Z-anon-sensei Speaks #80
“Helen must be re-born, that is, her soul must return wholly to her body.” H.D.
Z-anon-sensei says it is 80 days until the election, and it is the 80th straight day of protests across the country, triggered by the police murder of George Floyd and fueled by many years of racist policing, economic inequality, and governmental corruption which have accelerated to the exploding point during the three long years of the Thump regime. This, you might say, is the pivot point, the apex of the curve, the moment at the top of the roller coaster ride after the long slow climb just before the bottom drops out.
After his little chat with Gianinny, Radio spent the afternoon and early evening looking through the archives of Xenon’s livestreams. He had located her Facebook profile easily enough, once he knew she was involved in the protests. Not a lot there, to be honest, not even a last name or any real good face shots. Who was this girl? He’d sent the link to the Director in the usual cypher, so ^zetateam could dig for her real identity. Depending on the classification level of the operation, the Director could go straight to Facebook for her ID. If the op was too classified for that, then other methods would have to be used, which might take a little while.
But the livestreams still taught him a lot about his target. For one thing, this girl could really sing! Her streams had very few followers; there was a glut right now in the protest livestream market, and it was apparently hard to build market share. Radio scanned the comments for any clues. Lots of compliments about her voice, some come-ons from the usual losers, and a few trolling remarks from Thumpsters, but nothing that seemed especially threatening. No clear leads there. Xenon was obviously fearless: approaching police and right-wing counter-protesters directly, challenging them with insults and biting questions. She was often in the thick of the action. And she didn’t try for any kind of journalistic neutrality. She was loud, aggressive, fun to listen to. Radio loved the shots of her standing behind Mayor Wheelie, the night the ^goonies tear-gassed him. She was holding up a policeman’s hat, pointing at it, and then pointing at the Mayor who was, after all the Police Commissioner, too. Radio wondered who was holding her phone and filming that night.
She wasn’t great with her camera work (was livestreaming something new for her?) but Radio could tell she was improving as the nights of protest went on. On the rare occasions she did frame herself in the camera, her face was always covered. (Protocols, or just the exigencies of Covid and tear gas?) She was a regular at the protests, though she missed a few nights along the way. (Did she have another interest or job?) Radio could get a feeling for her through the first person camera work, and from her witty commentary and occasional rhyming sessions. He felt himself starting to like her, actually. But no read on her inner workings, her deeper thoughts. (Was she an innocent, or was she working for someone?)
She usually stayed close to the “press” contingent, which was made up almost entirely of amateur social media livestreamers like herself. They would probably know something about her, even if he couldn’t locate Pettifogger.
He’d find out tonight.
Meanwhile, back at the WhoreHouse, Melancholia’s re-design of the GrossGarden is nearly done. Pretendident Thump hasn’t really seen it yet. But he’s heard more than he cares to about it, in fact it’s all Melancholia’s been jabbering about every time he has to see her. Yet, he still doesn’t know if the rumors about carnivorous plants are true. She just gets a funny smile when he asks. But he admits he sort of likes the idea. He’s planning to give his acceptance speech during the ^repo Pretendidential Convention from the GrossGarden, since he’s already used Mt Rushmore, and the Gettysburg battlefield thing was, well, complicated. You see, it turns out the Confederates lost that battle— who ever knew, right?— but Blake Steele has him using the Confederate flag as a central symbol of his campaign. Steele thinks speaking from the battlefield would be just too ironic, and might offer some good lines to Thump’s enemies. So, the GrossGarden it is, despite that being an historical breach of DC protocol and possibly an illegal use of government resources for his campaign. Thump’s good with that. It’ll be beautiful. And it’s his WhoreHouse now. The wall is almost finished, and he has no plans for moving. So why not use the GrossGarden as a backdrop for his own personal interests? Hell, he uses the OffalOffice to sell beans. Why not the GrossGarden to sell himself? Yes, it will be beautiful, the greatest acceptance speech in history. He’s glad Steele is working on it. The greatest ever, Steele says it will be. And the new GrossGarden will be a perfect backdrop to symbolize his transformation of the nation, as long as Thump can keep his fingers away from Melancholia’s plantings.