Alpha Tango Monorail, Part 1

This is the first of a three-part audio story by the music + lit duo Anthony Jones and Joel Woolf. For more about the pair, read our interview with Anthony. You can also listen to more of their work here.

She used to call me guapo
Penelope did
in the days when she kissed my hair
and that’s what I was thinking about
while I sat in this dive bar downtown
while I peeled the label off my fourth Miller Beer
What does it take for a man to get a cold one is this city!
that’s what I said to the bartender
girl musta been twenty-two
looked forty
she didn’t say a word to me
I don’t blame her
I guess I wasn’t the most pleasant person to talk to
I had a lot on my mind
a lot had happened over the last few days
I was going through what you might call
a crisis
just last week
I thought I had it all
the American Dream
my own business
in a cutting edge industry
The Lotus Corporation
even though it was barely legal
I had enough money to pay the right people
and enough high-priced clients
to last a lifetime
it seemed like
before Lotus
I’d just been a normal guy
slugging it out with the rest of these chumps
hoping for a little luck
looking for my piece of the pie
but Lotus changed all that
the Corporation had given me
power
and respect
but it was also responsible
for the mess I was in now
because I had blood on my hands
and a dead girl on my conscience
and what’s worse
I knew exactly how it got there
Alpha Tango Monorail
I should have known better from the start …


At the Lotus Corporation
we use code names for the emotions we sell
Concord Beta Mousetrap
that’s the code for confidence
it’s our best seller
Rainbow Night Sierra
that’s also a popular item
we developed it for the executive type
who works hard all day
and needs a little tranquility
to escape whatever family issues they’ve been neglecting at home
so they can relax
whatever you need to feel though
for whoever you need to be
that’s our motto
come to Lotus
cut us a check
and we’ll have you feeling
just fine about your life
by the time the ink dries
at the time of the murder
we had over fifty emotions for sell
and our research department
was developing more every day
but there’s one emotion we had
that we never sold
Alpha Tango Monorail
code name for honesty
left collecting dust
on a long forgotten shelf …


I guess it’s to be expected
working in Washington DC
serving mostly politicians
there’s not exactly
a huge demand
for honesty
take Don Adams for example
Senator from Virginia
one of our best clients
we made a killing off that guy
but you should have seen him
the first time he walked in
to the Lotus Corporation
he was a wreck
the son of a real estate baron
stumbling aimlessly through life
stoop-shouldered
bleary eyed
sallow skin with his hair messed up
this was twelve years ago mind you
and the first time I spoke with him
the guy says to me
Please
I need to make something out of myself
I need to prove it to my family
that I can be somebody
instead of a trust fund leech
which is what they say I am
but I can’t do it alone
I can’t change
without your help
how much to make me
a successful man?
well I guess we all have
different definitions of manhood
but Don Adams
he was talking about the kind
you can judge by
power
and respect
so we had that guy
jacked up on so much Concord Beta Mousetrap
that you would have sworn
he grew up All-American
true blue
hard working
varsity quarterback
a real champion of the middle class
who rose from nothing to become one of our nation’s Senators
even though
deep down
he was just a rich kid
who got made fun of in high school
but had the money to buy any future he wanted
and what he wanted most
was people to want him back
but it wasn’t my job to judge
clients paid
and I provided a service
and Senator Adams
twelve years later
decided all of a sudden
he wanted to go in a different direction
he said he needed
a new emotion
in order to create
a new image for a run at the Presidency
but I should have known something was wrong
when he asked
for Zulu Delta Terror
code name for intimidation
precursor to rage
along with confidence
a very dangerous mix …


At the time
Senator Adams said he wanted to appear outraged
for the voters
see
there was a sensation in the DMV
a killer on the loose
a maniac
targeting young women
for random acts of violence
the murder scenes were gruesome
strange symbols carved into their skin
body parts kept as souvenirs
some of his victims were graduate students at Georgetown
others, prostitutes in rural Virginia
the killings were
scandalous
and unpredictable
the Post was calling him
the DC Slayer
the most notorious serial killer in the last twenty years
and Senator Adams
well
I guess he wanted to capitalize on that fear
and convince his voters in the suburbs
he was tough enough
to stand up to monsters like that
now if I was his campaign manager
I might have suggested
a different strategy
but like I said
I didn’t get paid
to give advice
clients wrote me checks
and I provided them with a service
that’s what I did
and whatever happened after that
wasn’t my responsibility
that’s what I thought at the time at least
and things might have stayed like that
f I hadn’t made the mistake
of dipping into my own product one day
a little taste
from an emotion collecting dust
on a long forgotten shelf
Alpha Tango Monorail
code name for honesty
I should have known better from the start.

Anthony Jones and Joel Woolf

Anthony Jones and Joel Woolf are a music + lit duo from Sydney, Australia and Oakland, California. They pair literary noir and sci-fi with original music. You can listen to more of their work here.

Joana Coccarelli

Joana Coccarelli (a.k.a. narghee-la) is a collage artist, 41, from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Most of her images are handmade, scissor-and-glue style, with no digital interventions. Joana had 21 of her creations featured on Liberdade até Agora storybook—half of them made especially for the book. Top Brazilian newspaper Folha de S. Paulowww.memoriaolimpica.com, and jeweler/accessories designer Camilla Danunziata's website have also featured Joana's works—as well as Swiss magazine Denaris, top lowbrow art magazine Zupi, and online magazine Revista Machado.

Top fashion/arts website Lilian Pacce made a special article about Joana's works. One of her images was chosen to be the cover art of Sartre and Post-humanist Humanism, by America philosopher Elizabeth Butterfield. Amazing collage artist Claudio Parentela published an interview featuring Joana. In 2015, she was part of the "You Know You Can Buy It" exhibition in Maastricht, the Netherlands. Joana was also part of the lowbrow art collective baixocalao.com. Her works are often shown at Arte Araka, a top multiart event which takes place once a month in Rio de Janeiro.