I lost my legs at the kneecaps in a car accident. I was drinking and I hit a guy who had also been drinking, and he got his head chopped off and I only lost my ankles, shins, and feet. There was more alcohol in his blood than in mine, and so the judge shrugged and gave me probation.
In another drunk fog one night, I got tattoos on my stumps -- tattoos of thick purple fingernails with cuticles and wrinkles -- so that each of my stumps looked like big thumbs at the thighs. This felt right to me: instead of missing two legs, I had four thumbs. I could hold my stumps in each hand and it was like I was shaking the big thumbs of God.
The only job I could get that wasn’t filled up with other depressing disabled fuckers was part time at an electronics store where I hypothetically got a good commission, but where no one ever came in. So I spent the whole time rolling around in my chair between the aisles, learning about shit, thinking about shit, watching girls walk by outside the plate glass window, asking them under my breath if they wanted to shake God’s thumbs, even though they couldn’t hear me and if they saw me they looked away. When they smiled at me with pity in their eyes, I pretended in my mind that they did want to shake those thumbs, but right now they had to go to work and had no time to explore, to experiment, to be foolish. Work was the problem. If I could just get them away from their jobs, they would have all the time in the world to see what a man could do who didn’t have to take off his socks first.
Working in an electronics store, you can’t help but think about timebombs. All those flashing clocks. All those wires and fragments. I saw countdowns everywhere I looked, and that’s when I got the idea for the crash, while I was watching the news. I was watching one of those financial reports behind the counter in the empty store with a big fucking useless hard on and a glass of whiskey melting against my pinky, and I thought: I am attracted to the system, and I think the system would be a fun date. I want to get with system. I want to get with the system and get the system off.
So the idea for the crash started as a sex fantasy, and then I thought: you know, I’ve got the time and energy, and I ought to be in jail anyway. Someone has to do this, and who else is the right size for the job? Who else could stuff themselves inside where it counts?
I filled up a whole legal pad with plans, thoughts, schematics, and drawings of plummeting graphs plunging into girls whose skirts were drifting high over their heads. These doodles had surprised expressions on their faces, but they also had coy raised eyebrows – like they didn’t mind so much.
I knew I needed to wear a suit to be invisible where I was going, so I bought myself one from a garage sale. I got a good deal on account of having no legs. The kid running the register caved in every time I asked for ten fewer dollars. I don’t know why I felt like I had to get the suit for as cheap as I could, but it was absolutely necessary. Like, when they asked me later I had to be able to say: AND I WAS EVEN WEARING A CHEAP SUIT. In the end, I paid five bucks for it, and I also got a coffee mug with a picture of a hound dog. I cut the pinstriped suitpants at the knee and I tied them up with the cord from my Venetian blinds, because I never opened my Venetian blinds, and the cord was the first thing I saw when I went looking for rope.
I waited for the next inventory shift at work, and then afterwards I started stealing so much shit from work that it looked like we had business after all: I stole wires, and diodes, and metronomes, and radios, and jeweler’s tools, and little television sets. I stole computer chips and the innards of old laptops. I stole candy and gum and corn bugles and soft drinks to keep me going. I stole cell phones with internet connections, and I stole dragons that shot sparks out of their mouth when you wound them up with electric keys. I stole a remote control helicopter and flew it around in my apartment’s parking lot until I crashed it into the curb, and then I took out the rotor and I stole that, too.
I studied diagrams of scoreboards and information networks. I studied
Finally, after three months of building and tinkering and laughing and drinking, one Thursday morning I rolled up to the New York Stock Exchange with my bag full of oddments strapped to the bottom of my chair and covered with fiber optic tape that projected scrambled three-dimensional air. All that work, and they waved me through without even bothering to run my chair through their scanners. A legless man is invisible because people do not want to look at him because they assume he is lonely, and they are afraid that if they linger while looking he will want to talk, and that whatever he says will be filled with pity, resentment, or the sort of cheerful good nature that makes you want to die.
I wore my cheap suit and I wore earphones. In one ear I listened to the news, and in the other ear I listened to modulated static that I found soothing and that made me bop my head. The beefy woman working security looked bored and horny to me, and I wondered what she looked like without her cat’s eye glasses, canvas uniform, and careful frown. Not my type, but SOMEBODY’S type, and somebody wasn’t doing their job, I thought. But I was on a mission.
I turned the news down in my headphones and I turned the static up as I rolled through the ranks of traders and tourists, headed around the perimeter toward the big blinking DOW sign along one glass wall that was my missions’ destination.
Despite the fact that the Exchange was crawling with people and cameras, you could wedge yourself into the back of the sign without being seen. There was a dirty little nook back there that held folding chairs, racks for sheet trays, filing cabinets, popped party balloons, and rusted prams. I wheeled myself to the edge, hurtled myself into the gloom, and collapsed my wheelchair into the darkness behind me.
I strapped myself into a plastic harness that I’d made out of Cola-rings and electric cable. It didn’t need to be very strong because I didn’t weigh very much. I could hear them out there on the floor -- shrieking and cussing -- their eyes rotating from their computers to the DOW sign every few moments as if it held the spikes and jags of their own pulse on a hospital heart monitor.
I hammered hooks into the thin plastic backing of the sign and monkeyed myself up hand over hand, pulling up the stakes as I went. The back of the sign was covered in dirt and filth and the condensed sweat of millions of nervous and excited traders and gamblers, trading out their sex and violence for numbers, gambling on securities and leverage, spilling acrid sweat out of their pores that condensed on the walls of their electrical equipment and smelled like nacho cheese mixed with the crumbs and skin inside a keyboard.
I could have written my name in the thick accretion of muck on the back of the DOW sign, but I didn’t. Instead, I thumped the back of the sign until I found the spot I was looking for: a nest between an array of computers and the red light bulbs that actually flashed the numbers. Here was a cavity that held thick ropy lengths of insulated cable and made a shelf on which a person could perch. I cut my way inside -- cutting three sides of a rectangle in the plastic -- and I rolled through the new flap. I found a place where I could rest myself and my bag, and then I lit up a couple of Jesus candles. It was still dark, but now it was romantic. I took my pants off. It was 4:15.
It took me half an hour to connect my cock to the DOW Jones.
Using a motion-sensitive cock ring plugged into an old converted tape deck, I was able to translate the movement of my hand along my penis into analog pressure code. I fed this code into a laptop, and then I hacked into the sign itself, being very careful not to accidentally shut the sign off or draw attention to myself. Even though I had been studying the schematics for months, the components were difficult to parse in the flailing Jesus candlelight.
I had one terrifying moment where I dropped my screwdriver and had to retrieve it by fashioning a tiny lariat out of the cord on my pants and hooking the end. I drew the screwdriver up to my hand and finished the job. I also had to override the DOW’s choke switch. A 10% drop in the DOW will halt all trading for an hour. A 20% drop will halt trading for two hours. A 30% drop will halt trading for the whole afternoon. This would be bad news for me. No means no when you are fucking the DOW.
After attaching the tape deck to the laptop, suddenly I was finished. Now, every time I stroked my cock, the DOW would drop. I also constructed a force-feedback jelly tube that was connected to the opposite statistic: the pressure of the DOW as it fought back against my shaving thrusts. I strapped on my jelly tube, I put a pillow behind my head, and then I took a deep breath. I stroked myself, and turned up the news in my left ear. The numbers on the DOW went down fifty points. I stroked myself again. They went down a hundred. Five more strokes and then the DOW lost three hundred points. Downstairs, I heard the floor break out in total panic. I paused, like a dog in the forest scenting a deer. It was 4:45.
Then I really started to get into it. I leaned back, closed my eyes, and let the DOW have it like a factory girl just out of prison.
I fucked Merck, and McDonalds, and Verizon, and Walmart, and United Technologies Corporation. I fucked Bank of America, and Caterpillar, and Boeing. DuPont and ExxonMobil were under me, writhing, confused yet excited, lubricated, wondering who this saucy young legless lad was that had found their hidden cave of decadence and abandon and who had invited himself in and was now manhandling them all, getting deep into the economy like a dirty tick. I fucked Alcoa, and American Express, and Home Depot. I fucked the Generals: General Motors and General Electric, and they took it standing and grunting like good little soldiers, downturned like disciplined rascals. Every time I stroked my cock, the numbers plummeted slightly, slightly, but just enough to shock. I could feel the DOW struggle upward against me, but it was so tender and so volatile. I rammed my johnson into Johnson & Johnson, and then I started in on those moderns with their hyphenated names that showed how independent and enlightened they were: Hewlett-Packard, and Coca-Cola, and Morgan-Chase. College boys! I let Microsoft pout in the corner and then I gave it some attention, but not too much, not enough to get it off. I left Microsoft unsatisfied and struggling: empty and outraged.
No, I was saving my load for Walt Disney. Disney was my dream date. I imagined Dumbo hovering over the pooched and puckered anus of sputtering, stuttering Donald Duck. Dumbo was waving me forward with his trunk, and Goofy was “hyuck, hyuck, hyucking” and I plunged right in, soul-kissing Wendy while Tinkerbell whispered in my ear: “THIS IS SO WRONG.”
I wanted to come inside the DOW like fireworks over the
My thumbs twitched on my cock, and my big thumbs itched underneath my suit pants, and I wrapped my thighs around a tangle of red and orange wires, arching my back. I was just fucking numbers, but the actual statistics responded with a fervid sucking joy and the jelly-tube squeezed me like a tennis ball in the mouth of an epileptic. Billions of dollars were flowing through my genitals and out into vapor through the pressure building in my ureter and the mushroom in my prostate. I could hear the traders down on the floor shrieking and whooping every time I penetrated deeper into the DOW and pressed it down, down, down and it excited me more to hear their impotence, and rage, and fear. I felt the muscles in my ass clench up and I knew I was getting close.
“I am a mean old bear!” I shouted. “I am a mean old bear market!”
In the news, the President had declared a state of emergency. He was scrambling F-16s; he was trying to declare today’s trading null and void. The seas boiled. People who began the day cuddling their infants and eating nice, satisfied breakfasts were now jumping out of windows. The looting had begun, and the rioting, and the runs on the banks. The news was people crying. The news was people laughing. The news was bucking to orgasm, just like me.
The DOW hit zero. It was spent! It shuddered against me. I came; spurting out a jet of thick froth that ran down the sides of my hand and drizzled onto my belly. The bell rang, rang, rang. I unclenched my thighs from the mess of cable and I rested and I relaxed my God’s big thumbs, knowing I had pressed the button so hard and so right that maybe I had reset the motherfucker.