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Year of the Rhinoceros

Michael Neff

Publication Year: 2009

The year is 1984. The ruthless dictatorship envisioned by Orwell has not come to pass. Or has it? Under the presidency of former Hollywood actor Ronald Reagan, the war for America’s soul has begun—a struggle of conscience and idealism versus idolatry and political tyranny. Democracy is fading, and two young liberals in Washington are determined to restore it, no matter the cost.

Published by: Red Hen Press

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. vii-x


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pp. xi-xii

Prologue: God Games — Idols and Ideals — The White Oz

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pp. xiii-xiv

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Chapter 1: Morlocks and Star Eyes — A Bad Boss Stereotype — Blue Balls at St. E’s — A Memorable Whistleblower — Golden Nadir — The Guy From Epanoma

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pp. 14-38

Even before the age of thirty, Manny Eden’s liberal politics and smartass nature improved his years of incarceration at one of America’s most renowned mental institutions, and as a result, he was denied many things, including the solace of hope, Hell, God, and comfort food. ...

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Chapter 2: Reagan on Golf Tee Legs — Rochambeau’s Note — Strong Chins, Blazing Eyes — Dreaming America Like a Bayou Moon — The Evolution of Eden

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pp. 39-46

The night following the interview, Manny Eden awakes shivering in a bed of cold tub. A muffled pounding in the distance alerts him to the presence of some cheeky son-of-a-bitch who won’t stop slamming a fist on his hotel room door. Manny staggers out of the tub, freezing and shriveled, and more than a bit dizzy. ...

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Chapter 3: Pretend You Are Manny — The Hitchcock Effect — Go Gators!— A Science Fiction Princess — Manny Near Paralysis — Do Not Think and Be

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pp. 47-56

Pretend you are the Duchess of Alba posing for the famous Goya, or perhaps Ivan the Terrible ordering the death of his court, or maybe the author Ron Hubbard inventing a science fiction religion or Queen Zenobia defeating the legions of Rome, or perhaps a great magician, The Amazing Randi, exposing the top cons of psychic fraud. ...

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Chapter 4: The Sublime Perception State — In Search of JB — Manny Eden Meets The Staff — Tammy Pon and The Mental Douche — Like a Moral Volcano

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pp. 57-66

Deejah’s chair squeaks. She hates it because it makes it difficult for her to focus, especially if she’s trying to meditate. Only no time to gripe now—she has three memos to punch out before Hunsecker arrives. ...

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Chapter 5: Nixon’s Favorite Photo — The Eye Comet of Hunsecker — Manny’s Training — Hart Crane in BLT — Mzz Dracos Scares Manny Into The Men’s Room

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pp. 67-83

Without explanation to Manny, the staff of the Investigative Division blend like heat into the air, scurry off to their respective lairs—all except for Boyden. He slips out his wallet, fidgets with it in a panicky way while removing a single square of white paper, wallet-photo size. ...

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Chapter 6: A God Without Conscience — The Early Days — Coming of The Morlocks

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pp. 84-91

Following a typical day of martyrdom and panichissing at OWC, Becky Bergstein sought to relieve her tension in any number of ways. Depending on her mood, she might stop by Clydes on the way home and force herself into a state of margarita philosophy, or else she might jog across the Key Bridge up to Roosevelt Island and back, ...

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Chapter 7: A Letter to Mommy K — Answer Their Panic With A Pumpkin— Varsana’s Tongue Fries Mzz Dracos — Manny Meets Worm and Union Head

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pp. 92-102

In a long letter to Mommy K, written in Lafayette Park at lunch time, Manny Eden talked about his work, and the group house in Arlington, Virginia, where he lived. Only a GS-7 grade employee, Manny couldn’t afford to rent his own apartment. Fortunately though, there were plenty of people in Virginia around his age, ...

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Chapter 8: Potential Prosecutorial Merit — Manny Goes With Flow — Becky Tests Manny — Big Fines for Improbity — Ms. Linderhart Lacks The Team Player Edge

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pp. 103-115

Varsana complained to Hunsecker that the new hire wasn’t being properly trained and Hunsecker reacted by charging into Becky’s office and slamming her with his tongue so hard that Becky was forced into three margaritas, two doobies of Shenandoah hay, and a fresh bout of Mauna Loa 1978 before the night was over. ...

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Chapter 9: The Pissoir of Anomie — A Candidate For Wax — Espresso On The Mozartplatz

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pp. 116-119

My woman of No, my Antigone, my ineffaceable Keat, Manny says to himself. She lodged in his lunch hour like a tower of King Ludwig, soothed him like a full moon of Democracy afloat above the Chesapeake— his remaining afternoon at OWC occupied with restoring her to dignity and subtracting all but her passionate face ...

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Chapter 10: Joe Blow On Menu? — No Reasonable Grounds — The Pickering Disruption Test — Threshold Maneuvers in the Light — Laney Dracos vs. The Hunsecker

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pp. 120-137

At the appointed time of nine A.M., the staff of the OWC Investigative Division meet in the tenth floor conference room for the bi-monthly case review meeting. The room itself is windowless, wood paneled and hung with presidents. A pair of ten-foot high American flags frame a grand portrait of The Gipper at the far end. ...

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Chapter 11: Like Warm Rubber Massacre—Washington, Inc. — Nursing Gertrude — Laney vs. Emperatriz — Laney vs. The Gipper — Laney vs. The First Nancy

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pp. 138-170

Following the case review confrontation with Hunsecker, Laney Dracos returned to her office to collect a few files. She had no idea the fate that awaited Becky, and if she’d known, she would have stayed at Becky’s side to comfort her. ...

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Chapter 12: Ladies Night At Scandals — A Mongo Moon Goddess — Laney vs. Manny Eden — Sneaky Shit Theories — Personalities Are Such Fragile Creations

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pp. 171-184

Come Monday, a huge cartoon of Richard Nixon’s face exploded by Xerox from Boyden’s “My Favorite Photo,” appears tacked up on Manny’s inner partition wall. Taped to the edge of the Nixon lips is a white tail that emptied like a river into a word-stuffed cloud floating above the Nixon head. ...

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Chapter 13: Deputy From Luna Hell — Cosmic Epiphanies — Death of a Thousand Bites

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pp. 185-190

In achieving his very first philosophical drunk an hour after Laney Dracos left Scandals, Manny mulled over the question of Big-Bang-God-Soul-Life-Love-Choice-Freedom-Justice- Utopia-Reality within a state of liquor-numbed nihilism—one which peremptorily inhaled all cosmic dilemma ...

Chapter 14: Un Peu du Chose

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pp. 191-193

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Chapter 15: Un Coup d’Eclat

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pp. 194-199

Yes, everything . . . he still has his open door policy, like always. You can still communicate something private, or personal, or privileged . . . but please let me know first, just so I can tell him you’re coming. ...

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Chapter 16: Manny Advises Dictator — Manny Chokes Snake — Manny Becomes President — The Origin of Morals and Idols

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pp. 200-207

Pretend you are a superhero from Marvel Comics, like Doc Strange, or the Human Torch, or perhaps an omnipotent alien like the kind Michael Renny played in The Day the Earth Stood Still—all flash-bang righteousness and a voice of summer thunder echoing off the planets and announcing before a pants-wetting president and both Houses of Congress: ...

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Chapter 17: On Revolution Time — Ceremony of The Watch — Utopia By 2000 — Laney Becomes A Sword Goddess — Manny Becomes “Mr. God”

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pp. 208-217

By noon, the air before Manny Puckers with a shriek of murder-scene flute, and from behind this curtain of pucker wavering in Lafayette Park space, who should step forth but Laney Dracos herself. Following Rochambeau’s decree, he’d summoned his model heroine to this shooting location by means of three pay-phone calls to OWC. ...

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Chapter 18: Silence of The Wimp — A Rodent Snack — Glyphs Pressed to Mutter — Luna Attacks — The Impossibility of Morality

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pp. 218-229

A woman’s plaintive yowl shatters the OWC calm. The cry erupts inevitably from the depths of Presence Chamber, and as a result, Manny Eden’s rejection pain and self-derision cease to matter. Torture devices rule the day. Shivering victims present thumbs for screwing, iron maidens forced to wait, anal pears fed to upraised asses. ...

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Chapter 19: Hunsecker Fears an Act of Congress — Hunsecker Enlists The Help of Manny

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pp. 230-232

She’s pulled these stunts before. Everyone’s in a constant state of tension. Counsel Madison is infuriated. He doesn’t blame me. The Queen set this whole thing up and we all fell in . . . you too . . . you might be a TV star, Mr. Garden-of-Eden, or at least a star on Capitol Hill cause you were in it too. That’s right. ...

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Chapter 20: Like a Morose General Patton — Magical Thinkings Beyond Good and Evil — Ashley Madison Befuddles The Democrats and “Rolls With The Punches”

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pp. 233-243

No different than most, Ashley Madison sounded like distant ocean, timeless and empty as a conch. If you held the OWC Counsel snug to your ear and listened hard, you imagined the dissolving swell of oblivion. You forecast a demise of the human species. You groped frantically for “self.” ...

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Chapter 21: The Powers of Rodin — Pecking Order — Year of The Rhinoceros — The Glue of Common Loathing — Something As Basic As Heat

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pp. 244-258

At the close of evening, pathos from the day’s industry at OWC, having pinched Manny’s nervous system like a trauma, shoved him before a bathroom mirror and forced him to go face-to-face with himself. The confrontation continued for several minutes until he grudgingly accepted a role as superhero in his own psychocinema production. ...

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Chapter 22: The Needful One — Laney’s Death Dream — The Stone in Laney’s Head

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pp. 259-267

Stare into the mirror. Look into your own eyes. See nothing there. Pinch your nose. Slap your face hard enough to make you wince. So what? What are you really? You don’t know, so give up. You are simply Elaine Dracos. ...

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Chapter 23: Ashley Gets Even — They Won’t Survive Dr. X — Laney Goes Rhino

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pp. 268-273

Despite Manny Eden’s plans to dissolve Washington and create a new utopia of bureaucrat-slapping supergods, the business of OWC must be attended to, the cruelty of government career endured. Mortgage and landlords leave no other choice. Therefore, on the Monday following the two week suspension, ...

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Chapter 24: Manny Loses It — Dropping The “Utopia Stone” — Up From The Slime-House-of-Saud Office Park — Hebrews, Hittites, Greeks, and So Forth

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pp. 274-285

5:06 P.M. Long after Laney’s mutation in the face of Counsel Madison, the Garden-of-Eden arrives at the Rosslyn metro station in Virginia to catch his bus, the 1Z. As he waits outside in the cold dusk of his whimsy, nine buses full of reality-phobes come slushing in from all over the target aarea, ablating the curbs in transit and coughing out hostages. ...

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Chapter 25: Throbbings of Worm — A Desperate Catfight — The Cops Bust Laney — A Note About “Self”

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pp. 286-293

12:30 P.M. Only one bimbo dog animate. Not even Worm sign yet. It might be a blazing morning outside or a dark tornadic afternoon, everything blended in OWC to post-utopia static. ...

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Chapter 26: Madison’s Version of Events — Manny Goes Mannequin — A Moral Obligation — “They Just Wanted to Kill Her” — What Really Happened at Childe Harold

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pp. 294-300

Following his trauma, Ashley Madison returned to OWC to explain in dour but patient fashion (to those fireproof few who dared inquire) the mystery of the purple railroad-track that puckered his forehead from nose bridge to scalp. In meticulous, though artful fashion, he engineered the image of a “malicious and guilt-ridden” Dracos gone rabid ...

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Chapter 27: The Sublime Perception State — Seven Screams — Death of a Counsel — As Far From God As Angels Can Fly — Deejah’s Final Peace

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pp. 301-305

The following day, Deejah caught the subway train back to OWC. On the journey there she detected a feeler from the cosmic godbrain worming its way into her mind stream. It corrupted her erotic fantasy of making love to The Prophetess on the Oregon coast. Her own hand snapped with sucker-like fangs onto her right breast, ...

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Chapter 28: The CEO — Varsana Claims Grope — Keat Linderhart’s Car Accident — The Dong Hobbit — Uncle Pharaoh’s Flea Tent — A New Life

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pp. 306-311

Immediately following Counsel Madison’s death, Deejah quit OWC and moved to Oregon to live with Danilo. She became Vice Priestess of Transition, her job to coordinate the settlement of new Harmusal acolytes. Her duties included, but were not limited to, processing all financial forms ...

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Epigohue: The Whistleblower’s Lament

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pp. 312-313

In search of a signal peak, I stumble, stranded on the waste coast with the ostrich and hyena. Escape is required, but earth-like movements of culture call me to gravity. The first tug I feel as the gentle, managerial art of nitpicking. Innuendo follows, accusation, threat on a whim. ...

E-ISBN-13: 9781597091855
E-ISBN-10: 1597091855
Print-ISBN-13: 9781597091374
Print-ISBN-10: 1597091375

Page Count: 312
Publication Year: 2009

Edition: First