The Unknown: The Red Line.
  During the summer of Ought Two we were in Thailand.

I can’t recall the state of our moral decrepitude, nor our precise location.

I believe that we were behaving in a completely respectable fashion, aside from the drugs. Our collective youth had worn us of any sophisticated oats-sowing and what not, and though we were sweaty and incoherent, smoking from a Hookah in Thailand, our behavior was, aside from that, quite the behavior you’d expect of normal writers on the precipice of their middle ages.

Admittedly we had developed a tendency to fall out of schedule on our tour.

I regret that we missed our reading in Hong Kong. That would have been large cash.

We were kind of in the jungle, in a hut. There were all sorts of tropical birds flying about that we could watch through the doorway. And monkeys too; William tried to pet one and he got bit.

There was more high-end weed than we could possibly want to smoke, tied onto tight sticks.

We drank coffee flavored with coconut milk.

We were supposed to be in New Zealand, but we were just bushed and enjoying our time in Thailand.

Anyway we were sitting around in that hut, not far from the temple, where Dirk had just come down from on high from . . . the Monks had a great deal of respect for Dirk for obvious reasons I’ll not go into here.

We must have stayed there two weeks. People kept bringing us exotic fruits and fresh linens.

What I remember of that time is that Z working with our engineers back up in the lab in Bear Creek had sent us the iWatch plugin which enabled us to watch people reading our hypertext novel.

It was a very cool device, though I’ll confess as I reach back into the trove of time that it did lead to a kind of perverse weird narcissism.

Now don’t get me wrong, this didn’t let us peer back through the screen of people who were reading us, it just let us see where there were coming from and what paths they took while they were reading. But I was sure that the hit from Boston came from Robert Pinsky.

There was a period of depression. Not depression exactly, more sponginess, moodily slipped into an atmosphere womblike and yet still allowing for walks filled with wonder.

Dirk told us, in one hour, after he had walked to the temple, of his theory of the reason why the FBI had chosen midgets to assassinate him. But that is another story. We were just glad he had been ressurected.

We were watching the map on the screen, we were watching people read us. A man in Bangladesh read the Boston hotel scene. He read it for thirty-seven seconds. We speculated on what sentence he had arrived at, concluded he stopped at “Hefe-Weizen.”

A government official in the Department of Defense very carefully read the Rupert Murdoch beheading scene, and the DC things, and then appeared to be going about a methodical personal-destruction-information-gathering campaign focused upon each of us.

A woman in Canada spent a great deal of time reading Henry Miller and the eighties scenes. Although we only knew of the Internet server she was logging into, we sensed by the way she read that she was female. She read intelligently, carefully, she used the navigation devices and made a careful collage of our memories.

It was wonderful watching the map of people reading us. It almost made us feel like we didn’t need to write.

Or. . . . that we should feel obligated to write each of our readers specifically. And so we did. We sat about the hut in orange robes and sandals. Somebody shaved our heads. And we wrote email to our readers, which we did not send, for fear of being discovered.

We were sitting there, over their shoulders. And we loved them, if not individually.

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The Unknown at Spineless Books.