I'm in the middle of one.
Here's how it looks...
1. Roy makes a few inflammatory 'anti George Bush-USA' lapel badge designs.And then the interesting coincidences start...
2. States in his Flickr gallery that he hopes some of his buttons put him on the CIA hit list.
3. He starts a satirical group on Flickr titled, 'BIN LADEN... IS THIS HIM?' He asks people to help the CIA find Bin Laden. They must do this by posting pics to the group of ANYONE who could POSSIBLY be Bin Laden. They must include the exact time and place of photo, so that the CIA can collate the information. 16 people join the group immediately. Another one joins some time after.
4. Roy posts a pic of some Arabian-styled fellow and his girlfriend. The pic is a lucky shot at the gym. The couple were joining up, and Roy happened to be going to the changeroom at the time. Yes!!!
5. Roy gets an email out of nowhere from a dude called Ismail Mohamed, who is the 'Senior Cultural Specialist' attached to the 'American Culture and Information Center, U.S. Consulate General'. The email invites him to attend a do at the home of Steven Coffman, the American Consul General. The do is a poetry event, featuring Toni Blackman.So Roy thinks, 'Okay. Guantanamo Bay. Bring your own lube, dude.'
6. Roy thinks, 'What the...?' He thinks, 'Who the heck is Ismail Mohamed?' He thinks, 'Sheesh. The Americans are INFINITELY politically correct. If this IS legit, then they've DEFINITELY hired a guy with the right name.'
7. Roy phones 1023, and verifies that the number given on the email is indeed attached to said Info Center of said Consulate. The email is legitimate.
8. Before Roy phones Ismail Mohamed to find out more about the event, he checks his dating profile. Cos an email has just arrived stating, 'CoffeeShopSchmuck... you have a new fan!!!!!!!!' On said dating profile, Roy finds an attractive gal has faved him. Her country of origin? America. Living in South Africa. Studying.
He also thinks, 'Oh, don't be paranoid, dude. It's ACTUALLY a set of coincidences. For instance, the dating site gal is just a gal. The poetry thing? It's JUST a poetry thing. Except that I haven't really been all that active in the performance poetry circle for a long time, apart from occasional forays. And the dating site thang? Well... my profile has been viewed maybe three or four times a week for the last month or two, and the last time I got faved by someone was two weeks before the American babe.
Nothing concrete. Nothing 'real'. Except for the coincidences.
9. Roy phones Ismail. Says, 'Yeah. Would LOVE to come. Can I bring a partner?' Ismail says, 'Absolutely.' Roy contacts another babe from the site. One he's been flirting with via email for a while. Says to her, 'Would you like to accompany me to the US Consul General's house for some poetry as our first date?' She says, 'Yeah!'At this point, I'm wondering what the hell to do at the poetry event. Ismail has said that there'd be an open mic.
And I'm torn.
For me, it would go against my ethics to simply accept the invitation and say NOTHING. For me, saying nothing against the current American government is tantamount to collusion with the Bush regime. At the same time, I don't want to use an open mic as some kind of soapbox to froth about politics. And anyway, I'm a minnow in the world of politics. At best, I'm some kind of semi-informed leftie-libertarian. At worst, I'm a victim of several streams of propaganda. So anything I say can't actually be anything more than my opinion. A dilemma.
10. Roy meets his date. She turns out to have platinum blonde hair, and THE most piercing blue eyes he's seen. And she's STACKED. Awesome breasts. Really. Sheesh. Nicely dressed. Alluring. A sharp, angular face. Kinda Nordic. Kinda fierce. But soft. Very pretty. They go to the consul's house in Roy's little red sports car. Which desperately needs a session at the valet. But hey.
11. They park. Roy has intentionally left his Swiss Army Knife at home, thinking he'd be cavity searched by special agents before being allowed into the hallowed presence of the esteemed consul. Instead, the guards wave him and his babe-date in. Roy's thinking about shagging her somewhere in the consul's house. And he's working out what he's gonna say.
12. They get inside. Ismail Mohamed is familiar to him. It's the same Ismail Mohamed who ran the Windybrow Theatre in Hillbrow many years ago! He's a leftie! He's all right! He bumped into Roy a few months ago in a restaurant, and took Roy's card. (The cards here are the two sides of Roy's new card, which is currently at the printer.)
13. The consul general is a cool dude. He's wearing a delightful Mandela shirt. He's shortish, greyish, and very jocular. Roy imagines he's quite a bright fellow. There's a picture of what must be his daughter in the living room they walked through to get to the garden. And she's scrumptious. Holy moley. Roy wants to shag his date AND the daughter!
14. Poets arrive. It's basically a pretty damned high-powered collection. The cream of South African performance poetry. (Although, Lesego Rampolokeng and Kgafela oa Magogodi aren't there.) So Roy's thinking, 'Uh... I'm NOT in this league, am I? I MUST be a token invite, so they can get their eyes on me.'
15. Roy and his date (who remains nameless, cos she doesn't want anyone except the CIA to know her name) are scoping the joint, trying to spot which of the consulate staff are secret service agents. Roy and his date have discussed things in the car before the entered the premises. They speculated that the sexy woman who tries to seduce Roy would be one of the agents. And whoever else is wearing shiny shoes and hippy clothes would be the other one.
16. Paulina, the 58-year-old busty honey-blonde with huge breasts and massive hair, immediately starts hitting on Roy, stepping into his personal space, so that every time she breathes, her breasts glance across Roy's wrist, which is defensively holding a glass of water in front of his chest.
17. The second agent isn't all that obvious. But there's only ONE person wearing shiny shoes, aside from the guy in the suit. The guy with the shiny shoes is fairly old. And he's in hippy clothing. It's our man.
18. The poetry starts. Two guest poets kick off with short works. Quite good fun. Then Toni Blackman kicks into gear. Does two or three terrific poems. She's employed by the US government as some sort of cultural commissar. Brilliant. She finishes her short gig, and opens the mic by calling for an improv session with three poets from the audience. Asks the audience what the improv poem should be about. Roy pipes up, 'It should be about two minutes.' She calls his bluff, and the poets improvise a poem entitled 'Two Minutes'.
19. Toni calls for another improv session. Roy gets up. Joins two other performance poets. Roy is wearing a t-shirt with Rosie the Rivetter on the front, and the slogan, 'Just Do It'. Someone says, 'Just do it!' So that's the title and topic of their poem. Roy slips in a wry dig at Nike in Vietnam, which gets a big laugh.
20. Applause. Other poets do some solo material. One or two poems max. Roy figures out what he's going to do.
21. Allan Kolski Horwitz takes the mic. Does an incredibly funny and harrowing poem about putting despots into power. The twist at the end is that the despot he's referring to is George Bush. And his father! Heheheeheheh!
22. Roy takes the mic. Starts off pretending that he wrote a Linton Kwesi Johnson poem. Outrage while he recites the opening phrase... 'It was in April 1981, down inna di ghetto of Brixton...' Tells the crowd to relax. Then says, 'I'm going to do two poems tonight. The first one is incredibly short, and it's one of my two political poems. It's called, 'AFTER'.
The lovers lie like statues
shattered by the tanks.
23. Roy then says, 'Mr Coffman, I need to make a personal appeal to the American people. Please tell them that Roy Blumenthal is asking them to impeach George Bush. Because of him, I do NOT feel safe.'Intermission. Private stuff takes place. One phrase only: 'GREAT breasts.' The rest is on a need-to-know basis. (I'm sure the CIA already know everything they need to know about the sexual proclivities of Roy and his date.)
24. As Roy says this, the man adjusting the microphones spins around and takes a photograph of Roy's date. Hmmmmm. Not wearing shiny shoes at all.
25. 'Right...' says Roy, 'politics over for me... here's my next poem.' And he performs, 'IT'S LUNCHTIME IN THE CITY' which features 'the heads of leaders turning tails, touched by crimes... the slime!'
26. Which effectively closes the open mic. Coffman steps up to the mic during the light smattering of applause, and says, 'Thanks for being here,' etcetera. And Jim Callahan steps up and makes a speech, cos he's retiring to Cape Cod. And the evening's almost over.
27. But Ismail Mohamed comes up to Roy and says, 'Are you available to be on the radio at 8:30 tomorrow?' Roy thinks about this for a few whirring moments. What's going through his mind is this: 'I would dearly love to shag this incredible specimen of babehood tonight. 8:30. Traffic. Ugh. That means waking early. Which means I can't have a VERY late night.' He says to Ismail, 'Sure.'
28. Roy and his date leave. On the way out, they notice a HUGE photo of George Bush senior, framed, on a side table. It's one of those candid-style shots. The kind buddies take of each other. Mr Coffman is probably someone who has pictures of the Bush clan in his house, not, as some might have it, out of patriotic duty, but rather cos he DIGS them.
29. So Roy and the date head off to the rapidly closing Rosebank Mall. Europa shuts around them. They go and walk around. Sit at the closed Sophia's which has chairs outside. They kiss a bit. 'Wanna go home with me and have sex?' Roy asks. The date smiles. 'Why not?'
30. The morning after, Roy gets to the Radio Today studio on the dot at 8:30am. There's the guy with the shiny shoes! He IS an agent! Cool! Roy's suspicions are confirmed. The other poets arrive... Toni Blackman, Mac Manaka. The clincher? It's the 'secret agent's' radio show that they're being interviewed on!So. That pretty much brings the conspiracy up to date. Let's hope I sell some buttons as a result of it. What kind of agent WOULDN'T wear a badge that says, 'Sayonara, you incompetent fuck,' against the backdrop of an American flag?