And, of course, there are the things you don’t talk about, not with anyone. Experiences indescribable. Decisions insupposable. Urges incogitable to an Nth degree of separation—from good sense, from moral decency, from all things holy and sacrosanct under the sight of the Almighty, who watches disapprovingly as you masturbate and defecate and howl mournfully in the unwashed tragedy of your life. Yes. These are terrible realities, all the awful things you’ve done, all your secret urges and convolutions, which at any moment could be shamefully exposed. And they will be, eventually, you know. Fiat lux et facta est lux…

But I need to describe the two women. Because I have no shame. And God has seen me howl and masturbate far too many times, jacking off to the moon in my pagan shamelessness. There’s nothing of me that hasn’t been exposed, nothing kept back in a sacred vestibule to be carried forth under a veil on a special day each year. Frankly, I think God must be tired of peeping on me. So let’s talk about the two women without reservation or modesty: the first I met at a rally, the second under a tarp.

You don’t want to know about the tarp. Even less about the rally. Because you’re a good person, you’ll think it’s all a bit sordid from the beginning, even though we had a moral purpose. We were there to pull down a statue, because that’s exactly what Jesus would do at a rally, and make our political statement, our point, which we felt had not adequately been made in the 2,000 years since the crucifixion. What was it? Just accept that we were there for a good cause, spilling the tea, doing the work. We were there for it. For Jesus. Or, if not for Jesus, then for everything right and true in the American character. Or, if not for America, then for the sheer joy of defecating, just this once, in public.

To be honest, we were there to MAKE THEM LISTEN. We didn’t know who “they” were, exactly, but that was not as important as getting their attention by pulling down the statue of T. Harold Markinson, Assistant Undersecretary of Agriculture for two months toward the end of 1861, who singlehandedly paved the way for 150 years of poultry farming throughout Hauberk, Missouri. He was referred to as “Father of the Chicken.” And we were taking that mother down, especially appropriate since the statue, tastelessly, featured Markinson cradling a chicken looking up at him with love and adoration. Disgusting. If ever a statue of a misbegotten public figure deserved to be pulled down and rolled into a canal, it was that one.

But I need to tell you about the women. The first one, the one at the rally, was named Christina, who went by Nina or N-BITCH-UNIT, as stenciled on her helmet. It was right when we wrapped the enormous yellow cargo harness around T. Harold Markinson’s face that our eyes met. She grinned. And I said, “N-BITCH-UNIT. That’s cool.” And she said, “Yah.” And I said, “How’d you get your teeth knocked out?” And she said, “Fightin’ pigs.” And then I knew it wasn’t love we were feeling, per se. But it was something.

Not fighting the police. She’d been fighting the real article: enormous javelinas, more commonly known as the peccary or skunk pig, devious hoofed mammals of the Tayassuidae family and progenitors of the infamous razorback hogs that once cut a bloody swath through the farmlands outside Hauberk. They raised hell until they were beaten back by a detachment from the 59th Illinois Infantry Regiment under Union Lieutenant Colonel Calvin Harlowe Frederick before he went on to be paralyzed at the Battle of Pea Ridge. And N-BITCH-UNIT was still fighting that fight. Now without front teeth, but God, she was sexy. History is a complex thing.

Still, we are simple. Like the simple peccary lust between N-BITCH and myself after 15 of us succeeded in pulling down Markinson, spraying his face lime-green (the chicken hot pink), and rolling him into the canal. The physical exertion fueled our attraction to each other, given that the statue was solid bronze and had to be dragged about 50 feet and then hefted over a railing. The canal, in turn, was narrow. And so T. Harold Markinson was only halfway submerged where he landed, stuck at the point where the water entered a drain beneath the courthouse. But it didn’t matter. We’d succeeded. The tea had been spilled. And there is no aphrodisiac like success.

But because you’re a good person, you’ll raise a hand and ask me to stop. You’ll tell me that you’ve heard enough, that this can’t go anywhere decent or wholesome, and that you don’t need the mortal sin of impure thoughts on your conscience. Impure thoughts, impure dreams, self-abuse. Satan’s trifecta. Willfully exposing yourself to objectionable material, particularly that which is vitiated by the seed of physical desire, exacts a heavy price to be paid directly to the devil in hell. Pitchforks. White-hot flames. The shrieking lamentations of the damned. A perpetual droning recitation of Title 26 of the Internal Revenue Code to the tolling of a bell. There shall be no escape.

Nevertheless, N-BITCH-UNIT and I, having willfully cast off the restraints of societal oppression, found our way to a dark stand of trees in the courthouse park, where we shared her fifth of Old Crow and smoked two of my medicinal joints. I have, you see, generalized anxiety, which can only be relieved by liberal suffumingations of OG Red Sonja Kush twice a day. So we partook and we saw that it was good. Only later would I discover that all the heavy statue lifting had given me a hernia, requiring a series of painful and invasive bowel surgeries. But that was all in the future.

That night, drunk and high in the bushes with my sexy pig-fighting iconoclast, I felt like a man again. She said, “I’ma keep my helmet on.” And I said, “You keep that helmet on, you goddamn sexy beast.” And we came together like the heathens of old, mewling and grunting, unleashed at last under an eldritch moon.

A strict Catholic upbringing gives you many gifts. A hatred of your body. Perpetual guilt. A sense of powerlessness. A certain vague metaphysical doom. These gifts, and many others like them, motivate you to be better. They provide a critical distance from enjoyment and self-respect such that you are more able to determine how and when Satan’s trident might be rising up beneath you in the toilet. A good Catholic always checks. Because, you know, he’s usually down there.

Therefore, when you find yourself under a tarp with a woman named Cassie, short for Cassiopeia like the northern stars or the ancient pagan queen, you’re able to stop and ask, should I really be under this tarp, doing what I’m doing, with this mytho-astral goddess? Since you are a good person, you’ll no doubt conclude that fooling around with a mytho-astral goddess of the northern stars under a tarp is highly improper, untoward, objectionable, wrong in all the ways this failed and broken country corrupts and destroys. Under the tarp is not a safe space. Under the tarp is perdition.

Unfortunately, it was raining. That was the primary reason for the tarp, not seduction, not mythopoetic conjunctions on a rooftop. We revolutionaries were up there for a midnight viewing of the courthouse fire, which we’d started 90 minutes earlier. Having dumped T. Harold Markinson into the canal the night before, we came into our own, realizing our power, and decided to MAKE THEM LISTEN AGAIN by burning down the courthouse itself.

N-BITCH-UNIT hadn’t shown up, but Cassie had brought six cases of Michelob, stashing them on the rooftop of the La Paloma Inn three blocks away. We stood up there in the rain, sipping warm beer, watching the courthouse burn, the hook and ladder truck struggling to put it out by spraying water through the blown-out windows on the second floor. It was a beautiful, righteous conflagration. A perfect symbol of what we stood for.

Some had left umbrellas or plastic raincoats with the beer. But since I hadn’t come prepared, Cassie covered us both with her green plastic tarp. We sat there, enjoying ourselves like it was the fourth of July. And though I was already having abdominal pain from the hernia, I dismissed it as merely the excitement of knowing I’d done the work and changed the status quo.

After about six beers, I said, “Let me kiss you.” She crushed her beer can and said, “I can’t consent. I’m intoxicated.” And with the authority of two millennia of Catholic Christianity, I replied, “I’m intoxicated, too. So it’s alright. We’re both doomed already.” “We should go down and get a room,” she said. But I shrugged. “I don’t have any money.” And that was God’s truth. We did, however, have the tarp. And this time it was romantic and sensual and beautiful and would have been perfect if not for the hail.

In the following days, we learned the fire didn’t burn down the courthouse, only a few office cubicles on the second floor. T. Harold Markinson’s statute blocked the canal drain, resulting in four inches of flood damage to the local businesses surrounding Courthouse Park, including Giovanni’s, my favorite deli, which saddened me. The statue had to be lifted out with a crane. Those of us identified on security footage were eventually arrested at home by the Hauberk PD and charged with malicious mischief and vandalism, since they couldn’t prove arson. And I went to the emergency room when the pain in my abdomen became intolerable. But I regret nothing.

“I have to see you again,” I’d said to Cassie under the tarp, when it became clear that we were both too drunk to finish what we’d started. “Give me your number.” She belched and said, “Phones are integral to systemic oppression and a bourgeois tool of control.” “So you don’t have a phone?” I felt the moment slipping away. “No,” she said, “I have a Samsung Galaxy 10, but I haven’t installed the latest firmware update. So maybe I should give you my email because the update is gonna take forever.” But we didn’t have a pen. “Do you have a business card or something?” But she’d fallen asleep. The hail was loud on the tarp and the wind up on the roof was very cold.

And so I confess my crimes. Unlike you, I’ve done certain unforgivable things and I know there will be an accounting. But for a brief moment in time, I felt like I mattered. We MADE THEM LISTEN. Twice. We danced with the devil and smoked decent weed and came together under the northern stars. To be honest, deep in my feral heart, I remain prideful and unrepentant, a wild snorting peccary of the resistance, rooting under tarps and in the dark of courthouse parks. And when I see similar revolutionary action taking place on the news, I raise my fist in solidarity and adjust my colostomy bag. For I am still that wild beast looking for love, spilling the tea, and fighting for the soul of my country.