Anna-Marie With Her Shotgun -- Part Six -- Anna-Marie -- Anna Remembers Poe

When I had read about Edgar Allen Poe I had only ever learned of his work as I had reached the new world. Here it wasn't entirely sure how to feel about him. By this point he had already reached a level of cultural phenomenon that had probably himself would have never anticipated. But there was something about the man that drew me to him, unlike even my husband. There was something innately special about how he would go on to meet various women across his life, always being romantically confused about whom he really loved. But whom he loved more than anyone else, was extremely obvious. He was not subtle about it in the least.

He loved a young girl, like I was, who was merely twenty one, and dying from what we no call tuberculosis. Edgar Allen Poe had decided to marry her after being rejected by his childhood friend Virginia Clem. And she had already been a fiancée of another man. When I read of his autobiography, it was difficult to not somewhat feel sorry for him, compared to other men, despite him apparently being a douche bag to other fans of his work. But for me, with every man that I've known besides my husband basically being assholes, it was difficult to find myself agreeing with them. His work would be taught at the Universities, where my daughter's friends would put on various adaptation of his plays.

The Black Cat, the story of a haunted black cat. It was one of the more interesting of his short stories that I would read later in my life. And it is this life that found myself wanting to be a part of some of his fictional stories, though of what implication I know not. When you're stuck in a life of not trusting anybody, sometimes it's easier to let one's mind wander, rather than think of any kind of present pain. My family visited Baltimore, but also bits of other places in Virginia where Poe grew up. It was vary different from The Black Forest, but many other ways surprisingly similar.

But now under rows of large roads, and early motored gliders, this city life had abandoned much of its charm from old Alsace, and it was difficult to find a French-American man. I ate at the dirtiest of French restaurants, and watched young girl play with holographic phones. When in my old country, we had barely even learned what a morse code was up until around the eighteen eighties.

So now here I was, living at the turn of the century, wondering why it was I tended to live much longer than other girls that were born around the earliest part of the nineteenth century. I had seen much, from rolling horse carts to the birth of the automobile. And now on black and white television, there is talks of Germans invading the coast of Mexico.

I think of accordion mixing with Flamenco.

And distaste the idea of a dance. Except my own dance with death, my own looming desires for the grave. My own desires to me with my family again, despite them being long dead. And living in a country that was no my home. Wondering why anyone would ever want to visit Alsace. Life flowing life some deranged tap dancing funeral march, life flowing like colors of the rainbow from a sunny rainy sky, the sky of which hidden by layers of toxic gas.

Farewell to old sass.

Farewell to laughing gas.

posted by JustSarah @ 22nd Sep 2018, 6:22 PM


Anna-Marie With Her Shotgun -- Part Five -- Anna-Marie -- No More France For Me

When it had become eighteen eighty four, my daughter was off to college. My eldest grand daughter took care of my daughter's son, so it gave me a considerable amount more time to stay busy with my own things. At sixty two, I've seen many of my friends die from syphilis, among other human diseases. There are times when I want to go back to my youth, back to the Black Forest. Yet I know that back in my old home town people still hate me, and wanted my head to roll into a wicker basket. My head kissing the sensation of death. Yet as I sit here today, I'm left wondering why it was I never showed any fear in the face of the words "You should be sentenced to death." Perhaps I knew that it would eventually be overturned. But most people never had their sentences reduced or eliminated.

When I had spent time in the asylum for misfit children, I remember the time that I spent in dark rooms, for want of bread. I wanted someone to talk to, and yet nobody would speak to me. On some level, I had wanted to do in the loop between Heaven and Hell. While people in the US were slinging revolvers, I was busy eating nothing but stale soup and dirty water. I talked with shadows on the wall. To think that all of that was over now, and that I could have a fresh start. I imagine my severed head being cut off, placed on an examination table, and tended to by permuted men who have nothing better than to study the way the my mind worked. And then eventually the rest of my corpse cremated, and my severed head kept in the museum of oddities along side Marie Bassaud's death masks, while my soul still searched for another body to reincarnate into.

Now here I was, just trying to make it through.

Just trying to listen to the sound of American style folk music, and writing poetry while I wait to go to the New York coast line with my family.

And simply dream of better days.

VI

After we had went to the beach, we took a brief trip to New York. When I had finally glimpsed lady liberty, I looked at her with a mixture of disdain and nostalgia. Disdain because to me France represented the most logical and complete extension of sexual assault, but nostalgia because of the friends that I had left behind when trying to make for ourselves a better society, where women could get abortions and universal health care, among other things. Even as Europe gradually heads in this direction, it is difficult to ascertain whether the United States will ever get to this point.

I met girls in cowboy hats, with toy shotguns.

I imagined what it would be like, if perhaps I had chosen to use a shotgun against my father, rather than choosing to poison. Perhaps maybe his death would have been a little bit faster, even if I had to watch him struggle for breath with a bullet in his lungs. There wasn't many deaths that were slower than dying of poison, as you have to use that carefully: if you give them to much, then they will eventually barf it all up. Give them to little, and the body will act like there wasn't any poison in the system at all.

The only reason that I had gotten caught, was because my sister pretty much knew what I was up to. While she was willing to visit me in the asylum, her visits from her grew steadily fewer until eventually we never saw each other again. Yet to this very day I dream of us playing in the pond, only clothed enough to cover our breasts, and telling different British Goblin stories that our mother had used to tell us, back when she had visited England. The mother that we had both missed, and who had died from a lung disorder.

And now as I work on paperwork for my secretarial job, carefully falsifying my personal records to not account for whether I had committed a crime, often I would see various CIA and NSA officer exchanging letters from the war front, sent in by morse code.

Codes I could never possibly crack.

But there was never going back.

No more France for me.

posted by JustSarah @ 22nd Sep 2018, 6:20 PM


Anna-Marie With Her Shotgun -- Part Four -- Anna-Marie -- Anna The Codebreaker

These days I'm learning different forms of code making and breaking. Cryptography has been around for years. The Caesar cipher shifted letters in shifts of three spaces, and is generally considered to be weaker than than even other basic substitutions.

Currently, I've been working on having a different mixed alphabet key per single character or digit, and having a different reciprocal quality: the reciprocal nature of one alphabetic row may only be this way for one letter, but not the other. But when shifting it using a different mixed alphabet, this solves the double encryption problem that comes standard in Rotation Thirteen Shift. Normally in a rote thirteen shift, simply encrypting it again flips it back to the original plain text. This is where the mixed alphabet comes in. Suppose there was an alphabetic shift based on my name:

 

A N M R I E B O G L C D F H J K P Q S T U V W X Y Z

H J K P Q S T U V W X Y Z A N M R I E B O G L C D F

 

The effect will only work on an individual letter basis, but if one had thousands of different mixed alphabetic shifts, one could theoretically assign a different reciprocal shift. And in some cases, if you also did a Two Square equivalent of having a different reciprocal quality per letter, you can drastically increase the security of a reciprocal cipher. You would have to have the specific two mixed alphabets by letter couplets. Generally you will want your plain text to be as short as possible to reduce the likelihood of double letters. And simply pad out the plain-text with letters that did not occur previously in the text, lining it up carefully in rows of five letters, then doing one final shift of a block transposition. And you end up with cipher text that doesn't repeat any letter, and beats all attempts at frequency analyses, but it can still be brute forced with time and effort, or if perhaps one may know the key.

All this to say, I've had considerable time to do more things with my life than crocheting and having soup boil in the kitchen. And having the husband find a cobbler to carve my grand children new wooden clogs.

I wonder if he'd put ciphers on them.

Maybe not.

posted by JustSarah @ 22nd Sep 2018, 6:15 PM


Anna-Marie With Her Shotgun -- Anna-Marie -- Part Three -- Then We Become Dirt

It's now 1874. I realize I'm a grand mother, but I still feel like a kid. It seemed like every other woman my age is studying to become a school teacher, and my daughter is still in high school. After a point they started requiring schooling for both genders, so I spend less of my time with my daughter and grand-kids. In theory I could still date, but it's difficult to find someone my age who wants to fool with someone completely washed up. At fifty two, you've seen almost half a century, and this can involve significantly more than you might then. I've heard many people don't live past the age of sixty seven, so I don't have much longer left to live. I could get back into activism, but that means not spending any time with my grand kids.

I've heard that there was a communist party, although whether that's true is not something that I know for certain. And what they may call communist here may not reflect European communism, do to diverging world views. And whether they would welcome a woman who murdered almost her entire familla. I haven't even told my husband about it. Though I suppose him knowing that I helped to contribute to the Paris Commune, he might be more willing to forgive than most people. When you're young, you tend to think irrationally, especially when you're in a fit of panic. Or at least, when you're very drunk and bottomless on a dirt road in the black forest.

Sometimes my mind goes back there.

When you're riding a horse, generally you want to hold onto the saddle as long as you can, but eventually they finally manage to invent the stirrup. It always stirs me up not being used to having to grip as tightly, so I often upset my horses whom don't like being gripped to hard by a tight rope. It's not that I particularly like strangling horses or anything, but it's something that took a considerable amount of time to get used to.

The black forest was dark and gloomy, much different from the constant glow of oil lamp lights. But sometimes I miss the flow of shadows on the wall of my old French cottage. Sometimes I have nightmares of going back to my family home, and reliving the memories of watching my brothers slowly die from the poison that I had slipped into their bread. My husband noticed this penchant as well. Not to make any excuses or anything, but it so easy to accidentally poison someone. Back then there was anything remotely resembling what they call health codes, so sometimes some woman may have her head chopped off simply for accidentally dropping the dough on the floor, and watching it off to remove the bits of hair clumps and dirt.

All that nonsense, and in reward a blood squirt.

Then we all fall down and become dirt.

posted by JustSarah @ 22nd Sep 2018, 6:13 PM


Anna-Marie With Her Shotgun -- Part Two -- Anna-Marie -- Reminder Of France

Now on this boat of boats, I bring my grand kids, Ursula (named after my sister), and Pate onto the boat with me. It didn't want to become involve with any more anarchism, at least not yet. I'd rather spend time tending to the giant bows of my daughter and grand daughter. To think that having kids would completely change your life. For me, this meant getting back into cooking. When you poor, you can't afford the best living quarters on the ship, but at least the Pate D'Alsace was good enough.

I resisted the temptation to vomit.

It wasn't just the coming sea-sickness, but all the memories. I had briefly dated one woman who would be decapitated after Napoleon retook Paris. She was a short girl, no more than about five foot nothing. She would tell me stories of the time her father would give her prized horses. At the time I had nothing but envious feelings, despite the fact that I knew, in truth, the fact that was I was even alive to see my new friend was nothing short of a fluke of nature. I knew that if I had been any other young lass, my head would be placed on a pike for all to sea. Without the benefit of a pardon from the King.

It still took a while to become comfortable enough to talk about my own life with her, as years of sexual abuse has the tendency to build up like a large amount of uncleared wax. I wanted to know what the new world would be like. I want to become a journalist, but I haven't even written a poem in months. In those months since I was out of the commune, I went through periods of suicidal idealization. Only being released from my torment when I saw the arch angel Michael, whom held out his hand out of affection, and asked my my name on all those years ago. His voice this of a true angel, and not an abomination:

We live in a secret Kingdom.

Yet the kingdom is known to so few.

A kingdom of endless strawberries.

Where one can retire those wooden shoes.

It was difficult to find myself talking to any man, but there was something different. My grand-daughter Ursula, woke me up, and told me that my daughter arranged a "gift" from the chef, who wanted to know the real life story of the great anarchist whom once was a serial murderess. But I simply wanted to forget that aspect of my past, and simply move on.

And retire my wooden shoes.

When I had finally settled into a new apartment, originally it was going to be in the North East, but do to various factors I ended up settling under the Mason Dixon line.

It was never an easy thing getting used to living outside of my home country. I remember growing up, smelling the baking of fresh bread, and the various flavors freshly picked sold in various shops. But now in the US, it was in a period of reconstruction after the civil war. I've heard that living in Seattle and New York were almost completely different worlds. Smack dab into the center of the Earth, and you'll find the demons here bickering on which cultural heritage was the best. But it was never something that I completely understood. After all, it was all the same soil. But I've heard certain things about Lincoln, and some are worried that he may end up being lionized, although this is mainly a fear that I've heard expressed in less enlightened circles.

Sometimes we would visit Louisiana, close to the Coast. It used to be considerably larger than what it is today: for a considerable period of time, France was leery about selling off the land. But when they started overreaching like a bad case of British arrogance, they were more eager to narrow down their assets and stick to African regions where they were severing people's arms and legs, as they had built up something of a relationship with the Native Americans, in contrast with the British culture beginning to take center stage. And now, with people thinking the death of the horse and buggy is looming on the horizon, the only way forward is to go up.

But there was no visiting lady Liberty.

I didn't want to be reminded of France.

posted by JustSarah @ 22nd Sep 2018, 6:07 PM