Damien Miles-Paulson teaches slow dancing, writes and still dreams of an overseas basketball career. He is a founding member of the now disbanded experimental German noise band, Flu Shot. He is from Olympia (WA), though he now lives in the Inland Caliphate where he MFAs at the University of California Riverside. His stories, poems and sounds can be found at The Whole Beast Rag, The Washington Square Review, theNewerYork, Alice Blue Review, Marco Polo Arts Mag, Everyday Genius, Axolotl and The Alarmist. He can be reached at at @DMilesPaulson…
“Stories from a Broken Pact,” The Washington Square Review #32
“On Drones,” Whole Beast Rag # 6: Idol
“La Mancha,” Alice Blue #23
“A Year on the Beach in Afghanistan,” Marco Polo Arts Mag
“May First in Mae Sot,” Everyday Genius
“The Art Dealer At His Home In Seminyak,” Axolotl
“Memories of Borders,” The Alarmist #5
Adentro Karen State EP
theNewerYork Literary Madhouse Short Film
As I write this my drone is walking the dog. I’ve been asked by a well-distributed lifestyle and technology magazine to write a comprehensive article on drones. “Think of yourself as the poet laureate of drones,” the Editor told me, though I knew that all he wanted was a review of some new technology that no one else was willing to review. All I have been able to come up with thus far is this: Despite attempts to change the name to something friendlier, Drone has persisted.
I’ve never grown accustomed to the sky filled with drones. The constant buzzing, a hum outside my window. And the drones are getting smaller and smaller. The military and Homeland Security have been using drones the size of house flies for years. They say they just buzz into a room and fart out a little bit of nerve gas. They say these little drones were the key to ending the UN Headquarters hostage crisis. I have two friends in prison, well, three, but why he’s there has nothing to do with drones. They stalked their ex-wives with drones. They each got five years in prison. Yet mothers are allowed, and encouraged by drone manufacturers and women’s magazines to use drones to stalk their children. My wife wants to buy one of these babysitter drones to follow our kid all day but I’ve managed to stave that off, for how long, I’m not sure, the thing about drones is their inevitability.
I want to write a story about the life of delinquent drones. It will open with a few drones lazing about outside a 7-11, smoking cigarettes and putting off for as long as they can returning home to their masters, Slurpee in tow. I see it as a drone Clerks. I want to write about the recent strike by drone pilots at Godfather’s Pizza. People refused to tip the drones, thinking they were automated. In response, Quentin Tarantino released a drone-remix of the famous scene from Reservoir Dogs, where they talk about tipping drones instead of waitresses.
I want to write about drone-related crime, the organized gangs of drone bandits, who steal drones as they fly home from trips to the mall, to the bank, to the Hive, etc., heavy with spoils, and about the 100-fold increase in accidental beheadings by drone propellers since drones became as ubiquitous as cell-phones. I was nearly a victim last year. Some asshole’s drone was running low on battery, this was before the fail safe had been put in place, and it dove out of the sky, clipped my head and now I have giant scar on my forehead.
I want to write about drones repairing fragile ecosystems like temperate rainforests, planting artificial trees made by in-drone 3-D printers, and about a scene I once saw; a lone polar bear, probably one of the last, traversing a thin flow of ice, a science drone tracking its every movement. Or about English Gentlemen going on fox hunts with their drones, and hunters in the Northern Forests using drones to track down deer.
I want to write about how my wife thinks we should take a drone vacation to see the Pyramids of Giza. From the comfort of our own home we can get unprecedented access to the tombs and passage ways of the Pyramids, fly high above them, enjoying a romantic meal from atop the head of the Sphinx. But I just can’t get my last trip to New York out of my head. The kids wanted to see the Statue of Liberty so we took the boat out there and from the water we looked up at the Green Lady, a swarm of drones buzzing around her head but the poor old broad couldn’t even swipe them away. I imagine, drone or no drone, that is how the Pyramids must be these days. My wife’s brother runs a drone travel agency so it’ll be cheap and I’ll probably end up saying yes because it’ll give me ammunition when she bugs me about a drone babysitter again.
I want to write about Bill Gates’ new plan to increase drone access in Africa. It is his dream that there be an educational drone for every kid on the continent.
I want to write about my rebellious days as an Anti-Drone Activist. I was part of the Seattle Seven. I can tell you this because the statute of limitations has finally passed. Yes, we seven single-handedly stole 10,000 drones and then crashed them into the Puget Sound. I avoided jail time by spending almost five years in Pakistan, one of the only countries left in the world where drones are one hundred percent illegal. It was a good few years. I was like a celebrity there. But I got homesick. I want to write about the Anti-Drone Activist, and Brazilian Soccer fan, who flew a drone onto the pitch at the World Cup finals and, like the hand of god, used it to deflect an errant goal into the net. Brazil went on to defeat the USA 2-1. I want to write about failed sitcoms like I Dream of Droney, My Three Drones, or the drone soap opera, Drones of our Lives, and about the reviled drone paparazzi who’ve made almost everyone a celebrity so that now Anti-Drone Devices are the must-have accoutrement for celebrities of even minuscule fame.
I want to write a hard-hitting piece about the growing call for drone free zones in cities across the world, I’d call it Virgin Skies. I want to write about Andre Drone’s new film, the first film made completely by drone. I knew Andre Drone in his college days, when he was known as Shawn Monroe. He put himself through film school at NYU by filming drone porn. I have to admit, his new film, On Drones, is incredible. It’s the only true evocation of what it’s like to live in the Drone Generation. My daughter and I can’t wait for Christmas and the arrival of Drone-Claus, or Santa-Drone, depending on which Christmas company you subscribe to. I’m partial to Drone-Claus because their drone looks the most like Santa’s sleigh and they can eat the cookies we bake. It’s great waiting up late into the night, each passing buzz could be Santa, and just as my daughters asks me if Drone-Claus is real, he comes down the chimney, deposit the presents under the tree, nibbles at the plate of cookies and takes a sip of milk before zipping out into the coldish winter night. Outside almost every city on Earth there is a giant warehouse, The Hive, containing the packaged and ready to go wealth of the world. Sometimes I’ll drive up there and get as close as one is able to and I’ll just lay on the hood of my car as the millions of drones fly in all directions, like starlings or barn swallows.
I want to write about the miraculous resurrection of franchises like Radio Shack, “Your One Stop Drone Shop!” Why didn’t I buy stock like my father-in-law advised me to do? Instead of all this I’m to write about something a little more personal, drone-sex. My wife and I have talked long and hard about this one. Her sex drive, like that of many, has been almost completely wiped out due to interference from drone radio waves. It has been almost two years since we have made love. So when I proposed the idea of bringing a drone into the bedroom she wasn’t overly enthusiastic, but she said we could give it a try. Together we browsed the drone-sex sites, trying to find a suitable partner. Because of new laws, sex-drones are not allowed to be automated, they must be piloted. My wife’s extinct libido has also made her the least jealous person in the world, she could have cared less if I had drone sex with a real pilot or with some CPU in Northern Sweden. We chose an accountant in St. Paul. First, though, I had to go to the drone-outfitters, where (and I’m sorry to be vulgar here, but I’m a reporter) technicians made a 3-D copy of my penis. This was loaded into a database so a sex-drone in St. Paul could access it. I was surprised to see so many couples at the drone-outfitters. I was under the impression that drone-sex was still rather avant. The accountant in St. Paul and I made an appointment. The drone arrived promptly at 9:30 p.m. I digitally signed off that it had been cleaned, appeared clean and that the mechanical genitalia was also clean and vacuum sealed. When the drone entered the house mood music whispered from its speakers. My wife laughed uncontrollably and through her tears she waved the drone and I into the bedroom. The small video screen turned on, it was the accountant from St. Paul, my drone had just arrived at her apartment. She too was married, she told me, and like my wife, her husband was in the next room. I could hear him laughing. I put on my drone-goggles, which gave me full visual access and control of my drone in St. Paul. My first sensation was of how weird it was not to have hands to touch the accountant with, this is an upgrade that I’m told will be made available soon. The accountant laid down on the bed, my drone positioned above her. The hover mode of the drone was rather unstable. After some small talk we decided to go forward with intercourse. From inside the otherwise nondescript drone a perfectly human looking vagina emerged, complete with black lingerie that the accountant in St. Paul wore as well. She looked down at the simulacrum of my penis as it lowered from the drone. I turned the volume up on my headset to drown out the annoying hum of the drone. I closed my eyes because the visual was disorienting, as I said, the hover mode left much to be desired, causing me to become motion sick. But the sounds of her moaning, I could lose myself in them. At the risk of spilling into pornography I will edit certain details regarding the efficacy of the synthetic genitalia and the overall quality of the sexual experience; these will be made available on my blog. I saw the accountant from St. Paul on a weekly basis until she broke it off a few months later. She said that drone-sex boiled down intimacy and sex until all that was left was penetration. She said she missed the smells, the imperfection of flesh and the way it waxes and wanes. My wife watched our encounters from the doorway at first, then from a chair at the side of the bed, interested but never aroused. I flip through photographs she took of me with the drone, feeling like a caveman thawed from a block of ice. When the accountant from St. Paul and I stopped seeing each other my wife asked me if I’d find another drone. No, I told her, all I wanted to do was cuddle.