Dawson Filter as He Relates to Lighting


As Sylvester Denny stood atop the tumour, he peered down upon the one-log cabin he’d forged alongside the blind men who’d accepted him into their clan, promptly after which they agreed to thwart all of his life goals until the end of eternity. He bid it good riddance as his surroundings morphed into something not unlike the Atlantic ocean.

“Oh, we sure are in an ocean.” Dawson Filter lamented, throwing his arms in the air, as if they somehow belonged there. In reality, his arms didn’t belong anywhere.

“No,” Lance corrected, somewhat undermining his correction’s credibility by slurring the sentence’s opening ‘n’, “the ocean’s way better lit than this dump. Dead giveaway.”

“It’s just midnight.” A second Dawson Filter explained. “Lighting has the tendency to really drop in quality about now. It’ll be the ocean in the morning.”

Dawson Filter was startled by his voice, and how little consent he had given before it spoke. Strongly empathizing with his plight, the Dawson Filter more actively involved in the voice’s actions forced it to continue, saying “Every time-oh, a pun, because ‘time’ sounds like ‘time machine’, I’d better add that to my list-someone uses this time machine we arbitrarily call a tumour to visit 2016, he always pops up exactly four seconds after the new year begins, with the tumour at exactly this point in the Atlantic ocean. Here’s everyone who ever has and ever will come to 2016 in this tumour, from each time they have and will come.”

“I hate how I’m at the point where I believe you.” Sylvester said, just slowly enough that Babe Listowel was able to crochet the words into a tea cosy.

“Dawson, Sylvester, Babe,” Dawson said, placing his own name first intentionally and with malice in his heart, “since this is your first time here, and you’re going to come back more than anybody else, it’s your responsibility to separate all the tumours currently occupying the same space from each other.”

“And what of me?” Inquired Vance, although he thought he already knew the answer.

“You run off to help the man over there who looks uncannily like the lead singer for the BYU Men’s Chorus find his fiancee ‘n’ save the world. I’d give your priorities a 3/10, but as long as your boat’s floating, and you’re not torturing me, I’m at piece with your life choices.”

Lance nodded, and ran, relying heavily on his legs, to the man. He was pleased to become part of Erik’s crew, where his silent hatred for surnames would be shared.

As Dawson Filter2 left his past behind, Dawson Filter realized that he’d not the slightest idea how to separate tumours occupying the same physical space. Upon reading this section of his companion’s mind, Babe Listowel suggested they Bing® the answer using the unmarked laptop, router, and telecommunications tower descending from the sky, which inspired Dawson to Bing® the answer using the unmarked laptop, router, and telecommunications tower descending from the sky. After several minutes of sifting through information, he found that tumours can cause non space-occupying lesions. If these lesions had created different numbers of holes in tumours from different times (ie; 1782’s tumour and 2040’s tumour each cause a lesion in 1431’s tumour, while 1782’s tumour causes a single lesion in 2040’s tumour), then each tumour would have a different mass, and, due to general relativity, progress through time at a slightly different rate. Granted, each tumour would still pass through each point in time; but if Dawson could only convince his author to disregard this fact, the tumours would indeed separate.

“Come on,” He egged me, “lower your standards for the sake of the storyline. Everybody’s doing it.”

The True-Meaning-of-Feelings-ists earliest in their quest saw the others fade into what I have chosen to call oblivion, and knew my decision. I’d forsaken the reputation I’d built up with sensible time travel, renowned DOORKNOB psychology, and flawless walrus data as a distributor of sensical storytelling to join the ranks of so many Hollywood directors before me.

But I would do it all again for The True Meaning of Feelings.

Dawson Filter as He Relates to the System


“Rain?” Dawson Filter asked. “Do you really mean that?”

“No.” Sylvester replied, shaking his head. “I had to say that. I have to say a lot of things to get by. I mean most of them, whoever’s making me say this knows me pretty well; but sometimes his motives are just places other than authenticity.”

“It’s hard?” Dawson said.  He never wanted the sentence to conclude with a question mark, but knew he couldn’t stop me from typing whatever punctuation marks I want to;:!`(*(¿””””””

Lance, knowing that no longer felt like writing this dialogue, raised his arms and bellowed “That’s just great! You’ve gotten no trouble at all making up your own sentences from scratch, but you can’t even finish one already brilliantly started be me under threat of ¡PAIN!! Are you even sane?”

“I’m just sane enough to know that you never wanted to be a barbershop torture specialist, Lance.” Dawson promptly responded. “You’re only here because the Illuminati for The Blind named you Luther Gigee F. Mansete O’Finn, and you were afraid of glaucoma-shunning. You don’t have to torture me; or maybe you do, but there’s a fairly good chance that you have to not torture me, and whichever it is, it’s going to feel like free will when you carry it out.”

I decided that Lance understood and agreed with Dawson Filter, and that he turned toward the barbershop’s record player to place The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan on the turntable.

“They gave me the music so no one could hear your screams,” he explained, “but I suppose we could also use it to hide the dawn of a conspiracy against the system.”

“Which conspiracy would that be?” Babe Listowel asked, having only begun paying attention once he heard the word ‘conspiracy’.

“The one in which Lance doesn’t torture Dodecadawson, and we bring both the Illuminati for The Blind and our author to their respective knees.” Sylvester Denny replied, as he had a habit of doing when such questions were asked.

“Isn’t that exactly what our author would want us to do?” Babe inquired.

“Perhaps,” Sylvester speculated, “or perhaps he, or she, is just as lost in all of this as we are. After all, we do pretty much whatever our hearts fancy most o’ the time, and it seems we’d understand our decision making process a lot less if what we did was governed by what would best drive a story. Like, that one time, Dawson, when you ordered a bunch of clams-”

“‘Twas my favourite section of my life.”

“That didn’t really do much of anything for plot-progress, but you did it, and whoever wrote about it let you.”

“Sorry,” Dawson asserted, “why do we think we’re being written?”

“Our author makes us.” Lance stated flatly, appendix askew.

“There are a number of reasons-” Sylvester elaborated, “the first being that our lives have an awful lot of potholes. I only came on this quest to be out of Saskatchewan for the six weeks my great-uncle Barrack was dealing out his blood-money-inheritance, but here we are, twenty-four years later, and I’m still questing alongside you, even though I’ve had plenty of time to have an epiphany that this is a pretty terrible idea; this should be one now, but I’ve conveniently just recently become too ’emotionally invested’ to leave now. Secondly, when I was going about with Wayne Rubblefish, there were characters so minor that they had absolutely no back story. I doubt they were even included in the book, or whatever other medium we’re told in. Real people tend to have things happen to them, I’m told. There are enough people here who just don’t that I would readily bet against our existence.”

Dawson reached over his torso to pinch himself. It worked.

.      .      .

The company felt the barbershop slow to a halt, accelerate in negative space past a halt, and neutralized to a halt once again. Their voyage along Ganymede’s circumference had ended. Dawson, having been positioned at the back of the barbershop, was the last to circumnavigate this foul moon, and the first to run to their time and space traversing tumour. The True-Meaning-of-feelings-ists, with their associate Lance, leapt aboard. They decided that since the tumour was on Earth during the last 2016, that would likely be the best year in which to try to visit the Amazon Basin, the only place in the universe Babe was pretty sure he knew the answer to their quest while visiting; although he thought he could perhaps find himself better in 1782. I made Sylvester turn the dial to 2016, and as the group found a way to all look into each others’ eyes simultaneously, they knew that the next seven seconds (the last 24 years) would be quite good ones, most of them ranking at about an 8/10 or higher.

Dawson Filter as He Relates to Rain


The barbershop dimmed for a moment, but this was fortunately offset by the boatloads of lightning outside. Lance took this opportunity to raise the razor in his hand, turn his head to Dawson Filter, and quote his uncle Maurice, saying “A clean scalp makes for plain answers, my boy.”

“Maybe I could give you realer answers if you asked questions,” Dawson replied, “instead of fill in the blanks.”

“Just finish the sentence.”

“I did.”

“You can’t end a sentence with a preposition.”

“Then I might as well die hard,” Dawson threatened, proceeding to repeat the word “with” 28 times, with implied periods separating the wretched creatures.

“You know what I have to do.”

1973 ¡PAIN! advertisement
1973 ¡PAIN! advertisement

Lance, seething with rage, thrust the razor into Dawson’s locks, referred to by Dawson’s dentist as “The only good thing about September.” A tuft fell to the moose-bone floor, and Lance, in that moment, established himself as a force for the Propagation of Sad Things nearly on par with the likes of J. Gordon Whitehead.

He reached into his uniform’s pocket for a tomato’s cheese sandwich. “You know, Dawson,” He monologued, I’ve been reading up on touch-based methods for diagnosing optical conditions. I worked out last night that if I wasn’t already blind, my glaucoma would fix that in about sixty business days. Double-blind, my boy; do you have any idea how much better than you this will make me? How do you think it would feel to be double-bald, hm? Double the negative, double the fun, as they say in the handbook; but I digress. Negative hair, that would be a sight to be seen by seers.” Taking a chequebook from behind his right ear, Lance chuckled. He made several marks on the paper, and said, grinning “Sign here.”

“2 hair” It read. “Payable to the order of Lance and friends”

Dawson signed, deciding he had nothing better to do with his life, and handed the cheque to Lance, knowing it would bounce.

“Good.” Lance muttered three times (a personal best), and inhaled sharply. “I suppose I’ll collect on the first now, then.”

“Cheques are not actually written approvals for muggings.”

“Bah, this is a barbershop; we stand far above the law here.

“If I might add some words,” Babe added, “let these be them.”

While Dawson was busy being, Lance proceeded to liberate his scalp from the fibers society had told it to maintain. The scalp was finally free. She was no longer Dawson Filter’s scalp. She still resided atop Dawson’s skull, quite happily, actually; but she was just a scalp whom he happened to use on a fairly regular basis. The world could finally see her as she was, not by the work she’d laboured over for the man who’d laid claim to her. She would go on to write:

“The Gate was shut. All night watchmen on the walls heard the rumour of the enemy that roamed outside, burning field and tree, and hewing any man that they found abroad, living or dead. The numbers that had already passed over the River could not be guessed in the darkness, but when morning, or its dim shadow, stole over the plain, it was seen that even fear by night had scarcely over-counted them.” (The Return of The King, Lord of The Rings Part 3, 1955)

Sylvester Denny remembered his existence, and looked into Dawson’s face. I scrolled up to the top of this page, and upon seeing the title, felt an obligation to include the word “rain” in this post. I already did, once, I suppose; but that time didn’t feel quite right.

“Rain.” Sylvester whispered. “Rain.”

I’m pretty sure that now it works.

Dawson Filter as He Relates to ¡PAIN!


“And so the end.” Lance snarled through his face’s mouth, reaching for a razor from the barbershop’s best coffee table.

“Who taught you how to do sentences?” Babe Listowel asked, quite a bit more genuinely than one would expect.

Lance curled his fingers until he felt he could truthfully say “I am holding a razor, New York, and you can’t stop me this time around!” He raised the arm to which these fingers were attached, and chuckled, knowing that his mother would have wanted it that way. He forced Dawson Filter into a chair and spat “We can do this a way, or not at all; and don’t think for a moment that I’m not about to decide in favour of the former, you jazz-handed muffin bin!”

“Why are you doing this to me?” Dawson asked, out of desire to conform with all other torture victims.

“I do as I am told.” Lance murmured. “That’s not all of, it, I suppose. In truth, I have glaucoma in my left eye; and would the boys back at the office think if they found out? People make assumptions, you know. They’d all start to question my lifestyle, and then what? The names they’d call me, I bet some of them wouldn’t even be Lance. `Hey could you pass me that bottle of not glaucoma? Oh, wait, you don’t have one!’ Here’s not too bad, though, ’cause if anyone ever judges me, I can just shave the hair off their kneecaps.”

Dawson nodded, and turned his head to speak to Sylvester.

“Now, tell me what you know of walruses.” Lance continued, disregarding the expectations I created for Dawson Filter speaking. To at least partially restore your faith in me, I promise to give him a line in the next paragraph.

“Not much, they seem pretty good at stuff. I think they deal with anger well.” Dawson responded, eyeing Lance’s razor and thinking words.

“Don’t lie to me, man!” Lance steamed. “Walruses brought you where you are today, they gave you everything: power, fame, fortune; you have to know at least much about walruses.”

“No, Lance, they gave me none of the things, not one. How ever did you get caught up in all of this? The Illuminati for The Blind, the glaucoma, the torture, and all all o’ that?”

“My first mistake was being blind-”

“Does glaucoma matter to blind people?”

“On a social level, yes.” Lance replied. “Then, slowly I started to be named Luther Gigee F. Mansete O’Finn. That’s how they mark you. One day a van pulled up to my house, that was before I painted it, and a man walked out. Promptly after walking out, he walked toward my house, and my maid told me he wasn’t stopping. Now, by this point I’m thinking: ‘He’s really means to get all the way to my house’; so I clean up a bit, then I paint the house, and I hear the doorbell. It wasn’t too hard, on account of how it was ringing. I opened the door and said my pleasantries, and he his; we talked a while, and he invited me back into his van. ‘Yes’, I said, completely unaware that it was a portal to The Illuminati for The Blind headquarters. After a few months, I got to be named Lance again; they said ‘Luther Gigee F. Mansete O’Finn’ has served its purpose. Then I became a barber, which was a nice segue into the torture industry. Now that you know my life’s best story, would you mind finishing an sentence for me? Just remember that if you don’t, then ¡PAIN!. Walruses are widely known to…?”

“A preposition!” Dawson finished, placing a rather respectable amount of emphasis on the final “i”.

“No, you can’t-”

Dawson craned his neck to meet Babe Listowel’s eyes, and they both knew that no matter if ¡PAIN!, they would never stop sticking it to the system, and could never stop their quest to find and retrieve feelings’ true meaning, whether it took them to the Amazon Basin, or every barbershop under the sun, as long as it didn’t take them to a place where said meaning became apparent, in which case they decided that they might be able to find other things to spend their lives on.