snuffing out the fresh sparks which have yet to blossom into luminescence.

For a man to get to that point of darkness… For a creature to be possessed of that point of darkness… What can I possibly do to frighten it? Hence, I believe, my doubt.

Fortunately, my rapier and elven dagger demonstrated much greater self-confidence than their wielder. The battle seems won, but there are still some writhing limbs on the ground and we should clean them up. I mean, kids play here, right?

ONWARD TO THE AMBER DOOR!!

God bless!

-Guantanamo

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Lessons From Star Trek

My Friends,
   This morning while waiting in the doctor’s office I picked up a copy of Maclean’s from this past September.  It was an issue commemorating the ten year anniversary of 9/11.  It profiled the lives of those who had been affected in some way by the incident.  Soldiers, politicians, locals and one Maher Arar.  His case is a few years old and most might be familiar with it, but I had only a cursory knowledge of the details.  I became angry while reading about how this man (a Canadian citizen) endured torture for a year in his native Syria all because he fit the profile of a terrorist (male of Middle Eastern descent who traveled a lot and had a proficiency with computers).  What really got to me was reading about the aftermath of his ordeal; I began to cry when I read how he had returned home a “broken man,” a jumpy and nervous shadow of his former self.  This I think is the real tragedy of the story, and it reminded me of a passage from W.H. Auden’s poem, “On the Shield of Achilles.”

“They were small/
And could not hope for help and no help came:
What their foes like to do was done, their shame/
Was all the worst could wish; they lost their pride/
And died as men before their bodies died.”

  
   Throughout all of the debates about torture we have had to endure (I find it offensive that its even debated) this point about its after-effects on the victim is noticeably absent (I have my theories why but that’s a story for another day).  When torture is debated, the focus is never about the permanent damage done to the individual, but rather the legal aspects (is torture a violation of human rights?/are terrorists subject to legal protections?) or the strategic aspects (torture does/does not work for gathering information).  All too often the effects on the person are not brought up.  Best case scenario, if you are are deemed to have been wrongully detained and tortured, the adverse effects are simply quantified and monetary compensation is made (p.s. The going rate for extraordinary rendition if you are a Canadian citizen is apparently 10 million dollars and an apology from Stephen Harper).
   I think what irks me most is that around the time that this happened (2002 to 2003), any number of people would have thought it better to be safe than sorry, and would have supported Arar’s detainment and deportation to Syria, even if reluctantly.  In the midst of crisis our better judgment apparently goes out the window and we will cosign all sorts of human rights infringements under the pretense of increasing security.  I think the following clip will explain just how serious an issue this is and how indignant we should all be about the lives that are ruined in the name of “freedom.” 
   A little backstory: in this episode of Star Trek: TNG, a Romulan spy (the Federation is at war with the Romulans) has been exposed and a military tribunal convenes and begins using “insinuation and innuendo” to cast suspicion on everyone.  One young unfortunate, Simon Tarsus has been singled out for lying on his Starfleet application and saying that he had a Vulcan grandparent when he actually had a Romulan grandparent (the two look similar).  Well Captain Picard don’t take no mess, and as he realizes that his ship has become the setting for a deplorable witch-hunt he elucidates upon the ideals that make the Federation what it is.  Enjoy.

  
   Upon reading over what I have just written it seems that I have talked about both paranoia and torture.  While each merit their own discussion I did not feel the need to treat this as two separate entries because I believe the former progresses naturally into the latter, and thus both are related.
   Someday in the future we or one of our allies will be attacked again by alleged terrorists.  There will be suspicion, mistrust and perhaps another futile war.  We would all do well to remember the mistakes made in the aftermath of 9/11 when we seek to vilify a particular group or silently assent to morally repugnant war measures.  I will leave you with Captain Picard’s words as I feel they succinctly encapsulate what I am trying to say:
“The first time any man’s freedom is trodden on, we’re all damaged.”
Stay Thirsty,
-Andre Guantanamo

  

  

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