Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Fortune's Fools

In a rather macabre display of irony, I flipped my Onion Day-To-Day Calendar to read this:


Victims Sought In Next Week's Shooting

CHARLOTTE, NC—In an extremely brief press conference on the steps of City Hall, area psychopath Roland Walling, 46, announced Monday that he is on the lookout for potential victims in the unprovoked shootout that he expects will leave at least three dead and up to 10 wounded next Tuesday.

"I'm asking for the community's help in piecing together the details of Tuesday's pointless, bloody attack," Walling said. "There's no clear motivation for my horrendous act, so I'm having a good deal of difficulty developing a coherent plan of action."

While many details of the grisly shooting are still unknown, Walling said he will most likely walk into the post office on Tryon Street shortly after noon, draw a 9 mm semiautomatic handgun from beneath his jacket, and begin shooting at random.

"Right now, the community's involvement is essential," Walling said. "I have no solid leads for potential victims, so please contact me immediately if you can be a target for my insane outburst of rage, or if you know someone who might be willing to be shot."

Added Walling: "I repeat—anyone who can be in the vicinity of the Tryon Street post office between 12:15 and 12:18, please come forward."

Walling urged victims to call him at 659-4066, visit him at his dilapidated mobile home in Sugar Hill Park, or "just swing by the post office Tuesday." He added that volunteers who wish to remain anonymous should remove all identification from their pockets and destroy their dental records before approaching the scene of the forthcoming crime.

Homicide detective Ryan Fowles of the Charlotte Police Department expects to be the first at the scene.

"It sounds like it will be like nothing I'll have ever seen in my 20 years in law enforcement," Fowles said. "It's going to be hard on all of us, largely because there will be no good reason why this will have had to have happened."

In spite of the inevitable confusion that will attend this sort of unimaginable tragedy, emergency response teams say they will do everything they can when the time comes.

"Next week's tragedy will no doubt remind me why I took this job," said Memorial Hospital EMT Kim Paulkins. "There will be no way we could have been prepared for it, but the important thing is that we all act professionally and do our jobs when the unthinkable happens. I'll just wish that, if someone has to die, I could have done something to have saved him or her. I'll just have to tell myself next week that I did everything I could."

Fowles said the families of those involved will be notified as soon as the victims are shot. Nonetheless, many potential victims have been reluctant to step forward and help the gunman.

"I'm sorry, but there's no way I'm getting involved in this upcoming shootout," said Mindy Grant, who lives next door to the post office. "That crazy man will just have to find someone else to kill. No, thank you. I know better."

Beth Kammerman, who has worked at the Tryon Street post office for 11 years, will leave a husband and two daughters behind if she is hit by one of Walling's bullets.

"I'm sure I won't be able to believe the things I see," Kammerman said. "I'll have to ask myself, 'Why did God allow this to happen?' Especially if there's children, who won't have done nothing to nobody."

Sidney Crawson said next week's shooting is exactly the kind of thing she has warned her fellow residents about.

"Everyone will say, 'It was so sudden, it came out of nowhere,'" Crawson said. "The authorities should be able to see this coming, if you ask me. I'll have some hard questions to ask people next week, believe me. I just hope I'm lucky enough to be alive to say this after the fact."

Contacted at his home, Walling said he expects to be wounded by a shot fired by either a gun-carrying postal employee or an off-duty cop, but he believes he will manage to escape from the scene of the crime in a late-model Honda.


Walked over to Plaza Sing to indulge in some ayam panggang from that ridiculously popular Indonesian BBQ stall. Such a foolproof formula - grilled/fried stuff with good gravy.

And then there was some Carrefour clearance sale which got me slightly excited because nothing beats cheap retail therapy.

Amidst the books and household products, I walked past three guys in office attire carefully inspecting toy action figures. It made me smile slightly, how sometimes we just don't grow up. I admit I felt slight disdain, and was contemplating how unnecessary negative feelings were in this context when I strolled past the girls' toy section and was forced to stop to look at a careless display of My Little Pony figurines.

I talked myself out of buying one, and maybe I shouldn't have, just to teach me a lesson for snickering at people that were same as me. I can't remember where my old ones went to, nor can I remember the last time I saw them or I watched the cartoon. No matter, it was just so pretty. But I've enough clutter to deal with already.

And then as I reached my block, I could hear the shouts even with my earphones plugged in. A Malay couple arguing, well the guy was doing most of the shouting anyway. The girl started to walk quickly away only to have her arm grabbed by the guy and was forcefully swung back to her starting position.

Some old man on a bicycle was a few meters away watching the entire scene. I immediately labelled him as one of those voyeuristic kaypohs and I tried my best to turn my back on the scandal to walk home.

Then the shoutings escalated, and the guy smashed his handphone on the ground, all the while gesticulating violently at the girl. There was some vague recollection of how D similarly smashed his crash cymbal in some random carpark and I shuddered. Cymbals make more noise than handphones. The old man didn't move.

And as the shoutings continued, the guy moved to stand in front of the girl, towering over her. At this point, the old man got off his bicycle and went to intervene, keeping his body between the two lovers. The girl kept her head down, shrunk into as small a ball as she could muster and hid behind the old man as her boyfriend continued to yell. I can't understand Malay so I can't tell you what was said.

And it amazed me, how I mistook concern for voyeurism, how I mistook abuse for a couple's private business, how I mistook my apathy for civilised politeness.


(I saw this off The Dudes' blog and I think this is the most awesome thing to come out of Talking Cock EVER.)

I took me a while to get it, but when I finally did, I reallly really really got it man.


I keep coming back to add on as I remember stuff I wanted to note down.

Masochist hour has begun. Bring on the coffee and the 80s music that will make me last the night!

I've had several nightmare about the deaths of my cats. Usually involving them leaping to their deaths, a reflection of my paranoia since we live on the 9th floor.

I had another a few days ago, by far the worst but I've forgotten most of it, so yay for you. Someone once said, "Is there anything more boring than listening to someone else recount their dreams?" Probably not, although some life stories comes pretty close.

Anyway, I dreamt I was in an India-esque train station. Terrible crowds. Waiting for the train with my cats on board to pull in. They were supposed to be caged, but someone (I think my Dad) let them out thinking it'd be fine since they were in an enclosed space.

When the train came to a stop, someone went to clear out the garbage.

This is where it gets all fuzzy. All I can remember is that someone grabbing my cats one after another, smashing their heads in and flinging them two storeys down.

I'd seen someone do the same to rats once, and while I felt pretty horrible then this one really sent me over the edge.

So there was a lot of yelling and screaming and I beat up someone who I felt was responsible, can't remember who.

Ran to their limp bodies. Picked them up and put them in a tray of sorts and ran to an animal hospital. A lot of pitiful mewing and me worrying I was breaking more bones by moving them.

On hindsight, its a bit strange they weren't dead already.

I think my alarm clock deprived me of an ending to this one.