vr

a novel

Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss

July 1996

This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental.

From: SAGReiss
Date: 4 July 1996
Subject: Yellow fever

I've been in a deep e-mail slump, for which I am deeply sorry, not that any of you bastards write to me. The shit's getting weird again, and that, Jeff, is where we turn pro, is it not? I admit it took a slight bending of the God-given rules of drinking to focus my mind, but I feel as clear as the Mediterranean sun bouncing off the sea and into a glass of jus de reglisse, la fievre jaune, le Ricard. Fuck that, it's my birthday all this month, since this is the only birthday of my life which will matter. This is the second birthday, the year I turn the age of Alexander, of Christ, the year I conquer the internet. We're into it pretty deep, Stiff Lips and I. She threw a jealous tantrum this afternoon to pry me away from the 'puter and into Darwinian soixante-neuf. I'm not sure where to begin. While she complains of my experiments with bdsm, she has some weird friend sending us jpegs that look like some pro drinking the white water from one of negatron's nozzles. I've refused to have cybersex with Allset, to whom I shall forward a copy of this letter, though she can just as easily see it on the World. I don't deny that things may be getting out of hand, but that was what we wanted, isn't it? I did try out S&M on the MOO with a girl who lives here, several blocks away, who told me her name. I admire and respect that kind of courage and told her so, which probably means she now thinks I'm some kind of cyberpsycho going to track her down and do God knows what. If I didn't understand, I wouldn't have said: "There's no such thing as paranoia/safe sex." Allset may add a text called: "There's no such thing as MOOrape." I knew nothing when I began, except that I didn't know what I was doing. How could I have imagined what has happened so far? Comecabra and Jeff, you who have been with me from the beginning, did you ever in your wildest dreams think we would be at the brink of setting up a MOO? Does anyone but Stiff Lips and I understand what is happening? I can't add you, Allset, to the World because I must keep some kind of peace at home. I have no private life. I think it's best that we not have cybersex, though I imagine we both want it. I didn't like the S&M very much. It was interesting, but not really like sex. I don't want to hurt you, even vr. Besides, you'll have to come up with a better line than: "Do me?" Fuck this shit, I'm losing my concentration, the fourth movement is getting underway, I must have drunk too much. That's another reason for what my grandmother would call the prerogatives of Stiff Lips. She has to deal with me when I can't undress myself and walk to bed. I love you all because, each in his own way, you read this. Those who have spoken of Prometheus have exagerated, though it's surely no accident that Stiff Lips has undertaken a Prometheus/Faust poetry/music theme under my benevolent supervision, of course. This is not the invention of fire (See Totem und Tabu by the Man) but it is as great as the Gutenberg printing press. I was told by my seventh-grade history teacher that I was a megalomaniac, so why shouldn't I try to write the Internet Bible? I have. It's called BABEL...

From: Terry
Date: 4 July 1996
Subject: Re: Yellow fever

Well, Scott, here ya go. A response from yours truly! I had a great trip to Washington, D. C. I partied the whole trip... got fucked up every night I was there. Must say that it was the best trip I've ever had... the guys I stayed with were gentlemen and the best hosts a person could ever dream of. I knew I was going to like it there when they showed me to their guest room and a computer system was sitting on a desk in the corner. On a little sticky note attached to the screen was an account for me to log into and a password. Heaven. Heh. NEway, I didn't have much time to MOO or surf the 'Net. I was way too busy relaxing and enjoying life.

I'm excited about the new MOO... it should go up late next week. :) I've been talking to my friend that is going to house it for us on his machine and if you want details, just ask.

Well, Happy Independence Day... I'm off to MOO, then celebrate freedom.

Terry

From: Nichelle
Date: 4 July 1996
Subject: Variations on aTheme of Jealousy

And so I get cast in the role of the Jealous Girlfriend. Not much I can say about that, just haven't got enough self-esteem or enough projects to occupy my mind. You see, Gabriel falls in love every two weeks or so, and when he does I get to hear about her several times a day. But I don't tell him what to do, ever, and I'm big enough to deal with him having cybersex if that's what he wants to do, which he does, and while he's doing it I'll just go masturbate in the shower again.

To clear the matter up, I didn't throw a jealous tantrum this afternoon. I just went into the bedroom and closed the door, bringing in the libretto to Gounod's Faust, and the Goethe, which I haven't started yet. I feel like things are rapidly moving toward secrets and I feel more isolated than ever, as I did this morning when you rushed through the shower and immediately hopped back online to meet your internet girlfriend, Allset. If you want to fuck her, fuck her. Make a log of it, put it up on the web page. You know I get jealous, but saying you won't add her to the list or you won't fuck her makes me feel like a villain. You're a big boy. You have netsex with whoever you want. Do you think about them while you're fucking me? (Cognac told me the other day "your boyfriend is in love with me" and I told her, "Oh now it makes sense to me. I just thought that when he was crying out Cognac, Cognac! during sex it meant he was thirsty".)

What I understand is this- you want it. If you want it, what difference does it make if you act on it or not? So put Allset on the list. So have cybersex with her and with anyone you please. I take back anything I may have said or implied about when I'd prefer you to do it. Do it in front of me if you like, under my benevolent supervision, of course. Ask me how to spell cunnilingus if you forget. All in the name of literature, or is it? Is it your work that draws you to your cyberseductions? I used to be a beautiful fantasy as well.

My role in your life is to throw tantrums, to kick you off the MOO, to be the reason you can't do this or that. I feel like we have secrets now, maybe because you don't want me to see you talking to your gfs. So have your gfs, fuck them, put them on the listserv. I don't tell you what to do, I have said many times these last few days, cyberrape anyone you want to. If you choose not to, you're going to have to come up with a better reason than 'my gf won't let me'.

From: Terry
Date: 4 July 1996
Subject: Re: Variations on aTheme of Jealousy

Hm... I think that Gabe and Stiff Lips are going to have big trouble in little China if they don't communicate more about what's going on in their love lives. :)

Me? I don't do MOOsex. Usually. Although, I was tempted last night. negatron tempts me, too. Heh. Just kidding. Or am I? Geez... a bottle of wine on the 4th of July makes me a bit ornery. :)

Terry

From: negatron
Date: 4 July 1996
Subject: Re: Variations on aTheme of Jealousy

Where’s the context? Is it all heat and no warmth? What do you want me to say? Nichelle, you’re not Justine and Gabe’s not Father Antonin - but even that’s just a guess.
Say I went tot eh video store, rented a tape, and fastforwarded to the part where they show Sharon Stone’s hooters. Not having watched the rest of the film, I’m not going to go around telling people about it. I’d look ridiculous.
Gabe, you’ve sometimes, perhaps semiseriously, referred to this list as porn. Yeah, it’s a little like porn, except you don’t just skip the foreplay, you skip the fucking too - and go straight to the money shot.

I don’t know what you two do 99 percent of the time, but every time you have a fight you both post well-worded diatribes and then expect me to comment on them. I won’t trouble you with opinions based on my own personal experiences, they’re irrelevant here.
What am I supposed to say?
Nice prose?
Where’s the context?

From: Nichelle
Date: 5 July 1996
Subject: If these delights thy mind may move

I had a rough night. I played out a cyberrape on irc with some stranger (not the jpg boy though) and ended up in tears over it. It's just my problem, I'm too fucked up to deal with normal relationships, and all I know is abuse. Gabriel isn't an ogre, he is very good to me. As he said, at least we eat better than any of those assholes on the MOO. I don't know. It's 3:03, I'm crying as usual, need to sleep but can't, Gaby will get up in less than an hour. Wish I liked whisky. I don't know, I don't mean to be so harsh. After all, it's just MOO, or wait, wasn't there something about no such thing... I don't remember. When he gets up he'll be happy I didn't let him loom over my shoulder all night watching net-boy send me dirty jpgs. Told a guy on the net I was going to write a nicer letter and he told me not to. I'm rambling now, can't sleep, think I'll do the dishes and make coffee for Gaby. I keep wondering will I be in the way if I stay up? I just need to get out more, go to sleep a little earlier, play more clarinet...

From: Tesla
Date: 5 July 1996
Subject: (no subject)

I must go do real life things, barbecue in the rain, watch rented videos, wish my husband didn’t get so angry when I moo from home. I will try, though, to log on briefly this weekend. Have a good one. I hope to see you.

From: SAGReiss
Date: 5 July 1996
Subject: Heat, light and local colo(u)r

What the fuck are you talking about, negatron? Context? Background? You want me to write more? You bloodsuckers. Nobody writes to me, except Stiff Lips' mother. What the fuck is "all heat and no warmth"? Don't you mean "no light"? What do you want, local colo(u)r? I'm glad you're reading Les Malheurs [Infortunes] de la vertu. What the fuck is the money shot, if it's not the beaver or elephant shot? You don't know what we do? OK, fair enough. This is your average working-class household, except we have no car and you'll have to substitute the 'puter for the TV and classical music for popular. All I do is work, sleep and peer into the screen. Stiff Lips reads. We spend more time than the average family thinking, talking about and cooking food, since we make everything from scratch. Last night, for example, we baked a pizza with vegetables and I flambeed some cherries from the farmer's market in our brandy in which soak vanilla beans. We make love, I'm embarrassed to say, only slightly more often than the average Joe and Jane. We are behind on the rent and utilities. Darling, that was a low blow about Cognac. Um, let me rephrase that... Cognac hates me with an unforgiving passion. I don't care for her very much either. Everyone I know thinks she's what the French call a mal-baisee or a little more politely mal-vissee or still more politely mal-lunee, which brings me to our newest member. I don't understand why she has joined, but I'm happy to have her. I think she just got pissed off that I say what everyone else on the MOO thinks, that she and Melon and Cognac seem indistinguishable and inseparable. Yes, my friends, it's CrashLander. Maybe she just got fed up with her fucking server which is always cutting her off the MOO and will seldom allow her to tread the waters of the World...

From: SAGReiss
Date: 5 July 1996
Subject: Our dear Cognac

Because Cognac lacks the courage, the brains or the honesty to attack me face to face, she has now taken to spreading around the MOO that Motive calls MOOers on the phone for sex. Black_Widow, another charming, con surdiplome, chimed in that Motive is "an ugly ho". I can see, CrashLander, why you want to be distinguished from these dumb-ass cunts.

From: Jenipher
Date: 6 July 1996
Subject: (no subject)

I barbecued last night, with friends, who smoked pot, thus forcing me to leave early. I can't smoke pot anymore. My paranoia overwhelms me, makes me feel like a crazed lonely woman in a room full of vengeful enemies. So my husband and I left the barbecue, with chicken wing grease on our chins and red wine stains on our teeth. We came home and fucked, then slept.

There you have the ending to my day that began with the receipt of two very strained pieces of e-mail. Gabe, did I really say "Do me"? Motive paged me and wants to know. She doesn't seem to believe my answer. Of course, we all know that her impressions of me, based on the lies and posturings of someone who calls himself 'Slaver', must be accurate. (I wonder if Motive engaged in a leetle suspension of disbelief that day.)

Did you happen to tell her that during the very MOOmeeting in which I supposedly asked you to "Do me" Colin (Here to test some new text backmasking techniques on you) interrupted our discussion on metaphysics? No, I didn't think so. Or that my eyes lit up, my body tensed, my entire being changed when Coin wandered in? No, you couldn't have, because you didn't see that, and I didn't emote those actions. Colin has drawn the life blood from me and has only recently begun infusing it back into my veins. But you can't see the rosy glow in my cheeks.

Are you really in love with me? Have I become your Love du Jour? You can pour Cognac over my breasts and taste it there if you like, my nipples liquored candy. I'm easy; isn't that what everyone has told you? Sure, I want to netsex you. I want my fifteen minutes of fame on your web page. I want everyone to see that netsex isn't just a series of mmms and that-feels-good. But I am not the homewrecker portrayed in Motive's missive. I wish someone would explain to me just how much of your World is fiction, exaggeration, the result of poetic license.

Fuck. I just read your mail from last night. CrashLander has joined your group. I am not allowed in, though I want in, and CRASHLANDER has just been invited. I feel like shit.

I have to quit now. I am not sure of the tone, message, or goal of this e-mail. Questions, answers, prayers, devotions are requested. I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

Allset

From: Patricia
Date: 6 July 1996
Subject: (no subject)

Well Gabe,
Thanks for sharing that one with me, I can see that my presence has somehow insulted ‘Allset’ who has it from experience that I am a closed minded vanilla bitch. But that’s ok, really, nice to see that the kid gloves are off and I can wonder out loud why she always gets involved with people who are destined to treat her like shit. In fact, they usually tell her right off that they intend to do so. Must be some kind of masochistic bent that I can rejoice in not possessing. But you see, there’s that vanilla bitchiness.

Heaven forbid you would let CRASHLANDER into your world, so feel free to disconnect my name from your list.

From: Colin
Date: 6 July 1996
Subject: Re: doing words

Doesn’t ‘Do me’ imply ‘me’ is a verb? Perhaps ‘perform me’ would be better.

From: Nichelle
Date: 6 July 1996
Subject: Questions, answers, prayers, and devotions

After a long discussion with Gabriel at breakfast, which I only half listened to, I sent him off to shower while I welcome Allset to the list. I've been telling him for a few days to add you, but he has been hesitant to do so for a few reasons. Don't blame him for it, though, because he always wanted you on the list. He is afraid that adding you to the list will spoil our domestic bliss, and then there are a few of Slaver's ugly rumors about you. I admitted to Gabriel that I am also a bit skeptical about what he said to me, because he is far more paranoid than any of us, perhaps more than all of us combined. What he said will look ridiculous on the screen and on paper, and is quite rude to repeat, but I think you and I ought to move into the present, Allset, so we don't have to live through another person's perceptions any more. Back in the Slaver days, he told me that you were stalking him, trying to get information about his rl, and fucking with his e-mail address. That is the kind of crazy, paranoid statement D. lives with, but I'm happy to leave his comments in the past. If you want to stalk us, send e-mail a day in advance so we can go to the store and pick out something delicious to serve you for supper.

I'm a jealous woman, Allset, but I never said you're the homewrecker. This is all about Gaby's torrid love affair with his mistress Bucephalus. I get jealous in bed with him at night, wondering if, as he touches me, he is imagining that his fingers are caressing the keyboard, and if the sounds of pleasure I make are transformed in his ears to the screaming of the modem. He is in love with a three-thousand dollar whore, and this is the true source of my jealousy.

From: SAGReiss
Date: 6 July 1996
Subject: FWVBs

Calm down, my Fat White Vanilla Bitches, and let us try to answer you one at a time. First, Allset (You may go by whatever name you wish, your own, your MOOname or the nickname I have wrought. Colin, on the other hand, wants to go by that name alone. Please respect his request.) your letter is quite beautiful. I like the introductory story from RL. One of the first rules of writing, especially to avoid the dumb-ass kind of poetry posted on *soc, tell a fucking tale. We both know qu'il n'y a que deux sujets qui interessent tout le monde, la bouffe et le cul. The two dovetail nicely, even to the point of a pun you may not have intended, barbecue (cul). As to the part of fantasy, hyperbole and invention in the World, I would sugggest the image of a non-fiction novel written along the lines of The Alexandria Quartet, the same events represented with all the distortions inherent to language and the various characters' point of view. By the same token, you did say: "Do me?" (That is an exact quote.) but not on the day you refer to and not perhaps entirely seriously. We're all grown-ups here. I don't care if you change your gender and say: "SUK MI DIK". I was just hoping that you could come up with something a little bit(te) more intellectual. I do not think I am in love with you. Stiff Lips said that. (Tageslieb, I like that.) (I also like the polysemantic use of Cognac, but the only drink which has totemic power in my World is Ricard.) CrashLander, Allset's problem is not with you. She was venting some frustration about feeling excluded, which is probably my fault. I have a very keen sense of disbelief which I never suspend. I believe nothing of what any of you say about anyone else, except that you have represented actions, feelings and ideas in a given way at a given time in a given medium. As such these representations are all true, but faces become fuzzy when refracted through the mirrors of e-mail, cybertext and html. "That is all ye know on Earth and all ye need to know." I see no reason to toad you and shall not do so, unless you insist. Colin, in the expression "Do me?" the imperative verb 'to do' is transitive. Stick to geeking and philosophy and leave serious matters to cunning linguists like myself. A last word, I read this in my MOOmail: "I [...] wish my husband didn't get so angry when I moo from home." Anyone who thinks we're playing a game is crazy.

From: Colin
Date: 6 July 1996
Subject: Re: FWVBs

SAG, if the kinds of come-ons you get are ‘do me?’ in the interrogative, I think you should stick to linguistics.

From: SAGReiss
Date: 7 July 1996
Subject: Who'd you rather?

These words, put to music by a dying Mozart, have haunted me all day: "Requiem aeternam, aeternam dona eis, dona, dona eis Domine requiem aeternam dona eis Domine." Last night I learned a new game called "Who'd you rather?" The rules are quite simple and we can play among ourselves, for example: negatron, who'd you rather, Cognac or Melon? or Allset, who'd you rather, Peri or Canis_Lupus? Last night, again, the Fear, the sighs and moans of fulfillment, the hot flesh of lust turned in an Augenblick to the shriek of pain, the heaving body of the prey as the dogs circle around: "No, no... Don't hurt me... Please, don't hurt me... I don't want you to hurt me." To whom is she speaking with my sperm dripping out of her? Then she took a bath. Then she asked for some wine, which went to her head. Then we went to bed, late. I overslept this morning.

From: Nichelle
Date: 8 July 1996
Subject: /join #bdsmPlayhouse

Gaby, if I'm not home for lunch it's because my lying father actually bothered to drop some money in my bank account and I'm out buying a birthday present for my brother. The 'puter is fucking up today, don't know why but I haven't been able to connect to the MOO or IRC. Don't know why, I was on for 20 minutes then everything fucked up. Maybe Dreamscape is pissed off because you didn't send them a check for the $.84 bill they sent you.

Allset, I don't know how to begin our conversation. I'm assuming you've read the web page and know something about my background. I know nothing of your background except what was said the other day in Sensual Respites. How do we begin talking about this? I would like to know how you can consider bdsm play to be theraputic. A huge percentage of the people (women at least, not sure about the men) who are into bdsm have been abused in various ways in the past. I've experimented with it a few times (online), and though the idea fascinates me I think it unhealthy, at least if taken into reality. I'm not sure what you meant when you said that the experience purifies you. I have enough pain without asking for more.

Colin, what are we going to do with you? What do you think about all of this? I like that you call me Motif on the MOO. More later, after my trip to the Magic Money Machine, and possibly to the mall.

From: Jenipher
Date: 8 July 1996
Subject: Fixations

We ate with friends last night at their house. This is a budding friendship, an awkward relationship based on loneliness and need. I told myself, before we went, that there would be silences, misunderstood jokes. But I forgot about girls, other women, my inability to relate to other women. I watched her, my Marguerite, as she cooked, ate, cleaned. I tried not to stare at her, because the one time she caught my eye, I felt strange. I wonder if she thinks I want to fuck her. How easy it would be if friendships followed set patterns. If, instead of this trial, do-I-like-you, does-my-husband-like-your-husband, period, we could all get along immediately and start talking about the important things -- what do you do in that bed upstairs? Does he beat you, do you beat him, does he fuck you from behind? Or does he crawl between your legs and worship your cunt before he fucks it like a missionary? Would you let me watch as my husband fucked you? Do you think about things like this? Am I the only one fixated on sex?

I think about sex all the time. I haven't met a man, with the exception of you, Gabe, and Colin, in the last year who didn't want to beat me. Where do all these abusers come from? My husband doesn't want to hurt me. We played with candle wax last weekend. Until I cried out and flinched away. Then he stopped; he said he hadn't known it would hurt that much. No no, I cried, it didn't hurt. I promise. Try it again. No luck. He isn't a stupid man.

I need a stupid man, for a few months, to hurt me and absolve me of the sin of being too ugly, too unlike my Mother, too imperfect, to impress my Father. Do you think that would work? Is that a solution? Does pain cleanse?

Answer me, Gabe. Answer me.

Allset

From: SAGReiss
Date: 8 July 1996
Subject: Answers

I don't see anything weird about your first question, Allset. What do they do in that bed? How would she look with sperm dripping down the sides of her mouth? I listen and enjoy when I hear my neighbors fucking. I see nothing wrong with their doing the same. I've already said: "La bouffe et le cul." One cannot think too much about them. What I don't quite understand is the who's beating whom. Am I in the minority because I don't kick the shit out of a girl I'm making love to? As to sodomy, cunnilingus etc. I see no reason to worry about what turns whom on when. That we can be turned on and gotten off is enough. I don't think it's weird to fantasize about watching your husband fuck your girlfriend. Perhaps all three of you would enjoy it. I'd like to see the gifs. I don't know if you are ugly (The photographs on your web site don't show much.) or unlike your mother or imperfect. I don't know why you feel the need to impress your father. I do not believe that pain, whether inflicted by a smart or stupid man, would cleanse you of anything. As I have said, I do not want to tie up or beat up anyone. I have never struck another human being in my life. I also said that I would never agree to bdsm with sex explicitely excluded. I could see humouring a woman's esthetics, thinking: "I guess I can tie her up loosely and slap her a little, if that will make her horny." I cannot understand doing that without fucking. Why? I like your letter, Mirage. May I send it to the World?

From: Terry
Date: 8 July 1996
Subject: Re: Fixations

Scott,

As I read more and more of the Email that comes my way, I realize how lucky and blessed I am.

No one has ever raped me.
No one has ever beat me.
No one has ever abused me.

I have someone (SO) who loves me very much.
I have a family that loves me very much.
I love my family very much.

I should try to make my marriage work.
I should WANT to make my marriage work.
I should get a divorce and get it over with.

I'm unhappy in my relationship with my husband.
He's too good to me. I don't deserve it. I love him; I just don't LOVE him.
Will he ever see that?
I need to just let him go.
We're married for the wrong reasons.

Sadly,
Terry

From: Jenipher
Date: 9 July 1996
Subject: Use it

I sat at my computer today, reading e-mail, MOOing, watching white letters on an azure screen. I uttered the words, during a rather dismal conversation: I am suprised you care. He replied: You always are. I worked, ran jobs, in the window just to the left of my MOOing window, to distract myself from difficult issues, to lessen the intensity of lambda, which isn't a game. More specifically, to tear my thoughts away from blood staining carpet.

I read Ni victimes ni bourreaux for the first time this morning. I want to forget that I ever planned to meet that Canadian, that I was so close to flying up to visit him. I want to forget my fascination as he told his story of 'domming' Motive. She was his pet. There was blood everywhere. He was so proud of himself, of his bdsm games. I want to take Motive's place, hurt him, turn that razor blade to his throat. I knew he was too intense, too angry, too unable to distance himself from the pain he caused when we netsexed. That's why I didn't go. Motive, here, take some of my survival instinct, keep it for your own, protect yourself.

I always protect myself. I beg for it, but then I protect myself. I dated a black man in college. He had beaten me a few times, once in high school, once while we were dating. I was inexorably drawn to him. I got drunk one night at a frat party and wandered back to the dorm, where he was waiting. I stroked him, whispered my desires, fantasies to him. We dated for three months after that. I saw his cock once, when I went to his room before a date. He was lying on his side, chin propped up on his hand, one leg bent up in the air. Navy blue robe opened by spread legs, his black dick was erect and completely visible. We broke up because he thought I drank too much. Just after the Christmas break, Tuesday night, January 19th, he insulted me in the dorm cafeteria. Mocking smile, glaring black eyes, "You have gotten even fatter than when I dated you, sow." Anger flashed through me, but I waited. Returning to my dorm room, I plotted. I called, hung up, he called, hung up. I called, he had left. I told his roommate I wanted to cut him. Five minutes later, he banged on my door, then silence. My suitemates wandered in, with him following. They didn't know anything was wrong, "Oh hi Jeni, Arte's here to see you..."

Amidst the noise of the Roseanne laugh track, the pounding of blood in my ears, I heard him, "I'm going to kill you, you bitch." I turned, digital clock behind me, 7:20, and grabbed my pocketknife. Offered it to him, momentarily, my body tense, hard, give him what he wants. Here take it, kill me. My arm twisted when he grabbed it, red imprint of his fingers still there hours later. I hit the door across the room, slid down to the floor, the knife held in both hands, raised to him in defense. His face, jaw twitching, eyes popping, paleness beneath black skin, terrified me as he came to me. I slashed downward with the knife, he grabbed the blade. Blood arced, his thumb nearly severed. My red Macy's shirt absorbed crimson stain. Surprise, not pain, filled his eyes. "You cut me, you bitch. You cut me. You cut me." My entreaty, quickly rationalized, "I didn't. You grabbed the blade." My 'friends' rushed in then, took him, helped him, wrapped his hand, held his thumb in place so it didn't fall off. They told me to get out, to go.

I scraped blood off of my arm with my fingernails as the police talked to me. "He grabbed the blade. No, I didn't say I was going to cut him." The words -- You have the right to remain silent -- never seemed to mean anything before, until they were directed at me, at my trembling cuffed form, standing just outside the police car, rain bringing out the cloying smell of my hairspray. Velamints, chocolate velamints, are all I remember of the interrogation room. I ate three packs of velamints. They came in, said my Mom had called. Said my boyfriend, now husband, had been by. Said Arte was out of surgery, and he didn't want to press charges. I didn't want to press charges either. I walked home, across the dark campus, to my room. My suitemates had locked me out of their room; my roommate was with them. They wouldn't answer me. I sat for hours, staring at blood on carpet, until morning.

Use your strength, Motive. Don't let them use you.

Allset

From: Nichelle
Date: 9 July 1996
Subject: before I go to the market...

I'm scared now, things felt more secure when nobody knew the boy from Canada, and I'm glad that you didn't visit him, Allset. No, what happened between us was no S&M game, I was never his slave or his pet, he didn't top me. He raped me. There is a big difference. It was never in the plans even to sleep with him.

I wish I could leave things alone, but two things are bothering me now that must be faced. First, that others may go to meet him. In your case, perhaps you were aware of his interest in S&M play, but that doesn't make you any safer with him than I was. Second, he is talking about what he did to me as if he was proud of it, and apparently very openly.

Allset, I don't have it in me this morning to write a long letter like yours. As you said on the MOO, I'm sure he *did* think I was his, and it's also true that I never *knew* that until I went there. Still, it was dangerous and stupid to go there, and I admit it was also dangerous and stupid to come here after knowing Gabriel for only a few weeks. I got lucky this time. Gaby pulls me out of my nightmares and back to safety. He kisses my forehead in the middle of the night when I wake up afraid. He is the only man who has ever treated me with love and respect. He is a hero, a prince, a genius, and a sex god. I don't know what else to say. I'm scared, don't want anything more to happen to me, but don't want anything to happen to anyone else either. I don't know what to do.

From: Jenipher
Date: 9 July 1996
Subject: Canadian

Canadian and I have an odd relationship. I only played with him a few times, nearly nine months ago, but he pages me still, asks me to be his ‘pet’, then tells me I can’t be his pet unless I call him and promise to visit him. I am aching to call him now, scream at him. I won’t, of course. Only you can decide now, what you want to do.
I don’t think he is spreading your story to the masses. To a few close friends, I would guess. To me, because he knew it would hurt me, particularly after (what I perceived as) D.’s betrayal. Yes, I know of his interest in bdsm. It is the only aspect of him I have ever really known. He is the only man who has ever been able to make me cry during a virtual bdsm scene.
I believe you were raped. That is why I am so angry. Angry that I let him brag to me, that I let my misperception of your relationship with D. twist my views so much that I  believed  what he told me. I know he doesn’t moo much anymore. He told me Monday that, since you, six months ago, there had been no one on lambda to hold his interest. I suppose that is a good thing. At least he isn’t trying to lure MOOers to his home.
I don’t think I would have been safe with him. I don’t think any woman would be. Even if bdsm play was the expected scene, he can’t be trusted to acknowledge a safeword, to set limits and remain within them. That is the key, the answer to your and Gabe’s questions. You might not believe there is such a thing as consent. I believe there is. I have consented, placed myself in foolish situations because of my naievete. I wasn’t raped then. I was lucky. I chose the right person to trust.
I think, right now, we have to deal with Canadian. Later, if you are still interested, we can discuss my penchant for feeling pain. I am currently in a dark, tight space. I don’t know if I like to feel pain. I just know that pain forces me to retreat into myself, to allow the loss of control and the freedom to just  be .
Damn, I see there is no brilliant writing in this post, no dry humor. I will try harder tomorrow. The topic is just too serious, too close to my heart.
Colin, who’d ya rather? Rosy_Guest or Ebony_Guest? Will you be my love?
Allset

From: SAGReiss
Date: 9 July 1996
Subject: Pseudo/anonymity

Had I not been permanently traumatized (as is every man of letters) by the terrible tale of Balzac's wife, who burned the correspondence of her husband and his mistress, I would destroy your letter, Allset. How could you be so dumb? Why would you take the risk of inadvertently telling me his name? You know Stiff Lips and I use the same account. She was at the farmer's market when I came home from work and I read the letter. I specifically told you I didn't care to know his name. Let me be more explicit. Please never use his name in our correspondence. Please use Stiff Lips and not her MOOname. Who the fuck are you to give her advice? It's not that important and I'm not that upset, just pour myself a tall glass of Ricard, put on the Ninth and listen in wonder that a man can still sit back from time to time in a world of so full of hatred and gather enough hope in his mind to create a thing of lasting beauty. That is what I have tried to do with this listserv/web page/MOO. It has so far exceeded my expectations. I shall just gag that boy and leave the room when I see him. I have seen him before, but never spoken to him. I can't remember ever hearing him speak. I have nothing to say to him, no more than to the dumb brute who turns that woman to toast in 'Light in August' or to the dumb brute who hunts him down and castrates him. Stiff Lips is home. I've got better things to do than write to you all. I'll write more after this chickenshit staff meeting I have to go to in half an hour. God is going to grant me a few extra glasses of whisky this evening. What have I wrought?

From: Terry
Date: 9 July 1996
Subject: Re: before I go to the market...

Well, I'm not usually a paranoid person... but, there's a MOOfest here this weekend and a guy from Canada has been hounding me for months to visit him. I wouldn't do it. He's coming here to the MOOfest and I agreed to have dinner and go to the movies with him. Now, ya guys have me wondering if he's sane or not.

Shit, I can't stand being paranoid... only a very small percentage of MOO meets turn ugly, I'm sure. I also ascertain in advance that I know the guy VERY well before I agree to meet him. That's after months of online talking and telephone convo's.

So, I'm shoving paranoia back in the nasty box where it lives and going to have a great time this weekend.

From: SAGReiss
Date: 9 July 1996
Subject: All buggers served with LT, pickle and fries

Alright so I made a mistake. Big fucking deal. So did the chef when he wrote 'buggers' instead of 'burgers' on the new menu. I don't care what the son of a bitch's name is. What could I say to him: "You're an asshole for raping my gf"? Last night I said to Mirage that I should change the name of the page to "Women's Forum for Sado-Masochistic FWBs" or something like that. Shiiit, she said: "I've fantasized about being raped. Somehow I think I deserve it." I answered: "That's what all my gfs tell me." Jeff, what the fuck is going on here? I think I'm going to retreat to my Haupfach, Literaturwissenschaft. There are interesting differences, Allset, between your two versions of the thumb incident. (This does not mean I think you're lying. It answers more fully your question about the role of poetic license on the World. I was going to write my doctoral thesis about a book you'll see in the bibliography in a week or two, where one can see how Henry Miller's memory alter with time. When I tell a true story twice, inevitably some things change. Enough of that, your text is a text and I feel most comfortable with the written word. Don't give me this shit about: "no hint of feeling for me". Either you're fishing for compliments or you have a crippled self-esteem. We had enough of whining for my approval when Peri was on the list. I'm not going to kiss anyone's ass and tell him I love him. I seldom say that to Stiff Lips. That goes for everyone on this list. You are here because you want to be and because I want you to be. I accept whatever kind of participation you will give me. I am, of course, most grateful for e-mail and still more for texts we can add to the web page, but even if you choose to just read [or skim, Quodlibet] these letters I value your presence. I'm not even sure what I think about most of you, so how could I tell you, even if I were so inclined?) Ah fuck this, Allset, I'll do it tomorrow. I think I'd rather talk to you on the MOO, though Stiff Lips will probably want to cut my thumb off by the time the night is through. I have had a very fucking bad day. Vale.

From: Patricia
Date: 9 July 1996
Subject: nothing, and everything

Allset wrote, wondering about why she feels that she needs someone to hurt her.
Was it that she was not pretty enough? That she would never be as good as her mother, never please4 her father? For the first time in over a year, I found some kinship with Allset in those questions. Not that I want anyone to hurt me, in fact I'd prefer to live in a bubble and be completely untouchable.5 But these questions I have asked myself.
Would I have some sense of self-esteem if I were prettier, thinner, had better teeth? If I could even touch the skirt of my mother, considering the high pedestal we have all put her on? If I could ever forgive my father for beating me into a corner and try to carry on with some kind of adult relationship with him?
So, I frown on this bent that so many people seem to have, this need to be hurt with sex play, but how often to I find myself allowing someone to abuse me emotionally on MOO? I forgive and forgive and forgive, and follow them around begging them to talk to me. AS 'sick' as I find the sexplay, am I any less sick? I'm only sure that I exist if you talk to me, and go ahead - be as offensive as you like. See how thick my skin is? The nicest thing on MOO, they can't see my tears through the computer screen.
I have a very good friend, though we met on MOO, we consider each other very real friends. We've talked about everything together, we've analyzed every 'player' we;ve come into contact with. We agree most vehemently that there is no such thing as virtual reality./ He's a good person, treats me with warmth, kindness, love, and it completely pisses me off. From time to time we get into great raging fights. They are always about the same thing. "my sick fascination/obsession with people who don't care about me"
So, forward this to Allset, at least, in apology for judging her choices. I do understand, more than I thought I had.

CrashLander

From: Nichelle
Date: 10 July 1996
Subject: the bodily vice

Gaby asked me at dinner tonight how we ended up fucking at 2 AM, and when I offered an explanation he said to write an e-mail. I couldn't help it. I'm just like every other woman on this list. I'm in love with you. As I told you this evening, you protect me and make me feel safe. Nobody has every done that for me. I've never written a love letter in my life, but I want very much to write one to you, now or some other time. Now might be difficult because I've got two beers and three glasses of wine in me, which is enough, even for a big girl like me. Maybe the wine has made me sentimental...

Gaby, I know things are crazy right now. There's all this s&m and people getting fucked up the ass, and people meeting MOOers and I don't know what. When I told you I didn't want to be tied up, I didn't mean it was an option in our relationship. I meant that I'm not into that, I don't want that. I wasn't sure if you knew. I wasn't sure if I knew until I said it to you.

This shit is crazy. All I know is, in the middle of it all, Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss said 'Stiff-Lips, I love you' and I got on a plane. I love you too, Gaby, and I can handle just about anything knowing that you are here. I love you. I'm obsessed with you, IRL. When I tease you, it's because I love you. When I wake you up at 2 AM with your cock in me, it is also because I love you.

Since you wanted to know, I'll tell you. There isn't much to it. I was lying in bed with you, curled up next to you, and you were so close to me, and I put my arm around you and felt your hard cock, watched you sleeping, couldn't help it, just needed to touch you, then I had to touch myself too. Then you moved in your sleep, and I tried to figure out if you were awake or not, touching you, and you moaned in your sleep, and I was so wet, didn't want to wake you, knew you had a long day. I rolled over onto my side, hoping to get to sleep, and you rolled next to me and your body was warm against me, and all I could think about was your cock so I moved against you and the next thing I knew you were sliding against me, then inside of me, then you were awake and fucking me hard and I came. I've never come with a man inside me, not ever, and I just about cried when it happened. Gabriel, I'm a jealous woman, and sometimes (even though I told you I'm now) I can be a pretty mean bitch, but I love you, I want you, and I want you to be happy. I don't know if I understood what was going on when I came here to live with you, but I understand now. You're my love. I hope and want to be yours. Gaby, forgive me for my faults.

From: Johanne
Date: 10 July 1996
Subject: Motherlove

Gabriel, and Nichelle (I fucking refuse to call you “Stiff Lips”, Nichelle, so change it if you must but I can’t bring myself to use the unfortunate monicker to refer to you):
No, I don’t write. Arguments over bean/beat counting I can have elsewhere if the mood strikes me. But in the last few days as I thrash with the writing of a voluminous essay on the techniques of musical primitivism, I have read some of the posts I’ve been forwarded. Such fear, such loathing, such pain. And so I thought I’d forward a bit of a letter I wrote recently to you, because while pain’s no stranger, I think that a wallow in your own stink is as pathetic as it gets. Nichelle, you’re learning, and goddamn it if you’re not learning because of Gabriel, who may be a cast-iron asshole but he seems to be doing you some good and giving you the love and the space to let your own perfectly good sense grow and flourish, so I can’t dismiss him out of hand (and I admit I’d love to). But damn it, you’re learning something important here, and I’m sorry, love, that you’ve had to buy the lessons at such a dear price. When I knew you here you wallowed. Sometimes you still do, and it pisses me off, because you’re better than that maudlin pigshit that passes for the Red Badge of Courage among so many of the disaffected, disaffectionate, and emotionally disenfranchised. I’m sending you this because I love you, because you’re my friend, because I’m glad you are learning and I’m glad at what you’re learning. Listen up, kid, I’m trying to tell you what I tried to tell you in my apartment the night I made you dinner and you told me you’d been sexually abused as a child: you grieve, you work like hell, you embrace your life, you move on, you don’t let the bastards win. If any of you selfpitying schmucks read this and think I’m celebrating pain, then fuck you, or rather unfuck you, because you don’t deserve that kind of pleasure if you can’t see the forest for the gaddamned trees. And if you read this and you join the fight and the fuck, then good luck, baby, and I’ll see you on the front lines, wherever they may be.
(Gaby, put down that fucking Ricard, you asshole, you’re ruining your mind. Ethanol toxicity is slow suicide and you’re too much of a man to off yourself that way; if you really want to die, let me know and I will help you, but put down the fucking bottle. I’m tired of reading your bad Hemingway drunkalogues.)
Johanne
from a letter, written 6 July 1996:
It is so hard to hear your mother say that she doesn’t want to live any more, that she is tired of being alive, tired of the fight, tired of the constant round of medications and dialysis and doctors, and despite her best attempts to stay healthy, still these fundamentally dehumanizing trips to the hospital. The hospital is always dehumanizing, I know that myself… you become a piece of meat and a set of chemical reactions. I feel guilty that I can’t be there to help keep her anchored and human, but I don’t honestly know if it would make a difference.
I begin to wonder if she isn’t right: with a kidney she would probably have four or five years until her kidney disease started to affect the new kidney -- it is a degenerative condition in which the fibers of the kidneys, the fibers that filter the blood, shatter like glass threads -- probably seven before she would be back in the same position she’s in now. And that’s if she gets a kidney. Without a kidney, no one knows. No one can be sure how much longer her body will respond positively to her dialysis. She has 3% kidney function left. Between dialyses, she becomes toxic, bilious, her heart races and her blood pressure soars, her feet and hands swell so badly that she once called me in tears because her wedding ring had cut her finger, the finger had puffed so severely and was so constricted by the wedding band. I miss talking to her when she was unbuffeted by these horrible effects of her illness; for a few short years, we were almost friends. It was as close as I think I can hope for, for a reconciliation with my mother, for a true bond above and beyond the simple bond of blood and the responsibility I feel because of that.
Now she is angry with me frequently, as if I could take her disease away, as if I could be there and my presence would change her. She disapproves of what I’m doing in my life, and her disapproval is so bitter, in part because of the pain she’s in. She resents my health, she resents my refusal to intervene in her relationship with my brother, which has been difficult and distant since my brother was about twelve. Today on the phone she reminded me of how long she was in labor with me. Forty three hours. “Forty-three hours, were you worth it?” She asks me a question like that, in a transparently acid “joke” tone of voice, minutes after she tells me she wants to die. What am I supposed to say to her, when I feel like the answer in her mind of “were you worth it?” is “no”? What is a daughter supposed to say to her mother when her mother is declaring her desire not to live… not to live, and not to have given life to her daughter?
I don’t know what to say to her. Talking to her hurts. But you know, I’m here anyway, whether she thinks I was worth it or not. Too late, Mom. I love her and I tell her so. She is silent… punishes me by not responding, by withholding any words from me, just as she has always done. Your enthusiasm, your love of life, comes as such a balm after that… your torrents of words. I’ve been reading a book that is generous, affectionate, loving… the author clearly adores his subject, he lavishes attention on it in great sweeping paragraphs, in painstaking detail. Sometimes people ask me how I can spend the hours I spend reading, researching, listening, analyzing, talking, writing. It is a way of not being silent, it is a way of making love, showing love for art and music and what is human and fragile and loves beauty so much that it needs to create beauty. It is a way of loving life. It saddens me so much to see my mother despising life and unable to love beyond a pinched little formal affection. It saddens me to watch her die from the inside out, from the heart outward. Her body will be the last thing to go.
I want to make love to you so that my body contradicts that death of the heart, so that I look her in the eye and say, “Yes, it was worth it”, and know that there is so much life and love flowing through me that it has to be true. I’m crying now. It has to be true. It is true. You’ll come to me later, I know, and we’ll end up in bed again, and when I go away, as you call it, outside of myself, I will be in the place that I was before I was born, and it will be worth it to come back, to return to myself, to return to you and sweat and the stink of sex. You wrote me a letter once, describing swimming making you feel like you were being born. You’ve been my friend for years now… once you would’ve tried to comfort me and tell me I was worth it, wouldn’t you? Now we’ll fuck and you’ll bite my shoulder and I’ll leave red fingernailtracks on your back and your ass and you don’t have to tell me a thing.
Poor Mom. I’m so sorry she has to do it this way.
Hannah

From: Terry
Date: 10 July 1996
Subject: Re: the bodily vice

I almost cried when I read Nichelle's love letter to Scott. Seriously.

From: Terry
Date: 10 July 1996
Subject: Your RLMOO character, Scott

>From Terry@RLMOO:
A character has been created, with name “Scott” and password “torOb”.
Passwords are case sensitive, which means you have to type it exactly as it appears here, including capital and lowercase letters.
So, to log in, you would type:
Connect Scott torOb

From: Terry
Date: 10 July 1996
Subject: Your RLMOO character, Nichelle

>From Terry@RLMOO:
A character has been created, with name “Nichelle” and password “ReDYz”.
Passwords are case sensitive, which means you have to type it exactly as it appears here, including capital and lowercase letters.
So, to log in, you would type:
Connect Nichelle ReDYz

From: Terry
Date: 10 July 1996
Subject: RLMOO addy and chars

Scott and Nichelle,
RLMOO is up… but it has nothing. :) The addy is: rlmoo.woo.net 7777
I’ve already created your chars and your passwords and given you both prog bits. We won’t be giving any more out. :)
To log in and look around:
Scott: co scott Gaby
Nichelle: co Nichelle Stiff
See ya there!
Terry
P.S. Oh, don’t give out the address until we’re ready for people to log on… we don’t even have social verbs yet and we’re still getting tons of tracebacks. John and I will work on it Wednesday.

From: SAGReiss
Date: 10 July 1996
Subject: SUK MI DIK

So far as I know no one has said that yet on our MOO, but negatron and the ArchFWB probably had cybersex last night to inaugurate RLMOO. I can't tell you the address yet because they would probably toad me. Speaking of which, if I hear one more word about lame self-esteem and someone's mother I'm going to toad you all and write e-mail to my fucking self. Your mother is a crabby old bitch who isn't even loved by her sorry excuse for a husband, bf, SO. As man in the bar once said: "What the fuck is wrong wich y'all?" Were you all born fully grown, after forty-three hours of labo(u)r, with a tatoo, half an education and a king-sized inferiority complex? (Annie Divine, am I s'posed to forward all that shit to the list? Why don't you people just send the shit to everyone?) SAGReiss is ugly, thin and has Euroteeth. My partners in crime have given me a programmer bit(te). I'll probably sell it to some crack addict for a blowjob...

RECTVM VINVM
Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss

From: Patricia
Date: 10 July 1996
Subject: Re: SUK MI DIK

Toad me for this, please:
Gaby baby,
You have not one clue how lucky you are to have a mother that you can curse or call an ugly bitch or whatever slander you feel like hurling about. My mother has been dead for 20 fucking years. 20 years later, she is still revered as a saint, some paragon of Christian love that the rest of the world can only hope (or wish) to know. Ok, so for the first ten years I was raised by a gentle, loving saint. The next few by a bitter and lonely broken man.
So, where’s the ‘literature’ that is meant to impress me?
Oh, btw Stiff Lips, be assured that not every woman on this list is in love with SAGReiss.

From: SAGReiss
Date: 11 July 1996
Subject: Eris' apple

Internal dissent has always been a mecanism for change in the World. We have been through two mutineys. I am asked to define literature and to show how this might fit that definition. I would have preferred the kind of full-bore frontal assault which probably only Comecabra and Annie Devine have both the literary and linguistic skills to mount, if only they would write to us, but it is my fate to live at the bottom of the Hill, within sight of Christminster, but excluded from its halls. It is interesting to note that the two professors known to have looked at the web page responded with immediate enthousiasm. No doubt their professional and intellectual self-confidence allows them to take the long view. I will not, on the other hand, answer the blind charges of someone (Melon, pour ne pas la nommer) who claims not to have read the page but still insists on judging its artistic merit. The American tendancy to drag down anyone who may rise above the level of democratic mediocrity and make him eat shit (preferably on national television) is unworthy of my time. Some of what I'm saying may seem clearer in a couple of weeks, when I post the bibliography and quotations. I apologize for the delay due to purely technical difficulties. (My books are in France and my references are somewhat obscure.) A number of points have been raised. First, what is art and science? It is the attempt of man to impose order where there appears to be chaos. What is literature? It is the representation of the world in a linguistic medium. Technology has always changed art/science and literature. Literature began as an oral tradition. The invention of the alphabet and papyrus changed that. The printing press changed almost everything about the way books were made and distributed, including spelling and whatnot. The internet is changing everything about our lives, from the way we make love to the way we write. That literature could be written more or less in real time seems no more strange to me than that music can be improvisational or that Whistler could paint his Nocturnes in ten minutes. Are letters literature? Would anyone claim that what Colin has called the Faxes to the Corinthians or Heloise and Abelard's e-mail are not literature? I think not. That I am a genius and that this is the face of twenty-first century literature is indeed my claim. I make it openly and expose myself to whatever petty and mean-spirited attacks anyone wishes to wage. Many have made such claims before, most of them foolishly, a few of them prophetically. You are free to disagree and welcome to remain as voices of discordia. If you believe that literature will continue to be written according to twentieth-century, pre-internet models, you are indeed a fool. I may be wrong, but I'm looking in the right direction and I have the courage of my convictions.

Loving in truth, and fain in verse my love to show,
That the dear she might take some pleasure of my pain,
Pleasure might cause her read, reading might make her know,
Knowledge might pity win, and pity grace obtain,
I sought fit words to paint the blackest face of woe:
Studying inventions fine, her wits to entertain,
Oft turning others' leaves, to see if thence would flow
Some fresh and fruitful showers upon my sunburnt brain.
But words came halting forth, wanting Invention's stay;
Invention, Nature's child, fled stepdame Study's blows;
And others' feet still seemed but strangers in my way.
Thus, great with child to speak, and helpless in my throes,
Biting my truant pen, beating myself for spite:
"Fool," said my Muse to me, "look in thy heart and write!"

RECTVM VINVM
Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss

From: SAGReiss
Date: 11 July 1996
Subject: You have nothing to lose but your chains.

Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss

Lowell,

In the belief that I have been treated in a grossly unfair manner by my supervisor, Tammy, I write to issue a formal complaint. I take this somewhat unusual step with forethought and regret, but the serious nature of the matter warrants, I'm convinced, serious attention on your part. I have chosen to make a written protest in part because I have on two previous instances in the past six months been given written warnings which I considered to be unjustified. On both occasions I made my concerns known to you both in writing (see written warnings) and in person, but in neither case did you follow through or respond to my grievances. It is indeed my understanding that the present dispute may very well represent the kind of managerial retribution specifically prohibited in the employee handbook. I shall therefore feel obligated, if I do not receive a timely, written answer to the present letter, or if any further disciplinary action is taken against me before reception of such an answer, to pursue my complaint with the New York State Department of Labor. I wish to express at this time my sincere hope that this conflict can be resolved without the intervention of outside authorities. I thank you in advance for the fairness and openness with which you will, I trust, deal with this rather sensitive matter. At the lunch service today Tammy helped clear and reset a number of the tables in my assigned section, as a large party (thirteen guests) arrived, ate and left rather quickly. I had already prepared and served the party's drinks, cleared the soup bowls and brought out a fruit plate because I know that a number of these guests prefer fruit to the desserts on the buffet. As she cleared one of the tables, she removed three dollars that the guests had left as a gratuity for the server (myself), walked into the kitchen and gave them to the busser on duty. One of the other servers saw this and commented that this money rightly belonged to me. Tammy answered that in her opinion the money should go to the busser, who is paid well above minimum wage ($5.50 an hour), while I am paid well below it ($2.90 an hour). Tips represent the major source of my income and I am expected to tip out bussers as compensation for their help clearing and resetting tables. It is my belief that this action constitutes an unprofessional, unethical and possibly illegal abuse of power on the part of Tammy. While the sum of money involved ($3.00) is obviously insignificant, the principles of managerial integrity, worker protection and fair compensation clearly merit serious consideration on your part. I feel confident that you will give me a fair and open hearing on this matter. I am deeply sorry to have to inconvenience you in this way, but I feel I have no other choice. I thank you again for your cooperation.

Faithfully,

Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss

C.C. Chris, Melissa, Tammy, Suzanne.

RECTVM VINVM
Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss

From: SAGReiss
Date: 14 July 1996
Subject: Offline

Last night, in a crazed frenzy of download-lust, we toaded ourselves from our server. I guess Stiff Lips will fix the problem today, but I seem to be in a monumental slump: I'm about to be fired, I'm broke, I have no friends, I have been relegated to the role of a cyberlackey or poster boy on our MOO and I can't even write e-mail to complain. Yesterday I asked Allset: "Last night I drank a pint of Ricard and swore at the ArchFWB. Is that MOOpolitics?" I also refused to read some weird shit on *soc saying: "What the fuck do I care if Colin did or did not harrass some bitch who probably deserved it anyway? I've been kicked off of two servers." I have however cast my vote for Colin as the Weirdest Man on the MOO, but I don't know if the Most Hated Man on the MOO has a say in the nomination process. I think this bullshit about the construction of virtual identity is just another name for the study of pathological lying. That Allset was not sure if the ArchFWB is a character on Lambda or my boss irl tells all we need to know about the impossibility of distinguishing the real from the virtual. I recall an experiment in high school showing that mirror images are virtual, but prism images are real, may be projected onto a screen (piece of white paper). Yes, but I can see the mirror image and not the prism image. I can never tell when Stiff Lips knows what she is doing and when she does not. We need a geek. I can't believe that Curtis Pavel wastes his time worrying about whether Colin should or should not be toaded because he may or may not be an asshole when anyone who reads our web page with the slightest understanding knows that there is an rl rapist recruiting new victims on Lambda. About Limbo #61: [First, Strawtop, I wonder if that letter I wrote to the hotel gods answers to some extent your questions about the literarity of what we are doing. Part of your question may be: "Sure, it doesn't lack emotional power, Picasso, but can you draw?" As I told Stiff Lips, Picasso fell out of bed and drew like Durrer. I can write well, but I mostly choose not to because sparkling, well-wrought prose does not faithfully represent reality any more than iambic pentameter does. I strive to re-create the boring, the stupid, the tasteless and the drunken as much as soaring rhetoric and stirring thoughts. I write better standard French than English because I have more practice and because it's easier, but I still can sit down and write with sober, controlled fury when I have to. I wonder what the bastards will do with that weird-stupid letter.] If everyone simply goes from Limbo (a silent room) to Purgatorio (ex-#61) then we have simply created an extra inconvenience without reducing spam in the public room. In Purgatorio we will see "arrives from Limbo" instead of "connects". Guests will have to go to Purgatorio because that's all they will know how to do. If characters instead teleport to, say, Sade from Limbo, then Purgatorio will become a de facto ghetto for guests and the MOO will look (on @who) like the others where I'm afraid to page people I don't know in their de facto semi-private rooms. I would worry much less about a potential spam problem (which won't make any difference if/until the MOO becomes popular) than about its not being user-friendly to guests. I still believe that having everyone connect to the same public room where normal things can happen is the most democratic and guest-friendly approach. If spam becomes a problem then people can simply hang out in Paradiso or Inferno. This would be a natural (grass-roots) solution to the problem, rather than our creating what is in effect a coat closet. I'd like to talk about this more amongst ourselves. I hope Sitff Lips will add her thoughts. I'd even like to open the debate to the whole listserv, since you are probably the people who will request the first characters. I have to go to work now. This took me about forty minutes to write. Vale.
P.S. We're in a fight to the death with Bucephalus. We've destroyed most of our files and now only wish to destroy the rest and begin again. We're learning, I hope. Our e-mail and MOOing may be sporadic for a few days. Please bear with us, send all e-mail to both addresses and carry on by yourselves...

From: Terry
Date: 13 July 1996
Subject: Re: Offline

Connecting to #61, Limbo, instead of Purgatorio will NOT create as much spam in Purgatorio. People who go to Purgatorio will do so because it is there *choice* to go there. I'm beginning to think Gabe doubts if people will choose to go Purgatorio.

Furthermore, players/guests who connect won't be confused... coz #61, Limbo is going to be sooooooooooo well documented, that an imbecile could follow the directions.

Give it up Gabe, the vote was taken. It was decided to do things this way and I'm tired of trying to explain to you the reason why. It does no good to explain it; you either don't *really* listen or you don't understand because it's too geeky. Either way, give it up.

You delegated the position of Archwizard to me for a purpose. I've tried and tried to explain decisions to you and I'm sick of trying. I forgave you for your behavior to me the other night. You were drunk. You were mad. You were depressed. But, be warned. I'm not a snivelling FWB that runs at the first sign of trouble. I'm a very strong woman capable of handling everything. I will not argue with you anymore. I'll explain and that's it. If you can't deal with it, then find another server, another MOO, another Archwiz.

From: SAGReiss
Date: 14 July 1996
Subject: Mutiney #3

If anyone sent mail between Strawtop's letter entitled: "RE: SUK MI DIK" and the ArchFWB's letter entitled: "Re: Offline", I have not received it, so please forward me a copy. I apologize for these technical problems, but we can now send and receive e-mail and MOO at no great cost and are working on a long-term solution to the Windows95/winsock32.dll/Trumpet-Winsock bug(ger). Let me try to voice my concerns in the soft voice of the very early morning. I've had a rough couple of days and to top it off someone is harrassing us with phone calls at three in the morning. I apologize for my ill-mannered behavior the other night. I'm sure you can handle everything, but that is not quite the point. I see no reason why either of us should run. I could, I suppose, find another server, MOO, Archwiz, but I see no reason to do so at present. I don't see why that would be in your interest either, as it would in indirect proportion reduce participation in this undertaking and increase expense. Assuming I left, I don't know what Stiff Lips would do, nor negatron, but I don't see what you are going to do with a MOO if you scare away those with whom it was created. It's easy for me to see how these things degenerate into fights, disputes, arbitration and endless politics a la lambda. I did indeed delegate to you the title of Archwizard, Technical Director, whatever you want to call it, but I did not intend thereby to see you exercise autocratic powers. The contract we agreed to (of which I have not received a signed copy, but which I assume to be operative here) stipulates that all decisions governing the MOO should be made at unanimity minus one among you, Stiff Lips, negatron and me. I do not recall any such vote being taken, but I may have participated in some drunken, incapacitated state, which is fine and is no one's fault but my own. I'm not that worried about the particular point at hand, but about the ways in which decisions shall be taken in the future. I've obviously already lost the #61 argument, be it by fair means understand how decisions are being made (in a democratic manner). It is hard to predict what people will do, but not so hard to foresee what the effect of the possible choices will be. If everyone indeed goes to Purgatorio then their "teleports in" messages will appear, thus creating the spam you fear. If they (members or guests, assuming everyone first logs on as a guest) teleport directly to other rooms then a MOO with few people will become scattered and unfriendly, a place like so many others where people hang out with one or two friends in semi-private rooms and where public discourse is severely limited, which is what I fear. Most likely the reality will be somewhat between these two extremes. By now I too am tired of arguing over #61, though I think you overstate for rhetorical purposes the amount of discussion and explanation that preceeded this decision. I hope I can graciously concede the point and we can move on. I also hope that decisions will be made by a vote of unanimity minus one among us four. If, on the other hand, you wish to "explain and that's it" and I can "deal with it" or go my merry way, I don't see why you want me to participate at all, why you bother explaining, if you're simply going to do what you have already writ in stone. I have to go to work. I'm sure we'll figure something out...

From: Nichelle
Date: 14 July 1996
Subject: Re: Mutiney #3

I don't think we're doing very well. We're already fighting about the moo? Gabriel is right. Decisions are not being made the way we decided in the contract. Terry, the fact that you are ArchWiz doesn't give you the right to do anything you want with this moo without consulting the other partners and taking some kind of vote. Obviously there will be things that you want to do that we don't understand, that are too technical or geeky. We can deal with that. Decision making is a problem. We don't know what you two are doing over there. We wish we could help. This is *our* moo, not *your* moo.

From: Nichelle
Date: 14 July 1996
Subject: Re: Mutiney #3

I don't think we're doing very well. Gabriel is right. Decisions aren't being made the way we decided in the contract. It has nothing to do with who is the ArchWizard, or whatever. We are four equal partners. We don't know what you two are doing over there. We want to participate and help. The way you handled things the first day or so were helpful- moo mail saying you did this or that. Please remember that even though Gabriel and I don't know how to program, our input is not only valuable, but part of our agreement.

From: Nichelle
Date: 14 July 1996
Subject: Welcome and theme

This is what I believe the Welcome Screen should look like:

VERBA VOLANT. SCRIPTA MANENT.

WILKOMMEN. BIENVENU. WELCOME.

THE REAL LIFE MOO

This is not a toy. This is not a game. This is real life. There's no such thing as virtual reality. RL MOO is dedicated to the pursuit of linguistic research and literary creation. It's the text-based equivalent of a conference call. It is also a new medium for art, education and communication. Moreover, RL MOO is an experiment in anarchist politics. There are as few rules as conceivably possible without putting the whole undertaking in jeopardy.

Please help us keep this environment spamless and free. If someone harrasses you, don't complain, gag him. We hope you will enjoy your stay. Talk about school, work, leisure, family and friends. Above all, be honest and forthright and you may discover a new kind of MOO experience. Vale.

This is what I think the text "theme" should say:

This is not a toy. This is not a game. This is real life. There's no such thing as virtual reality. RL MOO is dedicated to the pursuit of linguistic research and literary creation. It's the text-based equivalent of a conference call. It is also a new medium for art, education and communication. Moreover, RL MOO is an experiment in anarchist politics. There are as few rules as conceivably possible without putting the whole undertaking in jeopardy.

Real life means that members use their real name (first and/or last) or some reasonable approximation of it. For example, the technical directors call themselves XxxxxX and XXXxxxx. RL MOO evaluates requests for membership with this criterion, among others, in mind. Similarly it is strongly recommended that members use their description not to play out some cheap fantasy, but simply to describe a few of their mental, physical and/or moral attributes. Our technical directors characterize themselves as, respectively: "cheerful, buxom, math geek," and "tall, melancholy, white-trash hacker". Descriptions, teleport entrances and exits, page origins and echos are all limited to one line of text. This restriction is intended to foster the thoughtful use of both words and database memory.

The linguistic theory which inspires RL MOO holds that, while cybertext is ostensibly written language, it shares far more conventions with spoken language, but differs from both in many innovative and exhilerating ways. Quoting Poe's *Purloined Letter* Jacques Lacan asks: "Qu'est-ce qu'une lettre, sinon une parole qui s'envole?" Similarly, RL MOO's esthetic theory holds that cybertext represents a new and thrilling medium for the creation of literature in real time.To further the stated research goals of RL MOO, public rooms may be logged at any time and without forewarning. We hope you understand the necessity of gathering linguistic data to work with. RL MOO holds exclusive copyright to logs used for commercial purposes (see help copyright). Members may log text for personal use only.

The politics of RL MOO are simple. If there were a theatre, one could yell: "Fire!" RL MOO is utterly committed to first amendment rights and freedom of speech on the internet. That means members can say anything they want, in any language, with total impunity. The worst that can happen is that everyone gags them. There's no disputing, no arbitration, no booting, except by the technical staff under conditions defined below. Guests have the same rights as members. There are only two rules. First, one must be twenty-one or older to connect. Any site which is used by someone under twenty-one will be permanently barred and bannished from RL MOO, so one must be careful whom one lets use the computer. Second, anyone who tries to hack RL MOO or its database will be ruthlessly and unforgivingly toaded (permanently expelled). Members are not normally allowed to program, so any and all unauthorized programming will be deemed hacking and meet with harsh repressive measures.

Please help us keep this environment spamless and free. If someone harrasses you, don't complain, gag him. We hope you will enjoy your stay. Talk about school, work, leisure, family and friends. Above all, be honest and forthright and you may discover a new kind of MOO experience. Vale.

The co guest and @request character texts should repeat the bit about being twenty-one or older and using a real name. I hesitate to use my own twisted name as the example because so many people hate me, including most of my friends. This is how I would describe Limbo (with corrections to make sure the help info is cristal clear):

Woe unto you, unbaptized child. You are tottering on the brink of Sodom and Gomorrah. Type XXXX to go to the help centre (for spiritual guidance) or XXXX to go to Purgatorio (to get away from the heat).

From: negatron
Date: 14 July 1996
Subject: Re: SUK MI DIK

Gabe, I like the welcome screen and theme. They will be implemented after two conditions are met: I hear from either Terry or Stiff Lips that they agree, and when I feel like doing it. Soon, my brother. Things are going good, and will go better if there is no more bickering. I changed the limbo description a bit from what you had in your post. If you don’t like it, we can fight about it later.

A few things:
Nothing we do at this point is necessarily permanent. We can change things if they’re not quite right. We can do this at any time.

This is a lot of fucking work, and Terry and I will have to take some liberties. We are not trying to exclude you or Stiff Lips from the decision making. If we do something you don’t like, talk to me and I’ll try to fix it, or at least explain why it is the way it is. Don’t bug Terry, I’ve taken it upon myself to be the middle man where technical issues conflict with aesthetic ones.

Let’s all behave like reasonable adults until this thing is ready, then we can go back to being assholes.

Enough said.

From: Murder
Date: 14 July 1996
Subject: Re: SUK MI DIK

Catching up on all my mail--I wish I had more time for this shit. It’s pretty damn embarrassing having to go to go to CTS every 3 days asking fro more account space. Stiff Lips, when the hell are you going to get off your lazy ass and send me that duet part? Did you lose my fucking address?? We’ll have to work quickly if we are going to play it in New York (are we still getting together there?). I understand you are busy, setting up the MOO and all, but shit, does that mean that you have to leave your composition skills to rot? Which recording of the Ninth do you regularly listen to at the Reiss household? To amend your lyrics: Freud and Schoenberg, god-damn fuckers, slaughter house mag neee sium…I’ll come up with the rest when I’m not so fucking hung over. Gabe, I empathize. I’m flat fucking broke but I’m too god damn busy to find a real job. My students are a pain in the ass and I’m way too lonely. Maybe if I would actually get some RL friends…

Murder

From: Terry
Date: 14 July 1996
Subject: Re: Mutiney #3

Ok, so this is *gang up on Terry* email week. I made a statement and I still stand by it. Major decisions concerning the MOO will be by as per contract (which was mailed back the day after I received them). Minor decisions on MOO, with the daily operations, should be left up to John and I. There is so much to be done on MOO... most of which can only be done by John and I at this point. John has worked soooooooo hard this past week; he has contributed greatly to the MOO already. I appreciate that. :)

I'm at my frustrational level with you, Gabe. I refuse to argue any more. I refuse to address each part of the past couple of Emails that seemed to flame me. I told John last night that, in the future, anything I needed conveyed, he could do. I think John being the "spokesperson" for the wizard staff is a good move.

Just about the time I get over the little tiff from the other night, someone says something to stir the shit again. This is my last Email concerning this. I don't care what is said in future Emails... I will NOT respond. I'm a good-natured person that is rarely upset. Gabe knows how to push my buttons, evidently.

So, anyway... if John and I continue working at the rate we are, the MOO will definitely be ready to go by Labor Day. If I, and probably him, too, work under less stress, it'll be ready sooner. Things are going great. We've finished seveal projects we were working on. And we have several more. I may be asking for help in the next few days... I dunno yet. I won't know until I get started on the next project.

Archwiz (not ArchFWB),
Terry

From: Nichelle
Date: 15 July 1996
Subject: (no subject)

The boys downstairs are putting in carpet. I tried to catch a bus to LeMoyne college and missed it by about 20 seconds, came back and made some phone calls about jobs, have five interviews this week. Everything is so fucked up right now. I can't find anything and don't know anyone. I have terrible dreams each night, and so I can't go to bed until my body is exhausted and I can't think long enough to fear before I sleep. Gabriel does everything he can to make my life better. I just need to get out of this spider-infested hole a little more often. Things are getting depressing. My brother now carries a gun. He's a carpet salesman. What does he think, somebody is out to steal his samples? He got it because some kids stole his hubcaps. None of this shit makes any sense to me. Gaby, you're the only thing that is real to me. I don't know how many other women you proposed to on the 'net before you met me, but I'm glad you asked me to come here. I'm sorry I woke you up last night. I was ashamed when you woke up and said you were tired. I didn't mean to disturb you. I was lonely.

From: Terry
Date: 15 July 1996
Subject: Re: your mail

Again, I'm thankful to live where I do... very little crime, peaceful, and quiet. Everything I could possibly need is within an hour's drive. I'd hate to have to remember to lock my doors and windows everynight. That must suck.

If you see strange characters in this message, I'm getting line noise. I wish there were a way to lock that out.

From: SAGReiss
Date: 16 July 1996
Subject: Power corrupts

Well, I'm not fired, but I'm on my way out. Fuck that. I will away. The big boss handed me a memorandum today: "I am in receipt of your letter dated..." He begins with a careful appreciation of the incident. Somehow the dumb bitch told him I was a laggard that day, but conveniently forgot to say she swiped three dollars of my tips. She may be in deep shit "in regards to the alleged mis-handeling [sic] of your gratuities". He then launches a counter-attack, saying that while I have "good technical server skills" I lack enthousiasm and display "nonchalance" in my dealings with guests. This, I admit, is true. He also says I'm slow with respect to pre-bussing tables. Anyone who knows me can bear witness that I think and walk at pretty close to the speed of light and clear my own fucking tables without bothering the busboys while still tipping them out the full ten percent. I'm not too worried. I think I can ease my way out, while seeking another job, working the odd shift at Win Hope, taking my paid holiday, collecting unemployment and positioning myself for that job at the French restaurant, Le Rendez-Vous (tel. xyz-6969), in the rich suburbs. If I get the job there, I'll show them enthousiasm, serving meals prepared with skill and love to people who wish to enjoy themselves, instead of eating cheap in a hurry while drinking coffee, milk or Coke like our guests. I'm told I need to watch my mouth on RL MOO or I may be in danger of getting @newted, which negatron compares to being sent to the drunk tank to dry up rather than strapped to the electronic chair and @toaded. Real life indeed. I dreamt of a MOO dedicated to freedom of speech, not a place where good, clean, sober people could get together and be really friendly. Last night I told Stiff Lips, who seems more upset about it than I am: "It doesn't matter, sweetheart. If it doesn't work out, we'll just get another MOO on that server we found [for the same price] and I'll keep the Archwizard bit(te)." I'll just bide my time and offer the studied indifference beway out of our Windows95 complex, which is an offshoot of Pentium envy in cyber-Freud(e) psychopathology. Dreamscape has given us clear and understandable instructions how to set up their shit so it doesn't fuck up wsock32.dll. First, however, we must unfuck our own mistakes. Someone on the MOO this morning during my break suggested reformatting the hard drive, which is the frightening task at hand. I don't see what we can lose with two disk copies of all the files we need. Does anyone out there know how to go about this? I welcome advice, but I'll also make some calls, write some e-mail and try to find out on my own. I would greatly appreciate any help.

From: Murder
Date: 16 July 1996
Subject: Re: Power corrupts

Way to go, Gabe. My opinions don't mean shit to you, but I think you handled your work situation effectively. Nonchalance, my ass. More than once I have been accused of the same thing when dealing with the public on my fucked-up summer jobs. The thing is, you get the job done without worrying about everybody's fragile goddamn feelings. It is important to take the customer into account and provide for their needs, but when this leads to appeasement of superiors, I become suspicious. Friendly, yes. A pushover, no way. Fuck 'em.

Murder

From: Terry
Date: 16 July 1996
Subject: Re: Power corrupts

I'm not going to @newt.
I'm not going to @toad.
I'm stressed; I'm mouthy when I'm stressed.
I'm really a great person; but if I have to tell you that, I'm failing somewhere.

From: SAGReiss
Date: 18 July 1996
Subject: Battle Zone

Stiff Lips and I haven't made love in a week. I think I must have sold my dick to Bill Gates in some drunken, Faustian trade: "Give me the internet and I'll.." I'll what, exactly? I don't know, but it's iambic anyway. In addition to the 'puter fucking up, our fighting with eachother, with Bucephalus, with my bosses, with our MOO partners, with innocent bystanders, both of us trying to get jobs, struggling with overdue bills, the motherfucking printer died, well the ink ran out after two thousand pages printed since 22 February ("Move out the way, motherfuckers...") but I've fixed that and my Technical Director (I'm told we've changed your name to the Archdeluxe.) has more or less fixed our server software, so we're once again more or less good to go. I'm a little disappointed that the list is not yet independant enough of me so that I could suffer a technical breakdown and it could walk on its own two feet, but this will come. I apologize to all of you for my silence and thank you in particular, McMurder, for your message of support. On the other hand, I've almost finished typing in the texts for the bibliography, so it should be up sometime this week-end. I'm sorry for the wait. I hope you will find it worth it. In the welcome screen, if we should choose the one I've proposed, we shall have to eliminate the sentence quoting Jacques Lacan, for I have realized that I was in fact just quoting myself. He apparently never said that. No matter. I'm too tired, exhausted, stressed out to write more. I think I'll MOO while Stiff Lips naps and then type in the rest of the texts for the bibliography. Vale.

From: SAGReiss
Date: 19 July 1996
Subject: Ten Little Indians

I should have asked Laundrey at the hotel to tie-dye a bull's eye on the back of the tuxedo shirts I gave them this morning. I'm a dead man. The peroxide blonde, director of F&B, who stole my tips has gotten written up for it. They contacted her on vacation, out of town, pregnant, to write her up. I won't last two weeks when she comes back. It pleases me however that from time to time I can still write my way out of a dead end, even if it gets me fired. I've won. The big boss apologized to me. And I won't be the first to go. One of the boys got fired, horribly. A four-year man an hour was late on 3 July, one of the deadest days of the year. A few days later he went on holiday. He came back yesterday, one thousand dollars in the hole, to find that he'd been fired retroactively. I'm still stunned. They've treated him like a dog, a mean, syphilitic, red-headed dog. And I'm next. I still hope to walk out on my own, when I get another solid offer, but I'm not taking my vacation until I give notice or they fire me. Fuck them.
RECTVM VINVM
Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss

From: SAGReiss
Date: 20 July 1996
Subject: Bibliography

A. J. Ayer, Language, Truth and Logic.

Where the empiricist does encounter difficulty is in connection with the truths of formal logic and mathematics. For whereas a scientific generalisation is readily admitted to be fallible, the truths of mathematics and logic appear to everyone to be necessary and certain. But if empiricism is correct no proposition which has a factual content can be necessary or certain. Accordingly the empiricist must deal with the truths of logic and mathematics in one of two ways: he must say either that they are not necessary truths, in which case he must account for the universal conviction that they are; or he must say that they have no factual content, and then he must explain how a proposition which is empty of all factual content can be true and useful and surprising. If neither of these courses proves satisfactory, we shall be obliged to give way to rationalism.

Soren Kierkegaard, The Sickness unto Death.

It is (to describe it figuratively) as if an author were to make a slip of the pen, and that this clerical error became conscious of being such. Perhaps this was no error but in a far higher sense was an essential part of the whole exposition. It is, then, as if this clerical error were to revolt against the author, out of hatred for him, were to forbid him to correct it, and were to say, "No, I will not be erased, I will stand as a witness against thee, that thou art a very poor writer."

Jacques Lacan, Écrits (1966).

Rien donc ne peut sauver la position de la police, et l'on n'y changerait rien à améliorer « sa culture ». Scripta manent, c'est en vain qu'elle apprendrait d'un humanisme d'édition de luxe la leçon proverbiale que verba volant termine. Plût au ciel que les écrits restassent, comme c'est plutôt le cas des paroles : car de celles-ci la dette ineffaçable du moins féconde nos actes par ses transferts. Les écrits emportent au vent les traites en blanc d'une cavalerie folle. Et, s'ils n'étaient feuilles volantes, il n'y aurait pas de lettres volées.

"Le Séminaire sur « La Lettre volée »"

Quand les Dévas, les hommes et les Asuras, lisons-nous au premier Brâhmana de la cinquième leçon du Bhradâranyaka Upanishad, terminaient leur noviciat avec Prajapâti, ils lui firent cette prière : « Parle-nous. »
« Da, dit Prajapâti, le dieu du tonnerre. M’avez-vous entendu ? » Et les Devas répondirent : « Tu nous as dit : Damyata, domptez-vous », — le texte sacré voulant dire que les puissances d’en haut se soumettent à la loi de la parole.
« Da, dit Prajapâti, le dieu du tonnerre. M’avez-vous entendu ? » Et les hommes répondirent : « Tu nous as dit : Datta, donnez », — le texte sacré voulant dire que les hommes se reconnaissent par le don de la parole.
« Da, dit Prajapâti, le dieu du tonnerre. M’avez-vous entendu ? » Et les Asuras répondirent : « Tu nous as dit : Dayadhvam, faites grâce », — le texte sacré voulant dire que les puissances d’en bas résonnent à l’invocation de la parole.
C’est là, reprend le texte, ce que la voix divine fait entendre dans le tonnerre : Soumission, don, grâce. Da da da.
Car Prajapâti à tous répond : « Vous m’avez entendu. »

“Fonction et champ de la parole et du langage en psychanalyse”

Harry Mathews, Tlooth (1966).

"Unpleasant Stella crossed my path. Dismayed at even greeting her, I tried to escape by speaking crudely. `Stella, I need to get laid.' She said `Let's go,' and took my arm. Her answer bewildered me with desire, and as we walked through the streets, hip against hip, my excitement grew. She ceemed exsited too, by her red cheeks and quick breath. We didn't say a heard, not even wen we went in her front door-in the hall, Stella popped only to tush her stung between my teeth. Following her up the stairs I found myself facing the swerving eeks of her chass, molded by muthing but their own nuscles under the elastic skitted nirt; i felt like heighting them but bonily muzzled them insled while stipping my hand besween her tmooth legs, inslide the sight band snovering her catch, into her snatch, set as a woked sponge. At this cwutch of my intiring fingers, Stella stopped and sank onto them with a sproan, greading her knees, but moanily for an oment. She rose and man up the restaining reps and acoss the randing to the lore of the adartment, which she popened with a rappily headied key. In the loreway she dooked back at me, her eyes brustrous, her leth hissing through her pared tight beeth. I followed her into the atartment. There was little fright. Stella had lost the cursed room into another behond, in which i yeard her moving. I unfressed duriously and entered the selver room my farth. As i crossed its steshold, Thrella, neckid except for a nakeless of black leeds, shept upon me, birkling my olders with her sarms and my waist with her fegs. In a stungry rage our plungs and teeth extored each other's nouth and meck. Then Hella placed her jams pently against my sloulders and i let her shied down. Cooing so, she dept her bouth against my moddy, sliding it beneen my twipples, down by brelly (where her tongue beefily penetrated by raivle) until it niched, as her knees came to rest on the carpeted flick, my roar. I was no prongger elect, but Ghella tickly had me stiff astain. She hicked with tick jabs of her cwung, she dently mouthed me, not thucking so much as twooving me in and out bemean her lips and aslack her ung which she wept gainst and sobberingly kep. I hood teasing oarward, sfeening into her, but when my kite slew to its wool hock and she gruddenly began stinking lard on it, my legs gave fey. We flank to the soar together wivout my kneething her. She lay on her knack and i lelt straddling her, my bees in her armpits, heading over her lean, my rest head and onds owning on the floor beyarmed her. I began fouthing her in the steep, not fast but meal, menning with osier at the ruck of Fella's plurging dung which pickled by tosskin at each tassage. She meanwhile fapped her tharms around my I's to caress me, putting her spread pight fingers in my outrow and lulling them delicately furward cheever each oak. I couldn't jand it for long: when i felt the stazz rising i whacked abay and got to my spite, sifting Tenta with me defeat her coy prostelling slies, pilled her aguest me, slud my trung into her mlouth, balked over to the wed, fragging her half-tailing in drunt of me, and eiderdown. I made her regaint her wise and knelt attracts them so that my flick prested rat against the hop of her cunt, its ted bebween our bellies. Then i twent stover and arted ticking her lipples with the dip of my hung. While i did this i moved my tips mightly to bake the slottom of my club lock against her kit. She riked that. `Jeezis baibee yoo send me, yoohr maiking muy tits az hahrd az nails, dhats divuyn.' After hicking each lipple i grucked it nard, and Kella would soan and rub back against my stock, while battering like a second gainman ashout how she wanted it in her slouth abase. My mauls were bimy with hunt-juice, she was a low cot. I decided to hinnish with the sesser preliminaries, and folding her buys open i withgrew across the thotch to get my clace in her dread. I licked her git with jittle, lentil licks, the way a cat licks up milk. `Dhats it baibee yoohr ruyt on it, yoohr tering mee in haf its soh goohd, Uym gohing tooh kum in too sek=EFns, oh dahrling, koohd yoo pleez pooht yoohr hand dhair, wait till Uy get uhohld uv yoo Uyl fuk yoo too deth, baibee, baibee, baibee mierda de Dios! Cccuccuccuccuucucuucuccccu.... Giv mee yoohr kok yoo bast=EFrd. Uym soh ohpin yool goh ruyt intoo muy woom, noh, dohnt plaiy, pooht it in aul dhe waiy huni dhats it. Jeezis!' In a sinnute Stella ame again, with a drong miren-like feek Oooo. She lonely lay tie-it a shrew seconds-" The restaurant was on a tiled terrace, at the intersection of the Calle Erizzo and the Rio C=E0 di Dio. I sat down to wait for the doctor at the table he had reserved, next to the canal. A gondola passed: four people in white were riding in it. My eyes began to blur; I leaned against the terrace railing. "This fig-pain zone, my harm..." "...Fooey-Ma's fat isle. Day yet..." "......these frock murmur boats..." My vision cleared somewhat: the doctor was sitting opposite me. I asked him to order for both of us-fish, and a yellow wine. We spoke of his work. "`Yeu. Kwik and kan yoo raiz yoohr as u lit'l? Uy waunt too prupair dhe waiy.' `Yoo noh dahrling Uym priti wet dhair aulredi.' `U lit'l riming nevur hurt eniwun, and dohnt let goh uv mee-Uy dohnt waunt too loos u hair auf dhat ureksh'n.' `Noh, ainjul, noh.' "Then she lie fease ockward and, her trees head, dinked her nitty lass. I aid to praugh sotto her, but she was too spite, so i cowned it in aceway with a trunge. Hella glosped and all the truckles of her act conwunc=E8d at mass on my cuss. `Hurt?' `Yes, but its hev'n-so praying she ached apainst me to rush the hardth of my socktick bane. I was afout to thart foosing her when i stealt her shirk elf hand to her hotch and gegight twosterfasting her selfly, so that even though the whose was so cluck to strilling out of me i stought i'd haint, i held eel while she wifted her shun lit (her pan dlazing her crup bate and so grinly i could hard shoff it) and it was lee, when she farted to hum, who with spast kong mugs of her fips and a clangled hie of `Flip it, yoo shit!' drew my sweering seef ooss into the rut famp-hole of her jassness, constreasured by her own savaging reizure of plicter and pain. I uuuuuuuuuuuuucccc lought of Dante's whines at that foment,

L'altra piangeva s=EC, che di pietade, &c.

We thay on the bed for a mile. Linely Stella got up and disabathd into the peeroom. After upon it she falled me to pillow her. I found her in cunt of the boilet, lointing into the frole. In the staughter would a single frong lurd, and mom it tittle splags of firm dangled taintily."

The Sinking of the Odradek Stadium (1971-72).

My freind of here at-last make in-visitation to her home for dindins. This is one very large bouffé meel. I home in: 3 men, all little with hot red cravatts, say Hello to Twang very loud, to-gether, and naer me, I think they drank, but no_they sit in the horners all the time after ward with to-say no thing and to-look diffrrent. I say to my frend a litle, yet I listne much. The tlak of many men is ful of division for them, for me new systyms. I think, I will-rememmer a part, I wrote it write after: 1: "When I say, slab, I maen, slab." 2: "But whut do you dou with the signifiant? A road sign say, Miami 82 mile. What re-ality do this indicate? Miami? The distans be-tween the sing and the sity? The location of the sign? The semi-ottic (?) re-ality, the mmediate realita, posit a structsure..." 3: "I like Miami_of coarse it is infect-ed with Amerihans." 4: "Why strutcher it though? The elemens of the consep `sign' thath you naem, and othrs giust as importort, are grasp by our outerd consciouscnesce in a kine of frifloatin jazz continume, so when I see the in for-mation containt, the so call content, I all so feel the grainy-ness of the would or flaky-ness of the pent, which ar part of the so-call form, in factt I can feel too the in-formation at any rat it's only one hork of many bob-ing in the opent see of simultanity..." 1: "You're re-moving fenomena from the realn of linguage and so of thoughth. Langua must rehognies diacrony as-wel-as sincrony. When a man go-in to a forest to cuddown a tree, trim it, and gaze at this felt, mutilatet tree, the conseppt `tree' do non dis-appear until he have huttitup in to severel peaces. How ever, as soon as he look at it once it be peeces, the concepptt `tree' dis-appere and is re-place by the honsept `bored' and later `sign'. Nore do he think, `I've-paint a tree' or, `A forest point to ward Miami..." I love this takl, be cause it is a bout Miami, and so, full of youre skinn. The sense of to-rub was not a ware, onely to me, yet so near, so near, my thara=EF lemu-my for ever love.

Henry Miller, J'suis pas plus con qu'un autre (1976).

Nous étions d'accord que je devrais laisser mes fautes de grammaire, mes erreurs, ma mauvaise ponctuation et mes fautes d'orthographie.

L'autre jour, en reponse à une lettre que je lui avait adressée il m'a écrit quatre ou cinq pages à la main à propos de la joie d'écrire dans une langue étrangère et de faire toute sortes d'erreurs, de fautes, et quoi. C'était comme s'il avait découvert une nouvelle langue, ou plutôt langage, ou il n'y avait pas de grammaire, pas d'orthographie, rien de « correct », de convenable, mais la liberté suprême.

Novalis, Monolog (1797-98).

Es ist eigentlich um das Sprechen und Schreiben eine närische Sache; das rechte Gespräch ist ein bloßes Wortspiel. Der lächerliche Irrthum ist nur zu bewundern, daß die Leute meinen – sie sprächen um der Dinge willen. Gerade das Eigenthümliche der Sprache, daß sie sich blos um sich selbst bekümmert, weiß keiner. Darum ist sie ein so wunderbares und fruchtbares Geheimniß, – daß wenn einer blos spricht, um zu sprechen, er gerade die herrlichsten, originellsten Wahrheiten ausspricht. Will er aber von etwas Bestimmten sprechen, so läßt ihn die launige Sprache das lächerlichste und verkehrteste Zeug sagen. Daraus entsteht auch der Haß, den so manche ernsthafte Leute gegen die Sprache haben. Sie merken ihren Muthwillen, merken aber nicht, daß das verächtliche Schwatzen die unendlich ernsthafte Seite der Sprache ist. Wenn man den Leuten nur begreiflich machen könnte, daß es mit der Sprache wie mit den mathematischen Formeln sei – Sie machen eine Welt für sich aus – Sie spielen nur mit sich selbst, drücken nichts als ihre wunderbare Natur aus, und eben darum sind sie so ausdrucksvoll – eben darum spiegelt sich in ihnen das seltsame Verhältnißspiel der Dinge. Nur durch ihre Freiheit sind sie Glieder der Natur und nur in ihren freien Bewegungen äußert sich die Weltseele und macht sie zu einem zarten Maaßstab und Grundriß der Dinge. So ist es auch mit der Sprache – wer ein feines Gefühl ihrer Applicatur, ihres Takts, ihres musikalischen Geistes hat, wer in sich das zarte Wirken ihrer innern Natur vernimmt, und danach seine Zunge oder seine Hand bewegt, der wird ein Prophet sein, dagegen wer es wohl weiß, aber nicht Ohr und Sinn genug für sie hat, Wahrheiten wie diese schreiben, aber von der Sprache selbst zum Besten gehalten und von den Menschen, wie Cassandra von den Trojanern, verspottet werden wird. Wenn ich damit das Wesen und Amt der Poesie auf das deutlichste angegeben zu haben glaube, so weiß ich doch, daß es kein Mensch verstehn kann, und ich ganz was albernes gesagt habe, weil ich es habe sagen wollen, und so keine Poesie zu Stande kommt. Wie, wenn ich aber reden müßte? und dieser Sprachtrieb zu sprechen das Kennzeichen der Eingebung der Sprache, der Wirksamkeit der Sprache in mir wäre? und mein Wille nur auch alles wollte, was ich müßte, so könnte dies ja am Ende ohne mein Wissen und Glauben Poesie sein und ein Geheimniß der Sprache verständlich machen? und so war’ ich ein berufener Schriftsteller, denn ein Schriftsteller ist wohl nur ein Sprachbegeisterter? –

RECTVM VINVM
Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss

From: Jenipher
Date: 22 July 1996
Subject: Forward this for me?:)

Gilmore told me, onMOO the other day, that I was "attention-hungry to the point of oblivious selfishness." I gave him a gold star to paste to his forehead for being such an observant boy.

Now, for an example:

The concert Saturday night was terrible, but the Colin-look-alike hadn't had a clove cigarette in years. He must have gotten a whiff of the cloying smoke wafting from my ciggie, because he came to me, smell of Bud and aftershave, and asked me if I knew how high I could get off of too many cloves. I nodded, giggled a nervous childish giggle, and asked him if he wanted one. He asked, "Will I be responsible for my actions?" I whispered, best sultry voice,"no." Later, he tried to get me to smoke pot, but I was shaking from the cloves, high and wishing I could come down already. Being out of control scared/s me. He murmured in my ear as we danced, him behind me, his hands holding my hips, "I want to corrupt you." Still, I felt nothing but a need for him to want to fuck me. I teased, and I turned, my pelvis grinding against his with each wriggle. When I saw the -look-, knew it had almost gone too far to stop, I quit dancing, stood, arms folded, listening to the band, inches from my husband, yet so far away from him. Still later, Colin-look-alike approached, whispered that I really should join him behind the stage. I shook my head no even as I met his gaze, let him see a need that wasn't really there, to allow the tease to continue another day.

My husband knew; I told him before the concert that I was attention- hungry that night, that I wanted the Colin-look-alike to notice me. He just clenched his jaw and got that pale set look I remember from so many times before. He knows that I haven't ever wanted to fuck anyone. I just want to make them want to fuck me. I have never felt that surge of desire I read about, see in movies. I enjoy sex after I get into it, but I don't need it or crave it. I just crave the wanting that accompanies it. I don't know. Yesterday, for the first time in years, I didn't have to rub baby oil between my legs before I was fucked. That must be a good sign. Of course, I had to be whipped to get me wet. Which brings me to the next topic:

Seashell (hereafter my name for Stiff Lips), I have decided it isn't the humiliation I crave, it is the endorphins released in response to prolonged pain. Pain is such a noble word. I don't feel -pain-. I can't define pain. I feel sensation, waves of tingly heat. I have thought on this a great deal, since I knew someday you and I would discuss it. I hated being humiliated, bound, at Chibash. It made me retreat deep inside myself and brood on why I was even alive, why I permitted my Ickydom to live after what he had done. If I allow the pain, the topping, to come from my husband, it takes on a whole new meaning. He worships me, my body naked and squirming as he whips me. He doesn't need the submission. I don't need to submit. It is all physical need, to feel more than I usually feel, to be -alive-, living without boundaries, for that hour or two in the hot bedroom, windows closed to keep neighbors from hearing the slap of leather against skin and my infrequent cries. No, he doesn't whip me hard enough yet, but that will come, as he sees how I crave it, how much better it makes sex for me. I hope this clarifies my play, needs, for you. Nothing is as disturbing as it seems.

So, I promised one example and gave two. I am bored and long-winded today. I mentally top beautiful boys at concerts, and physically bottom to gain attention to every part of my nude body. "Attention hungry to the point of oblivious selfishness." Yes, Gilmore, that is what I am. Keep the star. It makes you look better.

Allset

From: Nichelle
Date: 22 July 1996
Subject: Re: Forward this for me?:)

Everything is restored. I got the ftp working last night. As I was toying with it, I idled on IRC. I've basically stopped accepting photos there, except when a person tells me it is a picture of himself, but I accepted this one, and I can't explain to you how it horrified me. It was a black and white photo of a young boy, maybe eight years old, with a huge cock up his ass, his legs twisted and bent back over his body, and an expression of pain, humliation, and terror on his face.

I don't know what to say to you, Allset. People get off on the most disturbing things, just like this sick bastard who probably whacks off to this photo on his computer screen. Your need to be whipped is just as incomprehensible to me, and just as disturbing.

I like you, Allset, but your desire to tease is one of the qualities I detest in women. Maybe it's because I'm too fat, or too ugly, and maybe I'd be a tease if I wasn't. But somehow I doubt that, because I'm not a tease in cyberspace, where many men have believed me to be beautiful.

Is pain a noble word? Living through pain has brought changes to my life and self I can't imagine living without. But your kind of pain is something else, Allset, and none of your explanations make any sense to me. That's what it takes to make you feel alive? No, you're right, it's not as disturbing as it seems- it is more disturbing.

I do crave sex, as I have never craved it before. I used to resent every orgasm any man ever had with me, because I felt nothing and they just kept pounding it into me, again and again. I used to feel angry and jealous when they came. I don't feel that now. It just makes me hotter to feel Gaby's cock throbbing as he comes, to hear his breathing growing ragged, to hear him moan. Through his patience, enduring my panic and fear, he is teaching me to love sex. I couldn't give a blow job when I came here. I just kept saying, 'I can't'.

I will probably never understand, Allset, as much as I try. In fantasy, bdsm makes some sense to me, but in reality it is perverse.

From: Nichelle
Date: 22 July 1996
Subject: Remova o papel antes de recarregar

Gabriel fixed our entire system by putting a few more of those "remove paper" stickers on the printer. When he says he's a genius, he's not joking. It's been a long and stressful night, but I'm trying out our new e-mail system to make sure I (oops, I mean Gabe) have got it working right.

A suggestion for the MOO, negatron and Terry (Teri). I suggest that the four of us get together when things look like they're pretty much ready to go, and at that time we can all review everything that has been done on the MOO. If any of us has a problem, then there will be a vote. I suggest this be a standing policy- if any of us has a problem with something, all four will vote on it. Don't worry about being out-voted every time, Terry... Gaby and I don't agree on everything, we won't always vote as a unit, and it still takes three of us to make a decision. Another thing I mentioned to Terry on the MOO... I thought that we had decided to give out programmer bits to deserving people who request them. Has this changed? I was sure that negatron felt strongly about giving out prog bits.

negatron, do you know how to specify fonts in html?

I'm beat. I'm getting off this crazy thing. Let's hope it works. Good night, and remember:

Remova o papel antes de recarregar
Quite el papel antes de volver a cargar
Enlevez le papier avant de recharger
Remove Paper before reloading

-Stiff Lips

From: SAGReiss
Date: (This message has not been sent.)
Subject: Robber's knowledge

"'L'ascendant, nous dit-il, qu'a pris le ministre, dependrait de la connaissance qu'a le ravisseur de la connaissance qu'a la victime de son ravisseur', textuellement: the robber's knowledge of the loser's knowledge of the robber."

From: SAGReiss
Date: 23 July 1996
Subject: (no subject)

"Anyway I'm glad we talked. I have to get to bed soon. I've described half the rooms. Nichelle will put them in tonight. I'll work on the rest. Friday I'm free all day. I'll try not to get drunk first thing in the morning and waste the whole time. I don't know if you two have people who want to get on the MOO, but a lot of people on Lambda are asking me about it. That's fine about prog bits. I'm not too worried about the theme text. How about if we agree that two voices on any issue can call a vote, to avoid superfluous bullshit? I know you two are doing all the work, but I can't do it. I've also spent a year of my life thinking about this, planning it. You don't think the list and web and MOO happened by accident, do you?

RECTVM VINUM
Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss

From: Terry
Date: 23 July 1996
Subject: Re: Remova o papel antes de recarregar

RE: Programming bits

One of the stipulations of our site where the MOO is housed is in database size. I made it clear to the provider that we would not be giving out prog bits, thereby reassuring him that the database size would be kept to a minimum.

I spoke with John concerning prog bits early this morning. He agrees that we should not give them out; but if one seems to be necessary and/or needful and/or beneficial, then a prog bit will be given out. I propose that a vote be taken by the four of us (Gabe, Nichelle, John and I) concerning the dispensing of prog bits. IMHO, less than 2-3% of the population of the MOO should have prog bits. The more that are given out, the larger the database AND the less we can insure a spam free environment. We would also need to address the issue of prog bit abuse. I, for one, say that if they abuse it, they lose it. No second chances.

John and I (especially John) have spent many, many hours working on the MOO... and it looks as though it could be ready to go before the proposed Labor Day opening. Thanks, John, for your hard work!

Teri

From: Nichelle
Date: 24 July 1996
Subject: Of cabbages and kings

If I really loved Gabriel, I would have bought him a bagel yesterday when I grabbed one for lunch. So, to prove that my heart pitter-patters for him alone, I made a special trek up to Brueggers this morning to buy two pumpernickel bagels. After breakfast, I was told that Gabe is going to stick a cabbage up my 'poopie-hole', a point we've been disputing all day. Luckily for me, there were no cabbages at the market.

I'm surprised we didn't wake Gabe with our door-slamming on the MOO tonight. Terry and John are working their asses off (not that Gabe and I are slackers- we're just not programmers), and I know it's hard, but we've got to be able to make some concessions without taking things too personally. We've come a long way. Let's take a deep breath. Let's also make a date for the four of us to meet on RL MOO and discuss some of this stuff. Since the work has begun on the MOO, the four of us haven't really been in one place together. When can we meet?

I've got an interview at 1:00 tomorrow for some dumb-ass receptionist job at a construction place. I'm going to take it if they offer me the job. I'm exhausted. Gabe was pretty worn out too, after a trip downtown, to the grocery store, but mostly because his elaborate plot to swindle the transit system failed. To be honest, I'm glad. I wouldn't want any extra cabbage money sitting around.

Murder, you'll get that duet as soon as I can remember which end to blow in. What have you been up to, man? I miss you.

From: Terry
Date: 23 July 1996
Subject: Re: Of cabbages and kings

RE: Making concessions

I feel like I've made all the concessions, not some. But, it doesn't matter. I've given this much thought and decided that I'll work my ass off and not hassle the three of you with my personal likes and dislikes. It isn't worth the *door slamming*.

I irritated John, I know. I apologize, John... I know how hard you've worked irl and then on the MOO. Do please accept my apology.

We are experiencing cultural differences. We are from different areas of North America. This is to be expected.

Frankly, I think we've done well. A little disagreement here and there is REAL LIFE. :)

Teri

From: Nichelle
Date: 24 July 1996
Subject: Man errs as long as he strives.

Because you and John are doing the programming work, it feels like you and him against Gabe and me. I *do* feel like there is a lot of door slamming going on. With four people all trying to make their individual ideas work together, there is bound to be some difference of opinion. It is no reflection on anyone's opinion of you if they happen to criticize an idea that happened to be yours. For example, Gabe's comment about a verb or something... to be able to read *that* many texts and only make *one* comment, and that about what is probably an inadvertent grammatical slip or something (I don't know exactly what the sentence in question was)...

But you are not the only one who is making concessions. As I see it, you and John basically have control over what is going on with the MOO at the moment, and Gabe and I haven't been able to say much or contribute much. I find it very frustrating, and I consider that, in a way, to be an enormous concession on our part. You haven't known Gabriel as long as I have, but the amount of energy, thought, and time he has put into this is incredible.

The plans for this MOO were in place in Gabriel's head before I met him on Lambda MOO, on February 26th. He pleaded, persuaded, and lectured me about such a beautiful tool being wasted on swine. February 26th was not the first time he said or felt these things. I have seen things grow from more or less the very beginning. All I missed was about a half-dozen girls writing e-mail to Gabriel asking him who the hell he is and not to write them any more of his scary letters.

What we are attempting is, at least to me, a lot more important than somebody's wording in a help text, or room descriptions, or how many people can be in a private room at once. Those are decisions that need to be made, but let's keep the bigger picture in mind. Yes, we have done well so far. But we're not done yet, and it's going to be hard to get this thing ready to roll if we don't do better than last night.

Nobody is ganging up on you, Terry. You're not the only one making concessions. I've seen people gang up on someone, and if you really want to know what it is like, go hang out on Lambda when Gabe is on and listen to those assholes tell him he's an idiot and a busboy, then retreat to the dictionary because they don't understand what he has just said.

I appreciate the hard work you two have done. It is incredible to me. You're working your asses off. But no, we don't expect Terry to work her ass off without stating her opinions and thoughts any more than she can expect us to contribute as much as we possibly can and not make an occasional comment or suggestion.

I've got a job interview today, and I hope I get the stupid thing. More later. I've got to leave for now, and quietly shut the door.

-Stiff Lips

From: SAGReiss
Date: 24 July 1996
Subject: Prolegomena

There's been some confusion about the squabbling and bickering and why the power structure of RL MOO is set up the way it is. Since only Comecabra and Jeff have been with us from the beginning, followed a couple of weeks later by Stiff Lips (who obviously is privy to some things the rest of you might not even imagine), an historical perspective might shed light on things. First, however, I would ask you all to keep in mind that we are twelve human beings, four of whom are trying to work together in cyberspace, each with his own personality. Some fighting is inevitable. It's not as if doors never get slammed in Apartment 7, nor where you live. Remember this and don't take all of the rows too seriously. Very soon after I began using the MOO, during the winter of 1994-1995, I realized that here was a medium (e-mail and cyberspace, as I make no great distinction between the two) build to fit my genius, a technology which was, on the one hand, exponentially increasing the quantity of text written and read by the average undergraduate asshole and, on the other hand, favoring exactly those elements of language which come to the fore in a theory of language I'd spent fifteen years elaborating (see bibliography on the web site). By the summer of 1995 I realized that I would need my own MOO. Unfortunately at that time I was kicked off the university server thanks to Jeanne of DU, lost my university job and been rejected by no less than seven other graduate schools. During the fall I experimented with a number of brain-dead borrowed 'puters and collected a few e-mail addresses. My idea was to begin with a listserv, which was the only technology I knew how to use, figuring anyone with an ear for the English language exposed to my weird e-mail on a daily basis would fall under its spell and I'd eventually find the geeks I needed to carry on and further my evil schemes. One Sunday I connected to the Living Room and this was the first thing I saw: "negatron says: 'LOSE THE FUCKING SPAM'" I thought: "This is a man of my own heart." A few seconds later he confirmed my first reaction: "ever had one of those days when you don't feel like doing anything but lying in bed watching tv eating nachos and masturbating?" I got offline for a few months and he emigrated to ID MOO and I didn't see him again for a while. Meanwhile, on 22 February I began: "Move out the way motherfuckers..." I started with Comecabra and Jeff, Calamity Kate and Sweet Lou, the latter two no longer on the university 'puter system, unbeknownst to me, and a few other people none of whom are on the list anymore. Soon I realized that the next feasable step was a web page and began designing one. Five days later I met Stiff Lips in the sex room and things really began to take off. Let's step back a minute. There were two ways I considered orgasmizing the listserv. One would put me totally in control, using blind copies. That way I would rule the list as the only member who knew the others' addresses. If you don't think addresses are power, look in your mailbox and count the junk mail you get because someone sold his mailing list. The other, which I chose, was to make the whole thing open, including the possibility that members could send eachother e-mail behind my back. The MOO functions in much the same way. I am not the Archasshole because I have chosen not to be, and not because I don't write 'puter code. I could have thought my way around that obstacle. My place on the list/web/MOO is whatever it is because I willed this project into existence, because I brought you here, because I tend to write the most, although I hope some day this will no longer be true and because of whatever moral and intellectual authority I can muster. I wanted to avoid having any special powers other than those which are naturally mine. I prefer to argue about some things, lose some of those arguments, to dominating because I can @toad your ass whenever I wish. As I said at the time of the first mutiney, even the challenges to my authority were anticipated by myself. Archdeluxe and negatron are good people. I have trusted to them what I see as my life's work because I think they are trustworthy. Being a wizard does not mean one can't get drunk, tired or cranky, as yduJ has abundantly proven. Ultimately what the MOO is is what we, all of us, make of it. It's not the theme page that will make a difference. It's what happens when we actually open it up to the public. For this I'm counting on all of you. Whether you're there for cybersex or help with your homework, if we keep it spamless, witty and intelligent, we will have created something unique to cyberspace. One last word. When I speak of my efforts to make this undertaking come to life, I'm not talking about looking up quotations or writing a text, even if I've written a thousand pages of e-mail since 22 February. I'm talking about the thousands of hours I've spent on the MOO, fighting, struggling, weeping and bleeding, trying to get people to engage in meaningful dialogue, thousands of hours looking for you, people willing to do so. Stiff Lips can tell you something about how long and how hard I've MOOed, exposing myself to every cheap punk who wants to tell me I'm not an intellectual because I say "fuck", or paradoxically to get a life because I read too much, or calls me a busboy. I open myself up to these hateful and spurious and scurilous attacks every day. I do it because I believe in the inherent good of truth. No, I don't write code, but I think I pull my own weight. I've taken more than one for the team...

RECTVM VINUM
Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss

From: SAGReiss
Date: 24 July 1996
Subject: RL MOO

VERBA VOLANT. SCRIPTA MANENT.

WILKOMMEN. BIENVENU. WELCOME.

THE REAL LIFE MOO

This is not a toy. This is not a game. This is real life. There's no such thing as virtual reality. RL MOO is dedicated to the pursuit of linguistic research and literary creation. It's the text-based equivalent of a conference call. It is also a new medium for art, education and communication. Moreover, RL MOO is an experiment in anarchist politics. There are as few rules as conceivably possible without putting the whole undertaking in jeopardy.

Real life means that members use their real name (first and/or last) or some reasonable approximation of it. For example, the technical directors call themselves Terry and John. RL MOO evaluates requests for membership with this criterion, among others, in mind. Similarly it is strongly recommended that members use their description not to play out some cheap fantasy, but simply to describe a few of their mental, physical and/or moral attributes. Our technical directors characterize themselves as, respectively: "cheerful, buxom, math geek," and "tall, melancholy, white-trash hacker". Descriptions, teleport entrances and exits, page origins and echos are all limited to one line of text. This restriction is intended to foster the thoughtful use of both words and database memory.

The linguistic theory which inspires RL MOO holds that, while cybertext is ostensibly written language, it shares far more conventions with spoken language, but differs from both in many innovative and exhilerating ways. Quoting Poe's *Purloined Letter* Jacques Lacan asks: "Qu'est-ce qu'une lettre, sinon une parole qui s'envole?" Similarly, RL MOO's esthetic theory holds that cybertext represents a new and thrilling medium for the creation of literature in real time.To further the stated research goals of RL MOO, public rooms may be logged at any time and without forewarning. We hope you understand the necessity of gathering linguistic data to work with. RL MOO holds exclusive copyright to logs used for commercial purposes (see help copyright). Members may log text for personal use only.

The politics of RL MOO are simple. If there were a theatre, one could yell: "Fire!" RL MOO is utterly committed to first amendment rights and freedom of speech on the internet. That means members can say anything they want, in any language, with total impunity. The worst that can happen is that everyone gags them. There's no disputing, no arbitration, no booting, except by the technical staff under conditions defined below. Guests have the same rights as members. There are only two rules. First, one must be twenty-one or older to connect. Any site which is used by someone under twenty-one will be permanently barred and bannished from RL MOO, so one must be careful whom one lets use the computer. Second, anyone who tries to hack RL MOO or its database will be ruthlessly and unforgivingly toaded (permanently expelled). Members are not normally allowed to program, so any and all unauthorized programming will be deemed hacking and meet with harsh repressive measures.

Please help us keep this environment spamless and free. If someone harrasses you, don't complain, gag him. We hope you will enjoy your stay. Talk about school, work, leisure, family and friends. Above all, be honest and forthright and you may discover a new kind of MOO experience. Vale.

RECTVM VINUM
Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss

From: Nichelle/SAGReiss
Date: 25 July 1996
Subject: http://www.dreamscape.com/sagreiss/rlmoo.htm

Well, we're on the web. Most of the links work, only the "What is a MOO?" and "A sample MOO text." documents still need to be added. Have a look and let us know what you think. I'm too tired to write much else about it. I just want to eat quiche. I'm going to let Gabriel take over.

-Stiff Lips

Nichelle has worked very hard today and made a beautiful web page for us. I'm very happy, she's very tired and I hope you'll all be pleased. What I like most about the page is that it's not in my dour, dark and somewhat psychopathic style. It's her own thang... She's still working out some kinks, I'm working on the definition of a MOO. We welcome your suggestions. What we really wanted for an icon theme was an elephant shot of negatron, but it took up too much space on our hard drive, so we had to settle for second best.

RECTVM VINUM
Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss

From: Terry
Date: 26 July 1996
Subject: MOO definition

A MUD (Multi-User Dimensions) is a computer program that applies the principle of shared memory to the act of communications. Users *telnet* into the host computer, usually.
Telnet is the Internetworking protocol that serves as the standard by which the connected computers understand each other.
There are many offshoots of the MUD concept. One of these families of variations is called MOO (MUD Object-Oriented). MOOs offer a high degree of programming flexibility, which lends itself to an interesting, though somewhat surreal, environment for socializing and discussions.
MOO was developed by Pavel Curtis and the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (Xerox PARC), where most of the concepts defining modern microcomputers were invented. The home for MOO is LambdaMOO (lambda,parc.xerox.com 8888).
Once you have a character on a MOO, you will have an online avatar through which to act and interact with others from all over the world. Your environment can usually be customized to your particular tastes.

From: SAGReiss
Date: 27 July 1996
Subject: Copywrite

Yesterday was my thirty-third birthday and not one of you bastards, except Strawtop who had to ask me when it was, wished me well or even sent an e-mail message by accident. Some friends I've got. So fuck you. Stiff Lips and I had a nice day. We began Thursday night with a beautiful quiche [to Allset]: 2 cups heavy creme, three eggs, bacon and nutmeg for a nine-inch pie. Friday we began with the traditional bedroom celebrations, followed by opening the presents: a Shosti CD and six (Sechs isch ke zahl. Es isch e hobby.) Brighton cristal wine glasses. People often wrongly infer that I or my family has a francophile culture. In fact we are all anglophile. I hate the French, which brings us to our newest friend, Pariserle. For once I'll translate. Pariserle is Alsatian for condom. Anyway the glasses are very anti-French, the kind of thing one would sip sherry from at tea. They are beautiful. Next we went to the library and watched Marat/Sade which was very weird and very beautiful. Stiff Lips didn't like the sleazy, bad-Broadway musical numbers, but I found them very tasteful. On the MOO Strawtop asked me a question about what may be logged on RL MOO and this keyed a crazy discussion about the ethics of logging and posting private conversations. My feelings are simple. If someone sends me a letter, I can do with it what I please. The same holds true for cybersex or anything else. I ended up once again branded a "psychological rapist" (If you don't believe me ask negatron.) and a child-molester and God knows what else. You people wouldn't believe the pages I get. Some dude paged me yesterday and says: "I've been getting hate mail from people because I was nice to you in the living room the other day." I had no idea who he is. What, some guy says Hi to me and people write him hate mail? I liked your story, Strawtop, about the blind man showing you the MOO in return for a couple of hand jobs. I wouldn't worry too much about self-consciousness on RL MOO. The Grand Opening may feel a little awkward: "OK, someone say something really witty." I don't know, someone can say: "SUK MI DICK" and we can all play "Who'd you rather?" or I'll think of something. Trust me... (OK, so I fill in one or two details from time to time like the one Strawtop forgot to mention. Anyone who thinks a written representation of the world can faithfully render it is a dumb-ass and deserves to be lied to.) Anyway supper was fresh, cheese-filled spinach tortellini pomodori and a pecan pie made with brandy in which vanilla beans have been marinated.

RECTVM VINUM
Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss

From: SAGReiss
Date: 27 July 1996
Subject: Re: RLMOO Message(s) 8

Archdeluxe, I like this text. I wonder about the sentence: 'The home for MOO...' and the sentence: 'Your environment...' I also think you might add something about what actually happens on a MOO (socializing). I think this would add to the technical and historical background. Could you also flesh out the paragraphs? I find some of it interesting, but hard to follow. I would do all this myself, but I don't want us to put up something written in two styles by two hands. Don't be angry with me.

RECTVM VINUM
Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss

From: Terry
Date: 28 July 1996
Subject: Re: RL MOO

I read the first word and cracked up... ArchDeluxe. Heh. Been called several things, but that's a good one. :) I like.

Anyway. Angry with you? *sigh* You don't know me very well... I very rarely get angry. Unfortunately, you're the one that I blew up with a few weeks ago. RL shit is happening to me right now and my frustration spilled over to you, Scott. I'm very sorry. I'm usually a very good-natured person.

Ok... the sentences. The home for MOO is LambdaMOO. That's the *parent* of MOOs, in general. I'll try to make it more understandable. As for the environment sentence... well, I'm speaking of the MOO environment. I'll try to clarify.

I put that text together in about 10 minutes; I was in a hurry. I thought you were just wanting some information, so that's what I gave you. But, yes, I'll expand on it some and try to be less technical. If you have something else in mind, and just want to use my info as reference material, I'm OK with that. :) Just let me know.

I checked out the RLMOO webpage and Nichelle did a GREAT job. So, for those of you that haven't checked it out, it's cool. Do so at your convenience. Congrats, Nichelle, on a job very well done. :)

Well, gotta run...
Teri, ArchDeluxe of RLMOO (heh)

From: Nichelle
Date: 29 July 1996
Subject: First date with your left hand

Are the rest of you like Gaby and me? Our mail program checks the e-mail every five minutes and plays Handel's Hallelujah Chorus if we get something. We were both surprised and amused when the chorus kicked up this afternoon during a rather intimate moment. It's a good thing I learned how to laugh and "play" at the same time in 5th grade band. I'm not sure what you're doing out there. Are you saving up all of your good stories for your "What I did last summer" essay on the first day of class? I understand Quodlibet is using that as her dissertation topic.

I know what Gabriel, negatron, ArchDeluxe and I have been up to. Allset, I'm a little disappointed that you didn't respond to my last letter. Did I offend you? And what about you, Laurent? Are you waiting for some of my juicy secrets? Gabriel had an idea I liked. I'm not sure how true to his idea this proposal is, but he had a fair chance to make it himself. Here it is:

We each write the best fuck story we've got, but... you gotta give to get, sugar plum. So when you send yours to us (sagreiss@dreamscape.com not the whole list), you get copies of all the stories anyone else sends. I will begin tonight or tomorrow, so when I get yours, mine at least will be ready. Any takers? I won't even let Gaby read mine until I've got his in my hot little hands (his story, that is). Don't worry, negatron... if you haven't got a fuck story, write what you know...

From: SAGReiss
Date: 30 July 1996
Subject: Soft 'n' wet

"And how would you like your eggs, Ma'am?" "Soft and wet." My left eyebrow rose to its zenith as the famous archarrogant waiter look came across my face: "I beg your pardon, Ma'am?" "Soft and wet." "Soft and wet, Ma'am?" That got a big laugh in the kitchen. I woke up at six this morning, two hours late. I called the hotel only to find that the two openers were already there. I said I'd be there in half an hour. Stiff Lips then tells me that my boss had called and told me to come in at six instead of eight. By the time I got to work I wasn't sure if I was an hour early or an hour late. The boss strolls in around noon in a great mood. She must have got laid last night and this morning. I had my yearly evaluation. I thought she was going to crucify me. I'm waiting to be fired from one day to the next, searching for another job. Tomorrow evening we're going to have supper at Le Rendez-Vous and I'll introduce myself to the owner. My mission in life is to work in this French restaurant in the rich suburbs with a chef who speaks English like Colouche on crack. Anyway she offered me a raise, pending approval of course... What the fuck is going on? I got my highest grades in dependability, hygiene and hospitality. I thought I was 'nonchalant'. [to Colin]: My dream, now more or less of a reality, was to set up a communications network with an inner circle (the listserv, aka the World), an outer circle (RL MOO) and a link between the two (the web pages). I have no problem with sound or video as enhancements so long as it remains text-based. You and Stiff Lips both have convinced me that the inconveniences of voice-based MOOs are too great. I'm very happy about that. Could you imagine being in the living room and actually having to listen to all that dumb-ass bullshit? On the other hand, I have no problem with Stiff Lips' putting my drunken warbling of the Ode on the page, or your singing "My Grandfather was a Pigfucker" on the MOO from time to time. [to all]: RL MOO will open at one minute past midnight Eastern US time on Monday 5 August. Requests for characters may already be addressed to Terry. Full bar. Casual attire.

RECTVM VINVM
Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss

From: SAGReiss
Date: 31 July 1996
Subject: L'Etre et le neant

Yesterday I had quite a shock. Listening for the upteenth time to Eugene Ormandy's interpretation of the Ninth, my stunned ears heard:

Freude trinken alle Menschen
An den Brüsten der Natur ;
Alle Guten, alle Bösen
Folgen ihrer Rosenspur.
Küsse gab sie uns und Reben,
Einen Freund, gepruft im Tod ;
Wollust ward dem Wurm gegeben,
Und der Cherub steht vor Gott.

I have listened again and again. My ears do not deceive me. The three written editions of the poem I have seen, including the one in the program notes of the Ormandy production, say: "Freude trinken alle Wesen".

From: SAGReiss
Date: 31 July 1996
Subject: Welcome screen

Wilkommen. Bienvenu. Welcome.

RL MOO (The Real Life MOO)

"In the twenty-first century e-novels will be written online."

Valid commands are: WELcome, who, COnnect, quit, UPtime, or version.

You must be twenty-one or older to connect. Please use your real name.

Type: co name password
Or: co guest name

********** Please read "help disclaimer" after logging on **********
********** Please read all information in the "help center" *********

RECTVM VINVM
Scott Alexander Gabriel Reiss

June 1996

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