Surfing the Gnarl

Surfing the Gnarl by Rudy Rucker Read Free Book Online

Book: Surfing the Gnarl by Rudy Rucker Read Free Book Online
Authors: Rudy Rucker
Price, Sydnor, and Rainey were moot—for with their appetites whetted by the flesh of the children’s parents, the mantises had gone ahead and eaten the four fledgling Pig Chefs.
    The trials didn’t draw as much publicity as one might have expected. The crimes were simply too disgusting. And the Killeville citizenry had collective amnesia regarding the UFOs. Some of the Day Six Synodites remembered, but the Synod was soon split into squabbling subsects by a series of schisms. With his onerous parole conditions removed in return for his help with the trials, Albert Chesney left town for California to become a computer game developer.
    Jessie Vaughan got herself ordained as a deacon and took over the pastoral duties at St. Anselm’s church. At Christmas Jessie celebrated the marriage of Jack to Gretchen Karst—who was indeed pregnant. Tonel took leave from the Navy to serve as best man.
    Gretchen transferred into Virginia Polytechnic with Jack for the spring term. The couple did well in their studies. Jack majored in Fluid Engineering and Gretchen in Computer Science. And after graduation they somehow ended up moving into the rectory with Jessie and opening a consulting firm in Killeville.
    As for the men in the back room of the country club—they completely dropped out of sight. The prudent reader would be well advised to keep an eye out for mi-bracc in his or her hometown. And pay close attention to the fluid dynamics of coffee, juice, and alcoholic beverages. Any undue rotation could be a sign of smeel.
    The end is near.
NOTES
    For the years 1980-1986, I lived with my wife and kids in Lynchburg, Virginia, the home of televangelist Jerry Falwell and headquarters of his right-wing Moral Majority political action group. I ended up writing a number of stories about Lynchburg, transreally dubbing it Killeville.
    During our final years in Lynchburg, I was proud to be a member of the Oakwood Country Club—it was a pleasant place and the dues were modest enough that even an unemployed cyberpunk writer could afford them. I was always intrigued by a group of men who sat drinking bourbon and playing cards in a small windowless room off the men’s locker room—isolated from the civilizing force of the fair sex. Somehow I formulated the idea that at night the men were rolled up like apricot leather and stored in glass carboys of whiskey that sat within their golf bags.
    I was thinking of a power-chord story somewhat analogous to Phil Dick’s “The Father Thing.” The power chord here is “alien-controlled pod people.” Another archetype I wanted to touch upon is the Pig Chef, an icon that’s always disturbed me. I wanted to push this concept to its logical conclusion, so that everyone would finally understand the Pig Chef’s truly evil nature! Yet another aspect of my story is that I wanted to use the format of the classic last-night-of-high-school epic,
American Graffiti.
    Despite all my pontificating about the virtues of logic in my interview with Terry Bisson in these pages, “The Men in the Back Room at the Country Club” is pretty much at the surreal end of the spectrum, as is often the case with horror-tinged tales. Naturally I had trouble getting anyone to publish it. Fortunately, the writer and editor Eileen Gunn gets my sense of humor. Like my earlier story “Jenna and Me,” this weird tale found a home in Eileen’s online magazine
Infinite Matrix
at www.infinitematrix.net , which was, as long as it lasted, something like a clear channel border-radio station.

SURFING THE GNARL
WHAT IS GNARL?
    I USE
gnarl
IN AN IDIOSYNCRATIC and somewhat technical sense; I use it to mean a level of complexity that lies in the zone between predictability and randomness.
    The original meaning of “gnarl” was simply “a knot in the wood of a tree.” In California surfer slang, “gnarly” came to describe complicated, rapidly changing surf

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