There was a time when the streets were places we all could go to be anonymous. We could walk into the crowds on a downtown street and disappear. Our contexts would evaporate into that amalgam of anonymous others. We could compare ourselves to no one and no one could compare themselves to us. We disappeared into thin air. I miss that. I miss the anonymity of crowds.

How has it changed? Cameras. Cameras are everywhere. There’s no way to escape their leering lenses. They hide behind iPhone screens and Samsung tablets. And, through Facebook and other identity sponges, we willingly (though perhaps unwittingly) reveal who our friends are and what they look like and perhaps even where they live and what they had for lunch. It’s too late to retrieve the data that defines us. It’s stored in server farms around the globe, available for sale and ready for use by marketers and despotic governments.

I suspect our data are readily available, as well, to assassins hired to eliminate people who fit a particular profile. I can imagine the profile given to the hired killers: “democrat, overweight, atheist, reads revolutionary literature, signs petitions, regularly espouses bitter disagreements with elected officials.”

And the instructions: “Kill people who fit the profile; make it look like an accident or a suicide. Keep the per unit cost below $0.75 or we’ll find someone who can.”

Hit people can price themselves out of the market, too, when the market is saturated. You’ll notice I didn’t say hit men; I imagine the glass ceiling shattered by bullets and blades and bags of bitter poison. Who might these hit people be, though. If my data and your data are readily available, if our every move is captured on video feed to the internet, viewable in real time, aren’t the murder-for-hire folks’ subject to the same intrusions?

In a word, “No.” Why? Because they hide behind sunglasses, turned up collars, hats, gloves, and/or veils. Have you ever seen someone wearing a heavy coat with a hood when temperatures hover in the mid-seventies? Hired killer. And what about their online presence? They use the dark web. And they run in the same circles as identity thieves who are only too happy to give them ready access to the clear web with stolen internet credentials and IP spoofing.

The single most important aspect of hiding their identities is this: they live in tunnels. Yes, you read that right. They live in tunnels beneath cities, towns, and even in rural outposts miles from nowhere. That’s right, we live in a two-dimensional, porous society. The borders between the underworld and the surface are riddled with deep, deep tunnels. Beneath us, enormous networks of interconnected tunnels filled with residential, retail, commercial, and manufacturing sectors, all joined together by highly efficient transportation corridors serve, effectively, as an alternate universe.

The hidden netherworld under our feet is alive with alternative facts, coupled with high-speed trains, electric-powered buses, and driverless electric cars dispatched by UnderUber Apps take the denizens of the deep web where they want to go. If you think the borders between countries on the surface are porous (which is why we think we need thirty-foot walls…to keep the riff-raff out), you ain’t seen nothing yet (unless, of course, you’ve spent time in the underworld).

Now, you may think I’ve been drinking high-proof breakfast gin or smoking scented cigarettes laced with hallucinogens and the remnants of yesterday’s leprechauns. And butterscotch pudding. If that’s what you think, you’d be wrong but your mind might be on the same plane as mine. Not an aircraft; a level of intellectual existence that differentiates one level of understanding reality from other levels.

Let’s suppose, for just a fraction of a nanosecond, that there exists an underworld, a physical dimension comprising tunnels as I’ve described and that within these tunnels lives a sinister society of killers and other bad actors. What question immediately comes to mind when imagining this bizarre network that, when viewed from a distance (and with X-ray vision, I might add) resembles Medusa’s head? Yes, that’s it: Where is all the earthen debris removed from the tunnels? I knew you’d ask, which is why I have undertaken meticulous research to find the answer. The answer is that the detritus from tunneling was sent to the bowels of the earth, where it remains to this day.

We’ve all heard about term coined by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, “the willing suspension of disbelief,” haven’t we? What about “the unwilling suspension of disbelief?” That mental adjustment refers to the unpleasant acceptance of a mind-numbing experience that should not have happened in the natural world. Like Donald Trump’s election or his mere existence on the planet. The residents of the tunnels to which I referred earlier are like Trump on steroids. They don’t just talk about shooting someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue, they do it and boast about their deeds to their colleagues in criminality. And they launch nuclear missiles into the sea simply because they enjoy killing sea mammals.

These are the folks who are watching your every keystroke and whose eyes are trained on monitors that follow your every footstep as you wander the streets of Manhattan and San Diego and Abilene, Kansas. They listen in on your conversations with your younger sister who is the only resident of a ghost town in Nevada. They have mastered the process of hearing your thoughts, even as you wander deserted island beaches along the southern coast of Texas. Even when you’re being carried by the crowd in mosh pits at loud rock concerts, they know what you’re thinking, what you’re doing, and who you’re with. Face it, friend, you have no secrets and no hope of hiding from their prying eyes, their hypersensitive ears, or the weapons with which they will dispatch you after they have turned your dreams into raw screams of desperation.

All of this on a Sunday morning. I wonder how the rest of the day will go? 😉

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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2 Responses to Tunnels

  1. I feel the need to back away slowly, but I’ve written a cliff immediately behind me and a towering sheer rock face in front, so I edge along sideways until I can find a comfortable place to sleep. 😉

  2. lizardek says:

    Haha! Don’t know whether to applaud or back slowly away. Maybe both at the same time!

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