I love the notion that there is a “world inside the world,” as Don Delillo (and then Rhett Miller) put it, in Los Angeles. That theory, coupled with the fact that I am currently reading Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere, has me on the lookout for signs of an underworld or secret network of communication in our city; a network not unlike the “Trystero” in Pynchon’s The Crying of Lot 49. However, instead of the single image of a muted horn, this network is marked by much more common signposts.

It’s perfectly reasonable to assume that such a network of communication or commerce could easily exist right under the noses of the masses and officials of Los Angeles…or ANY major city for that matter. If disguised brilliantly as seemingly haphazard advertisements for things that no one really needs, like say, phone jacks, those in the know could easily follow the clues around the city to a shadowy world of like-minded individuals. I’m convinced every time I see a flyer tacked onto a telephone pole for something like “Discount Airline Tickets” or “Wholesale Modems,” that there is something rotten on the other end of that line (if I were brave enough to actually call.) After all, who would call the number on a spray-painted, stenciled phone jack sign other than the few people savvy enough to know what is really being sold?

In Hearts in Atlantis (I’m trying to set a record for book references in one post), Stephen King had his villains post “Lost Dog” posters around the city, which were actually signals to the lead character that the other worldly beings were hot on his trail. I’m just saying, you wouldn’t necessarily notice if there was an ultra-secret society of people posting their flyers and shrouded directions all over town if they were disguised as something you automatically dismiss every single day.

Now, if I could just figure out how to get myself into that shadowy sub-culture and figure out exactly what it is they’re doing/selling/thinking. I guess I could just follow the phone jack trail and see where that leads me. I think it leads to something big; something subversive; something that doesn’t exist.

At least, as far as you know.

6 thoughts on “underneath”

  1. I totally have thought the same thing before (probably because I have read The Crying of Lot 49).

  2. That probably IS a better explanation for those phone jack signs than the existence of tons of people who actually need phone jacks and call that number.

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