Location: Subject’s apartment
Wednesday, August 11, 2004
Attendees: Noodle (test subject), Amelia Crook (old friend)
Outside influence, Miss Crook, is slated to arrive from London at any moment. No sign. Test subject Noodle appears calm and aloof, and cracks open a beer with what appears to be joyous aplomb. Apartment is rudely clean. Highly suspect. Her constant examination of her appearance in the chrome kitchen bench top remains unexplained. This level of primping is highly unusual for a subject who barely remembers to comb her hair before leaving the apartment.
Later, 12:30 AM
Crook still absent. Subject Noodle’s form is eerily contained as she maintains a compact and almost rigid posture on the sofa. Yet a clear scent of simmering fear (or perhaps agitation?), is sauntering off her like a tsunami. Outward appearances with this subject are often a cunning subterfuge—crafty masks for hiding real feelings of doubt. It should be noted in the file that this subject bears all the classic signs of advanced Keepitinsideaphelia. Her ‘about to explode at any moment’ aura can be quite…smothering and pre-volcanic in nature.
Subject speaks to herself frequently while maintaining eye contact with the final minutes of the program hosted by TV impresario, David Letterman. She appears engaged, yet is obviously not altogether ‘with the program’ (double meaning intended). Miss Crook is significantly late.
In a sudden burst of activity, test subject moves furniture and flips out the sofa bed. Preparatory motions are made for a hopefully satisfying REM cycle. It is evident by her muttering that she is required to report for copywriting duty the next morning, and needs to retire to bed to achieve this task.
Subject lies in the dark, but with eyes painfully open wide. Sighing. Fidgeting. Sighing and sighing most woefully. It is extremely irritating. I want to suffocate her with a pillow, but I will remain true to my oath. I take this opportunity to partake in a swift mind raid, since none of her mutterings are revealing her real thoughts on the matter. And I would dearly love to get this session over and done with as soon as possible, so I can jump in the Benz and toddle off to the Club for a cigar.
Mind probe projects various scenes; a plane crash; a mugging at JFK; a sad Miss Crook wandering the streets of New York lost, pressing buzzers of random buildings etc. I swear, if it’s not one thing, it’s another with this subject. Her imagination is totally out of control as she thinks of reasons for Crook’s lateness. She gets up for another glass of water (unnecessary). The pillow option is looking more attractive to me.
Subject Noodle’s heart popped a foot in the air before diving back in her chest, Louganis-style. The buzzer at this time of the morning is evidently too loud for her delicate physiology to take. Test subject Crook arrives at the door looking very agitated. There is a display of hugging, chatter, and odd listening to see if either has lost the melodic oddity that is the Australian accent in the three years since they last saw each other. They chat about flight delays and other pointless drivel that is only interesting to them. When I wake up, they have both taken to their respective beds. I note subject Noodle’s feet are touching the television.
POST-SESSION RECOMMENDATION: 2 Xanax immediately for me, with Hot Toddy chaser and el primo cigar. Test subject seems fine…for now.
Location: Housatonic River, Connecticut
Saturday, August 14th, 2004
Attendees: Noodle (test subject), Amelia Crook (old friend), Jordan Wilson (workmate), Esther Wilson (JW spouse)
Despite test subject Noodle’s normal reluctance to leave her apartment on a weekend (due to extreme laziness), she has somehow managed to drag an unsuspecting Miss Crook out to Connecticut with her. They are to go canoeing on the Housatonic River with Noodle workmate Jordan and his wife Esther (I will reserve judgment on personality types until my final report). They will be referred to as ‘The Wilsons’ from here on in.
The test subject’s behavior will need to be monitored very closely on this day, considering her lack of interactive social skills and ability to play well with others. I will tag along to observe how the subject reacts in unfamiliar environs, and if needed, call the authorities when things inevitably go awry. Her twitchiness has been known to overcome her in similar circumstances.
Rain has made the river obese. It looks as though the tranquil and lazy float down the river they expected to enjoy is but a pipe dream. One casual glance on the faces of these four is telling. Oh, they jest and lark about, but body language suggests something else. That they are all keenly aware of the rock infested bend in the river, burbling away while giving them all a hairy eyeball and flipping them the bird. Mother Nature sure does insolence well.
Due to a canoe mixup, the four of them are entering this river alone and late. Everyone else in their group is gone. The guide, a boy who looked all of eleven years old, cheerily told them that he’s seen many people flip over on this first set of rapids. He has since jumped in his van and shrugged his way away. Subject Noodle keeps looking at the bend in the river. I do a quick check of her psyche—she’s thinking that if they flip over, their drowning cries are destined only to be heard and ignored by the cruel wind. And perhaps a bird and skunk or two.
Showing an enormous gift for supreme recklessness in the face of death (which should be noted on her chart), subject Noodle coerces Crook to get in the canoe. She then takes the rear navigator position and pushes them off the shore. I ride on the shoulder of her fear. It is wide enough to seat three, let me tell you. I swear, the older this subject gets, the more terrified of everything she becomes.
Surprisingly, subject Noodle turns out to be quite adept at this canoe lark, and both girls are giggling as they jostle through the rapids and on to smooth water on the other side. Giggle, giggle, whoop, giggle. It is extremely irritating. I am tempted to overbalance the vessel, but I remain true to my oath.
The Wilsons also make it through unscathed and these individuals continue along the four miles of flat water before they tackle more rapids. It is very quiet, yet it is patently obvious that the test subject finds this air uncomfortable and irksome. She is constantly interrupting God’s silence with pointless drivel. Miss Crook and The Wilsons are similarly afflicted. Fortunately their canoe ramming larks subside and we are left with only pointless yabbering to pollute the air.
On a side note, I am overcome with a sense of relief that we do not allow people such as this to join my Club. I would cancel my membership instantly if even some small detritus of their thought process were to leak in through a vent.
Crook and subject Noodle chatter about the good old days until their jaws must surely ache from the flapping. But they won’t be satisfied until they have riffled through all the cabinets of their memories and started numerous sentences with ‘remember so-and-so’ and ‘what ever happened to’. I make a note suggesting shock therapy to curb this habit of subject Noodle. To glorify the old and wade about in memories until soaked through to the underpants of the matter is not desirable behavior. A couple of thousand watts to the temples should set that right.
At one point, subject Noodle discusses her uncanny ability to attract weirdos and hangers-on without any effort on her part. The statement “stick to me like shit to my shoe” causes Crook to clutch her oar and lean forward. I observe her shoulders heaving, but am disappointed when I realize she is laughing and doubled over with it, not having a boredom-induced spasm of epic proportions as I had at first suspected. An episode such as this on white water would have been treacherous, and I mourn my bad luck.
The canoeing team of Crook and Noodle are displaying such self-congratulatory behavior as to their prowess over these rapids that I am quite repulsed by it all. It is interesting to note that the subject has indicated through her countenance and vocal timbre that she has enjoyed this experience thoroughly. She repeatedly thanks the Wilsons for the invite to participate in today’s events.
Her constant toadying is irritating to me, and I wonder how hard it would be to make her lose her footing on the ramp when she is attempting to extricate her annoying form from the vessel. A drowning right about now is tempting as hell, but I will stay true to my oath. Four years of correspondence college is a hell of a thing to waste over such an unimportant being.
POST-SESSION RECOMMENDATION: Shock therapy for test subject Noodle. One Valium, Hot Toddy, shot of tequila, and a university cigarette for me.
Location: Subject’s apartment
Monday, August 23rd, 2004
Attendees: Noodle (test subject), Andreas Wanda, Tina Dempsey (old friends. Unless referred to separately in the following notes, they will be known as the ‘Dundees’ from here in.)
Much like the situation a week and a half ago, test subject Noodle is waiting for the arrival of two friends (Dundees) who are passing through New York on their way back from the Olympic Games in Athens. It should be noted that these two outside parties have been notoriously bad influences on test subject Noodle in the past. Every care should be taken to carefully monitor subject’s tolerance of silliness, whackiness, kookiness, japery, idiocy, tomfoolery, shenanigans, whoop-dee-dos, and tequila.
The Dundees, two somewhat scruffy backpackers, arrive. They are a little late, but not enough for subject Noodle’s usual ‘worst thing that could possibly happen to them has happened’ imagineering.
Subject seems not to notice their appearance.
Her development in this area of late has been impressive, although her denial of the obvious—some would say reality—is cause for concern. I find her oblivious reaction to their disheveled ‘Australian world-traveler’ attire odd. If two such individuals were to turn up at my Club, security would kick them to the curb with reckless abandon while we cheered wildly from the Monocle Alcove. But subject Noodle actually seems happy to see them and is already displaying tell-tale signs of over stimulation to her memory gland.
Subject Noodle’s instant reaction to the arrival of the Dundees seems to be to ply them with alcohol. I notice immediately a kind of competitiveness—an egging on if you will—between subject and the individual, Mr. Wanda. This requires further study to determine impact.
Although I never thought it possible, subject Noodle is talking more dribble than normal. It spews forth unchecked. Even more abhorrent, the Dundees are keeping up, nay matching her sentence for sentence. Their tolerance for the inane is astounding. It is personally irritating to me. I am tempted to turn on the gas so their mortal coils are thrown into kicking buckets overnight as they slumber. But I quash this urge and remain true to my oath.
Finally, they retire to bed. I note with some satisfaction as subject Noodle stretches out on the sofa bed that her feet are touching the TV. I hope that her sleep is sporadic, and her dreams involve torture by vipers.
Next day, 8PM, Mo’s Caribbean (Mexican eatery)
This group’s capacity for frozen tequila-based drinks with plastic cocktail monkeys in them astounds me. The female, Dempsey, appears to be the only sensible one of the bunch in that she sets her limits and sticks to them. The male, Wanda, and subject Noodle seem clinched in a ridiculous bout of posturing to see who will be crowned King of the Idiots. Yes, who will fall face first into this complimentary salsa? Ye, gads! What an unsolvable mystery for Mr. Colombo!
Looking back through subject Noodle’s file, it seems this competitive behavior started approximately eleven years ago when these three first met. Something so ingrained is hard to beat out. But if someone were to hand me a shovel right now, I’d be happy to give it a shot.
POST-SESSION RECOMMENDATION: Isolation chamber for subject. Period: 1 week recommended. 24 hour observation. Extended visit to the Club for me. Halcion as needed.
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Friday, August 28th, 2004
Attendees: Noodle (test subject), the Dundees, Brian & Kirra (Dempsey relatives), Brant and Mica (spelling unknown, friends of Brian and Kirra)
NOTES: My fears for subject Noodle grow daily, and her sudden departure to visit that playground of deviants and fakery that is Las Vegas is particularly worrisome. Out of concern for her welfare, I have canceled all my appointments for the week so I may accompany her.
Please confirm the shut off date for filing my travel, accommodation and incidental expenses for August/September. Also inform head office that I will need to stick close to subject to observe her behavior and share in her experiences fully. The additional expenses that I shall no doubt incur from these circumstances are completely legitimate and necessary to perform my assessment. Oh, and to further the subject’s development and subsequent recovery.
Subject Noodle’s naiveté has caught me unawares yet again. She is genuinely entranced. So obviously pure Hicksville. She can’t help but stare at the slot machines in the Las Vegas airport. Hurdy-gurdy music keeps her spellbound. My palm itches.
The Dundees are found at the edge of the slot machine oasis in the foyer of the MGM Grand casino. They are drinking icy concoctions from half-yard glasses through stupidly long straws. Subject Noodle is all ‘I gotta get me one of those’ and I remain concerned as this ridiculous posturing begins again. They start as they mean to go on—topped up on the sauce. It is going to be a long few days.
Subject Noodle wins $60 the first night. I am unsure if this gambling is detrimental to her sanity, so have decided to volunteer myself as a test subject in a little experiment. I hit the roulette wheel. It hits me back. When I regain consciousness my wallet is short $425. This has been a valuable mini-experiment that will need to be continued at a later time for more conclusive results.
POST-SESSION RECOMMENDATION: Three hours at the slots for me. Free drinks. Total ignore therapy for subject Noodle.
Location: The Strip, Las Vegas, Nevada
Saturday, August 29, 2004
Attendees: Noodle (test subject), the Dundees, Mica and Kirra
Subject Noodle seems to be coping with the flashing lights well. Earlier in the day, subject went swimming in the MGM Grand River Pool. I feel I should comment on her somewhat mature handling of this situation and the circumstances therein. The River Pool is basically an artificial river packed with buoyant drunkards who are no-doubt releasing daiquiri-laced urine with every floating second. It is salty water and I doubt they ship it in from the Pacific. Now why would it be so salty? Hmmm… oh, there goes another whiz filled-drunkard on a tube.
This flowing pee-stream has giant leeches. Burly gentlemen line the shores of this river, sucking on beer bottles whilst whooping it up and trying to drown the pretty girls. It’s a regular leech party replete with cheerleader squeals.
Subject Noodle remains seemingly aloof on a banana lounge as her sweaty fingers release the aura of her fear clear onto the pages of “A Confederacy of Dunces”. Her Keepininsideaphelia is in full force. I sense that she is trying not to be self-conscious but is failing miserably.
To compensate, the subject and the group throw caution to the wind and in a move that catches me totally awares start drinking icy concoctions in the midday sun. I am irritated beyond belief. I contemplate causing a serious banana-lounge folding incident, but I resist and remain true to my oath.
Later that night
The goggle-eyed look will not leave the subject’s face as she strolls down the strip. It is as though she has never seen a 40,000-Watt bulb before. Her hickness is so unbelievably hicky that I trail behind the group so as not to be associated with such hayseed behavior.
I observe her reaction as shady characters on street corners flick their little strip club pamphlets with their lecherous fingertips. It is as though with each dramatic snap of the fingernail against the card, the word ‘g-string’ is released into the air like a dove on World Peace Day. It is really quite beautiful. I determine a small off-site experiment is warranted.
When I find the group about three hours later, they are not only saucer-eyed with wonder, their mouths form perfect ‘O’s as they watch the Bellagio fountain spit. These people are so irritating! I don’t know how much longer I can respect my oath, and in a fit of worry, I call my sponsor for a pep talk.
There is no sense of time, no clocks. Subject Noodle seems drugged by this permanent night where drinks flow free and the money leaks from your pockets, wallet, hidden money belt, sock purse, and the secret compartment in your luggage. I recommend a course of reality when she returns to New York. An extended viewing of “The Apprentice” should just about do it.
POST-SESSION RECOMMENDATION: Examine my oath for loopholes.
Location: Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam, Las Vegas
Monday, August 30, 2004
Attendees: Noodle (test subject), Dundees, Brian and Kirra.
I have never understood the commoner’s penchant for mini-vans. But I have no say in the matter as I am forced to accompany these people as they pile in and head off to the Grand Canyon. They are in good spirits, though subject Noodle appears a little apprehensive.
If anyone should feel apprehensive it should be the male Brian, an unfortunate American surrounded by four Australians. Cruelly outnumbered. There’s nowhere to escape those fierce accents in a mini-van. The price of the earplugs I purchased at the MGM Grand gift shop ($32) does not sting so much when it blocks out the din let me tell you.
These people are idiots. They are barreling along the highway discussing whether they should go back to the turn-off for the West Rim of the Grand Canyon, since it is not as far as driving for four hours to get to the South Rim. Personally, I have never heard anyone mention the splendor of the West Rim, but these kids are all hopped up on Jack-in-the Box and decide to turn around and go back.
The thoroughly corrugated dirt road takes them all by surprise, though I suspect the mini-van’s suspension is the most stunned by this development. A cursory examination of the Noodle brain shows she is thinking that the majestic Joshua trees look like shrubs with feather dusters for branches. Her disrespect irritates me. I wonder how far away the canyon is now and if it is fenced. Does my oath’s jurisdiction extend out here?
Twenty-eight miles later and they stand transfixed as they peer into the gaping maw of the earth. For once, subject Noodle isn’t dribbling her drivel. If only the pharmaceutical companies could synthesize a Grand Canyon drug which simply took the gob-smacking holy-shitedness of the vista and reduced it to an easy to swallow capsule. Take one daily and we could all live happily ever after in peace and serenity. Though I would probably be out of business.
At the Hoover Dam, the air is hot enough to make tiles fall off a space shuttle. Subject Noodle is stony-faced, but I suspect the accumulation of icy concoctions in her system over the past week is taking its toll. Sweat is beading on her eyelashes.
I observe her clutching her camera very tightly as she peers over the side of this cement monument. I am reminded of a note attached to her file regarding the influence of her internal monologue and how it is constantly cajoling her to throw things from great heights. It is fascinating to watch this internal struggle so obviously taking place within this conflicted being.
Back in Vegas
Only the Dundees and subject Noodle remain. I conduct one final experiment at the Black Jack table, safe in the knowledge that this freak, this patsy, this hick, Noodle, is sucking on one final icy concoction while saying her farewells to the Dundees before they head back to Australia. No doubt she will take a final glance at the glittering Strip and step on the plane with the tinkle of slot machine music still ringing in her ears.
She is so irritating. I have come to a difficult conclusion. The temptation to break my oath is too great with this subject. Therefore, I will hand the case over to a colleague upon my return to New York. The subject’s mere existence in my realm of being is a threat to my future (I could not bear to give up my Club to undertake a term of incarceration, no matter how much fun Jailhouse Rock looks). I would very much like to avoid the eventual termination of this relationship by illegal methods for this reason.
POST-SESSION RECOMMENDATION: Texas Hold ‘em. Wait for the flop and clean up on the river. Free drinks and total annihilation of subject Noodle from the memory banks via tequila imbibed at the Can-Can Room.
©Janeen McCrae 2004