This evening, a pretty thing bathed in soft spring sunshine that complemented the emerald green of the fresh vegetation on the trees, I drove down a newly watered-down and refreshingly dust-free Georges Mill Road on my way to my home. To traverse Georges Mill to my house is to watch Short Hill Mountain, at whose foot I live, loom ever-larger in your windshield until the whole gorgeous Appalachian upheaving fills your windshield. When you think the road is about to climb straight up the steep side of that ridge, you've reached Jingo Acres.
As my truck made a sharp turn tonight, my eyes -- even in the best of circumstances unreliable, myopic things -- suddenly caught a large object hanging in the sky just over the ridge. Since I was piloting a pickup truck, I couldn't concentrate on it until I knew the road ahead was clear. Then I stopped the truck to squint at it.
It was a blimp. Creeping along the ridge, south to north.
I couldn't make out any glyphs on the side of it. No obvious Goodyear or Fuji logo on it.
Just...an unmarked blimp. Hovering, slowly gliding north, pressed to the west side of the ridge by the same thermal currents that the raptors use to coast on their seasonal migrations north and south. Pretty much right over my house. Seventy-five miles northwest from Washington, about the same distance southwest from Baltimore -- that is to say, far, far from city centers where an advertising blimp might pass unremarked.
Inevitably, Questions Arise.
Why was it there? Over my house? Where there had never been a blimp before? Why now, why today, why exactly at this moment as I approach my home?
On any other day I might have marveled at the aeronautical wonder of it all -- an enormous bag of gas piloted by some extremely lucky guy in, for all I know, a leather pilot's helmet with goggles and a long white airman's scarf, howling his joy into the Short Hill thermals.
But today, they're tapping the phones.
Today, I can't be goofy and jokey and Ha-Ha Pretend-Paranoid. You don't get to play like it's all some big joke anymore, Honcho. It's fuckin' real now, chum.
Facility is real.
This afternoon, in a fit of defiance at work, I picked up the phone and rang Joe Bageant's number. I was going to tell him that since they are tapping the lines, I wanted it on record -- on Official United States Government Eyes-Fuckin'-Only Record -- that when the news broke about the 10,000,000 phone calls, the first person I called was the single baddest, most dangerous Commie agitator on the East Coast of America. (I also wanted to tell him I'd found the gravesite of one of his ancestors in a Hillsboro cemetery, but hey...)
Joe didn't pick up.
You with me, Pynchon kids?
A Zeppelin-pilot named Goya
Drove his blimp right into my foyer
He was sorry, he said
But the voice in his head
Told him Hush, better hire a lawyer.
A technocrat driving a blimp
Is bound to acknowledge a crimp
In his careful surveillance
Of your private e-mailings
If you catch him and make him your gimp.
A country that tolerates this
Breach of our Constitutional bliss
Should simply say "Fuck it"
And drink well-earned buckets
Of lukewarm, watered-down piss.
In Prussia they never eat pussy!