Last August I smoked a lot of hash with the young Turkish novelist, Bercu Balik, we had an affair and her skin reminded me of heaven even though I don’t believe in such a ridiculous place. On April 7th her publicist called. Bercu died in a car crash in Zurich along with Rasha, her four-year old daughter. I last saw Bercu in February in Portland. She blew me a kiss before overweight TSA agents hurried her through the metal detector so she could board her plane to Auckland. Hours later I landed back in Missoula where my web of lies regarding my tryst with Bercu caught up with me.
In her second novel, Dark Matters, Bercu coined the word covfefe. The novel was published by Pinnacle Literary in 2014. Donald Trump tweeted the word covfefe on May 31, 2017. Dismayed no one has yet referenced Bercu or Dark Matters in connection with Trump’s tweet, I’ve written this rambling post. Interestingly, as of June 8th, Dark Matters is no longer available on Amazon or Barnes and Noble but I did find two copies at the Missoula Public Library.
The protagonist in Dark Matters, opioid addict Rahm Brauhn, is a janitor at CERN, the European Research facility straddling the French and Swiss borders. Eliza Zarkhov, lead researcher on CERN’s XXX team and Rahm fall in love. After much kinky sex and experimental drugs together, Eliza reveals to Rahm the ultra secret ‘Covfefe’ room. The room reminds Rahm of being on board a submarine with thousands of portholes adorning the ironclad walls. Each porthole, explains Eliza, peers at parallel planets in parallel universes. Reluctantly Rahm’s peers into one at eye-level, labeled i-4129.
“Careful,” warns Eliza, “four-one-two-niner is a tragic one. That planet is primitive – drunk on the accumulation of shiny objects. Their principles are never applied consistently, their rationality is only one of convenience and expediency. It’s hard to stomach.” She tugs at the back of Rahm’s wide leather belt. “They can’t even fuck well. Come look at m-318. That’s where I get some of my special tricks.” Eliza smiles while Rahm remains steadfast.
Without moving his head, he feels the two knobs to the right of the window – the ones Eliza had instructed him how to use. The left one zooms in and out of focus. The smaller right one, fast forwards and reverses time. He turns the small one all the way to the right, back 4.6 billion years ago, then the knob stops. It won’t turn anymore. Slowly, he rotates the knob left. The black window explodes with light. Something out of nothing. Back and forth. Back and forth. Rahm watches the beginning of time, over and over. A smile cracks his tight lips.
Eliza steps back, realizing she’s lost Rahm to 4129 for sometime. The portholes are addictive, and Rahm knows all too well the magnetism of addiction. So Eliza turns her gaze to 318, leaving Rahm space to explore at his leisure.
Rahm twirls the right knob back and forth, spanning 100 million years between dinosaurs and two mushroom clouds. The mushroom clouds proves to be the result of a tribe of apes being pissed at another tribe so one tribe blows up another tribe. The tribe that detonates the bomb is called the Star Spangled Tribe. The tribe that gets blown to bits is called the Not So Worthy Tribe.
Rahm tracks the Star Spangled Tribe, aghast with its arrogance and violence. The tribe sets off not one, but two mushroom cloud bombs, over three days killing around 400,000 members of the Not So Worthy Tribe.
The Planet during this time was comprised of around two-hundred countries. The richest country called itself the BCE – the Best Country Ever. Across the ocean was a continent filled of smaller countires. This group of countries called itself Group of Countries – GOC. A big country east of GOC called itself the Strong Red Country.