April 3, 2008

Excited Delirium Book: Chapter 3 (“They Call Me Mr. Kite”)

By liam

Author’s Note: The following is Chapter 3 of the my online book "Excited Delirium". Please post comments. Please tell your friends about this story. If you’ve missed a chapter, please click here for Chapter 1 (Prelude) or here for the full index .

Most of my contacts call me Mr. Kite.

I know: it’s cliché. Believe me, I’m no Bond. I’m not attractive in a six-pack ab kind of way. Instead, I’m a little more keg shaped. I have a rough visage, more because I hate shaving, not because it’s cool to have stubble. That’s so ‘Don Johnson 80s’. I don’t shave regularly because I’m a wimp and it hurts.

‘Kite’ is a pseudonym. I can’t remember the last time I used my real name. In fact, I’m no longer completely sure what it is.

A ‘kite’ is someone that’s completely disposable. When a company hires you to get info from another company, they cut the strings and leave you to your own defense if they think there’s the least little bit of risk.

As a kite, you disappear with the wind, leaving no trace of a relationship.

A kite is a person that’s hired to infiltrate a company, collect information about said company for another company – usually a competitor or a group of bidders for the information – and bring that info back to the buyer.

In layman’s terms, I’m a corporate spy. Of course, not too many kids run around the school yard yelling that they want to ‘work from the inside to bring companies down’, so I get to charge a bit of a premium because there’s so few of us in the marketplace.

For a short time, the number was growing, but new security rules brought in after 9/11 killed any growth in my industry. Even I think about getting out once in a while.

Generally, working as a kite is an acquired skill and comes from years of experience as being a first class fuck up. The other part of the formula is that there are very groups you feel comfortable socializing with.

I never quite fit in with the ‘upper crust’ and I rarely think of how my work affects ‘the little guy’. On the surface, some might think I’m some kind of hero, trying to send a message to the world that companies are evil.

The truth is, I could care less. I’m not a working class hero. I’m not committed to making a difference.

In a lot of cases, my actions usually put a lot of people out of work, usually because my work affects the financial stability of a lot of companies, but I don’t feel bad for them. They work for The Corporation .

The Corporation has become this massive, uncontrollable blob of a force that is ruining our planet and I enjoy hurting it any time I can.

The risks are many.

One day I will get caught and I will disappear. When I’m gone, nothing in the world will change. There will be no state funeral. In fact, there won’t be any funeral. When I disappear, we all know it’s because I’ve stepped on the wrong toes.

Everyone’s greatest fear is to die or leave this world without a sense of having done anything or having someone to remember who they were. This is what keeps me up at night because I can’t afford the risk of having a family or friends or even associates.

No one will notice when I’m gone because I’m anonymous.

So why do it?

I never have to worry about getting hamstrung mid-day by being called to some unknown office close to HR and be told by my boss as he reads from a templated and type-written speech, telling me that I don’t fit the mold of the company and that my attitude is not consistent with the spirit of my peers.

I never have to do the walk of shame with my Armani jacket over my head because nobody knows me and the roles that I choose are well below the radar. Nothing makes me happier at the end of the day knowing that I’ve put another gutless jock out of work, only to come home to explain to his wife that she’d have to go back to work instead of stay at home and drink five-dollar chai lattes all day while organizing charity balls for her neighbours in the cul-de-sac.

In fact, now that I mention charities, I’m not ashamed to say that they have become my latest target.

Today, most companies engage in ‘Strategic Philantrophy’, which simply means they give a lot of money to organizations that advertise to their target demographic. For example, breast cancer. Massive organizations have been created with the intent of indirectly advertising their sponsors to middle aged women because they still know that they have to buy cars, get diet foods and get hand lotion for themselves.

What we tend to ignore is that for the billions of dollars that are raised every year, very small amounts of those funds actually make into the hands of women that suffer from cancer, the twentieth century’s “industrial disease”.

We also turn a blind eye to the fact that cosmetics companies wind up being the leading sponsors of these kind of charities and yet they’re also the leading cause of cancer.

If 10% of women stopped wearing makeup, you’d see cancer rates drop.

It’s that simple.


My first job was with a local newspaper company. I was 12. I weighed less than the bag full of newspapers and all of the lovely inserts that came with them. My route covered about two miles of suburbs and I hiked the distance every morning before six AM. If the paper came after that point, grumpy old men complained because they couldn’t read the news before heading into the office. In case you’re wondering, this was slightly before the age of the Internet and looking up quotes at any time of the day. Print was still king and the morning paper was the medium of royalty.

Over the course of the summer, I think I made about four dollars. Without exception, I had to make a choice each and every morning which customer was going to have to suffer without a copy of the paper because I never received enough for my entire route. Why? My circulation manager, Mr. Mongeon, was stealing a few extra papers from each kid per day and selling them to convenience stores. It was a great scam if you were on the inside: he’d make an extra $100 bucks or so per day once his region was accounted for and a couple of dozen kids were never the wiser because who would rip a bunch of little kids and who would believe them if they figured out the scheme? Parents always thought that the kids were dumping their papers or finding some other excuse for not making any money. And, to add insult to injury, most parents usually pushed their kids to continue because it ‘built character’.

Well, I did get wise to what was happening and finally decided that it was Mr. Mongeon’s turn to face the wrath of a pissed off kid that might be able to buy a couple of ju-jubes or chocolate bars with his weekly take.

After a number of very long mornings, I found out who the other delivery boys were in the region. I managed to contact all of them, essentially organize them and created a plan of attack once we collectively realized what he was up to. Concentration of influence and power are great things for those in control, but when it slips from their fingers, grabbing it back is like grabbing a minnow out of a school. You might get one if you’re lucky, but you’ll never get them all.

We waited until it was a particularly hot day in July. We got on our bikes (one kid had a BMX bike – everyone envied him) and we all met up with him close to his first drop-off point.

First, we ganged up on him, bound him and covered his eyes and proceeded to beat the shit out of him. Next, we threw him into the back of his van and force fed him the edition for that day. Once his mouth was full, we covered his eyes so that he couldn’t see what was going on and one of the older boys (a ripe old age of 14) drove us to the cornfield close to the suburb we lived in. This was before the days when fields were actually used for growing something other than McMansions.

In the field, 40 bags of manure were waiting to be loaded into his van with him in it. We sat him up and buried him up to his head, closed the windows, locked the van and left him there with a note explaining his atrocities. It was a little like what Spiderman would do, but nowhere near as nice.

We knew that we could have killed him with what we did, so we lobbed in a call to the local police about an hour after the execution of our plan. Some of us argued that the smell would have attracted some of the neighbours, but the majority of us were old and smart enough to know that a record could still hang a 12 year old.

When that greedy old prick was picked up, some of the photographers from the same paper we delivered were there to take a few snaps, mainly because we tipped them off. Once an investigation was done, he was sent to jail for defrauding minors and never worked in the delivery business again. Occasionally, I wonder what he’s up to now. I picture him in an insane asylum, picking the wings off dead flies, pretending his prey is me and my friends.

Thus began my life of objection to servitude while I did my best to break away from the bonds of earning a living.

In the years that followed, I worked as a dishwasher, a gas station attendant, a waiter (with four separate restaurants), a bus driver, a garbage man, a janitor, an electrician’s apprentice, a bag boy at a local convenience store, a tutorial assistant at a university close to my home, a research assistant for pompous public servants at federal offices doing inane (and sometimes insane) research that no one would ever find important except the companies that fund it, equity trader for a little known independent brokerage in Toronto, occasional programmer, where I also could avoid the temptation to drop in some easter eggs with CD media (to this day, if you play “The Fuglies – Fuglies Strike Back” on your computer and type in ARSE while it’s playing, a collage of pictures of the current US President that stole the election would appear, animated to look like he was humping the Statue of Liberty, agency marketing director, environmental and charity work (where I really learned how to rip people off), and so on and so on.

The list is long.

And this list is before I decided to start working for myself while working for others.

For some reason, none of my jobs lasted long. I’d get bored and do stupid things like throw milk cartons down the hallway of a restaurant at the end of a long shift just to watch them explode in the meat section and destroy that night’s inventory of food.

Most people – especially those who are a decade or two older – would think I was an idiot. I always beg to differ. In fact, I don’t even beg any more. Because I felt forced to join a specific mold of society, be a model employee and earn lots of mindless pricks tonnes of cash, I resisted.

I left or was fired from almost every job I had because I was unwilling to cooperate. I loathed structure, couldn’t stand conformity and most of all despised people that told me it was what I had to do in order to ensure I could earn a living when I was an adult. There were simply too many other ways to make money and I didn’t want to play to a drip of a middle man.

I really tried a few times to take the corporate life seriously. I was fired from my first regular, salary job, but when it happened, I was “downsized” because the company was running out of money. It might have been because the CEO paid himself and his buddies nearly $400 million in cash and stock options, but I wasn’t making those connections back then.

My second salaried job was a real struggle because my manager was simply the biggest dick asshole prick knob that you could possibly imagine, and I’ve seen my share! I was doing horrible chores that were demeaning, dull and embarrassing. How could any adult feel a sense of dignity when he was tooling home on the bus after a day of recurring shit sandwiches from someone who clearly had less talent than you?

I stuck with it, but it cost me thousands in anti-depressants to get through each day. When I wasn’t being jerked around, I was thinking about hanging myself from my fake-leather belt with a sorry note stuffed in my pocket, but every time I came remotely close, I reminded myself that I would eventually rise above this kind of tediousness and this kind of stupidity.

I did when I quit for another job.

It was when I worked for a third company in as many years that I knew I wouldn’t “fit the mold” of the corporate lifestyle. Again, I was controlled by an idiot and was endlessly frustrated by dead ends and make work jobs. Eventually, I was fired, but not because I was incompetent or because I killed my boss. No, I was fired because I couldn’t (and wouldn’t) play golf.

I spent some time after that traveling on severance packages that I had cashed out and converted to various currencies. It was then that I decided to also start regularly using some of my fake ID acquired through my high school years.

Escaping the corporate life (and some might say, life in general) was moderately easy when my parents died early on and left me with a few dollars as an inheritance. I no longer needed to go to work or school because my parents did it for me. It sounds cold, but because they were both drunk when they plunged off the side of the road, they clearly weren’t too worried about my future.

I’m hoping you’re picking up on my healthy sense of caustic cynicism. It comes from never being close to anyone. Well, not quite never, but I’ll touch on that later.

After my parents made an early departure when I was thirteen, and with a little help from a few close friends, I could get almost anything before I was the age of fifteen. They got me fake ID and I financed their booze and other habits. Of course, I saw most of the money back because I was heavily into dealing them and a few others dope, LSD and mushrooms. In fact, I was the biggest supplier in our high school and nobody knew my true name because I transferred to another location under a false ID.

With their help, and in time, I had created eight different identities, all of which eventually grew on to have their own little families. Several of the pseudonyms exist and are in use to this day.

Working for anyone else became one big sociology experiment. As I mentioned, when I was a kid, I was always frustrated and bored … which inevitably lead to destruction. When I worked for a gas station, I worked night shifts and siphoned oil off of every container and dumped the excess into empty used ones that I kept from fill ups. Out of a 100 quarts, I could usually get at least another 10, netting me about an extra $50 every couple of nights. The best was when some unwitting yuppie came in and asked me to fill his minivan with oil and all I had to do was top it with about an eighth of a quart of oil. The rest was black gold for me!

The challenge during these early years was staying under the radar. I wanted to get an education, but couldn’t to university because of registration requirements. I knew from the get-go that I would have to keep my identity off record and out of the lime light.

When I was in my teens and early twenties, I studied anything and everything. I’d sit in on classes that I hadn’t registered for. Lester Wrestler almost got a BA in Anthropology from UWO, in London, Ontario. Nick Rhodes almost got a PhD from MIT. Both were absent from the finals and failed to receive their diplomas

I still needed accreditation, or proof of studies for a lot of contracts, so I bought them online through agencies that would vouch for your attendance. Most of these schools even offered their own set of references, so that if anyone actually did check up on you, they hit a wall of well paid phone operators somewhere outside Mumbai, India.

During the 80s and 90s, I didn’t filter any jobs and just took on any and every paying gig to get myself by. Only in the last five years have my efforts gone from random acts of destruction to actually having a sense of purpose.

At the turn of the century, I became appalled with the transition that occurred after 9/11. It seemed like the gloves were off and the perfect business plan was in full swing: the corporation now fed off the government full time.

In my lifetime, I’ve seen the corporation evolve into something despicable and even if good people were in charge, these entities still managed to ruin the lives of millions around the world.

And yet, I don’t see a lot of people reacting, so I’ve taken it upon myself to destroy the corporation.

There are a few others like me out there – they just don’t know it. If someone came to you and asked you to photocopy just a few small files and offered you enough money to pay off your mortgage, you’d be in my shoes in a heart beat. You’d at least consider and eventually get pissed off if you didn’t.

Someone might say you’ve got no loyalty, but loyalty’s a farce. Loyalty is a waste of time. In fact, loyalty has no purpose any more because it’s all about the Benjamins. Or Euros, if you’ve been following the US dollar as the Chinese dump it into the shitter.

Think about it: why should you be loyal?

Right now, if you’re working in North America, you’re probably working for a company that is tracking every key stroke you make with your computer, every email you receive and every phone call you make.

Right now, every step you take from the moment you wake to the moment you go to sleep is being tracked somehow, whether it’s via closed circuit TV, tracking your favourite porn sites or monitoring what you tune in to with your PVR or digital cable service.

Right now, you’re being brainwashed into believing that there are a bunch of “terrorists” out there that hate for our freedoms. What fucking freedoms? If you go to a protest, you’ll get blasted with a heat ray laser from some hire mercenary who’d more than 200 yards away from you.

These are dangerous times.

Loyalty? To hell with loyalty. If you’re not looking out for yourself and packing away some non-perishables when the shit really hits the fan, then you’re not being loyal to your own survival.

Aw hell, what do I know? I’m just bitter because I’m in between contracts right now. I screwed up my last one, and now most of my contacts won’t have anything to do with me.

(Note: "Excited Delirium" is a work of fiction. Any person, place or thing depicted in this work of fiction is also a work of fiction. Any relation of these subjects or characters to real locations, people or things are an unintentional coincidence.)

Read more with Chapter 4

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Excited Delirium by Liam Young is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Canada License .
Based on a work at www.exciteddelirium.ca .