The Second Cool War Begins
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« Noxious Fumes Fill The Area ||

"We've got a hashtag on Void." Felicity was sprawled across the backseat, her head in Ruiz's lap. "Ruizurrection. The people love us, Tanks."

"Void is a tool of bourgeois oppression." Tanksy was steering with his knees while typing up podcast scripts on his phone. They were cruising at a solid 15 above the speed limit; Felicity wanted to get through Wisconsin as fast as possible, so they could hit Minneapolis tonight and start the long drive down to Texas in the morning. "Also they permabanned me for doxxing Trotskyists."

"How many flags did you have in your handle? Was it like, 'Tanksy 🇨🇳 🇸🇾 🇨🇺 🇰🇵 🇻🇳 🇻🇪 🇸🇯'?"

"Why would I have the Norwegian flag in my Void name? And how are you pronouncing emoji?"

"It's not the flag of Norway, it's the flag of Svalbard. Which is the same flag, but a different emoji for some reason? Maybe it's like, a prediction. Do you think the Unicode Consortium knows something the rest of us don't?" Her train of thought was careening wildly down an abandoned siding, and only Tanksy's glare in the rearview brought it back to the right track. "Oh. Right. It's really not that hard. Like, 💯, you know? Anyway, check it out." She chucked her phone forwards. It landed cleanly in the cupholder. "Fuck yeah, three points!"


zamboni fetishist

HE GOT THE BEAN, BABY #Ruizurrection
  • ECHOES 36
  • HUMS 207

5:26 AM - 3 October


zamboni fetishist

⁂icetwink it's just. pink. so pink. you cant even see shadows on it i dont know how he did that. absolute legend.
  • ECHOES 24
  • HUMS 182

5:26 AM - 3 October


zamboni fetishist

⁂icetwink lmao parks district came & put a tent over it. tons of cops milling around. no idea what to do. total chaos.
  • ECHOES 29
  • HUMS 187

7:15 AM - 3 October


Pisstopher Walken

lol news is just saying an """unknown vandal""" bytch he signed it big ol holographic "R. MUTT" floating above #Ruizurrection
  • ECHOES 7
  • HUMS 81

11:01 AM - 3 October

"I think the signature was a mistake." Tanksy's knees jerked sharply left, then back to the right, as he endangered the lives of a school bus full of eighth graders on a field trip to gain an incremental speed advantage over their hypothetical pursuers. "Why not sign it 'Duchamp'?"

In the passenger seat, Casio's print-head oscillated furiously as she sculpted a sideways urinal.

"Yeah, Cass, I know that the original Duchamp did it like that. But did Ruiz?"

Felicity shrugged. "Does it matter?"

"Depends." Tanksy chucked Felicity's phone backwards; it bounced off her shoulder and fell down between the seat and the door. "On how closely everyone's paying attention. Because if they realize he's not actually alive…"

"Then we activate Contingency Sigma-Three." It takes a certain kind of person to sound like a criminal mastermind while digging for a cellphone in crushed cans of Code Red Mountain Dew and empty Fritos bags. Felicity was not that kind of person. "Or, uh, we improvise, because there is no Contingency Sigma-Three."

"Well, ya know, Frank, I gotta say that sure is different."

"You betcha. Sure don't see that every day."

Frank Gunderson and Joe Nelson had gotten to the scene pretty late, a consequence of Frank's enlarged prostate, which his doctor assured him wasn't cancer, but which meant they had to pull the squad car into a gas station or a vacant lot every hour on the hour so he could relieve himself. By the time they reached the Walker, there were already a couple other cars there, and some younger guys were setting up the perimeter; so Frank and Joe were free to lean against the car and join in the collective rubbernecking.

The object of their bemusement was a brand new addition to the Walker Art Center's sculpture garden, in the pool around the big cherry-and-spoon that's on all the postcards. Not floating in the pool; the water had all been drained overnight, to be replaced with thousands upon thousands of individually-wrapped cherry Jolly Ranchers. At the moment, they were treating it as vandalism, or maybe littering in the first degree. Frank was secretly hoping they'd find a body at the bottom.

"Hey, Frank, take a look at this." One of the guys setting up the perimeter had passed Joe a Jolly Rancher—technically speaking, they were all evidence, but it's not like they were gonna run out any time soon. "Label's all wrong."

Frank took a look at that. It was the same font, in the same place, but it definitely didn't say Jolly Rancher. "Huh. Who's Ruiz Duchamp?"

"A very dangerous man." While Frank and Joe were distracted by the candy, a black SUV had pulled up behind them. The men who'd gotten out of it were clearly feds; one of them was wearing the classic FBI windbreaker, and the other was in a suit straight out of the Men In Black wardrobe room. "I'm Agent Spencer, FBI, and this is Agent Green, FDA." They both flashed badges.

"Sure thing." Joe halfheartedly checked over their identification; he'd only seen a real FBI badge once before, and he wouldn't know an FDA special agent from a hole in the ground. "Didn't know the FDA had special agents. Learn something new every day."

Green nodded. "Started after the Tylenol poisonings in '82. So, what are we looking at, gentlemen?"

"Well," Frank said, handing Green the Jolly Rancher, "some joker came 'round the Walker last night and filled up the pool with these. I guess he must've printed them up special, since they've got his name on 'em."

Green nodded, and passed the Jolly Rancher to Spencer. "Yeah," Spencer said, unwrapping it and holding the wrapper up to catch the light, "he's been doing this shit all across the country. You hear about that thing in Chicago?"

"The bean, right?" Joe had a cousin out that way who'd posted something on Facebook about it. "That was the same guy? Geez Louise."

"Yep. We're treating his actions as art terrorism." Spencer popped the Jolly Rancher into his mouth. "Mmm. Yep, that's a Jolly Rancher, alright."

"But…" Frank was still trying to wrap his head around the concept of art terrorism, and didn't even notice Spencer eating the evidence. "I mean, how could an artist be dangerous?"

Behind him, a Canada goose had landed on the pool, and was pecking at the tasty treats on the surface. Its flock was about to touch down next to it; and then a pair of sour-apple-green jaws popped up from below the surface, dragging it below in a puff of blood and feathers. The geese and the cops scrambled away in unison.

"That," Green said, "is how an artist could be dangerous."

"Cass, can you rotate his right elbow up by three degrees?"

The rotors on Casio's extruder spun, dragging a nearly-invisible thread of fishing line that connected it to the 3D-printed pulleys affixed to the car's ceiling by duct tape and atheistic prayer. On the opposite side of the van, Ruiz Duchamp's elbow rose ever so slightly.

He was strung up at thirty points of articulation, the nexus of a nylon spiderweb that Felicity was barely avoiding, lying prone on the folded-over rear seating area. She shut one eye and looked through the viewfinder of her camera.

Ruiz's form was projected against a massive matte painting of her own design, a perfect recreation of the exterior of the Boone Tabernacle Church of God in Christ, in Kansas City, Missouri. Every detail was accounted for: the angle of the autumn sun, every leaf on the sickly urban beautification sidewalk trees, even Ruiz's fuzzy shadow on the pavement. The real corpse was lined up to the inch, gesturing dismissively at the floating tangle of ethereal text that spelled "HOLOGRAM LIFE" in the middle of the street.

Felicity's fingers ached. She wasn't used to putting together exploits like that, especially while avoiding detection.

Ruiz's undead face was mid-cackle, achieved by a mixture of clear tape and adhesive that pulled all of his facial muscles into alignment. Much like the fishing wire, the artifice was barely visible, and would prove to be completely invisible once the image was fully developed and uploaded surreptitiously to the relevant CCTV streetcam. The camera shutter clicked softly.

"Cass, you're on fire. We're outdoing ourselves, constantly. Getting better at an exponential rate. Shit, is this the singularity?"

Felicity's science-fiction pondering was interrupted by the buzzing of Casio's gears, as the extruder raced to assemble an outstretched hand. Its rapid movements made the Ruiz flesh-marionette jive violently.

Felicity high-five'd the model, smacking it to the floor. She squinted at the camera screen.

"Mm, perfect. Practically a snapshot of life. Almost makes you think Ruiz is a bit more sprightly than he lets on."

Tanksy looked over his shoulder. "Did you say Lenin?"

"Jesus, Tanks. I said lets on. That's not even close. Besides, we've talked about this: if you want to say Lenin's name, you don't need an excuse. You can just say it."

"What about Stalin?"

Felicity just rolled her eyes and went back to her puppetry.

Joey, Overgang, Rita and Molly's zombie artist hunt had become less about the zombies and more about the art. They'd made a beeline for New York, but turned around once they hit Chicago; when they hit Minneapolis, they decided to head south, instead of back west toward Seattle and the Men In Black who'd almost caught them earlier in the week. There was a full day and a half of radio silence from their quarry as they crossed the vast plains of Iowa and Missouri; but then someone hung Jeff Koons in thirty-foot balloon-animal effigy from the Gateway Arch, and they knew they were in business. They only missed his tasteful memorial to the victims of Hurricane Katrina (a FEMA trailer in the center of the Superdome's field, staffed by holograms of Bush administration officials) by eight hours; next up, they hoped, would be Austin.

They were right.

"So, what do you think Ruiz has against LBJ?" Molly was staring up at the massive windowless façade of the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library, which sat on the University of Texas campus like a big square building made of concrete. It was currently occupied by a very well-made interactive audiovisual installation; they'd joined the steadily growing mob of onlookers who were enjoying the show.

"I mean, he was the one who sent troops into Vietnam," Overgang said, polishing his sunglasses so he could get an unobstructed view. "That's pretty bad."

Joey had found a bag of kettle corn somewhere. He was perched on top of the van, occasionally tossing individual kernels down through the sunroof into Rita's mouth. "And, you know." He waved the bag vaguely at the library. "He had the CIA kill Kennedy."

The video was projected from an invisible projector, and the music came from invisible speakers. John F. Kennedy's head, three stories tall, dominated the frame. At the moment, Darude's "Sandstorm" was playing, more than loud enough to be heard above the crowd; and on every beat, Kennedy's head jerked as Bernard Montgomery Sanders' bullet found its mark. (Or, if you believe the official story—and Rita very much did not—Lee Harvey Oswald's.) There was a link at the bottom to a site where you could vote on the next song; at the moment, "All Star" was winning.

"I keep telling you, the CIA had nothing to do with it," Rita protested, pausing to catch another piece of kettle corn. "It was Bernie Sanders on the grassy knoll. The man plays the long game. Holy shit, Joey, what flavor was that?"

"Uhhhh." He looked into the bag. "Should've been kettle corn, I didn't do anything to these. Why?"

"Hand to god, it tastes like cheddar." Rita swirled the flavors around for a moment. "Yeah. Cheddar cheese."

"I mean, there's an easy explanation for that one," Overgang said. His sunglasses were back where they belonged. "It's a baggler."

"What," said Molly, wrenching her gaze away from the Zapruder Film, "is a baggler."

"You know, like when you get an onion ring in your tater tots or something? Snuck in there at the factory from some cheese corn." Overgang shrugged. "I dunno, 's what my friends in high school called it."

"It sounds like a slur for the Belgians." Rita had given up on the cheese-corn enigma, and was trying to hack into the voting website to get it to play Futanari Titwhore Fiasco's latest single, "Decrystallize My Pineal Gland Harder, Mommy". It was, as the kids say, a bona-fide banger.

"I think I'm part Belgian."

"Damn, Joey, you fuckin' baggler. Get outta here." For someone who grew up in New York (well, ok, Connecticut, but it was in the metropolitan area), Rita was remarkably bad at a classic Brooklyn accent. She sounded more Boston than anything.


"Yes, Molly?"

"Don't do the accent, it hurts my tender ears."

"You know what else will hurt your tender ears?" Rita typed a few lines, and let her code do the rest. It was remarkable how easy it was to hack into stuff when you stopped thinking of scripts as data and started thinking of them as invisible spiders. "This."

Darude ground to a halt, and Kennedy started banging his head to the tender screaming of Staten Island's own Annie Cline.

Decrystallize me mommy

"Hey, Rita?"

Decrystalize me harder

"Yes, Molly?"

I've been drinking too much flouride

"Look, the girls are great, they're excellent friends."

They hide it in the water


I'm putting my third eye into your hands

"Their music fucking sucks."


Felicity smiled at her cracked phone screen. "I think it's time for us to break the silence."

Tanksy didn't look over, as he was too responsible of a driver to take his eyes off the road while he weaved into the bike lane to pass a cop car. "Like, we actually talk?"

"Oh," Felicity said, "No. He talks." She pointed her thumb at the corpse in the passenger seat. "He's got fans and I've got a wifi hotspot, so why not capitalize on it?"

The Tankie Banksy frowned.

Felicity sighed. "Why not use it, I mean."

"You think you can replicate his style?"

"I've been replicating his style all week! It's time to embody him, you know? I think we're at the point in our friendship where it's acceptable for me to impersonate him on social media."

Casio produced the edifice of a thumbs up.

"Thanks for the vote of confidence, Cass." Felicity nodded to herself. "Alright."

She was silent for a moment.

"⁂ruizduchamp is taken. How about ⁂ruizduchamp1?"


Ruiz Duchamp

Alright, everyone. Listen up. #Ruizurrection
  • ECHOES 336
  • HUMS 1081

3:30 PM - 6 October


Ruiz Duchamp

This trip across the country has been fun, and all. Kissing hands, shaking babies, and leaving a trail of breadcrumbs just for You Know Who.
  • ECHOES 201
  • HUMS 995

3:30 PM - 6 October


Ruiz Duchamp

But, unlike myself, all good things must come to an end. There's one last stop to herald my inexplicable Resurrection, let the angels sing on high, and so on.
  • ECHOES 196
  • HUMS 950

3:31 PM - 6 October


Ruiz Duchamp

I'm staging a grand exhibit, and the invite list is killer, featuring every derivative bastard who thought they could get away with just leaving me in the ground for a few years.
  • ECHOES 192
  • HUMS 838

3:31 PM - 6 October


Ruiz Duchamp

Two days. Fog city. Don't worry, you're too cool to be there. The revolution will not be televised, but it will be live-shouted from this account.
  • ECHOES 197
  • HUMS 877

3:31 PM - 6 October


Ruiz Duchamp

Good night, undead society.
  • ECHOES 261
  • HUMS 1033

3:32 PM - 6 October

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