The Mission Part III

Furniture on the streets made up a great deal of my apartment. Everyone was always throwing things away in a haste. That’s how you left San Francisco. You ran away shaking your head looking back over everything as you cross the bridge that leads into Oakland. It’s never pretty or grand. I guess when you leave a city for good, there’s a reason or a push. I don’t think you can ever really leave that city though. It’s a tax that gets collected and never given back in a refund.

Last night I was watching a documentary on Andy Jackson – President Jackson. They were talking about the fact that head had the Native Americans march down the trail of tears after they helped him fight for Georgia in the War of 1812. Everyone is forced to leave. What got me though was how they talked about the shoe makers of that time. How the industrial revolution was someone playing havoc on people like the Shoe maker who had spent most of their lives learning one trade. They were the go to person in whatever town they were in. Suddenly, with expansion, there was a shift.

Now little children in factories started operating machines that would spit out shoes that, though not similar in quality, were similar in function and cheaper to buy, allowing the consumer a choice. This choice put the skilled laborer out of work and set them off on their own trail of tears. It was a loss of money and a loss of self worth and self identification. This struck me through one of the characters we’re trying to create here – the Bike messenger who is slowly being taken away from a skill he developed that, when finished or phases out, can’t be taken anywhere. They are rendered useless outside their area of specialty.

I guess that was one thing about the vampires that I really enjoyed and respected. They existed outside of the mainstream economy and fed only off of the need of the people. They were a public service that would not exist without the want and need. Now, sure, I guess you could say it was a little odd that they ate with the head of the church of Satan or had dolls dresses hanging on their walls that were cut out with little outlines of blood around the holes, but that was their thing. People paid big money for that kind of stuff. The public needs to see the actual representation of people sucking and killing you to feed their own immortality. After all, we pay taxes to a government that pretty much does the same thing, but it’s not represented in such a physical form. So, the vampires would always have a job while the shoe makers of the 1800s and the Bike messengers of the early 1990s would be phased away.

There was a choice of what to join: The corporate world that would soon replace sitting in front of stacks of papers with sitting in front of a computer, or the underground life of sex dungeons and playful goings on such as that. You may think there’s not that much of a choice, but think on it an tell me that your soul is any cleaner any part of the way. Let’s switch me from watching that documentary to The Bike messenger, I think we’re calling him Mike, to watching that and seeing himself as the shoe maker out of work.

A shoe maker outside of his time walking around the mission district in San Francisco sitting down in Delores park eating a Burrito. Around him, day laborers are being picked up for jobs that nobody would do who was born in this country but that needed to be done for the country to work. The cheap labor, not the skilled labor. San Francisco was always a town like that – when I lived there it was. Everyone had a unique skill that could be used only in that city, so that when the city was finished with you, you were set on a trail of tears off over the bridge and into another world.

With the coming of what was to be known as the “boom” – those skills were being eroded even further.

Mike and his lady had a one bedroom in the Mission district for around 500 dollars a month. It wasn’t uncommon for rent that low. You could make a modest wage and live on that. The prices shot upward and, with the loss of a job, the choice was quick to be made. Do you live comfortably and give up your soul by entering the corporate world or give up your soul and start drinking the blood of teenage runaways? Either way, you’re left feeling empty.

I think that’s what I’m getting at here. That the digital revolution is an extension of the industrial revolution, just expanded. It would be interesting to turn the tables on the readers and have them see that though they are in offices and making good cash, they are still part of an assembly line. There is no conveyer belt running across their faces, but they are stationary and just moving code around.

Mike, the bike messenger, has to be the rebellion against this, but the digital age is going to wear down on him. He must be moved into the main character spot once the rewrites start. I think I have my theme now.

Tough going. This is what it’s like to put together a book. The crumbled words and darkness you exist in just to find a way. I think it’s happening though.

How to work the vampires?


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