The Poison Pie Publishing House presents:

Shaharazad and the 10,001 Diluvian Knights
(link to main page of novel)


June 1, 2020
Cole informed the alien, who had yet provided him with no name, that henceforth he would address her as Shaharazad of the Ten Thousand and One Diluvian Knights. Because she was a nightly visitor and because she staved off his threats to kill her by parceling out information, Cole found the sobriquet especially apt. At this time, such was the extent of the analogy. Certainly Cole did not intend to portray himself in the role of the king nor did he imagine that he would, at the end of their exchange, fall in love with the anemone-faced creature and elevate her to the position of queen.

However, the bestowing of this literary appellation was not without side-effect. Cole began to regard the alien as a feminine life-form. Perhaps this seemed natural on two counts. First, the character of Shaharazad was a woman and, second, the vision of the alien was juxtaposed over the sleeping body of Elaine.

To avoid confusion, the narrator of this tale concedes to Cole's convention and replaces the pronoun "it", which has been used up to this point to describe the knight, with "she", beginning with this passage.

written while listening to:  Hardy Soul - unreleased live recording, track 1 (May 3, 2014, Showboat, Koenji, Tokyo, Japan, digital file)

June 2, 2020
While it is true that there were one thousand and one Arabian nights, we must wonder if there was anything more than mimicry, which led Cole to number the diluvian knights ten thousand and one. We suspect, even at this early juncture, that Cole sought to expand their ranks by one. Of course the notion of him joining their order was laughable. They carefully restricted the genetic make-up of every knight. To taint their pool with the likes of Homo sapiens lay utterly beyond their imagination. Moreover, the number ten thousand was sacred to them. In it, they had pinned the hopes of the survival and flourishing of their species.

The choice of ten thousand and one should have puzzled Shaharazad, but to her the past and the future were as accessible as looking to the right or to the left. Long before the words left Cole's lips, she already knew the title with which he would bestow her. As for Cole, this minor miscalculation was merely an insignificant omen of the calamitous error that awaited him.

written while listening to:  Keiji Haino, Richard Pinhas, Merzbow & Tatsuya Yoshida - unreleased live recording, tracks 1-2 (May 16, 2014, Colisee B, Festival International de Musique Actuelle de Victoriaville, Victoriaville, Canada, digital files)

June 3, 2020
What reason should Cole have had to desire to join the diluvian knights? He was an essential member of his nuclear family. Any claim to isolation could not withstand the inarguable fact that he interacted on daily basis with Elaine and Halley, both of whom loved him dearly. Moreover, just as the squids, which had visited him night after night for years, had never accepted him into their trio, so too would he fail to find a place among the diluvian knights. One could only ask repeatedly, "What is wrong with him?"

There was something inexplicably wrong with Cole. It was indelibly wrought into the neural pathways that wound through his brain. A stimuli, which in any other individual would have provoked a defensive response, in him prompted a perverse impulse to join the force that sought, if not annihilation, the subjugation of the human race. We suppose the most likely explanation for this behavior was that Cole, despite the objectively positive balance of his lived experiences, unreservedly believed that the world was a terrible place and life within it meant to be filled with meaningless suffering.

written while listening to:  Nazoranai - unreleased live recording, tracks 1-3 (May 17, 2014, Colisee B, Festival International de Musique Actuelle de Victoriaville, Victoriaville, Canada, digital files)

June 4, 2020
It was an inaccurate portrayal of Cole to paint him as wholly committed to the alien cause. His repeated warnings to Shaharazad reflected his devotion to Elaine and Halley. At each nocturnal visit of the diluvian knight, Cole sought not only to acquire new information regarding the impending invasion from her, but also to find a tolerable role in this event for himself. Thus conflicted, the kernel of resistance alternately shrank and swelled within him as if subject to the tides of the same ethereal sea that caused the pale blue tentacles to wave languidly before him.

"How many will survive," he asked, "if not one in a million?"

Shaharazad saw no reason to delay further. She shared with him their meticulous calculations, which suggested that one in a hundred was the appropriate ratio.

Cole tried to imagine living in a world of eighty million rather than eight billion. Almost instantly, he caught himself. His mangled ethical circuitry reminded him that his only path forward was to be counted among the ninety-nine percent lost rather than the one remaining.

written while listening to:  Keiji Haino, Oren Ambarchi & James Plotkin - unreleased live recording, tracks 3-4 (May 18, 2014, Johnny Brenda's, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States, digital files)

June 5, 2020
Through-out human history, the intentional reduction in human population has been inextricably linked to racism, ethnic cleansing, genocide and holocaust. In some cases, population management fell under the control of authoritarian or fascist governments, which exploited latent prejudices to foment civil unrest and to advance a political agenda. In other cases, economic concerns drove nations to deny the humanity of a class of people, their annihilation a byproduct of the forcible acquisition of their resources. Often the practice was conducted under the auspices of divine will, as when Joshua fought the battle of Jericho.

21And they utterly destroyed all that was in the city, both man and woman, both young and old, and ox, and sheep, and ass, with the edge of the sword. 24And they burnt the city with fire, and all that was therein; only the silver, and the gold, and the vessels of brass and of iron, they put into the treasury of the house of the Lord.

In Cole's home country, the virtual extermination of native Americans by first European settlers and later the United States government was a more recent case in point. Even should Cole have granted that the current human population exceeded the capacity of the planet to sustain it, he could not help but view the intentions of the diluvian knights through the lens of atrocity.

written while listening to:  Nazoranai - unreleased live recording, tracks 1-5 (May 20, 2014, The Empty Bottle, Chicago, Illinois, United States, digital files)

June 6, 2020
Shaharazad attempted to persuade Cole that the great deluge need not be accompanied by violence, nor that the selection of survivors be driven by discredited notions of eugenics. On the latter point, the aliens accepted without reservation that there was no genetic basis for distinguishing between the traditional races of men. The suggestion that survivors would be determined by the underlying sociological prejudice was outlandish to her. Even more preposterous was the use of religious belief as a criterion, since, it goes without saying, the aliens had never been saved by Jesus Christ nor any other divinity.

The most important criterion, explained Shaharazad to Cole, was a commitment to maintaining a stable population level after the fact. By their own example, the aliens intended the deluge as a last resort, accomplished only once with permanent effect. Her argument prompted Cole to think of his childhood response to Captain Nemo's flaws. What point was there in constructing a new world, only to retain the worst excesses of the old?

written while listening to:  Hardy Soul - unreleased live recording, tracks 1-8 (July 20, 2014, Super Deluxe, Roppongi, Tokyo, Japan, digital files)

June 7, 2020
Shaharazad conveyed to Cole her abhorrence for unnecessary violence. Cosmic violence of the sort that occurred when one galaxy collided into another was unavoidable, but gratuitous damage borne of barbarity or sadism was to be minimized by prudent planning. Consequently, there was no cause for the deluge to manifest any aspect of brutality. It would be, she promised, a kind of euthanasia, gentle and well-meaning.

When Cole protested that euthanasia was practiced on dogs and cats, species that did not regulate their populations well, Shaharazad deigned not to reply immediately, for she deemed the parallel all too obvious. Later, the diluvian knight did comment that, according to their analyses, Homo sapiens and Canis lupus familiaris shared eighty-four percent of their genetic material. She regarded Cole's objection to the application of wide-spread euthanasia on his own kind as a provincial conceit.

written while listening to:  Hardy Soul - unreleased live recording, tracks 9-14 (July 20, 2014, Super Deluxe, Roppongi, Tokyo, Japan, digital files)

June 8, 2020
While Cole was certainly capable of drawing his own logical connections, he desired to force Shaharazad to make the statements herself. "Why is it necessary for you to reduce the human population? There's only ten thousand of you. You could all fit on an island." The diluvian knight acquiesced to Cole's demand for an explicit declaration because she had yet to extract the service she required of him. Later, he would find her less pliable. The alien explained that humans were altering the environment in an unstable way. For a long-lived race, this sort of existential instability could not be tolerated. Climate concerns aside, the burden of over-population created competition for limited resources, which increased tension and produced strife at local and international levels. The aliens also refused to live under the threat of nuclear war. The reduction in population would alleviate this stress. They would eliminate the threat of nuclear holocaust.

In this way, Cole came to understand that, when the diluvian knights identified regions of survivors, none would be located in nations armed with nuclear weapons, which, of course, included his own country.

written while listening to:  Keiji Haino, Akira Sakata, Makiko Sakurai & Hiko - unreleased live recording, track 1 (August 15, 2014, Kid Ailack Hall, Meidaimae, Tokyo, Japan, digital files)

June 9, 2020
As a husband and father, Cole naturally thought to warn Elaine and Halley of the coming cataclysm. However, the impediments to issuing such a warning were obvious. They would not believe him, despite their love for him. They would rationally think that he had gone crazy. Cole had never entirely dismissed the notion that Shaharazad, no less than the trio of squids before her, was a figment of his imagination. Had he been in Elaine's position, he also would have thought himself deluded.

Moreover, he still possessed no concrete details. The date of humanity's judgment day had not yet been revealed to him. Similarly, he knew little about the locations to be spared, other than that these places would lie outside the borders of nuclear powers and they would already have demonstrated zero population growth. With so little data, even were he to be believed, any caution would only raise alarm. He could recommend no course of action nor destination as a viable sanctuary.

written while listening to:  Keiji Haino, Akira Sakata, Makiko Sakurai & Hiko - unreleased live recording, track 2 (August 15, 2014, Kid Ailack Hall, Meidaimae, Tokyo, Japan, digital files)

June 10, 2020
It was a night like any other in recent weeks. The pale blue tentacles hovered like a translucent shell over the face of Cole's wife. Elaine's form appeared as a static, skeletal frame around which Shaharazad provided the animation of flesh. The alien made no attempt to communicate to Cole that his desire to provide protection to his loved ones, while forsaking everyone else, could not be justified. He had been selected as a herald of the diluvian knights based on the idiosyncrasies of his moral compass. Either he would recognize the unsuitability of his intentions or he would disqualify himself from the role of herald.

To be sure, Cole felt utterly inadequate to the challenge put before him. Of course, he understood that if his actions were to be just then the sacrifice of the many had to be made based on impeccable logic. Still, it was one thing to embrace a theory and another to enact it at the expense of one's family. As for himself, he began to concede that it would be best if he were dead by the time his unwholesome work was done.

written while listening to:  Keiji Haino, Masami Kawaguchi & Rihara - unreleased live recording, tracks 1-11 (November 22, 2014, Chikyu-ya, Kunitachi, Tokyo, Japan, digital files)

June 11, 2020
The nocturnal visits of Shaharazad occurred in distinct parcels. Together they represented a coherent message but, because of the discontinuous method of delivery, the path of the discussion took unexpected detours and followed unplanned angles. With nearly twenty-four hours between conversations, Cole had multiple opportunities to ponder the information with which he had been presented in the previous night. Rather than responding directly to the most recent revelation, by the time Shaharazad appeared again, Cole was preoccupied with a different priority. It seemed, even to Cole, a disjointed way to carry on a conversation.

On this particular night, Cole could only ask, "Why me?" He added in a resigned tone, "Just do the deed yourself." Shaharazad conveyed then that the diluvian knights did have an active role to play but that their part had not yet come. Her presence now was only a projection from afar. At this very moment, the diluvian knights were hurtling through dimensions, yet to arrive on Earth in a material form. It was their habit, as she had already indicated, to have the planet appropriately prepared before their arrival, in order to minimize violence. For that they required physical agents on location.

written while listening to:  Keiji Haino & Keisuke Ohta - unreleased live recording, track 1 (December 6, 2014, Lady Jane, Shimokitazawa, Tokyo, Japan, digital file)

June 12, 2020
In the midst of these tense negotiations, Elaine awoke. Given the extended period over which the nightly visits stretched, it should come as no shock that eventually one of Shaharazad's appearances was interrupted in this way. That it had not occurred sooner was more surprising. Waking, Elaine could not but notice Cole's steady attention on her. When she propped herself on one elbow, he discovered that not only was her face hidden behind a mask of translucent blue tentacles but her entire body was sheathed in a smooth, undulating, diaphanous gown of light. "Were you watching me sleep?" asked a familiar soft voice, though no movement of lips could be discerned beneath the tentacles. She did not wait for a reply. She slid over to him and reached her hand down to massage him. In this way, Elaine instigated the first act of infidelity, which she had so dreaded. For Cole, the carnal juxtaposition of Shaharazad and Elaine was merely another step in the disintegration of his reality. As it turned out, he readily embraced the opportunity and with unexpected vigor eventually released his genetic seed into a womb, where it could be scrutinized one base pair at a time by the diluvian knight.

written while listening to:  Teruto Soejima Memorial Concert - unreleased live recording, tracks 1-14 (December 21, 2014, Pit Inn, Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan, digital files)

June 13, 2020
Thereafter, the faint outline of blue never left Elaine. Cole watched her move through the house limned in an unearthly glow. He said nothing of course; that decision had been made long ago. Sometimes he opened his mouth as if to offer a comment on the strangeness of her appearance but, considering the ramifications of any such statement, remained silent. Besides, Shaharazad and Elaine had merged. There was no point any longer in confiding information regarding the imminent arrival of the diluvian knights to his wife because inside her she had Shaharazad, who knew all the details better than did Cole himself. He found her standing beside Halley in the garage next to the car. The two women were fiddling with the remote control to the garage door, which had become finicky. "To get it to work, you have to push it just right in this corner," Halley said demonstrating. In the dim light before the door opened, Elaine struck him as otherworldly. As the curtain raised and she was bathed in noon-time sun, she briefly took on the appearance of the mother of his daughter, until his eyes adjusted. That he should not be able to maintain this charade indefinitely seemed inevitable.

written while listening to:  Teruto Soejima Memorial Concert - unreleased live recording, tracks 15-29 (December 21, 2014, Pit Inn, Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan, digital files)

June 14, 2020
Despite his fervor at the initial encounter of the juxtaposed form of Elaine and Shaharazad, Cole found it difficult to continue to interact with his wife in a normal way when her features were obscured by a mass of blue tentacles. Everyone in the family--husband, wife and daughter--was aware that the recent absent-mindedness and reticence of Cole had taken on a new intensity.

"What's wrong?" Shaharazad--no, Elaine--asked him. He had just arrived home from work. She wrapped an arm around his shoulder in a show of comfort and love. He stared fixedly ahead, so that this moment of tenderness was not shattered by her unearthly visage. Misunderstanding his distance, she pleaded, "Look at me."

Cole obeyed. A blue anemone gently laid its oral disc against his shoulder and sighed. Because this way of living was plainly untenable, who among us can blame Cole for wishing for a quick end to the world?

written while listening to:  Keiji Haino & Jump for Joy - unreleased live recording, tracks 1-2 (February 16, 2016, Gothenburg, Sweden, digital files)

June 15, 2020
At first, Elaine pressed Cole for an explanation with a quiet tenderness. When those attempts uniformly failed to penetrate Cole's barrier of silence, she resorted to more forceful tactics. It was almost inevitable, given her previous experience, that suspicions grew within her of Cole having an affair. It would have been improbable to the point of ridiculousness for her to have suspected the truth, namely that Cole had for months now hallucinated a being with the head of a sea anemone superimposed over her. Elaine had no tolerance for infidelity. She waited until Halley was out of the house with a friend before confronting Cole. "Are you having an affair?" Cole's folly was to momentarily consider whether his nocturnal relationship with Shaharazad could be construed as a kind of illicit affair. In that moment of hesitation, Elaine's worst fears were confirmed. By the time Halley returned home, her father had been banished from their home.

written while listening to:  Keiji Haino, Kazuhisa Uchihashi, Rully Shabara & Wukir Suryadi - unreleased live recording, track 1 (February 3, 2016, CTM Festival, Berlin, Germany, digital files)

June 16, 2020
On the first night, Cole slept in a motel on the outskirts of the city, uncertain of what he would encounter. His nerves were understandably strained, his expulsion from the house having occurred so abruptly. It was only in retrospect that he assumed that he had not maintained during the past few months a semblance of ordinary behavior as well as he had imagined. It seemed entirely uncharacteristic of Elaine to have reacted so decisively without some previous warning signs, to which he must have been oblivious.

When he did lie down, he slept uneasily until Shaharazad faithfully woke him in the middle of the night. The translucent form lay on the sheets on her side with her head on a pillow, exactly as she had since her arrival. It appeared that the presence of Elaine was not required for this visitation at all. The absence of his wife only served to confirm this rendezvous as a kind of infidelity. Shaharazad sensed correctly that Cole was in no mood to talk or to listen. Instead, she bid him memorize a sequence of twenty-four numbers, collected in four sets of six, which she repeated again and again until he fell back asleep.

written while listening to:  Keiji Haino, Kazuhisa Uchihashi, Rully Shabara & Wukir Suryadi - unreleased live recording, track 1 (February 3, 2016, CTM Festival, Berlin, Germany, digital files)

June 17, 2020
Cole was in no mood to decipher riddles. Only the day before, he had been evicted from his own home by his wife of nineteen years. He had capitulated without argument because he found his own behavior indefensible and also because it had been her house before their marriage. He knew that Shaharazad could explain the numbers in an instant. There seemed no point in forcing him to discover their meaning. He was not, he thought with disgust, on a personal journey, where individual triumphs counted for something. Besides their meaning was obvious. Two of the sets of six numbers constituted a location given in degrees, minutes and seconds, the first latitude and the second longitude. He presumed that the latitude of thirty-six degrees lay in the Northern Hemisphere and the longitude of eighty-three degrees in the Western Hemisphere because those coordinates corresponded to a location relatively close to his current position. The other three alternatives, he discovered courtesy of maps on the internet, led him to a desert in the Xinjiang autonomous region of Western China (N,E) or expanses of water in the South Pacific (S,W) or Indian Oceans (S,E).

written while listening to:  Keiji Haino, Kazuhisa Uchihashi, Rully Shabara & Wukir Suryadi - unreleased live recording, track 1 (February 3, 2016, CTM Festival, Berlin, Germany, digital files)

June 18, 2020
Just as the first two sets of six numbers had fixed a position in space, so too did the remaining sets specify an address in time. In two digits apiece, the date was provided by day, month and year, while the last set of numbers identified the time to the hour, minute and second. Considering all twelve numbers together, it was made clear to Cole that he was to be present in a stretch of state wildlife management area located about two hours east of town precisely forty-eight minutes after midnight early on the morning after next.

Even as the thought of disrupting the diluvian knights' plans flashed through his mind, there was no question that he would be present. Why else had he destroyed his life if not to discover what the aliens were plotting? At their last meeting before the specified date, Shaharazad informed Cole that he would do well to bring a shovel and a bucket of cold water. These items Cole was forced to purchase anew since he dared not return to the garage of Elaine's house to retrieve them, lest he encounter his wife to whom he would be unable to explain his abrupt need of the tools.

written while listening to:  Keiji Haino, Mani Neumeier, Daisuke Fuwa & Akira Sakata - unreleased live recording, tracks 1-2 (March 18, 2016, UFO Club, Koenji, Tokyo, Japan, digital files)

June 19, 2020
Although he had printed directions to the site, Cole left home an hour earlier than necessary to make certain that, even if he had difficulty finding his way, he would be present at the appointed time. Because he encountered no traffic, he passed the unmarked dirt road that served as the only entrance to the wildlife area well ahead of schedule. He soon realized that he had missed his turn and retraced his path. Through process of elimination, he turned along what appeared to be an access road, running parallel to a set railroad tracks. He drove another four miles through the woods until the road petered out at the edge of an expanse of river flats, a seasonal floodplain for impoundment from a nearby dam during the warm months. In the winter, Cole had learned, the mudflats had gained a reputation among ornithologists as a preserve for migratory birds found nowhere else in the area. Cole parked his truck at a point well shy of where the dirt road gave way to mud. The plain stretched out two hundred yards in width to the far tree line and formed a channel of water only an inch or two deep for half a mile down to the river. Cole wondered what strange bird would alight as he waited, illegally he reminded himself, in the middle of the night.

written while listening to:  Keiji Haino, Mani Neumeier, Daisuke Fuwa & Akira Sakata - unreleased live recording, tracks 3-4 (March 18, 2016, UFO Club, Koenji, Tokyo, Japan, digital files)

June 20, 2020
The flood plain was alive with the calls of katydids and crickets and tree frogs. Amidst this chorus, Cole leaned against the side of the truck and craned his neck to observe the night sky. Miles from the nearest light of a streetlamp or front porch, the darkness was undisturbed. The moon had not yet risen; its presence only a suggestive glow on the eastern horizon. An unseen haze, too thin to be described as clouds, nevertheless cloaked the bodies of the deep sky from Cole's vision. A few of the hardiest stars managed to appear for several minutes at a stretch in momentarily exposed patches of clear sky. Shaharazad was nowhere to be found. Given the remoteness of the location, Cole lost his fear that a ranger or sheriff's deputy might appear, making rounds to prevent whatever objectionable activity might otherwise occur in such a secluded environment. Sure that he was in the right place, Cole waited for the seconds to tick away until the appointed time arrived.

written while listening to:  Hardy Soul - unreleased live recording, tracks 1-6 (April 28, 2016, Koenji High, Tokyo, Japan, digital files)

June 21, 2020
It appeared as a distant streak in the sky. The head was white and the tail yellow in the center with a hint of orange at the edges. Its progress across the sky was like that of an airplane, rendered in slow motion to one standing miles below with a clear view as it crawled across the heavens. Cole did not know if the falling object was a capsule or a meteorite; Shaharazad had given him no more information than the coordinates of its landing site. Drawing closer, it seemed to pick up speed as well as intensity. The white glow burned as bright as the sun, painful to view. Cole was certain anyone outside at this hour within hundreds of miles could not help but marvel at the spectacle.

It came to a thunderous stop in the middle of the flood plain, not a hundred and fifty yards from Cole. At the instant of impact, it ejected mud high into the air, then steam hissed from the crater. Cole removed his hands from his ears as the call of crickets and frogs resumed. With a flashlight in one hand, he lugged the shovel and bucket of water in the other. With many poorly placed steps, Cole sank to an ankle in the muddy earth, making his progress excruciatingly slow. Surely the light and sound would draw others in the matter of a few minutes. It was imperative that he claim this delivery and be on his way before anyone else arrived.

written while listening to:  Hardy Soul - unreleased live recording, tracks 7-12 (April 28, 2016, Koenji High, Tokyo, Japan, digital files)

June 22, 2020
The object was small enough to be scooped up in Cole's shovel. Spherical, about seven inches in diameter, he easily lifted it and dropped it into the bucket of water, where a last hiss of steam escaped. He then trudged through the mud back to the truck. He strapped the bucket into a corner of the bed and lay the shovel beside it. He turned the truck around on the narrow road, being careful not to become stuck in the surrounding mire. The four miles back through the woods seemed like an eternity. Despite the remote location, the spectacular trail of light and resounding boom had surely summoned the curious, if not the authorities. They likely did not know exactly where in the wilderness the meteorite had landed, having lacked the advantage of Shaharazad's forewarning.

In any case, Cole heaved a sigh of relief when he left the grounds of the wildlife management area and turned back on the paved county road. No longer trespassing, he felt there was no reason for anyone to prevent him from an uneventful ride home. He had only come up to speed, when a squad car rounded the corner, approaching from the opposite direction. With lights flashing and sirens wailing, the officer seemed to glance at Cole as he sped past. Cole slowed down just enough to observe the tail lights turn down the road from which he had emerged moments before.

written while listening to:  Keiji Haino & Charles Hayward - unreleased live recording, track 1 (July 8, 2016, The Boiler Room, London, England, digital file)

June 23, 2020
Cole had not wanted to sign a year-long rental agreement for an apartment, because he had held out an ambiguous hope that he would find some way to reconcile with Elaine. Signing the contract would only serve to document the impossibility of such a reunion. Still, he was not comfortable keeping the meteorite in the motel room, where the cleaning woman came once per day. Nor did he think it safe to leave it in the locked cabin of the truck. Therefore, he rented an apartment about a block away from the building in which he had lived prior to his marriage to Elaine. He owned no furniture. The only thing in the apartment was the white five-gallon bucket, with a round object submerged in it. This seemed entirely too conspicuous to Cole, so he emptied the bucket in the shower. The water washed off the mud caked to the surface, revealing an exterior that was rough, as if it were natural stone, but cool to the touch, as if it possessed the high thermal conductivity of a metal, transferring the heat from his fingers as soon as he handled it. The sphere was otherwise featureless save for a notch less than a millimeter in width and in depth, which ran the length of the circumference, dividing the object into two hemispheres. Cole held the meteorite in two hands with the line between them. He sensed that with the application of a slight torque, he could twist the two halves in opposite directions and the object would open. He did not do so, since he supposed that such an action would unleash the deluge of the diluvian knights upon the unsuspecting human race.

written while listening to:  Keiji Haino & Charles Hayward - unreleased live recording, track 1 (July 8, 2016, The Boiler Room, London, England, digital file)

June 24, 2020
The analogy between the trio of squids that had tormented Cole as a child and Shaharazad could no longer be maintained, for he now held in his hands a solid object to which he had been precisely directed by an alien voice in his head. Cole had no choice but to admit that Shaharazad was real, or at least as real as the physical existence in which he was enveloped. Without concrete proof, Cole had ultimately dismissed the squids as figments of an over-active imagination, but perhaps they too had been real and had deemed Cole unsatisfactory for whatever purpose he had originally been approached. He wondered if Shaharazad had sent the squids in order to prepare him for her eventual contact. More likely, he supposed, the childhood visitations had simply been a self-induced fantasy that had identified him as a target candidate for the role of herald to the diluvian knights, accessible to their communications and susceptible to their revelations. While she had yet to manifest in a tangible presence, Cole now accepted unreservedly that Shaharazad was real and that the destruction of his marriage and his life was insignificant collateral damage in her invasion of the Earth.

written while listening to:  The Hardy Rocks - unreleased live recording, tracks 1-12 (January 22, 2017, Jam, Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan, digital files)

June 25, 2020
As if Cole needed further evidence of the existence of the diluvian knights, internet news sites were filled with amateur video footage of meteors streaking across the sky. Apparently, many thousands of meteors had appeared all over the planet at approximately the same time. Astronomers were puzzled for the Earth had passed through no known field of asteroids or interplanetary debris. While thunderous impacts had been recorded, strangely, no residual meteorites were discovered. Across the world, only small, empty craters were found.

The online environment proved no less ready to generate wild conspiracy theories regarding the mysterious disappearance of the meteorites than it was for social and political issues. Cole did not bother to read these stories, for he knew they would pale in comparison to the truth. He did, however, visit local news sites, where he discovered to his dismay that the county authorities were already offering a reward for information leading to the arrest of the thief who had stolen the meteorite that had fallen on state-owned lands and was therefore state property.

written while listening to:  The Hardy Rocks - unreleased live recording, tracks 1-9 (September 19, 2016, Super Deluxe, Roppongi, Tokyo, Japan, digital files)

June 26, 2020
Cole purchased a mattress, which he laid on the floor of the one-bedroom apartment. That night, he impatiently fell asleep, anxious to question Shaharazad. He had been sure that the diluvian knight, before she had revealed herself as Shaharazad, had communicated to him that he was the only human being with whom she was in contact. It seemed clear now, however, that thousands of individuals, just like Cole, had been provided with times and locations of meteorite landings so as to secret the objects away. Had she lied to him?

Shaharazad did not miss their nightly rendezvous; she possessed no fear of interrogation. All of Cole's thoughts were exposed to her so he did not have the pleasure of voicing his query, before she provided her reply. Amidst the intermingled undulations of luminous, translucent tentacles, she confirmed Cole's memory. She had indeed assured him that theirs was an exclusive relationship. She had spoken with no other member of Homo sapiens, once she had identified him as her herald. The contradiction was easily explained. There were, after all, ten thousand diluvian knights and everyone of them had similarly established their own herald, to whom they had delivered a token analogous to the one stored a dozen feet away in Cole's closet.

written while listening to:  Keiji Haino, Jim O'Rourke & Oren Ambarchi - unreleased live recording, tracks 1-4 (February 27, 2017, Super Deluxe, Roppongi, Tokyo, Japan, digital files)

June 27, 2020
At work, Cole continued to program as if nothing out of the ordinary was happening. Elaine appeared to have altered her lunch schedule in order to avoid crossing paths with him. No one else in the office seemed to realize that the couple had separated. Amongst the programmers, there was usually considerable interest in science-related topics that appeared in the news. The recent, unexplained meteor shower and vanishing meteorites proved no exception. Feigning an air of mild interest, Cole listened as they discussed the latest details during a break. The authorities had found tire tracks along the road into the wildlife management area and deep footprints leading to and from the crater, both of which they suspected belonged to the culprit. One colleague read a quote from a deputy in an article stating that the suspect drove a blue full-sized pickup truck. For the rest of the afternoon, Cole found some solace in the possibility that his arrest might prevent him from releasing the deluge that would likely annihilate all of his co-workers, whose company he modestly enjoyed.

written while listening to:  Keiji Haino, Tatsuya Yoshida, Doravideo & Miho Wakabayashi - unreleased live recording, tracks 1-2 (March 25, 2017, Goodman, Akihabara, Tokyo, Japan, digital files)

June 28, 2020
At night, Shaharazad explained to Cole that, like the synchronized breeding of sessile Cnidarians in Earth's oceans, ten thousand heralds would simultaneously heed the call to open their meteorites and release the deluge upon the world from which only one in a hundred would emerge. However, they were not yet ready. With the instrument in hand, doubt and hesitation had invariably arisen in the minds of some heralds, causing them to question their commitment to this course of action. Perhaps Cole was included in this number.

More importantly, Shaharazad revealed for the first time that the deluge was to be accomplished with two ingredients. The biochemical agent, through which the winnowing of the herd would occur, was to be simultaneously released from ten-thousand points globally. However, the efficacy of this agent could not be diluted to preserve one in a hundred. To the contrary, its lethality was virtually complete. In previous exercises, the survival rate was a haphazard one in a million. Therefore, immediately prior to the deluge, a vaccine would be released in specific geographic locations. Inhabitants of those areas would not be impacted by the deluge. The balance of complete survival in a few locales and nearly total extermination in all others would yield the desired one percent of survivors. Importantly, the vaccine had yet to arrive on Earth.

written while listening to:  Keiji Haino, Tatsuya Yoshida, Doravideo & Miho Wakabayashi - unreleased live recording, tracks 3-4 (March 25, 2017, Goodman, Akihabara, Tokyo, Japan, digital files)

June 29, 2020
In the quiet hours of the evening, when Cole sat in solitude in his apartment, thoughts of coding pushed to the back of his mind and nothing to look forward to save the midnight visit of Shaharazad, he contemplated the justification for the deluge. Each human being that has lived on Earth inherently possesses the authority to make a judgment on the quality of their life. To be of any value, it must be a holistic consideration, based on factual experience and individual interpretation. Apophenia is crucial to his process because it connects disparate events and constructs a perspective from which the individual can perceive their lives as a narrative rather than a convoluted series of random events. The ability to assemble meaning arises from neurochemical processes in the brain. A modest chemical imbalance or minor malfunction of a particular piece of bio-circuitry can drastically change the conclusion. Cole had lived across the turning of the twenty-first century. He had observed firsthand the barbarity of Homo sapiens and found it irredeemable. He served as a witness, one of many, to humanity's willful orchestration of their own doom--on a daily and long-term basis. It seemed beyond his power to alter his perception that the world as a whole would be better off entirely free of people. Why, he wondered not for the first time, did the diluvian knights need to keep anyone alive after the deluge?

written while listening to:  Keiji Haino, Peter Brötzmann & Heather Leigh - unreleased live recording, tracks 1-3 (March 31, 2018, Porgy & Bess, Vienna, Austria, digital files)

June 30, 2020
Cole presumed that Shaharazad was testing him. She would provide no further explanation for the delay of the deluge. Meanwhile, Halley called him and asked to visit. After work, he picked her up at the house while Elaine remained conspicuously out of sight. The conversation proved awkward and ultimately Halley suggested that she see his new apartment, though she had not previously expressed any interest.

At the apartment, he opened the door and his daughter paced through the entry room, the kitchen and the single bedroom. The only objects that Cole had brought into the place were the mattress and, of course, the meteorite in the closet. He longed to sit down with his daughter and hand the spherical object to her. If she held it in her hands, then he might be able to overcome his silence. He would confess everything and be cleansed. Of course, he could not do this because there were no chairs for them to sit in. Halley failed to hold back her tears when she observed the poverty in which her father now lived. To be clear, the apartment was clean and well-maintained. Rather, the impoverishment of her father's spirit was finally revealed to her.

written while listening to:  Keiji Haino, Peter Brötzmann & Heather Leigh - unreleased live recording, tracks 4-6 (March 31, 2018, Porgy & Bess, Vienna, Austria, digital files)

previous month

next month

This work is made available to the public, free of charge and on an anonymous basis. However, copyright remains with the author. Reproduction and distribution without the publisher's consent is prohibited. Links to the work should be made to the main page of the novel.