From the Unsaid Archives: Dummy By David Hollander (From Unsaid Seven)



(…the understanding here of course being that if the rope were to support the man’s weight the question would be answered, but if the rope was severed we’d have to find another rope, which given the expanse of desert and the lack of… oh hell, excuse me for a moment….)

Well. Look at you. What a pathetic shit-smelling collection of testicle-bags. We have been challenged, you worthless maggots, to dismantle and retire the remaining dummies and to see to it that no dummy ever again curses a plate glass storefront or series of storefronts with its inexplicable hideousness. And we will do that or we will fucking die trying, which by the way you’re all going to die trying. So let me inform you dildo-machines of the limits of your jurisdiction as members of this supposedly elite unit: You do not, not ever, ask or even consider the question, Who manufactured this dummy? or Why does this dummy exist? A dummy does not get a name or a nickname or a pet name. A dummy is not your dummy. A dummy shall not be referred to as willful or as hungry or as incompetent. A dummy shall not, in your reports or in your minds, be said to appear fatigued or to seem sad, or to be showing signs of submission. We will not use the language of suffering to refer to any dummy nor will we attach any innerness to a dummy’s outward physical deterioration which, by the way, you can expect to see a good deal of outward physical deterioration given the range of assaults these dummies have already endured at the hands of the preceding class of graduates from this fine and noble academy that has forever sullied its reputation by permitting a group of halfwits like this one to commence into God’s good grace. Any breech of these anti-intentionality protocols will be met with swift punishment. Test me, gentlemen, and you shall know for the first time in your pathetic miserable worthless lives the true meaning of pain.

Let me also be crystal clear about this fact: Our higher-ups shall never be identified and asking about our higher-ups will again find you face to face with pain. I look forward to your questions.

The dummies you have sworn to destroy have resisted many of our love-based weapons and they seem impervious to charm. The dummies have also seemed determined—oh, do you see what I just did, you worthless shit-mongers? The dummies have seemed determined. In fact a dummy determines nothing. It is a soulless collection of rubber organs and latex flesh and glass eyes that will indeed appear to see right through you though in fact there is nothing behind those chocolate brown irises, nothing worth loving or despising, nothing worth wanting to save. Nor would a dummy save you, even if it were not a dummy and even if these ground rules were lifted in favor of giving-a-dummy-the-benefit-of-the-doubt, because just look at you hopeless vaginal secretions, who knows how you even fucking got here. I guess Denny’s wasn’t hiring on the miserable morning you signed your life over to your Uncle. In my day the Academy was a hell of a lot more discriminating.

Now I see some of you gazing over toward the steel doors, maybe wondering, Why are these enormous steel doors necessary and why is it so fucking hot in here? I have even heard several of you there in the back mumbling about the doors and wondering why there is no discernible source of ventilation. To all of you I say shut your fucking mouths. We’re right on pace to get you out there dismantling dummies according to the timetable established by the higher-ups and yes okay just go ahead, just ask me about the higher-ups, I would fucking love it.


(And meanwhile in the barracks:

“… but if there’s one thing I’ve learned in my five tours it’s that all questions lead down into a dark pit of increasingly dark-pitted questions. Where are we? Here’s a hint—these ain’t barracks. Hell man, we might just as well be on fucking Mars. C’mon, don’t bogart that thing.”)


The Greeks, gentlemen, had a word for the condition you have each exhibited and which condition served as a prerequisite for your recruitment into this once-prestigious shadow unit, and that word is “solipsism.” Solipsism is the belief, you ass-eating tampons, that no one and nothing in the world exists but ME. For you solipsists, even your higher-ups are inventions, phantoms conjured up by your own solitary minds and given by those same diseased and unattractive minds the powerful illusions of solidity and autonomy. Well guess what, you useless fuckpies? You are all right. Nothing is real and nothing exists except for you. And you. And… oh Christ, hold still a minute maggots, I’ve gotta take this….

(Hell yes I was explaining it earlier…. Look, if the rope breaks it doesn’t prove a goddamn thing. The only way to know for sure would be to hang it again. See? Unless you’ve got the time and resources for an infinite number of hangings… well what is there to “get,” Corporal? Jesus H. Fucking Christ, have him call me himself the next time. I’ll tell him right over the phone what he is. And guess what? Guess the fucking answer!)

Now where was I dimwits? Oh yes—you are right. There’s only you! If there were others, don’t you think that by now you’d have some proof, some definitive fucking proof, of a single other mind? You are right. And you are. And you. And you. And you mumblers back there who will have your fucking throats cut if you continue to disrespect the uniform, you’re right too. You are all correct to suspect the obvious: the world is not a world, or at the least the world is not the world that your lonely pathetic ramshackle minds have Genesised. If any of you cocksucking rodents were paying an iota of attention during the most vital portion of your Academy studies which were absolutely a waste of your time given that you were made to do one and only one thing with your flesh-skeletons namely slaughter dummies or be slaughtered trying but nevertheless, the unit on Descartes may have been of some vague cross-pollinatory use given the hellacious combat in which you are about to find yourself engaged. Cogito Ergo Sum, you hapless rectal suppositories, implies no other. What proof do you have that when you leave this room the room will go on existing? What makes you think that your fellow recruits, once sent on their various dummy-infiltration assignments, will go on living? I don’t mean living as opposed to dying, I mean living as opposed to fucking nothingness. It’s too hard to work through the details. Trust your old wise General who balances only one or two rungs below the higher-ups whose identities are to you as the apple was to that stinking garden whore: there’s only you and it’s good that deep down you have intuited that since the day you took your first bite of solid food and shat it out your diaper-hole. It takes some of the pressure off and of course dissuades the completely irrational tendency toward empathy which tendency is the only fucking reason the dummies continue to exist. Excuse me for a moment while I deal with some of my immense inner sadness that threatens to destroy me!


Talk Therapy (Operation Desert Haystack)

: In the dark with the music playing you might not even know. Its parts are soft, warm, lifelike. There are ways of telling, but in the heat of passion… well, there’s a reason the dummies have made it this far.

: But I’m sure it’s a person. She. I’m sure she’s a person like me.

: Certainty is a funny thing. It implies the possibility of being wrong. I was certain I left my car keys here on the desk, and yet no keys. I was certain she’d say yes to my proposal of marriage and yet despair and loneliness. I was certain he’d never lied to me. I was certain I knew the way. I was certain she was not—

: You’re trying to confuse me with semantics.

: Am I?

: Are you?

: Tell me about your mother.

: Seriously?

: Yes?

: She was an alcoholic and I hated her with great intensity. She’s dead—you know that, right? My old doctor sent you my file?

: Did she ever abuse you, fuckwad?

: Excuse me?

: I said did your alcoholic mother ever levy her alcoholic rage against your extremely vulnerable and half-witted personhood?

: Doctor, we’re talking about my girlfriend.

: We were. Now we’re talking about your obviously-unfit-for-childrearing mother, who might also have been one of them. If she were not tainting the good earth with her decomposing component-parts we’d find out.

: One of them?

: Don’t be coy. I’m the doctor.

: Where are we right now? I don’t recognize this office.

: Your mother—did you ever have occasion to see her internal organs? Perhaps you watched the surgeons remove liver tumors while leaning forward in your armchair in one of those creepy observation-mezzanines, hoping she’d bleed out on the table?

: I’m sorry. I’m leaving now.

: You can’t. Unless the rope holds.

: Excuse me?

: Otherwise we’ll simply move to a second location deeper in the desert. Or you could sign now.

: Sign what?

: That door’s not even a door.

: (—)

: You’re what we call a sympathizer. Only one step removed from an empathizer.

: Are you a doctor?

: Almost. I’m a Corporal.

: This is absurd.

: Right.

Every Day is Recruitment Day

Out in the world that is not a world 31 million Ugandans move through and around Uganda doing Ugandan things such as: curing coffee in enormous curing hangars; manufacturing cement from particulate stone-dust which inhaled in sufficient quantities results in painful and deadly lung lesions; shopping in open-air markets for light textiles and national delicacies with the hum and thrum of the crowd humming and thrumming and pickpocketing children aswarm; having sexual intercourse in houses, in tents, in outdoor locations both secluded and exposed (there are approximately 20,000 Ugandan adults engaged in sex acts at any given moment); urinating over the side of something or other; swimming in Lake Victoria or repairing pipes that carry Lake Victoria’s water to homes and industries throughout the country (the pipes are always rupturing in Uganda); climbing mountains such as Mt. Emin and Mt. Baker and Mt. Gessi so as to cross into other nations to do other things some of which you’ll find indexed in your Handbook of Unlikelihoods; building dummies at a rate that roughly sustains the population; dreaming of oceans; slaughtering livestock; dredging up minerals via deadly extraction techniques that some have claimed are destroying the world that is not a world in addition to killing miners in swift and hideous fashion; walking around aimlessly or, just as often, with aim; riding bicycles; sampling packaged snack-cakes delivered from more prosperous nation-states; sailing across Lake Albert; hugging mothers; burying fathers; sobbing beside commodes; repairing internal combustion engines or scrapping them (3 American cents a pound for scrap metal); reading fairy tales to children; whipping children with sticks; drawing in the dust with sticks; collecting a certain edible swamp-plant from the marshes of the Nile River watershed; making rope by hand from hemp; applying cosmetics (only the wealthy); holding hands on city streets; enduring epileptic seizures; staring in awe at the body of an enormous gorilla not shot by poachers but entirely intact and simply dead beneath the jungle canopy (seated and hunched over, dummy-like, at the waist); playing futbol; regarding pictures of the world’s tallest skyscrapers in a book plucked from atop a red and black striped blanket spread out across a makeshift table at a market on the outskirts of Kampala; eating rare confections at a party thrown by the brother of the President; trudging barefoot through dust so white it seems bleached; painting pictures of mountains and of endemic passion fruits; masturbating; slashing wrists open while relaxing in wooden tubs of warm water; dying of AIDS; changing diapers; cooking with matoke (some sort of banana-like starch); singing to children; choking on their own blood; arriving too late at ramshackle hospitals where the bodies are stored unrefrigerated among the egg-laying flies; eating nuts; writing stories about dummies; sampling for the first time an American milkshake, overcome with joy; firing AK-47 assault rifles into the air, into cardboard targets, into each other; spreading national pride through folklore via interpersonal interfacing; reading aloud from decade-old textbooks in the cramped interior of rural elementary schools; harvesting food from the ground or from the trees or from wherever they grow their fucking food; filling tires with air; hand-painting a sign advertising wares for a local business; operating a crane; and etc.

“Now you tell me, citizen: is this or is this not the most ridiculous fucking thing you’ve ever heard? Here’s a pen: sign your fucking name already. We’ll have you in Basic by the end of the day.”


(Barracks, cont.

I’m not sure. But I think that maybe there’s only the camp and that it like, subsumes the world we reportedly arrived from. Which means—here man, like this—which means by extension that there are no dummies unless we’re the dummies. Which means by extension that dummies and non-dummies are all the same. Which means by extension that elsewhere in this camp—whoa! I’m really feeling that—that elsewhere in this camp there is a rally in which we are being pitched as the enemy dummies. Which means by extension that this is what we call a closed loop or a tautology. Which means by extension that you, my friend, are only ‘real’ because you’re here in my so-called barracks, bunking beside so-called me. The minute you vacate these quarters I’ll be forced to either A.) deny your existence or B.) slaughter the living fuck out of you. No it’s not a threat. You don’t make it here for as long as I have by making threats. I’m trying to teach you something. What I do is keep my fucking mouth shut—what you’ll do I have no idea. Shit this is out again.”)


All right, all right, where were we fuck-worms? I’m told by the higher-ups that you’ll be broken into teams, which would be enough to bring a smile to my face had my smiling-architecture not been long ago daggered loose by a dummy during a particularly arousing close-quarters encounter and so you’ll have to take your General’s word when I say I am in my preternaturally sophisticated mind smiling wide at the very thought of you lonely ass-fuckers gathering in teams so as to multiply your almost-guaranteed individual failings by an aggregate determined by some suit in a processing-cage who’s never once held a dummy at close range and whispered something sweet into its rubbery ear while developing a swift and excruciating erection. Men—and I use the term loosely—it is time to embrace your assignments and to ignore the heat and the lack of ventilation and the noises of other rallies occurring in adjacent chambers because in just a few moments, the doors open and you enter into the most important endeavor of your young and miserable lives which if I’m lucky will be coming to an end toot fucking sweet because I don’t know that I’ll be able to stand here again and address you dung-monkeys without firing this semiautomatic rifle into your soft and worthless bodies so much do you sicken this old General’s 99-percent dead and battle-blackened heart.

Take off your helmets and look beneath the cloth liner. You’ll find a number there. That is your team number, and shall remain your team number for the duration of your assignment or until we fucking tell you it is no longer your team number or until you abandon your post and are hunted down and executed in a manner befitting your cowardice, said manner being far too awesome to reveal to a bunch of grub-eating ape-fuckers like the ones I am currently interlocuting. Would anyone like to ask me about the higher-ups now? Now would be a great time. Oh Christ the sadness is back. Your old general has been a father to young non-dummies and he knows the pain of separation and fear and solitude. But he also knows that the same pain as occurring in you quote unquote men is a mere eidolon preventing the destruction of all that would destroy us. Give me a minute to compose myself, you fuckheads!


Talk Therapy, cont.

: Just put your head through this.

: Is this a real story?

: That’s what they always ask me. What do you weigh?

: About 175.

: Mmm. Well listen, I always say the same thing: I hope the rope holds.

: Me too?

: That’s a good one.

: Oh, I just thought of something. If it breaks can I still sign up?

: I’d have to call the General. But be warned, he’s sort of a prick.

: Believe me I know.

: Don’t try bonding. I’ve been incapable of caring since ’89.

: Can’t blame a dummy for trying.

: That too snug? Good. Now step up please. Kick or yank?


Every Day is Recruitment Day

It’s also reported that 7 billion tons of coal are excavated from the earth each year. Mind this is an earth that can be circled in mere hours by a swift-flying jet, which by the way there are reportedly swift-flying jets. Also, there are swift-moving trains that levitate on magnets and there are power plants that convert radioactive isotopes (whatever they are) to fuel-energy and there are satellites which are objects we’ve launched up into the sky and beyond the reported atmosphere and that just go around and around the planet that we’re gravitationally pinned to and by the way, we’re reportedly gravitationally pinned to a planet and that planet circles a reported sun 93 million miles distant and there are reportedly 70 sextillion suns in the reported universe and also it is reported that life originated from nothing which nothing was condensed into a point of near-infinite density and it is also reported that there is something called “infinity” which don’t even ask me about that and it is reported that by adding certain enzymes from the bellies of ruminants to certain forms of liquid-dispersant from the udders of ruminants you can create something called cheese, which I have had myself and will admit is delicious though what exactly an enzyme is is anyone’s guess and there are reportedly over six-billion dummies each of whom I suppose gets his or her own ton-plus of coal each year and how wasteful is that if you’re looking for a rallying point, and reportedly there is a nation called ‘Uganda’ which I believe the last recruiter spoke with you about? and reportedly we have invented something called the microchip which helps run machines which could be anything from a toaster to a nuclear-missile-launching supercomputer though I don’t believe you need a microchip to build a toaster but what do I know about it? and there are reportedly—”

Jesus, that’s enough. Just give me the fucking pen.”


Team One, you will be charged with physical abuse. As any dummy may have been manufactured to resemble the life form at any stage of its ontogenetic evolution we recommend consulting your fieldbook for maximally effective methods, though for instance should the dummy appear to you as an adolescent boy there is schoolyard bullying, parental beatings and/or sexual abuse provided there is no pleasure in it (the dummies convert our pleasure into a dangerous explosive and so under no circumstance are you to enjoy your work you shit-fucking ass-moles). These are of course examples and not recommendations and each case shall be treated on a case-by-case basis which means don’t try too hard to do what seems right because it will likely come back to haunt you anyway, that haunting taking the form of pain.

Team Two, you will be charged with evaluating the capacity for psychological abuse to form what is for our purposes the Holy Grail, namely a self-destroying dummy, the discovery of which would relieve us of the most difficult part of this whole preposterous endeavor, i.e., how do we get the fucker’s heart to stop beating?

Team Three, you are what we call Long Viewers. Examine the military-industrial complex. Look at the corporate infrastructures. Situate the dummy or dummies within a Modern Life substructure so alienating as to bring the dummy-illusion of Selfhood to a slow and grinding halt. If we can’t kill them we can at least make them more like us. Hold on a second…

(Oh Christ. Yes, okay. Okay. I’ll be down there in a minute, just keep it warm. Yes you fucking heard me, keep it warm, I might want to hug it.)

Sorry cockroaches… your General just received some good news. My eye-holes are filling with happiness fluid. Just give me a moment here… okay good, good, today is the first day of the rest of my life and so on and so forth.

Now be aware that these strategies are all an enormous smokescreen and that all of my tender rhetoric is designed to do one thing and one thing only: create an enormous smokescreen for my tender rhetoric. You want to know why you’re here? Well that makes one of us. Jesus, this is stupid… why is everything so stupid? We are going to open the doors now. You want some real advice, you miserable eunuchs? A dummy doesn’t always know it’s a dummy. You have to bring the dummy to it. Oh, and remember, you are a giant shitstain on the surface of the earth and nobody loves you. And also, seriously men, you can choose not to bring the dummy to it, you can just do your best to bloodlet the fucker, that would be merciful of you. I once showed a beautiful dummy the truth. Then I lived with it for fifteen years while it tried to drink away the dumminess. I was merciless. I fucked it twice a week and I sullied its latex skin with my sweat and semen and then I left it for dead and found another, younger dummy to afflict with my truth-telling. Do you see these bars, piss-monkeys? Do you see these medals? A man does what he must. Honestly I wish I were more like you maggots I really do. Are we ready? Okay we’re ready. Suppress your emotions, imbeciles. Suppress logic, too. Suppress rationality. Suppress caring. Suppress not-caring. Become one with the universe that hates your fucking heart. And prepare for a world of pain.

Open the fucking doors already!


(Barracks, cont.

So yeah, I once holed up with this dummy in—hey, this is kicked by the way—in what they call the East Village which is maybe fifteen hectares north of our current position. We were both tending bar at a place—shit man, you’re not gonna believe this but the fucking place was called Mars, I just fucking remembered that. Well anyway she was one hot fucking dummy. This was way before I got recruited though now I’m pretty sure we’re all recruited at birth. They want us to think we’re deciding. I’m not sure why yet, I’m working on that part. How long’s it take to pack that fucking thing? But yeah, so I’m holed up with this dummy and we’re going at it two or three times a fucking day, you know?, like totally into each other, in awe and wonder at our shit-ass luck at having found another person who likes sex as much as we each respectively do, and I’m telling myself all the time, Hey man, you are one happy lucky motherfucker, but I just could never believe it, you know? Like what does it mean that you have to tell yourself you’re happy? And the longer I’m with the dummy the more I realize that I’m not really with the dummy. See—shit man, we’ve gotta get some fucking beer in here—see, there’s always two me’s, there’s the me who’s like, fucking the dummy off the side of our shared bed at three in the morning with the neon from a neighboring restaurant’s signage pouring like bright blood through our open window, and then there’s the me who’s watching me fucking the dummy off the side of the bed and thinking things like, man this is the shit, this is like a fucking porno, flex your muscles a little, make it look right, you fucking dumbass.

The day I realized that the dummy was a dummy was the day I realized that there was only one of her to the two of me. That’s what they don’t want you to know around here. Shit, I’m so fucking high now. This is all told to you in like, highest confidence. Five tours man, I’m never going back. But then nobody is, right? Hey, I’ve got something better than this—you ever freebase?)


: Yes General. This one was human. You should have heard the neck snap. It was pretty fucking glorious.

: That’s my son you’re talking about Corporal. My little boy. I loved him like a… well I loved him.

: Yes sir. We’ll incinerate his useless carcass and scatter his ashes through the ventilation ducts.

: It’s a hell of a thing Corporal.

: So I’m told sir.

: Give us a minute. The old man’s got a few things to get off his chest.

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